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METHODS AND IDEALS for CONDUCTING CENTERS AND STUDY CLASSES
The Field Department of Unity School of Christianity
917 Tracy, Kansas City, Mo.
Co-operation and Ethics
Working Together Essential
Co-operation is one of the factors contributing to all human success; to make his work successful, the leader of every center must learn to co-operate with others. Before any individual can successfully work out any problem in his own life he must have the co-operation of all the departments of his own being.
The Common Good
Many people have strong spiritual realizations, so far as their own mental conceptions are concerned, but they are not able to obtain the co-operation of the physical body in the fulfillment of these realizations. Until all departments of one's being work together toward the common end, one will fall short of his full power of accomplishment.
Understanding is Essential
A spirit of full co-operation should exist in every phase of a spiritual ministry. In order that this co-operation may be established, the fullest possible understanding should prevail between leaders and members in the center or study class. Perfect understanding necessarily involves a free exchange of thoughts and ideas pertaining to the general good of all concerned in the work.
Where Cooperation Begins
Co-operation does not begin in the mechanics or the outer activities of an organization, but with the development of its motive power -- its motive power being in the formulated thoughts and operation ideals of the center. It is therefore necessary to keep in the minds of the people the purpose for which the center was organized and is maintained. Co-operation can be brought about only as all workers unite in carrying out the central purpose of the class or center.
Set Aside Personal Ambition
All personal ideals and ambitions must be set aside for the real purpose of the work. There is no place in a spiritual ministry for those who are personally ambitious in any sense of the word. Everything else in the life of the leader must be subservient to the central ideals of the ministry. One who has any knowledge of the laws of Spirit does not want to shoulder the responsibility for the spiritual and physical well-being of a community; therefore he welcomes every sincere teacher who can help to carry on this ministry for the community and for humanity.
Attitude Toward Other Centers
The need for co-operation is not confined to the center itself, but involves the relationship of one center to another. The fact that there are two or more centers in a city means that there are more people working together for the well-being of the people of that city. The healing groups are especially important in promoting the greatest good of the community. Where the thought of the common good is always kept in mind, there is little room for dissension and criticism among the centers and the workers.
Fruits of the Flesh
It is only when we walk "after the flesh" that inharmony creeps into our thoughts. Dissension and criticism have no part in spiritual consciousness or spiritual service. Paul gave the antidote for all the causes that produce the undesirable, when he said: "Walk by the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh." Paul also gave a specific account of what constitutes walking after the flesh. By measuring ourselves by his standard we easily can find out which plane we are functioning on. He said: "Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these: fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousies, wraths, factions, divisions, parties [heresies], envyings, drunkenness, revellings, and such like; of which I forewarn you, even as I did forewarn you, that they who practice such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God."
Fruits of the Spirit
In setting forth the characteristics which distinguish the one who walks after the Spirit, Paul says further: "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, meekness, self-control." When centers and leaders have this vision of spiritual ideals they make every effort toward training additional workers and organizing new centers and study classes, so that the work of Spirit may be carried on more efficiently.
Coming into Truth
Nothing could possibly speed the coming of the kingdom of heaven into the earth more than a Truth center actively at work in every community. Every one in Truth should help in such work. If there are those who are merely "looking in upon Truth," let them have the courage to come all the way in. They will find a new joy in the work.
Where God Moves
It is logical to assume that where the Spirit of God is recognized there is perfection in every detail. Where there is not perfection, the human element is more or less active; the flesh, with its selfishness and its greed, is yet controlling certain phases of the ministry. Only a full spiritual program will "bring the measure of satisfaction, service, and supply that is altogether satisfying. Such a program is very easily carried on when one realizes that the work of Spirit is being promulgated, rather than the mere ideal of any individual or group of individuals about the work of Spirit.
How Would God Work
Let each individual keep his heart and his mind open to a new realization of how the Spirit of God would work itself out in the ministry of a center. When every person is open to the dictates of Spirit there will be no opportunity for dissension, and full co-operation will result.
Co-operation from Unity School
It should be remembered that the Field Department of Unity School is always ready to co-operate with centers and study classes everywhere, whenever the ideals of these centers and study classes measure up to the Christ standard. Full co-operation is possible only when the selfsame ideals exist, but where identical ideals and purposes exist there is no reason why full and free co-operation should not obtain. Each center and study class should feel perfectly free to call upon Unity School in any matter that pertains to the general work of the center or class.
Courtesy Due Others
Many leaders and teachers have never before worked in a capacity which brought them in to close contact with other individuals. A lack of understanding of the true relationship which should exist between individuals has given rise to many problems. It is well for each individual who is conducting a center or study class, or one who is desirous of establishing such a work, to come into understanding of the proper relationship between all men in all lines of activity. This is a sort of ethical relationship which involves a right motive in all our relationships.
Ethical First Duty
Ethics, according to Webster, is the science of moral duty. Until we come to an understanding of our true relationship to our fellow man we have not yet come to an understanding of the meaning of the commandment: "Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself," for herein is the highest ethics. The individual who is carrying on a ministry similar to ours has as much right in the field as we have. We must remember that he, in his way, is doubtless rendering just as important a ministry to the human race as we are. Our attitude toward him should be one of extreme consideration and of readiness to co-operate, for he is helping us to serve mankind.
Living the Life
Ethics involves living in harmonious relations with our fellow man -- living what we teach. No teacher can afford to teach one thing and live another. In fact, a teacher's life teaches more and says more than he speaks from the platform or says in his writings.
Center Judged by Its Leaders
Ordinarily a center is not judged so much by what it teaches as it is judged by the general conduct of the leader and members of the group. It is important that each member of the class or center should live, to the best of his ability, the principles and practices set forth in the teachings of Truth.
True to the Name
Being true to one's name is also a point in the ethics of conducting a center. We have not a great deal of respect for a grocer who sells, under a reputable label, goods of a cheaper brand. The same rule may be applied to Truth centers and to study classes. If a center adopts the name of any well-known school of spiritual instruction, the instruction given in the center should correspond in standard with the teaching of the organization for which it is named. This does not mean a literal presentation of the ideas of the organization whose name is used, but it necessitates living up to the ideals and standards of the parent body.
Christ is Head
If a center or study class represents itself as teaching practical Christianity, it should teach the principles of practical Christianity in every phase of its ministry and follow the methods of practical Christianity in its healing ministry. Such a center or study class should take the stand that Christ is the head of the work, and should put the Christ ideals into practice in every possible manner.
Working out Ideals
The most effective aid to working out the ideals and practices touched upon in this lesson is to have regular periods of silent meditation. Through meditation and silence the purposes of a spiritual ministry become clear to the individual. Through co-operative meditation these ideals are developed in the group of workers and sooner or later become paramount in the life of each worker. Following is an affirmation that has been a great factor in bringing about co-operation in the various centers in the last few years:
"In our unity of purpose we are guided by infinite wisdom and prospered by divine love."
- Why is co-operation necessary to the success of a center or class?
- What is the best way to secure co-operation between individuals? Between centers?
- Where does co-operation begin?
- Why is one who is personally ambitious unlikely to make a success of a spiritual work?
- How would you handle inharmony or dissension in your class or center?
- What encouragement should the teacher or leader give to individual workers?
- How may one know that the work of a center is measuring up to the highest standards of Truth?
- How would you overcome the thought of competition in your work?
- Why is it essential that every worker in a center live up to the standards of Truth?
- What is your obligation in adopting, as a part of the name for your center or class, the name used by any of the leading Truth schools?
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