When you hear cats fighting in the alley at night, it usually means there are kittens on the way—Professor Rodney Stark, Sociologist of Religion
Hi Friends -
Here are 72 replies I have received to the five posts I've sent out, starting December 20, regarding Unity identifying as a Christian denomination. I found many of them heartwarming and several heartbreaking, but I did not find any of them to be less than cordial. Obviously, not everyone agrees with what I've written, but I have found each reply to be constructive in some way.
What they reveal is a human side of Unity that is not easily expressed in a survey. They also reveal a sense of hope and vision for our movement.
Many people will meet tomorrow at 3pm EASTERN for a Unity Worldwide Ministries Town Hall discussion. If, because of our humanness, emotions run high and it seems that there are cats fighting in the alley, it just may be that kittens are on the way.
Replies to: Don't get distracted by bureaucratic nonsense
December 20, 2023. Your email was surprising and disturbing. Could you send me the letter?
December 20, 2023. Dear Mark, A ministerial colleague forwarded your recent letter responding to the letter sent out by the UWH board. Your letter seeks to clarify but it reveals bias particularly in regard to the joint UWM/UWH declaration of 2010. It also seems naive to think that UWM and UWH are wholly separate organizations. What I find most perturbing is your use of the word campaign to describe what is, in truth, a grassroots upwelling of concern and dismay about the current direction of UWM. Things are confusing enough without more unnecessary labeling. Thanks for being an important part of Unity.
December 20, 2023. Truth unity has helped me recreate my life. I was a chronic hopeless alcoholic. Reading the metaphysical Bible interpretations put me on that path to a psychic change to contact the IAM within me.
December 20, 2023. Thank you for this!
December 20, 2023. Truth is truth, and we are all connected. So sad to hear about all the outer division!
December 21, 2023. Finally the sound of Truth and reason. Thank you.
December 21, 2023. Thank you for this information. It seems like Unity has become more of a social justice club instead of the spiritual path it once promoted. I barely recognize it now.
December 21, 2023. I look forward to hearing more about this Mark. Thank you for bringing this to our awareness.
December 21, 2023. Mark, as a long retired Unity minister ... a faith path totally anchored in CHRISTIANITY I am just so upset with [UWH leadership], for that matter, with the wholesale change in staff at UWM. (I have many thoughts about the current leadership..but that’s another matter) I have shared my thoughts on/ about Unity and those are:
1. It appears to be straying farther and farther from its Christian roots
2. UWH is getting into areas that are solely UWM’s responsibility. And, along with it electing Chad to the leadership of an organization that was well beyond his experience “in the trenches”
3. The beginning of the “Demise” of Unity was the elimination of the on-site seminary.
4. The rise of online program leading toward ordination…basically with the Urban School leading it, is just insane! How does UWM insure that students in the program are a really committed to growing, leading ,Unity churches? I wonder about so many aspects of the program now. I know, I am far out of the loop on this.
4.5 I have served on the committee that assesses the readiness of students for ordination—this was not that long ago and (online program) and have held some students back for further “Maturation” in Unity basics. It left me wondering about that program.
5. I feel, deep down, so much sadness about what WAS a shining light on the Christian scene slowly fading away and becoming something else entirely.
6. In my 80s I am “Arm charging“ it and I know it. Probably unaware of the subtle nuances that make Unity viable. That said, I love Unity ... a far piece from my Catholic roots with ONE exception ... LOVE is at the core.
YOUR lead-in “A Fillmore fellowship“ says it all! I admire the work you do and your deep dedication to Unity!
December 21, 2023. Good morning mark wow spiritual warfare I know that sounds extreme however we must attack everything people, places, and things with love building everything with love and know peace. know love know peace, no love no peace. one reason A.A. works is of the foundation Live and let live, First thing's first Jesus said love god like know other, and love thy neighbor oh well I will pray for unity especially you. you are a man of honor and dignity love you
December 21, 2023. I was unaware that the SO, a separate 501c3 exists. Specifically it states that neither UWM nor UWH can make a change to the identity "one organization cannot unilaterally change the trajectory of the movement or the identity of Unity without the agreement of the other." Would you care to address in one of your upcoming publications?
December 21, 2023. I don't know what kind of feedback you are getting but I am in alignment with this.
December 21, 2023. Thank you thank you!! You are my hero!!
December 21, 2023. Thank you so much, Mark, for all that you do for our Unity Movement. I am humbly grateful. My small unity church keeps it so simple. We don't try too hard to define ourselves; however, we stick to Truth Principles and pray a lot for each other.
December 21, 2023. I was sort of involved in the branding discussion 14 years ago and the topic is still close to my heart. I still fall on the side of identifying Unity as Christian. I am attaching a note from Richard Rohr which I think speaks to this. I would love to hear your thoughts. Maybe we can schedule a time to chat.
Replies to: Do We Go Forward or Go Away?
December 22, 2023. You're on fire, my friend! On we go... wheeeee!
December 22, 2023. So, Marc, I guess since so many other denominations are having their own in fighting that unity now believes it should find its way along the same lines. Interesting that, although we question whether or not, we want to refer to ourselves as Christians we have no difficulty and referring to as Unitics. I know my truth, Marc as I know you know yours. Just finished reading Discover the Power Within You for the umpteenth time and I’m always encouraged by the words of Eric Butterworth. Life is For Loving is my favorite of his. I can only hope this is a Tempest in a teapot. I am free from disagreements and the chaos they bring. Blessings
December 22, 2023. Totally! We go forward. We embrace our Christian roots.
December 22, 2023. Well said!
December 22, 2023. I like the term "Metaphysical Christianity"
December 22, 2023. Bravo Mark! I hope everyone reads this. Blessings
December 22, 2023. Thanks Mark, I enjoyed reading your post. Your post does give us something to think about.
December 22, 2023. 👍👍👍
December 22, 2023. I recently found my way back to Christianity after many years of being an “explorer” I went to a few services at the Center for Spiritual living and then I came across Unity. I read Cady’s work and it really spoke to me. My family and I attended Unity on and off for almost a year. Everyone was very nice and welcoming but I felt like I kept yearning for more Jesus. So I continued exploring and eventually found my way back to my Catholic roots but more in a contemplative/we are all worthy of love type of way. I think that if the Unity church we attended learned more into Jesus we would have ended up staying….
December 22, 2023. Hi Mark, Thanks for your thoughts. I agree. I think Unity is missing the very big boat on the Christian debate. I’m sorry they feel so threatened about embracing our heritage. I just don’t understand the issue with being Christian!
December 22, 2023. Dear Mark, In regard to your latest post I find your premise and conclusions to be dishearteningly black and white. Way more is involved than you would have us believe.
December 22, 2023. Mark - Thank you. Thank you. Thank you for putting into words what has been on my mind for the last few months. You are a beacon of light for us all! Never give up on the wonderful work that you do.
December 22, 2023. Hi Mark, Thank you for the two emails about the Christian/non Christian concerns within Unity. When I was studying in the MEP, the Dean of the Ministerial School gave a talk stating that Unity needs to focus more on its churches in order to compete with the current churches. I objected as I reminded us all that Charles Fillmore started a school, not a church, Unity School, which has churches. He even went so far as holding Unity School meetings on Sunday afternoons so people could attend their own churches in the morning and still attend Unity School in the afternoon.
I believe we need to focus more on the basic Unity teaching “There is only one presence and one power in the universe, God the Good omnipotent, in which we live and move and have our being.” I even recall Ed Rabel defining God as “Absolute Good” and in the Revealing Word we see “God as Principle is absolute good expressed in all creation.” We do get a bit confused with other words e.g. “Lord” is the spiritual law of cause and effect. “Thoughts held in mind produce after their kind.” The word “Christ” is written as part of Jesus’ name, when he specifically said, “Tell no man that I am Jesus the Christ.”
If we keep it up then we have to include “Mark the Christ” Tom, Dick and Harry as the Christ” as we read in Col.1:27 “Christ in you, your hope of glory”. Jesus response to Peter is often misquoted:. When Peter stated to Jesus “Thou art the Christ, the son of the living God” Jesus replied “That thou art Peter and upon the rock will I build my church” Rather than upon Petros (the rock) The word “That” refers to the Christ, which Jesus’ church was to be based upon. The word “Spirit” as I see it, is another word for “Enthusiasm” “En Thuse” being “In God/Good.”
I could go on, but I think this is enough, but I do want to say “Thank you Mark,” for clearly stating the position, and I am happy to call myself a Christian, Unity minister, even if I am retiring, or trying to. I fail to see how all these Unity people debating the situation are “not” Christians – what’s the big fuss about?? Wishing you a really Happy, Healthy, and Prosperous New Year, In loving Unity,
December 22, 2023. Hey Mark, Thank you for this email. How do you suggest we move forward to be all support this new generation, seeking a spiritual walk still under the name of of Christianity. I received a survey this past week about the position with Unity. Well, I don’t follow evangelical anymore. I do want us to be a source for those of us who have left the evangelical scene and want to find a church home with sound teachings such as Unity provides. What can we do? What are you suggesting we as members of unity do in this regard? Serving those whom serve,
December 22, 2023. Thanks, Mark. It is disheartening to hear that Unity leaders would be considering this change away from the teaching of Jesus who exemplified the Christ, just when many mainline churches are beginning to embrace many of the original Unity teachings.
I’ve just finished reading an excellent book about how many evangelical churches are having to do a self-correction after going all in on far right Christian Nationalism as being championed by former presidents Donald Trump. The book is, THE KINGDOM, the POWER and the GLORY, by Tim Alberty who himself identifies as a very committed evangelical Christian. It is a fascinating read and, as its message ripples across the religious culture writ large, including the electorate considering whom to support in 2024 politically. I truly feel as more learn about the hijacking of the teachings of Jesus by material-minded church leaders more concerned with holdings onto power and prestige, along with understanding the teachings that we are all children of God in need of educating about our rich spiritual heritage, we are on the cusp of a life-changing breakthrough. I continue to be hopeful. Keep up the good fight.
December 23, 2023. Good morning Mark, I've just read the information that you shared. You raise some wonderful questions for our Unity Movement and ones that may or may not be shared at the January meeting. You have a fabulous way of bringing lots of material together to give a sharp image of things that have happened in the past and are happening now. I am so grateful for you and your amazing ability to share with us what you have discovered.
December 23, 2023. Mark, I agree. I’m hearing the F word without it being said. FEAR. Fear of the What If’s? What if there are fewer butts in the seat—for example? I am concerned that we are putting so much attention on attracting people instead of walking our talk that we are a move by based on the teachings of Jesus Christ. What’s the matter with that? Nothing as far as I’m concerned. Thank you for sharing the information about the changes going forward with the new generation of evangelical Christians.
December 24, 2023. Excellent! And perfectly said!
December 24, 2023. Mark, Magnificent! Thank you so much for this and the JDF recording. UNITY needs you more than ever. Proud to know you. Merry Christmas,
December 24, 2023. Thanks! For the beautiful Christmas present! I only go back 38 years as a member of Unity ( Catholic before that). However some things mentioned resonate. Have a wonderful holiday season!
December 24, 2023. Thank you! Great job. Hope the people who need to hear this...will open their ears and hearts.
December 24, 2023. Thank you Rev. Mark. Thank you.
December 24, 2023. Thank you for today’s email and the inclusion of your letter from 2013 regarding the ‘branding’ Unity is seeking to promote. From your excellent letter I have lifted this statement: Unity is a practical, positive and progressive approach to Christianity, based on the teachings of Jesus and the power of prayer." I would humbly substitute the word ‘educational’ for ‘progressive’ as Unity is above all concerned with sharing the life-changing spiritual teachings of Jesus Christ which we recognize as Truth. Truth is timeless, not progressive. We are ‘students’ of Truth, therefore Unity’s main mission must ever be to assist in ‘educating’ adherents in that quest. To educate means to lead forth (from Latin ‘educare ’ to lead forth from within). It is worth the effort you continue to exert to bring Unity back to the Christian roots upon which the Fillmores established it. May your efforts meet with success.
December 25, 2023. Thank you so much! Fantastic news! I never could or would go with non-Christian either! That would be such a disservice to our ancestry! Say hi to Rev Greg for me. He might remember me as the crazy Canadian that came back after being licensed and stay for about a year there. Thank you for your early reply. Unity isn’t doing very well here as Kitchener only is on-line. Where I live. Hamilton which isn’t far away (an hour) away is still going but changed too much for a Fillmore junky. I think London is still going also an hour away from me. I love Rev Greg for all he is doing. And your own work keeps me connected with all that I love. keep getting the older scripts copied and on file to reread. Again have a very Merry Christmas. Blessings on you.
Replies to: Why I Built TruthUnity
December 29, 2023. Thank you very much for your email. It is disturbing to notice Unity going through these turbulent times of identity crisis. I am also of the view that Unity should conform to its principle of inclusivity and Oneness. The First Principle of One Presence includes all. The Omnipresent Infinite Presence is neither Christian nor Non-Christian but is expressed through all creation. Why is it so important now for Unity to identify as Non-Christian? Is it maybe to attract more of the cultural creatives?
I believe that LOVE, COMPASSION, PEACE, JUSTICE, and all the Christlike qualities expressed and exemplified by Jesus Christ are the cornerstones that will grow Unity in the 21st century.Was Jesus a Christian? Is the Bible, upon which most of the Unity teachings are based including our famous Metaphysical Bible Interpretation Christian? Bickering about Christian or Non-Christian is a distraction and as you correctly point out, 'bureaucratic nonsense''
December 29, 2023. I cannot thank you enough Mark for doing this and restoring the original undistorted teachings of practical Christianity that the Fillmore's first started! I feel like if it wasn't for you people like me won't even know our own history! Unfortunately the true original undistorted unwatered down teachings of unity have been covered over now with this postmodern religion version of unity of which the Fillmore's would not even recognize if they were here today!
December 29, 2023. Loved this, Mark. Please put me on the list of lovers of the original messages AND the importance of metaphysical Bible interpretation. If this type of scholarly work falls by the wayside, I believe Unity's beautiful gift to the world will be greatly watered down. It will be a great loss, and my Unity friends here agree with me completely! I may not be here to see it, but it sure makes me sad to think of that possibility!
December 29, 2023. Dear and Beloved Mark ... Thank you for this ‘rant’ as you called it!! I am genuinely nudged to share my story. Ordained in 1980s, my two years in Unity Village in seminary training remains an endeared and treasured time to explore bible teachings, metaphysics, spirituality as compared to religion. My answer to people as to what Unity means is that Unity (teachings) gave me back my dignity as a child of God rather than accepting I was nothing but a worm of the dust, a non-deserving child of God. The high point of my life came two days after my Mom’s death. Which I want to explain!!
Mom died [about 10 years ago]. It was quite hot at the time and a couple days before the funeral home called the family in for her final arrangements. Mother was 98.8 years old; I had cared for her for over 5 year prior to her move to a nursing home, which I regret having to do to this day, actually!! Anyway on the 35-40 mile trip home my tires were sounding odd, so I stopped to get that checked out. A friend, formerly a Navy pilot, now Fed-X pilot, had called to check on me—and, hearing of my concerns said, “Do not let that store change out those tires unless they are Really bad. You can drive to Costco in Germantown, right?“ Yes, I think??” ’Then do it. I’ll meet you there, be there by the time you can get there!”
Arriving first, I parked as close to the tire dept as I could, walking to the shade of the Costco portico, watching every vehicle pulling in for my church-friend. Totally engrossed in trying to make sure he saw me, Mom was not on my mind. Five minutes passed, hands covering my eyes, instantly, I heard her voice—HER VOICE in my left ear!! She said my name! I levitated, I had to, because I also instantly KNEW she was dead but it was her voice?? She then said how delighted she was to find that what I taught about God and life was much closer to truth than what she and my Dad had taught. That was it.
At first I thought I must be making this up?? But no, it was the furtherest thing from my mind!! Later I winced thinking about how all the hours she had sit in her rocker bemind me as I did computer work, wondering if I was doomed to hell, never going to make it to heaven—or not. And how much she suffered because of my choice, not to share with her what pushed me out of the family tribe of Free Will Bapt and Southern Baptist folk. Mom and Dad read every newsletter I ever published, but it was her baby brother, Gerald, who loved them. Loved that Unity teachiings never judge, always respecting each reader’s indwelling Light to make clear the way of truth. My choice to do Unity ministry was totally affirmed by my cherished Mom that day-- a gift I treasure for all time.
Yes— there are so many variables in the fundamentalist/traditional/cultural mores of Christianity that don’t add up i.e.,do not make logical sense. I read and studied from the time I was 8 or 9 yrs old. Unity finally gave me peace but I wore teachers out with my 'why' questions. I am thankful for you and this work!!! I wish I could have saved the world, yes! I thought I could; then I thought maybe 50,000, five years later, 5000, and finally I got it: the only person I was responsible to save was me! It’s comforting to know that no one but no one is ever lost— how can any part of God ever be lost.
December 29, 2023. Dear Hicks, I do appreciate your effort in sending Filmore's message across [to Ghana]. You were not selfish the moment you had such a wonderful teachings of the word. I am also touched by the message, and I pray that the Spirit will guide and strengthen me to join hands with you to carry the message along in my own small way. May God help us all.
December 29, 2023. Outstanding!!! I am eternally grateful for TruthUnity and especially for you!! Happy New Year!! May Joy, Peace and Love be your experience!!
December 30, 2023. Hi Mark, I am a Unity Minister ordained in 1990 and became a Licensed Unity Teacher in 1982. In 2008, I left active Unity ministry in 2008 to pursue extensive theological education at [well known seminaries] I studied with some of the world’s most renown theologians and Bible scholars. None of the contextual theologies I studied confronted my Unity understanding—on the contrary, it was confirmed.
I returned to active Unity ministry in 2020 and was saddened by what Unity had become. I thank you for speaking out. I would love to connect with you at some point.
December 30, 2023. Mark, Once again, THANK YOU for sharing your journey. My sense is many of us share a similar journey and know from our own experience the Unity message is as valid today, if not more so, than ever.
December 31, 2023. Dear Reverend Mark, Thank you for taking the time to share your "big picture" of how you support the true teachings of Jesus. Your meticulous research and then the sharing of the Fillmore/Unity teachings will surely make the world a better place. I know your sharing has made my world a better place. "Let it begin with me!" Blessings for a prosperous new year.
January 1, 2024. Thanks so much for your experience and how much this vision needs to get access into the Churches. I'm thankful for the insight in this email about why the teachings of unity attracts Christians at large, it's very true especially in Africa and we are doing our possible best to get into the Churches by setting up community study groups going forward. Hopefully the message of the Gospel will be made clear through the Fillmore teachings at the TRUTH UNITY site. Blessings and a happy New Year
January 1, 2024. I just wanted you to know. Although I’m still a recent ordained unity minister. And although I don’t serve a unity church but run my own spiritual center- that I appreciate you. All the years and time and work you’ve poured into Truth Unity. It’s ministers and people and the people at large. And your passion to take the stand you are taking with the go forward or go away. And while who knows how this whole thing will end-when even former classmates of mine stand on different sides of the issue-your truth will never go away. I may see things differently than many and in fact got poor marks in a class for my Interp of this very parable. The parable of the sower. But the way it speaks to me reminds me greatly of you. I’ve never really envisioned it the way it was expressed to me growing up-being about the seed. Or the word. But rather about the sower. To me he’s central. He just sewed truth. No matter where the seeds fell and how they grew or didn’t based on the soil. He kept sewing. He knew his task. He knew his truth. And he never strayed. In fact, I envision him eternally sewing and reseeding ever since I encountered the first plant of truth that bloomed in the garden of his soul. All that to say-I hope you keep on keeping on. Much admiration
January 2, 2024. I live in Sweden. Yesterday I found your webpage and I must say that it seems to be a veritable goldmine. Now, I don't know anything about Unity Church and I do not belong to any church at all. But for two decades I have this intense longing for Christ and been searching a lot amongst esoteric and metaphysical systems. Still carry this persistent feeling of anguish related to these topics. My only wish has been to find the heart of christianity, the truth beneath all controversies and conflicts. I thought it should be relatively easy, but the opposite have been my experience. I feel most drawn to more obscure groups like the essenes, the alexandrian church fathers, the cathars, the medieval mystics and somewhat to the esoteric christianity in Europe since the renaissance.
January 3, 2024. I love what you are doing and truly appreciate another voice out there sharing this perspective.
Replies to: Whose Unity is it, anyway?
January 4, 2024. [Edited for brevity] I believe you already know everything I am sharing with you. I just want you to know I'm with you on this journey and always ready to assist with research if you ever find that helpful. You have everything you need.
You are no doubt well aware that Charles Fillmore used the pen name of Leo Virgo, reflecting his birth date on the cusp, so the early publications wouldn't seem to be so entirely composed by the Editor, who must have been working into the wee hours regularly. A long-time worker at Silent Unity noted the similarity in writings by CF and Leo Virgo and the leadership at that time simply would not discuss it. Anyway, CF wrote explicitly about the Church of Christ in this tract from the early 1900's what appears to be a powerful defense of the Unity movement and other New Thought communities that were not sanctioned by Mrs. Eddy's organization.
Yet, when that treatise was later published as a chapter of Talks on Truth, direct criticisms of Mrs. Eddy's organization had been edited out. By the thirties, the familiar non confrontive approach of Unity was established, whereby direct criticisms of other organizations were generally omitted (except in a number of incidents where CF offered criticisms of historical Judaism in ways that could seem antisemitic today, but have been echoed by mainstream Christianity - both then and now).
The bottom line here seems to be the radical Idealism expressed by both Cofounders and by Dr. Cady, deferring to the guidance of the Holy Spirit, the Christ, in every individual. Certainly, we affirm that view, yet it can be unfairly used to allow for all kinds of teachings that the Fillmores expressly did not endorse, including past life regression and channeled materials and other New Age issues.
It is always risky to read the work of the Founders "on the flat," without reference to cultural and philosophical context in which various statements were published by Unity, which continues to transform over time. The difficulty of apt interpretation is magnified by the fact that Unity's editing was done from "behind the curtain," without democratic mediation or any accompanying commentary. It was for that reason that the famous frontispiece on the early Lessons in Truth was absent in later editions. The initial Unity Statement of Faith was taken out of publication by Unity School/AUC without commentary in 1984. The trend continues to this day, so that every time there is a theological disagreement among Unity teachers, there is no established route for meaningful consideration and results tend to be decided by those with the means and interest in speaking for the movement.
One challenge of referring to the tract above is that CF also uses this opportunity to carry forth the teaching of Regeneration, which, though essential to his doctrine, is rarely taught by Unity leaders today. For instance, the section on "All the Way" in Keep a True Lent refers to the demonstration of Jesus Christ as "a kind of blood transfusion to a dying race." Regeneration as Unity's answer to salvation is not only seen as contradictory to mainstream Christian doctrine, but it also seems to mystify current Unity leaders so that it is generally avoided. Then, as in other areas requiring greater consideration, we hear that convenient quote from CF about "reserving the right to change his mind." There is work to be done.
The current branding is popular enough, but leaves out a meaningful explanation of the Jesus/Christ/Jesus Christ/Christ Jesus issue or the importance of allegorical interpretation of scripture in general, which could put Unity in contradiction to the Evangelical approach. We have to face it - Unity appeared as unique, radical Idealism. It's its own thing.
This "crossroads" with divergent views of Unity in our movement could lead to a split, but the way it's gone in my years of ministry has been to side with the HQ. I remain an advocate of a theologically considered and democratically mediated statement of faith, but that takes intense work. The Founders didn't have to do that - they embodied "the Unity way" and were not seriously challenged. CF had left the Village and Unity School awhile before his transition and no one attempted to recover his precious personal library from Cora. It would have been helpful to have read what he read and his own side notes, which Cora had. I have been told by people who know that Cora had carefully annotated all of The Revealing Word, but those footnotes were not preserved by the publishers. So, that's gone. Now, the work that you are doing with TruthUnity is the finest and most accessible index of our foundational teachings.
It has been my opinion for several decades that mainstream religion is not a threat to Unity; New Age can pose an organizational threat that could potentially water down the real Unity as we have known it. Well, there's work to be done, my Friend. We do not want dogma; we want doctrine and only spiritual inspiration and democratic principles and process can assure ongoing identity, authenticity, and integrity. With you in Truth,
January 4, 2024. Dear Mark, this is the first time I have read something about the “State of Unity” as a CHRISTIAN religious movement that just “Nails” what the difference is between UWM and Unit World HQ!
I have an additional thought about what’s happened to/at Unity World HQ… To me the slow morphing into what today is Unity World HQ started with the demise of people in the chairs taking calls for prayer. I was one such person while my wife spent 3 yrs getting her MDiv and ordination. That was a sacred space and time in the life’s of those that worked AT Silent Unity. I think more centered prayer too.
Now it is farmed out to people working remotely and is SO “vanilla” as far as I am concerned. THAT move, ending people ON STAFF, IN the chairs, at Silent Unity was the start of the demise of UW HQ.They lost their purpose. Darn sad
January 4, 2024. You are so right Mark! You hit the nail on the head when you said they're more interested in being attractive to a variety of people instead of being true and faithful to the Fillmore's original root beliefs!
As I once brought out before way over 20 years ago the older people who were deists in the UU Church told me they left it because as early as the 1960s they explained they were pushed out by the humanist movement. Now some 20 years later after they told me this The UU Church forbids people to even use the word God in their churches!
I think we need to take this story seriously! And realize if we don't do something or are unable to Unity Church may very well go the same direction that The UU did! At this point mark I sincerely think that us traditional practical Christianity Unity Church individuals dedicated and loyal to the Fillmore's original beliefs should indeed break off and start our own authentic branch separate from what remains of unity and these headquarters.
January 4, 2024. Mark, I just read the newest controversy below, and once again, I am stymied. I am a retired Unity minister who now goes to a Unitarian Universalist church because the they are so diverse and inclusive and because they are so active with social justice issues. Once more, it seems that Unity doesn't know who or what it is. Perhaps its original intention to educate people so they could function with greater understanding in their own churches was the best idea after all.
January 4, 2024. Hello again Mark! I really appreciate your clarity of thought on issues such as these.
Our church is at a point where over the next few months we will be spending time clarifying our mission and vision, so this is very timely.
We are in a place where some of us want to stick to spiritual principles and others want to move into social action and politics, similar to what UWM has done over the last several years. And as you stated in your article here, every church is different! What works in the Northeast might not work in Texas. And our target audience here might be much more focused on questioning Chritians who are transitioning away from their childhood churches, but are still very much Christians and "know how to do church"!
Thank you for all you are doing to encourage people to think about what Unity really has to offer and not be swayed by fads of the time or desperate attempts to stay relevant.
January 4, 2024. Amen Mark! Thank you for always speaking your Truth!
January 4, 2024. How about no net at all, Mark? Did not somewhere it says, Christ died [in my mind, lived] for all? While yes, somehow Truth has gotten muddied, in an attempt to attract all (if we truly stood in faith, we wouldn't need to attract anyone), I am grateful for voices like yours, illuminating truth.
And yet, I have been with unities since 1989, and, especially in these last 15-20 years, I have felt this net becoming more and more restrictive, almost codifying Unity into a more-for lack of a better word-catholic religion. This happens usually within 100 years after enlighten beings lived, as history shows.
Who cares if we are Christian or not. Jesus Christ never brought this up, and I think the Fillmores only occassionally alluded to this. Didn't they even say something like, we don't care what tradition you follow, we just want you to be better at it?
Perhaps the simplest path is to just tune in, love God with all our might, love each other as we love ourselves. Then trust God to weave this all together... blessings....
January 4, 2024. Good Morning Mark, I love your article that was in my box this morning! I believe how a Unity Center identifies is a matter of the demographics in the community a center is in. For instance, if we were to identify as a "Christian" church here in [my town] we would be closing our doors very quickly. We identify as a Unity Spiritual Center, which honors, recognizes and teaches using scriptures from many sources. Of course our main source is the teachings of Jesus from the Unity perspective. One year ago our average attendance was 50 people on a Sunday. Today we are well over a hundred and will be opening our fist satellite campus in a few months.
On the other hand, if I were still in [my former town], the church would be a New Thought Christian Church. And I believe that would be more palatable there than a Spiritual Center.
January 4, 2024. I am so glad that I received your emails. I identify as a Christian and I am not afraid to say so. I have been trying to find out what UNITY stands for in the last few years. I honestly believe we are getting too far away from the Fillmores basic message. I and another Unity Minister will be on this call. I love you and I will be sending a donation. Keep up your informative work. I would also like to know how I can receive one of your bibles. My Ministry is an Outreach Ministry. I send out a lot of Unity Literature. Blessings.
January 4, 2024. Hi Mark, I just wanted to take this opportunity to say Thank You for all that you are doing to keep the true spirit of and the foundational principles of Unity alive! When I found Unity 40 years ago in my early twenties, I know it was what kept me alive. It has enhanced and helped me grow my Christian faith. I pray that we will move forward and always remember what the Fillmores gave us-a deeper spiritual understanding of the Christian faith. Many Blessings,
January 4, 2024. When religion becomes a political organization it’s time say bye.
January 5, 2024. I’ve appreciated you keeping us updated about this ongoing dynamic within Unity to stop identifying as Christian. It’s a disappointing development....one that afflicted the Unitarians after the merger with the Universalists and one that has also crept into liberal Quakerism as well. It seems that it could be something that occurs when people lose touch with the foundational teachings of the movement and forget the reason for the movement in the first place. Soon the Unitarian Universalists, the liberal Quakers, and perhaps even Unity could all merge together and barely even notice.
I'm drawn to Unity as the Unity School of Practical Christianity and the work you've been doing with the Metaphysical understanding and application of the Scriptures. It results in bringing both comfort and discomfort (challenge) to my life. Helping me to learn and grow. Helping me see where I need metanoia in order to live a more Christ-like life. Thank you. I appreciate your dedication and work very much Mark!
There is no Unity church in Philadelphia or even near Philadelphia so I participate in a small, traditional Christian Quaker Meeting outside of Philly and with a larger group online. Traditional Christian Quakers are estimated to be <1% of modern Quakers and shrinking. The vast majority of us were drawn to the movement as adults. There is a constant pressure to "de-Christianize".
What will the standard be when Christ is fully removed? Maybe the Christian remnants of Unity, Unitarianism (the biblical Unitarians), and Quakerism (the Conservative Friends-conservative meaning living according the traditional Christian teachings of the early Friends) need to form at least a loose affiliation? I don't know....
January 5, 2024. Thanks Mark, Based on that ridiculously flawed "survey" result we just received from a whopping 176 respondents, we need more voices like yours, defending the founders vision-"a continuation in the educational movement started by Jesus." Respondents said 4 to one they preferred "Universal Spirituality" over "Christianity" But Jesus' message is universally spiritual. His message is inclusive, diverse, empowering, loving and peaceful.
It's obvious that the majority is being frightened by a word - Christian and all the baggage that comes with that word.
Jesus never declared himself THE Christ. So according to Fillmore, we do not practice Christianity, we practice Jesuism. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jesuism) It corresponds exactly to Fillmore's desire for Unity. Christianity is in fact a poor representation of who Unity is. Maybe there's a third choice we've overlooked. Not New THought, not Christian - We can be Jesists. We can practice Jesuism - the pure message of Jesus.
January 5, 2024. Dear Mark, Thank you so much for the reflections you have shared regarding our Unity movement lately. I find your writing offers clarity and perspective which is important right now. Your latest post, "Whose Unity is it anyway" is particularly insightful. Thank you.
I got this today in my Richard Rohr Daily Meditation and share it with you for two reasons. The first is this idea to use our faith to take us to places that seem impossible. This idea, I think, has been at the core of Fillmore's teaching and foundation of Unity. Maybe that is the spirit we can embrace.
The second idea is the vision of renewal that is mentioned by the prophet Wovoka. Maybe, it is time for a Unity renewal, which of course implies a death and rebirth.
I am meditating on both of these.
January 5, 2024. Happy New Year Mark! I was not already aware that the Unity movement is going through the very challenges your emails have cited, excepting that some Unity communities seem to feel that being a “Church” is more limiting than being a “Center.”
Please know I will be dedicating time each week for prayerful support of Christian Metaphysics, which is the foundation of the Fillmore’s work, as well as MBE’s Key to the Scriptures portion of the CS textbook.
What is happening to a most dear and precious Unity movement in our human experience is a mesmeric attack on the Christ Mind and its Truth students who wisely know from experience the difference between a psychological healing via shift in thinking and a spiritual healing due to unity with the presence of God, the Principle of Good, which results in the renewing of one’s mind, a oneness with the Christ Mind.
Being grounded in Christian Metaphysics this difference is known by experience and an integrity which accompanies it that we can respect and embrace the world’s religions and wisdom traditions while remaining grounded in the inspired word of the Bible, knowing and demonstrating the Christ as the Master Metaphysician and Way-Shower in our daily lives, and having no reservations whatsoever in collectively being an ongoing part of the Body of Christ and in naming and promoting our local communities as “churches.”
Should you encourage prayer on various topics throughout this year, I will be honored to join you and the TruthUnity community in this ongoing endeavor.
January 5, 2024. Mark, As always your clarifying and simplifying of the current mix up within our movement, I find brilliant. I am going to know that those who read this come to the Monday meeting with a greater understanding of the two organizations and the difference in their presentation of Unity to the world.
I'm grateful for you and your passion for Unity, it's teachings, and it's founders. Blessings and let me know when you plan another retreat. Happy and Prosperous New Year!
January 6, 2024. I must say, the content you have been sending out on what is going on with UWM and UWH has been very insightful and very helpful. It will be interesting listening to the town hall.
January 6, 2024. Hi Mark, Perhaps we are on opposite sides on this issue but discussion is always valuable! I have a suggestion that may give you an even newer perspective of Christianity as it is being practiced today, rather than how it was understood by the Jewish listeners of the first century. The book is: Biblical Literalism, A Gentile Heresy By Bishop John Shelby Spong I have found it highly enlightening, challenging and brilliant. For me, it speaks a language of truth that could lead Unity to be a leader in what I call Evolutionary Thought, a Step Beyond New Thought. It is a view I feel C Fillmore would wholly embrace if he were here today.
Clinging to the past is a club, not a live, evolving movement. I think you will love the in-sites that are found in Shelby Spong’s books. He wrote 24 of them. The first book was written after 5 years of research and mirrors a lot of my own research. Probably why I resonate so much with it.
[reply in email thread] My main point was that Unity appears to me to want to move backwards rather than forward in our thinking. Further in my view we could benefit in using some of Spong’s thinking when we speak and teach what Christianity is and has been about. This is certainly not what we learn in Unity’s Seminar studies!! My overall view is that there are a lot of paths to truth and Christianity understood and taught from what is known today can be very compelling, But I do think that a universal understanding of truth from various sources is important and something which may lead to the growth of this organization which we now currently do not seem to have! I agree with you that one size doesnt usually work very well!
January 6, 2024. Dear Rev Mark, I got your email via a Unity friend in California and I must say, I have been wondering the same thing about what the heck was going on with Unity coming out of Kansas City since I don't think Charles and Myrtle Fillmore would like it at all!
When I first stepped foot into the Unity Church of Santa Cruz in 1983, then [served several churches in various capacities], I have always held the belief that, as inclusive and as diverse as Unity is, it is absolutely a Christian Church. I've even had debates with fundamental Christian friends who think Unity Church is some kind of cult like Scientology! It has always amazed me that people can get so confused about who they are, at base, when it comes to religion.
So, when I started picking up on some disturbing changes about ten years ago, I guess I just decided to ignore them. But, we really can't just sweep everything under the rug. Yes, life is all about change and I guess we have Constantine and Luther to thank for many of them, but I would hope that you and Truth Unity.net's voice will reach the hallowed halls of Unity Village, sooner, rather than later. Hopeful for the coming of the Light,
January 6, 2024. Hi Mark, My 2 vents worth. I think UWM, contrary to its name Unity Worldwide Ministries, has really not served its worldwide ministries. It is totally American centered. I say this as a Canadian minister. Whose Unity is it, anyway? Because the emphasis of the teaching programs shifted almost decade by decade probably in the past 60 years, Unity means different things to different ministers.
I personally am a Fillmorian as those are the teachings that helped change my life. Usually any service I do includes Jesus, Bible, and Fillmore. It is not that i exclude anything else because Truth is found in many places. Many times I lean toward Myrtle Fillmore as I am of the opinion that she was the one who inspired the Unity movement. Charles followed along a bit later and he was the promoter, simply put.
In my opinion there are too many people teaching feel good, fuzzy warm stuff-and especially when we have people talking who aren't even ministers. Is it possible that Unity has to stripped down to bare bones to be rebuilt? I know that we have ministers who do not even believe what the Fillmore's taught. Should they be going their own way and leaving Unity so that Unity can really be Unity? I am of the opinion that this would not be a bad idea.
I did my first Zoom service on New Year's Eve and I invited about a dozen people to attend. I put it up on YouTube and sent out a notice to a few more non-Unity people on my mailing list. It surprises me that this many people have watched it. To me it shows that there is a thirst for this knowledge if the "politics" is stripped away. I think that like most organizations which age and need to maintain funding become too political and we have definitely reached that stage.
Sunday, January 7, 2024