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Unity Church?

Posted on 01/10/2008 9:32:29 AM PST by stentorian conservative


Does anyone know what this “Unity Church” (Spiritual Living? Science Church?) is all about? My best friend, who also happens to be my Dad, has decided that this “church” is the best thing since white bread. At first I gave him a very bland, “that’s good” response. But after reading their Statement of Faith, I am, well, shocked.

Our Statement Of Faith

The Science of Mind is a correlation of the laws of science, the opinions of philosophy, the revelation of religion applied to human need and the aspirations of humankind.

Okay, as if that didn’t have my head spinning enough, this sure did:

Global Heart Statement
We see a world free of homelessness, violence, war, hunger, separation and disenfranchisement. We see a world in which there is generous and continuous sharing of heart and resources; a world in which forgiveness, whether for errors, injustices, or debts, is the norm; a world in which borders are irrelevant; a world which has renewed its emphasis on beauty, nature and love through a resurgence of creativity, art, and aesthetics; a world in which fellowship prospers and connects through the guidance of spiritual wisdom and experience; a world in which we live and grow as One Human Family.

(I pulled this from the “church’s web site.)

Part of me wants to just pray about it. And I have. But I also want to call him and ask him if he has lost his ever-lovin’ mind. This isn’t just about going to a cult meeting and calling it “church.” It’s about the very foundation of what our entire Family believes in. We’re from SW Texas and Borders are a hot button issue. My husband is active duty heading back to Iraq and so naturally WOT is huge for us ( as it should be for every American.) Abortion, 2nd amendment, on and on. The impact is enormous for a relationship which has at it’s core always had agreement on both Political and Social fronts. Not to mention a little thing called SALVATION! Aside from a token liberal Aunt, the whole family have been on the same page. Maybe I’ve just been spoiled.

So what is this “Church” about anyway? And can a sixty year old have a “passing-fancing” like a teen? I am so lost!

TOPICS: Ecumenism; Prayer; Religion & Culture; Theology
KEYWORDS: cult; mysticism; religiousscience; unitychurch
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1 posted on 01/10/2008 9:32:30 AM PST by stentorian conservative
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To: stentorian conservative

It’s a joke.

2 posted on 01/10/2008 9:34:49 AM PST by DungeonMaster (WELL I SPEAK LOUD, AND I CARRY A BIGGER STICK, AND I USE IT TOO!)
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To: stentorian conservative

Yes, to the passing fancy.
I just wonder how a “church” can call themselves when the is no “god’.

3 posted on 01/10/2008 9:36:39 AM PST by svcw (There is no plan B.)
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To: stentorian conservative

Definitely not Christ-centered. Tell your dad to stay away.

4 posted on 01/10/2008 9:37:46 AM PST by Joann37
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To: stentorian conservative

Please! Please! Start watching your Dad’s pocket book!

5 posted on 01/10/2008 9:40:14 AM PST by Red_Devil 232 (VietVet - USMC All Ready On The Right? All Ready On The Left? All Ready On The Firing Line!)
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To: stentorian conservative

There are a variety of Unity Churchs across the country. They are very “holistic” but probably more traditional than the Unitarians.

The largest group, headquartered for generations is just south east of Kansas City at Unity Village.

I remember my grandmother got a lot of peace from their publication “The Daily Word.”

I have met a good number of decent folk with that affiliation over the years, although, it isn’t my cup of wine.

6 posted on 01/10/2008 9:42:48 AM PST by KC Burke (Men of intemperate minds can never be free...their passions forge their fetters.)
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To: stentorian conservative

It’s a new-agey church that appropriates a degree of Christian terminology while denying all the primary Christian doctrines and concepts. Falls somewhere between Unitarianism and Christian Science.

7 posted on 01/10/2008 9:43:55 AM PST by william clark (DH4WH08 - Ecclesiastes 10:2)
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To: stentorian conservative
Are these the "Universalists"?

I went to one with my wife (she was going to a craft fair) in Concord, of the cradles of liberty.

While she was browsing around, I was looking at the literature and the posters on the wall, and there was one thing I saw that really jumped out and made me gulp...

"...every person should be able to determine for themselves what is right and what is wrong..."

Now, I believe in allowing people to reach their own conclusions about things, but there was something both in the statement and the context that I found disturbing. The individual gets to decide right from wrong, not society. To any independent thinker, that sounds fine. I consider myself a fairly independent thinker, but to me, that statement reeks of the Rousseauian crap that liberalism springs from.

8 posted on 01/10/2008 9:44:03 AM PST by rlmorel (Liberals: If the Truth would help them, they would use it.)
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To: Red_Devil 232

Really? Do elaborate, please.

9 posted on 01/10/2008 9:44:29 AM PST by stentorian conservative ("I don't have to hire a consultant to develop a conservative image, I am a conservative." -D Hunter)
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To: Joann37

I am scared to say anything for fear of making him defensive and pushing him further into the fold.

10 posted on 01/10/2008 9:46:56 AM PST by stentorian conservative ("I don't have to hire a consultant to develop a conservative image, I am a conservative." -D Hunter)
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To: rlmorel
". . . that liberalism springs from."

And that is the slippery slope that I fear most.
11 posted on 01/10/2008 9:56:31 AM PST by stentorian conservative ("I don't have to hire a consultant to develop a conservative image, I am a conservative." -D Hunter)
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To: stentorian conservative

The church you are talking about is probably affiliated with the Church of Religious Science. These churches and other New Thought churches have been around for 100 years. They really don’t have anything much to do with traditional Christianity or biblical doctrines.

Unity Church operating out of Unity Village is a different group. They are very New Age though they’ve been around for a long time.

12 posted on 01/10/2008 9:58:10 AM PST by Gingersnap
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To: stentorian conservative

>> I am scared to say anything for fear of making him defensive and pushing him further into the fold. <<

If they’re not a cult, your fears are largely groundless. If they are a cult, I’d think it’s better to bring the crisis on sooner rather than later.

13 posted on 01/10/2008 10:18:34 AM PST by dangus
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To: stentorian conservative

From the little information you provide, it does sound like this Wikipedia article on Unity churches is applicable:
(Summation: It ain’t a cult, but it ain’t orthodox Christian.)

Unity, also known officially as Unity School of Christianity and informally as Unity Church, is a school of thought founded upon holistic Christian principles. Informed by a wide range of spiritual, metaphysical and philosophical ideas, the principal essence of Unity’s teachings is that God is the only power, and is all that is both seen and unseen.

Focusing on what it calls “positive, practical Christianity”, the Bible is Unity’s basic textbook. Its ministerial coursework and sermons extend beyond that to explore the common mystical core of the six great religions that have shaped major civilizations: Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism and Taoism, to find within each of them “an inner or esoteric stream of teachings that is strikingly similar.” [1]

The largest of a group of denominations that have been labeled for over 100 years as New Thought, Unity was founded by Charles Fillmore (1854-1948) and Myrtle Fillmore (1845-1931) in 1889 in Kansas City, Missouri, in the United States. It is headquartered in Unity Village, Missouri.

Unity is not associated with Unitarianism or Unitarian Universalism.

* 1 Basic teachings
* 2 Overview of Unity
* 3 Principal activities
* 4 History
* 5 Unity symbol: Wings
* 6 The “Complaint-Free” movement
* 7 See also
* 8 References
* 9 External links

[edit] Basic teachings

The five basic ideas that make up the Unity belief system are: [2]

1. God is the source and creator of all. There is no other enduring power. God is good and present everywhere.
2. We are spiritual beings, created in God’s image. The spirit of God lives within each person; therefore, all people are inherently good.
3. We create our life experiences through our way of thinking.
4. There is power in affirmative prayer, which we believe increases our connection to God.
5. Knowledge of these spiritual principles is not enough. We must live them.

[edit] Overview of Unity

Unity espouses ‘practical Christianity’ in which its followers study ways to apply the teachings of Jesus to their daily lives. Through these teachings, Unity followers believe that God is a universal presence and divinity exists in all people.

Unity interprets the Bible and other major scriptures metaphysically. Unity students believe that the teachings of the Bible are allegorical lessons from which spiritual and metaphysical truths are obtained. For example, the twelve disciples each symbolize one of twelve spiritual powers that man possesses. Unity endorses the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible and recommends against the New International Version as advancing a literal, Fundamentalist point of view, but does not expressly forbid its use.

Unity’s approach to affirmative prayer remains consistent with the Biblical interpretations that are expressed in Charles Fillmore’s book Teach Us to Pray:

“Paul said, “Pray without ceasing.” Do not supplicate and beg God to give you what you need, but realize, affirm, and absolutely know that your supreme mind is functioning right now in God-Mind itself and that your thought substance and the spiritual substance of the Most High are amalgamated and blended into one perfect whole that is now being made manifest in the very thing you are asking for.”[3]

As thinking is believed to affect our reality, positive thinking is another important tenet in Unity. “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours” (Mark 11:22-24) is interpreted to mean that what one believes is what one receives, and that if one holds a belief that is not what one wants, one is, in effect, praying for what one does not want.

Meditation also plays a significant role in New Thought. Followers of Unity rely on both prayer and meditation as vehicles for communicating with God and becoming spiritually centered.

Along with its churches and groups, Unity publishes a monthly magazine, Daily Word, the oldest continually published daily inspirational magazine in the United States. Unity has operated a prayer ministry called Silent Unity which has been in operation for more than 100 years. Silent Unity maintains a 24-hour-a-day prayer vigil, with staff available at all times to accept prayer requests by phone, fax, letter, e-mail or via the Unity website. Consistent with the core beliefs of Unity, the magazine and prayer ministry are available to people of all faiths; Unity considers itself to have both denominational aspects and non-denominational aspects, and believes that all people pray to the one God.

Unity also distinguishes itself from the more traditional churches in its basic approach to sacraments. Elaborate rites and symbols are absent from Unity churches. Communion, baptism and other rituals are relatively sparse with more emphasis placed on the spiritual over the symbolic (i.e. water in baptism). Unity sometimes uses rose petals or sacred oils for baptism, instead of water.

Fundamentalist critics of Unity, such as Probe Ministries, claim that Unity’s belief in reincarnation makes it anti-Christian; however, there is no mention of reincarnation in the pamphlet “What Unity Teaches.” The concept was endorsed by Fillmore, as well as by such Unity writers as Ernest C. Wilson and James Dillet Freeman (who argue that there is textual implication that Jesus was aware of, but did not discourage, belief in the concept), but it is not and has never been a basic teaching of Unity, and certainly not a “tenet” as Probe claims, as Unity does not subscribe to creeds.

[edit] Principal activities

The following are the current principal activities of Unity:

1. Unity (main website) link
2. Silent Unity (24-hour worldwide prayer ministry for people of all faiths) link
3. Unity House (publishing arm) link
4. Daily Word link
5. Unity Magazine link
6. Unity Institute (education) link
7. Unity churches (locator for individual churches headed by unity®-trained ministers) link

[edit] History

Unity’s beginnings date to its founding by the Fillmores, who were much focused on personal healing. Charles Fillmore, a real estate salesman, and his schoolteacher wife Myrtle were living in Kansas City, Missouri when she faced tuberculosis. Myrtle Fillmore studied spiritual healing in 1886. She attended lectures by Dr. E.B. Weeks, a student of Christian Science.

By 1888, her health improved as she began to pray with positive affirmation for her health - “I am a child of God, and therefore I do not inherit sickness.” Charles Fillmore was affected by Myrtle’s newfound philosophy when his leg, withered from a childhood ice skating accident, grew stronger. He joined his wife on a mission to spread a message of teaching practical Christianity. Charles, having previously studied world philosophies, began researching the connection between religion and science.

Their first endeavor was publishing Modern Thought magazine (currently published under the name Unity) in 1889. They created the Society of Silent Help in the following year. This group prayed for those who requested it. This is widely considered the birth of the ‘Unity movement.’ Charles officially adopted the name Unity in 1891, renaming their society the Society of Silent Unity.

Dr. Harriett Emilie Cady, a former homeopathist wrote Unity’s first and seminal text, Lessons in Truth in 1894. Her writing became a cornerstone of Unity’s teachings.[4]

Although the Fillmores never intended for their Unity to become a denomination, the Unity Society of Practical Christianity was organized in Kansas City in 1903. The church is now known simply as Unity.

Eleven years later, the Fillmores started two separate components to organize their functions. Unity School of Christianity handled publishing and teaching. The Unity Society of Practical Christianity took over church responsibilities. The Unity headquarters in downtown Kansas City gradually expanded into a church, publishing company and popular vegetarian restaurant.

Sensing the need for more land, Charles Fillmore purchased 58 acres (235,000 m²) of land in Jackson County, Missouri. In 1919, Fillmore developed Unity Farm for Unity’s eventual new center.

Unity Church debuted ‘Daily Word’ magazine in 1924 under the name ‘Unity Daily Word’ with Frank Whitney as its first editor. This magazine printed daily inspirational messages in each monthly issue.

While their movement grew, the Fillmores saw their teachings being used in unauthorized ways. To prevent further compromise of their message, they created the Unity Annual Conference. This organization of Unity ministers and spiritual leaders were responsible for guiding the Unity message and supervising the churches. In keeping with this edict the Fillmores withdrew from International New Thought Alliance in (1922) on the grounds some of New Thought organizations and denominations who belonged to the INTA , did not accept the primacy of Jesus as Master Teacher. [5]

Myrtle Fillmore died in 1931 and Charles Fillmore retired as minister of the Unity Church in 1933. Charles continued his work in travels and lectures.

In 1947, Unity School moved to its new headquarters at its Unity Farm site between Lee’s Summit, Missouri and Kansas City Missouri. Beginning as a locally renowned produce farm, the site expanded and incorporated as Unity Village, Missouri in 1953. Today, the campus is 1400 acres (5.7 km²) and is open to the public.[6]

Although Charles Fillmore died in 1948, his son Lowell assumed leadership of Unity and continued his parents’ work. Over the years, Unity School of Christianity hosted spiritual retreats, organized continuing education programs and expanded Unity’s message to other countries. In 1966, the Association of Unity Churches was formed to support Unity ministers and churches.

Celebrities affiliated with Unity include Betty White, Eleanor Powell, Wally Amos, Licensed Unity Teacher Ruth Warrick, Barbara Billingsley, Matt Hoverman, Patricia Neal,[7] Holmes Osborne,[8] Esther Williams.

Today, Unity School’s mission continues at the Unity Institute at Unity Village. The Association of Unity Churches, located in Lee’s Summit, Missouri, oversees the denominational aspects of over 900 member churches. Youth of Unity’s conferences and rallies gather together teenagers of the movement from all over the world.

There are over 900 churches and study groups. Unity claims to have over two million followers in 15 countries.

[edit] Unity symbol: Wings

The Unity wings symbol, the winged globe, appears in many Unity publications. It has been re-created in many variations, from older pen and ink drawings, to wood carvings, stained glass, and modernized drawings. Charles Fillmore, co-founder of Unity, explained the symbolism of the winged globe this way:

It is an ancient Egyptian symbol, but it is found in various forms in the religions of other races. It represents the relation existing between Spirit, soul, and body. Soul gives wings to body. Spirit is the enveloping principle, like the atmosphere in which both soul and body exist, and from which they draw their original inspiration.

The winged globe is also a symbol of the earth and its soul. The earth has soul, as have its products of every description. All exist in the ether, the anima mundi, the divine mother. When people of the earth lift up their thoughts to God, and the Animus Dei or directive Spirit, then the planet takes wings into a higher radiation of universal life.

As man develops spiritual consciousness, he attains the realization of the soul as the wings of the body. Back of the Soul is Spirit, which quickens and energizes the soul; that is, gives the soul wings. Artists paint their angels with wings representing in this way their freedom from physical fetters. But the soul does not have wings like a bird. The life activity of the soul is quickened by Spirit until it rises above the thought of matter and floats free in the ether of the fourth dimension, which Jesus called the kingdom of the heavens.

~ Charles Fillmore, from the Unity publication “Good Business,” April 1956.

[edit] The “Complaint-Free” movement

One movement growing out of Unity is the “Complaint-Free” movement. The idea was first conceived in the book The Four Spiritual Laws of Prosperity by Edwene Gaines and put forth into action by Christ Church Unity of Kansas City, MO. The basic idea is to go 21 days without complaining to encourage shifting one’s outlook onto the positive. This movement began with a front page article that ran in the Kansas City Star and was then published in newspapers around the nation, including: Desert News, Salt Lake City (UT), Houston Chronicle (TX), Bradenton Herald (FL), Hartford Courant (CT), The Vindicator (Youngstown, OH), News Sentinel (Ft Wayne, IN), Marysville Appeal-Democrat (CA), Ventura County Star (CA), and the Belleville News-Democrat (IL). Participants in the “Complaint-Free” movement wear purple bracelets that say “spirit,” and shift them from one wrist to the other when and if they catch themselves complaining. Reverend Will Bowen, the leading proponent of the “Complaint-Free” Movement, appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show in 2007. Over 5.5 million purple bracelets have been distributed to people that were so-inspired by this idea.

[edit] See also

* Daily Word
* Logos
* New Thought Movement
* Panentheism
* Emma Curtis Hopkins

14 posted on 01/10/2008 10:21:42 AM PST by dangus
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To: stentorian conservative
Just a question, and you do not have to respond; is your mother still in the picture?

Is it possible he is lonely and this church just reached out to him?

If you are in a very close relationship with him you might try to find out if he is giving a lot more to this church than would be a normal Sunday donation.

15 posted on 01/10/2008 10:34:35 AM PST by Red_Devil 232 (VietVet - USMC All Ready On The Right? All Ready On The Left? All Ready On The Firing Line!)
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To: dangus

Thanks for the info. I am definitely going to talk to him soon but only after I have all my info at the ready. Which means I have my work cut out for me. I haven’t read the word metaphysical so many times in all my life put together!

16 posted on 01/10/2008 10:37:38 AM PST by stentorian conservative ("I don't have to hire a consultant to develop a conservative image, I am a conservative." -D Hunter)
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To: dangus
Well here it was tucked neatly away on their site. It's all about the Oneness. Now, what constitutes a cult and would this apply? There seems to be a pretty staunch veneration to "self."

We believe in God, the Living Spirit Almighty; one indestructible, absolute, and self existent Cause. This One manifests Itself in and through all creation but is not absorbed by Its creation. The manifest universe is the body of God; it is the logical and necessary outcome of the infinite self-knowingness of God.

We believe in the incarnation of the Spirit in everyone and that all people are incarnations of the One Spirit.

We believe in the eternality, the immortality, and the continuity of the individual soul, forever and ever expanding. We believe that heaven is within us and that we experience it to the degree that we become conscious of it.

We believe the ultimate goal of life to be a complete emancipation from all discord of every nature, and that this goal is sure to be attained by all.

We believe in the unity of all life, and that the highest God and the innermost God is one God.

We believe that God is personal to all who feel this in dwelling Presence.

We believe in the direct revelation of Truth through the intuitive and spiritual nature of the individual, and that any person may become a revealer of Truth who lives in close contact with the indwelling God.

We believe that the Universal Spirit, which is God, operates through a Universal Mind, which is the Law of God; and that we are surrounded by the Creative Mind which receives the direct impress of our thought and acts upon it.

We believe in the healing of the sick through the Power of this Mind.

We believe in the control of conditions through the Power of this Mind.

We believe in the eternal Goodness, the eternal Loving-kindness, and the eternal Givingness of Life to all.

We believe in our own soul, our own spirit, and our own destiny; for we understand that the life of all is God.

by Dr. Ernest Holmes, founder of Religious Science

17 posted on 01/10/2008 10:57:19 AM PST by stentorian conservative ("I don't have to hire a consultant to develop a conservative image, I am a conservative." -D Hunter)
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To: stentorian conservative

Unity has been described as church for folks who don’t like religion.

Folks I know who went to one tended to like it because it was a good pickup place, and there weren’t any traditional moral standards, so they didn’t have to feel guilty.

18 posted on 01/10/2008 2:44:42 PM PST by PAR35
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To: rlmorel
"...every person should be able to determine for themselves what is right and what is wrong..."

Except of course, for those people that WE have decided to label "intolerant".

19 posted on 01/10/2008 7:50:45 PM PST by TradicalRC (Let's make immigration Safe, Legal and Rare.)
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To: TradicalRC; rlmorel
"...every person should be able to determine for themselves what is right and what is wrong..."

OK, I determine for myself that it is wrong that "every person should be able to determine for themselves what is right and what is wrong." That settles that. :)

20 posted on 01/10/2008 11:32:18 PM PST by Zero Sum (Liberalism: The damage ends up being a thousand times the benefit! (apologies to Rabbi Benny Lau))
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