Words From Minister & Peers
Unity Church of Truth
Celebrates its 106th year of Service in Toronto!
What is Unity? How is Unity different from Religious Science, Science of Mind and other Religious bodies?
If asked the following question: “What is the difference between Unity and SOM or Religious Science or any other religious organization?” one would be wise to focus the answer entirely on what Unity is, rather than making direct comparisons with other belief systems, as they are not our areas of expertise.
A primary dictionary definition of the word “Unity” is “Oneness”, and our Unity name refers to the experience of “Oneness with God”.
The term Unity has nothing to do with changing the world, group transformation, building churches, or, any involvement in politics or social issues.
On a practical level, Unity began out of Myrtle’s (Fillmore co-founder of Unity) experience with Oneness that resulted in her healing which was at the time considered impossible. Unity is about learning and understanding how the seemingly impossible binds no one to any terminal condition, circumstance or state.
The Fillmores focused so much on Jesus because he was a prime example of Oneness and the seemingly miraculous.
The Fillmores recognized that the experience of “Oneness with God” is attainable by any individual who will align themselves mentally, emotionally and physically with our Divine Source – God. Each person must take the steps in his/her mind, heart, behaviour and world that will enable him/her to open up inside to a state of Oneness and the free flow of Spirit to do Its work.
The Fillmore’s main method involved a process that they and others labelled “The Silence”. This process and many of these methods were described so simply and clearly in Emilie Cady’s writings that the Fillmores asked Cady if they could publish her material as Unity’s first published book named “Lessons In Truth which Doug has been writing about frequently and emphasizing its continuing importance in Unity.
This book “Lessons in Truth” articulated the foundation principles upon which Unity conducted all of its work including Silent Unity and all later book publishing during the years that Charles and Myrtle were active.
Cady’s entire book describes the essential elements necessary to achieve Oneness with God. Prayer, relaxation, meditation, affirmation and denial are among many of these components necessary to experience Oneness.
The Unity movement thrived because these methods worked in people’s lives inwardly and outwardly.
If you get down to the root of Oneness with God anyone can find his/her way with, or, without the help of an organization or system; however, anyone who achieves Oneness will use the methods described above in one form or another. Any teaching at any point in time that recognizes this state of Oneness endeavors to help their students attain the It. Some organized group are more effective. Unity has a long history of effective outcomes. Success is shown by results. Jesus said “Wisdom stands or falls by her results”. Matthew 11:19
By: The Reverend James Sherman
People believe they’re awake and conscious because they’re busy doing things in their daily lives. They sincerely believe that they have a life and that they are fully engaged in it. But most are doing little more than going through the motions. Outside of paying the bills and securing a pension, they are just moving along the same path: they think the same things, say the same things, believe the same things and do the same things. They do so even if they have habits of smiling and acting cheerful, while boredom, frustration, despair and fear lie just beneath the surface.
“Awakening” is sometimes used to describe the experience of seeing yourself in a new light, realizing that “you” have been living in a deep, deep sleep. The terms sleeping and awakening are apt, easy-to-relate-to metaphors.
Think of a time when you were woken up, but you were not ready to wake up. Do you remember wanting to pull the covers over your head and go back to sleep? Do you remember thinking or saying, “I want to sleep, I’m not ready to get up”? When your soul begins to awaken, part of you thinks or says, “Please turn out the light, I’m not ready to get up.”
Once your soul awakes, you’ve begun your journey. You begin to seek understanding. You recognize wisdom. You discover books and ideas that were of no interest to you when you were fast asleep. You soon realize that the new life you desire requires self-change. The grip of old habits needs loosening.
To renounce is to disclaim and to say “no” to habits of thought and feeling that result in unnecessary suffering. Gossip, resentment and jealousy make us suffer Needlessly. Excessive criticism, toward others or self, produces suffering. Do you have any patterns of behaviour that need to be released? Habits of sarcasm and pessimism generate misery. Are you ready to renounce them?
Personal house-cleaning is important spiritual work. Say “no” to misery-making outlooks, attitudes and actions. You are on your spiritual journey. It’s time to toss out the things that weigh you down.
New Age/New Thought: What’s the Difference?
By: Rev. J Douglas Bottorff – Independent Unity
People often ask about the difference between New Age and New Thought teachings. An understanding of the paradigm of oneness makes this a relatively easy question to answer. New Thought teachings are based on the paradigm of oneness, New Age teachings are based on the paradigm of separation. There are no exceptions to this statement.
An important key to understanding the essence of the paradigm of oneness is its absolute acceptance of the truth that there are no natural barriers between the individual and God. Any barriers that seem to exist are perceptual only and, therefore, can be eliminated by the individual. Jesus’ references to the birds of the air, the lilies of the fields, and the invitation to become as a child are reflections of the idea that seeing and experiencing the kingdom of God involved only a perceptual shift that anyone can achieve. Because he obviously embraced the paradigm of oneness, his approach to enlightenment had more to do with letting go than with learning new information. I love the rendition of this issue found in the Gospel of Thomas:
His disciples said to him, “When will the kingdom come?” Jesus said, “It will not come by waiting for it. It will not be a matter of saying, ‘Here it is’ or ‘There it is.’ Rather, the Kingdom of the Father is spread out upon the earth, and men do not see it.’” (saying 113)
The disciples were asking the classic New Age question and Jesus gave them a New Thought answer. He was explaining that the kingdom of God was present. No time needed to elapse for its appearance. There are no natural barriers that stand between the observer and that ultimate beauty one conceives as this kingdom. It is right before us, but people do not see it. This was true in Jesus’ day and it is just as true in ours. Times change, but the Truth does not.
In contrast, the paradigm of separation always places something between God and the individual. This can be a person, an object, or a body of teachings. Traditional Christianity, for example, places Jesus and the Bible between God and the individual. And though many traditional Christians would shudder at the thought, their apocalyptic expectations, the hoped-for intervention of God in the affairs of humanity, and the expectation of a second coming of Jesus are all based on the paradigm of separation and bear the characteristics common to current New Age philosophy.
From a newer New Age perspective, Helen Schuman, author of A Course in Miracles, inserted the course between God and the individual right from the git-go:
“This is a course in miracles. It is a required course. Only the time you take it is voluntary. Free will does not mean that you can establish the curriculum. It means only that you can elect what you want to take at a given time.”
In other words, you have to take this course to reach illumination. Ester Hicks, and people like her, present a paradigm of separation in a purely New Age format. She places herself, money, and a counsel of disembodied spirits between God and the seeker. The 2012 Mayan calendar people, like the followers of Spiral Dynamics, are classic new age, seeing humanity’s spiritual answers directly attached to the unfolding of linear time, a concept derived out of the paradigm of separation. Contrary to its name, the Oneness Movement is a clear example of this insertion, putting money and their specially trained “distributors of enlightenment” between God and the individual. Oddly, the futurist places the present between God and the individual. The futurist, by their very nature, cannot find God in the present. Their business depends on a future they will obviously never reach, which assures job security. Crystals also fall into this category. Their advocates claim they somehow magnify or concentrate a power that is already omnipresent, fully magnified and fully concentrated in the individual. Tarot, astrology, psychic phenomena, psychic healing, angelology, UFOology and any other practice that requires a medium, an alien, bigfoot, a specialist, a device, or text of any kind is based on a paradigm of separation and can, therefore, be safely classified as New Age. These days, when a Unity minister says they must consult their board to give you an answer of some sort, you might ask for clarification. They might be talking Ouija Board.
Any teaching that says some day in the future humanity will be closer to God than we are now is New Age, paradigm of separation. Again, there are no natural barriers between the individual and God. Not time. Not spiritual ignorance. Not a lack of health, wealth, the absence of the perfect guru, the new book. Nothing.
The paradigm of oneness recognizes that God will never behave any differently than God is behaving right now. There will be no intervention because there has never been an absence of God. A second coming will be no more successful in establishing a new hoped for kingdom on earth than the first coming.
In terms of achieving spiritual illumination from the perspective of the paradigm of oneness, there is only one teaching that is required. This instruction has, with slight variations in wording, been given by every teacher advocating the paradigm of oneness. Jesus gave it in this way:
But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you” (Matthew 6:6).
The “room” of course is that inner point of contact. Shutting the door is letting go of the distractions of the senses. Praying to the Father who is in secret is turning the attention to the living Source welling up within your being. As you cultivate this awareness, the outer life begins to reflect the pure qualities that well up from this inner spring of life. Guidance, health, prosperity, harmony, peace, and all that we consider good is already present. Charles Fillmore certainly recognized this.
“By meditation and by innate logic of mind, which is really a process of cleaning the windows of mind so that we continually see a little more clearly, we have become conscious of our unity with the great source of almightiness, and have learned that through this unity we may be led into the light here and now.”
Embracing the paradigm of oneness begins with this assumption, which is why this prayer method of Jesus will produce the desired result of full illumination. This simple practice is, in fact, the only practice that will produce genuine illumination. Anyone who tells you differently has probably never had a spiritual experience, has adopted the belief that a spiritual experience requires years of concentrated labor, or is trying to sell you something.
It is the individual’s short attention span, not the absence of God, that makes the exploiters of our spiritual communities rich. The exploitation of the Unity platform has been a source of personal financial gain for many. Having a clear understanding of the paradigm they are selling will save you from the unnecessary crash of a false and misdirected hope.
History of African Americans in Unity
by: Rev. Ruth M. Mosley Hall Burden
(reference to our Rev. James Sherman)
“Rev. Mosley remembered that Rev. Jim Sherman, a board member of the Association of Unity Churches, liked her program very much. She called and went to see him in Canada. Together with Rev. Ed Rabel, Rev. Mosley and Rev. Sherman spent the day discussing her program and the construction of her proposal. Upon returning to Detroit, she followed the guidance of Holy Spirit and designed the program. She clarified what she meant about “educating black people in Unity.” More
History of Kitchener – Unity and reference to our minister Rev. James Sherman
“Under the tutelage of Unity minister James Sherman, we reevaluated our position and applied to become a Unity church. At that time, there were 116 people on the group’s mailing list. The Association of Unity churches approved our bylaws July 24th, 1977. Ronel Sinstead left to attend ministerial school at Unity School of Practical Christianity at Unity Village Missouri on the outskirts of Kansas City. Our Steering committee hired Unity ministers John and Jo Harris August 28th, 1977. Sponsored by Rev. Sherman and Unity Centre of Truth, Toronto, the group known as Unity Centre of Practical Christianity became an official Unity study group on December 15, 1977.”
The Shootings in Las Vegas
A congregant grief stricken, due to the loss and destruction in Las Vegas and in the world, wrote to me of her sadness and ways that she was working with her grief. In her email, she acknowledged people who touched her heart with their goodness. Heather writes: “It’s been really heart warming seeing the generous responses from people donating money and blood and hearing about the quick-thinking concert goers who helped strangers including the fellow who used his truck to ram the fences so people could run out faster.”
My response: “I felt the exact same way!!! Very heart warming.
Seeing the photos, videos and graphic details for some people makes them almost part of the reality of being there themselves and they too experience the trauma when they imagine what it is like for the people involved. So, limiting how much to watch/see is important when you are a sensitive person.
That being said, having sympathy, compassion and feeling sorrow for the hardships and/or loss that others experience allows us to be generous and supportive of those injured like the folks you are admiring in your statement above. It allows them to come from a place within themselves of strength and love. However, empathy is when we put ourselves in another person’s shoes and if we get stuck there and do not move into compassion and sympathy we too are hurting as though we are the victim.
Hope this helps.
God loves you and always is with you as your Source.
A minister and good friend J Douglas Bottorff was asked to answer 3 questions in a Sunday talk regarding the shooting in Las Vegas that we are sharing with you.
Doug writes: A very respected friend asked if I would speak Sunday about the Las Vegas shooting. She wanted me to address three questions: Why does it happen? When will it end? How can I rise above it? I’d like to address these questions here.
Q: Why does it happen?
A: There are a lot of very messed up people on this planet. We like to think that most see the world as we do, that we make mistakes, and we try to correct them. We may have a flawed, even painful history that we work to correct. We’re probably right in thinking that most people are trying to do the same. But most is not all, and it only takes one deranged individual to grab the headlines by committing mass homicide. How many deranged individuals are there in the world? All the numbers and statistics generated by the professionals probably don’t include that person next door that actually ends up pulling that trigger.
Q: When will it end?
A: It won’t. Since the beginning of recorded history, human beings have committed senseless atrocities against other human beings. These things happen and our leaders stand up and declare we must pass laws that guarantee such things will never happen again. Yet, even after all of these countless declarations, we’ve just witnessed the worst mass shooting in recent American history.
Tim McVeigh, in his Oklahoma City bombing, killed 168 innocent people with a fertilizer-based bomb, simply because he hated the U.S. government. If we can appease every beef that every individual has with whoever affected them at some strange point in their life, then we may be able to end the human-on-human atrocities. Personally, I don’t see this happening any time soon.
Q: How can I rise above it?
A: A truly empathetic person will never rise above the shock or the pain of loss that this kind of situation generates. We all think: What if my kid was there? We can’t imagine a concert, intended for pure entertainment, turning into a struggle for survival. We can’t imagine the shock families and friends must experience when they’re given the horrible news that a loved one has just been killed by some self-loathing guy with a death wish. How do you rise above it? You don’t. And you shouldn’t even try. At least not now.
We’ll all put this in perspective. We’ll get on with our lives. And … we’ll all meet that moment when we step from this body. The death of the body is not an end. I don’t think any one of us will condemn the means by which we leave our body. We’ll all be grateful for the adventures we had on this planet. But, relatively speaking, none of us will be here all that long. We won’t stop the killers. But the killers will never stop us.