Search This Blog

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Take Back Christmas

I have decided to start my own “Take Back Christmas” campaign not because I am opposed to the commercialism of the holiday or that I believe, as some would assert, that “Jesus is the only reason for the season,” or because I subscribe to the notion that there is a “war on Christmas” in our country. I want to “Take Back Christmas” because I believe there is great value for us in discovering the deep truths in the traditional Christmas story. Understood as a metaphor for our own spiritual journey, the familiar traditional Christmas story can provide great insight into our own journeys toward giving birth to the Christ in our conscious awareness.

Charles Fillmore, the cofounder of Unity, taught that all people, places, animals and inanimate objects in every Bible story, when approached from a metaphysical perspective, represent aspects of each of us. The Christmas story, also known as the nativity of Jesus, is no exception.  Jesus, Mary, Joseph, the shepherd, wise men, angels, sheep, and the star all signify aspects of what occurs in our consciousness as we progress along our path to conscious acceptance of the Christ within and living from the consciousness of unity.

I encourage us to “Take Back Christmas” even if, and especially if you have previously given up on the story because you question the extant story’s historical accuracy; or because you no longer believe in the hardcore tradition that Jesus is the one and only son of God sent to save us from our sins; or even if you no longer consider conventional Christianity your spiritual path. I invite us to “Take Back Christmas” this year and reclaim the story as a glorious depiction of our story, yours and mine.
Beginning this Sunday and continuing through each Sunday in Advent, I will be introducing aspects of the Christmas story in my lessons during our 10:00 a.m. service. Our Youth and Family Ministry will also be acquainting our children and teens to the metaphysical understanding of the Christmas story. This Sunday, we will meet Joseph, and explore the aspects of ourselves he embodies. We will also consider how understanding Joseph from a metaphysical perspective, along with the qualities he embodies and the qualities he displays, can assist us as we make the commitment to the Christ within.

I invite you to join us and bring your children. Together, we can come together to “Take Back Christmas” and understand its original intent and meaning for ourselves and for our children.

Thursday, November 20, 2014


This morning during my meditation time, I asked the Christ within to speak to me of gratitude. I suddenly began singing Peter Mayer’s song “Holy Now.” (links below) I have loved the brilliant message of this song since the first time I heard it. It speaks to the awareness that everything is, in Peter’s words “a miracle” and holy. The message for me this morning is that everything in our lives is a gift from God. In other words, if we choose to allow it, everything without exception can help facilitate our awakening to the realization of ourselves as holy expressions of God. Further, if we are willing to look and truly see, we can – and will – see God in and as all.

Brother David Steindl-Rast, a Catholic Benedictine monk and founder of, posits that gratitude has two aspects: gratefulness and thanksgiving. He speaks of gratefulness as the realization of God expressing. Rather than using ‘gratefulness’ in its traditional spelling and associated connotation, he instead uses ‘great-full-ness’ to designate the feeling one experiences at the moment of conscious awareness of God. In an article entitled, “Are You Thankful or Are You Grateful” he says, “In a moment of gratefulness…You fully accept the whole of this given universe, as you are fully one with the whole.”  To use Peter Mayer’s words, it is the recognition and experience in the moment that everything is holy and you are fully whole.

The second aspect of gratitude according to Bro. David is ‘thanksgiving’ which is the outer expression of the feeling of ‘grate-full-ness’. When I consider giving thanks as an expression of ‘grate-full-ness’ it takes on an expanded dimension. It becomes a statement of recognition of the God in and as all. Moreover, it is a conscious expression of appreciation for the contribution the other has made to my awakening to that realization. Theologian, philosopher and mystic, Meister Eckhart once said, “If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is ‘Thank You’ it will be enough.” ‘Thank You’ as an expression of ‘grate-full-ness’ is more than a thoughtful response; it is a simple yet profound statement of God in me reflecting appreciation to God in another.

As we begin our celebration of the Thanksgiving season, I encourage us to embrace this new understanding of gratitude. Let us set aside time and allow space for silent reflection. It is good to be thankful for the people and the material demonstrations in our lives, and I invite us to go further in our gratitude and connect with the gifts of God that each of them is. Welcome the awareness of how everything and everyone contribute, in some way, to your awakening. Experience ‘grate-full-ness’ and express it through thoughts, words and actions this year. Choose to see that all of life is a “miracle’ and everything is holy.

“Holy Now” by Peter Mayer

Listen  |  Lyrics

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Radical Hospitality

In my post last week I referenced “Mind the Gap”, a phrase that originated in the London Underground to remind passengers to be aware of the space between the train door and the landing platform. Bestselling author, BrenĂ© Brown, Ph.D., in her book, Daring Greatly, suggests that we adopt this phrase as a way to remind ourselves to be mindful of the gaps that sometimes develop between our aspired values, the values we hold dear and strive to live from, and our practiced values, the ways we are actually showing up in the world. These gaps present themselves for us individually, as well as in our businesses and our spiritual communities.

My assumption is that if asked the question, “Are we a loving and welcoming church?” that most church members would answer an unequivocal ‘Yes!’  The churches I have been a part of, whether as a member or minister, have expressed an intention to be open, inviting and inclusive. Without exception, each of those ministries believed that they were exceptional at fulfilling those intentions. Because those who are reflecting upon the question are members who are involved in the church, the answer seems apparent. They, after all, are the ones who are the recipients of the love and inclusion. However, for some churches, the answer of whether they are welcoming and inclusive may not be quite so obvious to one who is visiting for the first time.

Pastor of Saddleback Church and author Rick Warren, in his book, A Purpose Driven Church, points out that a loving church is not always a welcoming and inclusive church. He says that if all the love is directed toward those who are already a part of the community, the ministry is at risk of becoming a closed circle that newcomers are unable to break into. We could benefit from “Minding the Gap” as we welcome and include our guests.

It is important for us to reflect honestly and to seek feedback from others as we assess the potential gap. This is certainly not intended to be a tool for self-criticism, rather it is an invitation to see ourselves through the perspective of one who is unfamiliar with our facilities, programs, staff and operations. We have all had the experience of being new to a group, whether in school, a new job, or a new church, so we know that it can be a bit scary. One who is venturing into a church for the first time is often doing so with some trepidation. They are allowing themselves to be vulnerable because they are seeking to meet a need, such as connection, inspiration, or community to name a few. As members of the church, we are afforded the privilege to do our best to meet those needs and help them feel safe, welcome, loved and included.

While we want to take care not to overwhelm a guest with solicitous attention, we want to foster a consciousness of “radical hospitality.” Just as we would take care to welcome guest into our homes, we take equal, if not greater care, to ensure that they are welcome in our spiritual home. We greet everyone with courteous enthusiasm. We introduce them to other members of our family. We invite them to share a meal with us. We treat them as honored members of our community. As William Butler Yeats once said, “There are no strangers here; only friends you haven’t met yet.”

Join us on Sunday at 10:00 AM at Unity Church of Denver as we explore further what it means to come together with the intention to co-create a culture of “radical hospitality” and experience for yourself the transforming power of feeling loved, being included and knowing that you are truly welcome here.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Minding the Gap

In her bestselling book, Daring Greatly, author, professor, and lecturer Brené Brown, Ph.D. discusses the idea of "Minding the Gap." She explains that the phrase, "Mind the Gap," first appeared on signs in the London Underground to remind passengers to be aware of the gap between the train door and the station platform. She uses this phrase as a reminder for us to be aware of the gap between our aspired values and our practiced values. In other words, to be mindful of whether or not we are "walking the talk."

I greatly appreciate the importance of "Minding the Gap" and I believe it is the first step toward "Mending the Gap."

For most of us, there is often a gap between who we aspire to be and how we actually show up in the world. In order to "Mind the Gap" we must make a conscious effort to remain aware of whether the actions we take and the words we speak are in integrity with the values we hold. When we find that they are not, when we discover there is a gap, we can make choices that more fully express our values. For example, we may say that we value personal connection, but find that we are often unavailable for our family and friends because we are too busy with work or other obligations. If we are mindful of the gap, we can choose to set aside time in our schedules to have connecting conversations and meaningful exchanges with the people in our lives. In that way, we give attention to "Mending the Gap."

The gaps also appear in our spiritual communities, often in ways that we are not consciously aware of. For example, we may value inclusion and hospitality, but we don't have adequate programs in place to welcome guests and provide opportunities for them to be included in the activities of the church. We may embrace the importance of service to others, yet find that we are not fulfilling our intention to serve those outside our community. Once we become mindful of the gaps, we can make choices about how we want to mend them. We may decide to adopt a more intentional process for welcoming and including our guests. We may also explore and engage in other opportunities for service to the greater community.

"Minding the Gap" requires us to be clear about our values and, in community, the culture we intend to create together. It also demands our honest assessment of the gaps that exist and our vulnerability to admit where we fall short. "Mending the Gap" may necessitate measuring the extent of the divergence, assessing the means for bridging the gap, gaining the needed tools, and implementing strategies to achieve integrity.

As we "Mind the Gap" we maintain conscious awareness of our values and intentions, and we are able to determine if we are "walking the talk." When we find that we are not, we can take the necessary steps to "Mend the Gap" so that our aspired values become our practiced values.

Dr. Brown shares in her book that her family has a framed "Mind the Gap" postcard in their home to prompt them to be mindful of the space between where they now stand and where they intend to be as respects their values. I am going to create at least two for myself, one for home and one for my office, as a constant reminder of my intention to live from my highest values, to be aware of when I am not, and to take steps to "Mend the Gap." I would also enjoy it if we at Unity Church of Denver adopted this as a mantra, a way to help us remain consistently aware of our stated mission and core values and the possible gaps that can develop between them and our actions.

I invite you to join me in the commitment to "Minding the Gap" and in taking the necessary action, when needed, toward "Mending the Gap."