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Thursday, January 29, 2015

Resistance is Futile

I am continuing with my series based on the book, Discover the Power Within You, by Unity minister, Eric Butterworth, and the lesson this week is “Resistance is Futile.” Mr. Butterworth asserts that in Matthew 5:29-49, a segment of what is widely known as “The Sermon on the Mount,” Jesus was instructing his listeners in “The Law of Nonresistance,” and that practicing nonresistance helps us to not only discover, but also to release the “Power Within.”

Mr. Butterworth posits that often the things and people we resist have the potential to be catalysts for our greatest accomplishments, and that when we push against them or run away from them, we can miss an opportunity for spiritual growth and personal discovery. He suggests that resistance is futile: It cannot produce any desired result. He proposes that rather than fighting against or running from, that we accept “what is” and do our best to allow that which we are resisting to help us “discover the power within.” He cites Jesus’ teaching from Matthew 5:29-32 as evidence.

Further, Mr. Butterworth proclaims that the passage from Matthew 5: 38-42, quoted below, is in his words, “one of the most profound messages of the entire Bible. It sets forth with unmistakable clarity the law of nonresistance.”

“You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, do not resist an evildoer. But if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also; and if anyone wants to sue you and take your coat, give your cloak as well; and if anyone forces you to go one mile, go also the second mile. Give to everyone who begs from you, and do not refuse anyone who wants to borrow from you.
The traditional interpretation of this passage, usually literal, suggests that we are to ignore those who would do us harm, not fight against those who would take from us, and give to anyone who asks. While many others were calling for violent reaction, in his efforts to promote social change in the civil rights movement, Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. used this Scripture to validate his commitment to nonviolence and nonresistance in response to frequent and often vehement attacks against African Americans. Dr. King was a friend and student of Mahatmas Gandhi who also employed these practices in his efforts for equality in India. Their commitment to these practices is honored annually with The Gandhi King Season for Nonviolence (SNV), a campaign sponsored by the Association for Global New Thought ( SNV, now in its 18th year, begins on January 30 and ends on April 4, marking the dates of the assassinations of Gandhi and King. The purpose of the campaign is to focus attention, through education and media, on the philosophy of attaining peace through nonviolent action as demonstrated by legendary leaders Gandhi and King.  Other leaders living by this example would also include Cesar E. Chavez, President Nelson Mandela, as well as living legends such as His Holiness, Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet, to name a few.
While in complete support of loving responsive action, Mr. Butterworth gives less consideration to action and instead approaches the teaching from a metaphysical perspective. He stresses that this Scripture, as well as all of Jesus’ teachings, were more about consciousness than action. Contemplate that important concept and then consider that Mr. Butterworth says Jesus was teaching us to be aware of our state of consciousness in response to the actions of others, and to do our best to turn from our conditioned human response, often emotions based in fear which stimulate resistance, and to respond, instead, from our spiritual nature. In effect, he is saying that our conditioned human response can often create resistance to the flow of God, or the Life Principle, through us. When we are consciously aware of that, we can choose to release the resistance and become the conduits for God that we are intended to be. Again, to do otherwise will never deliver the outcome we desire, thus resistance is futile.

It is comparable to electrical resistance. “The electrical resistance of an electrical conductor is the opposition to the passage of an electric current through that conductor. The inverse quantity is electrical conductance, the ease with which an electric current passes” (  Similarly, we are here to be the conductors of the “Power Within Us” that is God. When we are in resistance, due to resentment, fear, anger, or any similar reactive emotion, we are not allowing the free flow of that Power. The more open we are, the greater our capacity to be the conductors and release that Power.

I invite you to join us at 10:00 a.m. on Sunday as we explore further the concept of nonresistance and how its practice can assist us as we discover and release the Power within us. Remember, resistance is futile.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Coming Home

On Sunday, I will continue with my series of lessons based on Eric Butterworth’s book, Discover the Power Within You. In the fourth chapter of the book, entitled “Jesus’ Unique Concept of God,” Mr. Butterworth explains that the story of the prodigal son from the Gospel according to Luke is a metaphor for our own process of remembering our Divine Nature and reclaiming the “Power Within.” In this article I will expound on his interpretation so that we can more clearly see ourselves in each of the main characters in the prodigal son story.

The master teacher Jesus often taught using parables, short allegorical stories intended to illustrate a spiritual truth. In Luke 15:11-32 Jesus tells the story of a son who after receiving his inheritance from his father, left home to go in search of adventure. When he had used all he had been given in pursuit of worldly pleasure and possessions, then destitute, he returned to his father asking for forgiveness, thinking that his father might at least give him a position as a servant in his household. His father, rather than chastising him or punishing him, instead welcomed him home with open arms, celebrated his return, and shared all that he had with him. This did not sit well with the older brother who chose to stay at home and had continued working with his father the entire time his brother had been away. He felt angry because he had never been celebrated by his father in spite of his dedication and hard work. The father assured the older son that everything was his as well, and encouraged him to celebrate the homecoming of his brother who was lost but now returned.

As I recall, in the Baptist tradition, this story was used to illustrate God’s love for all his children, even for those who go astray, provided that they return, confess their “sins” and repent. It is, as are many parables in the religious tradition of my youth, used as a morality tale to teach right from wrong and invoke “good” behavior based on the fear of judgment and punishment.

Unity co-founder, Charles Fillmore, taught that the Bible is the story of the evolution of human consciousness and that each character in every story in the Bible represents an aspect of each of us. Interpreting these stories metaphysically helps us to understand these aspects of our own consciousness and assists us in working with them for our own conscious spiritual evolution.

In the Metaphysical Bible Dictionary, Mr. Fillmore’s interpretation of the story of the prodigal son says that the two sons represent the “departments of the soul.” The older son who stayed at home with his father is the “religious or moral nature,” and the younger son who squandered his inheritance is the “human in which there are appetites and passions.” He seems to imply that the older son is the virtuous one, while the younger son by going in to a “far country” separated himself from the father who represents the Source. In his metaphysical interpretation Fillmore, too, seems to present the story as a morality tale.

I wholeheartedly admire and respect Mr. Fillmore and am grateful for his enlightened and inspired discernment. I would also like to offer a slightly different metaphysical interpretation, one that does not infer that one of the sons is righteous and the other wayward. I see this story, not as a morality tale, but as a story of Self-realization. Rather than the sons being two aspects of the “soul,” they instead represent two aspects of the mind; the mind of humanity that is founded on misconceived beliefs derived from a perspective of separation. Such a mind is constantly seeking its identity in some aspect of the world of form, rather than knowing itself as Source, the “Father” in the story. The younger son represents the aspect of mind that attempts to identify itself through seeking sensual pleasure, worldly possessions and adventures, while the older son represents the aspect of mind that seeks its identity in status, pleasing others and doing what is considered “right” in order to be admired, appreciated and valued. Both aspects of mind serve only to further a false sense of separation.

Luke 15:17-18 says, “When [the younger son] came to himself” (Lamsa), he decided to rise and go to his father. When he came to his ‘SELF’ he had a realization of his truth. While not expounded upon in the story, I believe his realization was the culmination of his own process of self-awareness and Self-discovery. As Mr. Butterworth says in his book, like the flowering of a bud, it is a process; one that each of us must go through. This realization of truth is demonstrated in the story by his decision to return to his father. It is further demonstrated by his father’s embrace and the showering of abundance. When we understand that all of this occurs, not in the physical, but in consciousness, we see that as we awaken from the dream of separation, we recognize that, in truth, we have never been and can never be apart from the Allness of God expressing as us. As in the metaphorical story of the prodigal son, we “come home” to the kingdom of God consciousness, represented by the “Father.” The “Father” is the “Power Within Us” which is the One Source of all that we could ever truly desire. It abides here and now and is ours as we open to accept and receive it. Likewise, the older brother was also “embraced by the father,” not because of his outer expressions of dedication and obedience, which were his attempts to prove himself worthy of what was already his, but because of his openness and willingness to accept that he already possessed all that he had been seeking. He did not have to “do” anything as is often taught in traditional religions. And, while we are not told how the elder son responded to his father’s invitation, I like to vision that he openly and lovingly accepted what was already his. I enjoy believing that he too accepted the kingdom of God consciousness as his truth. For everyone, in this acceptance of the Kingdom of God as our abiding and sustaining reality, the seeking ends: We realize that all we have been seeking is already ours as that we have been seeking with. We realize as Jesus said, “the Father and I are one.”

The story of the prodigal son is not a morality tale, nor is it a story of the power of confession, repentance and forgiveness. It is the story of awakening to the truth. Each of us is, has ever been, and will forever be - abiding in the Father’s house, the kingdom of God consciousness, the Garden of Eden, Heaven. It is already ours, by whatever name we choose to call it. It is up to us, and only we can decide, to stop seeking it and open ourselves to the realization of it. When we do so, we, as did the prodigal son, awaken to our true Selves, arise in consciousness and realize “home.”

I hope you will join us on Sunday at 10:00 as we explore this idea further and Discover the Power Within You.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Discover the Power Within You

On Wednesday, Phyllis Hoover and I began facilitating a six-week class based on the book, Discover the Power Within You, by Unity minister and author Eric Butterworth. On Sunday, I will begin a six-week series of lessons on the book as well. I hope you will join us as together we discover the nature of the power within us and how we can release that power to create the lives we desire.

My exploration of this class began with the title, Discover the Power Within You. What do we mean when we say that the ‘power’ or the Kingdom of God is “within” us? What is the Kingdom of God?  What do we mean by “within?”  Eric Butterworth helps to answer these questions in this book. He says that the Kingdom of God is not a place in space, thus “it is not somewhere to go, but something to be.” He further states that the Kingdom of God is the full potentiality of spirit which is expressed in each of us. This could be more clearly and directly stated as the potentiality of spirit expressed as each of us. The Kingdom of God within is not located within a particular point in space and time, but is that essence of life that is constantly evolving and expanding in expression. French author, Voltaire, is quoted as saying, “God [the Kingdom of God and the power within] is a circle whose center is everywhere and whose circumference is nowhere.” It is that expanding and evolving, omnipresent, omnipotent, omniscient life that is the power within.

In chapter 18, page 224 of the book, Butterworth relates the story of when the disciples asked Jesus, “When will the kingdom come?” to which Jesus replied “When the without shall become as the within.” What Jesus was saying is that when we realize the power within and express the full potential of that power, then the external, or the world, will reflect that full potential. As Butterworth states, “Life is growth and unfoldment, and life is lived from inside out.” In other words, using Unity terminology, when we fully embrace and embody the Christ, the full potential of humanity, then we will bring forth the Kingdom of God upon the earth. We will usher in, as is envisioned in the book of Revelation, the reign of peace on the Earth. 

Butterworth says, “Jesus’ message of the Kingdom is the message of wholeness.” Wholeness is a concept that can also be described as perfection, completion, containing all, or not broken or damaged. All of these concepts represent what Jesus teaches is the spiritual Truth of each of us. In our natural state of being, we are complete, unbroken, and perfect: we are whole, thus in our natural state we embody the Kingdom of God. Because we are whole, we can also say that the Kingdom of God is within us, as us. When wholeness is fully realized within our conscious awareness, which we can describe as being “within,” we will demonstrate that state of consciousness in the physical realm. This is the foundational teaching of Unity. The Kingdom of God realized is the perfection of God made manifest in all aspects of our lives, including the body, self-expression, finances, and relationships. We access the Kingdom of God, or the power within, by entering the Silence through prayer and meditation. In the Silence, realization of Oneness is actualized, and in this state of conscious realization the Kingdom of God consciousness is activated. Through the power of intention and the expression of our thoughts and words, the power within is demonstrated in our lives. It was this realization, actualization and activation that facilitated Myrtle Fillmore’s healing, and the healing of countless others.

“The Power with” is the fullness of God expressing as me. It is not contained within my body, or even within my mind. It cannot truly be contained “within” anything. It is the power in which I “live and move and have my being.” (Acts 17:28)  I can best comprehend it when I think of it as the power within which I am. I like to think of the Truth of me, the ‘I Am,’ as the idea of full potential that exists in the mind and the heart of God, which I also interpret as the Kingdom of God. I Am within the Kingdom of God, and the Kingdom of God is within me.  It makes perfect sense when I realize that, in Truth, all that is real is the Kingdom of God, so all that is real must exist within it, and all that is real must embody only that Truth. As I embrace that as my spiritual Truth, and keep my mind stayed on that Truth, I am at peace.  When I am at peace, I think thoughts of peace. When I think thoughts of peace, I express Love.  When I express Love, I experience joy. When I experience joy, I bring forth the Kingdom of God on the Earth. 

It matters less to me whether I can clearly express my mental understanding of the Kingdom of God or the power within, and more whether I can know the Truth of that power within me.  It is in knowing the Truth that I am free. I invite you to join me in affirming: “I am eternally in the Kingdom of God, I know the power that I am, and I express that power fully.”

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Dis-ease of the Soul

It is vital for all to be aware that a deadly infectious dis-ease is afflicting billions of people around the world.
The most pronounced symptoms of this dis-ease are feelings of fear, anger, resentment, loneliness and depression. Many, not understanding the cause of this dis-ease, attempt to treat it with drugs, alcohol, shopping, food, sex, and/or religion. While these may temporarily lessen the symptoms, once the “treatment” is discontinued the symptoms return and are often more painful than when left untreated.
The dis-ease is spread through contact with others who have been infected, and once contracted it can be insidious or become consuming. It has devastating effects, not just on the life of the individual, but on the life of the planet as well. Over the past few decades it has become pandemic and threatens the very survival of the human species. It has caused those who suffer from it to behave in erratic ways, including warring against others, plundering the resources of the Earth, and decimating other life forms.
It cannot be treated with medication. It cannot be cured with chemotherapy or radiation. It cannot be removed by any surgical procedure. This dis-ease cannot be cured by any method known to medical science because it is not a physical disease; it is a spiritual dis-ease.
This dis-ease begins with the germ of one thought, “I am separate from God.” Left unchecked, this germ will quickly infect the entire body of thought. Once it has established itself there, it begins to multiply until it eventually invades all the areas of one’s life, the physical body and the body of one’s affairs including finances, relationships and career. This one germ, given free reign, can be the cause of pain and suffering for a moment or for a lifetime.
There is hope, however. There is an agent that will counteract the germ and treat the dis-ease. It is readily available to all. It is called “Truth.” A little Truth ingested several times each day provides almost immediate relief from the symptoms of the dis-ease. It has also been shown to have the cumulative effect of eradicating the germ from the body. An excellent Truth that can start one on the road to recovery is, “The Life of God is my life now.” Taking that in several times each day will most assuredly allow Truth to overcome dis-ease and produce healing effects.
The side effects of Truth are a heightened awareness of the present moment, a desire to help others, a sense of Oneness and a positive attitude. Caution: “Truth can be habit-forming.”
The only request is that Truth be shared with everyone. It must not be kept for one’s sole use. It is to be used to treat the soul of humanity. It must be shared so that all may find relief from the symptoms of this painful dis-ease.

It is possible to live a full life with no dis-ease. Truth is available free of charge at your local Unity. To learn more, please join us at Unity of Denver, 3021 S University Blvd, 80210, or call 303.758.5664 for additional life-saving information.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Gifts of the Magi

My lesson this Sunday will be the final one in the series where we have been exploring the metaphysics of the Christmas story found in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke. This week we will observe Epiphany, which in the Western Christian church is principally, but not solely, the celebration of the arrival of the wise men from the East who came to pay homage and bring gifts to the baby Jesus. It is traditionally celebrated on January 6; however, in some countries it is now observed on the Sunday following January 1.

While it is included only in the Gospel of Matthew, the story of the wise men’s arrival in Bethlehem is an essential component of the traditional Christian narrative. It is widely agreed among Bible scholars that the author of Matthew was writing to a church, an ecclesia comprised of Jewish Christians as well as Gentiles, or non-Jews. It was, therefore, imperative that he include in his narrative evidence that Jesus was the Messiah, not only for the Jews, but for all people. This intention was partly achieved by the author’s inclusion of the wise men, non-Jews themselves, acknowledging Jesus as the Son of God. The wise men as described in story would most likely have been of the priestly caste of Zoroastrianism and schooled in science. These men were revered in their culture and often considered by the populace to be equivalent of kings. Given their reputed status, their visit to Jesus in Matthew’s gospel also helps to confirm to the author’s Jewish audience that Jesus is the fulfillment of the Messianic prophecy that proclaims that kings will worship him. (Isaiah 49:7 & 60:3)  The significance of Jesus’ birth is also emphasized by the report that the wise men brought expensive and precious gifts to honor him.
When they saw that the star had stopped, they were overwhelmed with joy. On entering the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother; and they knelt down and paid him homage. Then, opening their treasure chests, they offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. - Matthew 2:10-11 (NRSV)
The story of the wise men and their adoration of the baby Jesus is integral to the traditional Christian assertion that Jesus is the one and only Son of God, the savior of all the world. As with other aspects of the Christmas story, this event also contains noteworthy metaphysical meaning. Unity co-founder, Charles Fillmore, taught that metaphorically all characters in the Bible represent aspects of each of us and when explored metaphysically reveal what happens within our own consciousness at different states of our evolutionary process.  In the Metaphysical Bible Dictionary, Mr. Fillmore says that the wise men represent the wisdom of the soul that is hidden until the first recognition of the Christ within*. When one first becomes aware of the Christ which is represented by the birth of Jesus in the Christmas story, the latent wisdom (wise men) is activated. As Mr. Fillmore said, this wisdom brings forth the gifts which are the “inner resources of Spirit that are open to the Christ mind”.

Frankincense, gold and myrrh, often referred to as the gifts of the magi, represent the richness, beauty and eternity of the Spirit of Christ that is the essence of each of us. As we receive these gifts in our conscious awareness we are empowered to live more fully and more freely knowing that we need not seek outside ourselves for the gifts, but only need look within to claim that which is already there.

I encourage each of us to know that as we choose to celebrate the birth of the Christ within us, the wisdom which may have been previously hidden from our awareness is awakened. It brings to us the gifts of our own perfect, beautiful and eternal expression of the Christ. As we claim our Truth, we are empowered to move forward in our realization and manifestation of Christ in the world.

I invite you to join us on Sunday morning at 10:00 as we open to receive the gifts of the magi for ourselves.