|UNITY OF VANCOUVER
3814 FRANKLIN ST. VANCOUVER, WASHINGTON 98660 360-696-0996
What is Unity and What Does it Teach?
Reverend Bernadette Voorhees
August 7, 2022
All Rights Reserved
WHAT IS UNITY AND WHAT DOES UNITY TEACH?
Unity is different than other religions in several important ways. We are a teaching movement rather than a creed. Unity of Vancouver is a teaching ministry. Our mission is to teach humankind that we are all spiritual beings. We work with the concept that our lives are a science laboratory. If you hear or read something that connects inside you, put it into practice in your life. If it works keep it. If it doesn’t let it go.
Unity is a way of living each day of your life in the most positive and productive way. It’s way of thinking; a way of seeing life; a way of being vibrantly alive and full of life every day. We endeavor to be the practice of the teachings of Jesus rather than the worship of him. Unity teaches a way of life based on the 1st century teachings of Jesus as well as the ideas and practices of all illumined beings.
Unity focuses on being inclusive and not exclusive of spiritual teachings and people. Our primary objective isn’t to evangelize people to our way of thinking to change the world. Our objective is to develop and deepen our relationship with God. As Unity students we study anything that will help us to personally experience God and increase our experience of God’s good.
UNITY isn’t just another church. It isn’t a movement. When Charles Fillmore, our co-founder with his wife Myrtle, came up with the name UNITY, he wasn’t founding another religion. Mr. Fillmore thought that there were already enough religions and churches. He said what we needed was UNITY among the churches. So, he founded UNITY as a school of Christianity. It was meant to be a school to make a Baptist a better Baptist, a Catholic a better Catholic and so on. It was a school of taking the teachings of Jesus Christ and others out of the Bible and learning to use those teachings in our daily life. Unity is often referred to as Practical Christianity because its focus is on giving people a working relationship with God. Many people choose to make Unity their primary spiritual path while others attend Unity and retain their primary affiliation to their denominational religion.
There are 5 parts to the idea of our oneness with God that Jesus lived and taught. They are listed on your program. Let’s read them together.
1. God is absolute good and everywhere present.
2. Human beings are beloved children of God. You are one with God and therefore you are inherently good.
3. Human beings create their experiences by the activity of their thinking. Everything in our lives has its beginning in thought. The Law of Mind Action/Creation is: “Thoughts held in mind produce after their kind.”
4. Prayer is the highest form of thinking. We pray to change our mind, not God’s.
5. A person must use and live the truth that they know and make Spirituality a way of daily life. According to Jesus, there are two ways of living in this world. We can live a life centered in Ego or personality or a life centered in God or individuality. There are many benefits to living a life centered in God. One that is very important to me is peace of mind. To me that’s the Pearl of Great Price that Jesus spoke of in one of his parables. When I think of God and enter, into the consciousness of God within me, I know that somehow, everything is going to work out fine, in fact more than fine. When we aren’t centered in God and seeing God in everything and everyone, beginning with ourselves, we are centered in Ego or personality and thus "living" either in our thinking or feeling nature.
When we live in our thoughts or emotions, we often allow them to control us. The goal of spirituality isn’t learning to control our thoughts and emotions. The goal is balance or what Jesus called a mystical marriage of our thinking and feeling natures. Balance is the result of the realization that “I am one with God.” As Paul said, “The same mind is in you that was in Christ Jesus.” When we operate from our God or Christ center, we are in the right frame of mind and in right relationship to God. Good things result in our lives because God mind sees that God is the only power and presence. One of my favorite phrases is: “There is no spot where God is not!”
In Unity, I've learned that whenever the storms of life appear if I stay centered in God, the storm will pass, and everything will work out. The most repeated phrase in the Bible is: And it came to pass. And as the storms pass, we will find that we learned something that we couldn’t learn in any other way. Life is a learning process. We are in Earth School and every time we seek God's Presence and Power in a situation, we learn something. We increase our knowledge of our spiritual self and take on more of the attributes of God. As a result, we go forward from that situation changed. We’ve moved a little closer to the goal of being the next evolution of man, a Christ. When you are centered in God, “Nothing can disturb the calm peace of your Soul.” You are poised and centered in the Christ Mind knowing “It is not I be the Christ within who does the work.”
When you enter a Unity center, or any church, you are going to find a certain pattern of belief and thought. If you walk into a Baptist Church, what do you expect to find? A bunch of Baptists, right? If you walk into a Methodist Church, you expect to find Methodists. If you walk into a Catholic Church, you expect to find Catholics. In each of these experiences you expect to find people of common thought. You go expecting to find ‘like-minded people. All the things we teach in Unity, the Principles of Truth, as we call them, can be boiled down to 5 basic ideas.
1. The 1st has to do with our concept of God. This is often the most important idea that we must come to terms with, in our spiritual life. Why? Because everything we do is nothing more than an expression of our understanding of God. Many of us were brought up with the idea of a God of judgment, anger, and power. This caused us to fear God. Like Jesus, Unity teaches that God is Love.
Every moment of every day, you and I are expressing what our understanding of God is. We are giving out into life the gift of our consciousness. In Unity we have what we refer to as our "Foundation Statement": “There is only one Presence and one Power in the universe and in my life, God the good Omnipotent.” This statement expresses our basic concept of God.
2. The 2nd idea you will always find at Unity is the "Law of Mind/Action also referred to as the Law of Creation." The Law states: “Thoughts held in mind produce in the outer after their kind.” God said, “Let there be light” and there was light. When God created everything ‘out of itself, ‘and called it good.
We are created in the image and likeness of God. This means we are co-creators with God. Whatever we experience in the physical, world is the result of what we have established in consciousness by the habitual thoughts and feelings we hold in mind. We don’t necessarily create illness or bad situations, but we do create our interpretation of the events and our ‘judgment’ and our reaction to those events often determines the outcome.
Whenever you go to a Unity Ministry, in some way you are going to hear these two ideas: Our concept of God as the Principle of absolute good and the Law of Mind Action. Everything in Unity boils down to our concept of God and how we work with our concept of God using the Law of Mind Action. "Thoughts held in mind, produce after their kind."
The next three points evolve from the first two.
3. Prayer is the highest form of thinking and feeling. We pray to change our mind, not God’s.
When I began attending Unity, the minister told a story about the nature of God that I have never forgotten. There was a man, named Bill who was a self-proclaimed agnostic and atheist. He didn't believe in God, and he didn't believe in prayer. A friend was trying to convince him that prayer works and that there really is a Higher Power. But no matter what he said, Bill replied, "No, there isn't a God." Finally, his friend said, "Now, you can't tell me that there wasn't at least one time in your life when you prayed to God. There must have been at least once when you cried out, 'Oh, God, if you’re out there, help me!"
And of course, Bill said, "Never!" But after a minute he said, "Oh, wait, there was one time I went hunting and got lost in the woods. I couldn't find my way back to camp. I did everything I knew to do but I couldn't find it. Suddenly, I just cried out, "Oh God, if you're there, help me!"
Well, what happened, his friend asked. "Nothing," Bill said, "I didn't hear any voices coming down from Heaven and the trees didn't part." "Well, something happened," his friend said, "because you're here today. " "Of course,” Bill said, "But God didn't have anything to do with it. Why if that Indian guide hadn't heard me cry out and come along to help me, I would have frozen to death out there.”
That story hit home with me because at that time I was struggling with my concept of God. I had been raised with the concept of a God way up in the sky. God was a man with a white beard who looked a lot like Zeus or Santa Claus. I had been taught a beseeching, begging way of prayer which I faithfully used that did not work for me. I was open and receptive to a new way of thinking about God and my relationship with God.
4. Unity teaches that human beings are beloved children of God. What does that mean to you in your life? ‘You live, move and have your being in God’, the very essence of you is God. Unity teaches that God won't do anything for us. God has already done everything God can do by individualizing Itself in us as the fullness of life, love, wisdom, joy, and any other spiritual quality you can think of. You don't have love. You are love in expression. You don't have intelligence. You are God’s wisdom in expression.
5. A person must use truth they know by making spirituality a way of daily life. You express God and your concept of God in everything you do. However, you also have free will which is the power to choose how, when, or if you will.
Affirmative Prayer and meditation are the methods that we use in Unity to stay centered in God, so that we remember to use our Free Will to let God be God in and through us, so that we live in Unity with all life. One of my favorite Unity phrases is: “God can only do for you what God can do through you.”
Life is consciousness and your life is a Testimonial of your belief in God. Once you realize this, it's up to you to do something with it. "Your life and what you are is God's gift to you. What you do with it is your gift to God."
More than anything, Unity helps us to realize that we are worthwhile. There is no single thing that’s more important for a person of today to know. You already have the potential and the connections you need to succeed and be happy. You already have the Truth within you that will set you free. Unity is saying to all: “You are a beautiful child of God. You are worthwhile. You can and do have God’s help.
As Unity students, we work in every area of our life to do one thing, and that is to put God first. Not the problems, not the difficulty, not the ill-health—but God, first.
Unity exists to help each of us to fully express the potential which we are in Spirit. In Unity we don't wait for Heaven to happen. We know that Heaven will happen as we put the reality of God into practice in our individual lives.
What do you think?
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