Thanks for your posts. You have a lot of insight into the Unity Church.
As do you, QE!!!
Mine comes from many years of participation and observation. Whatever one may think of the "original" Unity teachings, they have been gradually supplanted over the past 30 or 40 years with new age, self-help, pop psych speak. At least the "old" Unity churches still had "God" in them. The new Unity is all about selling an agenda which has more to do with ACIM, thought control, and similar material than with what Unity was founded upon over a century ago.
Despite the weirdness of much of the Fillmore material, some of it was, I thought, fairly solid, classic Christian mysticism. Much of it interchangeable with Meister Eckhart (12th century mystic writer) type of material. But the Unity of the past few decades has been "infected" with ACIM and Forum style material and irrational new age "magical" thinking.
Incidentally, when I used the word "racket" in my previous post, I wasn't using the Landmark Forum term, I was referring to the Unity of today as a "racket" in the sense of being a scam, a hustle. Which IMHO it very clearly is.
Also, Unity does lots of "love-bombing" when you come to church, especially newcomers, but if and when you leave, the "love" stops dead cold. As you have found out. It becomes even worse if you leave the church and actively speak out against what goes on there. It can turn very ugly, as I have found out.
Also, if what they teach is true that we are all already perfect spiritual beings. What do we need Unity for (unless you enjoy that sort of thing)?
Well that's it exactly. If what they say is true, who needs them?
Personally, I don't believe God requires "middlemen" of any kind. Each of us is free to find God as we understand he/she/it to be, if we choose to believe in a Deity.
You mentioned I believe having been involved with Religious Science at one time? So was I. I left that church as well, but kept many of their books, along with the writings of Emerson and others of that calibre. There is some good material and ideas there, but no need for a church or minister. I'm a big kid now and don't need my hand held anymore. ;)
The do very little in terms of providing help for people outside of Unity that may need assistance. They guilt people into volunteering within the Unity Church, for the Unity Church. IMO, the purpose of the Church I attended was to keep the Unity Church running so the minister could continue to be a minister, because the minister wanted to be a minister. Perhaps I am being too cynical, but that's how it looked to me.
Very observant and quite correct. Cynical? Not really. Realistic.
The purpose of a Unity church becomes providing the minister with people to serve him/her and do his/her dirty work (support groups, prayer partners, chaplain teams, etc.) so that the minister doesn't have to do any of these things. The ministers would rather preach (and do weddings and funerals, for which they get paid extra) and let other people do their dirty work, including hospital visits, etc. However, while Unity has always had licensed Unity teachers to run the classes, many ministers don't trust them to indoctrinate as they would like, and so in most churches the licensed Unity teachers are marginalized while the minister directs all of the teaching alone, or in some cases has an associate or co- minister (often the husband or wife) by their side to reinforce them and their message.
Unity churches do not care about the community around them. They only care about the church and the people within it. When they spend money, it is only on themselves and their own church programs. When they tithe to the community, it is only to Unity-affiliated organizations. Unity only gives lip service to the real charities in the local community. They may announce a canned food drive or somesuch thing, and set up a box for donations, but their real attention goes to collecting tithes for their own church.
I truly enjoy helping people and knowing that I made a difference in someone's life, even if it's just a small donation to a food bank, or driving someone when they need a drive. I never felt really good about volunteering at Unity. It was more like fulfilling an obligation and trying to look like a good person. I am sure I was not the only one who was trying to look like a good person. But therein is the danger.
Unity is all about "looking like a good person" and self-congratulation for one's "heightened" consciousness or self-awareness. It feeds the holier-than-thou Unity mindset and groupthink. (Compassion, integrity, humility, spiritual maturity and simple lovingkindness is unnecessary and almost frowned-upon in Unity.) I once coined a phrase about the attitude of Unity people: "MY consciousness is bigger than yours!" And that's truly how they feel. But this mindset is fed by the ministers and the books they use to teach from (A Course in Miracles, etc.).
There was a time when mystical or metaphysical groups and churches were far more humble and grateful in spirit. No more. Not today in this era of Oprah and Dr. Phil and Wayne Dyer.
As your name says, keep questioning everything! It is the only way to maintain a rational mind and individuality in an era of spirituality prone to mindless groupthink and surrender to teachers and gurus.
Thank you for your thoughts and insights as well. I hope you had a Happy Thanksgiving too!