Unity Church of Ames

A Whole New Vision

Mid Week Faith Lift

March 26, 2014

A Whole New Vision

Rev. Deb Hill-Davis

We have come to the end of this journey with Spiritual Economics by Eric Butterworth, so it is a good time to pause and reflect on what we have uncovered and what we have learned about money, prosperity, economics and the flow of Divine Substance in our lives and in the Universe.  What has shifted in our understanding and in our behaviors and practices over these past weeks?  How have we opened our hearts, learned to trust more…..trust ourselves, trust each other, trust God? Are we more able to walk in faith, in the knowing of the law of circulation of giving and receiving?  Do we have greater clarity in how we participate in that flow and how we are an essential part of that flow?

We have learned that there are spiritual laws in effect in the Universe and that we don’t “work” or “use” the laws.  Instead, we learn how to allow these laws to “work” us.  The law of giving is a fundamental principle of the Universe; you cannot live without giving, as you cannot live without breathing.  Last week I compared tithing to using training wheels for developing the practice of giving.  This is one of those issues where you cannot just read about it or listen to descriptions of it.  It is like that bicycle….you have to actually ride it to truly understand what it means and how it is to give, how it can change your life.  Learning to “touch things” with an attitude of giving moves us to spiritual maturity.

Whenever we encounter an obstacle in life, we have learned that the most productive response is to look for an opening, a way to give, a way to open the flow.  This can also include “forgive” as way to open the flow of Good and shift resistance to the obstacle. It is most fruitful if we don’t build a dam to either stop the flow or hoard the flow of God energy in the Universe.  Last week we talked about giving your all, living wholeheartedly and responding to each life event by “giving way” to the flow of Spirit, even when we want to hold a grudge or dam up the river because we might not have enough for later!

We learned from Malachi 3:10 that God asked us to bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, not just a part of ourselves.  God has given us the whole of life and we participate in the flow of prosperity by giving and living wholeheartedly.  We give from a place of humility, of recognition of the larger flow of which we are a part without wanting to control the flow.   Butterworth says, “Rather think of what you are giving from and thus feel humble in realizing that you are simply giving way to the Divine flow.” 

Kahil Gibran says it this way in his book The Prophet, “You give but little when you give of your possessions.  It is when you give of yourself that you truly give….. Give as in yonder valley the myrtle breathes its fragrance into space.”  

If we begin to live from this consciousness of participating in the divine flow of remembering that we are part of the law of circulation, of giving and receiving, then we can truly live in a spiritual consciousness of a new world vision.

Now I do want to pause here for a moment to emphasize that this consciousness is about giving and receiving.  It is not about being a “codependent giver” who has to give as a way to know that you matter and are of worth in the universe.  That kind of giving is the chronic caretaker kind of giving and it functions just like an addiction and that is NOT what this kind of giving is.  How do you know the difference?  Well if this is you, then you have this addiction: 

You give when the person doesn’t really need or want what you are giving.

You agonize over whether to call someone or not in order to demonstrate that you care and are a loving person.

You only truly feel lovable when you are caring for someone or giving to someone and they express their undying gratitude and appreciation and in that moment you feel your worth.

You feel that unless you are doing something for someone else there is no possibility of being loved or loveable.

You would give anything to someone else, but you would never give it to yourself.

You are reluctant to allow anyone to give to you, unless you have “earned it.”

This kind of giving has strings attached all over the place and that is not what we are talking about here.  The spiritual energy of giving and receiving brings freedom from this codependent kind of energy and opens us to then receive our good without attachment to how it shows up.  Hence, my year of delightful surprises! 

It takes great humility to cultivate this Spiritual Principle and live it.  Butterworth says that if we can do this and cultivate this consciousness, then we can truly create a new world vision of empowered people who know their worth and value; people who have a sense of worthiness and purpose in the universe.  It takes discipline, self-awareness, honesty, and true humility to live in this consciousness.  It is simple, but not easy and we have been told again and again in Scripture, in all the Wisdom Literature of the ages that it is what we are called to do and that it is worth it.

What is this new world vision and what can we do to hold this vision?  Remember what Thomas Troward said at the beginning of our journey, that if we hold an idea or vision with deep feeling, we have already set in motion the means for its realization, even if we can’t yet see how.  Let me talk a moment now about what I learned from Phyllis Tickle and the Emergence phenomenon in Christianity.  In this new age of Christianity, Tickle speaks of the roots and history of Christianity as a new manifestation of the traditional trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

The Jewish roots of Christianity were established in the manifestation of God the Father.  The Jewish people cultivated a relationship with God as father and sought to maintain and understand the nature of this relationship.  Then we have the next great era of God the Son, which is the whole evolution of Christianity and the Jesus event, which brought a new relationship with God, a more loving and intimate relationship.  We are now in what Tickle calls the Era of God the Spirit, which is all about consciousness, the mystical experience and our actual direct experience of the energy or Presence of God.  She calls this the next great “Re-Formation” in Christianity.  Well, Hello!  We in Unity have been living that right now!  We, in Unity, are the canary in the coalmine of Christianity, a harbinger of the great changes happening in Christianity, and we are about 100 years into the making of this new evolution or “Re-Formation” of Christianity. We have already let go of the “old story” and the dogma of the traditional Christian story.  But we are old enough, in Unity to have what Tickle calls both an inherited church as well as an Emergent church as Unity seeks to clarify itself in the family of world religions. 

What am I talking about here….well when the Fillmores began their spiritual quest, they did so in the era of Newtonian physics based on a perception of the Absolute nature of the Universe.  What we now know about the Universe is that at the most fundamental level of quantum physics, what exists is a relationship between energy that switches back and forth from particle to wave.  It is only in the presence of an observer that particles become evident and what we know as matter is formed.  We know from Complexity Theory and Chaos Theory that the Universe is an open system, which continues to evolve in random and unpredictable ways.  It has outcomes that can be understood as probabilities, not absolutes.  It is however, expanding, we do know that much!

So how do we understand such things as the Law of Circulation in the context of the randomness and somewhat unpredictable Universe that continues to evolve?  Butterworth has given us some powerful gifts to shape the future of Unity by debunking the “magical thinking” we can get trapped by and inviting us to a place of spiritual maturity in our relationship with the energy of Spirit and prosperity and to step into co-creation with God to manifest a world that works for everyone.

Phyllis Tickle’s prediction is that the next great iteration of Christianity is going to be focused around the idea of Consciousness and the spiritual seeker will desire a direct experience of the Mystery of God.  It will be a mystical Christianity, based on experiences of the mystical and informed by actual experiences of the Presence and Power of God.  That is how I described Unity from my first encounter with it….mystical Christianity.  I will leave you with the Scripture that Tickle said best describes the Emergent Christian because it is what this individual most desires.  It is from Micah 6:8 “ He has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness and to walk humbly with your God.” (NRSV)

Blessings on the journey,

Rev. Deb