In my initial post for AGNT, I focused on some of the challenges facing New Thought spiritual communities in a fast-changing world. In this post, I want to focus on what is right about New Thought, and about why it is worth the effort to point out to spiritual leaders that those challenges need to be faced.
In writing my regular blog for several years, and my book, I have come to see that I sometimes fall into a classic trap – by wanting so strongly to see New Thought leadership succeed, I had not pointed out a lot about what is going right.
So, as a step toward balance, let me begin by blogging about why I love New Thought.
New Thought teachings blend ancient spiritual principles with modern psychological and psycho-social technologies. They are philosophies of healing. The principles speak of our divine nature and the technologies help us to bring our thoughts and feelings into alignment with the realization of the principles. There is no fear of hell or damnation, no sense of a personal God with those negative human qualities projected onto (him), no embrace of fear and suffering as the path to salvation. In fact, there is no salvation from a state of sin, only the need to realize that we already have everything that we need to live lives of joy, fulfillment, and contribution.
A second kind of love goes to my spiritual communities. I began my spiritual studies at The Science of Mind Center (now CSL Ft. Lauderdale). I was directed there by some colleagues on the police department where I worked. I found an amazing community of souls and spent seven years there as I went through the Science of Mind education process, including ministerial education. I then had the honor of returning as co-Pastor, serving with Dr. Arleen Bump from 2000 to 2005. Lifelong connections came from my time there. I founded the community in Baltimore and served at CSL Westlake Village and CSL Simi Valley in California as well. I have great memories and lasting friendships and connections from all of them.
A third kind of love goes to my organization, Centers for Spiritual Living (CSL), formerly Religious Science International (RSI). From my first summer conference at Asilomar, I fell in love with a group of people with a beautiful consciousness and a nascent global reach. Entering the ministry brought me into a community of colleagues for whom I have the highest respect and deepest love. Serving on the RSI/ICSL Board of Directors for nine years brought me into contact with many great leaders and gave me the opportunity to do some very good work and to travel to wonderful places. And, I discovered another branch of the family, then called United Church of Religious Science, that expanded my spiritual family greatly – and now have joined to become one.
A fourth kind of love is for AGNT – a New Thought organization created to look toward an expanded future of spiritual engagement. This organization continues to be on the cutting edge of spirituality and community involvement. Through AGNT, I have connected with the other families of New Thought, Unity, Agape, Divine Science, Universal Foundation for Better Living, and more. Explore the AGNT.org website to see what is happening here; there are a multitude of resources for you and opportunities to engage with the wider world.
It has been said that in New Thought we stand on the shoulders of giants; that we have a legacy of great teachers teaching a great teaching. I have found this to be true over and over again. And now, we have new generations of great teachers who are taking the teaching to new places and into the world at large in new ways.
The challenges which face us include how to present our philosophies in new and relevant ways to a changing world. Our great gift is that all New Thought philosophies are open-ended in terms of the actualization of potential into experience. We bring a consciousness of unlimited possibility to a world which is crying out for spiritual nourishment and connection. That world need us to remember these truths, to embed them into our own consciousness through regular practice, and to be examples of spiritual poise and compassion for all to see.
What a grand time to be in New Thought!
Your comments are welcomed.