Minister’s Forum: Clearing up misperceptions about Unity | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Minister’s Forum: Clearing up misperceptions about Unity

Stew and Hillary Bittman

There is a perception of Unity centered on the idea that we have no real beliefs; that everything and anything is OK with us. We do honor the many paths of God, and we honor everyone wherever they might be on their particular path. However, we do teach a very definite set of metaphysical principals, based on our deepest understanding of the life and teachings of Jesus.

Not so much religion about Jesus, Unity is more of a way of life based on the spiritual work that Jesus did to transform his own consciousness in order to come into alignment with his divine essence. We take Jesus literally when he said we could do the same things, and even more. We believe we all have that same divine essence, what we will call the “Christ consciousness,” and we see Jesus as the example, rather than the exception, of what is possible as a human being.

When we were growing up, the Bible was very difficult for us to understand. We both remember having illustrated Bibles that were full of some pretty graphic pictures. Most of them were of towers tumbling, spear-ridden bodies lying upon other bodies, faces distorted in hate or fear. Neither of us could understand a God who acted in this way for his “chosen” people. I’m sure some of you had the same reactions and questions as we did and perhaps drifted away from your childhood religion. Possibly you still have questions on how God can be so … human.

The answer for most Unity folks is that God isn’t any of those horrible things we read about in the Old Testament. That portrayal of God is made in the image and likeness of humankind, with all the violence and pettiness humans can muster. Rather, we are made in the image and likeness of God, and by that we mean that we are the same spirit, the same loving presence, the same abundant life, the same infinite intelligence as God, through our Christ consciousness. In Unity, we hold the Bible as a sacred history of a people, and as a metaphor that reflects the evolution of man’s consciousness of God that can guide us all on our own spiritual journey.

So for us, God is not arbitrary, judgmental or hateful. In fact, we don’t believe that God is some being “out there,” capriciously punishing us when we “sin” or rewarding us when we don’t. We define sin as simply “falling short of the mark” of our highest potential; we, in turn, naturally reap the outcomes of the choices we make. We can always learn from these outcomes and grow in our consciousness of God. We see God as all love, all presence, all power and as the invisible substance that lies under all things. We see God both as impersonal law and principal, and as personal comfort and wisdom. Having written that, we realize that words can never describe what God is and can only provide a direction we can follow to have God revealed to us from inside ourselves.

We believe that each person’s relationship with God is a deeply personal thing, and we honor each person’s right to choose what God means to them. We also believe there are universal truth principals by which one can live their life and come into an awareness of their own Christ nature, Buddha nature, Goddess nature, Atman nature or whatever one wishes to call it. This is the essence of human journey. We celebrate your inner journey to God and wish you great joy along that journey.

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– Stew and Hillary Bittman are co-spiritual leaders at Unity at the Lake.

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