I Behold The Christ as You

“I behold The Christ as you” is a phrase you will hear when you go to a Unity center or other New Thought centers such as Religious Science, Science of Mind, and Centers for Spiritual Living. We use the term “The Christ” in a very different way than other Christian groups.  unity wingsI came to Unity about 17 years ago, and was struck speechless when I heard that phrase. I half expected lightening to strike somewhere nearby!

 This Thursday, I begin a class on this very topic using both Hebrew and Christian scripture. For example take a look at Colossians 1:27-28  “… this mystery, which is Christ in you, your hope of glory…. so that we may present everyone mature in Christ.”  It is a teaching that head-centered Christianity ignores, but heart-centered mystics understand. I practice understanding this concept when I meditate and pray.

Eric Butterworth, Unity pioneer, explains: “‘Christ’ is not a person. It is not Jesus.  Christ is a degree of stature that Jesus attained, but a degree of potential stature that dwells in every man.”

“The Christ” is a name for our natural and true identity. We human beings are from, in and of the Divine. christ consciousnessWe are a part of the Oneness which is God, Unity, Alaha, Love.  Our True Nature is divine. We are called to awaken to that truth and develop an awareness of it minute by minute, day by day, becoming more and more aware that there is no separation, only Oneness. It is a consciousness that Jesus lived. But it is not intended only for Jesus. He, the man of Nazareth, woke up to “the Christ consciousness,” and lived it fully. He is a Way-Shower on the path to enlightenment. Siddhartha Gautama also awoke to that consciousness, which we call “Buddha consciousness.” He also is a Way-Shower on the path to enlightenment.

Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “He (Jesus) estimates the greatness of man. One man was true to what is in me and you. He saw that God incarnates Himself in man, and ever more goes forth anew to take possession of the world.”

Butterworth, in his book “Discover the Power Within You” explains that this realization is the Great Discovery. It was Jesus’ heaven is within yougreat discovery and his discovery was the beginning of the “Age of the Christ, the Divinity of Man.”  With this consciousness, we pray from a consciousness of God, not to a “God out there” somewhere. This consciousness is empowering and humbling, expanding and very much “within.” It is humankind’s greatest discovery. If we can awaken to this, we can feel the glory of being one with God, no separation, no need to be reconciled, no need for salvation, except from our own illusions.

We will explore and discuss this phenomenal thought in my upcoming course which begins this Thursday.It’s easy to register and come aboard. I look forward to exploring these ideas with you!  Register for “The Christ”

Thank you, Barbara!

Our maiden voyage of Unity New Vista Learning Center has concluded and was a smash hit!. Tonight I said “goodbye for now” to five wonderful New Thought students who attended my very first Unity New Vista Learning Center virtual classroom. Throughout the five weeks, we continually expressed avid appreciation for technology’s ability to connect us over thousands of miles. For five summer nights (winter nights for one of our students), a small group of excited, alert, dedicated, welcoming people in PA, GA, NC, KY and Australia sat comfortably in our respective homes, wearing our bunny slippers, drinking our teas, developing a spiritual connection, and enjoying  intellectual and compassionate conversation.  The technology served us well, with great video and audio!

I am reminded of  Barbara Marx Hubbard‘s lifelong question, which she asked Pres, Eisenhower many years ago, in response to nuclear weapons testing: “What is the meaning of our power that is good?”  As I listened to her repeat this question to an audience which I attended a few years ago, I internalized the question, “How can we use technology for humankind’s good?”  Barbara asks each of us to be ambassadors for conscious co-creative evolution in the world, to contribute in whatever realm we are called to serve. I felt called by this amazingly vital,  radiant, wise octogenarian woman to reply in my authentic style, with my individual talents.  I’ve always felt called to be a teacher, and I continue to be one now, as a minister. So, Barbara, I’m doing my part: using teaching and technology to serve the greater good. I appreciate your challenge and your loving reminder that it’s up to us to do our part, whatever it is, to bring about a new earth.

All of my students are returning for at least one of my upcoming classes. Unity SEE Classes I am currently planning September – December’s schedule. Metaphysics 1, 2 and 4 are on the list, as is Twelve Powers, Overview of Hebrew Scriptures and Christian Scriptures… The list goes on. ..  Follow this blog to get updates and stay in touch through Facebook.

Celebrating Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness

I just returned from a memorable week in Gaithersburg, MD, where I had a wonderful opportunity to teach Unity Affirmative Prayer at an SEE week-long intensive. Memorable not only because of the lively people who attended my class; not only because of the great freedom we felt as we celebrated an affirmative way of thinking through New Thought realizing our happinesstwo flags fall and rise June 2015 as we see ourselves whole and One with The Divine; but also because we got to talk with others about the power of love in Charleston and the descent of a flag that has become a symbol of domination. And we got to celebrate the rise of a flag that has come to symbolize inclusivity, reinforcing even more prominently the New Earth: a new era of consciousness!

And in the midst of it all, we got to grieve together and support each other as we collectively expressed an earthly farewell to Gaithersburg’s beloved young minister Rev. Jennifer Holder.  It was my privilege to be a pastoral presence for that congregation. That’s what ministry is all about, and that’s what we were to each other last week: a pastoral presence.

I received some special requests from people who are working toward their License Unity Teacher credentialing. People who are almost there and need only a few more courses. I am working with my calendar this week to plan New Vista’s future courses based on their requests. I hope to become the go-to person for LUT candidates to get their final classes before they go to the Village for Leadership Training. But these courses can be for anyone interested in learning at a deep spiritual and exciting intellectual level. These classes can be for the beginning New Thought student or a long-timer, or even a minister who wants intellectual and spiritual fellowship.

Are you wondering how the virtual classroom is going?  We have completed three virtual classes so far, and we’ve become very adept at logging in and activating our cameras and microphones. We pray together, watch videos together, listen to music or the spoken word, share documents and pictures. We feel that the distance is not an issue!

We experience spiritual fellowship and a sense of intimacy using this virtual classroom platform that we couldn’t have predicted!  unitys message follwing supremecourt

So please spread the word. Forward this to others who are on the path and let them know what’s happening at New Vista Learning Center. “like” New Vista Learning Center on Facebook, and “Follow” this blog!

Happy Fourth of July! Happy Freedom! Happy Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness!

My nerdy questions

Maybe I’m a theology/anthropology nerd, because I’ve been asking myself some unusual questions since I found New Thought. Questions that others might never dream of asking. And as I prepare to teach “Background of New Thought,” I’ve explored them further: How could the Puritans and Calvinists, (think “The Scarlet Letter,” and Jonathan Edwards’ “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God”) ever make way for New Thought and Transcendentalists? (think Emma Curtis Hopkins, Emerson and Thoreau)*   How did the strict religious environment of New England eventually birth New Thought?  How could Trinitarians birth Unitarians? How could Theists birth Panentheists?

This might not be a common set of questions in the minds of most Americans! But it has tickled my interest for years, ever since I found the New Thought philosophy through the Unity movement. Because my childhood identity was Calvinist and rather Puritanical, as I saw it from the perspective of society in the 1960-70’s!   (A full color, framed copy of this painting hung above the mantel in my childhood home.)  I went to Calvinist church, catechism, K-12 school and college. For a while, I considered attending Calvin Seminary after I finished my undergraduate degree at Calvin College!

But then I ventured into many other types of faith communities: for a while I worshiped with Charismatic Catholics, and considered myself a Jesus Freak. I taught Sunday School at an Appalachian Methodist church, attended various Bible churches and a break-the-rules Presbyterian church, joined Quaker activists, pledged to the UCC, and occasionally visited a Unitarian Universalist fellowship.  Oh, and there was a short stent with a Metaphysical Spiritualist church! I’m glad I wandered because I got to see that everyone at each stage of faith was sincerely seeking their God, by whatever design and temperament this God showed up.  I’m also glad because I got to raise my kids in the Quaker and UCC communities, so they did not adopt that awful sense of unworthiness that I learned as a Calvinist kid.

And through these stages of exposure to American interpretation of Jesus’ teachings, I stretched  further and further toward a progressive, inclusive, evolutionary, universal perspective of God and humanity. The Quakers taught me there is “that of God” within me. And by the time I stepped into Unity, I was (somewhat) ready for the concept that “I am one with/as the Divine.” Perhaps I needed such a gradual evolution over decades, after such a complete indoctrination into Calvinism. My personal evolution of thought is not unlike that of European and American evolution of thought since the reformation. From Trinitarian to Unitarian, from Theist to Panentheist is the path I walked, not unlike the path of the deliberate thinkers of the early American settlers……  (From this point on in the writing of this blog, I have done more ranting, editing and deleting than any other blog I’ve written!   Frankly, it’s been good therapy for me, as I continue to reconcile with my past, my embedded theology. That’s good stuff. but not necessary to put in a public blog! …)

As I prepare for my upcoming course “Background of New Thought,” I’ve studied early New Thought dynamics and have come up with fascinating insights, clarity, acceptance and of course, more questions to lead me deeper into the subject.

If you are interested in exploring with me, if you’re ready to process your own embedded theology, if this interests you for any reason, do join the conversation for the next 5 Monday evenings in our virtual classroom.  “Background of New Thought” is a class for anyone: brand new Unity students, and people who have been with Unity for decades, and people who are just curious about some of the terms I’ve used in this blog!

* And if you’d like to know who these people are, please join us!

Register today at Unity SEE classes

What Did Jesus Really Teach?

Are you planning your late Summer calendar already? Set aside 5 Monday evenings to join an exciting intellectually and spiritually expanding experience!  Lecture, video, dialogue, and meditation mix into Pat’s classes to make them engaging and satisfying!

A completely revamped and revitalized Unity SEE “Jesus’ Teachings” is now available from your own home!

Sign up now for this exciting revised and updated course, compiled by Rev. Pat from her M, Div. studies at Unity Institute & Seminary and further self-directed study.

This course incorporates updates on the modern scholarly search for the historical Jesus. We’ll get to know The Jesus Seminar and its tireless work, the significance of the Nag Hammadi discovery, and the valuable insight these documents bring to the study. We’ll deconstruct the Jesus myth found in the Synoptic Gospels,  and learn about the historical events and cultural influences that inspJesusMMagdaleneFrankThomasired the myth.  Why was 70 AD a critical year?  How did it impact the development of Christianity?

We’ll take a frank and heart-centered look at what Jesus might have actually said, and gain insights about his message.  We will also read and explore Jesus’ parables at the heart-level. Students will feel a balance in this class: balancing the head-centered and the heart-centered approach to Jesus’ teachings.

Finally, after the debunking the myth and making a heart-connection, we’ll ask reflective questions about the implications of the new findings upon Christianity and its future, seeing it through the lens of the evolution of consciousness.

This and every course offered by New Vista is in full compliance with Unity Institute’s SEE requirements and standards. Rev. Pat has offered this ground-breaking course to two groups of Unity students in Greensboro and Chapel Hill, NC. With their feedback, she has refined this course to be well worth your valuable time!

 “very informative and enlightening”

“I loved the combination of readings, videos, conversation and meditation!”

“great energy, enthusiasm, teaching and facilitating!”

Go to “Unity SEE classes” tab to register or send questions to Rev. Pat

Let’s Get Started!

Yes! New Vista Learning Center has received the go-ahead from Unity Worldwide Ministries to test the very first virtual classroom SEE course!

It didn’t go just as I expected it to, but it is actually better than I had imagined. UWM tabled my proposal until after the People’s Convention, and probably until at least August so that they can take a comprehensive look at their evolving role in the education of future Unity leaders. They are very interested in New Vista’s ideas to teach in real-time through internet, so they’ve asked me to serve on the task team that will investigate technology for their future educational endeavors.  I didn’t hear their decision as a “No;”  not even as a “Wait.” Instead I saw another way to look at it: I offered to test the program by offering a few classes right now, between now and August, which will give the task team some concrete feedback about virtual classroom education. I am open to letting this idea evolve as it flows into manifestation.

The way it’s all dovetailing together reminds me about the Zen teaching about water: when a boulder is dropped into the stream, the water doesn’t stop and say, “Oh, No! I have got to move this boulder! It’s in my way!” Instead, it silently and smoothly glides around the boulder.  I saw my consciousness like the water, just sliding right past what might have been perceived as a closed-door. And that, of course, reminds me of Daniel Nahmod’s song, Water:

Gonna be like water…  Head uphill no more.  I am bound for the sea.  

I’ll let nature take its course. No more thinking that I know where this river’s meant to go…..  it always seems when I let go of expectation and regret, life has plenty of surprises for me yet.”

The SEE courses I am offering are open to anyone. You might like to just learn something about Unity and New Thought. You might be a church leader who wants to learn Unity’s teachings or its history. You might be  “just anybody” interested in spiritual deepening through Unity metaphysical theology and have engaging conversation with like-minded people from anywhere in the country.  You are welcome to attend New Vista’s online sessions.
If you are interested in taking SEE courses for credit towards becoming a Licensed Unity Teacher, or becoming a Unity minister through Field Licensing, or moving on to the Ministry Path, you will find the classes you need at New Vista.
If you are a Unity minister who wishes to enrich your understanding through cutting edge discussions and earn renewal credits, you have found the right classroom!
Our platform allows us to interact real-time from the convenience of our homes. We will log on at a specific time and come into a virtual circle of of spiritual community and openness, beginning with an opening prayer and meditation, then a check-in, Typically our classes will offer a review and short presentation followed by discussion and activities to assimilate what’s been presented.
I will offer two  SEE courses over the Summer. (each course is 5 two-hour sessions). You will get to take these courses from the comfort of your living room or vacation cottage!  Watch for details about the upcoming SEE courses, to be announced in a few days!  And please pass this on to your friends who wish to take SEE classes.  Thank you!
“Follow” this blog and “Like” us on Facebook (New Vista Learning Center).
~Rev Pat Veenema   newvistaunity@gmail.com

Old blogs are still accessible

A few months ago, I began blogging at a different site. Those blogs are still available for you to read. I received quite a few hits and comments on the one titled “I Wouldn’t Go To Church Either… if I Weren’t a Minister!” You can read this and all of the older blogs at  Reflections.

I’ve changed the site because I’ve changed the name and the focus of the ministry. When I returned to the Durham/Chapel Hill area that I have called “home” since 1986, I thought I might be serving the Durham people by opening a spiritual center where we would come together physically to grow spiritually. Although some people responded positively to that invitation, the ministry just didn’t “launch.”  I decided to let it go.

As spiritual things happen, within days of letting my old idea go, other ideas and opportunities came forward.  I began receiving invitations to teach Unity SEE courses in the Triangle and Triad of NC. From those experiences, I remembered that teaching is what I truly love. I realized this is the “bliss” that I have been following all my life. Doors began to open, opportunities turned into confirmations of guidance, and I eventually submitted a proposal to Unity Worldwide Ministries to teach SEE classes through a virtual classroom. UWM has given me permission to do a trial run, and to share with them how it goes. So my ministry is now a Learning Center: a virtual classroom where people can learn Unity teachings from the comfort of their own homes, while still connecting real-time with other spiritual explorers and receiving personal inspiration, insights and guidance from a contemporary cutting-edge Unity minister.

It’s ironic: when I was in seminary, I was absolutely sure that I would serve as a pulpit minister. Which I did, but for only two years. Now I’m developing an teaching ministry. Other classmates were absolutely certain that they would not become pulpit ministers. Some did not. But others are now serving congregations!  It’s true that when we follow spiritual guidance, our best made plans sometimes vaporize into thin air!

Thus the change of name and the change of site. I hope you’ll enjoy reading some of my older posts, and “follow” this one to keep up with the unfolding of this ministry.

Join us on Facebook at “New Vista Learning Center”

~Rev. Pat Veenema, M.Div.