A Warning for New Thought

Centers for Spiritual Living, Unity, prosperity, prosperity gospelA wave of dislike is unfolding in the larger population that New Thought leaders should sit up and pay close attention to today as it hits close to some foundational and historically popular teachings in the New Thought movement.

As the country moves more and more in a direction that is anathema to the preferences of the numeric majority (think popular vote) with every decision and victory that the 45th president achieves, more attention is being given to the price that he is NOT paying for those political moves, and the reasons.

One significant reason is that 81% of White Evangelicals voted for, and still support the president. This 8-minute video is worth watching in its entirety, but the specific point of concern for New Thought, I believe, is the danger – as we look to strategic planning and building for the future of our organizations – of what many are seeing as the tie between #45 and the White evangelical community: the gospel of prosperity.

Mentioned in the above linked video as “the pernicious influence of the prosperity gospel“, it is not viewed positively by the larger population and is increasingly being linked to the negativity of the current presidency.

We in New Thought would do well to sit up and pay attention to this. This is not the first time that the negative side to prosperity teachings was highlighted – in my writing or the larger media. Now is the time to look closely at WHAT we teach, and HOW we teach it and ensure that we are not, unintentionally, swept up into being branded along with this movement.

This will not be as simple as some may think. CSL and Unity would do well to totally revamp, if not step back from, the teachings around prosperity along with the elevation and adoration of toothy teachers from the 20th century who have hawked these teachings for decades. It’s time to embrace more fully the concepts of “a world that works for everyone” as a core tenet and downplay – starting TODAY – the emphasis on prosperity.

If we do not actively and intentionally separate ourselves from teaching prosperity as a staple or core offering, we risk great damage to the brand; damage that may result in the absolute “graying out” of the movement.

To be clear: I am NOT saying that we STOP teaching people how to think more prosperously; I am NOT saying that we STOP teaching people how to shift from a lack mindset to an abundant mindset. I AM saying that we need to be careful about publicizing the old school prosperity classes as a way to attract new members and should probably step back from the programming that pushes tithing on unexpected income.

Instead, why not focus programming on reaching out to feed the hungry, support Veterans with PTSD or raise consciousness and funds for a local animal rescue group using the principles and teachings of Holmes, et al? These efforts look a lot like “a world that works for everyone” – at least more so than a millionaire telling the group that they need to tithe to the millionaire when their own hard work (spiritual and/or physical) nets them some additional money or income.

There’s an old saying: ” if it looks like a duck, has webbed feet and QUACKS,…it’s a duck“.Centers for Spiritual Living, Unity, prosperity, prosperity gospel

While I am not suggesting that we are ducks of the brand identified negatively in the video I shared; a lot of our member organizations – to an outsider’s eye – have webbed feet and quack And this is dangerous to the organization as we look at the societal and demographic challenges facing all of organized religion.

We would be wise to understand the emerging political discourse, evaluate our perspective and practices; and think clearly and intentionally about how we want to present ourselves to the world. Then it’s time to make the right pivot for the times we live in today.

This will not be easy, but it really is simple.

A world that works for everyone is much larger than money or material wealth – and CSL/Unity leadership – ministers, practitioners and lay leaders – (should) know this more than anyone else.

The time is now to teach THIS Truth.

(C) 2018 Practitioner's Path

 

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