Unity’s Distinctive Characteristics
Unity of Massillon is dedicated to teaching and practicing the universal principles of Truth as taught and demonstrated by Jesus Christ. Our worship services and activities are designed to help people understand, know, and experience oneness with God through the Christ spirit within.
Unity people are invited to study according to their own needs and desires and to participate as they wish in the many services, classes, workshops, and activities at Unity of Massillon. Our church is conducted on a freewill offering plan. No pledges are required. There is a freedom in Unity that allows the individual to advance spiritually according to his or her own level of understanding.
Respect for and faith in the spirit of God in every person makes it unnecessary to have fixed creeds or to impose limiting beliefs. Each individual is encouraged to follow Unity teachings in determining personal responses to social, political, medical, and economic issues and concerns. Unity sees worship as serving God by uplifting and glorifying God’s Spirit (the Christ) in humankind in positive, joyous ways.
Unity’s Statement of Diversity
We believe that all people are created with sacred worth. Therefore, we recognize the importance of serving all people within the Unity family in spiritually and emotionally caring ways. We strive for our ministries, publications, and programs to reach out to all who seek Unity support and spiritual growth. It is imperative that our ministries and outreaches be free of discrimination on the basis of race, color, gender, age, creed religion, national origin, ethnicity, physical disability, sexual orientation, or social or economic background. Our sincere desire is to create spiritually aware community that is nondiscriminatory and supports diversity.
Unity welcomes all people in dignity and love.
Jesus: A Star To Follow
Unity focuses on the teachings of Jesus, on the life-transforming discoveries He made. Why? Because when we study Jesus’ life (instead of worshiping Jesus the man), we see a perfect example for us to follow. After all, was there ever anyone more spiritually centered? Was there ever anyone whose words and actions so exuded love? Was there ever anyone more at peace with Himself and with His life than Jesus? That is why His life and teachings are the examples we can learn from in the quest for the transformation of our own lives.
Business students study the lives of great entrepreneurs so they can emulate their successful careers. Actors study other great actors to find more creative techniques. Writers read other great writers to improve their own writing skills. It is only natural that many on a spiritual quest turn to the study of Jesus’ life and teachings. Many of these people call themselves Christians, but the word Christian is not important. The object is to reconnect with the divinity within–to find God. The divine relationship between us and God is the only thing that counts.
Jesus the Man
So much attention has been paid to Jesus’ divinity that we have overlooked His humanity. He was born fully human, just like the rest of us. He was fully a man. He was tested in the same ways that all of us are tested, but He transcended His humanness and opened the way to self-mastery by recognizing His oneness with God.
Evidence seems to suggest that this self-mastery was a progressive unfoldment, always growing, always expanding. One can see it in His reluctance to begin His ministry at the marriage feast at Cana (Jn.2:4), in His working through His anger in the temple (Mt.21:12), and in His initial snub of the Canaanite woman who asked help for her daughter (Mt. 15:22-28). It is apparent that Jesus was always working to identify and experience His own spirituality. His teachings and healings are ample testimony to the continual expansion of His consciousness.
We Can Do It Too
Jesus audaciously insisted that whatever He did each of us could do. “He who believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do” (Jn.14:12). That’s a crucial statement, absolutely central to your transformation because it tells you that you can experience the same spiritual insights that Jesus had. He is promising you conscious communion with God if you will search the spiritual depths within yourself as He did.
“He who believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do”
Jesus The “Christ”
Jesus is saying to follow His way and discover the secrets of your inner-Self–the Christ in you–as He discovered the Christ in Himself. Christ is not Jesus’ last name. The word Christ comes from the Greek word Christos, meaning “the anointed.” Christ is a title reserved for anyone who becomes aware of and fully realizes the depths of his or her divine possibilities as Jesus did. Even more importantly, Christ is God individualized in each of us. It is the name of the divinity within us. It is our pattern for perfection. Christ is not the name of someone born in Bethlehem 2000 years ago. (That was Jesus.) The Christ is an aspect of God. It has existed since the beginning of time. It is the identification of our highest degree of spiritual potential.
The “real” you is your Christ self–your spirit. Jesus was so aware of this presence of God in Him that He became one with It: “I and the Father are one” (Jn. 10:30), and so we call Him Jesus the Christ or Jesus Christ. He was not God made man. He was man becoming more Godlike.
When we talk about Jesus, we are talking about a soul so highly evolved that He became the perfect example of the God potential in each of us. That is what Jesus was, and is, all about: finding unity with God and thereby discovering the Christ power within.
That’s what you are all about, too. That is what our journey of spiritual rediscovery is all about.
–From The Quest: A Journey of Spiritual Rediscovery
Basic Unity Principles
First: We believe that there is only one Presence and one Power in this universe–God, the good. This truth is at the very heart of Unity. There is only one Presence. There is only God. Therefore, God is omnipresent. This universal presence is an aspect of God. Since God is all, there can be nothing outside of God. There can be no place where God is not. Everything is part of God. Therefore, God is more than omnipresent; God is Omnipresence! “There is only one presence and one power active in the universe and in my life, God the good, omnipotent.”
- You can only know the God of your own experience.
- Knowing God is a very simple and natural experience.
- There is only one Presence and one Power: God, and God is good.
- God is Omnipresence, Omnipotence, and Omniscience.
- We don’t make divine order happen. It is already established in our lives.
Second: Human beings have a spark of divinity within them, the Christ spirit. Their very essence is of God, and, therefore, they also are inherently good. Thus, God is individualized in each person and in the universe as the Christ.
- As a wave is part of the ocean, you are part of God.
- You have been created to be the hands, the feet, the voice, the eyes, the ears, and the heart of God.
- You are spirit (the divine part of you), soul (mental and emotional you), and body (physical you).
- Your spirit (the Christ within you) is your true identity.
- The soul is where you do the work, where you make the changes.
- The soul is pivotal and can look within as well as without.
- The conditions of your life mirror the condition of your soul.
Third: Human beings create their experiences by the activity of their thinking. Everything in the manifest realm has its beginning in thought. God operates in the universe according to this law of mind action: “Thoughts held in mind produce after their kind.”
- Everything begins with an idea.
- Your thoughts are the blueprint for your life.
- Your thoughts today create your world of tomorrow.
- Change your thoughts and you will change your world.
- Through the power of your thinking, you are continuously drawing kinds of events into your life.
- You have absolute control over your reactions.
Fourth: Prayer is creative thinking that heightens the connection with God-Mind and, therefore, brings forth wisdom, healing, prosperity, and everything good. Prayer is talking to God. Meditation (the silence) is listening to God.
- Times of prayer provide you with sustenance and renewed strength.
- The reason for praying is more important than the method.
- Your whole life is a prayer, and life-prayers are always answered.
- Miracles are natural outworkings of the law.
- Having your thoughts, feelings, words, and actions all “in sync” is your strongest prayer.
- The highest use of prayer is the announcing of your intention to open yourself to God’s will.
- Prayer is a way to express your thanks for past, present, and future blessings.
- Prayer is not to change God. It is to change you.
- In meditation, in the silence, you meet God and you listen to God.
- In the stillness, you move beyond the intellect into the realm of spiritual knowing.
Fifth: Knowing and understanding the laws of life, also called Truth, are not enough. A person must also live the truth that he or she knows. We must walk the talk using the spiritual tools of release and affirmation during daily prayer and meditation.
- God can work best when you show your willingness by moving into action.
- Truth teachings must be applied to every situation in your everyday life.
- A desire without a deed is a dead end.
- Once you receive your guidance, it is time to move into action. Spirit will show you the path, but you must walk that path.
(Adapted from The Quest: A Journey of Spiritual Rediscovery)
The Bible and Unity
The Bible is Unity’s basic textbook. It is accepted as a body of history, a moral and ethical teaching, and a great literary work. Beyond this, Unity finds deep significance in the Bible through its metaphysical interpretation, wherein names of places and people and their experiences symbolize the unfoldment of human consciousness. Through the study of Unity, the Bible is made more meaningful to individuals as a helpful guide in their lives. We believe that the Bible reveals the spirit of Truth and the word of God. Our final authority is the Holy Spirit working through us.
- Metaphysical lessons lie camouflaged in the characters, events, and symbols of the Bible.
- Beneath the obvious lesson there is always the hidden meaning for you, personally.
- The Bible is the story of your own spiritual unfoldment and growth.
Sin,Salvation, Heaven and Hell
Sin is our separation from God in consciousness, caused by our belief in the “devil” or a power other than God, the good. This belief leads to our unwise use of our God-given powers and abilities. Salvation is now–not something that occurs after death but whenever we turn our thoughts (repent) from fear, anxiety, worry, and doubt to thoughts of love, harmony, joy, and peace. The “fall of man” takes place in consciousness whenever we fall into negative habits of thinking.
Heaven and hell are states of consciousness, not geographical locations. We make our own heaven or hell here and now by our thoughts, words, and deeds.
- Sin (self imposed nonsense) is error thought caused by our separation from God in consciousness.
- Heaven and hell are states of mind.
- The kingdom of heaven is within you.
- You create your own heaven or hell.
- The anguish of a personal hell can serve to strengthen you if you will let it.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does Unity believe in the divinity of Jesus Christ? Yes. Unity teaches that the spirit of God dwelt in Jesus, just as it does within every person and that every person has the potential to express the perfection of Christ, as Jesus did, by being more Christ-like in everyday life.
Does Unity look for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ? Unity understands the Second Coming as the individual expression of the Christ consciousness. This is not an event to be anticipated in the future, but it is happening here and now through prayer, meditation, study, and the application of Truth in our lives.
Does Unity practice Baptism and Communion?
Yes, symbolically. Whereas baptism by water represents the cleansing of the consciousness, spiritual baptism signifies the inflow of the Holy Spirit. No person can truly baptize another; a mental and spiritual process takes place within the individual consciousness. Spiritual communion takes place through prayer, and Unity practices communion by appropriating, or partaking of the spoken word.
In Unity services, ritual is de-emphasized, as a general rule, so that full attention may be devoted to the teachings and their practical application.
What is the significance of the Crucifixion?
Unity teaches that the cross symbolizes the crossing out of all false beliefs. Here again, the emphasis is on life and living through resurrection by claiming our oneness with God. Jesus died and resurrected to demonstrate the triumph of spirit over body.
Does Unity accept the virgin birth? Unity accepts the virgin birth as an experience in the unfoldment of the individual consciousness and finds in it a deep metaphysical significance. The virgin birth is interpreted spiritually as the birth of the Christ consciousness (the awakening of the awareness of God’s Spirit within) in the purified soul.
How does Unity regard the Trinity? Unity interprets the religious terms Father, Son, and Holy Spirit metaphysically as three aspects of mind action: mind, idea, and expression–the process through which all manifestation takes place.