Spreading the Message of Oneness Around the World
Guest Post by Jennifer “Birdie” Shawker, Communications Coordinator
The Seven Steps of Creation were identified by co-founder of the Unity movement, Charles Fillmore. I found that once I learned about them, they were already at work in my life. Understanding them at depth has empowered me, deepened my Faith, and supported my role as a staff member at Unity Church of San Antonio.
How did I learn about them? I had the privilege of taking the SEE (Spiritual Enrichment and Enrichment) class, “Creative Process in the Bible.” Now, wait, please don’t stop reading this because you saw the word “Bible” The universal teachings we offer at Unity of SA are very popular. Some people may be turned off by the Biblical teachings. I was not crazy about taking Bible classes at first, either. But I’ve found the lens through which we view the Bible in Unity is unique, and every class I’ve ever taken has provided me with a consciousness expanding experience. Read on, and see what I mean!
Our instructor, Rev. Ellen Debenport, reached out to all the students by email before the class began, letting us know in the class we would need to identify something we wanted to create, to resolve a personal challenge and manifest a Divine Idea. What was on my mind was our church podcast. Dedicated volunteer Pablo Del Valle had set us up with a way to start providing our message online but we needed helpers to make it consistent. By completing this class, I discovered something astonishing. The answer to this personal challenge was in place long before I even I identified it, was resolving even as I took the class, and is part of a much larger overall picture. It was all One!
Charles Fillmore interpreted Genesis 1 to mean the Creative Process occurs in consciousness before it comes into form. Genesis 2 he interprets as the movement from the idea into form. Knowing that, I was able to identify when the creation of our “podcast” began – nearly a year ago when I got a little help with the first of Seven Steps of Creation.
The first step in the Creative Process is Light, as the Divine Idea, occurring first in consciousness. My human experience of this Light came about shortly after a time of chaos surrounding the resignation of a dedicated multimedia volunteer. Overwhelmingly endless possibilities for resolution of the gap they left uncomfortably filled my thoughts. Charles Fillmore stresses a time of chaos is not a bad thing, and it’s necessary. I rather liked how Rev. Ellen described it in class – to paraphrase, creation is messy! I “stepped’ into the Light when Rev. Linda and I sat down and prayerfully discussed my work goals for the coming year last October: a new website, and setting up a podcast. Rev. Linda generously shared her Light with me. I walked out of the meeting with purpose and direction.
The next step was to move into Faith about this. I was feeling uncertain. Trained in nursing, I had doubts that I possessed the skills for such tasks. I needed some firm ground, some “firmament” as Charles Fillmore interpreted from scripture. My act of Faith was my reply when the church Board of Trustees asked how they could be of support with a new website and podcast. I requested, “Please pray with me about this.” All this occurred before I started the SEE class! This was because the concept had already been already alive and kicking in Divine Mind. Things started to fall into place with the creation of our website. I’d caught hold of part of the idea and even started work with others on part of its expression.
In the SEE class, Imagination – the third step – was completed in a class exercise. My original stated goal for what I wanted to create in class was a consistent podcast on our church website, not the temporary method we had in place already. We were invited during the class to participate in a facilitated meditative state to take a much broader look at what we wanted to create. We were invited to imagine the outcome of what we wanted. With my Imagination, I saw inspired people in front of their computer screens. I could not see what was on the screens. Were they listening, watching, reading, or taking a class? It was impossible to tell the specifics. I caught onto the idea that there was more than one way our message could be communicated online. My original goal was too narrow. My new goal, already a work in progress, was to facilitate a number of ways to spread the church’s message. The bigger, broader question was “How can I improve Unity Church of San Antonio’s capacity to spread the message of Oneness around the world?” I found it interesting that this question is pretty much my job description with a question mark at the end.
Which brings the next step of Will and Understanding. The class exercise continued. We worked with partners. We shared our questions and took turns providing suggestions off the top of our heads. We were not to comment as the partner came up with suggestions. I started to comment because at the time the suggestions seemed to be all sorts of things I’d tried before, such as social media and youth programs. I stopped commenting. I could try these things in a different way. I became willing and understood that these “lights in the dome” as Charles Fillmore interpreted the third step from scripture were not something I needed to know the details of at the moment. I just had to be open to them.
Interestingly enough, the “podcast” issue was resolved within days of my arrival home. By my 16-year-old son, Ryan. He saw me working online, and asked me what I was doing. I explained, and he asked to take a look at Pablo’s work. He took a look at it and thought he could accomplish something like what we already had in place. With easy to use software already installed in the church’s computer. It took him about 20 minutes, and sure enough, he had the job done. He said he would like to do it every week.
My son and I are close. I see the power of Love at work in our lives all the time. We’ve always been drawn together. We have worked side by side in several of my roles in churches throughout the years. I hesitated, he seemed too young to me. Then I remembered our classroom exercise. “Youth” and had been a suggestion from my classroom partner. I said yes, completing the sixth step of Love and Wisdom. We work on the “podcast” together every Sunday afternoon from the previous week. He puts the sound files and an image together, makes a video, and I upload it to YouTube. I place the message via YouTube on our website. By using the social media YouTube, there is room to grow – we could eventually use our channel to post videos of our services.
The Sabbath is a crucial last step in creation. Just planning my assigned “Sabbath” made me realize something very important. That the resolution to every personal challenge, every intention I set, and every prayer is already unfolding before I even have words for it. My job is to catch hold of the vision with an open heart.
Since Ryan and I work together, we planned a special Sabbath together. Since my spouse works with computers, why not us all get out from behind the computer screen for a day? So, we are planning a tubing trip to San Marcos with extended family. I’m looking forward to a victory speech, bragging a bit about my kiddo to my Dad and others.
While planning, I had a thought. “Maybe I’ll use my Imagination, and invite someone along. She’s important to the whole story. She caught a glimpse of an earlier version of the vision. Who knows? Was this the same Divine Idea, that’s come about differently because of the influence of human thought?” I decided to invite my high school self who worked on the high school newspaper, writing prolifically. Young Jennifer Visconti never followed up on ideas of becoming some kind of writer. Nursing was a lot safer and seemed more reasonable. I realized we’d laugh together about how it happened anyway. In Unity, we understand the huge influence our thoughts and feelings have in creation. My high school self had no idea, but it doesn’t mean the principals weren’t at work in her life, too. I’ve no doubt she’d be ecstatic to learn I do such meaningful work.
My metaphysical version of the Genesis 1 “victory speech” to her might include my intentions to bring her dreams to life. It’s really not an optional experience. It was all set into motion before, by she who long ago pondered it. I might convey to my younger self how this Creative Process seems perpetual, endless, and ever so connected with the past, present, and future. Perhaps I’ll marvel at the lengths one must go through sometimes to understand an aspect of our overall connectedness. That all my experiences in Unity seem to lead to one deepening and ever-expanding realization. Of one overarching and ever-expanding consciousness of Truth. That everything and everyone are connected in an unending way. We are all One with ourselves, each other, and the Source of All Creation.
If you are interested in SEE classes, there are a number of ways you can take them. You can contact us for more information. Read our newsletter in the coming weeks to learn more about the brand new Unity Worldwide Institute. Like me, you’ll soon have an opportunity to participate in spreading the message of Oneness all around the world.