FRESH THOUGHT FOR NEW THOUGHT
New Thought: A Practical American Spirituality
by C. Alan Anderson and Deborah G. Whitehouse
Crossroad Publishing Company
370 Lexington Ave.
New York, NY 10017
154 pages; hardcover; $19.95
This splendidly-humored book is delightful to read. The first five chapters freshly define and describe New Thought, recount its history and its institutional expressions (Unity, Religious Science, Divine Science, etc.), and distinguish New Thought from New Age thinking. The book's remaining chapters make a groundbreaking original contribution to the further evolution of New Thought. The authors contrast doing/having oriented "substance" New Thought, which is based upon the mechanical operation of "the Law" a la classical science, with being/becoming oriented "process" New Thought, derived from the insights of contemporary physics as articulated in Whiteheadian philosophy. Like classical and modern science, the new perspective does not replace the old one, but rather defines limitations of the older perspective that the new one transcends.
According to the processive scientific view now emerging, the universe's physical laws only determine how things happen rather than cause them to happen. These laws are subject to evolution and change, just like all other effects, in accordance with underlying patterns of order that do not change. Thus, rather than being mechanically fixed for all time, laws are instead habitually established and--like other habits--are subject to change. As below, so above: processively viewed, while the nature of God never changes, the manner of God's expression (including the Law) does change.
"Substance" New Thought has tended to regard the law as intermediary (not unlike the role that traditional forms of Christianity assign to Christ or Mother Mary and the saints). Accordingly, releasing our word into the law is like sending an exposed negative to the photofinisher for developing and return. From the perspective of "process" New Thought, we instead develop (co-create) our own negatives by allowing the direct flow of Spirit's creativity (i.e., causation) into expression without need of other mediation.
This book will significantly influence the nature of 21st Century New Thought.
New Thought: A Practical American Spirituality is an important work. The early chapters are a super summary of New Thought formation and history, and point the reader toward the primary sources gently, through the bibliography.
Chapters 6-8 are groundbreaking and should be made part of the materials in Unity's ministerial training program, and other New Thought programs as well.
And Chapter 9 is delightful, and a great way to close a very readable and informative work. I heartily congratulate you both!
Your book is the most refreshing and thought-provoking that I've read in years. . . . I can't tell you how energized I feel now that I'm starting to chew on your ideas.
CONTENTS OF THE BOOK
What Is New Thought?
Philosophical and Organizational Aspects of New Thought
Is There a Metaphysician in the House?
A Brief Gallop Through History
Where It All Began: Phineas Parkhurst Quimby
Spreading the Word: Warren Felt Evans
Diverting the Stream: Mary Baker Eddy
The Movement Forms: Emma Curtis Hopkins
Religious Science/Science of Mind
Other New Thought Groups
Bringing It Together: The International New Thought Alliance
Chapter 3. For an excerpt, click here.
Religious Background of New Thought
Religion and Spirituality
The Spiritual-Mystical and the Occult
Breeds of God
Religion in the United States
New Thought as Reformation
Just Do What the Man Said
Believe in Jesus or Believe Jesus?
Healing Within Traditional Churches
Blending of New Thought Techniques and Revivalist Christianity
Solving the Problem of Evil
Reclaiming Mysticism and Putting It to Work
Doing It in Stages
New Thought Expands: From Health to Wealth and Happiness For excerpts, click here and here and here.
I Want to Be Happy
New Thought and Prosperity
New Thought in Business
New Thought in Church
New Thought and New Age
What's in a Name?
Old and New New Age
Proto-New Age: the "Metaphysical" Family
New Age Demographics
New Age Interests and Activities
But Will It Last?
Similarities Between New Age and New Thought
The Ever-Present Critics
Something New in New Thought
God's Job Description and Yours
Paradigm Shifts: Revolutions of Thought
Alternatives to Postmodernism: Primordialism/Perennialism
Alternatives to Postmodernism: What's Behind Door #2?
Pantheism and Panentheism
Process New Thought
The Golden Calf of Active Law
Why God Cannot Be Law
Don't Ride the Epicycles
Demythologize or Die, at Least Intellectually
A Doctrinal Updating Through the Open Top
Other Advantages of Process New Thought
Growing Practical Application of New Thought
Critics and Corrections
Recovering the Missing Ingredient
Self-Discipline, Mastery, and Freedom
Creeping into the Culture
Change Your Thinking for the Gipper
A Digression About Depression
It's Not Just for Sunday Anymore
New Thought in Practice
Support for New Thought from Psychology
Get the Picture
New Thought and Economics
Getting Through the Day
Sky-Blue Expressions: An Affirmative Summary of Who I Am
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