My First Day at Unity Church- Edwene Gaines Prosperity Seminar

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I’m sitting in my truck in the park outside Unity of Birmingham right now. I thought it would be a nice place to write this blog. I’m meeting Spud for a workout later. He’s on a coffee date with some dude right now. The church looks just as I remember it although the brown metal roof is now faded and rusty and the awnings could use a little paint. It’s interesting the feelings that come up when I’m looking up at the church here. I don’t go to any church anymore. If I did, I’d probably go here.

That first day I ever came to church at Unity of Birmingham, I went to the afternoon “play-shop” offered by Edwene Gaines. If you are interested in what she teaches it would be best to go to the source and a simple Google search will take you there. It will seem like an over simplification when I tell you about what she shared with us that day but I will try to do it justice. It can also help you see what I remembered about it and therefore know me a little better.

Here, in essence, is what I heard from Edwene that day that led me to believe that I had found a faith community in which I could feel at home:

  1. Tithing is not optional (sound of screeching breaks) woah, wait right there! I knew it would be long before they were trying to get my money— this is a church after all. I looked around to make sure I knew where all my belongings were and started to plan my escape. But then I listened on and what she said piqued my interest. No, tithing is not optional but it doesn’t really matter where I do it. I am to return the first and best ten percent of all that I receive to that place on the planet where I receive my spiritual food. I started to think about how much a tenth of what I make really was and realized I was spending more than that on superfluous bullshit anyway so why not shoot it towards a place (person, organization, et al) that was actually giving me spiritual food. They regularly passed the basket to pay for the coffee and literature when I would gather with other alcoholics to talk about sobriety. Would it really be so bad if I dropped 10% in? I decided that I could definitely give it a whirl, especially if it was going to usher me into a new relationship with money as Edwene was assuring me it would.
  2. Invest in my dreams. As I remember, Edwene suggested that I take an equal amount and invest in my dreams. That seemed only fair and it also sounded like an idea that might just work. Even at my relatively low-paying waiter job, I thought about how much that amount would be over the course of a year. If I could take that amount and put it toward my dreams by wisely investing it, I could imagine that the results could actually turn out to be pretty good.
  3. Goal Set. That was certainly not the first or last time I’d hear about this one. Most every guide to financial or career success includes writing down goals as part of the process. I was willing to do it again. Edwene had a framework of how to find those goals. She also had some very entertaining and engaging stories that talked about this part of the process. I mentioned a couple of them in an earlier blog posting. Something in me told me that writing down the goals was not an option but an imperative if I wanted to see things in my life change.
  4. Forgive. You could almost hear an audible sigh go across the congregation when Edwene mentioned this one. It was if to say, “We’re spiritual people here! We’ve already done our forgiveness work.” Edwene assured us, “If you still have a body, you’re not done” and she led us through a beautiful forgiveness exercise. I realized I still had more left there to work on than I might have thought. The main thing I liked about her talk in this part of the process was a gentle admonition she gave the workshop participants about not trying to involve yourself in someone else’s process. She warned us not to “there,there” the person sitting next to us if they started to blubber or roll around in the floor. I realized how often I leap to “help” someone else at the expense of my own process.

And that was about it. It seemed pretty straightforward and simple. Again, I want to say that this is my memory of what she taught on that, my first day at Unity. If you’d like to get it straight from the source, her website is— hang on.  (I’m back) It’s:

I left the workshop— excuse me “playshop” that afternoon feeling quite hopeful. The wreckage of several years of active addiction and a whole lot of limited thinking around money was pretty massive but I believed then, as I actually still do, that this simple process can lead me out of that dark valley of despair that I’ve found myself in over and over—up until that first day at Unity in 1989 and (as you well know by now) many times since.

Edwene doesn’t hold the patent on this spiritual approach to prosperity. Neither do I and neither does anyone else. This is only one way of thinking about it and you won’t have to look far to find variations on the theme. Any of you who watched The Secret will find that its very much in that vein of thinking around prosperity. And before I let it pass by, let me say that prosperity as Edwene defined it and as I think about it has much, much more to do with Spirit and Consciousness than just about money. I’ll talk more about this as I move forward and explain to you, even though I did and do believe these principles to be true and also believe that this roadmap can lead me out of the place I found myself on September 1, this year (wanting to be the next veteran suicide), how I went on to fuck it all  up completely while believing that I was following Edwene’s instructions.

See y’all tomorrow!

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