Sunday, June 21, 2009

Heart and Souls

I just watched the most delightful movie! It is called Heart and Souls, and it came out in 1993. I don’t know how I missed it before now, except that I was ordained in 1993, so I may have been a bit preoccupied when the movie hit the theaters. However, I’m guessing the film didn’t get much press or advertising, because I’m certain I would have made an effort to see it. I just love those “Watch Instantly” movies on Netflix, and I sometimes watch them on my computer when there is nothing else to do. I discovered this movie from the recommended list which Netflix prepares based on my previous viewing. Boy, do they know me or what?!

The movie stars Robert Downey Jr., Charles Grodin, Alfre Woodard, Kyra Kedgwick and Tom Sizemore. It is about four people who died together while riding a bus. They were young people with unfinished business, and at the exact moment they died a young boy, named Thomas, was born. These four souls become delightfully attached to this child in consciousness. Thomas grows up thinking of these four souls as his imaginary friends. He talks to them, sings and dances with them; they especially love singing Walk Like a Man, by the Four Seasons, and I loved singing it right along with them. However, when Thomas reaches age 7 his parents and teacher begin to wonder about his imaginary life, and the four souls fear that Thomas will be committed to a mental institution so they become invisible.

Years later when Thomas is a grown young man the four souls discover that they are being called to leave this earth, yet they have work to finish before they can leave, and they need Thomas to help them. Thomas needs some help himself, as he shut down his heart after his imaginary friends disappeared. Together the five help each other with delightful results.

I was never a child who had imaginary friends, but it made me wonder if there might have been a guardian angel hanging around and helping me when I needed a friend. While I have thought about and even believed in angels and how they could be of assistance to us, I never gave any thought to that help being reversed. It’s an interesting premise for which I have no answer. I do, however, highly recommend this movie. It is a delightful film with heart and soul…and you’ll find yourself, singing and laughing right out loud.

Sunday, June 14, 2009


I have just returned home from our Association of Unity Churches Convention in Overland Park, Kansas. As usual it was a full week and I’ve come home richer and full of new knowledge and insights. Below are some of my notes from convention.


The convention opened with a powerful and moving service held at Unity Village by Rev. Sky St. John from Hawaii. He combined video, music, skits, prayer and a message, and I must say I left feeling incredibly full. I especially loved his portrayal of James Dillet Freeman’s poem “I Am There”. He divided the poem into two parts….someone feeling alone and crying out, and the voice of God booming…I am Here! How often do we feel alone and yet God is always right there speaking, if we could only open ourselves up to hear God’s voice.

The music was incredible! He used mostly praise music and I had forgotten its power. I spoke with a minister friend who told me she had to leave this service, because she couldn’t deal with the raised hands. I know to some that would bring back memories of another church where one worships a God up in the sky, but someone gave me a new perspective….that it is a Yoga pose. Raising one’s hands to the sky is not worshiping a God outside oneself, but rather opening oneself, and the heart chakra up to receiving more from Spirit and the universe. I like that!

Someone else said that praise music is trance-like. I’ve noticed that in my churches we seem to do more folk type music….and while that is nice, I really like the feeling of the praise music. In that sense, the fundamentalists have something. The music Sky used had Unity lyrics, but they captured that sense of awe and wonder. I want more of that in my church services!! Jason and deMarco were awesome NGUer’s (Next Generation Unity) and they bring a fresh kind of music to Unity.

Having said that….Karen Drucker did much of the music for conference, and I suppose some of her music is a type of folk music, and I absolutely love her. So there is room for all of it!


There were many great keynote speakers and I came away with lots of ideas, new information and a deeper understanding of some long held ideas and beliefs. Some of those ideas include:

  • Church Change can be messy, but without it we remain stagnant.
  • At the end of a sermon give a couple of minutes for people to share with another something that they’ve received, and it will provide a greater retention.
  • Move from an ‘either/or’ consciousness to a ‘both/and’ consciousness.
  • Check out (for 10-13 year olds)
  • Ministers should not be paid to do ministry, but to equip others to do ministry.
  • It is important to move away from a minister-centric ministry to avoid minister burn-out.
  • A healthy church has over 90% active volunteers, however most churches aren’t there yet.
    LIES OF SCARCITY by Lynne Twist

1. There’s not enough
2. More is better
3. There’s nothing we can do about it

  • We have forgotten that we made up money! We have abused the idea of abundance to include a consciousness of ‘more is better.’
  • Sufficiency is different from abundance.
  • If you let go of trying to get more of what you don’t really need, it frees up oceans of energy to turn and nourish what you already have.
  • Move from a consciousness of ‘you or me’ to one of ‘you and me’.
  • “What you appreciate appreciates.”
  • Check out: and
  • Gratitude includes both gratefulness and thanksgiving
  • Things that unravel…sometimes need to. (BOY ISN’T THIS TRUE!)

    HOLACRACY by Brian Robertson
  • Holacracy is a sense of ‘spirit as work.’ The organization is dynamic…it is free to find its own purpose as a living entity.
  • Governance is distributed throughout the organization and across time…it is evolutionary and is not stagnant.
  • It is ‘sense and respond’ rather than ‘predict and control’. It’s like riding a bicycle….it’s better to steer as you go along rather than try to map everything along ahead of time and try to ride blindfolded. You hold the aim in mind and steer continuously.
  • In holacracy you reach a workable decision, not necessarily the BEST decision. The best decision emerges over time as you move forward.
  • Any issue can be revisited at any time. Delay all decisions to the last responsible moment—you’ll have more data and make more informed decisions. Then make small decisions and deliver fast.
  • Can always fall back to predict and control if needed.


  • In every relationship, one fills a role and is accountable for something. It’s not ‘who are you accountable to’, but ‘what are you accountable for.’ People count on you for things…but it is the role that is counted on, not the person.
  • Separate ‘roles’ from ‘souls’. Conflict in organizations aren’t about people, they are about roles. (I LOVE THIS!!! THIS IS SO TRUE…IF ONLY WE COULD GET THIS!)
  • Role descriptions (rather than job descriptions) contain verbs + ing: i.e. teaching, preaching, equipping, etc.
  • These are defined based on reality over time, rather than what you think ‘should’ be done. In other words, over time one realizes what is being done and needs to be done…rather than projecting what you ‘think’ should be in that role. (Also people should be working in their ‘sweet spot’…if there is something that needs to be filled…find the best suited person to do it…it might not be the minister).
  • Accountabilities are assigned to roles not a person. Shift from responsible to accountability. You can consciously choose to not do something (this is not irresponsible) but make a choice based on best needs in the moment.
  • Church is not about serving congregants, but its purpose is to find its unique spiritual expression in the world—spirit in action.
  • What could the church do if it were freed from the shackles of human ego?

  • Not about consensus (it’s about honoring all perspectives and integrating them)
  • Not about personal feelings of being ‘for’ or ‘against’ anything
  • About perspective of roles, not people.
  • No one blocks decisions, they just add more to integrate
  • Decisions aren’t made—they emerge.


I didn’t take notes for everything. Bishop Spong and Dr. Rev. Barbara King were awesome speakers, and I was too wrapped up in them to stop and take notes. There is no way to capture everything from convention. Much of it was reconnecting with friends and making new ones, as well as a little Association and Regional business meetings.

The Conference next year will be in San Diego. You don’t need to be a minister to attend, everyone is invited. Start planning now to attend…you won’t regret it!