One Course, Two Visions
A Course in Miracles has emerged within our lifetime as an authoritative spiritual text. Yet what does it really say? In the Course' brief history, two comprehensive visions have been offered, each by respected teachers and organizations, each based on many years of personal dedication and scholarly investigation. One vision comes from Ken Wapnick and the Foundation for A Course in Miracles. The other comes from Robert Perry and his colleagues at the Circle of Atonement.
One might assume that these visions would differ only in the details, yet in fact they diverge dramatically, leading to different ways of approaching, understanding, and living the Course. These differences have naturally led to confusion for Course students. The purpose of this book is to clear up that confusion. It addresses how the two visions relate to each other, delineating both their similarities and their differences. It then goes on to explore the key differences, and how they impact the Course student's life.
Table of Contents
One The Relationship between the Circle's Teachings and the Teacings of Ken Wapnick
Two Course Metaphysics by Robert Perry
Three How Metaphoric Is The Language of the Course?
by Robert Perry
Four Does the Holy Spirit Actually Do Things in the World?
by Greg Mackie
Five Is the Bible Compatible with the Course?
A Comparison of the Views of Ken Wapnick and the Circle of Atonement
by Allen Watson
Six The Spiritual Program of A Course in Miracles:
The Circle's Vision and Ken Wapnick's Vision Compared
by Greg Mackie
Seven What Would The Course Have Me Do?
Applying the Circle's and Ken Wapnick's Visions to a Specific Situation
by Greg Mackie
Introduction by Robert Perry, Greg Mackie, & Allen Watson
We feel this book needed to be written. The specific catalyst for it is that we have been asked by students for years to clarify the relationship between Ken Wapnick's teaching and our own. For most of that time we chose not to, because we were concerned that the confusion and misunderstanding it would stir up might outweigh whatever good it did. However, in the last few years, we have received so many such requests that we finally decided to respond to what appears to be a widespread need. We initially planned a newsletter, but when we went to write the articles we planned, we found we simply couldn't do them justice in the space allotted. The articles turned into long essays and the newsletter became a book.
We see this book, however, as fulfilling an important need beyond the need to understand how the Circle's teaching relates to that of Ken Wapnick. Therefore, before you embark on reading it, we want to clarify the purpose for which it was written. Although responding to the views of an influential thinker is completely normal in the world, there are as yet no such established conventions around A Course in Miracles. Hence, we would like to begin by making the purpose of this book clear.
In it we discuss the teachings of Ken Wapnick and how those teachings relate to our own. As you will see, we often differ with his teachings and openly explain our reasons why. The book, however, is not intended as a personal attack on Wapnick. We fully acknowledge that he has had an immensely important role in relation to A Course in Miracles. In addition to being the third member of the original Course family (after Helen Schucman and Bill Thetford), he helped edit the Course for publication, and since then has been its most prominent interpreter. If one believes that the writing and publishing of the Course was driven by a higher plan—which we at the Circle do—it is difficult to deny that Wapnick was an important part of that plan; that he was, in essence, handpicked by Jesus to play a pivotal role. One also cannot help but respect the depth of his devotion to the Course. He has dedicated his life to it and worked tirelessly to serve its students. He has taught things and done things that we do not agree with, but our perspective is that even these came out of his drive to honor the purity of the Course. His influence, in fact, has pulled the entire Course world toward a greater respect for the Course's unique and radical elements than would have been there without him. We all owe a debt of gratitude to Ken Wapnick.
This book is not meant to deny that debt. It is meant, very simply, to address Wapnick's views.1 They have been very influential among Course students, and we believe that discussion of those views by other teachers of the Course will be helpful to many students. Where we attempt to refute his views, we will do so in a respectful manner; that is, with evidence from the Course, never with speculation about the supposed biases, projections, and character flaws that gave rise to those views.
We realize this book is not for every Course student. It is written especially for those who put a great deal of stock in things like logical arguments and rules of evidence in deciding for themselves what the Course teaches. In writing this book, we particularly had in mind those who teach the Course to others. They have a special responsibility to come to informed views of the Course rather than simply passing on views that may appear popular or authoritative but are not grounded in the Course.
This book is also not intended to stir up controversy. It is extremely easy to use any issue, especially that of differences in Course interpretation, as an excuse to get caught up in controversy and take our focus off the real issue: that of living the Course. That is why this is the only book the Circle has ever written about differences in interpretation. Our main focus has been and always will be on helping students to understand the Course's teaching and apply its practice. We hope that this book will help students clarify for themselves what the Course actually does teach, so that they can more effectively follow its teachings in their lives.
This book is based on two premises:
1. How one understands what the Course says is a crucial issue for Course students.
2. Hearing Course interpreters respond to the views of other interpreters can put us in an ideal position to make up our own minds about what it says.
The first premise should be self-evident. A Course in Miracles is a book that lays out an entire spiritual path. If the Course is your path, then how you understand and practice your personal path is determined by how you interpret this book. In this sense, the Course is analogous to a cookbook. How you read the instructions determines what kind of dish you cook. If you interpret a cookbook differently than someone else, then you end up cooking a different dish. For example, one of us once had soup that a housemate made for the household. He hadn't done a lot of cooking and so he thought that "2 t. salt" meant two tablespoons of salt. He interpreted the cookbook instructions differently and the result was an incredibly salty pot of soup.
How we interpret the words of the Course matters. Different interpretations amount to different recipes for the spiritual life, and consequently turn out different dishes—different kinds of spiritual seekers. If you think the Course trains you in meditation, for instance, your path will be different than that of someone who believes that meditation is at odds with the Course's radical teaching. If you think the Course sends you out into the world to help strangers in need, your path will be different than that of someone who believes that such "help" makes the separation real.
Words get a lot of bad press in Course circles. Barely a week goes by when we do not hear someone quote, "Words are but symbols of symbols. They are thus twice removed from reality" (M-21.1:9-10). Yet imagine how shocked you would be if you purchased the Course only to find that it had no words, nothing but blank pages. These words tell us what to do in the "kitchen" of our spiritual life, what ingredients to put in, in what measure and what order, and how long to bake the dish. In the end, we are meant to go beyond words, but the Course's strategy is to use words to tell us how to go beyond them.
Thus, how we understand the Course's words makes a huge difference. Yet few of us—perhaps none of us—have the time, ability, and inclination to piece together the Course's entire thought system by ourselves. Most of us can therefore benefit from skilled interpreters who have devoted their lives to understanding this teaching. Not only can we benefit, we already do benefit. I think there are few long-term Course students who have not been influenced by interpreters. The Course is so massive and so multifaceted that students tend to be hungry for simple concepts that can condense major aspects of the Course into a small package. So hungry are we that when such a simple concept comes along we often soak it up like a sponge without even realizing it. A great example of this is the notion that A Course in Miracles is a self-study course. This is one of the most accepted pieces of "wisdom" about the Course and yet nowhere does the Course itself say that it is a self-study course. Someone came up with that idea and we all just took it in and passed it around without any actual evidence for it. In other words, we have all been influenced by that interpreter, whoever it was.
In our experience at the Circle, many of the simple concepts through which students see the Course come from the teachings of Ken Wapnick. He has a knack for reducing the Course to a series of simple concepts and then repeating those concepts again and again. The result is that many students have taken in elements of his framework without remembering, or even knowing, where those elements came from. Others have taken those elements in because they came from him—they believed that he was the authority on the Course and that what he said was the final word. Still others have taken those elements in because they found Wapnick's presentation genuinely persuasive, but perhaps they might not have if there existed a true marketplace of ideas, in which there were multiple options which were in public dialogue with each other.
This is why we believe issues of Course interpretation need to be discussed out in the open. Two factors are relevant here. Students in the end have to make up their own minds; they must decide for themselves what they believe the Course teaches. Yet they also need the help of interpreters, of experts—people who have devoted their lives to understanding the Course. Both of these factors are true, but together they present us with a difficulty: if you need an expert but you yourself are not an expert, how do you know how to evaluate what the expert says? One of the oldest and best answers to this question is that you listen to different experts commenting on each other's views. To pick an extreme example, if you hear about a radical new theory in the field of cosmology, and you yourself are not qualified to evaluate it (which is most probably true), you naturally want to hear what professional cosmologists say about it.
Evaluating interpretations of the Course is not as specialized as evaluating theories in cosmology, yet the same basic need exists. When a Course student confronts the teachings of Ken Wapnick, there is an obvious power differential. That student knows that he or she is only a mere student, whereas Ken Wapnick was close to Helen Schucman, helped edit the Course, heads up a large center, has written a pile of books on the Course, and even owns the copyright. This power differential puts the student at a distinct disadvantage. The student may not feel convinced by what Wapnick says, but may think "Who am I to question Ken Wapnick?" The time-honored way to equalize the situation is for students to hear what other qualified interpreters have to say about Wapnick's teachings. Then the student is in a good position to make a truly informed decision, even if that decision ends up being that his or her inner sense was wrong and that Wapnick was right after all.
That is the very simple idea behind this book. Ideally, it would be a true dialogue between Wapnick and the Circle. However, Wapnick declined our request to respond to the essays in this book and for many years has declined our repeated invitations to engage in public dialogue. To our knowledge, he does not publicly dialogue with anyone about the question of what the Course teaches.2 We therefore had to do the next best thing: respond to his views by ourselves. This, of course, leaves us open to misrepresenting his views. For this reason, we have done our utmost to be fair. We have based our representations of his views on quotes from his own writings and have done our best to keep from caricaturing his views.
Addressing the ideas of an influential thinker in any field is, as we all know, standard procedure in the world. It is an integral part of how human understanding moves forward. Yet some of the feedback we received when we published two of this book's essays in our newsletter was that we shouldn't be talking about differences. Not talking about differences in Course interpretation can sound spiritual, but can you imagine that being standard practice in other fields? Can you imagine the field of psychology, for example, if it was taboo to respond to the ideas of Freud? In fact, while Helen Schucman was taking down the early chapters of the Text, the author of the Course himself responded to the ideas of Freud, freely expressing both agreements and disagreements. He was not at all shy about addressing differences.
Another frequent response to that newsletter was the claim that both Wapnick and the Circle are really saying the same thing; that in effect, there are no differences. This seemed to stem, at least in part, from a discomfort with the possibility that someone was right and someone was wrong. While we acknowledge that differences in views are often more apparent than actual, the simple fact is that not all views can be right. If someone claimed that the Course's message is to hate your brother, would we really want to say, "Well, that's right, too"? If we want the real truth, we must be willing to identify what is not true. Otherwise, the truth gets lost amidst all those falsehoods we are so open-mindedly affirming. Likewise, if we want to know what the Course really says, we must be willing to identify what it does not say. If a view is false—if it does not reflect the Course—we should let it fall by the wayside, not with anger, but with dispassion. On the road to the truth we must be willing to let a thousand views fall by the wayside. All that matters is the truth.
For this same reason, the Course is not shy about saying that we are wrong, something it does many, many times. Our egos take it as a terrible insult, and they are in a sense right: admitting that you are wrong is a little death of the ego, a little part of its total relinquishment. Yet that relinquishment is the whole goal of the spiritual path. That is why the Course says, "Be glad, then, that you have been wrong" (T‑9.IV.10:5). We invite you, therefore, not to be shy in facing the differences between our view of the Course and Ken Wapnick's, and even in deciding that one or both of us is wrong.
This is the spirit in which we at the Circle try to approach our own views. Our views are not sacred. We can be wrong and have been—many times. There are probably views of ours in this very book that we will eventually decide are wrong. When we find that we have been wrong, rather than trying to make our earlier view and new view both right, we try to simply say, "We were wrong," and talk about it with each other and with our students here. Putting our previous view in the best possible light, making it somehow right too, just gets in the way of moving on from it. It was wrong. Who cares about it anymore?
The value we place on admitting when we are wrong is part of our aim of getting it right. And we do want to get it right. We place a high value on Course scholarship. We do a lot of in-house scholarship that we do not publish, and one of our long-term goals is to found a genuine tradition of scholarship around the Course. We see this as the special function of one of our writers, Greg Mackie, who contributes heavily to this volume.
Our emphasis on closely examining the words of the Course and taking them literally most of the time has led a few people to label us "fundamentalists. " We, however, do not think that term applies to us at all. While fundamentalists claim to take scripture literally, the term itself refers to far more than this. Fundamentalism began as a label for currents within 20th century American Protestantism, but the word is now often used to describe movements in various traditions around the world. Karen Armstrong in her book, The Battle for God: A History of Fundamentalism, describes fundamentalist movements as "embattled forms of spirituality" that have emerged to fight against what they see as the encroaching evil of secular modernity.
Fundamentalists do not regard this battle as a conventional political struggle, but experience it as a cosmic war between the forces of good and evil. They fear annihilation, and try to fortify their beleaguered identity by means of a selective retrieval of certain doctrines and practices of the past.3
The notion of "selective retrieval" is particularly important. Fundamentalists are not truly devoted to drawing out and following the original meaning of their scriptural writings. Speaking of Christian fundamentalists, L. William Countryman comments in his book Biblical Authority or Biblical Tyranny?:
They often speak of Scripture as inerrant. In fact, however, they have tacitly abandoned the authority of Scripture in favor of a conservative Protestant theology they buttress with strings of quotations to give it a biblical flavor, but it predetermines their reading of Scripture so thoroughly that one cannot speak of the Bible as having any independent voice in their churches. 4
Given the above descriptions, it is difficult to see much if any resemblance between fundamentalism and the Circle. We prefer instead to think of ourselves as "purists." Our whole intent is to approach the Course on its own terms and thereby give it a truly "independent voice," independent of our preconceptions and preferences. Perhaps with other scriptures such an attempt to follow "the letter of the law" stifles "the spirit of the law" and leads to a stale and restrictive spiritual life. Our experience with this scripture, however, is that the more minutely we go into the "letter" the more deeply we get in touch with the spirit, the more practical, alive and transformative the Course becomes for us. In the case of the Course, we believe, the "letter" genuinely serves the "spirit."
In conclusion, we have written this book in as neutral a tone as possible and we invite you to read it in that same spirit. This is not a boxing match. It is an exploration of what the Course teaches. What matters is not who is right or who is wrong; what matters is coming to a better understanding of the Course's teaching, so that we can live that teaching in our lives. Our goal here is to put you in the position of making a truly informed decision about what the Course teaches. We therefore urge you to approach it in that spirit. Do not decide something is true just because we say it. We don't want the Circle to turn into another unquestioned authority. Try not to get caught up in drama and controversy. Look at the evidence, look at the arguments, and decide for yourself.
1. In keeping with standard scholarly practice for referring to a thinker, we will refer to Ken Wapnick throughout the book by his last name.
2. Wapnick has published a dialogue with Rev. W. Norris Clarke entitled A Course in Miracles and Christianity: A Dialogue. However, in this book, Wapnick and Rev. Clarke do not dialogue about the question of what the Course teaches. Rather, they dialogue about how the Course relates to Christianity, with Wapnick playing the representative of the Course. The dialogue thus assumes that Wapnick's understanding of the Course is correct; at no point in the dialogue is his understanding of the Course challenged.
3. Karen Armstrong, The Battle for God: A History of Fundamentalism (New York: Knopf, 2000), p. xiii.
4. L. William Countryman, Biblical Authority or Biblical Tyranny? (Harrisburg, PA: Trinity Press International, 1994), pp. ix-x.
Excerpt From Chapter Two: Course Metaphysics
The Holy Spirit
Since, in Wapnick's view, God is unaware of the separation and does not respond to it, then it is impossible for Him to create the Holy Spirit as a means of healing the separation. Wapnick is quite clear that the Holy Spirit is not a creation of God: "the Holy Spirit is not really a Person Who was specifically and intentionally created by God."1. If the Holy Spirit is not a creation of God, what, then, is He? Wapnick answers:
We can better understand the Holy Spirit to be the memory of God's perfect Love that "came" with the Son when he fell asleep.2
The Holy Spirit, therefore, is our own memory of the heavenly state. Wapnick, in fact, often calls the Holy Spirit the "memory of God" (a Course term that the Course itself never applies to the Holy Spirit). Notice how this takes the causation of the Holy Spirit out of God's Hands. The Holy Spirit is there as a result of our function of memory, not as a result of God's function of creation.
Wapnick, however, has another way of talking about the Holy Spirit. He says that the Holy Spirit is "an illusion,"3 "a symbol and not reality,"4 that He is merely a "projected split-off part of our self."5 These two ideas seem quite different: the Holy Spirit is our memory of God and the Holy Spirit is an illusion we project from a split-off part of our self. I am not completely certain how they go together, but this quote from Wapnick gives us a clue:
The figures of Jesus or the Holy Spirit are really the projections (reflections) of the memory of a non-dualistic God within our dualistic minds. The problem, however, is that this projected split-off part of our self is actually believed and experienced to be real.6
This quote contains both versions of the Holy Spirit (Holy Spirit as unreal projection and Holy Spirit as memory of God) and describes how they are related: the Holy Spirit as unreal symbol is projected from our buried memory of God. So, one version of the Holy Spirit (unreal symbol) is projected from the other version of the Holy Spirit (memory of God). As an analogy, let's say you have a memory of the ideal spring day. The sun was out, the air was warm, the flowers were budding, the birds were singing, and you hadn't a care in the world. This day was so beautiful, it stayed in your mind as a lovely memory. Then one night, years later, you have a dream, and in this dream a person shows up that vaguely reminds you of that spring day. This person, in fact, is the very embodiment of that day. Everything about him is reminiscent of that day. The person, of course, is not real. He is just a dream symbol. Where did he come from? He is the manifestation of your memory of that perfect spring day. He is that memory expressed in symbolic form. He is that memory projected in personified form.
This is how I think Wapnick is seeing the relationship between the Holy Spirit as memory of what is real and the Holy Spirit as illusory symbol. The Holy Spirit is actually just a memory. The appearance that the Holy Spirit is a real Spirit or Being is just a symbol, a moving picture that has been projected from that buried part of our mind that contains this memory. This Spirit is just a personification of our memory, a personification we project and which is no more real than the dream person I described above. This, at least, is what the above quote from Wapnick seems to indicate.
What is clear from Wapnick's description of the Holy Spirit is that there is no actual Being in Heaven called the Holy Spirit. There is no Spirit Who is aware of our dream of separation and acts within it. The Holy Spirit has been completely stripped of being-status. In effect, then, there is no Holy Spirit. There is only our memory of being with God, a memory that, when projected, gives rise to the illusory image of an active, caring Spirit, an image that is no more real than the pictures on a movie screen.
1. All Are Called, p. 33.
2. Ibid., p. 33.
3. Few Choose to Listen, p. 88.
4. Ibid., p. 124.
5. Ibid., p. 108.
6. Few Choose to Listen, p. 108.
ReviewsAdd Your Review
A Staff for the Path
This is an excellent little glossary for some of the Course's more difficult terms and phrases. And let's face it, there are a bunch of them. You can't learn what you can't understand.
Robert Perry is one of the keenest minds focused on ACIM today. Just as importantly, he's one of the clearest writers. If you're already on the path of A Course in Miracles, or thinking of starting down it, invest in this companion book for the sake of clarity and gentle, lucid guidance.
Perry offers you definitions of not just what a term means within the teaching of the Course, but also what it means historically, conventionally and in Christianity. There's just no confusion; I still refer to it often.
The Course is a map to inner peace and fulfillment, to the actual experience of God here and now in day to day life. This key to that map is offered by someone who has been there before you and actually knows the Way.
As I've said in other reviews, my experience with Circle Publishing's books has been overwhelmingly positive. Their Workbook Commentaries are excellent and Path of Light is a great support book for students, would-be students and the simply curious. The value-per-dollar spent could hardly be tilted more in your favor.
Peace to you.
Henry Dickens & Co
Member, Antiquarian Book Dealers Association of South Carolina
"The recent book delineating your philosophy compared to Ken Wapnick's philosophy was such a U-turn for me. I am so grateful that you had the courage to write it. I had always assumed Wapnick was the main authority on the Course, yet consistently felt depressed and disengaged after reading him, but could not put my finger on why. Thank you so much for the clarity in that work. I need a present Jesus. But, at the same time, I do not want to fool myself with fairy tales in order to feel better. After reading One Course, Two Visions, I was able to finally sort this out and acknowledge that Jesus really is here with me. What a relief! I feel like a cloud has lifted and have been digging into the Course again, connecting with Jesus, my ever-patient friend. I want you to know I also appreciate how you continued to picture Wapnick as a holy brother, even given the differences and legal conflicts."
The White Rabbit was agitated as he ran down the rabbit hole.
"Oh dear, oh dear, we've lost the content of the Course!" he cried.
Alice replied: "I think we've lost the author as well."
"Thanks to the Circle for beginning to examine the issues raised by some of Ken Wapnick's theories about the Course. Here I would like to discuss briefly Ken's ideas about its source and content."
"According to Ken Jesus is an abstract presence of formless love. Defined in this way Jesus couldn't have designed and dictated the specific words of the Course. There is a dilemma here which Ken attempts to solve by defining the content of the Course, likewise, as formless love. He seems to see the words of the Course as simply equating with form and there is much talk of iambic pentameter, Shakespeare, psychological concepts and terminology known to Helen, etc. Nevertheless he never says outright that Helen composed the words because if he did surely we would have to conclude that Helen was the author. So we have a source of formless love and a content of formless love. Does this adequately describe the authorship and content of A Course in Miracles?"
"The Course is a lengthy, intricate, and closely argued teaching of considerable psychological and philosophical complexity. Among other things it delves, in grizzly detail, into the dynamics of the ego system. Ken Wapnick himself has emphasised the need for us to honestly examine the ego system and not to simply dwell on "love". Who gave us the detailed information about the ego system? In considering this question, and others like it, we see the need to consider what we really mean when we talk about the authorship and content of the Course."
"I submit, firstly, that the content of the Course consists of the ideas it sets forth - these ideas are transmitted by the words of the Course and the meaning they convey. I suggest that we can't divorce the words of the Course from their meaning and content, and whoever provided the words provided the meaning and content of the Course. This content is vast, and will be studied by students and scholars for generations."
"Secondly, I submit, that the person who dictated the words to Helen is quite unambiguous about his identity, his words, his authority, and his remaining with us to guide and help us through the dream. He simply does not conform to Ken's definition of him and as defined by Ken could have had no part in all of this. We may well ask who wrote the Course, because this theory doesn't tell us."
"The theory of formless love bypasses both the author, and the text Helen scribed. It fudges on the crucial issue of responsibility for the words, and is muddled on the distinction between form and content. It doesn't hold up as an account of the source and content of the Course."
"I just purchased your e-book delineating your differences with Wapnick. I found your argument entirely logical and convincing. Thanks for having guts to state your convictions. I'm afraid that I have been so influenced by Wapnick's teaching (even though I have always believed them flawed) that I have confused what the Course taught me with what I learned from Wapnick. So thanks for helping me to remember and to distinguish."
"Thanks, all of you, for the excellent work you're doing and for this illuminating commentary on the differences between your views and those of Ken Wapnick."
"I've been working with the Course now for about 15 years, and feel as though I am finally able to do a better job of doing the lessons! I need the repetition."
"From very early on I found that I/my ego was "bouncing off" things Ken Wapnick would write, with a feeling they were overly harsh, or made the task too hard for me, or placed God's love/the Holy Spirit's activity too far from where I was to help. Salvation as entering into union with God was OK conceptually, but I wanted help and release from the problems I faced daily in my life-illusion or otherwise."
"I thoroughly enjoyed the articles by Greg Mackie and Robert regarding the Circle's ACIM interpretation as compared to Ken Wapnick and FACIM. Many students of ACIM have been heretofore thoroughly confused by what are in fact fundamental differences, and I feel these clearly written articles are a wonderful remedy. I have personally heard criticism that even writing the articles is inherently judgmental and therefore an attack and I couldn't disagree more."
"As one might expect of a former board member of the Circle, I found myself lining up very solidly with our theoretical positions. Ken's radical non-dualism seems to lead him to many conclusions that simply do not make sense to me given the actual words of the Course on many issues. I think that it cannot be said enough however that these differences and their relative merits pale in importance to the reality that Ken is a dear brother in Christ with whom we are one, and that even on a human level, we are all indeed on the same team."
"I have always felt the presence of the Holy Spirit directly guiding and inspiring the Circle from its inception, of which I was gratefully a part. I am quite sure as well that the same thing is true of Ken Wapnick, et.al. It would be hard to dispute that Ken was not commissioned directly by the Holy Spirit and Jesus to be the first, and at least to date most influential disseminator of the core meaning of ACIM. I believe that Jesus has commissioned many people on this earth in the same way. All of those souls have unique gifts to give, and will incidentally communicate unique forms of misunderstanding, with no exception."
"In short, I feel that Ken's unique gift to the Course world is in fact his radical non-dualism, and I have the feeling that this propensity is why he was hired by Spirit to be the Course's first widely known interpreter. The world is not real. The little selves we made to people it are not real. Therefore, sin is not real. These truths are poison to the ego, and are the most potent antidote to its undoing. The world is literally built to reject this claim. I am thankful to Ken for a dogged, radical non-dualism that would permanently ground within the course world that most threatening of truths: that none of this is real and that therefore sin cannot be real. My threatened little ego always wishes to judge those who think differently than me. In spite of all however, anyone with the guts to make this bold claim in a culture built on the reality of sin and sacrifice is a friend of mine."
"Although the Circle has always strenuously emphasized the non-dual essence of ACIM, it has always promoted a qualified non-dualism, which I feel is very clear in the Course. There is a connection between Spirit and the material world. God does reach down to us within the dream in many direct and fundamental ways. What a depressing and demoralizing process the spiritual path would be if it were not so. I believe this recognition is one of the Circle's unique gifts to the Course world, and one which HS directly commissioned it to express. I'm sure its members have communicated understandings that reflect the lack of comprehension available to an awakened mind. Yet, the gifts will be given and received none the less. Almost all the arguments about what the Course actually says seem to occur in relation to how Spirit interacts (or doesn't interact) with the material world. The Circle has shown in my opinion singular courage in exploring this complicated and sticky area "where the rubber meets the road" as a friend of mine says."
"On the subject of Holy Spirit, if it helps a particular seeker to think of Him as a "memory" or even an abstract mathematical principle, so be it. I don't think He will be offended. Indeed, I believe He is capable of translating his message of oneness into mathematical formulae. But I think that as Greg says, the Course is very clear that He is a created being as is the Sonship and all its "aspects". He is the Almighty's proxy here, the "Comforter" promised us two thousand years ago by Jesus: A Comforter with intention and intelligence who knows every nuance of every thought; A Comforter intimately involved in human destiny, and therefore the forms of human destiny; A Comforter who will not only guide us but be a personal loving presence in our own minds if we let him.
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