Thursday, September 23, 2010

September 5, 2010 Questions and Answers

On September 5, 2010, Duke Tufty took questions from the congregation and answered as many as he could at the time. Here are the answers to those questions as well as all the other questions asked that Sunday.

What is the meaning of life? Progressive creative expression. God-Spirit-Universal Mind holds within it the potential to create everything that will ever be. With every bit of potential, there is the desire to express that potential and manifest it in the physical world. With the big bang, there came the divine idea for all that would follow. As expressions of Spirit, each of us has potential to grow, evolve and become more. Our purpose is to apply ourselves to that potential or divine idea to fulfill the original idea.

What is the purpose of prayer? To settle the mind; affirm the positive; to commune with the spirit of life; to recognize our oneness with "it all".

Do God and Science mesh? ie. Can they support each other? We live in a great age where a bridge between Science and Spirituality is becoming a reality. As science advances, it is recognizing that which cannot be seen and at the same time it is exposing much of religious dogma as myth or superstition. This is great news.

How do you comprehend a God who created the vast universe? God is incomprehensible and can only be experienced through emotion. When one is totally immersed in love, peace, harmony and oneness, God is experienced.

If God is so powerful and all knowing…why doesn’t he show himself so there is not doubt? God is it all. God is not a man, deity or higher being separate from us but the Spirit that expresses as us. God is not independent from anything.

Best way to deal with grief and death of longtime partner? Realize that life is eternal and although the physical body is laid down, the loving heart and responsive mind of the person continues. I believe it is a sure thing for those who have exchanged love in this lifetime to meet again in the next.

Some days the fear keeps away the confidence. Where to I go for support? Turn inward. Meditation is the most effective way to calm oneself, instill faith and confidence. A meditation as short as two minutes can do wonders. To learn certain meditation techniques, you can take advantage of the many meditation classes available at Unity Temple as well as a special class I will be teaching on November 13, 2010. Check the website,, for more information in the coming weeks.

Why do some religious leaders lay a “guilt trip” on their congregation? Why do others call us “the feel good” church? I love the positive lesson@Unity. I believe religious leaders lay "guilt trips" on people in order to control them. If a religious leader can make you feel guilty, define hellish consequences that may await you, and offer you salvation from your sins, you will pretty much do what that person says and give that person what he/she asks.

How do we reconcile the disasters of the world? Natural and human created. Human beings represent 3% of the life on this planet, yet we seem to think it is exclusively ours and can do with the earth what we choose. Everything we can see has come forth from the earth. It is literally our mother. Until we begin to treat the earth the way we would treat our biological mother, with kindness and respect, things are going to continually decline. Human beings go to battle with each other and drop bombs; we spread deadly chemicals and waste products over its surface; and we deplete its resources with no consideration of the consequences. Each of us has an opportunity to transform our little corner of the world with peace and harmony, regardless of the external circumstances.

How can we live in happiness and peace when so many atrocities occur around the globe? Atrocities are the effects of our actions. We need to discover the cause which begins in the minds of human beings. Each of us makes a difference in this world through our thoughts and actions. Everything we see began as a thought. We can recognize this powerful Truth, and use our incredible power to create more love and kindness.

Is the concept of reincarnation part of Unity Thought principles? Many people in the Unity movement believe in reincarnation, but it is not an official principle of Unity. Reincarnation is an intuitive process engaged in by the individual.

What does Unity believe about an after-life? There is one or there isn't one. Whether there is or not, nothing can be done about it one way or another so it is best to live "now", in this moment.

What does Unity say about reincarnation? see above

Reincarnation? What do you think? Good idea? see above

Would you please say something on Unity’s position on reincarnation. Thanks for being here! see above

Why are most worship Services void of Bible verses? The Senior Minister should minister almost every Sunday. There are too many guest speakers! I would like to see more services that interpret the meaning of the Bible. This is a very good suggestion. The Bible is rich in spiritual direction and inspiration. As the Senior Minister, I would enjoy speaking every Sunday but there are times when situations totally consume my time, and there isn't room for preparation. An average lesson takes 10 to 15 hours to prepare. That is two days out of the week devoted to the lesson alone and on occasion that time doesn't exist.

Duke, I like for you to use your Bible book sometimes when you are teaching it is so much more powerful… nothing like the holy words. This is a good suggestion and i will try to do it more.

Who is Jesus from a Unity perspective? Prophet? Saviour? Christ? All of the above. Jesus was a prophet in that he was able to predict what would happen if people continued in their ways. Jesus could be seen as a saviour in that his message and the Truth revealed by him "saved" people from much of the misery and despair they experienced. Jesus expressed the Christ within him, the Christ being the highest expression of humanity. He also told the people that the Christ was also within them and what he had done they could do also.

What are your thoughts on Jesus? Is he the son of God or just a great spiritual teacher? Jesus was an expression of divine spirit as we all are. He discovered a level of consciousness within him that awakened him to a spiritual way of perceiving life which once again he expressed the Truth that we all can as well.

Does Unity Temple believe that Jesus is the Son of God? Should we teach our children this? see above

Could Unity be considered a Bible believe church? In what sense or to what degree? Unity sees the Bible as an incredible source of direction and inspiration. Unity does not take some of the Bible literally as the word of God because it has dogmatic, political and cultural assertions that hold prejudice. Unity does take the Bible stories as allegory, meaning they are parables from which a lesson can be learned but not necessarily factual events that took place.

Explain what it means when they say in the Bible fear of the Lord. Should we really fear the Lord? When it says. . "fear the Lord", it means whoever wrote that wants power over the people. Fearing Love, fearing peace, fearing harmony is akin to fearing God for which there is no possible reason.

From the “Lord’s Prayer” – What is the kingdom of God? Definition? Why is there no cross in the sanctuary? Is the Kingdom of God in the realm of consciousness within the human mind.? Our awareness level of this consciousness determines the way we experience life. The highest level of human consciousness which Jesus described as the Kingdom of God or Kingdom of heaven is one characterized by compassion, love, peace and harmony with a sense of oneness with it all. There is no cross in the Sanctuary because the service is attended by people of all religions. In addition the cross is most often viewed as the device of crucifixion and Jesus death. We prefer to direct our attention to Jesus’ life and the lessons he taught.

Muslim’s Shariah Law a threat to the U.S.? The United States has a very brilliant and well-defined statement of separation between church and state. This allows for all people to practice in their daily lives the principles of the religion they choose. We are governed by laws with the freedom to choose our religious beliefs and practices as long as they are within the boundaries of those laws.

When was spirit born? How was spirit born? That is a question I cannot answer. Spirit existed before time, before the big bang; before every before. It is that which has always been and always will be. I just don't know. When I try to think about it, my mind short circuits.

How does Unity differ from the Lutheran religion? The primary difference between Unity and the more traditional religions is that Unity believes every person has inherent within them the original blessing rather than original sin. Unity believes that every person has within them the "Christ" which is the potential expressed by Jesus. Unity does not believe that any person will be condemned to hell or that there is even a destination named hell. Lastly, Unity does not take the Old Testament stories literally but rather as parable to learn from.

Who am I? Who, who? Who, who? It might be easier to tell you who you are not. You are not your thoughts; you are not imperfect in anyway; you are not flawed or unworthy; you are not limited in your potential for happiness, love, peace, harmony and kindness. You, in absolute reality, are much more than you think you are. You are an expression of Spirit which resides in every cell of your body and mind. You are "you". You are what you think about most of the time.

How can we find our purpose? That God has intended for us? Begin with the end in mind. Determine what you want out of life in regards to an emotional experience. I am sure you desire good in some form or fashion. Your purpose is to express what you desire into the world while at the same time discovering that which impassions you.

Will God, “The Spirit that is”, actually manifest in physical form. ie. some type of messiah, second coming, or physical? God, "The Spirit that is" is manifesting in every living thing. An individual like Jesus or another Spiritual Master might express higher levels of God potential, God is not limited to expressing as one but always expressing as all. Manifestation of God in form show him/herself to us?

A question about forgiveness. How can one live without judgment and forgive at the same time? In order to feel the need to forgive we must first have a judgment, right? Thanks. Shannon Shannon, I believe you are right but upon further contemplation reserve the right to flip flop.

How or why is patience defined as faith? What can my wife and I do to strengthen our patience and allow the Divine universe to fulfill our desires and needs? What are the best proclamations to deliver to send out the most powerful vibrations? Is this the best technique and if not, which one is? Faith is a belief in that which cannot be evidenced or has yet to happen. Life happens on its own terms and time line which often is not quite as quickly as we would like. Faith gives us the patience to know that everything happens in its own time.

Passages from the Bible as well as teaching and quotes from Buddha and Buddhism are used at Unity. Why are teachings or quotes from Mohammad and the Koran not used? (I’m not Muslim, just curious) Personally speaking it is because I have never studied the Koran and am pretty much unfamiliar with anything beyond the basics. It would be a good objective for me to begin to understand the Muslim faith better.

How does Unity view Islam? Unity believes when diversity is praised, peace and harmony are the rewards.

Why do people believe that their religion, that they believe, is the religion that is right and all others are wrong? People believe their religion is right because they have committed to it's so strongly that they actually believe it is right. A different belief has to be made wrong because of the fear if it isn't wrong they might be. The Tao states the one who thinks he knows is a fool and the one who knows he doesn't know is enlightened.

Share with us several ways how to be an exponential receiver to open our heart center to its fullest capacity. Much love…Thank you! I believe compassion is the key. Put yourself in the place of those who you resist or are angered with and ask if you were them, how would you want to be treated. Then treat them accordingly. Love is a habit that when developed reveals our true nature as spiritual beings.

If we “reap what we sow” energetically, does grace exist? Grace is that power that allows us to rebound from depths of failure, setbacks, despair and addictions. We have all had occasions when we were knocked down by some situation in life or for one reason or other fell into a deep pit of misery. But, no matter how sad, devastated or defeated we might feel, we can always rise up and regain our sense of well being. The power that allows us to do that is Grace.

If suffering comes from attachment, how do we avoid attachment to our desires? (From Janet Taylor) From a Buddhist perspective, letting go of attachment begins when we first become fully aware of what (or who!) we are attached to. This first step enables us to see clearly what outcomes we are clinging to, to see clearly the suffering our unskillful attachments have caused. By shining the light of awareness on our thoughts and actions, we begin to make friends with our mistakes, forgive ourselves for the past, and begin anew: To desire liberation from suffering MORE than any fleeting pleasure—that is when we begin to let go of attachments.

I am struck by how Unity Temple is able to provide a sense of family/spiritual intimacy in such a large congregation. How do you do it? I believe Unity Temple "works" because we all want to be united to a sense of community that sets forth an environment that is uplifting. We hold to the belief that this is a place where diversity is praised and peace and harmony are the rewards. Quite simply that means releasing all negative prejudices, discriminations and judgments of other people and treating them the way we would want to be treated if we were them.

Is there wrong-right, good-bad, black-white? Judgment and non-judgment seem to me to contradict themselves among us. It is good to judge as to whether something is right for you to do or wrong. The answer lies in the effect of your actions. Judge whether your actions will violate the God-given rights of another person and interfere with them living the life they desire. Judging other people as good or bad, right or wrong, better or worse because of their actions, beliefs or characteristics that are within the boundaries of the law usually comes forth from feelings of inferiority.

What was there before the “Big Bang” – something that could explode? I believe there had to be.

Why do I consume bad things or engage in unhealthy behaviors when I am troubled? Why is everyone at Unity so good-looking? :-> Most of us consume bad things or engage in unhealthy behaviors when we are troubled because it is a quick, short term reward that can allow us to momentarily escape. Everybody at Unity is good-looking because you think they are.

What does Unity teach about tithing? The universal law of cause and effect states that we will get back what we put into the world. Express happiness and you will receive happiness back. When it comes to tithing financially, it feels good to know one is doing one's part in supporting an organization that supports them. Although the rule of tithing calls for a 10% contribution of what one receives, I believe that is an individual choice and whether or not to tithe or the amount to tithe is personal.

Other questions:

What is the progress of building update? What is left to be done? Over the last three years, we have accomplished 75% of our objective in regards to building projects. Bruce Maxwell, a Unity Temple board member and professional engineer, has overseen the work and diligently worked through the bidding process and follow-up. The Temple is 62 years old and will continue to need renovation but for now we have made great progress in catching up with the maintenance. The next projects we hope to embark upon when funds are available are primarily investments in energy-saving projects and making the building environmentally-friendly. New thermo-pane windows and an upgrade in heating and cooling control are among those projects.

What is the status of the 2010 campaign. We haven’t heard an update in quite a while. The 2010 Campaign will come to an end in December of this year. We raised approximately $3.5 million dollars and made incredible progress in renovating our building. An update newsletter will be going out shortly detailing funds raised and where the money was spent.

What’s going on with the floors downstairs? Are the walls getting painted? The tile floors throughout the building were getting chipped and broken. Because they were laid with an asbestos adhesive this caused a safety problem, so all new asbestos-free rubber tiles are replacing them. Because of the school schedules, this project won't be completed until late December.

It’s important to have a bookstore inside the church. What’s the future of the bookstore here? The Unity Temple Bookstore has moved from the lower level to the main level just inside the front doors. The Bird Sings, a card and gift store, will be going into the old bookstore space downstairs. It will open in late October.

What classes/resources do you have for both Adults and Children to learn about the world’s religions? (I want to learn about Buddhism, and I want my kids to be exposed to many) Through the Temple Buddhist Center, there are now classes in Buddhism taught five days a week with a special Buddhist meditation on Sunday mornings at 9:00am. Starting September 26, 2010, we will have a Youth Meditation Class at 9:00 am every Sunday in the Myrtle Fillmore Chapel. For more information about the Buddhist activities here at Unity Temple, go to

Where is the lost and found? Please contact any staff person about a lost object. We keep the lost and found items secured to prevent theft.

Briefs or boxers? Are these the only two options?

When will that Chaplain Ron give the lesson again? He is so nice! You can experience Ron's lessons more frequently at the Wednesday evening service. Outside of an occasional guest speaker, Janet, Heidi and myself will be doing the Sunday services.

What do we call ourselves? Catholics are Catholics. I never know how to label myself as a congregant of Unity. I usually refer to myself as a student of Unity or a Unity congregant.

I’d like to be notified of illnesses or deaths of my Unity family. They do a great job of that at other churches. This is a great idea. You can look for this information on our web site in the near future.

Can Unity help get me a monthly bus pass so I can get to work and doctors appointments? Unfortunately our financial support services do not include bus passes.

What is a Unity funeral/memorial service like? A Unity memorial service begins with addressing the grief and great sense of loss that has come about as a result of losing a loved one. It then moves into gratitude and appreciation for having the person in our lives and ends with celebrating that person's life.

Will Unity Temple put an ad in the KC Star again? It was because of this ad that we first came here. The Kansas City Star add cost about $3600 per year and after a great deal of consideration I determined that money could be put to better use. We do have Sunday service times and the speaker listed on the website and a telephone recording on the week-ends.

How old are U. How much to you weigh. I just turned 62 years old. Born September 14th, 1948. I just returned from my son's wedding and four day celebration in Portland so I choose not to answer the weight question for two weeks.

Which Sunday does Rev. Duke sing a solo? Reverend Duke sings a solo every Sunday. At home, in the shower.

What if I’m the Rutabaga? If you are a rutabaga, be the best rutabaga you can be, and rutabaga lovers will flock to your presence.

Where was the first Unity church at? How many are there in the world? The first Unity church was at 9th and Tracy in Kansas City. Currently there are approximately 900 Unity churches around the world.

Is there really a “Cousin Ozzie”? And if we go to South Dakota—can we meet him at that bar? There are some family secrets that cannot be told.

What is your middle name? David

On my way to church this morning, I saw a man carrying a wooden cross up the Wornall hill. Is Jesus back? I don't know for sure, but he very well could be.

Is that Duke’s real hair?? Yes it is. Norwegian heritage has endowed upon me thick clumps of hair all over my head very much like the "tufts" of grass on the prairie. Thus the name Tufty.

Thursday, September 2, 2010


Knowing the power of prayer,

We pray that we open our minds

To affirm the new vision of world peace

To the health and well-being of all people

To the dissolution of all conditions that may seem to separate us.

We pray that we deepen our understanding of nature,

Radiate our compassion to all of life

And realize our oneness with the natural world.

We pray that we restore the Earth

To a pristine wellness so it can thrive

As our source of wellness and prosperity.

We pray that each of us is

A beneficial presence to our world

By adding to it our peace, love and harmony.

And so it is.