The Promise of the Course: A Statement of Intent

Two thousand years ago, a man walked the earth who is now worshipped by two billion people. He called his followers to lead carefree lives, in which they could love their enemies and turn the other cheek, because they lived under the care of an unconditionally loving Father. Within mere decades, however, this teacher of radical wisdom was turned into a divine savior, so that the appropriate response was not so much following his teaching but believing in his divine status and saving death. What could have been a movement of countless people seeking to live egoless lives, just as he did, became a religion about belief in, devotion to, and sacrifice to certain heavenly figures. The message that could have uplifted the world was left buried in the gospels like veins of gold, to be occasionally rediscovered by great individuals such as St. Francis, Tolstoy, and Martin Luther King, Jr.

Today, thousands of people believe he has, in a sense, come again, in the pages of a book called A Course in Miracles. On every level—spiritual, psychological, philosophical, literary, practical—this book is a towering masterpiece. It is a reflowering of his ancient message that, because of God's Love, we can meet life's difficulties with forgiveness and defenselessness, and thereby live in carefree happiness. Yet it clothes this message in a sophisticated psychology and metaphysics which, in the eyes of many, outshines the insights of history's greatest thinkers.

Has he come again to repeat his message which largely fell on deaf ears? If so, imagine the promise that this book holds for our world. Imagine the difference it could make when all is said and done.

To fulfill this promise, there is so much work to be done. First of all, the word needs to get out. This book's ideas need to be out there in the world, where they can circulate and do their work of opening minds. Its ideas need to be part of the larger conversation taking place between various traditions and perspectives, so that its healing light can infuse the entire system.

Second, this book needs to be surrounded by a living tradition, composed of countless students helping each other walk the path of enlightenment that it lays out. Under the roof of this tradition, there need to be Course mentors available to guide new students, Course scholars to draw out the depth of meaning contained in this text, Course healers available for those with healing needs, and Course therapists to provide in-depth help in untying the deep knots of the mind. Such a tradition would fulfill the dream that didn't come true two thousand years ago, the dream of thousands, maybe millions, of living lights being released into a dark and hurting world.

At this time, however, this promise is not being fulfilled. This book is so groundbreaking, it so transcends our categories and shatters our expectations, that we don't seem to know what to do with it. Rather than raise ourselves up to its level, we tend to bring it down to ours, make it fit what is familiar to us. As a result, the crucial priority of establishing a sustainable tradition, one that is in conversation with other traditions, is not being effectively addressed today.

We at the Circle of Atonement are determined to see that this gift is given to the world. For twenty-five years, beginning with the work of Robert Perry, we have been developing a comprehensive vision of A Course in Miracles, in both theory and practice. This vision is rooted in a single value: "Course fidelity"—total faithfulness to the Course. This vision allows us to guide students into using the Course the way its author intended, as a hands-on manual for spiritual awakening. In the process, we have assembled what is arguably the largest body of written work on the Course, most of which is viewable at our website: The Circle was formally incorporated in 1993, having grown out of the earlier teaching work of Robert Perry. Since then, we have drawn together a small group of gifted and dedicated teachers, such as Allen Watson and Greg Mackie, who share in this commitment to Course fidelity.

During these years, we have been readying ourselves to take on a much larger role. We feel called to write books for a more mainstream audience who has not yet heard about A Course in Miracles. We want to expand our offerings and outreach over the Internet. We want to dialogue with thinkers in different disciplines and traditions. We have long needed a retreat and training facility, where students can experience our model and where we can train teachers. We ultimately plan to establish a Course university, where conventional study is married with spiritual practice, all of it in service of spiritual awakening.

To move into this larger role, however, we will need the support of others who join us in the same purpose. Developing these initiatives is not a self-funding activity. Our guidance has repeatedly told us to let others know that they, too, are part of this purpose. And it is true. If this purpose is to be fulfilled, we will need a great deal of support. You are as integral to this as we are. So, do you have the feeling that things went awry with Jesus' legacy two thousand years ago? Do you want to see A Course in Miracles reach a mainstream audience? Do you have the sense that the Course came to this earth to do something that it has not yet done?

Then consider joining us in this purpose. We cannot allow Jesus' gift to fall on deaf ears again. In 1975, Jesus spoke to Helen Schucman, the scribe of the Course, about this very thing. He said that "this time" "nothing can be permitted to go wrong." He said that the Course "must develop without error" as it grows "from infancy into a helper of the world." Just imagine A Course in Miracles growing from infancy into a helper of the world. What a beautiful promise! Please join us in ensuring that, this time, the promise is fulfilled.