Eric Butterworth is best-known for his brilliant yet readable best-sellers that extended the teachings of New Thought far beyond Unity or its churches. His classic book Discover the Power Within You is one that Oprah Winfrey says changed her view of life and religion.
No doubt Butterworth has many fans who are unaware he was a Unity minister. Ordained not long after serving in World War II, he led his first church in Pittsburgh, then drew thousands to Detroit Unity Temple before moving to New York City in 1961 where he famously lectured every Sunday at Carnegie Hall and Avery Fisher Hall. Learn more about him here.
One thing to keep in mind while reading Butterworth’s books is that he was writing in the 1960s, ‘70s, and ‘80s. He occasionally references hippies, the Vietnam War, and other issues of the day. He also sometimes refers to God as “Him” and uses the masculine pronouns that were considered proper English at the time. But principle is unchanging, and his teachings are as valid as ever today.
Where to begin reading Butterworth? You really can’t go wrong with any of his books, and it depends in part on your interests.
Discover the Power Within You
Discover the Power Within You is Butterworth’s best-known book. Read it to understand Unity teachings about Jesus and the Bible, especially if you feel an aversion to Jesus and the Bible. Butterworth’s reinterpretation of traditional Christian teachings is eye-opening and even radical.
If you are worried about money or work with money in any way, make Spiritual Economics your first Butterworth book. As with all his books, he says we have to unlearn some of the standard teachings of society and begin to understand our own divine power. Read an excerpt.
Unity: A Quest for Truth
Unity: A Quest for Truth was Butterworth’s first book in 1965 and is about the history and teachings of the Unity movement. If you are new to a Unity church or just curious about Unity, this is a good start. Read an excerpt.
Butterworth wrote hundreds of short essays, and Celebrate Yourself! is a collection of them on a variety of topics. “It could be said, and should be, that you are the universe celebrating itself as you,” he writes. Read an excerpt.
The Universe Is Calling
The Universe Is Calling is Butterworth’s book about prayer. Before we can establish a true connection with the Divine, he says, we have to rethink our notions about God. We don’t pray to God but from a shared consciousness with God.
In the Flow of Life
Practical Metaphysics is the newest Butterworth book, compiled posthumously by transcribing cassette recordings of a class series he taught in 1981. It includes his lectures, meditations, and activities to deepen spiritual awareness. Read an excerpt.
Breaking the Ten Commandments
Breaking the Ten Commandments is exactly that—a breakdown of the commandments’ metaphysical meaning. Many people claim to live by the commandments, but these edicts have deeper meaning than we may realize. Read an excerpt.
The Creative Life
The Creative Life takes the seven steps of creation from the Book of Genesis and expands them metaphysically to explain our own creative process.
Beyond the Page
What you will find if you become familiar with the Unity founders’ original work is that Butterworth was saying exactly the same things, only 50 years later. Some of his most brilliant passages can be traced directly to Charles Fillmore. Even though a few more decades have passed, Butterworth’s writing brings spiritual ideas alive and relates them to the world we live in. Enjoy!