Marianne Williamson’s career as a best-selling author owes its start to the 1,333-page spiritual self-help tome A Course in Miracles. And now her campaign to earn the Democrat nomination for 2020 has rekindled interest in the book and its devotees around the world.
The Columbus Dispatch wrote about one of the estimated 2,000 study groups focused on the “Course,” which inspired Williamson’s first book, A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of A Course in Miracles, published in 1992. The late Helen Schucman, a professor of medical psychology, said Jesus dictated the book, published in 1976.
This “Course” gathering took place in Columbus, Ohio:
The small group sat in the chapel of a Northeast Side church, fans whirring as they closed their eyes and listened to the soothing, hypnotic voice of William Carpenter tell them they are breathing in peace as they inhale.
“We’re moving from praying to God to praying in God,” said Carpenter, the group’s facilitator. “There’s nothing you have to reach out for … There’s no effort to pray in God. We’re already whole, perfect and complete.”
The Foundation for Inner Peace, which publishes the book, describes it this way: “A Course In Miracles (ACIM) is a unique spiritual self-study program designed to awaken us to the truth of our oneness with God and Love.”
“Those in the meeting at Unity Church of Christianity say it has helped them find inner peace, forgive people and made life make sense when other religious practices seemed to make concepts more confusing,” the Dispatch reported. “Many shared that they came to it after tragedy struck their lives.”
The leader at the Ohio meeting said he thinks Williamson’s campaign has made a “huge difference,” even if it barely registers in polls and she has yet to qualify for next Democrat debate in September.
“She started another conversation,” Carpenter said. “As a student of the course, it’s really not her but the Holy Spirit working through her, inspiring her to take on that endeavor.”
The Dispatch report included a comment about Williamson’s campaign from Mark Caleb Smith, director of the Center for Political Studies at Cedarville University in southwestern Ohio. Smith said instead of talking about identity politics Williamson is focused on the country’s lack of a moral compass and love for one another.
“She’s interesting and she’s different and I really thought for a while that might be enough to help her stand out, but we haven’t seen that in the polls yet,” said Smith, who said her campaign will bring attention to the book Williamson did not write.
But at least one person in Ohio said that Williamson’s campaign is not in sync with A Course in Miracles.
“I do not agree with her politics,” Jeff Stephens, 54, said. “I hope people don’t come to our group or ‘A Course in Miracles’ hoping to find that agenda because it’s not political.”
“I don’t think she’s making a good representative (of the “Course”) as I understand it,” Stephens said. “She’s not telling people about the course, she’s talking politics.”
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