New Voices for New Thought
I was lucky enough to grow up in the New Thought movement. How will the next generation carry the torch?
BY: the Reverend Kevin Kitrell Ross
Very few people can claim the distinction of being born into the New Thought Movement. Most people who subscribe to the New Thought-Ancient Wisdom teachings converted because they'd grown weary of the "old thought." Some days I wish I knew what it was like, because often people who hear the New Thought-Ancient Wisdom teaching for the first time seem to be born again, and it's great to witness!
People like me are rarities. I was born in 1974 and christened in what was then Christ Unity Temple. Growing up in what later became Christ Universal Temple, I was always surrounded by the greats. Reverend Ike, Eric Butterworth, Norman Vincent Peale, Dr. Barbara King, Terry Cole Whittaker, and even the not-so-new thought (but a CUT favorite), Dr. Robert Schuller, were among the voices I was exposed to from my earliest days.
They are voices I hear to this present day. They were the early pioneers, who took the stings for a controversial movement that today is not as socially dangerous to belong to. However, even I remember being verbally attacked--by members of my grandmother's Pentecostal church--for being associated with "that cult church." Yet today, it seems like some of the same people are now inviting the boy who grew up in that "cult church" to speak in their churches.
Growing up New Thought always had me standing out. I recall in the first grade being asked to tell the class my name and something about me. I stood up and said, "My name is Kevin Kitrell Ross and I am a unique, unrepeatable, miracle of God!" As you can imagine, the teacher was astonished. But New Thought was my only reference point, and this was the only thing I knew to say.
Before teaching ministries were in vogue, my mother was enrolled in almost every Better Living class at our church. This meant I had to tag along with her to hear more voices of "Truth teachers" talking about "consciousness, Truth principles, Jesus the Christ, and God-in-you." I knew the names and faces of these teachers and they knew mine. Sometimes I wished they didn't, because I could be a bit disruptive at times. As much as I would grow to appreciate the writings of Charles Fillmore and H. Emily Cady, 19th-century pioneers of New Thought, sometimes I just wanted to run and play. After all, I was just a kid. Nevertheless, something was sinking in.