Dare to Be the Light of the World by inda Martella-Whitsett
Review by By Pat Weeks
One of the things that I have always liked about Unity is that its ministers have usually had a great range of life experience and careers before they feel called to apply for acceptance into the Unity ordination program. This, I think, adds a rich dimension and understanding to their teaching.
This is true of the author of this month’s recommended book, Divine Audacity, Dare to be the Light of the World. Rev. Linda Martella-Whitsett is a respected scholar and New Thought leader and has an active ministry in San Antonio, Texas. (Rev. Sandy Butler recently presented a class on Linda’s earlier book, How to Pray Without Talking to God. This book was awarded the 2011 award for Best Spiritual Author.)
In her early adulthood, Linda was a member of an ashram and Kripala Yoga Center near Reading Pennsylvania. She was committed to a spiritually focused life devoted to learning, teaching, fasting, and serving the path of Kripala.
A college sweetheart suddenly appeared, who was on the brink of serving a 3-year tour in the Air Force. It was only through letting go of her plan and adopting an attitude of willingness to let go and be guided, that she realized she could live a spiritually focused life in any place. (She defines willingness as a state of allowing. She says, “Allowing is our capacity to welcome our experience and receives its gifts.”) She married and moved to Hawaii with her husband. In the next few years, her work ranged from being a massage therapist to managing a car rental insurance business!
It was only after raising her children that she felt guided to apply to Unity’s ministerial school and become a full-time minister and writer.
In Divine Audacity, she stresses that each of us can be “the light of the world” that Jesus instructed his followers to be. She notes that as she has evolved, she finds herself becoming less and less religious in the traditional sense. She presents a plan for living a deep and authentic life that is outside of the strictures of traditional religious categories. She feels that we truly find God when we go inside to connect with divine light. When we realize our oneness with God and all others, we can let our light shine in the world. She feels that the divine light within us is both audacious and normal to claim it for ourselves.
She introduces us to Charles Fillmore’s 12 spiritual powers in an understandable and clear manner. She feels that we can all develop and learn to use them on a daily basis: faith, understanding, will, imagination, zeal power, love, wisdom, strength, order, release, and life itself. Truly using and understanding these powers enriches and transforms our daily light.
I like the way she uses a wide range of sources to illuminate her concepts from her own personal experiences to quotes from Charles Fillmore, the Bible, the Upanishads etc. I recommend reading and digesting one chapter at a time, rather than reading the book in one gulp. Each chapter ends with a meditation and a series of helpful exercises.
She is an insightful guide in developing our honest authenticity and bold intentions. She quotes Marianne Williamson who said, “Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine.”
She is an excellent writer, and I feel that her books are a valuable contribution in maintaining our sense of oneness and encouraging us to light up the world.