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Understanding a Course in Miracles: The History, Message, and Legacy of a Spiritual Path for Today [Paperback]

D. Patrick Miller , Iyanla Vanzant
2.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Book Description

June 1 2008
This comprehensive introduction to the grassroots phenomenon A Course in Miracles covers the book's role in America's changing spiritual landscape, investigates its origins and history, and explains its principal tenets and philosophies. Weaving together extensive research and student perspectives, journalist D. Patrick Miller sheds light on the provocative and oft-misunderstood text.

 
  • An examination of the teachings and influence of A Course in Miracles, one of the most popular and controversial texts in contemporary spirituality.
  • With a new foreword by Iyanla Vanzant
  • Covers common questions, such as What exactly is the Course? Is it Christian, Buddhist, New Age, or something else entirely? How did the author channel the message?
  • More than two million copies of A Course in Miracles available worldwide in 19 languages, with thousands of study groups devoted to it.


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    Product Details


    Product Description

    About the Author

    D. PATRICK MILLER is a writer and the founder of Fearless Books. A former contributing editor for Yoga Journal, his articles have been published in Self, Mother Jones, Utne Reader, Columbia Journalism Review, Reader's Digest, and more. He lives in Berkeley, California.

    Inside This Book (Learn More)
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    Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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    Customer Reviews

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    Most helpful customer reviews
    4.0 out of 5 stars Understanding a Course in miracles April 28 2012
    Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
    That the first part of the book was more about how it became about, would liked to have known this & that the last half only explained a few important concepts. Really enjoyed last half as it helped to increase my understanding.
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    0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
    1.0 out of 5 stars battle for souls Nov. 26 2012
    Format:Paperback
    Buy the following book instead - Moira Noonan's "Ransomed from Darkness - The New Age,Christian Faith,and the Battle for Souls"[...]

    The Course in Miracles in reality is the truth of the Bible turned upside down. Those who finish "A Course in Miracles" will have a wholly redefined spiritual mindset - a New Age world view that includes the belief that there is no sin, no evil, no devil. [...]

    "Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth. I have come to bring not peace but the sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, ..."(Matthew 10:34)
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    Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
    Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars  8 reviews
    36 of 36 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars Understand A Course In Miracles June 8 2008
    By Rev. Mary Beth Olson - Published on Amazon.com
    Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
    This is a fabulous overview of exactly what the Course is all about. As a teacher of the Course for 25 years, I have seen to it that all my present students have read and discussed this book in our group meetings. I particularly liked the revision of the original "The Complete Story of A Course in Miracles," especially beginning in Chapter 3. There was much additional information that was extremely helpful to both new and old students of the Course. I would highly recommend it be read by all new students before entering into any study of the Course itself. If I had been able to use this specific book as an introduction to the Course, it would have made entry as a student so much easier. I'm always grateful for all of Patrick Miller's writings, but this one is a "keeper" for all time.
    46 of 48 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book May 11 2008
    By Dr. C. H. Roberts - Published on Amazon.com
    Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
    Anyone interested in learning about A Course in Miracles immediately faces two challenges: first, reading the book itself, and second, sorting through the variety of teachers and organizations that promote ACIM. Patrick Miller has done a great service in writing this book. It contains both a highly readable, easy to understand summary of what ACIM says, and it also has a brief and objective guide to many of the teachers and organizations that you are likely to encounter in the ACIM community. One of the book's strength is the even handed interaction that Miller has with traditional Christians who have objected to the Course's teachings. Although the book is an expansion of Miller's previous The Complete Story of the Course, it really is a different book, and I recommend that you add both titles to your wish list. Pat Miller is to be congratulated for giving the world one of the best introductions to A Course in Miracles. Thanks Patrick!
    30 of 30 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars Understanding A Course in Miracles July 17 2008
    By S. K. Dubel - Published on Amazon.com
    Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
    This is brilliant for understanding ACIM. Well written, and presented fairly and intelligently. Along with Gary Renard's books, 'disappearance of the universe' and 'Your Immortal Reality', and 'Take Me To Truth' by Nouk Sanchez and Tomas Viera, it almost feels like ACIM for Dummies. Having been at this for years, it is such a relief to have Miller's book for the explanation, Renard's books for the primers that shake up your world and prepare you for ACIM, and then the Sanchez-Viera book to actually have you walk through it and experience it in the world, the only place where it matters.
    13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
    4.0 out of 5 stars Lifting the veil to see what's underneath Feb. 15 2010
    By D. R. Greenfield - Published on Amazon.com
    Format:Paperback
    This book is a frank and yet somewhat sympathetic look at the written texts collectively known as ACIM (A Course in Miracles). When I first saw this book, it struck me as being either a critical denouncement of ACIM or a glowing account of its divinely-inspired truth. It was a delightful surprise to learn that it is neither of these. It is a mostly objective account, though slightly skewed toward favorable views of the work. I would strongly recommend this book to anyone who has any curiosity about ACIM, or has tentatively decided to buy into its premises.

    The most interesting part of the book for me was the first section, which features a candid account of Schucman's life as well as of her very rocky professional relationship with Thetford. We learn that Schucman (an incredibly gifted woman intellectually, but exceedingly conflicted and driven) had an on-again off-again interest in Christian esoteric spirituality all through her youth and well into her adult life. However, upon deciding to devote her life to psychiatry, she began to embrace a publicly-professed agnosticism, all the while secretly keeping two purses containing rosaries among her private things, and occasionally sneaking off to masses anonymously. It appears that she was of a decidedly spiritual nature though always professionally very ashamed of admitting that fact. As a result, the picture painted is of a woman of deep inward paradoxes, a perpetually fascinating figure, but tormented by conflicting priorities.

    The second section of the book is devoted to exploring the main themes of ACIM. One very interesting chapter concerns the ACIM doctrine that the world is an illusion and that it was not created by God. This teaching is a central theme of ACIM. Although Berkeley's idealistic philosophy is briefly mentioned, the author never discusses it at length, and chooses instead to focus on such modern physical theories as string theory to demonstrate that even contemporary scientists believe that the world we see and experience in daily life does not accord with ultimate reality. Certainly an uncritical naive realism is not what ACIM teaches. I would love to find a book that explores ACIM's metaphysical teachings on a deeper level than this one does.

    The third part of the book deals with contemporary assessments of ACIM. The author presents the Christian point of view (that the work is demonic and spiritually dangerous) without ridiculing that point of view in any way. I would say, yes, it is valid to come to this conclusion if you are a Christian. For this section shows very clearly that ACIM is NOT a Christian text, and can in no way be interpreted as such. The author relates his own personal spiritual journey, and tells how ACIM has had (and continues to have) an overall positive spiritual impact upon his life. He openly declares that ACIM is not for everyone, and that it may well initially create more havoc and unrest in a person's life than other methods, which are overall less demanding.

    My admiration and respect for ACIM has deepened as a result of my reading this book. I think that the book has an enduring spiritual depth as well as some passages of extremely beautiful spiritual prose. I am also glad that through a seemingly fortuitous twist of fate, there is a version of this book in the public domain, so that it is an open text. I admire the fact that ACIM takes a decidedly different approach than most other new age spiritual books, most of which focus on prosperity and ego-gratification. As most works on mysticism make clear, one can certainly use spiritual principles to achieve worldly success and gratify the ego's need to feel special in some way, but any attempt to put worldly success at the center of one's existence in the place of God is tantamount to the establishment of a false god.
    2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars Further Understanding and Application Oct. 16 2012
    By Morning Star - Published on Amazon.com
    Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
    I have been a student of the Course In Miracles since 1986. This book has assisted me in a greater relationship with the writngs and a wonderful tool for the application of the wisdom in the Course. I highly recommend this book to Course students, and those who are simply curious about the Course, it is a great partner to the book, and I find the author to be well versed in his own experience with A Course In Miracles. A great spiritual uplift, and compliment to the dedicated student. Thanks for this opportunity.
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