A Positive Path for Spiritual Living
Rev. James Yeaw, D. Div.
The years of the Great Depression were as difficult for Canadians as they were for Americans. Countless thousands were thrown out of work. To make things worse, the father of Joan Hayward, a St. Jean, Quebec teenager died suddenly while he was on a beach vacation.
In those same years, a Nova Scotia teenager's father died. Although in his seventies, his passing left a mother and her son without a source of income in those difficult years. Through a pen pal club, Ernest and Joan wrote to each other. Their letters conveyed the similarities of their situations. Both were only children and both had dropped out of high school in order to work to support themselves and their mothers.
At Christmas in 1942, Joan traveled with her mother to Nova Scotia to meet her friend for the first time. They were now 21 and they decided to be married. The date was set for January 14. They were married in a small rural church in Nova Scotia and nine months later, James, the first of ten children, was born.
Over the years the family moved to Ontario, then Rhode Island, then to California. They were always in search of a better life - a way and a means to support their growing family.
The local church in Rhode Island was Fiskville Tabernacle Baptist Church. At an early age the children were brought to Sunday School. In each of the several moves there was always a local Baptist church. Jim loved the stories and the take-home papers that included the legendary stories of the Bible in comic strip form. In his high school years his peers selected him as president of the youth groups and, after graduation from high school, his pastor encouraged him to accept a scholarship for enrollment in California Baptist College. His fascination with those Bible stories was in how the ancient writers expressed their understanding of God or the presence of Spirit and how all things always worked for good despite the human circumstances and condition.
His writings on the Bible and reflections on those stories began to appear in magazines and other publications. Behind every personality, every circumstance, every event, there was always God, the good. But the theology of his Baptist affiliation began to bother him. Some within his faith spoke of the "fall of man" and yet, clearly within the Genesis story, God saw everything that he had made, and "indeed, it was very good."
Turning to the Gospels, the stories about Jesus of Nazareth reflected the same goodness, wholeness and hope. Jesus said, "I have come that you might have life and have it more abundantly." In explaining the "kingdom," Jesus talked about love and reconciliation. Jesus did not seem to talk about a hopelessly lost race, headed for hell. Through years of study, Jim was increasingly aware that many Bible verses were selectively used to support the teachings of individual churches. They sometimes bent and twisted the very intent of Jesus and those that wrote about him.
And in considering the words about Jesus, Jim realized that there was a deeper application of those words. There were principles of the presence of God, the power of God, and the purpose of God within each individual that could be applied. There was a need to teach practical Christianity: a message as taught by Jesus.
During his college experience there were times when resources seemed to fail - he was ready to be expelled for lack of tuition payment - when the exact amount needed showed up. There were times when people also showed up, almost like the angels of the Bible stories, as and when they were needed. There was the realization that the truth lies in an internal power and presence and that life can be healed and transformed by the power of thought and intention. There was a fresh revelation of the working of Spirit in modern times. The impact on Jim's life was through the discoveries of faith principles in the writings of Ernest Holmes, Emily Cady, Emma Curtis Hopkins, Charles Fillmore and his wife, Myrtle. In fact, one of the most powerful stories of faith in action that impacted Jim's life was Myrtle Fillmore's declaration:
"I am a child of God and I do not inherit sickness!"
Life had become a laboratory to put these faith principles to work. He discovered that practical principles of faith, many drawn from ancient stories, can be tested and tried in modern life. One example of many is the concept that as we give, so we will receive. This is the basis of the principle of tithing. For Jim, the ancient accounts became meaningful to modern life.
In the early 1980's, Jim was introduced to Unity in San Diego, then moved to Sacramento where long-term Unity ministers, Dorothy and Phil Pierson had a church, Christ Unity, with a dynamic ministry to the community and to the world by television. Through the years he was a member of and served Unity congregations in Auburn, California and most recently at Spiritual Life Center in Sacramento.
Through his own writing and teaching ministry, Jim was encouraged by his ministers, Revs. Michael and Faith Moran and others to attend Unity Institute where he obtained his third ordination. He holds a bachelor's, three Master's degrees in Psychology, Human Resources and Business and was enrolled in Unity Institute's first Master's Degree program in Theology. He is co-author of A Practical Life with a Powerful Purpose with his wife, Rev. Sharon Bush. He is the developer of the ETB Ministry's Restructured Bible that will be available on CD and the Internet as well as Wisdom of the Ages, a compilation of more than 400 New Thought writings in a searchable database.
He has discovered that Spirit is the inexhaustible source of every resource. Love, prosperity, joy and peace of mind are always present and available to every individual. They are always present even the sons and daughters of those caught in difficult economic circumstances. His ministry intention is to be a loving channel for Divine resources to meet human needs.
Jim is married to Reverend Sharon Bush who shares his writing and teaching ministry. Rev. Jim has served with Rev. Sharon as a co-minister at Unity Spiritual Center since 2007 and holds a Doctorate in Divinity. He is the author of Thought, Perception and Is Unity a Cult?