Neale Donald Walsch believes that after thousands of years of religious teachings and practice, believers may have missed the bigger message.
That is, they’re missing the chance to have a private conversation with God and develop their own plan for their spiritual growth. Instead, he feels, people often rely on institutions and their doctrine before making any changes in their lives.
“Our spiritual systems that were designed to bring us together and closer to God have done exactly the opposite,” Walsch said.
Walsch, 70, author of the best-selling book, Conversations with God, will speak about his latest work, God’s Message to the World: You’ve Got Me All Wrong, at 6 p.m. Saturday at Unity on the Bay church in Miami.
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The book asks a series of “What if” questions about long-standing religious beliefs in an effort to inspire individuals and religious entities to rethink their practices.
“It seems we need to stop, take a look back and see what is it we don’t understand here,” Walsch said.
Walsch said that in the nearly 20 years since his breakthrough book was first released, things have not changed enough in the world. He believes that many of the steps taken to prevent problems across the world have actually created more issues and more division. Among his examples: Fighting poverty by throwing money at it rather than getting to the root cause.
“Ninety eight percent of the people in the world are spending 98 percent of their time on the wrong things,” Walsch said. “We keep going back to the same ideas and we keep on seeing the same problems.”
Over the span of his career Walsch has written more than 40 books, including nine books in the Conversations with God series. The series has been translated into more than 30 languages and the original book remains one of the best- selling books on spirituality.
The Rev. Chris Jackson, senior minister at Unity, said he’s eager for Walsch to share his perspective and is inspired by the author’s unique interpretation of God.
“What he’s done is paint a new picture of God beyond this sort of anthropomorphic figure of God,” Jackson said.
Walsch said he wants people to take ownership in their spiritual lives and to change the traditional dialogue from what God wants from believers to what believers want in their relationship with God.
“Their individual lives and our collective experience doesn’t have to be the way it always was, there’s an active part you can assume,” Walsch said.
God’s Message to the World is dedicated to every “sincere seeker,” with Walsch calling for a worldwide “global conversation that will sow seeds of sanity.”
“It might not happen in the first 100 days, the first 1,000 days, a lot of this isn’t going to even be accomplished in our lifetimes,” Walsch said. “But let us begin asking the questions and having the dialogue.”
If you go
What: Neale Donald Walsch discussing his latest book, ‘God’s Message to the World: You’ve Got Me All Wrong.’
Where: Unity on the Bay church, 411 NE 21st St., Miami
When: 6 p.m. Saturday. A reception will start at 5 p.m.
Cost: $50 (plus fees) for regular admission, $95 (plus fees) for a VIP ticket.
Information: Visit www.unityonthebay.org/nealedonaldwalsch2015 or call 305-573-9191