Sunday, November 30, 2008

With friends like you!

A word or two in appreciation for the support so many of you are showing in my blogging endeavor. I thought when it was started mid-September of this year that I was fired up for Christ and Christian Science. But that was nothing to compare to what I feel right now. I welcome your comments/feedback. Even dissenting views which is what a blog is for, after all, in my view. The only thing I will not countenance is a disparaging remark about God (can't imagine it!), or Christ Jesus, or the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science. Or, as I pointed out early on in an entry, people who might think they can dissuade me from following the teachings of divine Science. Or turn me against Mary Baker Eddy. This has been tried, and failed at, several times. So I say to any one out there, it cannot be done. Even by those sincere people who are, in their minds, trying to save me from going to hell. They're worried about my soul. One friend of mine who turned away from CS tried over a period of years to get me to follow her out the door. She loves Jesus and I respect her for this. But we have had to part ways on the larger issue of Christian Science and my intention to stay with it.

So once again, I thank you for the heartfelt support you are showing. Having friends like you, I am very blessed.

Remarkable women

Ever since I read Nicholas Kristoff's column in The New York Times on Thanksgiving Day concerning a remarkable Pakistani woman, have been thinking about other outstanding women who have put the welfare of others far above their own, even their own safety. Won't summarize this piece for you, but I was both humbled and inspired by reading it. And I've told the author so.

Not surprising, heading up my list of remarkable women has to be the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy. The gratitude I feel for her monumental achievements in blessing mankind is ongoing. Far more than just a lone woman who overcame human obstacles, a women's libber if you will--the way Boston has tried to portray her--the avenues she established through God's direction and survived in doing so by leaning on Him, are still blessing people around the globe. I am in her debt, and happy to be so.

But to my next example of someone head and shoulders above many is my friend Betty, a fellow Tennessean and a Journal listed practitioner. I only just learned that it was she who made the comment on one of my entries, "Turning back to God" about the movement being dead but the Cause continuing. This has sparked much comment around the world, and she needs credit for it. This lady thinks for herself, has a clear sense of what is right about our Cause, and what is wrong. And she does not hesitate to say so, to patients or those in authority. It is always a shot in the arm for me to talk with her about serious issues concerning Christian Science. Some weeks ago I wrote a poem in tribute to her and well, let me give it here:

"Want to Hear Something Good?"

I have a friend here in town,
Betty, who does this habitually,
who when a bank teller or store
clerk says, "Have a good day"
replies substantially:
I know I will. God gave me
this good day, and I don't intend
to pollute it with fear or anger
or ingratitude or feeling down.
I'm going to appreciate this
day God has given
to all His children.
It's up to me to decide
what I'm going to do with it.

Now, you might be thinking,
Ah, she just ignores real issues,
thinks about things superficially.
She ought to have my problems!
This woman's challenges are such
that I would not want to, indeed,
could not, walk in her shoes
for a single day.
But she leans on God
in every way,
and He brings her through.

(Just thought I'd share
this with you.)

Friday, November 28, 2008

Note to my Readers

As some of you have expressed to me that you would like to identify yourself on my blog, but prefer to have your comments private, I have decided to give you my email address which is:

Or, if you have access to The Christian Science Journal you can find me under "Tennessee", as I am a listed practitioner. I can understand that if you have comments of a sensitive nature regarding our Cause, or wish to express thoughts that are more personal, you would like this to be between you and me, and not viewed by the whole world.

Your feedback is valued, and I look forward to receiving it, whichever way you choose to give it.

What the world is hungry for

Of course, countless men, women and children around the world need bread. Of course, they do. But it is my feeling that they need to hear the teachings of Christ Jesus more. Two small experiences recently bring this home to me:

We were walking our dogs in a local park as we regularly do when a young girl jogged by us. We had seen her before but this day, she turned back and said: "You don't know what your happy faces do for me!" Total surprise as we didn't know she needed to see some joy expressed. Caused us to feel humble and glad we were of some uplift to a person in need. Subsequently, we had opportunities to share just what it is that she felt those mornings, that it is love for Jesus' words that give us such joy in life. Turns out she, too, is quite religious. And one of these mornings, I intend to introduce Christian Science to her , just to give it credit for helping me understand Jesus' words and works, helping me with the challenges that inevitably arise in everyone's life.

The second heart-warming experience involves a librarian from Cardiff, Wales. She had received one of my books, and a poem in it, admittedly fervent for Christ Jesus, so touched her that she said in an email it has made her want to get back to the New Testament and read all Jesus said and did! Nothing I could have done could have brought about this result, certainly not being motivated to change someone, or get something for myself in return. No, it was, however slight it may be at this point, loving the Master's words, and making the effort to put them into practice. To know this woman's heart was warmed toward Christ means the world to me.

Both these instances show that people are hungering for what God alone has to give through His Holy Son, Christ Jesus. And to think that you and I are privileged to help feed the world's hunger in this heavenly work of loving and living Jesus' words.

Thursday, November 27, 2008


"You may have a

Daughter somewhere

who is more grateful

to You than I am,"

I tell my heavenly Father.

"But I doubt it",

I always tell Him.

(c) By: Sharon Slaton Howell
Originally published 2006

Travel Outside His Presence? Impossible

(Reading a fuller account just now in The New York Times of the Mumbai terrorist attack, as well as thinking of all the extra travel many of us will be doing this Thanksgiving holiday, the following lines have come to thought...)

When we have a trip to make,
whether we drive, fly or sail,
it isn't necessary to have
with us a security detail.

We can feel protected
wherever we need to go.
We can feel God's presence,
and complete safety know.

Jeremiah 23:24 has God asking,
"Do not I fill heaven and earth?"
One can depend on this
for all he or she is worth.

This assures me that
His help is at hand
wherever we happen to
go throughout the land.

Perpetually at work
is God's power divine,
to oversee and guard
your precious life and mine.

How comforting to think
God is with us everywhere;
it isn't possible to be
outside His loving care.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Turning back to God, Part 2

I almost think there will be many parts to what I posted originally on getting back to our God. While driving back from breakfast this Friday morning, do you know what thought came clearly? Our Cause is in the hands of angels! Have no idea just why this came, nor fully what it means. But it came, and I'm passing it along. Men (and one woman) cannot destroy what God is upholding, can they?

And another brief mention of something I read in the Wall Street Journal last night that bears on what we're thinking about--and doing--turning back to God. Daniel Henniger has the most riveting piece called "Mad Max and the Meltdown." Look it up on the Internet if you're inclined, or get a copy of the paper. I won't quote him directly, but oh what a vivid writer. Such talent, as I told him in a glowing letter written some weeks ago. But the gist of his timely, fresh, attention-grabbing article is this: America is in the trouble it's in because of one thing: the de-religizing of everything, being ashamed and feeling it politically incorrect to even utter the phrase, Merry Christmas. I couldn't agree more. As he says plainly, when a country gets to this point, it is in serious difficulty.

Then swing the discussion over to our Church. Can you not see the parallels? Of course you can. I certainly can. So let us do our best for our God and get Christ Jesus front and center in our beloved Christian Science once more!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Turning back to God

After doing something yesterday on a lighter note, my little ode to a tree stump, feel inspired to tackle something all important. This comes from a fine two-hour program we saw last night on PBS, "Secrets of the Bible". Perhaps many of you saw it, too. But what brought tears to our eyes--no kidding--was when the Israelites once and for all turned from their idol worship back to the one God, who loved them greatly and was due their undivided loyalty. If this isn't any understatement! One of the most moving scenes for me was the depiction of Ezra reading from the 5 books of the Bible to a group listening intently, intent henceforth on doing what God required of them. A thrill ran through me, I can tell you. And it brought to thought the situation I spoke about several days ago--the blatant paganism in our movement, the bowing the knee to it by those who should know better. Pardon if this just pours out, the way a friend who once worked with me in Boston said my writing tends to do. So be it.

But let us ask ourselves: is there anything more crucial than standing up for our wonderful God, helping others get the courage to do so, acknowledging Him as the Giver of all worth having, working for His influence, doing all we can to wake others up from their idol worship? One of the greatest sadnesses I've witnessed the past few years as Boston has gone off the track and instituted things that weaken and destroy what Mary Baker Eddy gave us are those teachers and practitioners who should have taken a stand, and have not. One cannot but wonder, are they serving individuals--or God? I know the argument is, well I would lose my listing/my pupils/my salary. I have heard it all, and I understand the reasoning. But I just cannot admire it at all. Where is their allegiance, for His dear sake?! Let me tell you, one is not truly free until he's willing to lose those things, feeling God is much more important. Once a person reaches that freedom, God can really use him.

One of the most inspiring activities I was involved in when I lived in the Boston area was visiting the world-class Boston Public Library--founded in 1848, the first public library in America and still the largest--and reading the lives of great religious thinkers and doers. I would come away from those sessions, many in the rare book section, so inspired I could hardly stand myself. Especially thrilling and humbling-to-the-floor were the men who risked their all to give us the Word of God in English. They paid dearly for it, were burned up for their efforts. And in William Tyndale's case when I'm tucked in in a toasty bed these nights, said he suffered greatly from the cold stone floor of the dungeon they had him in prior to the stake. He asked pitifully in a letter to a friend if they could give him some covering as he had on only light clothing. Can we imagine even that much standing up for God? This is the primary reason I love public free libraries and have as one of my ongoing charities helping them in any way I can afford. What one reads in them can change a life, give courage, inspire a better life, a life lived not for self, but for others' welfare.

I know, and many of my friends know, that writing letters, asking what on earth is going on, brings no answers that satisfy. We have tried, and gotten nowhere. Actually, have been treated in a way life-long church members should not be treated. But that's all behind now. What we've seen going on, the incline toward Oprah-izing our movement, watering down the periodicals, trying every experiment to interest the carnal mind (not working, is it?) has just strengthened us to stand up for Him as we never have. And I thank our dear loving Father for having this blog to do some tiny part in it. And though it has just gotten underway, is having an effect, which is His doing.

Two last things and I think I'm done on this, for now: just finished reading Jesus' words marked in red in one of my Bibles and my goodness, it was sobering, sobering, sobering as to what will happen to those who persist in evil. I can say with all Christly love in my heart, I do pray that those in authority, even if just one does it, will say, as God is my witness, I am going to disavow the evil and do what's right--cost me what it may. I'll end with something the Leader of the Christian Science movement writes: "Some people never repent, until earth gives them such a cup of gall that conscience strikes home; then they are brought to realize how impossible it is to sin and not suffer." This from her article titled "Reformers." (Miscellaneous Writings, page 237)

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Tree stump, full of charm

Of your kind, I've seen quite a few,

But you, tree stump full of charm,

Take home the prize.

We stumbled upon you

Our last trek through the forest,

Through autumn-thinned foliage,

Now visible to nature lovers' eyes --

About three feet high,

Bright green moss

growing here and there,

English ivy up one side,

The cutest toadstools at your base,

Weather-sculpted crevices

Where God's tiny creatures

must love to abide.

Nature is filled with

Such objects of delight!

You've got personality,


Score one for Christ

When criticism gives way to compassion.
score one for Christ.

When angry frowns melt into loving smiles,
score one for Christ.

When living for self-enrichment
rises to living to give,
score one for Christ.

When "I'm always right" bows low
before humility,
score one for Christ.

When coldness toward someone who
has wronged us, sees the rightness
of "How can I help that person?"
score one for Christ.

When wanting to get even
bends the knee to
"Peace on earth,
good will to men",
score one for Christ.

One could go on and on,
but in all of these,
"self" goes down to defeat
and Christ gets the victory.

Angels all around

One sees here and there angels,
some carved in stone,
placed back in shrubbery,
standing there alone,

or perhaps used as an
aid in landscaping,
sitting on a bench,
or a birdbath draping.

But that His helpers are
even closer to us
is eternal, unchanging fact --
a thought most glorious.

"For he shall give his angels
charge over thee,
to keep thee in all thy ways"
in Psalms 91:11 we see.

Holy messengers of His!
How comforting to know
that God accompanies us
wherever we may go.

Yes, we are promised
this in all our ways.
What security this affords,
all our nights and days.

God's angels with us mean
not only daily protection;
but so needful to us all,
certain, timely direction.

And even in those times
when events make us grieve,
these tender helpers of His
our side never, ever leave.

To think, these holy beings
are always at our side,
to bless us immensely,
to comfort, guard and guide.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Defective eyesight healed -- 21st century

I, among many, have found enormous inspiration from the healings given in the last 100 pages of "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" by Mary Baker Eddy. These people from all walks of life, with myriad challenges facing them--some dire--were delivered from their suffering from just reading and thinking about the divine truths in this wonderful book. And many of the healings related are about eye problems of varying descriptions. I have heard people say, well that was in the late 1800's or early 1900's. What about Christian Science healing these days? Give me an up-to-date example of what your religion can do. I am happy to do so.

Just had a phone call from a friend I hadn't talked with in a long while and what she shared was most uplifting to me, and may prove so to some of you reading this blog. In her office work, found it necessary to start wearing glasses. She wore glasses for some years. During this time, she pored over the Christian Science textbook mentioned above, just to get an deeper understanding of her relationship to God as His spiritual, perfect child. There was no thought of reading and praying in order to heal flawed eyesight, this woman told me, but just to grow in spiritual understanding. Well, very recently this student of Christian Science was able to lay off glasses completely! Just didn't need them anymore. Of course, she was overjoyed at this further proof ( she has had many during years of studying Christian Science) of just what God can do for us when we gain a knowledge of the Christianly scientific truths our Master, Christ Jesus, knew.

So yes, Christian Science is healing in this day and age. And it is doing so from just thoughtfully reading Mary Baker Eddy's masterwork.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Safe and sound

(With the news, locally and nationally, full of reports of home invasions by those who feel desperate for things to steal and sell, composed the following poem which has thoughts that give me a sense of God's presence. Hope it is helpful to some of you...)

Our Master's words,
what shield and stay.
They go with us,
guard us through day,

and nighttime, too --
not just reading same,
but living to honor
the Name above every name.

Made of mere mortal man,
no security detail
can do what Christ does:
keep us safe without fail.

In John 14:23 Jesus states:
"If a man love me, he will
keep my words;" and he went
on to say, "and my Father will
love him, and we will come unto
him and make our abode with him."

Living the Word has been,
and it will ever be,
the true test of one
who is Christ's totally.

Our Saviour will not let
His very own be overcome.
We've seen many times,
and not just some,

that those who live Jesus'
words enjoy protection;
not only this, but the
Father's eternal affection.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

What He does for us

While raking wet leaves just now, after what Mary Baker Eddy terms "the treasures of rain" (Prose Works) down here in the South where we need every drop--a lot of rain Friday!--two things come to mind:

First, I was thanking God over and over for the way He resolved a business situation just this week. I still want to get down on my knees in gratitude for the way He can work.! Wednesday evening, knowing a decision would have to be made very soon, I began to be troubled by niggling thoughts of what if this happens? what if it turns out to be much more complicated and that happens? What of the potential consequences for me and others if the deal falls through? Of course, being a student of Christian Science all my life, I prayed about this, really worked metaphysically to know many of the truths I had known before with good results. Peace of mind did come when I really felt God was in charge and as Jesus says, knows our need before we ask Him. Slept like a baby all night I'm happy to report. Then the next morning, quite unexpectedly, made a phone call, was led to take human steps, and voila, the solution presented itself within the hour, with kind, knowledgable people so helpful! I could scarcely believe it happened so fast. Was overjoyed. Wanted to stop the car on the way back, and bow down to the ground in nearly tearful thanks at what He had done.
So much for this proof of what He can do and does for those who trust in Him.

Now, the next thought that might be of help to some reading this blog. And oh how I thank God that it has opened up as a way to share. If anyone wishes to use this as a way to give a testimony, please feel free. As you know, you do not have to put your name, if that feels better for you, and you just want to express your thanks for Christian Science. And know it will be on its way instantly for who knows who somewhere across the world to be blessed by reading. How I am enjoying the freedom of this blog in that I do not have to send in things to Boston, have it over edited (to me) and then wait and wait and wait for it to go out to the world in need of inspiration. For years, as many of you know, I did publish much through the periodicals, but two things made this not right for me. First, when a poem I sent in was mangled by someone who shouldn't have been doing poems in the first place. I did let it go through to publication, thinking as so many others have, better half a loaf than nothing. Perhaps one tiny spark of inspiration will help someone. Then, an article for the Journal back in 2001 I refused to let be published as the metaphysics were so watered down. Was just not me at all. A helpful friend in Journal Sentinel Editorial went to bat for me, got some CS restored, and it was published. But with the watering down of my pieces for the new Sentinel beginning in l998 (had people tell me, this just isn't the Sharon Howell I used to read) , this tore it for me. Just couldn't go there anymore. While I have submitted no prose pieces for the Journal or Sentinel, did send in 3 or 4 poems in the past couple of years. However, as I would not have let one hair on their heads be touched, probably wouldn't have worked out for publication and God took care of it by their being rejected. So, God opened up other channels that have blessed me and people around the world.

That's all from me this perfectly beautiful Saturday morning from scenic Tennesee. You have a wonderful, God-inspired and directed day, my dear friends.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

From Jesus Himself

To those who have told me in just the past 24 hours, I would love to not be afraid to stand up for what I know deep down is right, just have to share with you something wonderful! Just opened my Bible to this: "Be not afraid, but speak, and hold not they peace. For I am with thee, and no man shall set on thee to hurt thee: for I have much people in this city."
(Acts l8:9, 10)

Does it not fill us with awe that it was Jesus who uttered these bracing words?! Need we any more encouragement than this?! Speaking up for what's pure and holy and God-given--and doing so in Christly love--(always it must be done in Christly love), will bring God's blessings beyond anything we can imagine.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

The Name

JESUS!...The Name

above every other name,

at the sound of which

we find our hearts flame;

and we want the whole world

to praise God that Jesus came.

Life is a serious business;

it is joyous,but not a game --

it's living to love and honor our King,

and helping others do the same.