Monday, February 23, 2009

All honor to Jesus

A fellow practitioner, Betty Gillingham, was just sharing something she had been reading and pondering, and it occurred to me, what a wonderful and timely blog this would make. It's from 1 John 4 and I will type it out for you readers. "Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. Hereby know ye the Spirit of God; Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God. And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God; and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world. Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world." (Verses 1-4)

And this glorious truth found in verse 14: "And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world."

And some thoughts from someone I've mentioned in my blogs who has brought me much inspiration through his writings on Christian Science. Samuel Greenwood, pointing out the necessity of having Jesus' words paramount in our thought and life writes: "Jesus was not ignorant of who he really was, where he came from, and what he came to do; and he knew when his work was finished. He was aware that he was the Son of God in a special sense, different from the way in which we apply it to ourselves. He had a direct mission from the Father, such as no one before or since has been entrusted with. He left his words for his disciples of all time, words to which he attached unparalled importance, and which he said would never pass away. Thus his words have the same authority today as when they were spoken; and the same promise and power are back of them."

"I think Christian Scientists need to be on guard, lest they let their thought of Jesus slip into the background, as if he has been replaced by something higher. I believe some have gone so far as to think it old-fashioned now to talk of Jesus. He is still the centre of Christianity, and will so continue until the end of error. It is a fatal mistake to relegate Jesus to a secondary place, in the divine plan of human salvation; for it is not possible to separate him from the Christianity which he inaugurated at the command of the Father. Any attempt to do this would only sacrifice its essential vitality and power. Christian Science is not another kind of Christianity; it is the same one."

"Some speak of Jesus and Christ as though they were two separate individuals; whereas there was but one individual there. As Mrs. Eddy says, 'He was inseparable from Christ, the Messiah, -- the divine idea of God outside the flesh.' "(Science and Health)

And when Jesus asked the disciples whom they thought he was, Peter replied, 'Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.'"

Let us then, in every way we can, give to Jesus Christ the honor due the Son of God.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

A P.S. to "Where is Christ Jesus...?"

Just checked comments this morning, and want to pick up on something one person said. Appreciate all the thoughts you readers out there have shared. Your participation makes blogging such an alive activity for me, and I am grateful to you. To the individual who left our church because Jesus was presented as a mere historical figure, let me share an experience I had when we were moving down here from Boston, 1998. One of the movers was taking a break, and happened to pause at my office door. Asked what work I was in. One thing led to another and before we knew it, were deep into religious issues. We naturally got to Christ Jesus and his demands on his followers. Both of us loving Jesus as we did (and still do), this devout Baptist finally asked, "Do all members of your religion feel the way you do about Jesus?" I had to answer, unfortunately, no. This man said he knew some CS's and had never run into one like me. This bothered me, but as I said in my previous commentary, I am inspired to do what I can to awaken reverence for our dear Master. This is precisely why I began this blog, and already there is feedback that some progress is being made in this all-important direction. As I've said to a few friends who are with me in this endeavor, it seems the good we can do is very modest at this point. But oh the joy that comes from doing even this much!

And finally, to you who obviously love Christ Jesus: I hope you won't let what so many others do not think is vital keep you turned away from Christian Science. The Discoverer and Founder of my religion loved Christ Jesus more than all the world, she wrote. And she also wrote, that she had passed through deep waters to preserve Christ's vesture unrent. (These statements appear in "Prose Works") If others have dropped this vesture in the mud and even stomped on it in some cases--in a manner of speaking--take comfort in knowing that there are others of us who are trying to get Christ Jesus back at the very core of Christian Science today.

You have my loving, good thoughts...

Monday, February 16, 2009

Where is Christ Jesus in your life?

Of all the things in this life I dearly love--and the list gets longer every day so wonderfully giving is our heavenly Father--what lights me up the most is getting to proclaim the words of Christ Jesus. To even speak the Name that is above every other Name, to write it in this blog, or in poems is a joy unspeakable.

What I'm going to be addressing in this entry will stir people up. Can't be helped, given the earth-shaking power of God's beloved Son. Jesus stirred people up in his day and his words upset the carnal mind today. But knowing the tribulation that awaits any sincere follower of Jesus (we've been forewarned, haven't we?) you and I shouldn't be deterred from doing our duty to God.

Noticed in one of the comments on a previous posting something a Betty pointed out. I know several Bettys in different locations, so don't know which this was. But she quotes our Leader from "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" where Mary Baker Eddy says: "We cannot choose for ourselves, but must work out our salvation in the way Jesus taught." Now, most Christian Scientists I know would nod at this, say, of course this is true. But do you know, readers out there, what I find all too often? When I have brought up the necessity to live these teachings, to have Jesus' words front and center instead of off on the side of the road, as it were, do you know what happens? People's eyes glaze over if they're sitting in front of me, and their voices on the phone take on an odd silence. Like I'm speaking in a foreign tongue. Or sometimes patients will say, "Yes, yes, I know all that", then go on their merry way without a thought for our Lord and Master. This could discourage me if I were not absolutely committed to bringing this out in every situation that presents itself. Nothing matters more to us individually, or to our Cause, or to the world's deliverance from the present economic circumstances than living what our Master taught. Beyond any doubt, the teachings of Christ Jesus hold the solution to every human problem.

And addressing another of humanity's needs, think of physical health and well-being. How many illnesses are the result of not being right with God through Jesus' commandments. You must know deep down that this is true, if you are in the public practice of Christian Science, if you are a teacher, if you are just thinking about your own challenges. I think we could almost say every single instance of disease can be traced to this. As students of the Science of Christ, how can we think otherwise?

I bring up teachers of Christian Science. I have noticed far too many who apparently do not have Jesus' words uppermost in what they are doing. The impression has been left that Jesus' words are not absolutely essential to the student of divine Science, that they can be taken or left. In effect, that Jesus is more or less obsolete. (I can scarcely stand to even write this!) And in my opinion, these workers who have the Holy Bible and our Leader's writings are under an awful indictment. Used to wonder what it was that was missing from what they wrote and or spoke, but began to see the basis for this inexcusable oversight.

Two things crystallized this for me: one time while reading in the rare book section of the Boston Public Library, came across a statement early on by the Discoverer and Founder of our religion where she said plainly: "I love Jesus more than any man who ever was or is." This was pivotal to me in my thinking about what I was noticing in the periodicals. Writers seemed as though they felt an obligation to put something Jesus said in an article. Seemed tacked on as an afterthought, not from the heart. Always felt this was wrong, and increasingly began to understand how wrong!

Then later came across an early writer, Samuel Greenwood, a teacher from Victoria, B.C. who published much in Mrs. Eddy's day. (His marvelous healing in Christian Science is highlighted in an earlier blog post on September 18, "Accountant's eyesight healed". ) I have never read any CS's writings that show such a reverence for Christ Jesus, apart from our Leader herself. His love for what Jesus taught was so in his heart and life that everything he wrote glows with spiritual power. They come off the page, enter the reader's thought, make such a healing difference in one's life--if taken seriously and put into daily practice. One gets the distinct impression that his mission in life was to keep before the public the teachings of Jesus as given through the revelation of Christian Science by Mary Baker Eddy.

This summation is actually close to something another early worker wrote at one point. As many of you know, Martha Wilcox worked in our Leader's home in Chestnut Hill, MA. And her stating clearly that the purpose of Christian Science is to perpetuate Jesus' words ought to leave no doubt what should be uppermost for us followers of Christ and Christian Science today.

If just one student of CS reads this blog and begins putting Jesus' words in first place--and I do stress first place--then it will be achieving its objective. I can't be true to my God and leave this unsaid. There is nothing under heaven more urgent than doing this. There is no danger greater to us individually or to our Church or to the well-being of the world than not doing it.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Rock or Sand?

Not sure how this will turn out, but here goes as it needs to be aired. Being in the public practice of Christian Science, one naturally is privy to all kinds of situations. And one has come to my attention which I've been thinking about a lot. And that is building one's house--not on rock--but on sinking sand. There is a Christian Science facility in another state from my own, and I've been helping the Administrator with enormous challenges. The challenges involve trying to please a Board of Directors, all supposed Christian Scientists, whose bottom line is, let's squeeze every cent we can out of the little old ladies who come to our facility! I kid you not. There is not a thought about Christian kindness or help, really. Just we must make this enterprise successful, even if we mistreat our residents and work our employees, nearly to death.

Now, if one is trying to make a commercial venture go, this mindset might be justified. But when an enterprise has the name Christian Science attached to it? Wrong, and as just about anyone can see, the eventual outcome isn't good. As Jesus makes plain in his parable of the two houses, one on rock and the other on sand, the inevitable will occur when storms come. We are in a storm economically, it would appear to human sense. But this is no excuse for treating residents, and patients and staff worse than dogs. Is money one can wring out worth running afoul of God's laws?! Would not so-called success be failure on these terms?

Our dear Master warns: "Ye cannot serve God and mammon." This from the same hillside sermon in which he talked about the two houses. I, along with probably many of you out there, can see a parallel with the Church Center and its activities where getting is sometimes more important than giving out Christian love and support. This has been remarked on by many comments on my blog and one other I can think of. So, it is a perception that must have a basis in fact, in actions, in what is between the lines of nice-sounding metaphysics. But folks, it is our holy religion we are talking about, not just some business out there. And until we get the expressing to others the love and giving Jesus taught, I fear we are going to continue sinking deeper down.

This is all for now. But God is not going to be mocked, and if enterprises that flout His laws and commandments are ignored, well they may crash. This cannot be helped. But it can be avoided if people will truly put first things first.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

What God honours and prospers

I do a lot of thinking about the state of our organization, and feel led this morning to post the following thoughts on what is keeping it from enjoying the respect and growth its Founder, Mary Baker Eddy envisioned for it. The respect and growth it certainly had in her day.

Everyone knows of The Salvation Army and the worldwide affection and esteem it has. And having made a thorough study of its Founder, William Booth and the wonderful support of his sublimely spiritually-minded wife, Catherine, I actually copied down some of the letters she wrote to him when he was praying and struggling to find a way to serve Christ and help mankind more.
They were in England where their work began, and Booth had become disillusioned with the worldliness that had crept into the Methodist church after its saintly Founder, John Wesley, was no longer on the scene. His later to be wife wrote to him, "Oh my dear William, depend upon it, it is not talent or learning (however estimable as instruments), nor might nor power, but 'My Spirit saith the Lord,' It is a soul spending itself simply for this one end which God will honour and which He always has honoured since He first spoke to man; and just in proportion as other motives operate will He cause disappointment and vexation of spirit. The present state of the Church proves this; and the Church has got machinery enough, talent of the first order, numbers, organizations, money, etc. etc. etc. and God seems to be standing aloof looking on and saying,
'You are trying to do My work in your own strength and in your own way, trying to build up systems and teach men's intellects and please your own fancies, instead of ever remembering My word, 'without Me ye can do nothing.' "

I realize this may well generate some negative comments which I will not post unless the individual disturbed with me has the courage to affix their name. And even then I may not. Certainly not any smiling-while-tearing-me-to-bits comments. This shows what it is in my heart about our Cause, and what I see is missing from official policies and actions right now. I realize that those who have their salaries paid by the Church Center and/or wish to keep pleasing individuals--right or wrong--won't be happy with this blog post. But it doesn't matter. I will not put up with someone egging our house, then hiding in the bushes, as it were.

Is it just our Church that needs to be much more intent on glorifying God and serving His interests? Of course not. I have a dear friend in Aberdeen, Scotland who has become disillusioned with his church, the Church of Scotland, for primarily the same reasons as I bring out. But regardless of what others are not doing, this deeply religious man intends to honour Jesus Christ in every way he can.

Will close this off for now with a personal experience I had when I worked at the Church Center. One day at lunch felt inspired to walk down to the Boston headquarters of The Salvation Army. Wanted to leave only $20. The loving receptionist said, Oh let me take you upstairs. The man in charge here will want to thank you personally. For only $20, mind you! I was shown in to a rather shabby office. (They do not waste money on surroundings for themselves.) And there behind that worn desk sat a man with the most heavenly countenance I had ever seen, outside of 3 or 4 Christian Science workers I knew. He glowed with Christlike humility, joy, and love. I felt I was in a holy place, and can say that that reception I got changed my life. Yes, it did, in ways I will have to try to describe later. It is safe to say that he received only a pittance of a salary. But he was working for something much higher than self--to give, not get. He lived to bring honour to the world's Saviour.

As I feel we who love Christian Science need to do better. And I put myself at the head of the line where needing to follow better in Jesus' footsteps is concerned. The long and the short of it is, to me, that The Salvation Army has remained true to the principles of its Founder. The Christian Science Church has not.

Sunday, February 1, 2009


(Thoughts which came as I was walking earlier on this crisp and beautiful Tennessee morning)


(c) By: Sharon Slaton Howell

Light is seen in so many lovely ways:

--in ducks gliding across a pond,
leaving long streaks of
shining in their wake;

--in a little child's happy eyes;

--in a face glowing with love.

But exceeding all that nature
and our fellow beings can show
is that light Jesus promises:
(John 8:12)
"I am the light of the world:
he that followeth me shall
not walk in darkness, but
shall have the light of life."

The beauty of this Light
can never fade to black.
Its presence and its power
followers of His can never lack.