Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Thank You, Commenters

Just a note of appreciation to all you who are taking the time to leave a comment on my blog. As I have found, not only do the essays on Christian Science have an uplifting and often healing impact on readers, the comments you all leave can be such a help to readers all the world as well.

And to the comment left in an Asian language, thank you for putting English with it. Although we lived for a time in the Far East, and traveled extensively throughout Korea and Japan and to Hong Kong, China, and Taiwan, I cannot tell which is your language.

May God bless you -- as He continuously is doing.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Waking Up from the Waking Dream - S. Webb (Tennessee)

I can't be thankful enough for what I'm learning from Christian Science. Some months ago a friend gave me Mary Baker Eddy's wonderful book, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" and what it is doing in my life! I've had many healings of different problems. But I want to share this with someone who may be struggling with a misconception I had for years. Christian Science is showing me what I really am.

As a member of another Christian denomination, I read and believed that I was God's child. But like far too many of the church members I know, there was a disconnect somewhere. I thought so much about my sin and God's wrath that I got up each morning already kind of down feeling.

It was as I was reading "Science and Health" one day that the cause of this dawned on me. I was too taken up with the flesh, with the unreality of my being, instead of really understanding that I am God's spiritual image and likeness. Matter was so real to me it was like I was shutting God out in a way. This is the way I would put it. I was giving Satan more power than God almighty! I was letting Satan steal the joy and freedom and health God wants His children to have, which Jesus came to make plain.

Too many of the Christians I know are clueless about what is missing in their everyday lives. They don't know how to wake up from the unreal and see the spiritual reality all about them. They don't think of themselves as God's spiritual, perfect creation.

I thank God for the teachings Mrs. Eddy gave the world. I feel I am waking up more every day to what is truly real about myself and other people.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Notes to my readers

After many months (don't know how far back) of not showing comments, have decided to show previous comments readers of this blog have posted. And accept new ones. I stopped receiving reactions from readers as some people wanted to argue unduly, in my opinion. And respecting Christian Science as I do, felt things were going off track unnecessarily. I wanted to enjoy the freedom of sharing my thoughts on metaphysical issues without having to be picking and choosing which comments to leave on.

I will welcome dissenting views, of course, but not accept crude comments or those from individuals who want to debate me out of my religion! Or remarks that are too personal where I'm concerned -- either for or against.

Now, we shall see how this works out for all.

And through the months of blogging, I've welcomed guest columns from fellow Christian Scientists, and if you should have something you wish posted here, feel free to send it along to me. As I do not wish to allow someone to enter this site themselves, put what you want to say in an email and I shall transfer it to my blog. Or send something through the mail if you'd rather do it that way.

Have a lovely day!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Guest Column - By John Wellsman


More than 40 years ago the students in Mrs. Abel's sixth-grade arithmetic class bent over their old wooden slant-topped desks concentrating on a problem similar to the one above. Similar, but actually much longer--it was probably two lines and included more complex numbers. Pencils scratched, erasers rubbed as the students diligently computed the result. Everyone except my best friend Steve, that is. Presently Mrs.Abel looked up from grading the papers on her desk and noticed Steve looking out the window and said, "Well, now Stephen, have you arrived at the answer or are you just daydreaming?" Most of the class, including myself, were astounded when Steve respectfully (remember, this was more than 40 years ago) answered, "Yes, Mrs. Abel, I've got the answer!" Mrs. Abel looked intently over her reading glasses and said in her imperious schoolmarm voice, "And what is the answer, Stephen?" "The answer is zero, Mrs. Abel" he replied. "That's excellent, Stephen, you are absolutely correct, but how did you arrive at the answer so quickly?" "It's simple," Steve answered, "The last operative is times zero and anything times zero is always zero." Perhaps as a precursor of my challenges in higher math later in school, I was a little slow picking up on this fundamental fact of mathematics. For the longest time I kept focusing on all those numbers in the problem and thinking, "Yes, but all those numbers..."

While this incident receded from my conscious thought it apparently remained with me to be remembered when many years later after becoming a serious student of Christian Science, I was faced with a seemingly serious health problem which didn't appear to yield. One day, when yearning to know what more I needed to understand, I was suddenly back in Mrs. Abel's arithmetic class hearing Steve say, "...anything times zero is always zero."

I realized two things, one, I still hadn't fully accepted the very simple mathematical principle of "anything times nothing is always nothing" and secondly, ,this was very profoundly applicable to the practice of Christian Science, thus I began a serious effort to get a real understanding of the mathematical principle and to apply it to the practice of Christian Science. Gradually it became clearer that one had to, as my friend Steve had grasped--incidentally, he went on to have a very successful career in compuer science--understand the "nothingness of nothing" and to remain focused on that nothingness rather than to be distracted by all those numbers and operations preceding it. That zero was nothing and its' nothingness negated all that preceded it.

And how does this apply to Christian Science? Very simply, we learn in Christian Science that matter and all that pertains to it is an error of thought--mortal thought. Our task, therefore is to remain focused on that single fact until we understand it thoroughly. Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science states very succinctly in her book, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, (p. 346) "The nothingness of nothing is plain; but we need to understand that error is order to prove the somethingness -- yea, the allness -- of Truth." (emphasis added)

Thus, it doesn't matter how many or how real the symptoms of a disease appear, we need to focus our thought on that "times zero" operative until we understand it. Clearly. Not just intellectually. Not just unreasoning acceptance, but real comprehension. Then, when we understandingly apply that "times zero" operative to whatever matter and mortal mind are claiming, those claims will disappear because they are clearly understood as nothing.

"...matter is mortal error."

As Mary Baker Eddy states in her "Scientific Statement of Being" in the Christian Science Textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures (p. 468). And error has no essence, presence, power or activity. It is simply nothing.

Using the "times zero" example, it is easy to see how Mrs. Eddy could state that, "There is no life, truth, intelligence nor substance in matter" in that same "Scientific Statement of Being." No scientific enquiry or research has ever once identified a single atom or element of "life" in matter. Thus no matter how many atoms or elements are combined in whatever combination can be humanly conceived, the result will not be alive. Forty-five duodecillion atoms are not and cannot be alive because not one of them has any "life" within itself. DNA research purports to outline how combinations of these inert atoms can determine aspects of life. But when one realizes that not one of those atoms has a single element of "life" within it, the fallacy of the DNA theory becomes readily apparent.

The same goes for intelligence. No scientific enquiry has ever identified an atom or element of "intelligence." Thus no matter how many atoms or elements are combined together, the result will still be non-intelligent. Samuel Greenwood, a prominent early worker in the Christian Science movement once wrote, " is impossible and inconceivable to impart consciousness and intelligence to nothingness." (1940 Association address: "Preexistence")

No matter how many apparent "somethings" there seem to be, when the "times zero" operative is applied to them they all amount to nothing. The clear understanding of this fact can result in physical healings. Take, for example, a Biblical example from Jesus' healing ministry--the case of the man at the pool of Bethesda. To mortal thought he had been crippled for "thirty and eight years.' However when Jesus understandingly applied the "times zero" operative to the mortal picture, all the arguments and mental pictures of a crippled man were instantaneously relegated to their native nothingness and the man was healed.

Safe - 24/7

For centuries, people in dangerous situations have turned to the Bible for reassuring promises of God's protecting care. One of the most comforting and best-loved is the first verse of Psalm 91: "He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty." I love that image of having a spiritually secure "secret place" right in God's shadow. And an understanding of man's spiritual selfhood, a recognition of our unity with God, man's loving Father, enables us to find that "secret place" and dwell in it.

Christ Jesus', conviction of being inseparable from his Father empowered him to demonstrate his dominion over evil. This is indicated by Jesus' words, recorded in John's Gospel: "He that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone." And as we follow his example to the best of our ability, we, too, can rely on God's powerful protection. Jesus showed beyond a doubt that the Father never leaves us alone or unprotected; He keeps us continuously secure in His omnipotent care.

And in "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," Mary Baker Eddy assures us: "The history of Christianity furnishes sublime proofs of the supporting influence and protecting power bestowed on man by his heavenly, Father, omnipotent Mind, who gives man faith and understanding whereby to defend himself, not only from temptation, but from bodily suffering." (p. 387)

Included in this understanding is the reassuring fact that as offspring of the all-wise, all-directing, and all-seeing divine Mind, you and I continuously respond to God's unerring direction. We therefore have the wisdom and judgment necessary to stay out of harm's way. As we abide in God, divine Love, we have the constant support of our Father throughout our daily activities. Claiming this God-given dominion enables us to fulfill our responsibilities in confidence, freedom fearlessness.

One day when we lived in Seoul, South Korea, I was tacking up posters for a meeting. Oblivious to the crowd milling about, I was suddenly struck very hard on the back and shoved into the board. Turning around, I saw a young man with an angry look on his face. I didn't know this person, had no idea why he took his anger out on me. Instantly resisting fear, I firmly acknowledged divine Love's governing presence, knowing that God's law alone was controlling us both and holding us beyond the reach of ill will, misunderstanding, or harm. Immediately the hostile look left the young man's face, smiles were actually exchanged, and a dangerous incident was quickly resolved.

This practical understanding of man's unity with God is available to anyone. And prayer empowers each of us to conduct his or her life without inhibiting fear and uncertainty. Through prayer and Christlike living, we gain the wonderful assurance of being safe - 24/7.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Dependence on God -- not drugs

Our local tv station has been reminding viewers of an important program coming up this evening on the drug epidemic here in East Tennessee. It seems the prescription pill, oxycontin (spelling?) has gotten out of control. Apparently there is big money to be made from selling these pills, and people will get them any way they can. But the purpose of my blog post this morning is to say, thank God for the teachings of Christian Science. And for the book Mary Baker Eddy wrote, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" which makes available to any sincere searcher for Christ-healing the truths that underly Jesus' marvelous demonstrations of God's power.

I could never be grateful enough for getting to rely on God when physical challenges have arisen--not have to depend on some mindless drug or pill. A young man gave an interview that was heart-rending: just out of college he had some physical problem that this particular pill was prescribed for. It led to addiction. And now he says he cannot get off the pill. He feels his life is over, and was warning others to steer clear of the this pill which is the focus of tonight's tv program.

Of course, God can deliver this young man from addiction, just as He delivers His children from sickness and disease. How wonderful that powerful divine truths are out there, through the teachings of Christian Science, to do just this.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Facing the winds

Happened to read a sports writer this morning, commenting on the British Open and the impressive victory by a South African golfer who faced some pretty formidable weather during the tournament. The Scottish gales on Friday tried many a player's mental toughness. One of the golfers remarked that the winner has a lot of "bottle".

This is a new word to me and it means nerve/unflappability/a resolve to win through in any endeavor. A British word apparently. But it caused me to think about the qualities we need in life, especially those of us who are committed to following in Jesus' steps. As any veteran of this adventure knows, there will be storms that try one's spiritual stamina and mental toughness. But God always sees us through. It is a divine fact that out of His loving and powerful presence, we cannot be.

I also thought of the woman who discovered and founded Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy. That she faced the winds of mortal opposition, hatred, misrepresentation--you name it, is well documented. It was God of course who sustained her in her world-benefiting work. How many countless men and women and children can attest to what her teachings of the divine laws that underlay our great Master's works have done for them. And I am among the grateful recipients of her labors.

We can't prevail in this holy work of living the life of Christ without facing the winds. But we will always be brought through the storm to sunshine and calm. God will see to it.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Reflecting Love Divine

I know I've read, it has certainly been said to us enough, that having an animal to care for keeps a person young. This I believe. Why is this so often the case? I think it's because of the unselfish love these dependent beings get from us (or I hope they do). Such affection is, in my view, as aspect, a reflecting of that Love divine which their Creator has for all His creatures, great and small.

In addition to keeping one more youthful and vigorous as he forgets about self, a friend once said to me that what got her up each day when she was going through a very rough time was knowing that her dog was counting on her. She had to get up each morning to feed him, and take him outdoors. "It was due to this dear thing that I didn't sink into depression and just shut down from living.:"

And I can't help thinking that reflecting God's dear love to that dog kept her young, as well.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

What Being a Christian May Cost Us

I was just re-reading one of my favorite passages from John Bunyan's "The Pilgrim's Progress" -- a masterpiece and Christian classic published in 1678, written while the author was imprisoned for his religious beliefs. The poem that especially moves me is as follows:

"O world of wonders! (I can say no less)
That I should be preserved in that distress
That I have met with here! O blessed be
That hand that from it hath delivered me!
Dangers in darkness, devils, Hell, and sin,
Did compass me, while I this Vale was in;
Yea, snares, and pits, and traps, and nets did lie
My path about, that worthless silly I
Might have been catched, entangled, and cast down:
But since I live let JESUS wear the Crown."

Reflecting on Bunyan's experience of having his liberty taken from him for 12 years, worrying about whether his family would starve while he was incarcerated, and recalling so many other Christian heroes of the faith who went through things I can only imagine, something the woman who founded my religion wrote came to thought. I think it's worth sharing for those who will be reading this blog post who are not acquainted with Christian Science. This is from "Miscellaneous Writings", page 281: "Admiral Coligny, in the time of the French Huguenots, was converted to Protestantism through a stray copy of the Scriptures that fell into his hands. He replied to his wife, who urged him to come out and confess his faith, 'It is wise to count the cost of becoming a true Christian.' She answered him, 'It is wiser to count the cost of not becoming a true Christian.' So, whatever we meet that is hard in the Christian warfare we must count as nothing, and must think instead, of our poverty and helplessness without this understanding, and count ourselves always as debtors to Christ, Truth."

Friday, July 9, 2010

Reading great books

(Just finished reading one of my favorite newspaper columnists -- David Brooks of the New York Times, on the importance of having books in the home, especially those of disadvantaged children. A University of Tennessee research team found that when books were given to poor children at the end of the school year for 3 years, it made a world of difference in their grades and their outlook for their own futures. I couldn't agree more, of course, and couldn't help thinking of the book every child should have access to in the home. And read!)

O Book Divine

The Bible is full
of such treasure;
it blesses us
beyond all measure.

The Holy can
help us in our troubles,
help us survive our troubles,
help us out of our troubles.

Is there anything
this Book Divine
cannot do?

(And of course, when a child is old enough, he or she cannot do better than have as a companion to the Bible, the masterpiece Mary Baker Eddy wrote - "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures." I will be forever grateful it was in my home as a child.)

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

To seize the joy

A scene I like to visualize,

especially with this

fierce Tennessee heat --

one of our dogs

bounding out the door,

rolling over and over,

delighted with the snow;

certainly not those in

New England we used to know,

but enough there to enjoy.

What lesson here?

I think for me,

to seize the moment,

feel its joy,

not take for granted

the good God does bestow.

Throughout the Bible

are admonitions to us

to rejoice over this and that,

with never a mention of

dragging around yesterday,

or trying to live tomorrow.

"Easy to do" one might say,

if one is a puppy

without a care in the world,

or a happy little girl or boy.

They have someone looking

after all their needs."

Well, don't you and I

have Someone looking

after all of ours?


Monday, July 5, 2010

To see what's really real

Finding out what
Christian Science reveals
helps us see what's really real.

Not helpless we who, when
feeling besieged by
fearful, adverse forces,
turn and see the truths
Elisha knew and prayed
to have his servant understand:

Here right now God is with us,
We are not unaided after all.
No matter how the situation may seem,
Our loving Father can deliver us.

*See II Kings 6:15-17

Thanking Him

When who-knows-what
begins to get me down,
I thank God and my joy
begins to rebound.

Nothing cures depression
I have found
like thanking Him
for everything around.

Before I know it,
by expressing gratitude,
I find very soon
a whole new attitude.

Giving way to thanks giving
makes the day much brighter;
it lifts mental darkness,
makes the step much lighter.

And more -- expressing gratitude
is infectious I have found.
It can help get someone
else's chin up off the ground.

No wonder Jesus commended
the leper --- that only one
who came back to give God thanks
for all that He had done.

So, whenever I'm tempted
to feel a trifle blue,
I'll thank our loving Father,
which is only His due.

Friday, July 2, 2010

What God's word can do

Last week I happened to hear on a favorite music station a composition by Felix Mendelssohn. For those of you who aren't into classical music, he was a nineteenth century German composer. The sublime thing I was hearing is "Hymn of Praise" -- glorious music. And I couldn't thinking of something I learned about him: he was brought up in the Jewish faith, but one day he came into contact with a stray copy of the New Testament and happened to read Jesus' words. I don't recall precisely which words of our great Master he read. But heavenly lightning struck, and he converted to Christianity then and there. He was the only one in his family to do so. And one of my all-time beloved pieces of his is his "Elijah" oratorio. Especially inspiring, to me, is the music he wrote for "Then, then shall the righteous shine forth, as the sun in their heavenly Father's realm." Beyond the beyond!

To think that the words God gave Jesus to give to the world have that kind of redeeming, life-changing power. And we who are followers of Christ Jesus through the inspired teachings of Christian Science, as given by Mary Baker Eddy, know more than most just how much His word can do for us.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Why not be free now?

With the Fourth of July holiday coming up here in the USA, have been thinking of freedom and all I have gained of it through the teachings of Christian Science.

In the eighteenth century the cry of French revolutionists was, "Liberty! Equality! Fraternity!" This demand still resounds throughout the world from many segments of society. In fact, there are very few who do not seek liberation from some form of bondage--fear, inharmony, lack, ill health, or ignorance.

The assurance of Christ Jesus, "Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free" (John 8:32) is no outdated, empty promise! These words glow with relevant meaning and are being proved practical in the lives of countless men, women, and children through the study and application of Christian Science.

While many seek freedom from fetters of poverty, illness, unemployment, inadequate housing, racial inequality, all desire the peace of mind, the security and the true satisfaction that come only from an enlightened understanding of man's spiritual being as God's perfect reflection.

Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, writes in "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" (p. 227): "Citizens of the world, accept the 'glorious liberty of the children of God,' and be free! This is your divine right. The illusion of material sense, not divine law, has bound you, entangled your free limbs, cripped your capacities, enfeebled your body, and defaced the tablet of your being."

Any one may realize their God-given right to freedom now, from the fetters of material sense. God's beloved child possesses unchanging dominion over every material belief of limitation, sin, and sickness. The real man, whom God created, is forever free, governed only by God's beneficent laws.

As one gains an enlightened understanding of his true selfhood as a child of God -- spiritual and immortal--he becomes conscious of increasing liberation from restrictive, discord-producing material mindedness and begins to experience the peace, joy, and dominion rightfully his as the reflection of God's love.

Christian Science shows that true freedom is realized not by ignoring, fearing, or resenting challenging situations, however unjust or afflictive these may seem, but by recognizing the eternal truth that the way out of mortal bondage is to gain a clearer understanding of man's spiritual, perfect nature as God's child.

In her semon, "The People's Idea of God" Mrs. Eddy says (p. 10): "Justice and truth make man free, injustice and error enslave him. Mental Science alone grasps the standard of liberty, and battles for man's whole rights, divine as well as human."

This liberating standard proclaims that you and I have never been and never can be separated from our divine source, for we are God's image--immortal, free right now.