Category Archives: Christian Science

Christian Scientists gather in Boston at denomination’s annual meeting; ponder the relevance of church

Boston CS church edifice with attributionPhoto: The First Church of Christ, Scientist, Boston, MA
© 2016 The Christian Science Board of Directors

By: Richard Evans, Manager, Christian Science Committees on Publication, The First Church of Christ, Scientist, Boston, MA

Boston, MA — When Christian Scientists convened in Boston, Massachusetts, Monday, June 6, for the annual meeting of their denomination, they faced a question that many mainline Christian churches also confront: can church be relevant today?

Their perspective on this question—as on just about everything else—runs counter to the popular narrative. “There’s a universal hunger for the heartfelt experience of God’s saving power,” said Margaret Rogers, chairwoman of the five-member lay board of directors of the Church of Christ, Scientist, which has its worldwide headquarters in Boston. “The demand,” she said, is for a church “that is vibrant with unselfed love and actively engaged in authentic Christian healing for humanity.”

For most Christian Scientists, this doesn’t seem to mean better outreach or new ministries and programs. It means drilling down on the thing they feel they bring to the world: spiritual healing, based on the teachings of Christ Jesus, that is expected to be both humane in spirit and effective in results. “We pray,” explained another director, Allison W. Phinney, “because prayer aligns us with how things really work. It lets us see and feel more of the immense good and the divine Love that’s actually here for us and for humanity.

Founded 137 years ago by religious leader Mary Baker Eddy, the Christian Science Church is a Christian denomination based on the Bible. While relatively small in numbers, the denomination has branch churches in more than 60 countries and has had an outsized impact on Christian thought by its insistence that God’s goodness brings not only salvation from sin, but healing of illness and suffering.

The group’s diversity is seen among some of the new officers announced at the meeting. The new church president is Annu Matthai of Bangalore, India. The new First Reader—who conducts Sunday worship and Wednesday testimony meetings at The Mother Church in Boston—is Louis E. Benjamin of Hillcrest, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. The new Second Reader is Diane Uttley Marrapodi of Forest Hill, Maryland, USA. Many church members travelled to Boston for Monday’s proceedings, while more followed the meetings live online.

The theme of this year’s meeting—“Church: ‘healing and saving the world’”—comes from Mary Baker Eddy’s view that Christ Jesus’ original Christianity has deep relevance for the world and its future, and that church must be a practical force for good in daily lives, bringing hope and spiritual progress for humanity. One small symbol of this is the planned renewal of the Christian Science plaza in Boston’s Back Bay. The outdoor spaces surrounding The Mother Church will be updated to better benefit the community as an environmentally sustainable oasis in the midst of the city. A longer-term commitment of the denomination has been publication of The Christian Science Monitor, an international news outlet providing daily and weekly news, online and in print—news that is intended to bring light, rather than heat, to the important issues of the day.

Members at the meeting reported on activities in their regions, as well as provided examples of healing from around the world. Christian Scientists from around the world, including New Hampshire, attended this year’s meeting.

For further resources see: http://christianscience.com/press-room

Can prayer heal addictions?

Courtesy of Biblos Foundation

An abbreviated version of this post was published in the Concord Monitor (click to read). It also was published on Concord’s Patch.com

According to news reports, pop singer Prince had been dependent on opioid painkilling medication, and that he was treated for a drug overdose a few days before he passed on in April. He had made an appearance at a party the next day, telling his fans to “wait a few days before you waste any prayers.” His tragic death shows the need to take our faith and prayers seriously, to continue praying, and never to stop.
 
While the human reasons for drug dependency are many, and the pull of addictive substances may feel insurmountable, divine help is beneficial and is always at hand. Prayer can be helpful in healing the most difficult situations, even severe drug addictions. Not to appreciate the value of prayer in the most challenging situations would be a mistake, especially when there is documented proof of its effectiveness.

Even medical schools are teaching the benefits of spirituality and many hospitals have spiritual care chaplains. These support wellness and healing. The popular 12 Step Program is helping many carefully think through the root causes of addiction, address them, and through a higher power find healing from within.

I’ve found that effective prayer includes inspired thinking and reasoning, inspired study and listening – from a spiritual basis. More than asking the Divine for blessing, it’s acknowledging that God is good and pure, and that it is natural for us, too, to be good and pure, whole and complete. Prayer helps us to align our thinking toward this fact.

Addiction is something we can all defeat with God’s help. Although it may seem that the body and brain are craving a drug, the temptation and decision to take it is mostly a mental thing. Prayer can heal the seeming necessity for a drug, be it pain or pleasure, and prayer can help overcome any withdrawal symptoms. God provides the spiritual strength to resist and defeat what is addictive.

The apostle Paul promised: “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” (I Cor. 10:13)

A friend was quickly healed of a lifelong smoking habit through prayer as taught in Christian Science.  While this habit was not as severe as an opioid dependency or addiction, the healing was significant for my friend. He came to understand that God is Love and that man is made in Love’s image and likeness, as the Bible says.
 
There is nothing loving about addiction, so divine Love does not and could not lead its children into the temptation to smoke or into bondage to any form of matter. Love provides satisfaction and completeness, health and wholeness. The realization of these spiritual facts freed my friend from smoking.

When we realize that these truths are true for ourselves, we can demonstrate dominion in our experience right now. We can heal addictions through prayer.

Tony Lobl, a colleague from England, was recently interviewed in an article titled, “Release from addiction.” Tony says, “What you’re proving through your healing journey is that addiction has no power over you. You’re proving that there is one power, one true influence, one God. And this belief that your addiction has a power over you is proved to be totally false because there is no duality; God has all the power, and we actually are governed by that power, and that’s what we’re proving in our healing practice.” Tony’s entire interview can be read by clicking here.

© 2016 Christian Science Committee on Publication for New Hampshire.
linkedin.com/georgereedcsb

Health benefits of spirituality

Vermont winter photo by Elodie Reed

Vermont winter photo by Elodie Reed

An abbreviated version of the following was published in the Concord Monitor.

A recent Concord Monitor interview with retired New Hampshire Hospital Chaplain Rachael Keefe shows how spirituality and spiritual care help patients with mental illness. Chaplain Keefe served for six years, praying for and providing spiritual counseling to patients and staff at New Hampshire’s State facility.

The State website says that the hospital seeks to give holistic, compassionate, psychiatric services to help the mentally ill recover. The Dartmouth School of Medicine magazine shares a history of New Hampshire’s institutional and community care of those deemed mentally ill.

The history is interesting but perhaps more important are the benefits patients have received from treatment that helps them connect with divine Love and provides them with spiritual care.

In the Concord Monitor interview, Chaplain Keefe said, “Spiritual care is essential to anyone’s well-being. When you’re in an acute psychiatric crisis, having someone who can offer hope – at its core, that’s what we do – is essential.”

A paper by Dr. Harold Koenig titled, “The Spiritual Care Team: Enabling the Practice of Whole Person Medicine” brings out similar points advocated by Chaplain Keefe. Dr. Koenig also has other research articles on his website showing the benefits of spirituality and religion in healing the sick.

Spirituality – a conscious connection to God – and healing results were the essence of Jesus’ ministry. Christians strive to follow Jesus in all that he did, and he healed mental illness through spirituality and prayer. He said, “Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (John 8:32)

The Bible also says, “God hath not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” (II Timothy 1:7) This is a powerful truth to pray with that helps us to get out of ourselves and into the stillness and peace of God.

After years of struggling with his mental health, a friend who now daily studies the Scriptures and Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy, has found peace of mind and sound mental health.

Divine Love and spirituality provide complete and permanent health.

© 2015 Christian Science Committee on Publication for New Hampshire

Placebo surgery?

Placebos have graduated into surgical procedures.

A placebo is a pill or substance without an active medical ingredient. The patient believes that he is receiving a drug. Physicians have found that the patient, unaware of the deception, may respond as if an actual drug was administered.

Five years ago psychologist Dr. Irving Kirsch, Associate Director of Harvard Medical School’s Placebo Studies program, reported that antidepressants are no more effective than a placebo in treating depression. On CBS 60 Minutes two years ago, Dr. Kirsch reported that some placebo knee surgeries are as successful as actual knee surgeries. A “placebo surgery” is surgery that is faked by the surgeon. The patient believes that he had an actual surgery.

In this 60 Minutes report Kirsch said “placebos are great for treating a number of disorders: irritable bowel syndrome, repetitive strain injuries, ulcers, Parkinson’s disease. Even traumatic knee pain. In this clinical trial some patients with osteoarthritis underwent knee surgery. While others had their knees merely opened and then sewn right back up. And here’s what happened. In terms of walking and climbing, the people who got the placebo actually did better than the people who got the real surgery. And that lasted for a year. At two years after surgery, there was no difference at all between the real surgery and the sham surgery.”

Recently, the reputable The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) published the results of another medical trial that also shows similar results between actual surgery and placebo or fake surgery. The report is titled “Arthroscopic Partial Meniscectomy versus Sham Surgery for a Degenerative Meniscal Tear.”

Although researchers and physicians have varying views on why the placebo effect works, most agree that it has something to do with the patient’s belief in the medicine or procedure. As more patient and health care providers come to see that thought and faith affect the body, it could serve as a springboard to a deeper study of the mental and spiritual nature of health.

At the same time, research into the impact spirituality, prayer, and religious practices have on health is on the rise.

The public these days is looking for health solutions in a wider variety of approaches – in some cases integrating alternatives with allopathic medicine and in others moving completely to alternatives such as naturopathy or oriental medicine. Some of the alternative approaches have underpinnings that are tied to theological and/or religious belief systems and practices. Hospitals and clinics are adding “integrative medicine centers” at a rapid rate because the demand for such approaches is high. And there is a well documented yearning among patients and care providers for an individual’s religious or spiritual beliefs to be included in their treatment.

Health seeker, health researcher, and New Hampshire native Mary Baker Eddy experimented with homeopathy and placebos. Homeopathy stops short of administering placebos outright; it attenuates or dilutes substances supposed to have medicinal value. Mrs. Eddy explains her experiment: “We have attenuated a grain of aconite until it was no longer aconite, then dropped into a tumblerful of water a single drop of this harmless solution, and administering one teaspoonful of this water at intervals of half an hour have cured the incipient stage of fever.” She continues, “The highest attenuation we ever attained was to leave the drug out of the question, using only the sugar of milk; and with this original dose we cured an inveterate case of dropsy. After these experiments you cannot be surprised that we resigned the imaginary medicine altogether, and honestly employed Mind [God] as the only curative Principle.” (Christian Healing, p. 13; this case of dropsy or edema is further described in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, page 156.)

This experience and others like it helped Mrs. Eddy to reach her conclusion that cures are not produced by drugs or chemistry. The effects of drugs, she taught, are produced by the faith placed in them by doctors, nurses, patients, families, and the public. And she discovered, as Jesus had demonstrated some 2,000 years earlier, that prayer is a powerful healing medicine.

I have found in my own experience that it is possible for a knee injury to be healed without resorting either to medical intervention or to placebos. I had severely injured a knee by running up and down a New Hampshire mountain with my daughter. I couldn’t walk for a few days, but through prayer the knee injury was healed, and when it returned a few years ago in a milder fashion, it was healed again through prayer so that I am able to walk, hike, and bike freely. My complete account of this experience can be read in the 2012 Christian Science Journal.

© 2014 Christian Science Committee on Publication for New Hampshire

A neurosurgeon’s life-changing experience

The public is giving more and more attention to the connection between spirituality, consciousness, and health. It shows in the popularity of a recent book by Dr. Eben Alexander, Proof of Heaven: A Neurosurgeon’s Journey into the Afterlife.

In his best-seller, Dr. Alexander tells of coming back to life after being in a coma and on a ventilator for seven days with a 2% medical prognosis of survival and 0% prognosis of recovery. The condition, according to medical diagnosis, had been brought on by a rare strain of bacterial meningitis.

While he was in the hospital, Dr. Alexander was prayed for by those close to him, including an Episcopal pastor. A family friend who describes herself as a psychic counselor and healer, also attempted to help him. Dr. Alexander says that he was given the clear impression, while he was unconscious, that he had to return because he had more work to do. And he said he came back because of his love for his 10-year-old son; that he was brought back because of this connection of love.

Dr. Alexander writes that he received these messages: “You are loved and cherished.” “You have nothing to fear.” “There is nothing you can do wrong.” He summarized this message in one sentence, “You are loved.” And in one word: “Love.” He said the unconditional love that he experienced on his mental journey was his most important discovery. He awoke out of the coma and was restored completely back to health. He writes: “The (false) suspicion that we can somehow be separated from God is the root of every form of anxiety in the universe, and the cure for it – which I received partially within the Gateway and completely within the Core – was the knowledge that nothing can tear us from God, ever.”1

The Scriptures teach that “Love alone is Life” as recorded in a hymn of prayer by New Hampshire native, discover and founder of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy. (Hymn 30) Divine Love itself is what resurrects us from death, both here and hereafter.

Dr. Alexander says in his book that, before his coma, he was skeptical of the existence of God and had been losing interest in religious matters. A recent inspired interview by my colleague from Massachusetts, Ingrid Peschke shows that he has had a revolutionary transformation in his thinking. He has had a glimpse of spiritual reality.

The universal truth of spirituality, consciousness, and health was revealed in 1866 to Mrs. Eddy. She learned that spiritual consciousness unfolds spiritual health. It heals disease. She writes, “The true consciousness is the true health.” (Miscellaneous Writings, p. 298)

Spiritual healing, which is sanctioned by the Bible, can bring recovery for all mankind right now. There are laws of health behind spiritual healing that we can learn to understand and to practice. These spiritual laws of health are God’s laws, the laws of divine Love, the one Healer.

A student of Christian Science learned the importance of understanding and demonstrating these truths at a time when he started feeling pain in his body. Soon the discomfort was so intense that he had to lie down while praying for himself. He was grateful to be able to stay calm and to feel the peaceful presence of God somewhat. He suspected that the acute pain and illness was an attack of appendicitis. He called a Christian Science practitioner for spiritual treatment. The prayers of the practitioner brought much comfort. Soon the pain subsided, other symptoms stopped, and he got up and about.

The following evening, however, he believed he might need to go to the hospital to be fed. He had been unable to take nourishment for two days. But then what he calls an angel thought from God came and brought him relief. He became thankful for the milk of God’s Word. Then he felt led literally to drink some milk, which met his immediate need for nourishment. He continued with Christian Science treatment. In the next few days the pain, sickness, and debility were completely healed. The peace of Love reigned.2

The Bible promises, “For I will restore health unto thee, and I will heal thee of thy wounds, saith the Lord.” (Jer. 30:17) And Science and Health explains: “Health is not a condition of matter, but of Mind. . . The basis of all health, sinlessness, and immortality is the great fact that God is the only Mind; and this Mind must be not merely believed, but it must be understood.” (Science and Health, pp. 120, 339)

We are all on a spiritual journey to understand more of God, Mind, the one true consciousness of Love, and the effects of this understanding of God upon the health of humanity.

1 Proof of Heaven, A Neurosurgeon’s Journey into the Afterlife by Eben Alexander, M.D., © 2012, Simon & Schuster Paperbacks, New York, NY, pp. 71, 73, 76, 123.

2 No enemies? by George Reed, © 1998, Christian Science Publishing Society, Boston, MA, Christian Science Journal, August 1998, Volume 116, Issue 8, p. 13.

© 2013 Christian Science Committee on Publication for New Hampshire

Find a health care voice: The individual mandate, individualized

The following piece was written by recent Amherst College graduate Elodie Reed, reporting for the Monadnock Ledger-Transcript in Peterborough, NH. The original can be read online at the Ledger-Transcript website and on the Concord Monitor website.

Find a health care voice: The individual mandate, individualized

By Elodie Reed
Monday, October 7, 2013
(Published in print: Tuesday, October 8, 2013)

“This past summer, I, a somewhat politically ignorant, country-loving, New Hampshire native, found myself in the most unlikely of places: Washington, D.C.. As an intern for the Federal Christian Science Committee on Publication, the legislative group for the Christian Science Church, I became well acquainted with downtown D.C., spreadsheets, our legislators on Capitol Hill, and most importantly, the Affordable Care Act.

“As a Christian Scientist, I actively rely on prayer for preventative and curative care for any issue that arises. In addition, I have access to Christian Science practitioners for prayerful assistance, as well as Christian Science nurses and Christian Science nursing facilities, which provide religious nonmedical care with services such as bandaging, mobility, food preparation and bathing that allow someone to be physically comfortable while undergoing prayerful treatment. While the Christian Science Church leaves all health care decisions up to each individual, most Christian Scientists choose not to use medical care, relying successfully and solely on Christian Science treatment. Having never used medical care, medical health insurance hasn’t seemed relevant for me or other Christian Scientists … until now.

“With the exchanges opening up last week and the ACA individual mandate taking effect come January, myself and other Christian Scientists, like many people in this country, are left wondering what to do about medical health insurance. Almost definitely as a result of oversight in the rushed drafting process for the ACA, there is currently no religious exemption for Christian Scientists. Only the Amish, the Mennonites, and Health Care Sharing Ministries can claim exemption to the individual mandate under a ‘religious conscious objection.’ It doesn’t seem fair, however, for Christian Scientists to pay into a health care system that does not provide the type of care they have used throughout their lives — prayer and Christian Science practitioners and nurses.

“For this reason, it made sense for me to go to D.C., contrary to what would appear sensical from my self-description above. I had this wonderful opportunity to be a voice in a legislative issue directly affecting me, and I also could take the time to learn more of what Congress is all about.

“What I saw there was — don’t fall out of your chair — encouraging.

“By working with the Christian Science Committee on Publication to find a solution to the lack of provision for Christian Scientists in the ACA, I met people at every stage of the game: constituents, lobbyists, many staffers, and even some Congressmen. With most of these individuals, when myself and my colleagues took the time to explain our issue in a face-to-face conversation, something amazing happened: people not only listened from both sides of the aisle, but heard us, and helped us move forward on our legislative efforts.

“While Christian Scientists do not yet have a solution to the lack of a provision under the ACA, we have taken the first and most important step. By considering all the ways to be included in or excluded from the new health care law, Christian Scientists have learned how to be part of the political process, building relationships and becoming a respected presence on Capitol Hill. We have allowed our voices to be heard, and though the things we say may be quite different, they matter. Our health care needs, like everyone else’s, matter.

“When individuals become people and not just numbers, individuals’ needs are much easier to recognize, and address. Sure, there are over 300 million people in our country, each of whom has singular needs, but the more voices behind those collective needs that can be heard, the better. The only way you can address a problem is if you know about it — if you hear about it — first.

“Which is why we shouldn’t all just throw our hands up and say, ‘Well, to hell with it,’ about Congress, about the ACA, about anything. The purpose behind the ACA, after all, is to provide for everyone’s needs. The implementation may not be perfect (let’s be honest, right now it may be only barely functional), but like someone new to parenting, it’ll get better, it’ll become more effective. And eventually, akin to the weathered and dependable parents like my own, our health care system will find a way to provide for as many needs as it can, and for the ones it can’t, we’ll have been given the tools to figure it out.

“Elodie Reed, originally of Bow, now lives in Harrisville. She is a reporter for the Monadnock Ledger-Transcript, covering the towns of Dublin, Jaffrey and Rindge.”

Christian forgiveness

The clip-clop of horse’s hooves echo in our thought as my wife and I recall our visits with a dear Amish family in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. Several decades ago we established a bond of friendship based on our mutual respect for each other’s faiths.

The response of the Amish community during the Nickel Mines school shooting tragedy provides a healing model of forgiveness. Their acts of grace shocked the world, especially when the Amish quickly forgave the shooter and embraced his family in love and support. The essence of this example of forgiveness also was demonstrated in the Sandy Hook, Connecticut shooting by some of the parents.

The Boston Marathon bombings will show the resiliency of Bostonians and quick healing is available for them too. There are stories of folks running towards the explosions to help. This courage, kindness, and forgiveness being lived by the Amish and by New England folks is what life is all about. These spiritual qualities cannot be bombed, shot or stopped.

To forgive is not always easy. But it has a healing effect. Why? Because when we truly forgive, condemnation and hatred, which are elements of what the Bible refers to as the “carnal mind,” are gone. The apostle Paul wrote, “to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God.” (Rom 8:6,7)

This “carnal mind” is what caused King Herod to kill a community of male infants when he sought to kill the baby Jesus. Whatever the motive in such cases, whether it is fear or hatred or some other form of depravity, it can and must be destroyed through the all-power and grace of God’s love. And this is where divine forgiveness plays a part.

New Hampshire native, Mary Baker Eddy, wrote “The pent-up elements of mortal mind need no terrible detonation to free them. Envy, rivalry, hate, need no temporary indulgence that they be destroyed through suffering; they should be stifled from lack of air and freedom.” (Miscellaneous Writings, p. 356)

We must deny and destroy carnal thoughts and actions through cultivating such spiritual qualities as gentleness and generosity. The Amish offer a good example. They are devout Christians. They shun materiality for spirituality, and practice Jesus’ teaching of radical, unconditional forgiveness. Christian Science teaches us that such spiritual minded living naturally promotes peace and health.

In a promise of such peace, a beloved psalm in the Bible tells us: “He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. . . . Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day; nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday. A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee.” (Ps. 91:1,5-7)

And in a statement entitled “What Our Leader Says,” Mrs. Eddy underlines the importance of right thinking, telling her followers:

“Beloved Christian Scientists, keep your minds so filled with Truth and Love, that sin, disease, and death cannot enter them. It is plain that nothing can be added to the mind already full. There is no door through which evil can enter, and no space for evil to fill in a mind filled with goodness. Good thoughts are an impervious armor; clad therewith you are completely shielded from the attacks of error of every sort. And not only yourselves are safe, but all whom your thoughts rest upon are thereby benefited.

“The self-seeking pride of the evil thinker injures him when he would harm others. Goodness involuntarily resists evil. The evil thinker is the proud talker and doer. The right thinker abides under the shadow of the Almighty. His thoughts can only reflect peace, good will towards men, health, and holiness.” (The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany 210:1-17)

What about the deaths that have occurred in Boston, Sandy Hook, and Syria? In a book titled No and Yes, Eddy wrote, “Jesus’ true and conscious being never left heaven for earth. It abode forever above, even while mortals believed it was here.” (p. 36:6-8)

Just as Jesus’ spiritual identity – the Christ – was not destroyed by his crucifixion, every child’s and adult’s indestructible identity also continues right now in the kingdom of heaven. The school children and bombing victims are still living the spiritual fact that life is love. Such Life is eternal.

The Christ awakens us to the great truth of divine Life and Love and its power to comfort and heal in times of loss. The Christ also awakens us to the truth that all evil and sin are ultimately self-destroyed. What’s left is the eternal goodness of God, which is always present and can be felt now.

God’s life and love are universal and impartial. They are based on a fixed divine Principle. According to John’s Gospel, Jesus’ new commandment is to love another as Jesus loved – agape.

Agape love is a Greek word meaning pure, unselfed, spiritual love. It’s Christ, Love, that inspires us to love and forgive, because this is what God and His law does. God’s love and law can even awaken those who kill and commit suicide, bringing to them redemption and healing.

Christly love understood and lived – by everyone and with everyone – will leave no one out to stew with mental demons of guilt and mistakes, but will cast the evil out and wash all clean in God’s love and forgiveness.

Forgiveness in individual lives has been proven to bring health to those who are grieving or sick. Both medical research and Christian Science practice have shown how unconditional forgiveness heals. Linked is a recent testimony of someone who was healed of cancer through forgiveness.

Forgiveness is an expression of true Love. Christly love includes all creation. Jesus taught that it even includes the so-called evil and unjust. Agape love embraces all men, women, and children on earth. So it’s possible, even if difficult, to love all – even our enemies – and bless them.

I love Boston…I wonder whether, were our dear Master
in our New England metropolis at this hour,
he would not weep over it, as he wept over Jerusalem!

O ye tears! Not in vain did ye flow.
Those sacred drops were but enshrined for future use,
and God has now unsealed their receptacle
with His outstretched arm.

Those crystal globes made morals for mankind.
They will rise with joy, and with power to wash away,
in floods of forgiveness, every crime,
even when mistakenly committed in the name of religion.

– Mary Baker Eddy (Pulpit and Press, p. 7)

Mary Baker Eddy: Finding the Love that makes us well

The following piece was written by Thomas Mitchinson, who is a Christian Science practitioner, teacher and Committee on Publication for Illinois.

Many individuals comment on the power of love to make us well. One of my favorite observations comes from Dr. Larry Dossey, M.D., who wrote in his book, Healing Words, “If scientists suddenly discovered a drug that was as powerful as love in creating health, it would be heralded as a medical breakthrough and marketed overnight – especially if it had as few side effects and was as inexpensive as love.” (p. 109)

Christian healer, Mary Baker Eddy, also found that love was extremely valuable in making individuals well. One of her students once quoted her as saying this in response to a question about healing through prayer, “Just live love – be it – love, love, love. Do not know anything but Love. Be all love. There is nothing else. That will do the work. It will heal everything; . . .Be nothing but love.” (We Knew Mary Baker Eddy, p. 134)

Eddy also knew that human love, while important, was variable and inconsistent. She looked for something deeper than human love – and found it in The Bible – in the book of First John – where it states, “God is Love.” She found the invariable, deep love for God that restores, redeems, forgives unconditionally, and heals disease. She found this more reliable and powerful than just human love, and used Love (with a capital L – see again her above quotation) as a synonym for God.

Her Bible study led her to write the book Science and Health with key to the Scriptures, which she wrote to help others understand this Love that heals.

She wrote, “’God is Love.’ More than this we cannot ask, higher we cannot look, farther we cannot go.” (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 6) She knew that it takes devotion, and sometimes hard work, to keep one’s thought filled with this love of God. The world can mightily test one’s faithfulness to Love. It certainly tested Mary Baker Eddy. . . At one time she was faced with a lawsuit that challenged her integrity. A group of newspaper reporters were sent to her community of Concord, New Hampshire, to see if something sensational could be written about her.

Eddy gave the responsibility for talking to the reporters to a member of her staff, Irving C. Tomlinson. In a book he wrote about his years of service to her, he wrote, “The chief man among this group, representing a big New York newspaper, was known as a particularly hard-boiled reporter and a steady drinker. He had been afflicted for some years with a cancerous growth of the throat, which was extremely painful and at times overwhelmed him completely.

“One evening as they were all sitting in his room at the Eagle Hotel, drinking and smoking, bored with their stay, this man was suffering with his throat; he had lost his voice entirely and was unable to speak a word. Mrs. Eddy had asked me to call these men by telephone and inform them that it was impossible for her to see them. But she cautioned me at the same time, ‘Be sure to ask for the leading man and speak directly to him.’”

Tomlinson was told that the head man could not speak to him. Eddy – who characteristically embraced even her enemies in the unchanging and universal love of God – had told Tomlinson to insist on speaking to this man – that if he could not speak, at least he could listen. He did – and he was healed.

Tomlinson continued, “the healing stirred these men. . .[They] had believed Mrs. Eddy to be only a humbug, and the reputed healings of Christian Science to be a great hoax. Their whole position was overthrown by this proof offered before their very eyes. They packed their bags and left.

“Some years later a relative of this man called at my office in Boston, and gave me the following message: ‘My uncle requested me to see you and to tell you that in his last days he turned to Christian Science, and he knew that he owed a debt of gratitude to Mrs. Eddy for his healing in Concord.'” (Twelve Years with Mary Baker Eddy, pp. 63-65)

Love. It is a vital ingredient in defeating illness.

©2013 Christian Science Committee on Publication for Illinois – used with permission

Woman’s Place

Today is International Women’s Day and March is Women’s History Month. The following piece was written by Virginia Harris, CSB, a Christian Science practitioner and teacher from Weston, MA and Center Harbor, NH.

“A native of New Hampshire, a child of the Republic, a Daughter of the Revolution…”

Oh, Mary Baker Eddy loved to describe herself as a daughter of New Hampshire! She represented generations of family and neighbors who tilled its soil to birth communities, create schools and churches to nurture individual and communal support, devote lives to freedom and independence, and shape its government and laws. New Hampshire natives created functioning societies where there were none, and made meaningful contributions to the state’s progress and its stature in the newly-formed United States of America. New Hampshire was one of the original 13 colonies that declared independence from Britain in 1776.

By the turn of the 20th century, Eddy reminded the thousands of readers of her publications of what New Hampshire had already achieved:

“The enlightenment, the erudition, the progress of religion and medicine in New Hampshire, are in excess of other States, as witness her schools, her churches, and her frown on class legislation…”

So I think that Mary Baker Eddy would be pleased to know that her New Hampshire has another notable achievement in the annals of civilization’s progress due, in all likelihood, to its legacy: it is the first state in the country to elect all women as its highest leadership. These are the federal delegation (2 Senators, 2 Congresswomen), the Governor, the Speaker of the State House and the chief justice of the State Supreme Court.

Why is this so significant? Why is it important to mark this achievement in the year 2013 – 237 years after the country’s declaration of independence? Because it is evidence of progress in the rights of all mankind to advance due to merit, and not to be held back by bias – in this case by gender.

The New Hampshire example shows this: these leaders proved their merit in different political parties, followed different paths to election and were chosen in different election cycles. They are individuals who earned their way all the way, proving at every step that bias has no place in a democratic society.

There are still battles to be waged and won, here in the US and the world, of gender-based civil rights, for example in education, healthcare, and fair pay. All the more reason to acknowledge and celebrate evidence of progress in New Hampshire.

Mary Baker Eddy’s rich and productive life challenged the 19th century image of women and formed a new model of womanhood that transcended her time and still sets a high standard for the 21st century. She authored a manifesto that continues to revolutionize thinking about the unconditional basis of each individual’s spiritual being, and how this knowledge breaks any and every limitation in life. Her publishing company communicates the practical application of her ideas for everyday living and her global church has adherents serving their communities in 130 countries.

In Eddy’s seminal book, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, she devotes several pages to the divine mandate for equality of the sexes, always referring to the Bible for her inspiration. In the second chapter of Genesis, Gihon is mentioned as one of the four rivers of the Garden of Eden – perhaps metaphorically the cradle of civilization. Eddy makes a point of redefining Gihon with a practical meaning and purpose – a mandate – for our time:

Gihon (river). The rights of woman acknowledged morally, civilly, and socially.

New Hampshire’s leadership shows the progress that has been made toward achieving this ideal.

When Mary Baker Eddy returned to her beloved New Hampshire later in life she was probably the best-known woman in the United States. The local leaders enjoyed reminding their citizens that she was a native daughter, and hung a portrait of her in a place of honor in the capital’s seat of government, the State House…a woman’s place.

Doctored – Interview with Dr. Stephanie Mills

Love and compassion for everyone, not the making of greater and greater profits, are the high motives for prayer and healing. We see this love exemplified in the life of Jesus Christ, who was ever about his Father’s, divine Love’s, business (see Luke 2:49) and who “went about doing good” (Acts 10:38). We see this throughout history in the dedicated and selfless efforts of many doctors, nurses, and other health-care workers to do their best to relieve suffering above all other concerns. Yet the example of selflessness that Jesus left us is not yet the universal model.

Physician and writer Lisa Rankin, Md recently wrote a blog titled, “Has the health care industry lost its moral compass?” Dr. Rankin writes that health care professionals are spending too much time and money on procedures that are not helping, that may be hurting patients, rather than being supportive to patients by taking the time to talk with them, a practice which has been proven to help and heal.

Dr. Rankin writes, “Our health care system is seriously broken. Yet, those in power do not want the system to be fixed. Most of the money in health care dollars is going into the hands of medical device companies, HMO’s, and pharmaceutical companies, not doctors or hospitals. These companies have powerful lobbies and big budgets to ensure that Congress doesn’t enact laws that limit their power and profits.”

In the recent film Escape Fire: The Fight to Rescue American Healthcare, renowned physician Dr. Andrew Weil comments that “We don’t have a health care system in this country, we have a disease management system.” And medical writer Shannon Brownlee states, “We’re in the grip of a very big industry and it doesn’t want to stop making money.”

According to Escape Fire and Dr. Rankin, United States citizens spend $2.7 trillion per year on health care, which amounts to $8,000 per person per year. Globally, the average health care expenditure is $3,000 per person per year. We spend more than $300 billion per year on pharmaceuticals, almost as much as the rest of the world combined. About 50% of Americans take drugs and they consume about 50% of the drugs produced worldwide even though Americans represent only 5% of world population.

One safeguard against such problems is the prevention of medical monopoly. Mary Baker Eddy, a New Hampshire native, was a nineteenth century spiritual thinker seeking solutions to health. As Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, Eddy saw great danger in monopolies. In our day, some governments still restrict freedoms to the detriment of the well-being of its citizens. Religious and democratic freedoms enshrined in the United States Constitution need to be upheld to improve the US health care system. A free market system – freedom of competition – is necessary to reduce health care costs.

Medical monopoly has been studied since 1995 by Registered Nurse Sue A. Blevins who founded the “Institute for Health Freedom.” In a report published by the Cato Institute, Blevins wrote:

Nonphysician providers of medical care are in high demand in the United States. But licensure laws and federal regulations limit their scope of practice and restrict access to their services. The result has almost inevitably been less choice and higher prices for consumers. . . . Studies have repeatedly shown that qualified nonphysician providers–such as midwives, nurses, and chiropractors–can perform many health and medical services traditionally performed by physicians–with comparable health outcomes, lower costs, and high patient satisfaction. . . . Licensure laws appear to be designed to limit the supply of health care providers and restrict competition to physicians from nonphysician practitioners. The primary result is an increase in physician fees and income that drives up healthcare costs. . . . Eliminating the roadblocks to competition among health care providers could improve access to health services, lower health costs, and reduce government spending.

A recent educational film shows how some freedoms have been won back by alternative medicine. “Doctored” is a new documentary by Jeff Hays that shows how chiropractors have freed themselves from attempts to monopolize health care. For decades chiropractors were labeled dangerous quacks and prevented from collecting insurance funds for their treatments. The film states, “There’s been a deliberate campaign to label anybody who doesn’t sell or distribute drugs, surgery or radiation as a quack.”

“Doctored” reviews the Supreme Court case of Wilk vs. The American Medical Association. In 1984, the AMA was found guilty of an illegal conspiracy to contain and eliminate the chiropractic profession, and was ordered to stop. Since then the chiropractic profession has grown to be more accepted.

Dr. Stephanie Foisy Mills from the Concord area helped produce “Doctored.” Dr. Mills founded Crossroads Chiropractic in Pembroke. We spoke to Dr. Mills and asked her about the film “Doctored” and alternative care.

What role did Dr. Mills play in the birth of this documentary?

Dr. Mills said that she had heard about the project from the producer, Jeffery Hays, who had visited New Hampshire. He needed a financial backer and Dr. Mills stepped in.

What led Dr. Mills to become “an activist,” if you will?

Dr. Mills was adverse to taking medications when she was a small child. She said in the movie there is a segment about a boy in Utah, Parker Jenson, who was told he had cancer. Parker told his parents that he felt fine. He was told he had “invisible cancer.” The parents had never believed that he had cancer and fought to avoid the recommended chemotherapy. The doctor then told authorities that the boy had only two weeks to live and went to court to force his treatment. An independent MRI showed that the boy didn’t have cancer at all. The film states that the doctor was looking for a 12 year old boy to complete a clinical trial.

What does Dr. Mills see as the dangers inherent in a medical monopoly in America?

“It’s frustrating from a provider’s standpoint to see how the insurance companies are forcing the care being given,” she said. “For instance, x-rays are required before a patient is approved for MRI’s, even if an x-ray is not necessary. There was an anti-trust lawsuit by the AMA against chiropractors to eliminate them all together. It took 11 years. AMA is a powerful force – it’s amazing that chiropractors won. It was turned around when some medical doctors came forward with documents that showed what AMA’s motive was – to destroy their chiropractic practice.”

Do you think we will ever be able to return to a society in which powerful lobbies are not calling the shots?

“We will not win at higher levels since there is not enough money to battle the lobbyists. We may have some successes when different officials are elected, but elections can go the other way as well.”

How can the average American work to promote and support an environment of choice in health care?

“We need grass roots involvement to educate the public that there are alternatives and that these alternatives work. Moms and Dads need to speak up to governments.”

Who else is working on this issue of patient choice? What do you think is the leading edge of this conversation?

“There are a lot of alternative folks and groups who are working on this. Much comes of individual sharing and educating.”

In your experience, have you seen prayer or a spiritual approach to health care to be beneficial factors in recovery?

“On an individual basis – absolutely.” Dr. Mills says that she has seen patients who have a belief system and positive attitude that definitely do have better outcomes. She mentioned a story about a woman who was operated on and when the doctors opened her up, they saw that there was nothing to be done and that she would live only briefly after the operation. The daughter begged them not to tell her mom this, so they told the woman the operation was successful. She lived way beyond what they had expected. “The operation had done nothing, but her expectation brought amazing results.”

What role do you think spiritual care might play in a broader view of health and health care treatment? What keeps this approach from being more widely accepted? And, how does access to information or lack thereof – because of health care monopolies, play a role?

“So many opportunities are available. Telling the stories on an individual basis is really important. Individual experiences are key. Speak up to your neighbors and friends and strangers. This is what we need to overcome the monopolies.”

Thank you Dr. Mills for sharing your insights and experience.

Mary Baker Eddy writes: “Unconstitutional and unjust coercive legislation and laws, infringing individual rights, must be ‘of few days, and full of trouble.’ The vox populi, through the providence of God, promotes and impels all true reform; and, at the best time, will redress wrongs and rectify injustice. Tyranny can thrive but feebly under our Government. God reigns, and will ‘turn and overturn’ until right is found supreme.” (Miscellaneous Writings, page 80)

Studies show that spiritual care is the most popular alternative care method used by the public – about 50% of us pray for spiritual healing. It improves lifestyles, wellness, and health outcomes. Christian Science treatment uses the power of Mind, God, to heal. It is available to anyone, anytime, anywhere.

© 2012 Christian Science Committee on Publication for New Hampshire