Tag Archives: Christian Science

At annual meeting, Christian Scientists see “new spirit” emerging in society

Boston, MA — by Kevin Ness, Committees on Publication Manager, The First Church of Christ, Scientist

In today’s culture of political divisions and religious strife, Christian Scientists spoke at their church’s annual meeting of “a new spirit” emerging, which is calling forth the best in people across denominational and national lines.

In an interview, the chair of the denomination’s board of directors, Allison Phinney, pointed to the simplest of signs seen at a nearby Methodist church in Boston’s South End: “God is Love.” “You are Loved.” “Justice.” Said Phinney: “Materialism doesn’t satisfy. It is Spirit, God, that brings us into newness of life, shifting thought, revealing the power of church.”

“Newness of life”—a Biblical expression—was integral to this year’s meeting. The theme, “Let us feel the divine energy of Spirit, bringing us into newness of life,” came from the denomination’s textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, by church founder Mary Baker Eddy. The meeting took stock of the challenges as well as the promise facing many Christian denominations in this period.

These very challenges have prompted many to look to their core values as people of faith, the board emphasized. In these core values is the power that renews individual lives and revitalizes churches and society as a whole.

There’s an awakening, Phinney said, to the fact that “we have to work together, that it requires the practical Christianity, which Christian Scientists would term healing, so evident in the life and love of Christ Jesus.” It is bringing out “a new spirit of joy and healing at work in our own movement right as communities around the world are searching for deeper answers to human needs.”

The recent launch of a daily digital edition of the 109-year-old Christian Science Monitor is one result of this deeper look at core values. According to church officials, it represents a modest new beginning, focusing less on the number of Internet hits and more on the Monitor’s basic ideal of healing and impartial journalism. “We’re seeing ever stronger demands for just treatment of all the members of human society,” Phinney noted, “and we know it is Spirit, God, the divine influence and energy, that is touching the heart of humanity.”

The new church president introduced at the meeting, Irmela Wigger of Hamburg, Germany, is a Christian Science practitioner and teacher active in the ministry of spiritual healing. Following a tragic incident of violence in her family some years ago, her church family brought her through. “Church is about serving God,” she said, “and from this serving we get a pouring out of Love—God’s love—you can’t imagine.”

According to the church’s clerk, Suzanne Riedel, new members joined the church from 29 countries, including Australia, Chile, Democratic Republic of Congo, Indonesia, Mauritania, Mexico, Portugal, Togo, Uruguay and Zimbabwe, as well as the United Kingdom and United States. The meeting included reports of healing as well as church progress.

Founded 138 years ago, the Church of Christ, Scientist, is a Christian denomination based on the Bible. The use of the term “Science” refers to what Mary Baker Eddy saw as the spiritual laws of God as understood and demonstrated by Jesus. Members come from all walks of life and backgrounds, including the physical sciences. Said board member Rich Evans, “We don’t equate serious spiritual commitment with ignorance or unreasonable belief.” The conclusions of the Christian Science founder “were untraditional in some respects, but she thought deeply about the relation between practical Christianity and demonstrated proof of God’s great love for humanity.”

George Reed can be reached at newhampshire@compub.org www.linkedin.com/in/georgereedcsb

A Christian Science response to “Finding Grace”

In the winter issue of Around Concord, a local magazine, there was a tribute by Susan Nye, a writer from New London to her cousin Grace, who was a Christian Scientist. We wrote the following response to the editor:

I am writing about the article titled “Finding Grace” by Susan Nye in your winter Around Concord magazine. Ms. Nye wrote a touching piece about her cousin Grace with some fine points. May I offer a bit more perspective as a New Hampshire native and lifelong Christian Scientist myself?

First, some background. I grew up in Manchester and attended the Christian Science Sunday school there. In my high school and college years, my teacher in the Sunday School was the award winning playwright Horton Foote who became a Christian Scientist as an adult. I was graduated from the University of New Hampshire in Durham with a Mechanical Engineering degree. After college I felt called to the ministry and have been an active Christian Science practitioner since.

Christian Science practitioners pray for spiritual and physical healing for those who request it. It’s a quiet, conscientious ministry and religious practice – not a matter of blind faith, but rooted in the reality of God’s love for everyone. It’s not a dogmatic practice that’s dictated by the church; anyone may choose to contact a practitioner in time of need.

As reported in the Concord Monitor, my wife and I run a residential home for Christian Scientists in Concord at the historical Rolfe and Rumford home, formerly a home for foster girls. There we employ Christian Science nurses who are skillfully trained as nonmedical religious caregivers.

Christian Science nursing is a practical, spiritual ministry that actively supports a patient’s decision to rely on Christian Science for healing. It is carried out with wisdom, skill, and compassion, and is grounded in the Bible-based theology of Christian Science, which emphasizes the compassion of Jesus’ teaching to love one another.

Though Ms. Nye assumes, as many do, that prayer has not been found to offer much practical value beyond treating a common cold or flu, treatment in Christian Science has, for over a century and a half, given real hope to the hopeless and effected a cure in the lives of many who have otherwise been deemed incurable.

An older, but balanced and still useful discussion of this experience can be found in Robert Peel’s 1988 book, Health and Medicine in the Christian Science Tradition, part of an interfaith series of studies brought out by the Park Ridge Center of the Lutheran General Hospital in Chicago.

In my adult years, I have been spiritually healed of a heart problem, an acute shoulder injury, a skin disease, severe asthma, severe conditions that appeared to be appendicitis and pneumonia, and a number of minor ailments.

While Christian Scientists recognize how much more we have to learn and grow in the line of spiritual healing, most of us have seen enough tangible proof in our own lives, and have felt enough of the transformative inspiration that accompanies it, to know that such evidence can’t simply be dismissed in a world still in need of aid and healing.

Christian Scientists don’t try to compete with medical science or physicians; we respect their work for humanity as did the founder of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy. In fact, Mrs. Eddy wrote the textbook of Christian Science a few years after a physician from Manchester had urged her to write such a book. He wanted to know more about her system of healing, after witnessing Mrs. Eddy restore one of his patients, whom he had diagnosed as dying of pneumonia, to health.

Mrs. Eddy had relatives here in the state who were physicians, and she once gave a large donation to a hospital that was in financial difficulty and in danger of closing. She wrote: “Great respect is due the motives and philanthropy of the higher class of physicians.” Christian Scientists today are grateful for the understanding shown by many in the medical professions and by our friends of other faiths, in spite of our differing views and choices on healing.

I’m grateful to have read about Ms. Nye’s cousin Grace, who clearly lived a meaningful and graceful life. I hope these comments on Christian Science will add light and perspective on this aspect of her experience.

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

Spiritual health care that works

Elodie Reed SunflowersVermont Sunflowers photo by Elodie Reed

Participation in alternative health care has surged in recent years. Many people want care and healing with simplicity and results. They are increasingly wary of expensive care that is complicated or drug and surgery dependent.

A few years ago, the Los Angeles Times published “More Doctors Going the Alternative Route” by Janice Neuman, reporting that 83% of physicians are turning to complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) for their own health care needs, compared to 63% of the general population.

The public 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 spiritual care. Hospitals and clinics are adding “integrative medicine centers” at a rapid rate because the demand for such approaches is high.

Some of the non medical approaches have underpinnings that are tied to theological and religious belief practices. 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.

Studies show that prayer and spiritual care are the most popular non medical care methods used by the public – about 50% of us pray about our health. And yes, it has been shown to improve lifestyles and health outcomes. While to some this may seem incredible or anecdotal, to those who rely on spiritual care for their heath care needs, spiritual healing is dependable, accessible, and affordable.

So just what is spiritual care? For some, it’s spiritual counseling by a member of the clergy in a hospital that brings comfort while the medical team makes efforts with the illness to mitigate pain and suffering. For others, it may be a practice of meditation incorporated into an allopathic treatment plan to relieve symptoms. In my faith tradition, it’s sincere prayer to God with the expectation of complete healing.

What is this God of health and healing? This God is divine Love, a love that is so much bigger and stronger than any human love. We can learn how to turn to divine Love and better understand our relationship to this powerful source as a means to maintaining or restoring our health.

I learned how to do this many years ago by studying, in conjunction with the Bible, a textbook on healing through prayer by New Hampshire native, Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered and founded Christian Science. Her book, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, has been instrumental in my approach to my own spiritual care.

Here’s one recent example of how Christian Science has helped me. Years ago I had an asthma condition that restricted my movements considerably. I had difficulty climbing the stairs in our three story Concord Victorian home. Yet I can honestly say that I was not afraid, even when it seemed like I was on my last breath. Why was I so confident? Because I have successfully relied on Christian Science spiritual healing for over a half century. And because I was praying and felt God’s comforting presence.

I asked a Christian Science practitioner to pray with me. This is someone who devotes their full time ministering and specifically praying for those who have health care needs. We prayed to understand and realize God’s perfect health as His gift to me at that moment and always. We studied this statement in Science and Health: “Health is not a condition of matter, but of Mind [God].” (Science and Health, p. 120)

I learned more clearly that God, divine Mind, is all acting. I started to feel better, breathe easier, and had the courage to go for a walk. Eventually these walks stretched into miles. Soon I was completely healed.

Is it any wonder, when we consider the effectiveness of spiritual care and healing, that more and more of the public are turning to it to support their health care? The Bible promises, “For I will restore health unto thee, and I will heal thee of thy wounds, saith the Lord.” (Jer. 30:17)

© 2014 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)