Tag Archives: health

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

Prayers for Easter health

The following “letter to the editor” was published in the Concord Monitor and Manchester Union Leader this Easter weekend.

Easter brings remembrance of the death and resurrection of Jesus, but also of his life, an important part of which involved healing others through prayer.

The health care that Jesus brought folks in his day can be ours today. Health is derived from the root word heal. It’s a sound state of mind and body. Health or heal means to restore to original purity or integrity.

Health is a restoration of what man already is as the son or daughter of God. Not man, but God is the source of true health.

There are three things that would undermine health in consciousness and body: fear, ignorance, and sin.

Fear would limit our full demonstration of health.
Ignorance would keep us from understanding God as the source of wellness.
Sin would try to separate us from God and destroy our God-given well-being.

Years ago I was ill with weakness and breathing problems. I turned to God in prayer for healing. I prayed for courage, to understand God, and to destroy any sinful sense of separation from divine Love – from Love’s consciousness and natural provision of health.

The Lord’s Prayer and a sentence in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by former Concord resident Mary Baker Eddy helped: “Realize the presence of health and the fact of harmonious being, until the body corresponds with the normal conditions of health and harmony.” (page 412)

Earnest prayers eventually healed me and I resumed my normal activities. My prayers today are for a healthy Easter for all.

The connection between consciousness and health

The Concord Monitor published a letter to the editor that readers of this blog might be interested in. It can be read online here.

A connection between faith and health

Monday, February 17, 2014

One aspect of faith that would be helpful to your readers is to show how faith and health are connected. A Pew Research study found that 80% of Internet users search online for health information.

Numerous medical studies show a strong connection between health and our thinking and actions. Harvard Medical School has reported that our health is affected by our thinking, whether it’s a simple thought of gratitude or a stressful blowup.

These are not new revelations. For 5,000 years Scriptural writings have taught similarly. The Bible says that God is Love, and that God is the countenance of our health. Love and health are strongly connected.

We all have the capacity to be what God made us to be in Love’s image and likeness. Love is a powerful medicine.

Of course there’s more to health than Love. Yet our answers are at hand. Today’s enlightened physicians are digging deeper into finding the mental causes and cures for illness.

New Hampshire native Mary Baker Eddy wrote a textbook based on her lifework of spiritual healing titled Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures. It has healed folks all around the globe for more than a century.

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

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)

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

Olympic health

The Olympics usually inspire me to run. This year’s Olympics has inspired me to think. Why have they grown so big in thought, in financing, and in global participation? Even Muslim women are competing this year. (See this article.) Perhaps the Olympics are more important than simple sports activity. There is some serious history here.

When the ancient Olympia games started some 2788 years ago, a national truce – ekcheiria – was observed throughout Greece. Athletes and spectators were allowed to travel in safety and to celebrate the Greek religious festival with which the Olympic games were closely connected. These truces provided a common basis for peace and national unity for the Greeks.

The first Olympics was a festival held in 776 B.C. and was dedicated to Zeus, the chief Greek god. A 200-meter footrace was held. Greeks gathered every four years for the next millennium in Olympia to honor Zeus through sports, sacrifices, and hymns. Wrestling, boxing, and horse racing were added to the Olympic roster. They complemented devotional sacrifices, hymns, celebrations, and visiting family.

This combination of Greek worship and sports led the Roman Christian Emperor Theodosius to ban the Olympics in 393 A.D. Modern Olympics revived some rituals as seen in the Olympic oath, the procession of athletes, and the lighting of the flame. In London at the 1908 games, Anglican Bishop Ethelbert Talbot declared, “The most important thing in these Olympics is not so much winning as taking part” — which has become part of the Olympic creed. He followed in the footsteps of the Reverend Henri Didon, a Catholic priest who penned the official Olympic motto “citius, altius, fortius” – faster, higher, stronger.

The founder of the modern Olympics, Frenchman Baron Pierre de Coubertin, restored the Olympic Games in Athens in 1896 after excavations at Olympia renewed public interest in the Olympics. Coubertin had other national reasons of peace and brotherhood, yet he wrote: “The first essential characteristic of the Olympics, both ancient as well as modern, is to be a religion.” His motive was to glorify God. He was educated by Jesuits and influenced by muscular Christianity. Muscular Christianity shaped the modern programs of the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) and Boy Scouts of America (BSA) and its devotees used sports to strengthen their faith. Today, muscular Christianity inspires professional athletes such as Tim Tebow.

Athletic exercise is a wholesome activity that glorifies God when done for the right reasons. Even the Bible declares, “For bodily exercise profits for a little while: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.” (I Tim. 4:8) And, “whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.” (I Cor. 10:31)

I’ve been associated with athletics since running track and cross-country in high school. My exercise isn’t done for health reasons, but for joyful sports participation. Bible study and prayer help to keep me from being obsessed with exercise and it is these things and not the exercise that give me health. And I’ll tell you why.

Health comes from something more spiritual than exercise or matter-based thinking. It comes from understanding one God, infinite Spirit. Jesus taught, “It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.” (John 6:63)

God is the source of strength and health, whether or not we believe in the one God – who is divine Mind – that Moses, Jesus and others have proclaimed. It’s not simply matter muscles that give us strength. There’s thought behind muscles. And it’s more than mind over matter. It’s divine Mind, God, over matter. (Mary Baker Eddy, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 199) In previous blog posts you can find some examples of spiritual healings through this line of thinking and prayer.

New Hampshire has a special connection to this year’s Olympics. Concord High School graduate Guor (Majak) Marial came to the United States as a refugee from South Sudan. He literally ran for his life when he escaped the war-torn region and made his way to Concord. He is not yet a US citizen and year-old South Sudan republic has not qualified to field an Olympic team. But Guor qualified for the men’s marathon through discipline and hard work. The Concord High School graduate was selected by the International Olympic Committee to run the men’s marathon this Sunday.

Guor’s response, which can be found here, was: “If God gave me this talent and this education and I can be able to dedicate my life every single day to this kind of thing, one day God will give me the chance to support, to help my people, the people of South Sudan.” More stories about Guor’s inspired life story can be found here.

Guor isn’t the only athlete participating to glorify God. (For example, see this article and this article.) We can be grateful that a festival that began in ancient Greece to honor the god Zeus of mythology has today become an Olympian effort in which some athletes are conscientiously declaring their choice to glorify the one Almighty God through their participation. This is an attitude that should be encouraged.

George Reed is a former runner for Team New Balance, USA and still holds the outdoor one mile record at the University of New Hampshire, where he received a degree in mechanical engineering. He currently is a Christian Science practitioner, and the media and legislative spokesperson for Christian Scientists in New Hampshire.

Healing hepatitis

Recently over two dozen patients were accidentally infected with hepatitis in a New Hampshire hospital. There is no known medical cure for this disease and it is thought of as a life sentence.

How is Christian Science treating this tragedy? With the power of God. Because God does not cause disease, healing is possible through prayer. Christian Science treatment starts with gratitude to God and allays fear as proclaimed in the Bible by the Psalmist: “In God I have put my trust; I will not fear what flesh can do unto me.” (Ps. 56:4)

What is the antidote of fear? The realization that God is Love as the Bible declares Him to be: “God is Love. . . There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear.” (I John 4:16,18) Understanding God, which is a step beyond trust, helps us to overcome fear. Gratitude and Love help us to destroy fear.

What is the next step in our Christian Science treatment? Mary Baker Eddy’s Christian Science textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, states that if we wholly remove the fear, there will be healing. (p. 411) So we must fully destroy the fear.

Because Christian Scientists have been taught to allay fear, they are aware of the contagious nature of fear. While the medical profession tends to look almost exclusively at material and physical causes, Christian Scientists will be quick to offer prayers that heal the belief of mental, fearful contagion that would spread from person to person.

Each of us in reality has a spiritual immunity, which means that our spiritual identity includes a spiritual toughness that protects us from contagious disease and strengthens us to overcome its symptoms. Our task is to understand and accept this spiritual fact. Reading the Scriptures and Science and Health teach us how.

Some cases of healing by spiritual means are quick. In other cases there seems to be resistance and the healings take longer. In the ministry of Jesus, a father brought to the Master his child, who probably today would have been diagnosed as having epilepsy. The disciples, according to the account in Matthew, could not heal the case. But Jesus did. When asked afterward by the disciples why their efforts had not been met with success, Jesus replied, “this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting.” (Matt. 17:14-21)

When there is not quick healing in Christian Science, treating disease is much like a court argument. Such argument would include both “prayer” – the deeply grateful acknowledgment of God’s presence and power, and of His creation of man in his own image and likeness, and “fasting” – denial of the possibility that man, as God created him, can possibly be subject to anything unlike perfect good. (Gen. 1:26,31)

In Science and Health (p. 430), there is an allegory that shows how such treatment heals a case of “liver-complaint,” or what today might be called hepatitis. This allegory comprises 13 pages of Science and Health. Generations of readers of this part of the Christian Science textbook have learned that in God’s court, God’s law overcomes so-called human health laws of disease through Christian Science treatment. In the Supreme Court of Spirit, man is found to be innocent, healthy, strong, and free.

The spiritual realization of God’s allness, of Love’s allness, completely wipes out fear and disease from thought – and eventually from body. This has been demonstrated to be the case. There have been several reports of the healing of hepatitis over the years in the Christian Science periodicals. I’ll conclude with one that was published in the November 12, 1955 issue of the Christian Science Sentinel. (Click to view it on JSH-online.)

A Christian Science Minister for the Armed Services received a telephone call from a woman who seemed full of fear. She explained that her husband, an Air Force officer, was in the hospital at his air base. The doctors had diagnosed his condition as viral hepatitis. Claiming that there was nothing more they could do for him, the doctors had stopped giving him medicine and had placed him on the danger list. At this point the officer’s wife asked a doctor if he thought her husband should try Christian Science. He acknowledged that it might prove helpful. Accordingly, she went to her husband, who knew very little about Christian Science, and recommended that he try it. After receiving his consent, she called the Christian Science Minister.

That very day the Minister visited the officer in the Air Force hospital and found him in an extremely weakened condition due, in part, to the fact that he was not receiving solid food but was being fed intravenously. The Minister worked to uplift the officer’s faith by quoting inspiring and comforting Bible passages. At the end of the interview the officer seemed more cheerful, hopeful, and strong.

During his second visit the Minister read over with the officer “A mental court case” (see Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy, pages 430-442), which deals with a patient suffering from liver complaint. The officer genuinely enjoyed this allegory and derived much good from it. Not long afterward the doctors placed the patient on solid food and then transferred him to an Army hospital.

The Minister continued to visit the patient and recommended that he start reading Science and Health from the beginning. When he was about one third of the way through the textbook, all the yellow color left the officer’s skin and eyes. Soon he was discharged from the hospital completely healed through Christian Science.

© 1955 The Christian Science Publishing Society (http://jsh.christianscience.com). Reproduced with permission.

© 2012 Christian Science Committee on Publication for New Hampshire

“The Next Big Decision on Health Care . . .”

Christian Science Committees on Publication Manager Russ Gerber has written an insightful piece about watching our thought to maintain our health. It’s aptly titled, The Next Big Decision On Health Care May Be Your Own. You can read it here.

A Pew study found that about 80% of internet searches are on the subject of health. The correlation of thought to health is well established in the Bible. For example, Jesus said “The kingdom of God is within you.” This might perhaps be paraphrased today as “Health and holiness, which come from God, are in your thinking and prayers.” Scriptures also state that God is the countenance of our health. As we increase our understanding of God, we can establish wholesome health on a spiritual basis.

Another Pew study found that about 50% of us turn to prayer to improve our well being. Much of this prayer is mixed with medical care, yet studies have found that inspired prayers for health are beneficial.

In his book, The Healing Power of Prayer, Duke University professor and physician Dr. Harold Koenig, M.D. writes, “Over five hundred studies have now documented correlations between religious practices like prayer and better health. I have also seen the powerful effects of faith in the lives of my patients, and what a tremendous difference prayer has made in their healing – physical, emotional, social, and spiritual. There is power in prayer – there is little doubt about that.” (p. 19)

New Hampshire native Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered and founded Christian Science, also wrote a book about prayer and health. Eddy titled it Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures because she discovered the spiritual basis of true health from her study of the Bible, and found that this God-given health can be scientifically demonstrated. Through consistent healing of almost every disease known to mankind by herself and by her students, Eddy proved that prayer is more than an art.

Christian Science teaches that we can to turn to Mind, God, rather than matter to establish health. As Russ Gerber clearly points out, we must watch our thought, what we are thinking, to protect our well-being. This watchful thinking is much more than positive thinking. It’s spiritual thinking of Godly thoughts that inspire Godlike actions.

Metaphysically speaking, health is an attribute of God that is manifested through man. God is healthy and man is healthy. Science and Health tells us how to pray from the mountaintop of reality: “Realize the presence of health and the fact of harmonious being, until the body corresponds with the normal conditions of health and harmony.” (p. 418)

This is something that we can all do. Years ago I had an asthma condition that restricted my movements considerably. I had difficulty climbing the stairs in our three story Victorian home. Yet I can honestly say that I was not afraid, even when it seemed like I was on my last breath. I knew God would heal this condition because “Health is not a condition of matter, but of Mind [God].” (ibid, p. 120)

I asked an experienced Christian Science practitioner to pray with me. We prayed to realize the ever-presence of God’s perfect health and to reject any claim of physiology that would try to undermine or contradict my health. We learned more clearly that divine Mind, God, is all acting. I had the courage to go for a walk, and eventually some of those walks stretched into miles. Soon I was healed.

Is it any wonder, when we consider the effectiveness of spiritual healing, that these words of the Psalmist are so dear to Christian Scientists?

“Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits: who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases; who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies; who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle’s. The Lord executeth righteousness and judgment for all that are oppressed.” (Ps. 103:2-6)