Christian Science Review, 9

Question. What is intelligence?

Answer. Intelligence is omniscience, omnipresence, and omnipotence. It is the primal and perpetual quality of infinite Mind, the all-inclusive Principle—Life, Truth, and Love—named God.

Think on this: Because we’re trained to believe that the mechanism of the human brain controls intelligence, we therefore experience not only intellect but also stupidity, since the brain runs extremes.

However, the view that recognizes intelligence as attached to the human brain is dying.

Animal and bug brains show intelligence. Moreover, people see intelligence expressed in the survival behavior of plants or in outer space systems. As our views of intelligence expand, we indirectly stop looking for objects resembling the human brain and increase the possibility of discovering intelligent life on earth and in outer space.

Time spent measuring intelligence, for example, IQ testing, will be replaced by testing thoughts, to make sure we employ divine thoughts and not human thoughts. Divine thoughts, grounded on infinite Mind and Love, result in a wisdom we can identify with and put to work in everyday life. Whereas, human thoughts, based on human history and wants, eventually find dead ends.

As for intelligence in the form of information or news, it is our right and responsibility to weigh the information with unbiased honesty and spiritual courage, the Christ-spirit. It is our right and responsibility to use our God-given courage to wrap our self in Truth, which comes with new truths each day.

Intelligence is knowledge, presence, and power. It has no beginning and no end. Spirit is intelligence and we Spirit’s image and likeness.

“If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.”—Colossians 3:1-3

 

 

 

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Fireflies, motorcycles, and Sacajawea

Eleven years ago, my husband and I rode our motorcycles into upstate New York. We’d driven about 3,000 miles from Washington state and were greeted by a species unseen in the desert region left behind, lightning bugs. Each year since, these fascinating fireflies gently, unknowingly, remind me that my motorcycle trip across the United States was amazing but not as amazing as Meriwether Lewis and William Clark’s trek, more than two hundred years earlier.

In 1804, Lewis and Clark and company launched their mission to map out land west of the Mississippi River, the Louisiana Purchase. After making their way to North Dakota, Lewis and Clark had the foresight to hire an interpreter and his wife, Sacajawea, a Shoshone.

With baby in tow, Sacajawea and the others traversed a segment of the northern Rocky Mountains now known as the Bitterroot Range. For more than a week, they carried gear while wandering through thickets and snow, suffering terribly through hunger, fatigue, and severe freezing temperatures. They killed a horse to eat for survival.

In comparison, on my trip across the states, I drove my motorcycle north of the Bitterroot Range over the snow-covered Glacier Mountain National Forest, on clear paved marked roads, in decent weather, wearing heated gloves, and stopping to eat a doughnut, with coffee, for a snack at a café. A leisurely day.

While living in Washington, I frequently crisscrossed the Lewis and Clark trail. I grew up learning and wondering about the human attitude that yields to majestic possibilities, rather than self-loss. Oh sure, those pioneers weren’t perfect and had inner demons to fight off, but they did and accomplished a noteworthy task.

With this knowledge, it felt natural for me to employ admiration for Sacajawea. Our family picnicked and played in Sacajawea Park, a land parcel where the Snake River flows into the Columbia River, seemingly losing its identity.

But the Snake River’s comings and goings taught me that identity isn’t lost because it isn’t gained as something to keep. Identity exists as a verb.

I’m not talking about identifying people and trying to be like them. I’m not talking about identifying with a career as if it’s our life.

I’m talking about identifying with life-giving attitudes and meaningful characteristics.

Sacajawea teaches me to identify with, and mirror, mettle and might. To identify with solutions, not problems. I learn from Sacajawea to identify with ongoing spirit, instead of a fear of life and death.

Thankfully, in 1898, the 1.6 million-acre Bitterroot National Forest was established, and in 1910, about 1,500-square-miles of wilderness area was established as Glacier National Park, to intrigue millions of visitors with its grandeur, daring, and lessons of promise.

And here I sit, experiencing floating bioluminescent lightning bugs in upstate NY.

The 2020 Farmers Almanac says that some fireflies can synchronize their flashes. I’ve never seen the phenomenon but try to imagine a species identifying with and mirroring light and peaceful movement.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

Murphy’s Law and the measles

As printed in The Record, North New Jersey newspaper:

Murphy’s Law and Measles

By Cheryl Petersen

Word count: 402

At the same time New York City’s Board of Health unanimously voted to extend an emergency declaration ordering mandatory MMR vaccinations in four Brooklyn ZIP codes, I was driving to the nearest urgent care center for a titer test to determine the level of antibodies for measles in my blood. The test cost $29.15. The visitation took as long as it took to listen through office speakers to Barry Manilow sing Mandy, Elton John sing Empty Garden, and the Four Tops sing Ain’t no woman like the one I’ve got.

Sure, I’m not a super-fan of mandatory medical treatment but societal rules deserve thought and rethinking, whether rules come from officials issuing declarations for public health or from hands chiseling commandments onto stone tablets.

Filtering through the information, at this point, I agree with the emergency declaration. And to avoid rigid opinions as to why, I’ll defer to made-up Murphy’s Law, that if something can go wrong, it will.

Prime and heartrending example is found in The Washington Post article by National Reporter Lena Sun, who wrote about a recent traveler unaware he was carrying and spreading the measles virus. Even when the traveler became aware of the fact, he couldn’t believe it, until he finally conceded to the fact.

Sun quoted the head of Oakland emergency medical service, Steve McGraw, as saying that the traveler then “’put his head down and was very emotional. I could tell from the look on his face that he was devastated. He was doing the math in his head,’ counting all the people he had been in contact with,” wrote Sun.

Corrections were made. Corrections always need to be made.

I’m not afraid of measles or vaccinations as much as I’m afraid of human unawareness and feelings of devastations.

The titer test will play a role in awareness even though I’m not sick. I’m healthy as wind, but I’d quiet if asked my medical history of measles. I don’t know it and that unawareness adds to the problem.

Measles is highly contagious. Like gossip. And because I use public transportation and visit New York City frequently, I will not disgruntle vaccination for measles. If not for myself, for others, same as the thousands of people who have recently come forward to vaccinate their children in the hot spot of Williamsburg, NY, as reported by the health official at the New York City’s Board of Health meeting on Wednesday.

Bio: Cheryl Petersen is a freelance writer living in Warwick and author of 21st Century Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures: A revision of Mary Baker Eddy’s Science and Health.

A Delight of Father’s Day

In 1995, Dad died. I still hear him encouraging me to till the ground, plant, grow, and harvest. I have no problem remembering him on Father’s Day.

A good man, not always easy to get along with, Dad taught me how to identify plants and hoe weeds out of potato fields. I couldn’t help but wonder why sometimes, the same plant could be a weed in a potato field and a flower in a garden.

Morning Glory.

Morning Glory competes for nutrients in a potato field but provides vibrant delight in a garden.

That knowledge, of course, can be observed and applied. Everyday.

Dad didn’t compete for nutrients during my childhood but provided nourishment. I was raised on a steady diet of healthy food, work, and the constant nudging to complete jobs that need to be done and to correct my mistakes.

When I follow through on the nudging, vibrant delight.

After I got married and had two children, we started fostering children. The first child that came to live with us, Junior, had his second birthday during his stay. Junior was afraid of men. Afraid of most everything; vacuum cleaner, Shep the dog, the farm four-wheeler.

The job that needed to be done was introducing Junior to confident courage. I stopped vacuuming the house, just kidding, but vacuumed when Junior was in the other room. I also asked Shep to lay down and wait for Junior to come and pet him. Shep obliged many times over.

As for men, one day, my backup babysitter backed out and I needed childcare. Mom volunteered. Super grateful, I took our girls and Junior to Mom and Dad’s house before going to my appointment.

A few hours later, I returned to Mom and Dad’s house. I walked into the mudroom and was quietly astounded to see Dad, squatting on the floor with a knee up. Junior was perched on his knee, looking at a tool Dad had. Dad carefully put Junior on the ground to stand. Junior stood tall and held Dad’s hand as they went off to fix, nothing. With Dad’s guidance, Junior plied that tool to the air or maybe an engine in his mind’s eye, with sheer delight.

 

A better understanding of Mary Baker Eddy

A better understanding of Mary Baker Eddy requires fact above falsehood. It requires admitting and correcting mistakes, rather than turning a blind eye or giving excuses.

Three examples:

  1. When Mrs. Eddy is accused of plagiarism, recognize the validity in this argument. Although 19th century writing wasn’t regulated by today’s copyright laws, Mrs. Eddy’s writings contain a glaring lack of referencing. If she was ahead of her time, she would have credited everyone she quoted with due respect. Mrs. Eddy didn’t even follow her own advice when telling other writers of her time to credit her when discussing ideas found in her Science and Health. What was considered complete in the 19th century is no longer complete to today’s human perceptions and as a result Mrs. Eddy is misperceived. But correction is possible by producing copies of her works with added references and proper crediting. Fact above falsehood also adds credibility to the “science” of Christianity. Scientific documents and texts are such because they’re referenced.
  2. The claim that Mary Baker Eddy was a charismatic leader of an un-Christian cult seems complex, however, the light of understanding shows that all leaders have charisma. Mrs. Eddy’s charisma shouldn’t be denied but admitted and then her followers should answer honestly: Do I talk and act as if Mrs. Eddy teaches exclusive (cultish) knowledge? Do I talk and act as if Mrs. Eddy had, or her writings have, all the right answers? Or, do I talk and act as if Mrs. Eddy was a significant servant to Christ? Do I place God and the Bible as sufficient to advance Christian Science, as stated in the first tenet given by Mrs. Eddy for Christian Science? Charisma isn’t the focus when God is.
  3. Misunderstandings of Mary Baker Eddy multiply and mangle when critics and admirers speak for her. When in fact we really can’t speak for her. No matter how well we know her history, our words shouldn’t speak for Mrs. Eddy as if we know what she “believed,” or “revered,” or “wished.” There can be no assuming or pretending we know what Mrs. Eddy would do today, because it’s not a point in Christian Science which deals with fact, evidence, and divine inspiration. We can actively admit the evidence that her church leadership was successful, however her outline for future church leadership lacked foresight and success. But based on the facts that Mrs. Eddy amended church bylaws as spiritual ideas unfolded and spiritual ideas are still unfolding, the bylaws can be amended again by people who take full responsibility for their action. Moving forward with God, rather than repeating or arguing opinions about what Mrs. Eddy wanted or didn’t want, would substantially aid in a better global understanding of her.

In today’s world of 7 billion inhabitants, Mary Baker Eddy is unknown. To the few who are acquainted with Mrs. Eddy, many are critics. Eddy has always been a controversial person, however, as with any controversy, it is opportunity to clarify and advance in understanding. In other words, if clarity and understanding aren’t given the upper hand, Mrs. Eddy will continue to be lost to history through misunderstandings. Clarity is not achieved by repeating “insider” language and behavior.

Clarity is achieved by representing that which is correct to human perception.

 

Reviewing Christian Science, Part 8

Question. What is Life?

Answer. Life is divine Principle, Mind, Soul, Spirit. Life is without beginning and without end. Eternity, not time, expresses the thought of Life, and time is not a part of eternity. You know Life when you stop knowing time. Time is finite; eternity is forever infinite. Life has nothing to do with boundaries of any kind. Spirit doesn’t know the stuff called matter. Soul includes in itself all substance and is Life eternal. Matter is an inconsistent human concept or invention. Life is divine Mind. Life is not limited; death and limitation are unknown to Life. If Life ever had a beginning, it would also have an ending.

Think on this:

The life of God is totally opposite to the life of a human being. Except that we don’t fully understand either.

As smart as we are, we don’t fully understand how or why the physical body and mind works or reacts. Human knowledge is incomplete knowledge. And if God is complete then God did not create something incomplete.

We don’t say a chicken produces an egg shell. We expand the knowledge and say a chicken produces an egg shell filled with yolk and white. The white can feed a fertilized yolk as it develops into a chickie.

Genesis 1: 21-22

“So God created the great sea creatures and every living creature that moves, with which the waters swarm, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. 22 And God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.’”

This Bible verse and the chicken’s life shines a light on infinity, ongoing life, eternity. It busts boundaries, reduces limitations, and stops knowing time. But a lot goes on in the meantime. That’s why we’re careful about our thoughts and actions.

To say God created human beings is incomplete. Human beings have beginnings and ends. Human beings are restricted by time, boundaries, and the stuff called matter. Every time we learn something more about human beings, we have two more questions.

It’s better to say God created humane beings. This leads thought usefully. God created caring people, compassionate and civilized beings.

But we must not disregard the boundaries that come with human life. To transition from the human to the humane to the spiritual takes knowledge and experience. We can’t assume we are more humane or spiritual than we are human and expect spiritual healing.

It’s a tough call to aim for the life of Spirit while living the life of humans but in doing so, we advance with knowledge leading to completeness. In other words, we can’t aim for the life of Spirit while pretending we have no human life to work out the solution with.

When praying, acknowledge the life of Spirit, divine Life. Don’t try to prove something to yourself or other human beings. A full egg doesn’t try to prove something to an egg shell. Keep developing spirituality, feed on the knowledge of Life. Yet live the life you have to its fullest with regard for life, compassion, and growing completeness.

Reviewing Christian Science, Part 7

Christian Science Review, Part 7

Question: What is substance?

Answer: Substance is that which is eternal and incapable of disorder and decay. Truth, Life, and Love are substance as Scriptures use this word in Hebrews: “The substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”[1] Spirit, the synonym of Mind or God, is the only real substance. The spiritual universe, including individual persons, is a united idea, reflecting the divine substance of Spirit.

Think on this:

Because it’s difficult to wrap our heads around the substance of Spirit, we take it a step at a time. Or, I should say, we take it a thought at a time!

When I wake up in the morning, my first thoughts of substance would be my bed and the sunlight. After a few minutes, I may think hunger is substance.

But after eating breakfast, hunger is gone, and satisfaction feels substantial.

By then, I’ve fed and cuddled my cats.

When I sit for a few minutes of quiet time, I realize that all those thoughts are similar, not really new or different from one another. I wait for another thought.

A thought of Spirit.

As for my morning, I separate the thoughts of rest, satisfied desire (hunger), and love, from bed, food, and my cats. This doesn’t mean my bed, appetite, and cats are forgotten.

I take the thoughts of rest, satisfied desire, and love and attach them to God, Spirit. To give Spirit substance. And because God created everything, even if I don’t completely understand all that God created, I’m then able to circle around and apply the rest, satisfied desire, and love to not only the bed, appetite, and cats, but also the rest of my day involving my job, expectations, and family.

[1] Heb. 11:1 (NKJV)

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