New website: www.Christ-Scientist.com
While our granddaughter walks a few feet, indoors, to her laptop, to attend virtual school, I remember walking a long driveway and riding the school bus 45 minutes to the nearest rural school. Eight hours later, in reverse. We each, however, have jobs to do after school.
In the fall, my job took me to the freshly harvested 400-hundred-acre potato field. The job required tumbleweeds, a pitchfork, and matches. Fire.
Southeast Washington state, where I grew up on the family farm, grows bounteous crops of tumbleweeds. Highly combustible tumbleweeds. Capable of igniting infernos especially when mixed with dry cheat grass and sagebrush, common vegetation on the west coast.
You can imagine, I was trained to apprehend fire. I don’t fear fire as much as anticipate the need for immediate action to make sure the good caused by fire outweighs the bad.
I appreciate cooked food, but I also follow Smokey the Bear’s instructions on proper fire handling. I support laws prohibiting celebratory fireworks. And it became natural to install solar panels to counterbalance climate change.
When a kid, fire was used to counterbalance the tumbleweed threats of fire and of barricading plows.
Because the weeds are round prickly conglomerates of stems that grow three to four feet in height and width, the bunches made it impossible to plow the ground. So, with pitchfork in hand, I’d walk the field, jab tumbleweeds and carry them to pile. Once the pile was fairly large, I’d strike a match and produce a bonfire.
Four hundred acres required a lot of piles.
To save matches, or rather, to save myself from getting frustrated because the match sticks kept breaking, I first built multiple piles of tumbleweeds and lite only one pile. Within half a minute the pile was in flames. I’d then jab the pitchfork into the fire and pull out a clump of burning weeds before running, carefully, with the clump to insert into the next pile to catch it on fire.
I came home smelling like smoke and with an appetite for dinner.
No longer a kid in the potato fields, today, the smell of smoke continues triggering an appetite for improved strategies to counterbalance devastations produced by fires. I keep an ear open to the genius-spirit that moves people, calmly, persistently, and solidly, to design improved strategies, despite the howling noises produced by blame and animosity.
When young, I learned to plow fire breaks around fields and houses to help reduce fire damage. It helped but plowing isn’t a cure-all, because of countless shifting variables, because of unknowns.
Unknowns exist, no matter how much human beings believe they can know or control everything. But unknowns aren’t as scary when we’re open to the genius-spirit.
Even in the face of today’s weirdness, practically mocking our controlled schedules, I see the genius-spirit moving people to develop approachable programs to fight fire damage or help children learn. It’s happening. And I can support its many forms by grabbing clumps of this enlightened genius, before leaving behind, and moving away from, my burning outgrown passions.
We read in 21st Century Science and Health: “Pay attention! Make sure that the motive for prayer doesn’t embrace the desire for human admiration and instead encourages pure sentiments. It is physical emotionalism, and not Soul, that triggers a nervous passion for God. Allow spiritual sense to guide your higher experiences, because fanaticism and self-satisfied devotion do not promote spirituality. God is not influenced by human beings. The divine ear is not an auditory nerve. The Divine is all-hearing and all-knowing Mind, recognizing and supplying our every need.”
Continuing my Boston College experience, our class went on to study Julian of Norwich. A 12th century figure, Julian gave images of hidden things and expressed the inexpressible through language. In the book, Julian of Norwich, we read what can be classified as “revelatory texts” rather than “illuminating text.” Often referred to as a mystic, Julian tells about her 16 visions and because truth can’t be pinned down, her prose meanders. Personally, I had to laugh because it reminded me of Mary Baker Eddy’s writing which can also meander.
Within two class period however, we broke down and analyzed Julian’s thoughts and came up with insightful facts. Julian glimpsed the nothingness of sin. She was optimistic and encouraged readers not to be obsessed with sin. Don’t live your life in a sense of failure. Contrary to the desert fathers who seemed depressed all the time.
By time the 12th century rolled around, the Catholic Church had grown some fairly straggly and bushy church creeds. A couple of Popes were fighting for the throne. Julian ran counterculture to the church, but yet didn’t condemn the church. She knew her visions came from God, not hierarchy in a church.
Her imagery of God highlighted the characteristics of: Father, mother, powerful, loving, courteous, willing, forgiving, devoted, and all-aware. She brings out a dynamic, rather than structural concept of God and church.
Next is my weekend venture.
This post is written by Jessica Reynolds, a writer who strives to offer information and resources, including data about scientific posters to students and those interested in the sciences.
Scientific research is a field full of discovery, innovation, and scrutiny. By definition it has to be all of those things, or no advancements would be made. And because scientists are supposed to scrutinize data with an objective eye, they are subject to the same treatment by the outside world. When spirituality comes into play, it is even more important than usual for scientists to remain objective, for they will be under the harsh eyes of the watching world.
There is a lot to be said about the importance of ethics and values when it comes to scientific research. No matter what field is being discussed, it is always important to consider the privacy of subjects and people involved with experiments. If personal information is used, an informed consent form must be signed. Information must be shared according to the facts. Scientists do not have the luxury of letting their personal beliefs shape the results of their work.
This is not to say that spirituality has no place in science. Contrarily, spirituality can often shape how people approach their work. Though the data and findings need to be objective and based on facts, the motivation for research is often based on interests, curiosity, and spiritual beliefs and questions. The way we approach things is also often affected by our spiritual beliefs.
This last point is the very reason that when spirituality is involved, objectivity becomes even more important. If research is related to a spiritual topic, it will come under a heavy amount of scrutiny. Therefore it is important that any personal investment is put aside, and the researcher works that much harder to objectively find the truth. They must explore every explanation and argument and present possibilities and possibilities and facts as facts. If there are inconsistencies, a controversial topic is more likely to be disregarded than explored for its potential.
Some people view science and spirituality as enemies, while others see them as different approaches to the same end; answering the mysteries of the universe. Spirituality can be seen in many ways, but most often deals with a belief in something larger than oneself. Science seeks to explain both the large and small intricacies of the world, by relying on undeniable facts. Science is constantly evolving as we dig deeper and learn more. Many once held theories are now dismissed as ridiculous. Some spiritual beliefs have undergone the same changes in how they are viewed.
Some argue that it is impossible for humanity to be completely objective. After all, the scientific community is slow to accept new theories, often because of a paradigm related bias. When new explanations and theories disprove what we have accepted to be true, we are slow to accept that. This criticism is not bad; rather it ensures that new innovations are explored thoroughly.
The fact that both science and spirituality are under intense scrutiny encourages objectivity and values in scientific research. There will always be dishonesty in any field, but scientists are keenly aware that there will be a sharp eye on their discoveries. By continuing to reward innovative and ethical research, perhaps science, including the spiritual aspect of the human mind, can continue to expand our knowledge.
Many of you have already entered the spring season. Here in upstate New York, the snow finally melted last week. Needless to say, we all are pretty antsy about the slowly emerging flowers and leaves.
To be able to put a shovel in unfrozen ground, and to open the windows, and to clean the house is always a favorite springtime activity. It also becomes a time to wash the heavy blankets and put away the winter clothes.
While packing or unpacking seasonal clothing, I separate out the clothes that received little attention. The clothes are then donated to a local cause, or taken to a consignment shop.
When in that thought frame, I go through the house and select kitchenware, toys, and knick-knacks that I’ve outgrown and add them to the donation box. Some people have a garage sale.
It makes for lighter work when I contemplate a Bible verse such as, “Who shall ascend the hill of the LORD? And who shall stand in his holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to what is false and does not swear deceitfully. He will receive blessing from the LORD and righteousness form the God of his salvation.” (Ps. 24, ESV)
I honestly ask myself when going through my stuff, do I really need this? Or, will it be better used by someone else?
Action advice from Peter Drucker, original business thinker: Do not continue to do in your new assignment what made you successful in the old one. When you enter a new assignment, as “What new things should I be doing in my new assignment to be effective?” The Daily Drucker
Not many of us like to be sick. Humanity is plagued with sickness of some sort or fashion due to the connection between human beings and mortality. So, in our efforts to heal, do we try to get rid of sickness or do we get rid of human mind?
Christ Jesus healed sickness and he constantly directed human beings to God. What can we learn from this? We read in I Corinthians, “We have the mind of Christ.” What is this Mind?
Along with some other belief systems, Christian Science reiterates God as the only Mind. In our efforts to understand divine Mind we need to be honest and reasonable. Sometime we are not as spiritual as we claim therefore we make either too much of sickness, or too little.
When it comes to sickness, we must be wise. We can’t ignore it and it is best not to expect sickness. Here is a list of points that make it easier to heal sickness spiritually:
We read in 21st Century Science and Health, “We can have but one Mind, if that one is infinite. We bury the perception of infinitude, when we admit that, although God is infinite, [sickness] has a place in this infinity, for evil can have no place where all presence is God.”
I haven’t found a reviewer yet who echoes my impression of the 2012 musical rendition of Les Misérables. I don’t lean toward the passionate exclamation, “Nothing short of breathtaking, triumphant and beautiful!” I also don’t lean toward the review quipped by Alistair Harkness who commented, and I’m abridging here, “Bombastic, overblown, overlong, needlessly convoluted…” His remark seems backward. The French to English language version of the book, Les Misérables, contains 530,982 words. The 2012 film, scripted by William Nicholson, Herbert Kretzmer, Alain Boublil, and Claude-Michel Schönberg, managed to effectively garner at least 250 pages into a 3 minute song. Bravo.
There are many ways to communicate, when all communication comes from Truth, Life, Love, God.
The 2012 Les Misérables impressed me with the fact that time/space and the human language are surmounted with the use of lyrics, music, acting, and visuals. All these layers together produced a grand effect that are provoking the human mind to grow out of its own codes, expectations, assumptions, and flawed views.
We need revisions, renditions, and new versions of books. I’m currently working on an abridged version of Science and Health, first written in the 19th century by Mary Baker Eddy. I keep in mind words written by Eddy, “We should remember that the world is wide; that there are a thousand million different human wills, opinions, ambitions, tastes, and loves; that each person has a different history, constitution, culture, character, from all the rest; that human life is the work, the play, the ceaseless action and reaction upon each other of these different atoms.” (Miscellaneous Writings) The modern words of the abridged Science and Health provide an edge and speak to today’s thinkers.
In the late afternoon of Ash Wednesday, I attended a Taizé church service here in upstate New York. The congregation was welcomed by three local pastors who were involved in the service. Surrounded by candlelight, a cantor, pianist, violinist and flutist overshadowed the service with harmony and melody.
Taizé is a little village in the south of Burgundy, France. After World War II, Brother Roger founded a community dedicated to prayer and reconciliation within humanity and the church. The dynamics of what is referred to as a Taizé service includes repetition and silence oftentimes with interjections of music. Core biblical texts were added at the service I attended.
A few of the readings were from Matthew. Believe it or not, I actually do listen to what is being said at church therefore it was no surprise when a red flag sprung up after hearing this verse from Matthew repeated, “But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.” The red flag began waving when soon after almost everyone in the audience proceeded to receive a cross drawn on their forehead with ashes. Everyone’s face looked like they needed washing.
This is the first Ash Service I’ve ever attended in my life. I didn’t feel a need to get ashes on my forehead although I noticed the pastor was whispering something to each person when he drew the ashen cross. After getting home, I googled Ash Wednesday to find out more. Apparently the words “dust to dust” are spoken when a cross is made on the forehead with ashes. The cross signifies Christ Jesus sacrifice for our deliverance. Oddly, the ritual of Ash Wednesday took centuries to evolve and didn’t become formal until the 12th century. A Taizé rendition is personal preference.
Anyway, after the hour and half long Ash Wednesday service I left the church in silence like everyone else. A general, and palpable semblance of peace moved gracefully back into the world. Words were unnecessary. We all were aware of the circumstances. It just happen to be Ash Wednesday that brought us all together to include in our prayers for peace and love for the family who recently lost their 18 year old son.
From 21st Century Science and Health, “While respecting all that is good in the Church or out of it, one’s dedication to Christ is more on the ground of demonstration than of profession. In conscience, we can’t stay in a mindset we have outgrown. We are enabled to heal the sick and overcome sin by understanding more of the divine Principle of the deathless Christ.”