Headlines about yet another shooting has brought out the idea that prayer is not enough to stop this violence. But are we making the right demands on prayer? Are we almost using prayer as a way to plead without realizing the resources we already have. That would be like a millionaire begging for money. Are we begging for peace, while not being aware of the dominion we have been given to establish peace?
One commandment tells us that we are not to take the name of the Lord in vain. (See Exodus 20: 7.) Could that mean we are not to pray and not expect results?
Christ Jesus' prayers had results. They healed. They had a way of cutting through the thought of crowds of hatred, of slicing through sexism, ageism, racism, and ignorance and maliciousness – and establishing harmony, health, social order and peace to those receptive to it.
What was it that he knew and taught that can be relevant today and on campuses everywhere? What can we learn from Christ Jesus as a healer, reformer and peacemaker?
A knowledge of the overwhelming power of Truth and Love.
Love takes no backseat to terror and violence. Prayer based on God's love is not an opiate or coping mechanism. Christ Jesus' knowledge of God as Love emboldened and secured his path. He knew the power of God was made manifest as Love and Truth and this radically changed the course of humanity.
How does this help us? We can stand on the proof that good is not helpless, and that throwing our weight on the side of Truth and justice opens the door for justice and truth to operate.
In any group consciousness, the stronger thought rules the weaker. And we can refuse to let hatred, anger, or fear of mental illness be the stronger thought.
There is overwhelming evidence that life continues, and that goodness is our common ground. Life, without love is unsustainable. Progress, moving us to greater responsibility to humanity, marches on. The Christian Science Monitor had an article by John Yemma “Why Progress Endures” which included this gem:
“One of the best arguments for progress being more than wishful thinking is contained in “The Lessons of History,” a slim volume that Will and Ariel Durant wrote after spending half a century researching and writing their magisterial series, “The Story of Civilization...."
Earlier in their book, the Durants acknowledged that the history in which they had immersed themselves rarely recorded quiet progress: “Behind the red façade of war and politics, misfortune and poverty, adultery and divorce, murder and suicide, were millions of orderly homes, devoted marriages, men and women kindly and affectionate, troubled and happy with children.”
Life is persistent. A consciousness of the sustaining power of Love is strong and enduring, standing up to the violence of the day. Love always has won, always wins, always will win.
Prayer is not a vacuous hope that things will be better. Prayer is power. In 2 Corinthians 10: 4, we agree that "The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds." (NIV)
Prayer is a communion with omnipresent power known as God, who is defined by early Christians as Love. (See 1 John 4:16.) This Love is not variable but consistent and pure. Prayer forms the basis of thought out of which come our actions. Prayer based on pure Love, fuels moral courage.
Anger based on fear is destructive, but righteous anger that stands up against hatred, fear, and violence -- and based on everyone's God-given rights to live and love -- is transforming. Christ's stark protests against hypocrisy, prejudice, violence and greed broke the hold these had in thought and opened the doors to a higher sense of peace and justice. These protests are just as needed today.
Jesus' works confirmed his words. And in fact, without his works, his words were empty. That is still the case today. We all need to walk our talk - prove our prayer.
The importance of prayer is that it lays the foundation for our action. A knowledge of the power of Truth, God comes with it a seasoned and reasoned sense of the fallible nature of evil and the infallible nature of good. It calms the thought and we are able to listen – we are able to be still – quieting the restless thoughts and anguish that sometimes surround violent events – and act out of an intelligent and comprehensive Love, not out of hatred, doubt, apathy or fear.
Prayer can lead us down productive paths, and can give us the moral courage to help us take whatever human footsteps are necessary. Whether this means simply a prayer that weighs in with the wave of healing and progressive thoughts of others, or a series of human footsteps motivated by a greater good for all -- we have the tools at hand to claim everyone's right to safety and security.
We can appeal to humanity's higher nature that is earnestly and urgently desiring to protect our children and the safety or our educational institutions and our homes. We can act to remove senseless violence.
Headlines have grabbed our hearts with stories of Europe's growing immigrant crisis - and people are responding. The Pope's recent call for Catholic churches to open up their churches to express Christian mercy in housing a refugee family is one such response. (See http://on.wsj.com/1JZM6pt.)
To pray for others -- with prayer that is selfless, unbiased, unambitious, impartial, and universal -- sets a lasting foundation for actions based on that prayer. My husband and I have shared our homes and our lives to over 20 individuals in our almost 30 years of marriage and it has enriched our lives immeasurably. Was this hard? Did we have to give up a lot in order to make room for others? We did make changes in our lives to do this, but our home became a multi-layered blessing because of it.
My favorite story is about a family of refugees whom we befriended.
My older son brought home a new boy from middle school, and we soon became friends with his family. Their story of how they came to the US was dramatic. Exiled from their war torn country after the husband was kidnapped, the family was forced to leave with only the clothes on their backs.
There were immigration issues and then resettling and acclimating to a whole new culture that had already taken place by the time we met them. The mother did an amazing job of caring for her four children in the two bedroom apartment they were given. And when we met, we realized we had a wonderful opportunity for sharing support and love with this family.
What helped me become a better help to that dear family was all based on prayer. These three ideas were foremost:
1 - that we are all children of God (Romans 8:16)
This gave us an immediate connection one another. There was no sense of burden or heavy obligation, only a sense of newness and adventure. There was no fear, anxiety or sense of strangeness as we all embraced a new opportunity for friendship.
2 - home is the center, though not the boundary of the affections (Science and Health 58:21)
The mother made a wonderful home for her children while they waited for word about the husband. They kept their heat up high as it reminded them of home, and were able to find familiar foods that brought them all comfort. We learned how to make some of their meals and my husband enjoyed some of the richest coffee from freshly roasted beans. As they had never seen snow, we helped them get warm outdoor clothing for a cold Minnesota winter. We went to the local YMCA so the kids had some fun activities they could feel a part of. My mother taught both the girls how to swim. We shared our prayer and they attended church and Sunday School with us a couple of times. By going beyond our familiar boundaries of home, we were all blessed.
3- God setteth the solitary in families (Ps 68:6)
Months into our friendship, we got work that would mean a move to the East Coast. As I continued to pray, affirming that God's grace and comfort were continuous, I gained a confidence that God would indeed supply all good and continue to do so for both of our families. No one can be outside of God's care - no one is isolated. I knew the husband could never be outside of God's care. My prayer included a desire to see our friends' predicament in a new light. I could trust God to take care of His family. In fact, a week before we were to leave, we heard that the husband had been found and was returning to the family. The day we were to leave was the day he was reunited with his family.
Whenever we have the opportunity to give, we are also getting the opportunity to grow in grace, in wisdom and experience. Mary Baker Eddy writes in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 79: "Giving does not impoverish us in the service of our Maker, neither does withholding enrich us." We certainly found this to be true. Giving shelter - and all the comfort, joy and companionship that is included - certainly gave us a stronger, more loving sense of home that embraced a much wider circle than we ever imagined possible.
Today I got an interesting email from an intern asking about science and religion. My response led me to some interesting ideas that I'll share here:
I am an intern with RMN and as part of our duties we have this YouTube channel known as the GPA that deal with compelling visions of the future from the perspectives of scientists and innovators.
I found your blog and I liked what you had to say in regards to the topic of christian science and am interested in hearing what you have to say in how science relates to religion in this modern world. There are plenty of different topics such as Artificial Intelligence, or the mathematics behind preserving your brain and transhumanism.
Check out our playlists
Thanks and enjoy! DHB
Delightful to hear from you and thanks for your message. I watched a couple of youtube selections and found them very interesting.
I've been asked about science and religion a lot, and have some favorite ideas. You may have heard of John Polkinghorne, the former physicist who turned to the priesthood. This is an excerpt from an interview with him written up in God vs. Science | The Saturday Evening Post's article: " How an acclaimed physicist is struggling to reconcile one of the great philosophical arguments of the modern age."
Science and religion are not mutually exclusive, Polkinghorne argues. In fact, both are necessary to our understanding of the world. “Science asks how things happen. But there are questions of meaning and value and purpose which science does not address. Religion asks why. And it is my belief that we can and should ask both questions about the same event.”
As a for-instance, Polkinghorne points to the homey phenomenon of a tea kettle boiling merrily on the stove. “Science tells us that burning gas heats the water and makes the kettle boil,” he says. But science doesn’t explain the “why” question. “The kettle is boiling because I want to make a cup of tea; would you like some?
“I don’t have to choose between the answers to those questions,” declares Polkinghorne. “In fact, in order to understand the mysterious event of the boiling kettle, I need both those kinds of answers to tell me what’s going on. So I need the insights of science and the insights of religion if I’m to understand the rich and many-layered world in which we live.”
In Christian Science (CS), we take a deep look at the teachings of Christ, not from a dogmatic or orthodox stance, but to practice what Christ Jesus taught and to see how forgiveness and compassion can heal our relationships with one another, and how an understanding of God as Love can cure disease.
Just as Christian Scientists have to correct mistaken notions by sharing Scientology has nothing to do with Christian Science; we also need to share that we are united with Christians on many fronts, but not all. For instance, evil is not ignored, but it is challenged; it is not considered a power source, nor is it dignified by giving it our power. All individuals - regardless of race, religion, orientation, gender - are understood as being made in the image and likeness of God. God is seen as Love, and this is not variable, and so it follows that God does not send sickness, suffering or death; but understanding God, as Christ Jesus taught, has shown us a way out of all human malaise.
Mary Baker Eddy discovered Christian Science after years of trying to find a rule or principle behind Christ's healing works. She articulated her discovery in a book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, a book that starts out with "The time for thinkers has come." Many are finding that they can practice these principles and find healing today. (See christianscience.com for more accounts of healing plus info about the Church that Eddy founded.)
One challenge is that all religions can be somehow clumped together with oversimplified generalizations. These can hide the profound significance of the healing impact of prayer found in a number of religious disciplines. (See Spirituality and Healing | HMS for just one example of how this is being explored or simply google "prayer and healing" for a wide spectrum of the discussion, or go to Duke University, University of Minnesota, Harvard, George Washington School of Medicine or any of the dozens of medical schools to see what they are talking about regarding spirituality and healing.)
Christian Science is a practical provable Science, in which we can apply the laws of God as readily as a mathematician can apply the laws of mathematics. God, in CS, is defined as Truth, Love and Principle. God is defined as pure Love, a law - not an uber person - but the pure force behind all creation.
Lest this seem too cerebral, we need to prove what we say. Without proof religion then becomes theory. God is the highest ideal of all good. And as the understanding of God as a perfect principle develops in thought, our consciousness is open and expectant to the power and possibility of harmony. Forgiveness, compassion, and hope can ripen into an understanding of divine Love, and actions follow. Consciousness constructs a better body, as the body conforms to the thought governing it.
Consciousness, spirituality, and absolute Truth are all a part of the modus operandi of healing through Christianly scientific prayer. We must prove what we teach, and we have decades of healing testimonies and continue to build on these testimonies. (Click here to get to some of those stories.)
We look at HOW to heal, and nurture a love for God, for one another and for all mankind to remind ourselves WHY we heal.
As it says in I Thessalonians 5:21, we "test everything (and) hold fast to what is true."
Science is the search for Truth. Free of all pretense, self-interest and prejudice, it is thrilling to join together with other thinkers who are dedicated to the health and well being of mankind and share what we are learning and what we can learn from one another.
We live in exciting times of great potential for good,
Kudos to those growing groups who are taking back the innocence, intelligence and dignity of men and women in movements seeking to overturn sexual violence and domestic (read criminal) abuse in relationships. Check out these empowering PSA campaigns like "It's On Us" and "NO MORE". So now, when the popularity of the book and movie “Fifty Shades of Grey” comes along, it would seem to be a backward step.
What is it one buys into when buying tickets to see the movie or read the book? More than a controlled fantasy that one can turn on and off, one buys into the whole facade of a carnivorous male gender and a vulnerable female gender. It's a fantasy - a sensational lie some would say. It is not sustainable, and even damaging.
From the article, The truth about the Fifty Shades of Grey Movie :"The reality is that if you take away the glamour, “Fifty Shades” is just a sensationalized lie, telling women that they can, and should, fix violent and controlling men by being obedient and devoted, and that, somehow, this is romantic."
What is needed here? A friend wrote: "Personally, I would rather see young men and women (and teenagers) be influenced by more simple, yet compassionate ideas... "
What is needed here? How about an image of men and women that portrays relationships that are balanced, respectful, pure and passionate and empowered by our highest sense of what is good? This is not only sustainable, it is the very cement of civilization. The images perpetrated by porn, and glamorized porn, degrade men as well as women, weaken our institutions and add to mental stress and illness.
These ideas from Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by reformer and author Mary Baker Eddy, reveal the basis for all strong, healthy and thriving relationships:
Union of the masculine and feminine qualities constitutes completeness. The masculine mind reaches a higher tone through certain elements of the feminine, while the feminine mind gains courage and strength through masculine qualities. These different elements conjoin naturally with each other, and their true harmony is in spiritual oneness. Both sexes should be loving, pure, tender, and strong. ( from p. 57)
Kindred tastes, motives, and aspirations are necessary to the formation of a happy and permanent companionship. The beautiful in character is also the good, welding indissolubly the links of affection. (from p. 60)
Unselfish ambition, noble life-motives, and purity, — these constituents of thought, mingling, constitute individually and collectively true happiness, strength, and permanence. There is moral freedom in Soul ( a synonym for God, Truth and Love).( from p. 58)
Here, moral is defined as a transitional quality – transitioning to spiritual understanding and wisdom.
Moral. Humanity, honesty, affection, compassion, hope, faith, meekness, temperance. (from p. 115)
The wealth of well-being and satisfaction we get from our relationships is born out of honesty and unselfishness. This is what emboldens us to stand up for what is good, and to perpetuate acts of tenderness, to stop the silence around violence and the violence itself, and let our lives return to peace and progress.
Other posts on purity, power and courage:
One challenge after another hits. Not one, but two loved ones are diagnosed with a terminal illness. A surprise divorce. A friend dies. Another loved one in the hospital. A job ending.
After experiencing all of the above, I had to stop what I was doing. Life was taking on a whole new seriousness. Because in the same time frame in our very large extended family, we had two babies being born, four new homes established, two new jobs started; there were stubborn character traits softened and the redeeming of a father-son relationship.
There was something ground- breakingly persistent here. Life, like a northwoods lake twice a year, was turning over.
For those of you who don't know, lake turnover is the seasonal movement of water in a lake, a process of the dense lower layer of a lake rising to become the upper, less-dense layer.
Life is constantly moving, turning over, and over, in cycles.
When the fear of death threatens to isolate or abandon us and tries to draw the very energy out of us, there is another lesson to be learned from the lake: that life is contained, transforming. We aren't alone or abandoned. Life doesn't work in linear finite ways. We can embrace the full cycles of Life.
It is allright to cry, and let the fear gather in the eyes and be washed away. We are more than the physical body that starts out small, grows and then fails us. Who we are and who we love is about Spirit and our individualized expressions of Life. In our most challenging times, we let the natural light of Spirit transform us and let our dense lower sense of ourselves and loved ones be lifted, pushed away by a lightness and warmth of our spiritual being.
The fruits of these challenges is that it forces us to experience each other in a new way – more spiritual. The passion, adventure, delight and drama of one, the energy, loyalty and love of another rises to the surface and we forgive the rest. Any regret, resentment, anger can be transformed like dead leaves into a rich and fertile place from which to grow stronger.
This is Life, continuing to create. There is constant renewal, as spring to summer to fall to winter and then over again. Though heart-rending challenges, we too are turning over, seeing ourselves and others in a new light. Life is consistent, insistent and persistent. We can never lose one another when we acknowledge who we are spiritually, in these cycles of light and life.
We have a family story that I like to share around this time of the year. My mom’s father, Walter (or Butchie as he was known to us), was with the Scottish regiment on December 24, 1914, and was a part of that most wonderful Christmas Eve truce. My mom remembers him talking about it and sharing the news of playing football with others.
Butchie survived this war, married and had five children. He also introduced three generations to Christian Science after having been healed through Christian Science of severe head injuries. (But that's another story for another time!)
While browsing the internet about the famous truce, I found a letter that a soldier wrote during that time. It's become famous as you will read. (I've copied it as it appeared on interfaithforums.com.)
It is an amazing story, remarkable situation. It is a tribute to all soldiers everywhere and a reminder that "on each end of the rifle, we're the same."
The Christmas Truce Letter
On November 7, 2006, singer Chris de Burgh paid £14,400 at Bonhams auction house for an original 10 page letter from an unknown British soldier that records events and incidents with the Germans on that night (during World War I) describing "the most memorable Christmas I've ever spent".
The letter begins:
This will be the most memorable Christmas I've ever spent or likely to spend: since about tea time yesterday I don't think theres been a shot fired on either side up to now. Last night turned a very clear frost moonlight night, so soon after dusk we had some decent fires going and had a few carols and songs.The Germans commenced by placing lights all along the edge of their trenches and coming over to us — wishing us a Happy Christmas etc. They also gave us a few songs etc. so we had quite a social party. Several of them can speak English very well so we had a few conversations. Some of our chaps went to over to their lines. I think theyve all come back bar one from 'E' Co. They no doubt kept him as a souvenir.
In spite of our fires etc. it was terribly cold and a job to sleep between look out duties, which are two hours in every six.
First thing this morning it was very foggy. So we stood to arms a little longer than usual. A few of us that were lucky could go to Holy Communion early this morning. It was celebrated in a ruined farm about 500 yds behind us. I unfortunately couldn't go. There must be something in the spirit of Christmas as to day we are all on top of our trenches running about. Whereas other days we have to keep our heads well down.
We had breakfast about 8.0 which went down alright especially some cocoa we made. We also had some of the post this morning. I had a parcel from B. G's Lace
Dept containing a sweater, smokes, under clothes etc. We also had a card from the Queen, which I am sending back to you to look after please. After breakfast we had a game of football at the back of our trenches!
We've had a few Germans over to see us this morning. They also sent a party over to bury a sniper we shot in the week. He was about a 100 yds from our trench. A few of our fellows went out and helped to bury him.About 10.30 we had a short church parade the morning service etc. held in the trench.
How we did sing. 'O come all ye faithful. And While shepherds watched their flocks by night' were the hymns we had. At present we are cooking our Christmas Dinner! so will finish this letter later.Dinner is over! and well we enjoyed it. Our dinner party started off with fried bacon and dip-bread: followed by hot Xmas Pudding. I had a mascot in my piece.
Next item on the menu was muscatels and almonds, oranges, bananas, chocolate etc followed by cocoa and smokes. You can guess we thought of the dinners at home. Just before dinner I had the pleasure of shaking hands with several Germans: a party of them came 1/2 way over to us so several of us went out to them. I exchanged one of my balaclavas for a hat. I've also got a button off one of their tunics. We also exchanged smokes etc. and had a decent chat. They say they won't fire tomorrow if we don't so I suppose we shall get a bit of a holiday — perhaps.
After exchanging autographs and them wishing us a Happy New Year we departed and came back and had our dinner.We can hardly believe that we've been firing at them for the last week or two — it all seems so strange. At present its freezing hard and everything is covered with ice…
The letter ends:There are plenty of huge shell holes in front of our trenches, also pieces of shrapnel to be found. I never expected to shake hands with Germans between the firing lines on Christmas Day and I don't suppose you thought of us doing so. So after a fashion we've enjoyed? our Christmas. Hoping you spend a happy time also George Boy as well. How we thought of England during the day. Kind regards to all the neighbours.
With much love from Boy.
For more information and background, see and read more about a movie, Joyeux Noël, made about this event.
Note: The photo is a family photo and is not for circulation. (c)
“I felt like I was coming home,” Barbara says. “I felt like everything would be okay.” This comment is from an article written by a woman who commented on her first thought when starting to read Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy in an effort to re-gain her peace and equilibrium after a rape incident. (See article here.)
Her triumph reminded me of an incredible friendship I had with a friend who was going through therapy due to incest. During our friendship, I learned more about the power and fixity of purity that has stayed with me ever since.
When I first heard of the situations my friend had endured, I was shocked and furious. She was getting help through the therapy and was a determined young woman. I so wanted to help her.
I remember researching what I could do legally to help her. I got acquainted with many of the local resources dealing with women, sexuality and abuse. I worked in the school system at the time and even produced a cable television program on this issue that included interviews with area social service agencies, call-ins and production staff. The issue exhausted me, angered me, while at the same time I wanted to be strong for my friend.
I knew that all of these human footsteps were important and helpful. But what I needed, and my friend needed, was something much more deeply spiritual.
We must have talked and walked around a nearby lakes dozens of times. I prayed throughout our friendship and on one of our walks, I started sharing some of the spiritual ideas that I was learning:
1. Our very being is spiritual - it is the spiritual elements in life that move us, give us our identity, cause us to grow.
2. Our very being is pure - undefiled, untouched. This is a fixed fact and is unalterable.
3. Nobody can touch our spiritual being - our spiritual identity. Just as no one can change the idea of the numeral nine, no one can change the idea or spiritual being that is you and me.
4. Our identity is not that of a victim, of a vulnerable person who lacks strength, intelligence, courage. These suggestions are shadows that fluctuate and flee in light of the purity that is ours.
5. Violence, perversion, coercion -- these are not our fault. It is not brought about by some perceived lack in ourselves. It is born of ignorance and dies of ignorance. It has no power, presence, influence or reason unless we give it to them.
6. The most loving thing we can do for one another is to not believe in the shadows, but affirm one another's light -- one's primitive purity.
I also relied heavily on some tried and proven foundation stones for my life.
My friend and I exchanged many spiritual ideas for months. She remained strong and significant and healthy changes were made in her life.
Key to the healing was forgiveness - the ability to see the power of Love and the powerlessness of errant actions to take anything of substance away from what God has given us. Later, we both went on to graduate school and lost touch. But what remained is that unshakeable truth that I can now come home to - Our purity is a fixed fact.
*article first appeared in http://kimckorinek.blogspot.com/2010_09_01_archive.html
Evil is not power. That's a pretty big idea to take in. The world's stage plays out the drama of good and evil daily, so how can we make this claim? It's been made before. Mary Baker Eddy, discoverer and founder of Christian Science, wrote "Mankind must learn that evil is not power. Its so-called despotism is but a phase of nothingness. " (from Science and Health p. 102)
But have I ever experienced this phase of nothingness? I think we all have in some degree. One time, I had a disagreement with a neighbor, but I refused to give in to anger and self-justification. Instead I deliberately decided to love this individual and to do something kind. The result? We became good neighbors for years, until we moved! A small thing perhaps, but looking at it more closely, I saw that evil - showing up as anger - could only be acted upon if I agreed to it. And if I agreed to it, it would only become more self-destructive. No resolution toward peace would have been made. But as I agreed to something good, my actions took on a meaningful and multiplying influence that lasted.
So what happened here? What principle of peace was operating? Is it that goodness is the only power and that evil is a supposed vacuum needing to be plugged in to a power source in order to have influence? Evil is not a power source as it has only the power it is given. So when we are deliberate about not giving it power, not entertaining it, not fearing it, we feel the Love that is already there.
To divest thought of false trusts and material evidences in order that the spiritual facts of being may appear, — this is the great attainment by means of which we shall sweep away the false and give place to the true.
Evil would blind us to the good already operating. Taking on the identity of a person or place or a thing, it may appear frightening and insurmountable. But we can choose to detach evil of any identity. Evil, unplugged, no longer has influence. Once the fear is gone, only what is real, substantial, harmonious -- all that is sustainable -- fills consciousness. We then feel the divine energy of Spirit, the calm strong currents of true spirituality and are at peace.
The calm, strong currents of true spirituality, the manifestations of which are health, purity, and self-immolation, must deepen human experience, until the beliefs of material existence are seen to be a bald imposition, and sin, disease, and death give everlasting place to the scientific demonstration
For victory over a single sin, we give thanks and magnify the Lord of Hosts. What shall we say of the mighty conquest over all sin? A louder song, sweeter than has ever before reached high heaven, now rises clearer and nearer to the great heart of Christ; for the accuser is not there, and Love sends forth her primal and everlasting strain.
For victory over a single sin -- any inferior idea that would take us away from Life, Truth and Love? What a hopeful victory this is! And when we see even one such victory, it maps out the path for more. And when we see a victory over prejudice, well then, we are just opening the door to greater possibilities of freedom, cooperation and compassion.
Prejudice always is about limitation and ignorance. Based on fear, it never lends itself to the higher order of intelligence, but generalizes into simplistic categories to a point where it becomes downright wrong.
The relationship between prejudice and categorical thinking was first addressed by Gordon Allport (1954) in his classic book The Nature of Prejudice. Allport wrote that: “The human mind must think with the aid of categories....Once formed, categories are the basis for normal prejudgment. We cannot possibly avoid this process. Orderly living depends upon it. (p. 20)”
But this is where all limitation and regression rush in. As it says in Science and Health (p. 144) "Ignorance, pride, or prejudice closes the door to whatever is not stereotyped." It follows then, if we are to progress individually and as a group or a nation, we need to challenge these categorical prejudices and replace them with a more universal and spiritual understanding of who we are in the world. This takes courage, and this takes love. Fortunately, we are made of both.
There continues to be hopeful and progressive news on the human rights scene. As much as these have been forward steps for human rights, these steps are also victories over sin - over ignorance and prejudice. What is even more hopeful is that it demonstrates a thinking public willing to go deeper than stereotypes.
In each of these cases, there was controversy, but there was an insistence to go further than categorizing an issue as imminently evil and therefore only needing to be controlled, tolerated or forced to change.
In each of these cases, there was a deliberate commitment to blast out of stereotypes that had been accepted for so long and re-think the issue from a higher standpoint. Jesus' instruction to love one another helps us break through the categorical stereotypes so easily attached to others. Prostitution is seen as reversible, instead of inevitable. Homosexuality is no longer equated with sensuality. Resentment is seen as temporary and fleeting, capable of being healed. Each higher idea makes way for new solutions, and lets stand a higher understanding of the very nature of man as spiritual, pure and innocent.
In the New Testament, it reads, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3:28) There is no prejudice in oneness. There is no accuser standing outside of us, pointing the finger. There is no “outside."
We are all one in Christ. This is radical. It is also true. Our unity with God and man gives us the expansive platform in which we can find peace and progress – infinite and immediate potential for good in all ways. Now that's worth a louder song!!
Reading the news about the breakthrough in the carbon emission deal between China and the US made for headlines all over the world. So what pushes progress of this nature and what can sustain it?
Has thought reached critical mass to see that we need to drop the lesser posturing of politics and work together for life saving measures? Have we reached a time where act together with an unselfish and pointed realization of our responsibility to safeguard the future?
“Life demonstrates life.” This simple statement from Mary Baker Eddy assures us that all that is life-affirming and life-giving is the force behind progress.
“Good is not helpless....” is another simple statement that points to the power of good – of all that is helpful, sound, appropriate, and honest. Goodness, as a quality of God, is not passive. It will not be hid or passed by. Goodness demands expression, just as life demands life.
The US and China have promised to take steps that can profoundly advance the health of our planet. Can this endure? Can this act lead to fuller cooperation? Our witnessing to God's law of harmony and trust in God's law of progress help to clear the path to greater works
There are so many of us joining in prayer. Whether it is a prayer of petition, a prayer of affirmation or a prayer of celebration for the good done and to be done, all these earnest and expectant voices are not given in vain. In fact, some may say that this is what turns the world – a constant, attentive connection to God, Love and the insistent and persistent expectation for a better world.
In addition, one of my favorite sources for news is The Christian Science Monitor – daily international reporting written for thinkers serious about understanding the mechanics of peace, progress, health and opportunity for all.
Please feel free to share your prayer and news resources!
Kim C Korinek, CSB
banner photo (c) Micah Korinek; other photos by Gabe Korinek, Kim Korinek, Brad Crooks. Leslie Larsen (c) 2016