"Your life is an occasion. Rise to it!" - Mr. Magorium

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Back to Baseball

The World Series resumes tonight in New York City. Well... in the Bronx. I've never been there but I believe that's part of New York City.

From here on, it's sudden death for the Phillies. Actually it was for the last game too, but they one that one. I sure hope that they can pull it out. I think it would be great to see them repeat. But the task ahead of them is fairly monumental.

We'll see.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Instant Replay Gets It Wrong

In last night's World Series game the instant replay came into play. In Major League Baseball the instant replay can only be used at this time for verifying home runs. Alex Rodriguez hit a ball that bounced off the lens of a T.V. camera in the stands in right field and fell back into play. It was initially called a double, but after reviewing the instant replay it was changed to a home run.

Now I was watching the game with the mute on, and listening to music as I watched, so I don't know if the commentators discussed this or not. But the lens of the camera was hanging out over the railing of the stands. And the downward angle of the ball's flight at the time it hit the lens did not look to me like the ball would have been a home run had the camera not been there. I sincerely doubt from the angle of descent that it would have cleared the railing and been a home run. It might have bounced off the top of the railing and into the stands, making it a home run. But it looked to me more like it would have hit off the front of the railing and fallen back into play... making the original call of "double" correct.

In sports the instant replay is only supposed to be used to reverse a call made in real time if the evidence is conclusive. To me the evidence in this case was anything but conclusive. I like the instant replay. I have been a proponent of expanding its use for close calls on the bases, etc. But if you're going to use the technology, use it right. Examine all the aspects of the evidence before making a ruling.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Phillies 1 - Yankees 1

The series is tied one game apiece. What's going to happen tonight as the series moves to Philadelphia? I sure would like to see the Phillies win the series. The Yankees knocked out my Angels.

Friday, October 16, 2009

A Baseball Day

Yesterday the National League Championship Series began. The Philadelphia Phillies beat the Dodgers in Game 1 on the Dodgers home turf. Although I live in Los Angeles, as an Angel fan it didn't break my heart. I know lots of folks here in L.A. want a freeway series, but a bi-coastal World Series usually attracts a larger viewing audience. So I'd prefer an Angels/Phillies series to an Angels/Dodgers one. On the other hand, the Angels have beaten the Dodgers in interleague play with remarkable consistency over the last decade.

Today we get Game 2 of the NLCS early in the day followed by Game 1 of the American League Championship Series in the evening. In that series the Angels will be taking on the New York Yankees in the new Yankee Stadium. Go Angels!!!

Friday, October 9, 2009

It's October

Where did the last two weeks go? I know... it was the end of regular season baseball. What a finale the Twins and Tigers gave us in an American League Central tiebreaker!

Now we're into the playoffs. I love October. One month of multiple games per day leading up to the World Series. Sadly, it's followed by five months of no baseball.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

GoD and DoG

Wendy Francisco has created this marvelous video, "GoD and DoG". It really gives us something to think about. Take a look at GoD and DoG. I think you'll like it... especially if you're a dog lover. I certainly see the truth in it.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Trains and Movies

It's been a fun weekend. On Friday I went to the model train store and purchased a train set. Those who know me well are probably thinking that another train set is the last thing that I need. But this is a tiny Z scale (1/220th scale) set. I can set it up on a board on the foot of my bed. This will get me by until I have a real train table again.

Friday night two friends came and watched "Elizabethtown" with me. If you haven't seen it, its a wonderful off-beat film. Kirsten Dunst gives a marvelous performance. Orlando Bloom isn't bad either. And Susan Sarandon is absolutely hysterical.

On Saturday my cousin came early in the day and we watched "Morgan Stuarts Coming Home". That's a kind of wacky comedy with John Cryer. I hadn't seen it in years. It was fun to see it again.

Saturday Evening my dear special friend came, and we watched the original "Father of the Bride" with Spencer Tracy and Elizabeth Taylor. When I bought it I thought it would be fun to see again, because I hadn't seen it since I was a teenager. As I watched it I realized that, in fact, I'd never seen it at all before. And, interestingly, neither had my friend. When she comes to visit again I have the sequel "Father's Little Dividend" for us.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Hula Hoops

I was getting a little stir crazy this evening, so I got in the car and drove to the park. There I sat by the fountain and watched the water change colors as the lights of the fountain cycled through their phases. By the fountain were four young people practicing tricks with hula hoops. They were listening to 70s music. It was wonderful.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Memorial Day Visitors

I had two visitors last night. These are dear friends, a mother and her adult son. I introduced them to the BBC science fiction series Dr. Who. For those who may not know, Dr. Who started as a children's show in 1963 and ran through 1989. A lot of Americans made fun of the special effects in the show, as not up to par with "Star Treck", but I always loved the imagination of the program. "Dr. Who" was revived in 2005, and the new series is easily as popular as the old one ever was.

The series "Dr. Who" is about an mysterious character known only as "the Doctor" (his name is not Dr. Who) who travels through space and time with various companions he acquires here and there. In 1965, although the series was incredibly successful, the star decided to quit due to health considerations. The writers on "Dr. Who" came up with the idea that, as an alien the Doctor's race doesn't die... they regenerate their bodies. After regeneration they look entirely different, but have the same memories. The audience bought into the concept and now, well over 40 years later, there have been 10 actors who have starred in "Dr. Who", with 11th taking over for next year.

If you're not familiar with "Dr. Who", you might want to check it out. I believe it shows on the Sci Fi channel (SyFy?) here in the U.S. I, personally, have many classic episodes and all the new ones on DVD.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

It's September

I spoke to an old friend on the phone the other day. He remarked that I hadn't posted anything since Aug. 6th. I told him, as I've said here, that I can't always think of things to write and that I don't want this journal to become stale or trite. He said that it's a blog, and I don't have to write about metaphysics and healing all the time; just say what I'm doing with my day and let people know that I'm still doing okay.

I am still doing okay. I went to church this morning and did my grocery shopping afterward. One of our wonderful Christian Science nurses came later in the day to see me and we listened to some uplifting readings. Tonight I'm going to watch the Sunday evening baseball game on T.V. Then I think I'll watch some old Dr. Who videos. Of course, I still read from "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" by Mary Baker Eddy daily. It's still a long road back... but, despite a minor setback or two, I'm still taking steps in the right direction each day.

Much Love to all!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

God Multiplies Us

I know I need to write more here. I really enjoyed writing almost daily back in May. But I was concerned that I'd become repetitive, or so esoteric as to sound foolish to new readers. When writing about Spiritual Healing one must be circumspect, in order not to be a target for ridicule. I have been blessed on this blog so far in that there have been no negative comments.

In the study of Christian Science it is the practice of serious students to read the Christian Science Lesson Sermon on Monday through Saturday. This lesson sermon is then read in all Churches of Christ, Scientist the following Sunday. The lesson is comprised of passages from the Bible and correlative passages from the Christian Science textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy.

This week's lesson sermon repeatedly mentions that God will multiply us. All week I've been thinking what a nice lesson this is for couples desiring or expecting children. But today this passage from Science and Health jumped out at me, "Divine Love blesses its own ideas, and causes them to multiply,--to manifest His power." (S&H 517:30)

So now I'm waiting on God to multiply me... to manifest more of His power; His Love, Truth, Mind, Life, and Spirit. And I hope he is multiplying you too.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Amazing Results

Yesterday morning the hospice doctor came to visit me. When I left the hospital, because I was considered "terminal" I was put into a hospice program. In this program the doctors and nurses do all they can to make the dying as comfortable as possible. The nurse has come weekly, but this was the doctor's first visit since the day after I came home from the hospital.

The doctor came in, sat down, took one look at me and said "amazing". Without even asking me to take the bandanna off of my neck he could see the unmistakable progress I have made. I told him that the tube that had been implanted in my neck to assist my breathing had started coming out of its own accord, so I'd removed it two months ago. And that I had been breathing normally and unaided since that time. This also seemed to impress him.

Then I told him that I'd changed a tire a few days ago. He said, "Don't do that!"... so I didn't tell him that I'd walked half a mile afterward to a payphone because there hadn't been any air in the spare. (I wrote about that back on Sunday).

Then he asked me to remove the bandanna from my neck. He looked at my neck and said, "Just amazing." This was a great lesson for me. I seldom look at my neck because I always see how much is left to be healed. But what he was seeing was how far I've come.

Then, before he left, he said, "Whatever you've been doing, keep doing it."

Here is proof of the progress I have been reporting in this blog. Christian Science, when properly applied, does heal!

Monday, July 13, 2009

"More Honored in the Breach"

In Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures Mary Baker Eddy writes (pg. 382)...

He, who is ignorant of what is termed hygienic law, is more receptive of spiritual power and of faith in one God, than is the devotee of supposed hygienic law, who comes to teach the so-called ignorant one. Must we not then consider the so-called law of matter a canon "more honored in the breach than the observance"? A patient thoroughly booked in medical theories is more difficult to heal through Mind than one who is not. This verifies the saying of our Master: "Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, shall in no wise enter therein."

That got me to wondering, how can a canon ("a regulation or dogma decreed by a church council" according to Miriam-Webster) be more honored by breaching (breaking) it than by following it? To understand this better I looked up the source she is quoting. It is from the play "Hamlet" by William Shakespear. The explanation on enotes is very interesting.

Hamlet is explaining to someone that it is a local custom to drink and carouse late into the night. But he further says that although he's a native of the region he considers it more homorable to break this custom that to follow it.

Mrs. Eddy is pointing out that it isn't wise to obsess over the supposed laws of matter, but to ignore them in favor of the law of God, Spirit. Although she uses the term "hygenic law" she isn't telling us to stop bathing or brushing our teeth. She is telling us not to give these activities power over our bodies... not to fear that omitting to do them occasionally will result in illness.

As I've worked to spiritualize my thought and rise to a fuller understanding of my being as spiritual, it has become painfully obvious to me what a popular custom it is to discuss medical issues in social gatherings. I'm sorry to say that more and more it is making me feel a need to avoid participating in gatherings with my friends. Hopefully I'll reach a point in my spiritual progress where I can be exposed to it without taking it into my consciousness. But as my healing progresses, I really feel I need to avoid conversations about medicine and such.

Flat Tire on Sunday

Yesterday I woke up tired. I think I'd played online too late the night before. But I was determined that no suggestion of fatigue could keep me from church. I got out early and ran a couple of errands. Then headed in the direction of church. But while fatigue couldn't keep me from church, a flat tire could and did.

Changing the tire was a challenge, but the biggest challenge was lifting the flat to mount it on the tire carrier on the back of my car. I became quite light headed for a moment. But I declared that God was my Life and that whatever strength I had came from Him. This declaration of spiritual truth gave me the lift that I needed, and shortly I succeeded in the task.

Of course I then found that the spare had no air in it. Because there had been a cover on the spare, apparently no one ever checked it when I took the car in for regular service. I had to walk about half a mile to a pay phone to call for help. A friend came and, after a quick visit to Pep Boys to purchase a compressor that runs off the car's battery, we inflated the tire. By then church had been over for 20 minutes.

Oh well... I'll make it next week.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Confessions of a Gamer

Last Friday I downloaded the ten day free trial for World of Warcraft. As a long time player of Everquest, I have to confess that I missed the virtual fantasy world. But Everquest was a frustrating game to play. It's impossible to advance at higher levels without help. It was only with the help of a player whose character was names Zabbaz that I ever saw any of the high-end game. Besides help, it takes persistence and patience to play Everquest. That's why most of the kids have left it, and those remaining loyal to EQ are mostly older players.

So far World of Warcraft isn't nearly as frustrating as Everquest. I'm enjoying the game very much. I consider the joy it brings me to be part of my healing. I am still studying Christian Science daily. And while playing, I listen to recordings of hymns and lectures. So my healing work is continuing, confident in God's promise.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

A Mistaken Basis

As I've told you, I've been posting less because I've been busy. Ironically, I became so obsessed with the things I was accomplishing as demonstration of my healing that I was working from a mistaken basis. This is plain in my previous post where I talk about all the things I had to do.

Jesus said, "The Son can do nothing of himself..." but, even though my Christian Science Nurse friend warned me that God was responsible for all these arrangements, I worked from the mistaken basis that I was responsible. As a result, I exhausted myself.

Since my last post I have slept more hours than I've been awake. But in my waking hours I have been making a sincere effort to get back to the study and prayer habits of the early days of my healing. There is still much work to be done... not cooking and cleaning work (though that's always necessary), but prayerful study work. And I'm grateful to God for the opportunity to pursue it.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

My First Mexican Barbecue

Yet another week has gone by, and I don't know where it went. I seem to remember cleaning my windows and taking my car in for its 175,000 mile service. That set me back a bit in the financial department. But if I can get another 100,000 miles out of the car (and it looks like I should), it will be money well spent.

The last couple of days were largely taken up with shopping, cooking, and setting up for a special friend's birthday party. The party took place last night and was, by all accounts, a huge success. Of course, I'd planned for twelve people and only seven showed up. I grilled three large chickens, and there was a lot left over.

The birthday lady's favorite food is Mexican. So grilled chicken seemed to be a logical choice for a Mexican barbecue. I did a web search for "Mexican marinade" and found this recipe. Everyone liked the chicken, so there was no problem with the leftovers... almost everyone took some home.

Even though I'm still on a mostly liquid diet, I managed to eat one drumstick. I sort of felt like I had to; after making the marinade and grilling the chicken I had to know what it tasted like.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

A Grand Day Out (With Apologies to Nick Park)

My gosh! Where did the week go? I've been so busy cleaning around the house and yard that I didn't realize that I hadn't posted since last Sunday. Still much left to do though.

So why am I apologizing to Nick Park? He's the creator of Wallace and Gromit. I'm a big W&G fan. (Gromit is my hero). "A Grand Day Out" is the title of the first W&G short film. I have the first three W&G short films and the feature length Wallace and Gromit in The Curse of the Were-Rabbit on DVD. I have yet to see the latest two W&G adventures though. Something to look forward to.

Anyway, today I went with a couple of friends to the Irish Fair in Irvine Meadows. It's a long drive down to Irvine and back, but it was worth it. My friends did a lot of walking around. I did a little walking, but spent most of my time watching the dancers. When the only accompaniment is one accordian it doesn't quite pack the punch of Riverdance. But it's still fun to watch. Especially the young people, many of whom seem ready to audition for Riverdance.

If you've been following my blog for a while you may remember me telling about a woman who ate eight mangoes and then called a Christian Science practitioner complaining of a stomach ache. The practitioner told her that CS didn't just stand for Christian Science, it also stood for common sense. Along those same lines, I saw a wonderful ceramic tile wall plaque that read, "God is good but don't dance in a small boat." I'd have bought it, but I thought $40 was a little steep for a ceramic tile in a wood frame.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Pride and Hubris

In my previous entry I listed the seven deadly sins, which include the sin of pride. However, pride is often praised as a virtue. Why the disparity?

In its definition of "pride" Merriam-Webster gives us as choices for the meaning "inordinate self-esteem : conceit" and "a reasonable or justifiable self-respect" (among others). The word "hubris" they define as "exaggerated pride or self-confidence".

Because anything exaggerated isn't going to be reasonable or justifiable, I prefer to differentiate between justifiable self-respect and the sinful form of pride by using the term "hubris" for the latter. So, to rephrase something I said in my previous post, hubris has led us into wars.

I believe that almost all Americans are proud of their country. For many of us this pride is a reasonable or justifiable self-respect for the precedents our country set in its Declaration of Independence, its Constitution, and its Bill of Rights. Sadly, for many of us this pride takes the form of hubris that presumes our country is always right in its foreign affairs and the use of force to further its own ends.

Here I risk being condemned for not recognizing the humanitarian agenda of our nation's foreign policy. I would be the first to concede that the agenda of most of our military men and women around the world is indeed humanitarian. But government leaders throughout history have led people into wars by promoting a humanitarian agenda when an economic one existed thinly veiled from human view.

Our own civil war was fought on the moral issue of slavery. But it ultimately imposed the economic agenda of northern businessmen on the South, and the result was devastating for the South. Ironically, had the South been wise enough to abolish slavery on their own they might have spared themselves the economic misery. Without that moral agenda popular support for the war among northerners would have evaporated. As I've discussed in recent days, sin brings its own punishment.

The males of our species like to talk about what they think makes a "real man". I've always said a real man walks the fine line between self-confidence and arrogance, between justifiable self-respect and hubris. A female friend of mine said she believes that this also makes a "real woman". So I believe that we all need to be watching constantly to make sure we don't cross the line. I think this is an aspect of what Mary Baker Eddy meant when she wrote in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, "Stand porter at the door of thought."

Friday, June 12, 2009

Sensuality and Sin

Yesterday I talked about how in our society many people seem to immediately associate the the word "sin" with sex. Sensuality is another word that is frequently associated with sex as well. However, both words have a much wider range of connotations than just the sexual one.

Sensuality actually deals with gratification of the senses; all of the senses. From that standpoint eating, listening to music, looking at art, and smelling perfumes are all forms of sensuality. As I've discussed before, Christian Science healing requires us to develop a spiritual sense. In order to do this we work to silence the physical senses. So you can see how sensuality would be counter productive in this line of effort.

It's hard to imagine looking at art or smelling perfumes as sins. But it's easy to see how the sense of touch relates directly to sex, and obsession with eating carries undesirable consequences. When not indulged in "properly" and in moderation these forms of sensuality are commonly looked upon as sinful. If you read my post for yesterday, you'll recall that I discussed how God doesn't punish sins; they carry their own negative consequences.

So, not all forms of sensuality are necessarily sinful. Music and art can uplift our thinking and inspire us with spiritual insights. "By their fruits ye shall know them."

Conversely, even by traditional standards, not all sins are sins of sensuality. The early Christian church identified "seven deadly sins". According to Wikipedia, the seven deadly sins were originally: gluttony, fornication/lust, avarice/greed, sorrow, wrath, acedia/despair, vainglory, and pride. Today the seven deadly sins are commonly listed as: pride, envy, anger, sloth, greed, gluttony, and lust. So you can see how they've evolved.

The sin of pride has led us into wars. The sin of greed has pushed us into economic recession. And even if we as individuals haven't committed these sins, we still suffer for them. Just as Jesus, who was "without sin", suffered because of the pride, greed, and lusts of others in his day.

I find it interesting that Miriam Webster defines acedia, one of the original seven deadly sins, as "apathy, boredom" which to me has nothing to do with despair, the word it is paired with. I can see how acedia, as apathy and boredom, could have been changed to sloth. But it omits the significance of despair. Today I don't know of anyone who talks of despair as a sin. But to a Christian Scientist, despair absolutely misses the mark in someone trying to live a Christian life. It entails a lack of trust in God.

Back in my teen years, when I was aspiring to be an actor, my acting teacher had monologues he would have us read for each of these seven deadly sins. I remember playing sloth for the class. For effect I kept falling asleep during the monologue. It was fun to laugh at ourselves playing at being personifications of these sins. It might be sobering to consider how silly we look to others when committing them in our daily lives.

Our acting teacher told us at the time that there were also seven godly virtues. But that he didn't have monologues for them because he said they weren't as interesting.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

What's a Sin?

I believe what causes many people to shy away from religion is the guilt associated with sin. (And the first thing most people think of when they hear the word sin is sex). However, the original meaning of the Greek word "sin" (translated from the Hebrew "het") was "to err", or "to miss the mark". In its original usage, it referred to behaviors that that needed to be abandoned in order to attain a Christian lifestyle. The idea of eternal damnation came along later. But can you imagine an archer being damned eternally because he shot at the target and missed the bullseye? I don't believe that a God who is Love could treat his children that way.

In his lecture "Why Healing Spiritually is Crucial", Christian Science lecturer Ron Ballard points out that God's love for us is unconditional, and unconditional means we don't have to deserve it for the giver to give it. This is in keeping with Jesus saying, "Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom." (Luke 12:32)

What's confusing to people is that the Bible, and for that matter Mary Baker Eddy in her writings, talks about sin being punished. But if God loves us then what is the source of the punishment?

For an answer we turn to Jesus parable of the prodigal son, found in the book of Luke, chapter 15. The prodigal, the younger of two sons, went to his father and said in essence that he didn't want to wait until is father was dead; he wanted his inheritance now. The loving father gave it to him and the prodigal took off for another country, where he promptly wasted his inheritance on "riotous living". When he was broke and going hungry, he figured out that if he'd stayed home with his father he'd he wouldn't be hungry and homeless. So he went home with the idea that he'd ask his father to hire him as a servant, and at least he wouldn't go hungry. But, as you probably know, his father took him back and forgave him. Through this parable Jesus illustraited God's love for us.

It wasn't the father that made the prodigal go hungry. It was his own foolish, selfish behavior. But he went hungry until he returned to the father.

In Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Mary Baker Eddy wrote repeatedly about the "belief in sin". On page 497 she gives as one of the tenants of Christian Science, "We acknowledge God's forgiveness of sin in the destruction of sin and the spiritual understanding that casts out evil as unreal. But the belief in sin is punished so long as the belief lasts."

In an online discussion (where I use a screen alias), someone asked what the source of the punishment was if it wasn't God. I responded by saying, "The belief in playing in a cactus patch is punished so long as one plays in the cactus patch... but God never made the cactus patch, so he's not responsible for the thorns.

More tomorrow...

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Busy Days

If you've been following my journal, you've probably noticed that I'm not writing posts as often as I was. This is not because I've suffered any kind of relapse. To the contrary, I'm so much better that I'm busy cleaning my house. Yesterday I even helped my friend work in her yard.

I've never been able to keep my house clean. I always bring too many material things into it, and then there's no place to put them. But as my healing has progressed, my house is naturally becoming more orderly and clean. And I find I'm also better able to make more objective decisions about what to keep and what to get rid of. It's not because I've set out to make a huge effort; doing that in the past always proved futile. It's because I've been listening to the one Mind, the Mind that was in Christ Jesus, and at His direction over the last couple of weeks one thing after another has fallen into place. There's still a lot to do. But for the first time in I don't know how long, it feels like it's getting done.

Yesterday I went through my closet, got out all the old clothes that don't fit me anymore, and donated them to Goodwill Industries. Back in '07, before my surgery, I have to admit that I was rather overweight by human standards. My spiritual identity, in the image and likeness of God can never be overweight or underweight. But in the six weeks surrounding my surgery I lost 60 pounds. This brought me down to what is considered a "healthy weight" for me. In the span of nearly two years since then I've kept the excess weight off. From the human standpoint, being on a liquid diet has made that fairly easy.

Oh, and speaking of the liquid diet... a few days ago I ate two Chicken McNuggets. It wasn't easy, but it was progress. Still a long way from the steak and potatoes I want though.

So, thank you all for reading. I'll try and post every couple of days or so.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

For Love of Money

"Money is the root of all evil." This is probably the most famous mis-quote of the Bible in common use today.

The correct quote is, "For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows." (I Tim. 6:10)

Over and over we hear that the root of our economic problems is greed. Ironically, if you watch some of the old movies from the 1930s (made during the great depression) you'll hear the same assertions.

In one of my favorite movies, "Give 'em Hell, Harry" (made in 1975), U.S. President Harry Truman is portrayed as having said while serving in the United States Congress, that the cause of our problems was that Americans worship mammon. "The millionaire," he said, "is better in the eyes of the people than the public servant who works for the public good."

Sadly, we can't legislate greed away. And when economic pundits insist on misinterpreting 18th century Scottish economist Adam Smith and claiming "greed is good" (as in the movie "Wall Street") instead of considering the wider view of 20th century American Nobel Prize winner John Nash Jr. (as portrayed in the movie "A Beautiful Mind) we simply repeat our mistakes and suffer the resultant economic downturns.

This leads me to the conclusion that the old saying, "the more things change, the more they stay the same" is absolutely true. Some people question the relevance of the Bible to our lives today. But even though we have cars, computers, HD TVs, and microwave ovens, we still are prone to the same mistakes people have been making since the beginning of recorded history.

As Mary Baker Eddy says on page 327 of Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, "The way to escape the misery of sin is to cease sinning. There is no other way." There's a statement that needs to be considered not only in terms of the individual, but in terms of society as a whole.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Adam, Eve, and Original Sin

When I was around sixteen I happened to be the only student in my Sunday School class one Sunday. My Sunday School teacher started the class session by commenting that the story of Adam and Eve was in that week's Christian Science lesson sermon. My disinterested response led him to ask me if I knew what it was about. I was surprised at the question; I'd expected him to ask why I disliked the story.

"It's about sex being bad," I replied. (I don't think any teenage male wants to hear about sex being bad).

"No," he replied, "That's what most people think it's about."

He want on to explain that the central point of the whole story is when God asks Adam, "Who told you that you were naked?" (Gen. 3:11) You see, God had given Adam and Eve everything they could ever need right there in the Garden of Eden. But after eating the forbidden fruit, suddenly Adam thinks he lacks something. My teacher told me the real question God was asking was, "Who told you that you lack?" To my teacher, the real original sin was the belief that we needed something God didn't provide for us.

Today who tells us that we lack? Every twelve minutes or so our televisions tell us that we aren't attractive enough, slender enough, or driving the right vehicle. Frequently television commercials plant the seeds of discord by describing the symptoms of some disease or disorder, and then telling us to ask a doctor about their prescription product. And besides that, we unconsciously accept the lie that our nation's economy depends on our sense of lack.

In Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, on page 494, Mary Baker Eddy tells us that, "Divine Love always has met and always will meet every human need." People get themselves into trouble when they can't distinguish between a need and a want.

This doesn't mean that we have to make do with worn out clothes and cars. The quality of our possessions is a reflection of our sense of self. We have the right to decent food and clothing, a comfortable and secure home, reliable transportation, and fulfilling employment. Jesus said, "In my Father's house are many mansions..." (John 14:2). If we seem to be lacking any of these fundamental things in our lives, then perhaps it's time to start listening more closely to God. He doesn't come knocking on our door to deliver the things we need. He will, however, lead us to the means to have them; but only when we're listening.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

The Body As Our Temple

Sukhmandir Kaur responded to my previous post, "What Should I Eat?", saying that she liked my definition of temple, but that she was thinking of the body as the temple when she asked the question I was addressing.

Jesus said, "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up." (John 2:19). In the Christian world this is where the idea of the body as one's "temple" comes from. However, this concept is common in many religions. Perhaps Jesus was employing a concept common in Judaism, I honestly wouldn't know.

But shortly after Jesus made that statement he says, "That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit." (John 3:6)

Mary Baker Eddy says in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, "...the Christian Scientist takes the best care of his body when he leaves it most out of his thought, and, like the Apostle Paul, is "willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord." (Pg. 383) She also says, "Christ, Truth, gives mortals temporary food and clothing until the material, transformed with the ideal, disappears, and man is clothed and fed spiritually." (Pg. 442)

I once heard of a woman who said, "I treat the body like a little doll. Every morning I dress it, brush its hair, and forget it."

So if the body is your temple, keep it swept and dusted but don't worry that if you don't do it right you'll bring on an earthquake. Fear of the earthquake only helps bring on the earthquake.

"For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind." (II Tim. 1:7)

Thursday, May 28, 2009

What Should I Eat?

Recently Sukhmandir Kaur posted this question under my May 20 th entry entitled “Why Don't You Try...?”
“Is a healthy diet a remedy or honouring the temple?”
Let's take the second part of the question first. The phrase "honoring the temple" I would understand to mean honoring the institution that teaches you of God, his Truth, and your relationship to Him. If we are truly grateful for the good we receive, then we will always honor the source of that good. Gratitude is definitely an element of healing.

Now, as to the first part of the question, a "healthy diet" implies faith in matter. Mary Baker Eddy said in "Science and Health", "Our dietetic theories first admit that food sustains the life of man, and then discuss the certainty that food can kill man. This false reasoning is rebuked in Scripture by the metaphors about the fount and stream, the tree and its fruit, and the kingdom divided against itself." (S&H 398:13)

Notice that she says "dietetic theories". After reading a book on survival I came away with a very different take on what constitutes a healthy diet previously. Did you know that most of the nutrients are in the fats? This book cited a case of a man who died of starvation in the woods because he ate only a variety of fish that had no fat.

Apparently our forefathers were aware of this. The novel "Arundel", published in 1929, is about the American Revolution. In this book the hero finds a man in the woods dying of starvation. The first food he gave the starving man was bear fat.

The reason we need to avoid fats today is that we get too much of them in our modern diets. The food companies know that the fats are where the flavor is. Unfortunately, when we consume fats in excess, the body stores the nutrients. At least, this is the material belief which is prevalent today. Our true spiritual bodies, in God's image and likeness, can never be obese or emaciated.

So in the human experience how do we decide what is "healthy" for us to eat? A young woman I knew told me this story years ago. Her mother had a stomach ache, so she called a Christian Science practitioner (someone in the public healing practice of Christian Science) to ask for help. The practitioner asked the mother what she had eaten that day. "Eight Mangos", the mother replied. The practitioner told her, "My dear, CS not only stands for Christian Science, it also stands for "common sense".

How do the animals in the forest know what they should and shouldn't eat? They don't have dietitians to tell them. Do you think that they count calories? I believe they intuitively know what to eat and what not to eat. Intuition is a spiritual sense. Learn to listen to it. And remember...
Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man. (Matt. 15:11)
...Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? (Matt. 6:25)
Sukhmandir Kaur, who posted the question, is the About.com guide to Sikhism. She is a dear friend, and have I great respect for her beliefs.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

An Ex-Christian Scientist Said...

Every now and then I hear someone say that they know an ex-Christian Scientist, or someone who grew up going to Christian Science Sunday School, who says that Christian Scientists are deluded or that Christian Science is all wrong. I think there are even people who've written books saying such things.

This in spite of the fact that The First Church of Christ Scientist has documented records of spiritual healings through the application of Christian Science dating back over 100 years. All of these healings are verified by a third party, in some cases by a regular medical doctor. And new healings are published regularly in Christian Science periodicals.

I liken these ex-Christian Scientists to folks who grew up taking piano lessons and stopped when they got into their later teens. If one of them tells you that they gave it up because a piano is worthless and can't really make beautiful music would you believe them?

You'd probably realize that, though they may have taken lessons for years, they never really “got it”.

Now, as I told you before, I grew up in Christian Science and although I'd studied it off and on, I'd never really “gotten it”. But I never thought of Christian Science as worthless; I simply thought that the demonstration of healing in Christian Science was "beyond my capacity", as C3PO might say.

But I've learned that I was as mistaken as anyone who has studied Christian Science and tells you that it's all wrong. Anyone can demonstrate the healing Principle of Christian Science. But, like playing the piano beautifully, it takes self-sacrifice and dedication. And as I told you yesterday, those weren't things I was willing to commit to before.

So it is with gratitude and humility that I tell you my healing is still progressing wonderfully. The doctors thought I'd be gone by now. Instead I'm cleaning my own house and driving myself on my own errands.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Are You a Generous Liver?

In Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures (129:30), Mary Baker Eddy writes:

The generous liver may object to the author's small estimate of the pleasures of the table. The sinner sees, in the system taught in this book, that the demands of God must be met. The petty intellect is alarmed by constant appeals to Mind. The licentious disposition is discouraged over its slight spiritual prospects. When all men are bidden to the feast, the excuses come. One has a farm, another has merchandise, and therefore they cannot accept.

I'd read that for years without thinking about it. I supposed "generous liver" had something to do with over-action in the bodily liver. Today I actually took the time to look up the words “generous” and “liver”. Merriam-Webster has “archaic” definitions for each of the two words. Remember, Mrs. Eddy wrote Science and Health in the late 1800s through the early 1900s.

Merriam-Webster tells us that an archaic definition for “generous” is “highborn” or “of noble birth”. They further state that “liver” used to mean “a determinant of the quality or temper of a man”, ie. how a person behaves.

So the question I'm asking you to consider today is, do you turn away from the demands of God as someone of a “highborn” temperament might look down on a buffet of white bread, peanut butter, potato chips, and grape soda?

I did. That's why I never made much progress in the study of Christian Science prior to my “health crisis”. Although I was never into drinking, smoking or drugs, I was far too absorbed with the “acceptable” pleasures of this world.

Before my illness you could discern my love for food simply by looking at me. I lost 60 lbs in the six weeks surrounding my surgery in '07. Having been on a liquid diet since then I've been able to keep them off.

But after my surgery, I was content to accept my role in life as a partial invalid. And even though some of the pleasures of life weren't available to me in that role, I still spent most of my time watching movies and playing video games. Hardly pursuits that spiritualize thought (especially when the games are hack and slash role playing games).

Now I understand that when my healing is complete I'll be able to enjoy food in moderation without making it a god or using it as an escape. I'll also be able to play a game now and then without having to play it for hours on end day after day. And I'm still enjoying movies but, as I've discussed in a previous post, I'm much more circumspect about the content of the films I choose.

Now I spend much of my day in study and prayer; affirming my relationship to God as his beloved son and my relationship to my fellow man as a spiritual brother. So, my answer is, “No, I am no longer a generous liver... although I used to be.” What's your answer?

Monday, May 25, 2009

The Last Shall Be First

I've talked a lot about Jesus' two Great Commandments; to love God with all your heart, soul and mind and to love your neighbor as yourself. Ironically the Bible tells us that we have to do the second one first.

John tells us (I John 4):
20 If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?
And Jesus himself says in Matt. 5:
23 ... if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath aught against thee;
24 Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.
These quotations are from the King James Version.

So who is my brother? This is another one of those questions like “Who is my neighbor”. We ask it in an attempt to excuse ourselves for not doing what we should do. If God is our spiritual Father and Mother, then every one is our brother or sister.

Healing is Christian Science isn't about fixing a material body. It's about seeing yourself as the perfect child of God, not subject to any suggestion or illusion of evil, disease, or death. As I said to a friend recently:
It's not about working up to perfection, but working out from it. It's not about becoming something, but seeing clearly what you are.
But in order to succeed in seeing ourselves as we truly are, we need to work to see everyone else that way too. Just this morning I caught myself looking at a guy and thinking “yuppie”. Another young man I labeled in my thinking as “not very bright”. And one dear lady I'm ashamed to say that I silently thought of as “unattractive”.

None of these judgmental thoughts are the truth about these individuals. And none of those thoughts came to me from God; so they weren't really my thinking. They were the whisperings of the supposed mortal consciousness, referred to by Mary Baker Eddy in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures as “mortal mind”. She further explains that mortal mind is the source of all illusion, and is itself an illusion. “Nothing claiming to be something”.

When I began my healing work in Christan Science I knew that I needed to forgive people that I felt had wronged me. And I worked at doing this. But it didn't occur to me that I needed handle first impressions.

We're told that first impressions are lasting, and so we should always dress nicely, pay attention to our grooming, and behave as graciously as we can. Then when we meet new people we will always to create a good first impression. But to grow spiritually we need to handle our own first impressions of others. Even if others aren't paying attention to their appearance or behavior, we need to listen to what God is telling us about that person, not what our eyes and ears are saying.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Love Really Is the Answer

I've talked a lot about the significance of love in healing. God is Love, and in loving thoughts and actions we find ourselves in His image and likeness. Below is one of my favorite biblical passages. It's all about love.

1 Corinthians 13 (New King James Version)
1 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. 2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.

4 Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; 5 does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; 6 does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

8 Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part. 10 But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away.

11 When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. 12 For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.

13 And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

In 1874 a Scottish minister named Henry Drummond gave a sermon entitled “The Greatest Thing In The World”. In this work he examines the passages cited above, and cites additional biblical authority for naming love as the greatest thing in the world.

When published, this work of Drummond's sold over 12 million copies. Today it stands out as a sentinel work of modern Christianity. And now it is apparently in the public domain. You can read or download copies of this wonderful meditation from numerous web cites. Here are links to a couple of them.

Henry Drummond Home Page

Project Gutenberg


Saturday, May 23, 2009

God and Reflection

Let's take another look at those terms I discussed a while back, "absolute" and "relative". This is a lesson I used to give to my students in adult ed. and jr. college.

Two and two is always four. In the Spanish language dos and dos is always cuatro. In the absence of any human language, without any words to express it, the concept of two and two being four will hold true. This is an absolute truth.

You are reading an internet blog post. This is a relative truth. In an hour it may not be true.

Anything that is not absolute truth or relative truth is opinion. Politics is the art of convincing people that your opinions are some form of truth.

Now let's take it a step further than I was able to do in the classroom.

To a Christian Scientist, absolute truth is established by God, who is living Truth. Truth isn't just an infinite collection of cold facts governing the universe. Truth is an infinite consciousness which, when appealed to properly, leads us to understanding which gives us success in our endeavors.

God is Love. Love isn't just a feeling or an emotion, it is a living force surrounding us and flooding our being with light.

God is Life. That very life force which animates us, itself, is alive, intelligent, and infinitely loving.

God is the infinite Mind which knows all things. There is nothing we can know that is unknown to God, Mind. And anything we think we know that He doesn't is simply a lie we are believing.

God is the very Truth known to Himself, infinite Mind.

God has made each and every one of us in his own image and likeness. This is the truth of our spiritual identities, not a statement about the material body.

As we are loving, we reflect Love. As we are active and constructive, we reflect Life. As we are honest we reflect Truth. And by our expression of intelligence we reflect Mind.

Seeing yourself in this light can only broaden your horizons. I'm telling you this because it has certainly broadened mine.

Friday, May 22, 2009

I've Truly Been Blessed

I've been talking a lot about Christianity and Christian Science here in my journal. I've talked a lot about love for God and love for our fellow man. And I keep telling you that my physical condition is improving.

What I haven't done is express my gratitude here in my journal.

My heart overflows with gratitude. God has brought me so very far from where I was in that hospital. This has been more than a healing, it has truly been a resurrection. How can I ever find words to express gratitude for such a gift?

But that's not the only gift I've been privileged to receive. I have such wonderful friends, who come to visit me frequently. These friends I'm speaking of are not Christian Scientists. At first, after I returned from the hospital, I think they came expecting the visit to be the last one that they would have with me. But I don't think anyone believes that anymore. Each and every one of these wonderful friends is a gift from God.

As I've told you before, a very dear lady from my church came as soon as I asked that anyone from church come visit me. She has been a huge blessing in my life. She comes to see me several times a week. She drives me to see my Christian Science practitioner. She's rallied other Christian Scientists, so that barely a day goes by when I'm not visited by a Christian Scientist. With these Christian Scientists I can talk about Christian Science in a way that I can't talk to my other friends about it, or write about here... the language would be confusing to people unfamiliar with Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy. Each of these wonderful visitors is yet another blessing in my life.

And all of you reading this, you are blessing me also. Your act of reading my journal fulfills its purpose. Thank you so much!

Father-Mother God, thank you for all of these blessings.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Why Don't You Try...?

A person in my situation gets all kinds of advice on how I can heal myself; diets, herbs, things being done in other countries that aren't approved for use here. Why do I stick to my study of Christian Science and decline to try these suggested remedies?

Mary Baker Eddy explains in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures that although such things do work in some cases, this is “one belief casting out another”. And all too frequently they fail in other cases. Just as medical treatments succeed in some cases and fail in others. This is because the effectiveness of any “cure” is proportional to the patient's faith in it.

Modern medicine has the upper hand today because it is the system that society places the most faith in. So it has the power of gestalt behind it (there's a word for you to look up if you don't know it). In fact, in a nation whose founding principles include separation of church and state, popular faith in medicine has had sufficient influence on our laws for it to have become, in essence, a “state religion”.

But in Science and Health, Mrs. Eddy begins on page one with the statement, “The prayer that reforms the sinner and heals the sick is an absolute faith that all things are possible to God,--a spiritual understanding of Him, an unselfed love.”

There is no reference to any material remedy in that statement. There is however a challenge to the individual who is praying. It's easy to profess “absolute faith”. Living it is much more difficult.

It's common for non-Christian Scientists to suggest that you mix medicine, diet, or some other material remedy with the practice of Christian Science. They will all tell you, “It can't hurt.” In fact it can hurt. If you are trying to use both Christian Science and a material remedy your faith is divided. Mrs. Eddy says plainly that it takes an “absolute faith that all things are possible to God”. If your faith is divided, it is not absolute.

God is Spirit. His work is done spiritually, as Jesus demonstrated in his healing ministry. God is not going to work through any material remedy, no matter how “natural” it seems, though your faith in it may for a time.

So to all my dear friends who've recommended some material remedy to me, I love you, thank you for caring, but I'm afraid that I'll have to decline. My progress proves to me that I'm on the right track.

Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Is “The DaVinci Code” Blasphemous?

A few days back I mentioned the book and film “The DaVinci Code”. This book and film aroused controversy by portraying a conspiracy theory which states that Jesus was married and had a child or children. After Jesus' crucifixion his wife, Mary Magdalene, fled with their offspring to what is now France. There, as the theory has it, the rightful heirs of Jesus have lived since that time.

Author Dan Brown did not concoct this conspiracy theory for “The DaVinci Code”, it has been around for many years, perhaps hundreds of years. The first I ever read of it was in the late '70s in a book entitled “Holy Blood, Holy Grail”. When I first read this idea that Jesus had married and had children, I called one of my mentors in Christian Science to tell him about it. He said that the Bible said nothing about it, so he didn't believe it. But, I told him, the book pointed out that Jesus was called rabbi by his contemporaries, and a rabbi must be married.

My mentor thought for a moment and said, “Okay, assuming Jesus was married and had children. So what?” I was somewhat taken aback by this response. But he went on to say that in the Bible we have the record of Jesus' teachings, and the record of his healings which proved his teachings. Those, he pointed out, were all we needed to know about Jesus. Whatever he did in his personal life didn't alter his teachings or his works. What a wonderful perspective!

Many years later, in the '90s, I was in Sedona, Arizona. As you may know, Sedona is virtually an oriental bazaar of metaphysical seminars and teachers. I wasn't there seeking enlightenment however. I was visiting friends who lived in the area.

One afternoon I was sitting on a rock under an overhang alongside a trail beside a mesa. The locals will tell you that this mesa was considered by the American Indians of the region to be a “spiritual vortex”. So of course there were a lot of seekers hiking in the area.

A young woman passed by on the trail in front of me. She paused to ask if I'd seen her friend, who she described to me. I said a lady of that description had passed by earlier. She said she had to find her friend, because they didn't want to be late for their seminar.

I asked what their seminar was about, and she responded with some long title which ended in “...Blood of Christ and the Holy Grail”. I asked if it was about the heirs of Christ as discussed in “Holy Blood, Holy Grail”. She assured me that there was much more information available on the topic at that time than when “Holy Blood, Holy Grail” had been written, and she was going to this seminar to find her place in the lineage of Jesus.

She was in a hurry to find her friend, so I knew I didn't have time to tell her the story of my old mentor's response. But I felt the need to say something to her on the subject. So I asked, “Father, what do you want me to tell her?” And the answer came to me.

“These experts,” I said, “all maintain that the heirs of Jesus are rightfully the true monarchy of the world, don't they?” She agreed that they did. I then told her that all of them ignore Jesus' own most important saying on the subject.

Her eyes narrowed and she said with a tone of cynicism, “Which is?”

“My kingdom is not of this world.” I replied.

This dear lady gasped audibly as her eyes flew open wide. I don't recall the last thing she said to me. But she kissed me on the cheek before she went on her way to find her friend.

So, is the DaVinci Code blasphemous? Depends on your definition of blasphemy I guess. I don't particularly care to take the time to argue the question. I've got better things to do. I'm much more interested in deepening my understanding of Jesus teachings which lead to the Christ consciousness. Because Paul wrote, “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.” And that's where healing is found.

Monday, May 18, 2009

What Are You Looking At?

Some people may be wondering why I keep telling you that I'm making progress in my journey of spiritual healing, but I'm not giving you any details about my physical improvement.

As I've told you before, a Christian Scientist works from the standpoint that man is the spiritual image and likeness of God, that all matter is an illusion, and that disease is an image of thought projected upon that illusion. So if I were to be describing changes in symptoms to you, I'd be painting a picture of symptoms in your thinking. Yes, they're improved symptoms. But if my goal is to eradicate the images of disease from my own thinking, then painting a mental picture of any symptoms for you would be counter-productive.

I had a Sunday School teacher who told me that the world believes “you are what you eat”, but to a Christian Scientist, “you are what you think”. That's not to say that you can become a millionaire by thinking that you're one. What he meant was, as I've said, your body is an image of your thinking. And you take into your thinking the things that you look at.

There's a popular quote among Christian Scientists; I don't know its origin. “Two men looked out from the selfsame bars. One saw mud, the other saw stars.” Are you looking down into the mud, or up to the stars?

In guarding my thinking I've had to revise my video viewing habits. I have about the largest DVD collection in my circle of friends. But now I can't watch movies that have dark images; ie. violence, cruelty, murder, etc. So my collection has been expanding. Suddenly I'm buying Disney, Sandra Dee, and Frankie and Annette movies.

Since immersing myself in the study of Christian Science, I don't watch movies unless I have visitors. When I'm alone I focus on study, prayer, and baseball (okay, only two out of three are healing activities). So far, when friends have come to visit I've only watched “Bagger Vance”, “Wimbledon”, “The Moon Spinners”, and “Gidget”.

If you haven't seen “Bagger Vance”, it's not a “golf movie” like most people think. It's a metaphysics movie where golf is a metaphor for life... “a game that can't be won, only played”.

“Wimbledon” is a tennis movie, but it's also a romantic comedy. It's not a well known film, but since getting the DVD last year in a “triple feature” pack it has become a favorite of mine.

“The Moon Spinners” is a Disney family film that tries to be a Hitchcock picture. This is the first movie I ever saw in a movie theater, when I was six years old. I enjoyed it as much now as I did then.

“Gidget” is a “coming of age” movie about a teenage girl in the early '60s who want's to learn to surf (a predominantly male activity). It stars Sandra Dee. If you were thinking Sally Field, that was the TV series that came later.

My friends understand my desire to keep my thought free of dark images. And they seem to be enjoying these films as much as I am.

Oh, one more thing... if you really want to laugh, check out the movie “Noises Off”.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Christianity and Christian Science

For the past couple of days I've been discussing what I believe really makes a “Christian”. But I've told you in earlier installments that my healing work is being done with Christian Science. What does Christianity have to do with Christian Science?

As I've been discussing, to me a Christian is someone who follows Jesus two great commandments: 1) love God with all your heart, soul, and mind and 2) love your neighbor as yourself. Without this kind of Christianity one cannot succeed in the healing practice of Christian Science.

Mary Baker Eddy wrote in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, "The vital part, the heart and soul of Christian Science, is Love." (page 112). Therefore, one must first be Christian in the sense that they follow Jesus' two commandments before they can be a Christian Scientist.

She also says on page 556, “Christian Science may absorb the attention of sage and philosopher, but the Christian alone can fathom it.”

And on page 242, “We may hide spiritual ignorance from the world, but we can never succeed in the Science and demonstration of spiritual good through ignorance or hypocrisy.”

Remember the question put to Indiana Jones by the mysterious man in the red fez, “Do you seek the cup of Christ for your glory, or for His?” What's your motive for studying spiritual healing?

Friday, May 15, 2009

Who is My Neighbor?

When Jesus gave the second great commandment, "love your neighbor as yourself", someone asked him “Who is my neighbor?”

Jesus' answered by telling the parable of the good Samaritan. This story can be found in the Bible, in the book of Luke, Chapter 10 beginning with verse 30. The gist of it is this...

A man was robbed, beaten, and left in a muddy ditch. It is presumed that this man, like Jesus and the people he was telling this story to was a Jew. Devout Jews passing by saw this man in the ditch, but they went along on their way without doing anything to help him. But a Samaritan who came along saw him, had compassion on him, and helped him. The Samaritan took the robbery victim to an inn, bound up his wounds, and saw that he was fed. Before the Samaritan left the inn, he gave the innkeeper extra money to care for the man until he was better. Then the Samaritan told the innkeeper that if the money wasn't enough, he'd pay the balance when he passed that way again.

Now the Bible tells us elsewhere that the Jews and Samaritans had no dealings with each other. While I don't believe that there were open hostilities between the two peoples, they didn't get along. Yet it was a Samaritan, and not one of the devout Jews, who was neighbor enough to come to the aid of the man who'd been robbed and beaten. The point being, don't ask the question “Who is my neighbor.” in order to justify not doing good where it's needed. Everyone is your neighbor. So get over it and get on with the work.

Some years ago a friend of mine asked me if I'd like to drive down to Mexico with her and her husband to meet Mother Antonia. This wonderful lady isn't as well known as Mother Theresa in most of the world, but she certainly is in Northern Mexico. Mother Antonia grew up in Beverly Hills. She married and raised a family. After her children were grown and her husband had passed away she became a nun and went to Tijuana, Mexico to minister to inmates in the prison there. I was very impressed with the things my friend told me about this remarkable woman, so I took her up on the offer.

As a result, I wound up doing a couple of small desktop publishing projects for Mother Antonia. They were really not big jobs, but she was incredibly grateful for what I'd done. She knew I was a Christian Scientist, and she asked me why I loved her so much. I told her it was because of this story my friend (who is also not Catholic) had told me about her.

One day Mother Antonia went into the infirmary in the prison there in Tijuana. On the cold tile floor she found a man who had laid there for three days. He had been beaten when he had been apprehended for his crime. He was caked with dried mud and blood. People had been ignoring him since he was brought to the infirmary and laid there on that floor. Mother Antonia had knelt beside him, kissed him on the cheek, and told him that God loved him.

I concluded by saying to Mother Antonia, “Do I have that kind of courage? No.” Her face broke into a beaming smile. She kissed me once on each cheek and said, “Well, I'll do it for you.” While I was grateful for her sentiment, I knew in my heart that each of us must love our fellow man like that for ourselves. No one can do it for us.

This is an example of Christianity that transcends denomination. I believe that only this kind of Christianity is going to heal the world's ills.

There is a book about Mother Antonia. I haven't read it. But it's called The Prison Angel

Thursday, May 14, 2009

What is a Christian?

When Jesus was asked what the “great commandment” was, he answered that it was to love God with all your heart, soul, and mind. Then he said that the second great commandment was similar, it was to love your neighbor as yourself.

The person asking the question had expected Jesus to pick one of the ten commandments given by Moses. But Jesus answer, I am told, was based on another Jewish tradition... one which may even pre-date Moses' commandments. The person who asked the question agreed with Jesus answer.

To me, being a Christian means striving to follow those two laws given by Jesus; nothing more, and nothing less. Jesus said, on those two commandments rested all the law and the prophets. He also said, “If you love me, keep my commandments.” He did not say “keep Moses' commandments”.

Most Christian denominations have a creed that their members must adopt. These creeds vary from one denomination to another but, for the most part, they are usually based on the rulings of the Council of Nicaea (frequently misspelled Nicea).

The Council of Nicaea was a convention of priests that convened in the year 325AD. If you saw the movie or read the book “The DaVinci Code” you may recall the Council of Nicaea being discussed in it. The council voted on a number of questions that faced the church in its early days. One of the things they did was to elect Jesus to the office of God. This is one of their findings that Christian Scientists do not adopt. To a Christian Scientist, Jesus as the Son of God revealed to the world the living Christ, God's true idea of man. I've heard it said that we can think of the “true idea” as the “blueprint” for man. So Jesus conformed to God's blueprint for us better than anyone else ever has. By doing that, he showed all of us the true spiritual potential we each derive from our relationship with God, and thereby he earned the title of Jesus the Christ, or Christ Jesus.

Now this is quite different than the conclusions drawn by the Council of Nicea, but in fairness one has to remember that the priests who made up the council lived in a time when hardly anyone could read or write. Many people believed that there was a city filled with gods atop Mount Olympus. These priests, themselves, believed that the world was flat, that the Sun revolved around the Earth, and that the Earth was the center of the universe. Few people today believe these things about our solar system, although our eyes alone might indicate to us that they are true.

So, getting back to my personal perspective on Christianity, if being a Christian means loving God above all things and loving one's neighbor as one's self, then there are two questions that need to be addressed.

First, who is God? As I've said before, to a Christian Scientist God is Principle, Mind, Soul, Spirt, Life, Truth, and Love.

Second, Who is my neighbor? Someone once asked Jesus that. Tomorrow I'll talk about his answer.

For now, let me tell you why I hold to this view of what truly makes a Christian. Because it's universal rather than denominational. There are people of many non-Christian denominations who also live by these rules. It's even easy to imagine that somewhere on other planets there may be people who've never heard of Jesus, but who love Life and Truth above all things, and love their fellow beings as themselves.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Absolute and Relative

I'd like to discuss the reason I believe some people think Christian Scientists don't live in the real world. It usually results from a poor choice of words on the part of a Christian Scientist.

Now I don't want to give the impression that I'm condemning any individual Christian Scientist, or Christian Scientists in general. Indeed, if you've known me more than twenty years you may well recall a time when I committed these faux pas with alarming regularity.

I've been talking about how matter isn't all there is. Well, to a Christian Scientist matter isn't anything at all. Why would a Christian Scientist believe such a thing? Because the first chapter of Genesis says that God made man in his own image... spiritual. And it further says that God made everything that was made, “and behold it was very good”. If that's the case, then there is no evil. Yet evil manifests itself in our material experience all the time. In the Christian Scientist's view, this is because matter and all evil are an illusion trying to assert that something exists beyond God's perfect creation.

Wait, did I just contradict myself? First I said that matter is nothing, and then I said it's an illusion. Isn't an illusion something? Well, when you see a mirage it's something, or at least it appears to be. But when it disappears, it's nothing.

We resolve this seeming contradiction by using the terms “absolute” and “relative” to differentiate conflicting statements. The statement “Matter doesn't exist.” is an absolute statement. But the statement “Matter is an illusion.” is a relative statement. Absolute statements do not recognize the existence of matter, but relative statements do. In my experience, sometimes Christian Scientists mix absolute and relative statements when talking to people who don't know the difference. This results in confusions about Christian Science.

A Christian Scientists heals by the mental assertion that man is perfect, made in the image and likeness of God. And as this perfection is faithfully asserted, the material picture of the individual's condition improves. To the Christian Scientist sickness is nothing. But Mrs. Eddy says plainly in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, “Sickness is neither imaginary nor unreal,--that is, to the frightened, false sense of the patient. Sickness is more than fancy; it is solid conviction.” She goes on to say, “If Christian healing is abused by mere smatterers in Science, it becomes a tedious mischief-maker. Instead of scientifically effecting a cure, it starts a petty crossfire over every cripple and invalid, buffeting them with the superficial and cold assertion, 'Nothing ails you.' ” Those statements are found on page 460.

So here is an example of the assertions I make throughout my day: Right this moment I am the prefect child of God, made in his image and likeness (absolute statement). Therefore, I cannot manifest any image of sickness or disease (relative statement). I am never for an instant separated from God's love and grace (always leave things in the absolute).

Does this really work? My condition improves each day (relative statement).

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

How Do You See Yourself?

Image Copyright David Teague

This post is a bit verbose for "Wordless Wednesday", but I'm not the only one guilty of that infraction. This picture was taken circa 1974. That's me on the left. My friend Dave is on the right. Because Dave and I were Marx Brothers enthusiasts, he calls this image "Dueling Harpos". Dave and I even performed publicly as the Marx Brothers once with our friend Jay. On that occasion Jay played Groucho, Dave was Chico, and I got to be Harpo. Yay!

I hadn't heard from Dave in three decades. Last week he got my email address somewhere and wrote to say hello. He also sent that image.

Dave and I met when we were both cast in a production of "Alice in Wonderland". I played the Mad Hatter. Dave played a mole, one of the woodland creatures in Wonderland. Even playing the mole, Dave took a greasepaint stick and painted a Groucho mustache on his upper lip.

A couple of years after this was taken I got a call from the director of our community theater saying that they were doing "Alice in Wonderland" again and asking if I'd reprise my role as the Mad Hatter. I had to decline because I was moving to Arizona to go to school. In that second production Helen Hunt played Alice, so I missed my chance to perform opposite an Oscar winning actress. Ah, well!

I shared this photo with you because this is how I want you to see me. This is how I want to see myself. We don't really know what our spiritual identities look like, but a photo of ourself that makes us feel good about ourself is closer than an image we don't care for. At this point in my healing process my appearance isn't all that great, although it's improving daily.

If you're working on a better self-image, I've heard it said that you should take your favorite photo of yourself and put it up on your refrigerator, or somewhere that you'll see it often. Why not give it a try. Can't hurt.

Developing Spiritual Sense

Assuming we're agreed that matter isn't all that there is, then how do we go about “seeing” things outside the realm of matter? The five senses are useless here. What we need to develop is a “spiritual sense”.

In order to develop this spiritual sense, it would help to know what we're going to be using it to look for. Here Mary Baker Eddy helps us out. In her work Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, she gives us a definition of God which includes seven names for Him. These names are: Principle, Mind, Soul, Spirit, Life, Truth, and Love. Any time you see one of these words capitalized in Mrs. Eddy's written works, it is being used as a synonym for God. Christian Scientists know these words as “the seven synonyms”.

Of these seven synonyms, the ones that appear frequently together are Life, Truth, and Love. It's no accident that I used a mother's love for her child in my last entry as my example of something that exists outside the realm of matter. But don't you also feel something special when someone is trying to perpetrate a deception, and you stand up for truth? And on good days don't you just feel more "alive". Those are things you "feel" with spiritual sense.

When the disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray, the Master gave them a prayer that begins with the words “Our Father”. Mrs. Eddy sometimes refers to Father-Mother God in her writings. This idea of the motherhood of God is supported by the biblical text from Isaiah “As one whom his mother comforteth, so will I comfort you; and ye shall be comforted in Jerusalem.”

So if human beings love their children as much as we know most of them do, how much does God love us? More than we can possibly imagine.

What's this got to do with developing spiritual sense? Try this exercise... at various times throughout your day stop what you're doing, close your eyes, and silently say, “God, please show me your love today in a way that I can understand.” Then, as you go on with your day, watch and listen for a response. Be confident you'll get one, and I'm confident that you will.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Is Matter All There Is?

In my second entry, “A New Beginning”, I said, “Medicine looks only at the material body; it evaluates man entirely from a physical point of view. But to Christian Science, which takes a wholly metaphysical view, man is entirely spiritual and the material body is only an image of one's thinking.”

A lot of people may have trouble with that. The world, as our schools teach it, is material. Everything in it is made up of molecules, which are themselves composed of atoms. Following this reasoning, some people assert that everything we think and feel is the result of biochemical processes resulting in electrical impulses in the brain.

So for people educated in the materiality of the world to begin to understand the Christian Science point of view, what can they do? Here's a question they can ask themselves. Is the love a mother feels for her child nothing more than biochemistry or electrical impulses in the brain? Or is it something more... something beyond the realm of matter?

If you are thoroughly convinced that a mother's love is nothing more than electrical impulses caused by biochemical processes, and nothing will ever change your mind, I have four words for you... Sorry, can't help you.

But if you look at the love of a mother for her child and see something that must exist beyond the realm of matter then, it follows that the part of a person which is responsible for loving isn't matter. Therefore matter isn't all there is. If this idea is new to you and makes sense to you then, as Obi-Wan said to Luke Skywalker, “You have taken your first step into a larger world.” Follow this line of reasoning and see where it leads.

In case you've never realized it, in the Chronicles of Narnia the great lion Aslan is a symbol for Christ Jesus. When Aslan isn't in Narnia he's in a place known as “Aslan's Land”, a symbol for the Kingdom of Heaven. Now Jesus said that the Kingdom of Heaven, or realm of Spirit, is within you... meaning within each of us. It is interesting to note that in one of the later Narnia stories (which hasn't been made into a movie) the children actually go to Aslan's Land. There, one of the children observes that Aslan's Land (the Kingdom of Heaven, which is within you) is “like an onion in reverse”... the more layers you peel off, the bigger it gets.

If the idea of the source of a mother's love being something beyond matter is new to you and something you're prepared to accept, then you've peeled off a layer. Keep peeling... I am. And as I do, each day brings greater insight and improvement in my situation.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Out Of the Darkness

In my last entry I related the pivotal point where my healing began. After that I was kept in the hospital for a few days. The doctors wanted to give me some treatments that they said 1)would not cure me, 2)would not reduce the tumor, but 3)might prevent future bleeding. For my family's peace of mind I submitted to the treatments that were offered. However, I was already more convinced than at any time in my life that God's love is the only true healing power and that material treatments were irrelevant.

My first night in the hospital my sister asked if there was anything she could bring me. I asked for my Bible and my copy of Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy. The next day she brought a Bible and my copy of Healing Spiritually, which she had mistaken for Science and Health.

Healing Spiritually is a collection of verified Christian Science healings. I had started reading this book a year or two ago, but had set it aside. I'd left a bookmark in it, so I began reading where I'd marked. I don't remember much about the testimonies that I read, except that they brought me comfort and confidence, and further convinced me that I was on the right path. The next day my sister brought my copy of Science and Health, and I dug into it with joy.

When I got home, I asked my sister to call the few friends from my old church. I asked that she tell them my situation and let them know that I would welcome visits from any and all Christian Scientists. One very, very dear lady, a Christian Science Nurse, came very soon thereafter. She appraised my situation, and came back the next day with additional Christian Science reading materials and some CDs of Christian Science music, readings, and testimonies.

Since then this dear friend has come to my home almost every day after she gets off work, despite the fact that she has a husband and young child waiting for her at home. She has been arranging for other Christian Scientists to come and visit me also. There is no way I will ever be able to fully express my gratitude for the support she has given me.

On my friend's second visit she read me an interview with a Jewish rabbi which appeared in the May 11, 2009 edition of The Christian Science Sentinel. This rabbi's father had been healed of cancer by the rabbi's application of Christian Science, even though the father's condition had been worse than mine. You can read or purchase this magazine at any Christian Science Reading Room. Spirituality.com has posted a video excerpt from this interview.

My family too has been supportive, though not so much from the standpoint of Christian Science. I do have to say that, after coming home, I learned that some family members had been in favor of sending me to live in a hospice instead of returning me to my home. I don't even want to contemplate the implications of such a thing.

All things considered, I've come a very long way in two weeks. There are still issues to be faced and overcome. But those will be resolved in God's way and in His time. All I need to do is continue to study, pray, and gain a clearer understanding of God and my relationship to him. And the fact is, I'm enjoying doing it.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Living a Lie

So far I've talked only about my spiritual awakening. Now I'm going to tell you now about the lie I was living which I had to awaken from. As you read, please remember that these thoughts I was cherishing about myself never came from the one infinite Mind, God. And if you'll think about it, to over come them all I had to do was stop believing them. Unfortunately it took me decades to truly awaken to that fact.

I think it was in eighth grade when it really all started to go south for me. That's when I started ignoring homework and escaping entirely into the safe and comfortable world of television. From then on I always did the minimum just to get by. I got a GED instead of finishing High School. I went to a two-year trade school instead of a college.

But later I wasn't happy with the limitations I thought I'd placed on my adult life. I saw myself as inadequate for everything I really wanted to do in life. I wished I could just start my life over. I first began talking about a desire to die in my teens, and had continued doing so all my adult life. If I could start over, I reasoned, then I could do it right. In Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Mary Baker Eddy says on page 290:

“If the Principle, rule, and demonstration of man's being are not in the least understood before what is termed death overtakes mortals, they will rise no higher spiritually in the scale of existence on account of that single experience, but will remain as material as before the transition...”

That sounded fine to me; I thought that meant I actually could start over. I conveniently ignored the rest:

“...still seeking happiness through a material, instead of through a spiritual sense of life, and from selfish and inferior motives.”

So two weeks ago I found myself in a hospital room, where I sat coughing into a towel... coughing blood. And I'd been coughing blood off and on for over twenty-four hours.

I looked at the floor and thought, “If I could only just slump to the floor, I could die.” So I dropped to my knees and rested my elbows on the floor. And I silently said something along the lines of, “Okay God, I have the medical specialists' permission to die. The hospital people deal with this sort of thing all the time, so it's no big deal. And I'm not leaving a mess for my family to deal with. The conditions are perfect. Open up that white light tunnel and let me step through.”

And God said...


This made me think of a story of Elijah in the Bible. Someone was trying to have Elijah killed. So Elijah ran away and hid in the wilderness. But after a day in the wilderness he found himself asking God to let him die. God didn't concede to Elijah's request. Instead God sustained Elijah in the wilderness. And after a time God told him to go back home, promising that he would be protected. That's in 1 Kings, chapter 19.

God wasn't going to let me out of this mess by dying, no matter what medicine said. So the only option left to me was to listen to Him and let Him lead me out of the wilderness in His way and in His time. I couldn't dictate the terms.

That's when the bleeding stopped for good.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

There's Only One Mind?

Christian Science teaches that God is Love. I really like the idea that we were made and are constantly cared for by infinite Love... and that infinite Love is always right here with us and all around us.

But one of the things that always bugged me about Christian Science was that it teaches we all have "one Mind", and that our Mind is God. I'm allowed my own consciousness, but my Mind has to be God, and I gotta share with all of you. How does that work? It took me a long time to get used to this idea. This is how I finally came to grips with it...

Many people say that God is controlling everything. Whatever happens in our lives is because God made it happen. From that perspective this includes evil things as well as good. Man, that gets confusing. It doesn't sound like God loves us unconditionally.

Instead, think of yourself as a radio controlled car. You can be any kind of car you want. Think up a character for yourself that would fit nicely into the Pixar movie Cars. Because you're radio controlled, you're steered by a guiding signal. Next, imagine that everyone else is also a radio controlled car too, that each of us receives our own unique guiding signal, and everyone's guiding signal comes from God... the one infinite Mind. God keeps us all on the right side of the road. He stops us at all the red lights. Under his controlling signal we all move along on our individual paths in perfect harmony.

Now, what if your receiver broke? Might you miss a stop sign. Might you stray across the double yellow line? If so, might there be undesirable results? Oh, yeah!

Thankfully, our receiver can never be broken! However some of us ignore our receivers. Some of us may not even know we have one. Some of us are dang sure we don't need any fool receiver to tell us what to do; we know exactly where we're going... and everyone else just better stay out of the way. And some of us even know exactly what some other people's receivers are supposed to be telling them... and are bound and determined to make them understand and comply. This is how evil occurs without it being created by God.

Our receiver is called "the Christ". It is "that mind that was in Christ Jesus".

"Let this mind be in you that was also in Christ Jesus:" (Phil 2:5)

Now does that make each of us less individual? Not according to Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy:

This scientific sense of being, forsaking matter for Spirit, by no means suggests man's absorption into Deity and the loss of his identity, but confers upon man enlarged individuality, a wider sphere of thought and action, a more expansive love, a higher and more permanent peace." (S&H 265:10)

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

The Toughest Book You'll Ever Love

Hello. If this is your first visit here, yes I'm the same Randall that used to write about model railroad trains elsewhere on the web. This blog is new, and if this is your first visit here you can catch up quickly by reading the two short posts below which explain my recent "health crisis".

Some people have responded to this blog by encouraging me to keep fighting, and saying that they're hopeful for me. They've missed the point. The fight is over... I won! This blog is about cleaning up the mess after the fight; about putting my mental “house” in order and knowing myself and God better.

The purpose of this blog is not to sell you my religion; it's to share my spiritual journey back into the light. To make this trek I'd resolved to immerse myself in the study of Christian Science. That meant digging deep into the Christian Science textbook Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy. I'd read this book about twenty years ago, and found it uplifting. But despite all the ideas in it that I'd identified with so strongly, there were lots of things that bothered me about it. Mary Baker Eddy used lots of familiar words in unfamiliar ways. And some of the metaphysical statements she made I found at first just too much to swallow.

Regardless of these frustrations, I'd continued a casual study of this book off and on over the years. I'd always recognized the value of this book. In fact, I've given literally dozens of copies to friends and acquaintances over the last couple decades. And I'd always told them that you don't have to become a Christian Scientist to benefit from reading it.

So I set out to get to know this book better than I ever had before. I made it my goal to read 100 pages a day. That didn't work out; I'm a slow reader. I'm not even getting though 50 pages a day. But that doesn't matter I'm not fighting with the book like I used to; I'm letting it talk to me and not telling it how it should have worded things. As a result, I'm getting more out of the book than I ever did before. And each day brings improvement to my situation.

I've also learned that I'm not the only one who had problems with this unique book. In a Christian Science lecture, John Adams talks about yelling “How can she say that?” and throwing the book across the room repeatedly during his first reading. John is a man who has gone from being a drug dealer to a Christian Science Practitioner, someone in the public healing practice of Christian Science. I think you'll enjoy John Adams' lecture.

Monday, May 4, 2009

A New Beginning

If you read my Background article from yesterday you know already that medical doctors had given up on me and given me very little time. You also know that the conviction had come to me to turn to Christian Science for healing

But if medicine had given up on me, how could Christian Science help? Well, Medicine looks only at the material body; it evaluates man entirely from a physical point of view. But to Christian Science, which takes a wholly metaphysical view, man is entirely spiritual and the material body is only an image of one's thinking.

So if the body is an image of one's thinking, why was my body imaging disease? Because for as long as I could remember my thoughts had been filled with fear, disappointment, anger, regret, cynicism, and self-condemnation. If you were creating an image of these kinds of thoughts, would it be pretty?

So what could I do?

Step 1: Overhaul My Thinking
I had to begin to see that I had always been a perfect child of God. And as a perfect child of God I was made, as we learn in the first chapter of Genesis, in God's image and likeness. I had to see that the image and likeness of God was incapable of entertaining these negative kinds of thoughts, and therefore I had not only the right but the mandate to be free of them. I had to replace them with thoughts of, as the Bible says: love, joy, peace, longsuffering. The Bible tells us that there is no law against these.

Step 2: Leave the Rest to God
This is not as easy as it sounds. It requires absolute trust, something fearful and cynical people usually haven't developed a whole lot of. So it's time to develop absolute trust in God. How? By immersing myself in the study of the teachings of Christian Science.

That's how I started. Since then, every day has brought progress. Even before I was sent home from the hospital a week ago, nurses were commenting that they couldn't believe someone in my condition could be as strong as I was. So the improvement was visible immediately.

But those were only the first steps. And, as the saying goes, “the longest journey begins with the first step.”

Sunday, May 3, 2009


My name is Randall. I was raised as a Christian Scientist in the 1960s and '70s. But, like many people, religion was something that I had by virtue of the family I was born into. Though at times in my life I did study Christian Science, I'm not sure that I ever really "got it".

In July of 2007, for the first time, I turned to medicine because I was experiencing pain so intense I could no longer function. I was diagnosed with cancer in my throat. On Aug. 1st, 2007 I had major surgery to remove the cancer from my throat. As a student of Christian Science, I accepted this as consistent with Jesus' teaching...

"And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.
And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.

The surgery was successful. However, six months later the cancer had returned. I decided to keep this from my family and friends because I was sure I'd beat it... no sweat. But I was content to read the Christian Science Lesson Sermon daily and believe that God would take care of it, while I spent the rest of the day watching videos and playing games. All the while, ignoring the tumor that was growing on my throat, hidden beneath a beard.

On April 19, 2009 I experienced a "health crisis" which resulted in my hospitalization for a week. I was sent home with the medical opinion that I "don't have long".

However, during my hospital stay I came to understand that I have eternity. But to be free of this suffering I must immerse myself in the study of Christian Science. It wasn't a matter of survival... it was a matter of salvation. In other words, even if I did pass away from this human experience, I would continue to suffer until I knew God better and knew myself as his beloved child.

Yesterday two very wonderful people asked me to keep a journal so that they may follow along in my spiritual journey. That's why I have started this blog.