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

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.