Friday, September 29, 2006

a hug for today

I just have to be one of the many blogs sharing this video. It is so, so, so......well, see for yourself. Here is a clue:

"Happiness is spiritual, born of Truth and Love. It is unselfish; therefore it cannot exist alone, but requires all mankind to share it." - Mary Baker Eddy

Click here for

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Wednesday, September 27, 2006

persistence wins the prize

As my husband and I are still in business start up mode, I fall back on other lessons I have learned about the importance of humility, focus and persistence when pursuing a noble goal. Another idea from Science and Health helps: "....self denial, sincerity, and Christianity, and persistence alone win the prize, as they usually do in every department of life."

Years ago, I was on a fast track pursuing dance. After years of being a modern dance student with teachers from the companies of Martha Graham, Merce Cunningham, Twyla Tharp and Loyce Holton, I decided I wanted to include in my dance repetoire more classical training in ballet. I figured I had enough of a dance background to be able to jump into an intermediate class. I was soon to be humbled.

It was tough. I had to tryout for the class which was done by participating in a class that would be closely observed by the teacher. This class was incredibly trying. First, it was all in French, and second, everyone else knew exactly what they were doing! I watched, mimicked, and stretched my Spanish language skills enough for me to guess what moves were being taught as the tryouts progressed.

Although I felt way out of my element, I trusted my prayer. I knew my desire to grow in the grace of dance was pure. "Working and praying with true motives, your Father will open the way." I took this to mean that I could cherish my desire for progressing in dance and leave it in God's hands. If this was the right place for me, and if this would help me to better glorify God, then this is where I would be!

When it came time for the floor work, where all the dancers go through a series of steps and movements on the center of the stage, the teacher walked around, checking out the students. I took a deep breath and focussed on seeing movement as coming from God and expressed through me. This helped to keep my movements strong and smooth, not labored.

When it came time do our movements across the floor, I flopped the first time. I simply could not get the sequence right and sadly, had to walk across half the stage and wait for the new sequence. This gave me some time to compose myself.

As I prayed, I could feel a kind of joy start creeping in. I thought and reasoned to myself, why I loved to dance! This love removed any nervousness and fortified my determination to go forward! I watched as the new sequence of movements was presented. When it came time for me to dance across the stage, I flew! It was a series of turns and leaps and I nailed each step, each turn. I felt such joy! The teacher, not known for expressing any emotion, looked at me, opened his arms, smiled and yelled out "Yes!" It was a happy moment.

Happier still, I was the last one to be picked for the class -- but I was in! The class was hard work, but I loved it. But the biggest blessing was the freedom and peace that come with knowing that joy is ever within reach and that God guides us to greater and greater joys in our life! It is a lesson that helps me today.

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Monday, September 25, 2006

"This is so difficult...." said a friend

explaining to me his struggle in praying about a situation. I empathized. I struggle, too. The world's pull toward material solutions, deteriorating health, aggressive resolution of conflict and fear of limited resources can be overwhelming at times.

And I think it is for those very reasons that I persist in prayer. Prayer helps lift me from trying to figure out something from a material basis to a higher, more spiritual basis. Prayer leads me to answers.

Two analogies re: resolving problems:

In a river with strong current, it is very difficult to swim against the currents. The more you try, the more exhausting it is. The temptation is to let yourself be carried by these currents wherever they may lead (i.e. give up).

In math, to try to solve a problem by starting with the problem as the base, is like trying to figure out all the reasons why 7+4 shouldn't be ten, or fourteen, or 74, etc. What a convoluted and never-ending mess.

Prayer leads us to higher solutions:

In the river analogy, the solution is to stand.
Spiritually speaking, the currents of material based thinking are not deep or profound. They are shallow. Take a stand that man is not material, he is spiritual.

In the math analogy, the solution is to start with the correct principle.
From this basis, we correct the problem by confirming the correct law. Spiritual law (God's law) is complete and carries with it the authority to carry out its laws. The subjective material basis yields to the eternal spiritual basis.

And for my friend, I know he has experienced wonderful healings through Christian Science and will again. Healing through Christian Science is something that everyone can experience.

We can persist, over and over again, and claim God's laws that say that harmonious relations are normal, vibrant healthful living is natural, and living with abundance is living within God's infinite love. We take a stand with the fixed Principle of God's never-ending love and we find answers!

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Thursday, September 14, 2006

Henry's questions for a practitioner

Henry is a cool kid who likes baseball and going to Sunday School. He had a great assignment to find out more about the work of a Christian Science practitioner. Here are some of his questions and my responses.

How long have you been a Christian Science practitioner?
I have been helping my friends and family as a practitioner for a long time. But it’s been only recently (since last April of 2005) that I have made myself available to do this work full time

What were you doing before becoming a practitioner?
My last job was with The Writings of Mary Baker Eddy – that’s the group that publishes Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures and all her other writings. It was THE best job! I traveled all over the world and supported the wider distribution of Science and Health. I got to talk to Reading Room librarians, and lecture committees as well as many book distributors and bookstore owners from Asia, Latin America and Europe, as well as New Zealand and Australia. We talked about mankind’s search for spirituality and how Mary Baker Eddy’s book provides good answers. All of them warmly welcomed the books and sold them. In some cases, people reported back being healed just by reading Science and Health - Just like the testimonies of healing in the back of Science and Health!

How were you led by God to being a practitioner?
Pray – listen – a yearning to know more about this fascinating Science. I am still in awe of what Christian Science has to teach! One man from Armenia had read Science and Health (the full explanation of Christian Science) said that “This book could help unify nations in turmoil.” Another person who had just read Science and Health said, “I am healed and I am happy. Really happy.” Isn’t it wonderful to know that Christian Science can bring healing to nations as well as to our own individual experience!

What did you have to do to become a practitioner?
One requirement is that we take a two week course of instruction in Christian healing and then prepare for and attend one-day post graduate courses every year after that. Each practitioner has a teacher who becomes their teacher for life
Then, once a person has the burning desire to help others, and wants to make themselves available to others on a full time basis, they can advertise their name in The Christian Science Journal. They can also advertise in other places, like the Yellow Pages, on the internet and even in their local paper.

What type of benefits have you had since becoming a practitioner?
There is a LOT of joy in this work. In the practice, you help someone get a better idea of how loved they are, and how much God loves them. It is such a happy thing to see people be healed, have more happiness in their lives and gain more confidence!

Have you ever provided prayerful treatment for a child?
Henry, you have already met my two sons. We have had many wonderful healings! I have also prayed for other kids on a variety of issues.

Can you share with me how you were able to help a child?
I can relate a healing that my son Gabe had recently: One morning, I had a Bible quote come to thought. It was prior to a response Jesus gave to a man who had asked him a question: “And Jesus, beholding him, loved him.” I like the word behold. It is one of those full round embracing words.

Well, one morning, my younger son said in a very thick voice, “I kennud talk. Muh voiy ih gun and muh thro huhts.” (I cannot talk. My voice is gone and my throat hurts.)

And then the phrase, “and Jesus, beholding him, loved him” popped into my thought. I love my son. So I beheld him. It also occurred to me that he might have to stay home, then I would have to get his homework for the day and then he would spend the next two days catching up. This was not helpful. So I prayed. A simple thought: A germ does not determine what Gabe does, God determines what Gabe does. God determines Gabe’s day. This day belongs to God. Period.

Together Gabe and I talked about his identity as a spiritual idea and prayed with the Scientific Statement of Being from Science and Health (p 468). We finished. He finished breakfast. Got dressed. Said in a clear voice, “I’m off!” and took off for school, completely free of the sore throat.

What is one of the most memorable healings you have had?
When I was young, I had a healing of warts on my feet. ( You can read about this in the March 13, 2006 Sentinel entitled “My first call to a Christian Science practitioner”) I was nervous at first to call, but the practitioner was so happy and joyful because she knew that we were going to see new and wonderful things about God! Sure enough – I learned what a happy thing it is to know God loves me and my feet were all healed up in a day!

What is one of the most memorable healings you helped support as a Christian Science practitioner?
You know, every single healing is memorable. Every single lesson is precious, and each person brings to me a newer and deeper appreciation of the power of Love and of prayer as taught in Christian Science.
One time, I was asked to pray for a woman who had a very painful back condition. She said she really didn’t even like God, but she wanted to get rid of this pain. So I prayed and soon her back was healed and she said that she even felt she could love God. At her wedding later that year, she asked me to read excerpts from the Bible as part of the service! Not only was her back healed, but she felt more close to God.

Is there anything else you would like to share with me regarding your experience as a Christian Science practitioner?
It is so cool to know that everyone can be a practitioner --- at any age! When my two sons were very young, my older son healed my younger son of a bad earache. My younger son was in bed and in pain with an earache. When my older son came in to the room, I asked him to help me pray. He said yes, and then said to Gabe, “Gabe, let’s play!” Gabe woke up and they both ran into the other room. Micah knew instinctively that God made us to play and be happy! Sure enough, that was the last of the earache!


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Christian Science, medical care and caring for kids

With a new school year and my sons going to two different schools, I get to talk to their school nurses about Christian Science as our primary health care. I really enjoy this time. It gives us an opportunity to exchange ideas and establish some mutual trust. This is what I have shared with them:

I grew up with Christian Science being our main form of health care. My family and I naturally turned to prayer when we were sick and experienced many healings, enough for me to have the confidence to turn to it for my own children’s needs. Some of these healings of my family and my extended family include healings of flu, earaches, sore throats, third and second-degree burns, broken bones, warts, migraines, and other healings. On other occasions, when asked to do some medical test for insurance, school, etc. or if Christian Science didn’t have immediate results, I have turned to medical care at the request of an official or a family member. This is never a problem, but often leads to some great discussions about healing through prayer.

Christian Science is life-affirming and teaches that, as in Jesus’ time, healing is a present possibility. It also teaches that sickness and suffering can be healed, not that God sends sickness and suffering. So, it would not be God’s will for anyone to suffer or die. Is this system of care effective? Yes. And while no system of care can give guarantees, each continues to work to perfect its art of healing.

Sometimes there is a concern if it seems that Christian Scientists “shun” medical care or that they “avoid” or “refuse” medical treatment. This makes it sound antagonistic which is not the case. Christian Scientists are free to choose the type of care they want. No one is counseled to reject any type of health care over another.

Because I choose Christian Science care to meet my challenges, means simply that I haven’t chosen medical care. There is no antagonism that I have ever felt toward the field of medical care, nor to anyone who has dedicated their lives to the healing and alleviation of pain and suffering. Nor have I ever known of any Christian Scientist who has felt anything but respect for the medical field. We are all working toward life-affirming health and well-being, and, as a Christian Scientist, toward spiritual growth as well.

Some good resources to share with others:
FAQs about Christian Science
What kind of people are Christian Scientists?

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Monday, September 11, 2006

My contribution to September 11th

Six weeks after September 11th, I was in a German airport, on my way to an international book fair. Newspaper stands still carried many international newspapers with headlines of the attacks and I read as many international papers that I could. One sentiment, often repeated, was that although the Americans were saying that September 11th was the day the world changed, European papers were saying that that was the day the world changed for Americans.

September 11th for me was the day that we joined the world community in a way we never have before. Remember, shortly after September 11th, a French newspaper headline read: "We are all Americans." There was instant compassion.

To feel compassion, to love one another, and to base our relations on love is the direction of many world religions. To understand one another and another's religion, we start understanding how practical and possible it is that we are all brothers and sisters.

My contribution today is to share a link to a public radio program many of you may already be familiar with: Speaking of Faith: Hearing Muslim Voices.

I wish us all peace and compassion on this day.

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Saturday, September 09, 2006

biting the dust - or how to be a model domestic genius

When my activist roomate of long ago and I were protesting US policy in Central America, inhumane treatment of animals and boycotting Nestle in college, I never thought we would become domestically destined. But sure enough, a number of years later she got married, and soon she was teaching aerobics, and being the full time stay-at-home mom.

And now, I find myself, the main stay-at-home parent, primarily working on building my Christian Science practice, while carrying the bulk of the domestic duties because my husband works on his two business start ups almost 24/7! In our twenty years of marriage we ALWAYS shared duties, but now the situation is much reversed.

Domesticity never came easy for me. When I was a kid, I was used to my home being a basecamp out of which I could jetison in several directions, bounce back in, crash, then bounce back out again. My parents made it a safe, orderly and accepting place, so like a strong fabric stretched taut, my bouncing always had a good landing.

But now, how to be the main architect of my own home ambience -- this was my dilemma. And how to do it so that I wouldn't be driven to distraction by the details and ongoing cleaning that was always needed.

Books helped. In addition to making me feel I was accomplishing something without ever having to actually do more work, some books helped me see the domestic realm in a completely different way.

Biting the Dust is a hoot of a read - exploring the cultural and sociological history of the obsession with cleaning and cleanliness in its spiritual and moral dimensions. Can you believe it? It is a must read for anyone brave enough to vacuum day after day.

My involvement with Christian Science nursing helped. A Christian Science nurse is expert at properly caring for the sick, and a background in understanding care and treatment from a spiritual basis. A nurse is also expert at contributing to and maintaining a healing atmosphere whether it is in a home or a facility.

And, learning about Mary Baker Eddy's management of her household was eye-opening: From one of her biographies: "The indoor household was run on the same basis as the outdoor estate: strict order and neatness, close attention to detail, a simplified and systematized way of life -- and a reckless, breathtaking genius for improvisation." (Mary Baker Eddy: The Years of Authority by Robert Peel, p.12)

I asked myself what I wanted to see my home express and listed what I wanted it to include:
  • order, peace, an open armed welcome
  • free of distraction
  • systematized action so that the care of the house was as transparent as possible
  • a model of the idea that caring for one's things relates directly to caring for one another
  • lots of room for breathtaking genius!

So what did all this add up to?

  • I felt that bringing order to my house was an act of love. This definitely elevated it from its former status.
  • When the job is really tough, I put on music - and crank it up! Bonnie Raitt, the Soweto Gospel Choir, Ladysmith Black Mambazo and anything from Latin America can usually clean out anything.
  • I do about 30 minutes to an hour a day of something. I divide up everything that needs to be done in 30 minute blocks, do it once sometime during the day along with one load of laundry. Then I forget about it.

I'll leave you with a song. It's my psalm of praise for housekeeping:

Drop Thy still dews of quietness, till all our strivings cease; take from us now the strain and stress, and let our ordered lives confess the beauty of Thy peace. (Christian Science Hymnal #49)

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Tuesday, September 05, 2006

"Uniting all periods in the design of God"

Christ's Christianity is the chain of scientific being reappearing in all ages, maintaining its obvious correspondence with the Scriptures and uniting all periods in the design of God. - Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy

This intrigued me no end. Especially the "uniting" part.

Christian Science puts forth such a universal concept of God - which goes far beyond denomination. In fact, Christian Science is defined by its discoverer as the law of God. The impact of this is far reaching and exciting.

In my practice, I have found that it is imperative to go beyond the walls of denomination to more effectively practice this Science. There is no division of one child of God to another. Christian Science isn't a have-and-have-not type of discipline. Christian Science explains that God is universal.

"God is universal; " writes Mary Baker Eddy, "confined to no spot, defined by no dogma, appropriated by no sect. Not more to one than to all, is God demonstrable as divine Life, Truth, and Love; and His people are they that reflect Him - that reflect Love." (Miscellaneous Writings p. 150)

The understanding of God and honoring of God --called the practice of Christianity -- is not a denominationally divisive Christianity that draws its lines from one group to another. A denominational territorialism that divides, discriminates and is the basis of judging who is "in" and who is "out" is not primitive Christianity which is one with Christian Science.

Christian Science, oftentimes referred to as Divine Science, is the explanation of the universal science of being. That is not to say it is indistiguishable - but that its basis and practice has its roots in the nature of being. So much so that people world wide - and of different faiths and no faiths - find the bedrock spiritual ideas at its core relate directly to their lives.

There have been four incidences that stand out to me when I was working and introducing Science and Health to book markets all over the world. These situations have illlustrated what it could mean to "unit(e) all periods in the design of God."

  • An Armenian man visited a booth in London where we were selling and exhibiting Science and Health. He bought it, read it through in three days, and then came back to say "This book could unify nations in turmoil." (My colleague who worked in Africa said that she got the same comment from a new reader of Science and Health in Nigeria.)
  • I was talking with a Muslim while at an international book fair in Germany. Although he maintained a calm demeanor, it was obvious he was quite angry and offended at what he saw as Christianity's worship of three gods ( this was his understanding of the trinity) and that God is coming again ( the second coming) and that Jesus, the person, was God. As I talked to him about God as explained in Christian Science, he became noticeably more at ease, attentive and -- maybe even inspired. He did not take a copy of Science and Health, but he left in peace.
  • I learned from another Christian Scientist whose husband was a Muslim who shared a similar disdain of Christianity. He was given Science and Health to read and his animosity dissolved. Totally.
  • In a lecture about the ideas in Science and Health given to a group of Islamic students, the question was raised by one student, "Why is this book called 'Key to the Scriptures' instead of 'Key to the Bible'?" Another student raised his hand and commented, "Because this must be the key to all holy scriptures."

To me, it is imperative that Christian Science be understood beyond its denominational boundaries. To share Christian Science is about "elevating the race ( note: not races, but race), rousing the dormant understanding from material beliefs to the apprehension of spiritual ideas and the demonstration of divine Science, thereby casting out devils, or error, and healing the sick." (See definition of "Church" in Science and Health, p. 583)

In my work as a prayer team volunteer at a local hospital, I work side by side with many devout Catholics and others who have their own spiritual discipline. We work and pray with our highest understanding of God's love and wash it over the many prayer requests that come in every week. In our united earnestness and compassion for others, we have a similar mission - to support the alleviation of suffering, to be there as a symbol of an ever-present God, and to let people know that they are not alone in their suffering and that they can be comforted.

Another friend, a Jehovah's Witness, often comes in to the Christian Science Reading Room where I work on Fridays, and our discussions have helped us fine tune our own unique discipline of how we worship and live out our understanding of God and man. We both love what we are learning and can share our lessons with one another with joy!

What the Islamic student so readily saw, is something I love - we all have the key to holiness, health and love. And this key unites us all.

(P.S. There is a marvelous issue of the magazine, The Christian Science Sentinel that just came out with its cover title: "The Universality of Truth." All of the articles address this most important issue of fine-tuning our global view. I highly recommend it! Check your local Christian Science Reading Room for a copy or click here to find out where the closest Reading Room is. Many times, a Reading Room can mail out a copy if you live far away.)

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Saturday, September 02, 2006

How to counteract the internet's "disease" banner ads

Are you getting these ads on your header that ask if you want to take a test to see if you are depressed, have some disease, etc?

I keep getting these ads every time I log on. To better understand these ads, I took one of the tests and was surprised at how subtle and pervasive the suggestion is that we all have the elements in us to be sick - to be very sick and at any time.

The pervasiveness of ads that encourage us to buy medicinal drugs by selling sickness is increasing. An article "Drug ads sell a problem, not a solution" shares this information:

"We're increasingly turning normal people into patients," Dr. Lisa M. Schwartz of the Dartmouth Medical School, said "The ordinary experiences of life become a diagnosis, which makes healthy people feel like they're sick."


The industry says this is all about "educating" the consumer. But an ad executive was more candid when he said - boasted, really - that the goal is to "drive patients to their doctors." Reuters Business Insight, a publication for investors, explained that the future of the industry depends on its ability to "create new disease markets." "The coming years," it said, "will bear greater witness to the corporate-sponsored creation of disease."


This is why more than 200 medical school professors recently called for an end to prescription drug ads, and why close to 40 health and seniors groups have joined them. Even the American Medical Association, many members of which have close ties to the pharmaceutical industry, has urged restrictions.

Every time an ad comes up now, I am on the alert to dissolve the subtle suggestion that disease is inevitable. I mentally affirm that health is our natural state, that we are capable of reasonable care, and we can be free from the fear of the "corporate-sponsored creation of disease."

Christ Jesus' statement "....and ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free" comes at us like a fresh breeze! Let's hope this truth pervades our health care system, media and advertising.

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Friday, September 01, 2006

a YAYA approach to healing

I have always had an ongoing fascination with understanding the way Jesus healed and how he taught his followers. In addition to studying all I can about the accounts of Jesus' healings, I have found Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy to be a book that highlights the full science behind how Jesus healed, and how healing fully embraces the spiritual, and impacts the physical and moral life of an individual.

In the Bible, a verse encourages us to "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus." What a concept! Jesus' healed with such thorough conviction. I find in every healing account I read, I ask the question, "How did he do that?"

In Science and Health, it reads " thoroughly persuaded in your own mind concerning the truth which you think or speak, and you will be the victor." (SH 412:7-9)

This is what must have gone through Jesus' thought when he healed: He was thoroughly persuaded that God is good, God is all and there is no room for anything unlike Him - ie disease, discord or death.

So in my healing work, I find that I strive to understand, with increasing confidence, that what is truly real is only good and comes from God. The biggest element of healing work is then to yield to this fact of good being the only reality, accept God's grace, admit God's dominion and to affirm ( say Yes!) to the completeness of the healing. (This is the YAYA approach to healing : yielding, accepting, saying yes and admitting to God's total harmonious control of all situations.)

Jesus' unflappable and calm confidence in God's government enabled him to heal in the midst of a crowd that wanted to see him dead. His connection to God so unwavering that he could heal in the midst of disappointment and disbelief. His understanding that God's will for us ( to free us from bondage and claim our God given freedom) so clear, that it leads me to the question - do I understand God as so omnipotent and omnipresent and purely good that I could pray in that same way as Jesus taught us and have the same impact?

And the answer is yes. The more I practice, the more I see this "yes" happening: in a healing of recurring headaches, a release from crippling self-doubt, increased confidence to tackle a large project, the restoration of a friendship, dissolving of severe abdominal pain, amongst other healings.

Here are some helpful ideas:

All that really exists is the divine Mind and its idea, and in this Mind the entire being is found harmonious and eternal. The straight and narrow way is to see and acknowledge this fact, yield to this power, and follow the leadings of truth.

The admission to oneself that man is God's own likeness sets man free to master the infinite idea.

(Saying yes!) Truth is affirmative, and confers harmony. All metaphysical logic is inspired by this simple rule of Truth, which governs all reality. By the truthful arguments you employ, and especially by the spirit of Truth and Love which you entertain, you will heal the sick.

Citizens of the world, accept the 'glorious liberty ofthe children of God' and be free!

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