Quotes & Clippings
British academic and author clarifies the role of religion
A strong case for the value and power of religion today:
Documentary about the creation of the King James Bible
This is an excellent documentary about the creation of the King James Bible:
Changing thought on addiction
Another wake-up call to acknowledge and practice the power of divine Love.
An inspiring Facebook video
Russell Brand speaking about spirituality: obviously, this is not Christian Science, but I found it inspiring to hear someone coming to spirituality with such freshness and intensity. And when he talks about spiritual heros, I think it is the bugle call of the Church Triumphant - this is what we, as Christian Scientists should be doing: removing obstructions to divine Truth wherever they show up!
Inspiration from Niagara Falls - some thoughts about Nik Wallenda's recent tightrope walk
Some of you might have watched Nik Wallenda walk across Niagara Falls on a high wire last Friday night. It was a truly impressive performance; the Falls were daunting in size and power, the conditions were challenging, and the veteran wire walker made it look easy. As he took one sure step after another on the slippery wet cable, the audience could hear him communicating through a microphone with his father and praying out loud.
What was striking about his prayer (apart from it being a prominent a part of his walk) was how clearly joyful and filled with gratitude it was. This was not a prayer of petition, "God, help me do this incredibly hard thing!". This was a prayer of recognition that divine power and God's presence was real and active right there in the thick mist and blowing gusts above Niagara. "Thank you Father," he said.
It seemed to me, listening to his voice, that these weren't mere repetitions of praise, but heartfelt exclamations of gratitude and awe. Wallenda told Canadian customs officials who met him at the end of his walk that he was visiting Canada "To inspire people all over the world". My own feeling was that even more inspiring than the physical feat of crossing the gorge, or Wallenda's intensive training and preparation, was his profound sense of what is possible and his willingness to act on it.
In 1859, Charles Blondin crossed the Niagara gorge several times on a tightrope at a narrower point below the falls. On one occasion he did this blindfolded, on another occasion, on stilts. Mary Baker Eddy, saw the act in metaphysical terms, writing in Science and Health, with Key to the Scriptures: "Had Blondin believed it impossible to walk the rope over Niagara's abyss of waters, he could never have done it. His belief that he could do it gave his thought‐forces, called muscles, their flexibility and power which the unscientific might attribute to a lubricating oil. His fear must have disappeared before his power of putting resolve into action could appear." (S&H 199:25)
Both Blondin and Wallenda trained in acrobatics since early childhood. They are paragons of their unusual profession and most people, however moved by their death-defying deeds, wish to follow in their footsteps. If their inspiring acts are to have any meaning to us, then it must be on the basis of what those accomplishments tell us about what is possible for us all. Training provides the experience that prepares a person to take on challenges and, more importantly, prepares his or her thought to accept a larger view of what is possible. Training focuses thought on the moment-by-moment work involved in the performance of any human act and forms the habit of how to meet the predicaments involved. Most of us will never become experts in any single field of endeavor, but the ability and willingness to be more consistently open to more good would be a life changer worth pursuing.
Fortunately, the kind of training involved in building on inspiration is naturally available to all of us. As he repeatedly praised God during his amazing walk, Wallenda was illustrating the connection between the awareness of his own potential ability and the very real activity of Spirit as the essential principle and life of man. The moment you begin to recognize that your own capabilities are actually expressions of something greater; Life, Truth, divine Love, you also begin to perceive the vastness of God's great goodness. Christ Jesus spoke truly for us all when he said, "I can of mine own self do nothing... because I seek now mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me." (John 5:30)
It does take practice to remember this fundamental spiritual fact that underlies and overarches our lives. Eddy noted: "The devotion of thought to an honest achievement makes the achievement possible. Exceptions only confirm this rule, proving that failure is occasioned by a too feeble faith." (S&H 199:21) By faith, she didn't mean blind trust in something we can't see or feel but try to believe in on the word of others. Faith, understood in a Christianly scientific way means our normal response to spiritual evidence. This I think was the basis of the joy and full-hearted gratefulness that Wallenda spoke from as he came through the swirling water above the falls.
As we develop the habit of letting an acknowledgement of God's goodness and love base our own thinking inspiration will translate to action. Spiritual qualities such as strength and courage, calm and stability will shine through naturally wherever we are.
New York Times
October 23, 2008
By GARDINER HARRIS
Half of all doctors in the U.S. regularly prescribe placebos to patients despite professional rules that forbid the practice, according to a nationwide survey.
New York Times May 13, 2008
By David Brooks
Aggressive Medical Care Can Lead to More Pain, With No Gain, Consumer Reports, July, 2008
USA Today, March 4, 2008, By Julie Appleby
Telling people the scientific reality that they can recover...
The Boston Globe, July 2, 2007
So much of the time, we focus on the lasting wounds that come from trauma — the lifelong pain of childhood abuse, the crime victim who is haunted by the event, the scars of wartime service that never heal. But over 25 years of caring for survivors of extreme violence and torture, my colleagues at Harvard and Massachusetts General Hospital and I found that most trauma victims can transcend the most horrific events imaginable and go on and lead rich and meaningful lives.
Ultimately traumatized people heal themselves—and what’s more their experience can teach the rest of us how to deal with the tragedies of everyday life. Since 1981, those of us at the Harvard Program in Refugee Trauma have conducted thousands of clinical interviews, oral histories, and research surveys of traumatized people worldwide. We have found that the survivors’ trauma story is essentially a story of healing and survival… We’ve learned not to ask people to give us an elaborate, detailed account of their trauma. Instead, we ask patients to teach us what they’ve learned—they’ll tell us the story but the gory details are not the main focus, the main focus is what they’re doing to cope with it. Extensive scientific work by my group, including more than 160 scientific publications, has demonstrated that the three major social instruments of healing are altruism, work, and spirituality… As part of my work, I always start out by telling people the scientific reality that they can recover. ‘You will get better.’ That one sentence changes the whole therapy. The person goes from extreme hopelessness to feeling very optimistic. A positive prognosis is the beginning of a cure.”
Dr. Richard F. Mollica, professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and director of the Harvard Program in Refugee Trauma at Massachusetts General Hospital.
New York Times, June 24, 2008
From a poem by Sir Francis Drake:
Disturb us, Lord, when We are too pleased with ourselves,
When our dreams have come true
Because we dreamed too little,
When we arrived safely
Because we sailed too close to the shore.
Disturb us, Lord, when
with the abundance of things we possess
We have lost our thirst
For the waters of life;
Having fallen in love with life,
We have ceased to dream of eternity
And in our efforts to build a new earth,
We have allowed our vision
Of the new Heaven to dim.
Disturb us, Lord, to dare more boldly,
To venture on wilder seas
Where storms will show Your mastery;
Where losing sight of land,
We shall find the stars.
We ask you to push back
The horizons of our hopes;
And to push back the future
In strength, courage, hope, and love.
This we ask in the name of our Captain,
Who is Jesus Christ.
Church Triumphant - From the March 1913 Journal - Leon M. Groesbeck
The relation between The Mother Church and its branches is described by Jesus as follows: "I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit." The spiritual identity of the branch church is found in its life-link with The Mother Church, and that spiritual identity makes it possible for the branch church to bring forth fruit in its successful challenge to sin and disease. The Apostle Paul tells us what kind of fruit is expected of church members by enumerating the nine fruits of the Spirit. They are "love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law." Being elements of true law, these nine graces of the Spirit are all character builders. They rule out friction, irritation, intolerance, impurity, deceit, personal domination, and discord—all sin.
The following is from the prelude to the new edition of "Mary Baker Eddy, Christian Healer". The author's remarks on the practical Puritanism that Mrs. Eddy knew from her childhood, apply to this year's assignment and our prayer practice:
"...'practicality' gives a clearer, more precise picture of the Puritan, for whom fulfilling one's duty to God was the whole purpose of existence. Nothing was more important. Every detail in one's life could be dealt with correctly only through discernment of the divine will, and this discernment was not to be determined intellectually, but received directly from God Himself through spiritual communion. The Puritan sought to hear God's commands consciously, moment by moment.
Every detail in one's life, no matter how seemingly trivial, was endowed with importance for the Puritan, because God was the fabric of his or her existence... Religion for these believers was not a cerebral exercise; it had to be practical and tangibly felt.
... Richard Sibbes, a notable Puritan preacher active in the first half of seventeenth-century England, counseled: 'Religion is not a matter of word, nor stand upon words,... but... of Power, it makes a man able...[It} is an Art, not of great men, nor of mighty men; but of holy men; it is an Art, and Trade: a Trade is not learned by words, but by experience: and a man hath learned a Trade, not when he can talk of it, but when he can work according to his Trade.' It would be hard to find a better description than this of Mary Baker Eddy's expectation for Christian Science and its adherents.
... One of the chief aids in the Puritans' 'Art, and Trade,' was spiritualization of thought. The state of their consciousness was one of their main concerns. Continual introspection kept them alert to prevent the affairs of this world from taking over their lives,which had to be devoted to spiritual striving,..."
Being is holiness, harmony, immortality. It is already proved that a knowledge of this, even in small degree, will uplift the physical and moral standard of mortals, will increase longevity, will purify and elevate character. Thus progress will finally destroy all error, and bring immortality to light.
These two contradictory theories--that matter is something, or that all is Mind--will dispute the ground, until one is acknowledged to be the victor. Discussing his campaign, General Grant said: "I propose to fight it out on this line, if it takes all summer." Science says: All is Mind and Mind's idea. You must fight it out on this line. Matter can afford you no aid. (S&H 492:7-12,14)
The new birth is not the work of a moment. It begins with moments, and goes on with years; moments of surrender to God, of childlike trust and joyful adoption of good; moments of self-abnegation, self-consecration, heaven-born hope, and spiritual love.
What a faith-lighted thought is this! that mortals can lay off the "old man," until man is found to be the image of the infinite good that we name God, and the fulness of the stature of man in Christ appears. Miscellaneous Writings 15:13,22
"The Lord did not set his love upon you, nor choose you, because ye were more in number than any people; for ye were the fewest of all people: but because the Lord loved you, and because he would keep the oath which he had sworn unto your fathers, hath the Lord brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you out of the house of bondmen, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt. Know therefore that the Lord thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations." Deut. 7:7-9