Tag Archives: Mary Baker Eddy

Christian Scientists gather in Boston at denomination’s annual meeting; ponder the relevance of church

By:  Richard Evans, Manager, Christian Science Committees on Publication

Boston, MA — When Christian Scientists convened in Boston, Massachusetts, Monday, June 6, for the annual meeting of their denomination, they faced a question that many mainline Christian churches also confront: can church be relevant today?

CS church edifice with attribution

Their perspective on this question—as on just about everything else—runs counter to the popular narrative. “There’s a universal hunger for the heartfelt experience of God’s saving power,” said Margaret Rogers, chairwoman of the five-member lay board of directors of the Church of Christ, Scientist, which has its worldwide headquarters in Boston. “The demand,” she said, is for a church “that is vibrant with unselfed love and actively engaged in authentic Christian healing for humanity.”

For most Christian Scientists, this doesn’t seem to mean better outreach or new ministries and programs. It means drilling down on the thing they feel they bring to the world: spiritual healing, based on the teachings of Christ Jesus, that is expected to be both humane in spirit and effective in results. “We pray,” explained another director, Allison W. Phinney, “because prayer aligns us with how things really work. It lets us see and feel more of the immense good and the divine Love that’s actually here for us and for humanity.”

Founded 137 years ago by religious leader Mary Baker Eddy, the Christian Science Church is a Christian denomination based on the Bible. While relatively small in numbers, the denomination has branch churches in more than 60 countries and has had an outsized impact on Christian thought by its insistence that God’s goodness brings not only salvation from sin, but healing of illness and suffering.

The group’s diversity is seen among some of the new officers announced at the meeting. The new church president is Annu Matthai of Bangalore, India. The new First Reader—who conducts Sunday worship and Wednesday testimony meetings at The Mother Church in Boston—is Louis E. Benjamin of Hillcrest, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. The new Second Reader is Diane Uttley Marrapodi of Forest Hill, Maryland, USA. Many church members travelled to Boston for Monday’s proceedings, while more followed the meetings live online.

The theme of this year’s meeting—“Church: ‘healing and saving the world’”—comes from Mary Baker Eddy’s view that Christ Jesus’ original Christianity has deep relevance for the world and its future, and that church must be a practical force for good in daily lives, bringing hope and spiritual progress for humanity. One small symbol of this is the planned renewal of the Christian Science plaza in Boston’s Back Bay. The outdoor spaces surrounding The Mother Church will be updated to better benefit the community as an environmentally sustainable oasis in the midst of the city. A longer-term commitment of the denomination has been publication of The Christian Science Monitor, an international news outlet providing daily and weekly news, online and in print—news that is intended to bring light, rather than heat, to the important issues of the day.

Members at the meeting reported on activities in their regions, as well as provided examples of healing from around the world.

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Hieroglyphs and The Reflection in the Lake

(©Glowimages/stock photo)
(©Glowimages/stock photo)

Hieroglyphs, those pictorial characters that the Egyptians used for language, were the way Mary Baker Eddy, 19th century pioneer in spirituality and health, described flowers. She said, “The floral apostles are hieroglyphs of Deity.”

What an interesting connection. Flowers communicate – or picture – to us something about Deity. In their beauty, color and symmetry we see something of Deity’s expertise as Creator. In the tenderness of their petals, each in its place, we may see Deity’s tender care for creation.

Similarly, other pictures found in nature or portrayed in artwork may draw thought to the nature of Deity and His creation.

And it turns out that this is beneficial to our health.

Eddy explains, “…the right understanding of Him restores harmony.” And the Bible puts it this way: “Acquaint now thyself with him, and be at peace.”

Now picture this. Years ago, I was visiting my childhood home to help care for my mother who was ill and immobile. Once, while others cared for her, I walked down to the nearby lake, walked out on the dock and sat down on a bench there. Winter was yielding to spring. I was alone. It was mid-day but the water was perfectly still with a stillness usually reserved for the early morning or evening hours.

Looking around the lake, I was struck by how everything on land above the shoreline was perfectly reflected in the water. Hold on to this, and I’ll come back to it in a moment.

This summer, I visited the Healing Arts Gallery at MidMichigan Health in Midland while it was displaying artwork by Jennifer Cook of Herron, Michigan. Her abstract paintings and terracotta pots are full of bright and warm colors that encourage, inspire, and comfort.

It’s interesting to me how her artwork communicates something about Deity, as in her painting entitled, “God Heals and is the God of Restoration.”

Also interesting is how the very process of painting the artwork involved learning more of spiritual things. According to the Gallery’s flyer, Cook found that as she allowed God “to guide each stroke and choose each color” she gained “insight to greater freedom and spirituality.”

Painting #001 in the Gallery especially piqued my interest. It is entitled, “God loves you! He made you. You have a purpose!!! Embrace it!” It is a painting of a person standing on the shore of a small lake out in the woods, surrounded by trees, with sunshine coming through, and the trees – and the clouds above them – reflected in the lake.

Naturally, it reminded me of my earlier experience. The reflection I saw in the lake moved me to ponder the connection that I have – that we all have – with the Divine, with Deity. I thought of the Biblical statement that God made man in His own image and likeness – or, in other words, as His reflection. All around the lake, with each house and each tree, I could see the exact likeness that the reflection in the lake had to its original on land.

It was clear to me that there is a similar relationship between Deity and all of His reflection – all of us. Each of us is really an individual exact likeness expressing His qualities, such as beauty, tenderness, goodness, life, and health.

This reflection in the lake acted as a hieroglyph that conveyed to me a deeper understanding of Deity. This reduced stress and anxiety, enabling me to better care for my mother. And my mother, who was receiving prayer-based spiritual treatment and learning more of Deity herself, improved and was able to get about on her own again.

It is said that a picture is worth a thousand words. If hieroglyphs such as these lead to better health, then perhaps they warrant our attention.

Note: this article was first published in print in The Midland Daily News August 3, 2014.

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For Health: Gratitude with the Heart, Lips and Action

(©Glowimages/stock photo)
(©Glowimages/stock photo)

If it is true that gratitude is good for health, then wouldn’t it be beneficial to actively be grateful on a consistent basis?

In a study looking at a conscious focus on blessings, subjects expressing gratitude experienced a 25% increase in happiness and, get this: those with chronic health problems experienced better sleep.

There are many ways to express gratitude, but its expression, while important, is just that – an expression – an expression of a sincere feeling that starts in the heart.

As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.”¹ ~John F. Kennedy

In the century before JFK shared this wisdom, Mary Baker Eddy, a pioneer in spirituality and health, shared the same sentiment: “Gratitude is much more than a verbal expression of thanks. Action expresses more gratitude than speech.“²

It seems pretty simple really – intuitive even.

The Bible (1Thessalonians 5:18) speaks to this in very simple terms:

In every thing give thanks.

May you have much to be grateful for, including good health!

_________________

References
¹ Presidential Proclamation, Thanksgiving Day, 1963
² Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, page 3.
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The Power of Hope in Healing

A guest post written by Ingrid Peschke, a Christian Science practitioner and a legislative advocate for spiritual healing in Massachusetts. You can also read this post on her weekly syndicated blog, “Health Conscious” at MetroWest Daily News.

Ingrid Peschke (Photo courtesy of Ingrid Peschke)
Ingrid Peschke (Photo courtesy of Ingrid Peschke)

Hope.

That’s the word  I came away with this past weekend after I took part in a panel discussion on the topic of “Spirit and Healing in the 21st Century” at the Open Spirit Center in Framingham. The motto for the center: “A place of hope, health, and harmony” to address the deeper spiritual yearnings of the wider community.

I joined four local spiritual leaders on the panel, along with two keynote speakers: a clinical psychologist with a specialization in health psychology, and a cancer survivor.

A repeating theme was that spiritual practice is incredibly important, if not vital, to healing. Nancy Gaulin, the psychologist, opened the 3-hour event, speaking from her twelve years of experience in the greater Boston area. She said she spends more time now asking her patients about their spirituality and exploring their beliefs, their morals and values, and even discussing their family upbringing–all contributing factors to health and well-being.

Continue reading The Power of Hope in Healing

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Who’s Missing From a List of 50 Women in Health?

Women in Health ListPerhaps her prominence in the field of health is sometimes overlooked because of her historical association with a religion and the fact that medicine and medical research, in her day especially, were almost exclusively the purview of men.

In celebration of Women’s History Month the Huffington Post ran an article last month with pictures of “50 Women Who Shaped America’s Health“. Numerous comments were shared online noting that this list is incomplete.

The Huffington Post listened and added 5 more women taken from their readers’ input. That makes this list 50+5.

Certainly there are many more. But here’s one woman that surely should be included in the field of health – Mary Baker Eddy.

Continue reading Who’s Missing From a List of 50 Women in Health?

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ESCAPE FIRE: Expanding Our View of Healthcare Without Fear

How much airtime does an issue need before that sets fire to our commitment for change?

(Photo: ©Glowimages.com / Stock photo)
(Photo: © Glowimages.com / Stock photo)

The award-winning documentary movie Escape Fire: The Fight To Rescue American Healthcare, until recently, has received relatively small attention. Jeff Zucker, president of CNN Worldwide, said, “The physical health of our nation and the cost of healthcare, impact every current fiscal challenge we face.  This compelling film gives us an explanation of some of the factors that have contributed to our broken system and explains why we urgently need to fix it.”¹

CNN, which picked up the U.S. television broadcast rights to this movie, aired it Sunday night and will air an encore presentation Saturday, March 16 at 8:00 p.m. ET and then again at 11:00 p.m.

(© GlowImages / Stock photo)
(Photo: © GlowImages / Stock photo)

The inspiration for the title of the movie comes from an incident in Mann Gulch, Montana where a forest fire trapped a group of firefighters. Their foreman, Wag Dodge, intentionally lit a fire in front of him and then stepped into the newly burnt area. The fire went around that area since it was already burned out and Wag Dodge survived.

The phrase “escape fire” is now sometimes used as a metaphor for getting out of a desperate situation by looking at – and doing – things a bit differently. The trailer for this movie by Matthew Heineman and Susan Froemke echoes this, saying, “There’s a different way of doing things that’s possible”.

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation sees the gradual adoption of an expanded view of health by the medical community in America in a forecast of health and health care (page 346 of the forecast found on page 362 of the PDF file): “The first shift is from rigid adherence to the biomedical model to an expanded, multifactorial view of health. While the scientific model looks only at biological indicators of health, the expanded model goes beyond this to include social, mental, and spiritual, as well as physical, health. This shift in focus will lead to the regular provision of psychosocial and other services that currently are not in the health care mainstream.”

Our current system resists needed changes, perhaps fearing them. New ideas and alternative treatments, including spiritual ones, will help rescue American healthcare and can be considered and utilized without fear.

In a heart-warming example of this here in Michigan, last year NBC-TV Channel 4 in Detroit aired a segment entitled, “Alternative treatment helps local doctor beat infertility”. The doctor – who was the patient here – said that this experience solidified her belief that alternative medicine definitely has a role in treatment.

2007 survey² on complimentary and alternative medicine conducted by researchers at UCLA and UC San Diego reported that the third-most commonly used CAM approach during the previous year was prayer for health (29%).

An acquaintance of mine used our conventional medical system for her healthcare. Then, while listening to new ideas about the spiritual nature of health during a train ride, she found herself healed of a headache. Pursuing these ideas further, she began to rely on this approach more and more, and subsequently was healed of severe anemia. In her groundbreaking book about the role spirituality plays in health, Mary Baker Eddy writes, “When outgrowing the old, you should not fear to put on the new.”³ My friend certainly found this to be true.

Our choices for healthcare will likely differ. But maybe – just maybe – this movie will light a fire in our collective consideration of our healthcare system and spur us to new views that will yield better healthcare – and better health – for all.

To view the movie trailer for Escape Fire, click here and to visit its website, click here.

_________________________________

References
¹  CNN Films: ‘Escape Fire’ Debuts on CNN on March 10 at 8pm ET. Note: the encore presentation will be aired Saturday, March 16 at 8 p.m. and 11 p.m. ET and 8 p.m. and 11 p.m. PT.
²  Ryan B. Abbott, Ka-Kit Hui, Ron D. Hays, et al., “Medical Student Attitudes toward Complementary, Alternative and Integrative Medicine,” Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, vol. 2011, Article ID 985243, 14 pages, 2011. doi:10.1093/ecam/nep195
³  Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy, page 452.
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Must we ingest something to achieve health?

“Dr. Viggiano, noting that the act of taking a pill is often just an external trigger to what she describes as an internal or ‘central’ healing response, wonders what this tells us about our thoughts in terms of their effect on health and healing.”

Eric Nelson
Eric Nelson

This observation comes from Dr. Darlene Viggiano at the Saybrook School of Mind-Body Medicine in a thoughtful Washington Times article last week by Eric Nelson of Los Altos, California. Nelson interviewed three doctors who work at Saybrook University in San Francisco, the only institution in the U.S. offering advanced degrees (PhD, Masters) in mind-body medicine.

The article includes two very interesting accounts, one of a young girl suffering anxiety attacks learning to rely on thought-based coping skills and another of a patient who suffered declining health as a result of misinterpreting something his doctor told him.

Nelson concludes by discussing the need for “an individual willingness to adopt a higher, more inspired view of health.”

Definitely recommended reading: The success of mind-body medicine depends on us.

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Watching what we’re watching for health’s sake

(Photo: © Glow Images, Models are used for illustrative purposes.)

The recent tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut pulls at the heartstrings of all of us. We long to know that everyone involved will soon find some measure of comfort and peace.

As we search for answers to why the tragedy unfolded in the first place and to how to help children who are suffering trauma recover, many have offered helpful ideas. One idea struck me as not only of benefit in dealing with trauma but also useful for preventing the illnesses that can accompany stress and emotional duress.

In a recent opinion piece¹ in Heritage-Media West newspapers, Smita Nagpal, a licensed psychologist and licensed professional counselor, advised, “Limit exposure to TV images and news coverage. The graphic images and repetitive scenes can be disturbing for children.” “Talk honestly about the incident, without graphic detail…”

Continue reading Watching what we’re watching for health’s sake

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Need an emancipation proclamation for your health?

Abraham Lincoln statue, Lincoln Memorial, Washington DC, USA (© Stock photos/Glowimages.com)

Do you sometimes feel like a slave to disease? Or to its treatment? Or know someone who does? How do chapped lips, Abraham Lincoln’s visit to Kalamazoo, Michigan, and a case of poison ivy shed light on needed emancipation?

Abraham Lincoln made only one visit to Michigan – to Kalamazoo in 1856. Why did he make that visit? To address slavery, of course.

A recent article¹ in the Kalamazoo Gazette, no doubt spurred on by the new Spielberg movie entitled, “Lincoln”, relates that Lincoln told the crowd in Kalamazoo, “This is the question: Shall the government of the United States prohibit slavery in the United States?”

Of course we know how this turned out: with the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863 during the Civil War and the eventual end of human slavery in this country.

But there is another kind of slavery. Many suffer a form of slavery to disease. And others, seeking relief, all too often end up exchanging slavery to disease for slavery to drug-based treatment.

In the past, illnesses tended to be ‘acute,’ meaning that they occurred and were treated, and the patients either got better or died. But today, most illnesses are chronic and complex.” “… [The] condition will be with him for life and will need multiple treatments, many medications, and probably a number of hospitalizations…” according to Dr. Stephen C. Schimpff, M.D. in The Future of Health Care Delivery²

In light of the connection between thought and the body, might we find freedom by exploring how our thoughts either enslave us or through an understanding of spirituality free us? It’s a growing field of medical research but not really something new.

Shortly after the Civil War, Mary Baker Eddy, a pioneer in researching the relationship between thought, spirituality and health, wrote this: “Legally to abolish unpaid servitude in the United States was hard; but the abolition of mental slavery is a more difficult task.” And she shares this insightful observation, “I saw before me the sick, wearing out years of servitude to an unreal master in the belief that the body governed them, rather than Mind.”³

An experience I had taught me about the mental slavery of illness and what happens when you become a slave to the treatment as well.

As a child, I suffered often from chapped lips. It was especially troublesome in the Michigan winter. I used a lip balm (Chap Stick) and I got to the point where for years I used it year round. I fell into a habit of licking my lips, getting chapped, applying the lip balm, and then licking my lips again. This went on all day long, all year long. I carried a tube of lip balm in my back pocket year-round.

I was essentially a slave to chapped lips and to an ointment that wasn’t solving the problem.

After a number of years of this, one day, when I came down with poison ivy, I prayed to God for healing. I found comfort from Biblical statements in Genesis that caused me to feel God’s love and care for me. Through this prayer I also came to realize that this plant did not have dominion over my body, but that my thought – through connection with the divine – was empowered with dominion over my body and over the plant. This resulted in quick and permanent healing of the poison ivy.

But what I find really interesting is where this realization led next. I then saw that just as I was free from mental slavery to poison ivy, on the same basis I could also be free from the mental slavery of thinking I was dependent on lip balm. This was like an emancipation proclamation for me. I threw out my tubes of lip balm and have been free, still living in Michigan, ever since.

Perhaps this is the kind of freedom Jesus was referring to when he said, “… ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”4

I wonder if the question Lincoln presented to the Kalamazoo crowd could be paraphrased to ask, “Shall we prohibit all forms of slavery, including mental slavery?” Shall we? Can we? The answer is “yes”.

___________________

References
¹ When Abraham Lincoln came to Kalamazoo; The Kalamazoo Gazette, by Louise Knott Ahern of The Lansing State Journal, November 10, 2012.
² Excerpted on kevinmd.com in A sick care system instead of a health care system from The Future of Health Care Delivery by Dr. Stephen C. Schimpff, MD, March 1, 2012. Here’s a short video of Dr. Schimpff discussing these issues (or click here).

To view all three video clips on his media page, click here.
³ Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy, pages 225 & 226.
4 KJV John 8:32.
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Spiritual evidence-based healing

Andew Weil, M.D. courtesy of greenlagirl

Andrew Weil, M.D., in “Why Our Health Matters” (page 43) writes, “Many doctors have told me about cases of spontaneous healing that they have witnessed in patients, some correlated with mental or emotional changes“.

So, how can we account for experiences like that? Or how can we explain healing accomplished in Christian Science through spiritual means alone?

Continue reading Spiritual evidence-based healing

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