As we talked through the half-time state of play of his soccer match, my grandson expressed an openness to some helpful ideas I shared with him. He went back on and scored a goal immediately, and soon after I saw him patting a team-mate on the back following a similar success.Continue Reading
June 5, 2017
By Kevin Ness
Boston, MA — In today’s culture of political divisions and religious strife, Christian Scientists spoke at their church’s annual meeting of “a new spirit” emerging, which is calling forth the best in people across denominational and national lines.
In an interview, the chair of the denomination’s board of directors, Allison Phinney, pointed to the simplest of signs seen at a nearby Methodist church in Boston’s South End: “God is Love.” “You are Loved.” “Justice.” Said Phinney: “Materialism doesn’t satisfy. It is Spirit, God, that brings us into newness of life, shifting thought, revealing the power of church.”
“Newness of life”—a Biblical expression—was integral to this year’s meeting.Continue Reading
Australians love to celebrate Easter. And it’s not just the chocolate eggs, feasting and four-day weekend many of us enjoy. There’s a national feeling of entitlement about this holiday. Taking quality time to enjoy our “promised land” is as much a part of our collective psyche as is our propensity to forthrightness and our “she’ll be right” attitude.
Quaint as this may sound, the sense of being part of this wonderful country, which has historically upheld democracy, law and order, freedom of speech and religion, and equal access to opportunity, is integral to who we are. Although we’re currently experiencing challenging repercussions from the overturning of some outdated attitudes about ourselves and our environment, these guiding principles continue to be borne out in our acceptance and mutual respect for people of every race, culture and religion.
To illustrate how this is evolving, a few weeks ago I sat at a table between an old friend, who is a Buddhist nun, and a Muslim Imam, who became a new friend.Continue Reading
The recent disclosures about “fake news” in the media illustrate that we need to be more alert than ever to discern if what’s being said is fact or fiction.
Now we’re actively seeking truth, rather than blindly accepting everything we hear or read as fact. Even in the smallest of affairs, the power and effect of honesty are felt and appreciated.Continue Reading
The recent public controversy over vaccination has produced strong opinions – and surprising divisions – in contemporary Australia on the competing concerns of public health and toleration of diversity. In a recent “Open for Discussion” interview (“Vaccination – A researcher’s insight”, October 20), Associate Professor Julie Leask spoke of the need to reach out for the cooperation of the “people in the middle” on this issue, and that’s where I find myself – perhaps surprisingly to many – as a Christian Scientist. The long experience of Christian Scientists as a religious minority might in some ways point to the possibilities of a “middle path” of mutual respect and understanding.Continue Reading
As 2017 lifts off the launchpad some of us have commenced a “renovation rescue” on ourselves by resolving to eat healthier and exercise more. That’s renovating from the outside in. It can certainly make us feel better.
But for a real make-over, resolve to renovate from the inside out. Take time to explore the power of your spiritual pilot light to improve your life! Continue Reading
What a joy to share these 12 (Spiritual) Days’ of Christmas inspiration from Tony Lobl, Christian Science practitioner and international speaker. Thanks, Tony! It’s so beneficial, dare I say life-changing, to see the world in this light.
- Start with stillness. There is always so much to be done before Christmas, so before starting go somewhere quiet to gain a sense of poise. It might be your greatest gift to family and friends, as well as fellow workers, shoppers and shop assistants. To paraphrase Gandhi, “Be the calm you want to see!
- Let love lead you. Take opportunities to spread seasonal “peace and goodwill”. Reordering priorities to do everything with intentional love can bring a sense of calmness and control, allowing you to get everything done more smoothly.
- Value family and friends. As you sign, seal and send your Christmas cards (via email or snail-mail) treat each one as an opportunity to value the person you are sending it to.
- Be kind to yourself and others. Research shows kindness is good for your health. So saying sorry, no matter who causes the collision, might be the way to negotiate crowded streets, transport and busy shopping centres.
- Shop ethically. “Treat others as you would like to be treated” (the Golden Rule) could translate to “love the Christmas crowds as you would want them to love you.”
- Embrace spontaneity. The need to balance work, domestic duties and social activities is always more acute at Christmas time. Keeping an open mind and making room for flexibility as each day unfolds reduces stress and increases joy.
- Be grateful. Scientists are accumulating evidence which verifies what spiritual thinkers would affirm from experience: a gratitude attitude can reduce anxiety and depression.
- Enjoy yourself. If you’re full of gratitude and exuding calmness and kindness why shouldn’t you cruise happily towards the kind of Christmas you enjoy? Appreciate the festive lights. Share in the growing anticipation of your children. Meditate on the Christmas story and let the message inspire you.
- But don’t forget others. For some reason the season of goodwill seems to bring out the worst in many people’s experience. Loneliness feels more lonely. Alcoholism seems to be more obvious. Domestic tensions can spiral. Spare a prayer for those in need and, when you can, make a difference in practical ways. The message of Christmas is that peace and goodwill are good for your health.
- Peace interludes. Pausing for moments of mental stillness can make all the difference, even transform your day. Be honestly aware of your thoughts and when they start going round in circles or racing in a wrong direction steer them back to that place of spiritual poise. “Hold thought steadfastly to the enduring, the good, and the true, and you will bring these into your experience proportionably to their occupancy of your thoughts.” (Mary Baker Eddy)
- Forgive even if you can’t forget. It’s amazing how long family feuds and broken friendships can last if we’re not careful. The run-up to Christmas offers an opportunity to review and revise our mental list of grievances before they ruin our holiday break or, even worse, our health. The Mayo Clinic reports that forgiveness can lead you down the path of physical, emotional and spiritual well-being. We can’t always change others. But we can change how we think about them and act towards them.
- Give beyond the gifts. And finally it’s Christmas day. Does it need to be religious? Not necessarily. But there is a reason to celebrate Jesus. One way to look at his life is that he showed us how the qualities we choose to express can improve our experience and touch our loved ones and neighbours.
In response to a comment appearing October 8 in the Canberra Times, a letter to the editor was submitted, although it was not published. As a fair hearing is essential to clarifying misunderstandings held by the public about Christian Science, I include my response below:
A recent talk by a Christian Scientist on “the how, why, and wonder of spiritual healing” considered the serious question of how such healing happens. It certainly isn’t “paranormal,” as one commenter assumed (Oct 8), nor, for Christian Scientists, is it at odds with reason and understanding. Yes, in many ways the significant healings that have taken place in Christian Scientists’ practice do challenge conventional material assumptions about the nature and processes of life. So does New Testament ChristianityContinue Reading
The ratings don’t lie. And they are telling us that millions are watching TV programs such as Who do you think you are?
That’s clear evidence of just how fascinating we find it to trace our family histories back through the generations. And to watch celebrities doing so!
In particular, I’ve been intrigued with how moved the featured personalities are by the heartbreaks, injustices and challenges experienced by their ancestors, even though they are encountering them for the very first time.
Shocking discoveries also pepper family histories,Continue Reading
Four ‘trick or treaters’ knocked on our door last Halloween. Somewhat unprepared to experience this novelty in Australia I managed to locate a few sweet treats for each of them, and they left happily bubbling with excitement.
Was I deceived by their costumes or weird masks? Of course not. And I’m sure they didn’t believe for a moment that they’d suddenly morphed into ugly or wicked creatures, either.
Sometimes, we put on a mask as we strive to feel accepted and loved. And over time we may come to accept the charade as part of ourselves.Continue Reading