Christian Scientists meet in Boston; say churches are “place of light’

Photo courtesy The First Church of Christ, Scientist

This piece was published in today’s Alton Telegraph.

For many people today, the phrase, “Sending thoughts and prayers,” has become a meaningless cliché, but Christian Scientists’ annual meeting this week offered the view that it doesn’t have to be that way.

“Members throughout the world gathered in Boston or streamed it online to hear this year’s messages,” said Thomas (Tim) Mitchinson, with the Christian Science Committee on Publication for Illinois.

Church members gathered Monday at the denomination’s First Church of Christ, Scientist in Boston, as well as via live video streaming around the world, to hear and share experiences that showed how powerful prayer rooted in love can be in people’s lives — and the progress and healing this can bring in a troubled world, Mitchinson explained to The Telegraph. Christian Scientists say that churches are a “place of light.”

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A healing ministry you may not have heard about

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Model used for illustrative purposes only

This piece was published today in the Evanston Patch and 79 other Patches throughout Illinois.  Here is the link:  https://patch.com/illinois/evanston/healing-ministry-you-may-not-have-heard

         There are many types of professionals in the world of health.  Allopathic medicine has many different kinds of generalist and specialist professionals.  Alternative and complementary medicine also has a long list of various practitioners. But when I am ill, I often consult for treatment with a very different kind of specialist you may not have heard about – a Christian Science practitioner.

Let me show you what I mean.  One day I was quite ill with a fever and headache.  I had suffered most of the afternoon – it was a Sunday and I didn’t want to bother anyone on what is typically a day off.  Finally, the pain was so intense that I called a Christian Science practitioner and asked him to pray for me.  He talked with me only a matter of seconds, assuring me of God’s love for me and that this divine Love heals.  He told me he would pray.  By the time I hung up the phone, I was well.

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A woman whose words changed the world

Mary Baker Eddy
Photo courtesy of The Mary Baker Eddy Library

This piece was published today in the Evanston Patch and 79 other Patch publications throughout Illinois.  Here is the link:  https://patch.com/illinois/evanston/woman-whose-words-changed-world

         As the March sun rises higher in the sky, this year’s National Women’s History Month shines a light on women in public service, government, religion, the arts and other professions–who have helped to shape a more just world through their courage and determination.

There’s another woman, little known today but well known a century ago, who changed the course of history through her vision and dedication to helping others – Mary Baker Eddy.  In 2001 her primary work, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, was recognized by the Women’s National Book Association as one of “75 books by women whose words have changed the world.”  This book, which unites science with Christianity, was first published in 1875, and since then it has sold over 10 million copies and been translated into 16 foreign languages.

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Lunch with Jesus

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Every year I read The Traveler’s Gift by Andy Andrews.  It is a novel about a young man facing huge crises in his life, and after a car accident he finds himself traveling through time.  He is met by various historical figures, each one giving him a piece of valued advice.

He meets Presidents Truman and Lincoln, Christopher Columbus and Anne Frank among others.  That book is a quick read, and one of my favorites, but it always leaves me thinking, “With whom would I like to meet and share a few moments of discussion?”

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Hope in the midst of disaster

The hurricanes that resulted in devastation in Texas, Florida and the Caribbean Islands, have also brought out the best in mankind – as millions of dollars are being raised and first responders are performing heroic acts beyond measure.

As we continue to observe the results of the flood waters, my heart goes out to all of these people.  I’ve seen the effects of flooding, but I have also seen proof that prayer is an effective help before, during, and after a devastating storm.  I am reminded of this verse from the Bible: “When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the spirit of the Lord shall lift up a standard against him” (Isaiah 59: 19).

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How do you worship God?

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People all over the world worship God in many different ways.  For many of us, worship includes maintaining a consistent awareness of God’s presence and love, and having an impact on the world by living from that basis.  It includes words and deeds of kindness and grace.

As we humbly learn more of God and recognize Him as a constant presence–the presence of infinite Life, Truth and Love–moments of inspiration often result in the healing of physical illness.  So, Christian healing–feeling the love of God that heals disease and sin–can be an increasingly important and reliable outcome of our worship of God.

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Stability when the winds of change blow

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As summer turns to fall in Illinois, the wonderful warm days of Indian summer arrive. This is a time of change, not only in the weather, as days become shorter and nights chillier, but often a time of personal changes as loved ones move off to attend college, start new jobs, make new friends, often leaving parents and others behind.

Bob Dylan once wrote, “May you have a strong foundation when the winds of change shift…”  Like many others, I have found the Bible to be that strong foundation when facing times of challenge or change.  Why?  Because the Bible, spiritually interpreted, helps us understand that the power of God is mightier than any fearful situation we may be facing. It’s a textbook on life.  Through counsel and example, it shows us how to face any situation, trusting that God’s love and protective power are sufficient to help us no matter the changes we face.       Continue reading

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Football and God’s defensive line of protection

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         Fall is coming, and for many of us, 16 weeks of wonderful competition (plus the playoffs) are about to begin — the NFL football season is almost here!  

         Why is it that so many of us love to watch football?  I find football to be a living expression of spiritual qualities, such as the precision illustrated in a perfectly executed pass; the agility shown in a beautiful catch; and especially, the mental toughness carried out in a goal-line stand by a defensive line that stops an offense cold.  

         To me and many others, football is more than a game.  It is full of life lessons for all of us, including the value of practice, the joy of teamwork, the importance of dedication, and the profitability of spiritual exercise. Continue reading

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Giving others the respect they deserve

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Model used for illustrative purposes only

A recent post in the Io Triumphe!, the alumnae magazine of Albion College (my wife’s alma mater), highlighted an effort by 75 student athletes to promote respect despite differences among students.  Some of their social media posts quoted here showed thoughtfulness and empathy:

  • We don’t say she wanted it because sexual assault is never the victim’s fault.
  • I don’t say you’re crazy because it minimizes human emotion and those affected by mental illness.
  • I don’t say retarded because there is nothing dumb or stupid about Hannah (her special needs friend).
  • We don’t say that’s so gay because the words stupid and gay are not interchangeable.

In these days when civil debate is eclipsed by prejudicial outbursts and name-calling of all sorts, these profound and important statements stand out as examples of speaking with respect for others.  They attempt to bridge the gaps that divide us and remind me of one of my favorite quotes by Albert Einstein: “I speak to everyone in the same way, whether he is the garbage man or the president of the university.”  Everyone deserves respect, and this can reverse the toxic effects of prejudice and hate.

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A way out of crime

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This piece originally appeared in the Daily Herald.  Here is the link:

http://www.dailyherald.com/submitted/20170629/a-way-out-of-crime

Good news for New York can be good news for Illinois.  New York City has achieved one of the lowest crime rates the metropolis has ever seen.  Last year, gang-related killings were down by almost a third from the year before.  Police Commissioner James O’Neill credits a new approach for offenders:  “Either be arrested or seek help for their problems, such as job training, counseling, or mentoring.”  This is evidence that we can help individuals leave behind illegal and degrading ways and find a progressive and moral life.

The recent book, Place Matters: Criminology for the Twenty-First Century by David Weisburd and others, explains a shift in attention “from people to events, from those who commit crimes to the crimes themselves.”  It appears that more and more law enforcement officials are discovering the effectiveness of separating the crime from the criminal.  In other words, if we can learn to treat the offender and help him find a better sense of himself, we can bring healing into many lives, and decrease crime itself.

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