Sunday, May 10, 2009

"Press on, press on, ye sons of light"

An understanding of basic mathematics (addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division) will satisfy the daily needs of most of mankind. But one would have to be daffy to expect these basic skills alone would somehow carry him through to a degree in quantum physics. So it is with the understanding of a few basic truths in Christian Science. Mrs. Eddy tells us that Truth is so powerful that even a small understanding of it will produce salutary results, but what many of us need to oppose and overcome is the all-too-human desire to loiter in the placid vale of a few familiar comforting truths because we have a chicken in the pot, a comfortable sofa, and our bills paid.

Those aspiring to achieve "awakening" in Zen Buddhism take it for granted that long hours of meditation are essential. Christian Scientists must see the parallel need of unrelenting prayer for themselves, their neighbor, and the world. Because the sincere and honest Scientist is less caught up in the web of materiality than most people and because he knows something of Truth, his life is doubtless less stressed by the aggressive mental suggestions of mortal mind, but if he is not vigilant he can vegetate in the delusion that a dime's worth of prayer will always result in a dollar's worth of blessing.

The ante needs to be upped, and greatly so. Our understanding of the metaphors, parables, and truths that provided growth and support at an earlier stage of our experience needs to be deepened and transformed, else our thoughts become little more than ossified comforts, like insects imprisoned in amber. Psalms, Christ Jesus' sayings and parables, and the writings of Mrs. Eddy are a most welcome refuge and comfort, but we can't graze peacefully beside the still waters forever. We must grow spiritually and Scientifically and increase our spiritual sense of Truth--if necessary, by geometric strides, not just arithmetic baby-steps.

Some might employ that tired old cliche, "we need to think outside the box". The brilliant idea of adding stages to a rocket, which solved the problem of getting heavy objects in earth orbit and even out of earth's gravitational pull, was thinking outside the box for sure, but the genius required to do it was still an extension, however complex, of existing rocket technology. It was "simply" two or three rockets stacked one on another. What is needed is that a completely new mental state be experienced, a putting off of the old man and a putting on of the new and learning more and more what that means metaphysically.

It is not a process of somehow doing a better job of mentalizing familiar metaphors, parables, and truths, piling them up into a multi-stage rocket, which may really be nothing more than raising the extension on one's mental ladder a few rungs. What is needed is ever new and fresh levels of thought, ongoing revelations of Truth. But this isn't going to happen as we rush along madly with the full-text Bible lessons in one hand and a latte in the other. It takes--and how loath some of us are to give it--hours of quiet prayer, the kind of prayer Mrs. Eddy teaches us in "Prayer" in S&H. But if we are humble, trustful, patient, and diligent we can achieve glorious experiences such as the woman in that wonderful testimony in "Fruitage" in S&H ("Born Again", pp. 667-69). Christ Jesus, Paul, and Mary Baker Eddy aren't bad exemplars either.


Betty said...

You are so good! This latest is so true, and deep, and inspiring, and worthwhile. Can't thank you enough for posting this. This is going to bless far and wide, faithful student of CS.
Love to you,

From Florida said...

You hit this one into outer space! A friend just phoned me and said I must read this. What a treat. Solid and uplifting.
Thank you, thank you!

Anonymous said...

Really, really good job, blogger. You have such a fresh way of presenting metaphysics. Love your blog!

With my appreciation said...

Simply marvelous. I got so much from reading this. You are one deep thinker plus you have the gifts to express your thoughts in an original way.
Keep sharing!

Anonymous said...

Dear Blogger,
Give us more like this one. Not only helpful in our spiritual growth, but done in such a unique way.
Love your blog...

L. R. said...

So very well done. There is no telling how many out there in cyberspace are going to be blessed by what you've written.
Thanks from me,

Worcester said...

Dear Friend,
Every time you write soemthing, it speaks exactly for me, also. What a blessing it is to read your website. Thanks for your inspiring words in this blog post.
Loving thoughts,

Cambridge said...

May God bless you for all the good you are doing. And I'm sure He is bringing good back to you.
Heartfelt thanks,

Best from CA said...

Hi fellow traveler from sense to Soul. I do so enjoy your blog posts, and I hope you keep up the good work.

Grateful said...

Thanks for a very uplifting blog post. And for the testimony you pointed out. About to check it out right now.
Best to you,

Boston reader said...

You've inspired me to give more time to spiritual progress! Love your funny postings, but also find so much help in your more serious topics.

Anonymous said...

The goal of study should not be to learn how to heal, not even "teach me to love". No, we need to focus on learning how much WE are loved by our Father in heaven.

Once we have a glimmer of just how much we are loved by God, the demands of loving our neighbors and even our enemies flows spontaneously.

When I read today that Roxana Saberi is being set free, and that her father and mother are traveling to Iran to bring her home, I wept for joy.

The precious love of the Saberi parents for their daughter is just a teeny tiny shadow of God the Father's love for each and every one of his sons and daughters.

J. T. (NY) said...

Very well done, as yours always are, blogger. Enjoy the way you think, especially the fresh way you express your thoughts.

With my thanks said...

Can't help thinking as I keep up with your blogging how pleased our Leader would be with what you are bringing out.
Always a help to me,

C. W. said...

I always feel such humility in your postings, despite your marked abilities in expressing yourself. But how could a true follower of our Master and our Leader be anything but when we consider the example they have left us?
God bless your outreach to the world,

C.S. Practitioner, midwest said...

There must be many out here who feel as I do, that you are doing a great service for the Cause we owe so much to.
Keep up your inspired sharing,

Thanks from a fellow CS said...

Love your website. So well written and deeply thought out. Bound to be helping many of your readers.

Anonymous said...

A very inspiring thing to read. Thanks for presenting your metaphysics in a fresh way. A pleasure to read your blog.

LowlyWise said...

Blogger Christian wrote: "We must grow spiritually and Scientifically and increase our spiritual sense of Truth--if necessary, by geometric strides, not just arithmetic baby-steps."

But if we don't yet have the arithmetic, we won't be nimble enough for the geometry. If we don't understand the parables and symbols, we'll have no clue about much of what the Bible and MBE's writings are doing. Yet a disturbing tendency on the part of the periodicals editors seems to be to dumb everything down--as we've noted before on this blog.

If I may, I'd like to put a puzzle to you. I announced from the desk yesterday that the title of my Wednesday reading is "490," and if you find the Biblical allusion you will also find the topic of my reading. Of the responses I've had, people are talking all around the point and no one has guessed it so far. Can any of you?

Anonymous said...

I love a puzzle, commenter. Intriguing and I shall think about it. In fact, will phone a friend who knows everything about the Bible to see if he knows what you're talking about.
Love this blog!

Anonymous said...

Well, that 490 has reference to Jesus' forgive 70 times 7. Spoke to my brilliant husband and he figured it out. (No wonder the congregation didn't get it, though.)

Anonymous said...

I am literally shaking with outrage right now. Here's why...

I subscribe to E-Bible Lesson and this morning tuned in to the audio Lesson to find that the readers have inserted all kinds of cutesy comments in between the citations. That nonsense totally broke the flow for me ... just a bunch of noise interfering with what I am listening to from God as I am doing the Lesson.

Kindergarten comments and deeps sighs such as: 'ok..this is getting pretty dramatic here' .. and 'here's a Proverb..' (like after the cite is named Proverbs we don't know this is a PROVERB?)and so much else of this crap too numerous to list. Cites from the trial are dramatized with the Second Reader chiming in to read cites from Science and Health.

Christian Science is really quite challenging enough, thank you very much, without all this added nonsense to deal with.

Anonymous said...

Further to my post above about the cutesy comments inserted into this week's audio Lesson:

if anyone can make a case as to why such editorializing is a good thing, please make it here, I would really appreciate it. I really don't get the rationale for it and would like to know what, if anything, am I missing.

W. R. (Ohio) said...

Well, then, don't subscribe, for goodness sakes! Aren't we getting off the topic a bit here? This blog post is on a high level to me. Let's appreciate it for what the author intended, how about it, and follow her and his lead.

Anonymous said...

((W. R. (Ohio) said...
Well, then, don't subscribe, for goodness sakes! ))

I don't need to be told that; I MOST CERTAINLY will cancel my subcription if the same thing is repeated. Perhaps it was a test run.

((Aren't we getting off the topic a bit here? ))

I don't think so, the topic is the study of CS is it not, and the 'topic' of the blog is how TMC is letting us down and not being true to MBE.

((This blog post is on a high level to me. Let's appreciate it for what the author intended, how about it, and follow her and his lead.))

Fan mail posts have their rightful and needful place and all of them are certainly are good and well deserved. However the blogging medium is one that invites lively discussions in their comments sections. There is no sucessful blog without a lively comments section inviting exchange.

LowlyWise said...

Kudos to the "brilliant husband." Only one person that I know of in my audience got it. The lesson was incredibly eye-opening as I worked on it, and it came through very forcefully that forgiveness is sine qua non for healing disease, especially chronic disease or relapses.

I have thought the whole e-lesson thing was Mickey Mouse from the get-go, and I sure of it now. If CSPS really wanted to help, they'd restore the Bible notes discontinued a long time back. Yes, they were frustrating to those who knew the Greek and Hebrew, but for those who don't, they made some readers feel like Keats first reading Chapman's Homer.

There has been nary a word from the CSPS about the rich resources of the internet for studying the Bible, and now it looks as if they have a vested interest in limiting the members or manipulating them to the responses they want people to have.

William Tyndale, where are you?

Anonymous said...

To LowlyWise:
You've bestewed your comments with enough clues, no doubt intentionally, that I have ascertained who you are! But I shall never tell.

Anonymous said...

My, my, my, what have we here? Another inspired and articulate blog addressing a critical need for advancement in Christ and two commenters illustrating that need. Does anyone see the irony in this? Our blogger points out the need to transcend the superficiality of “studying” with the full-text lesson and anonymous professes outrage at the degradations of the audio lessons with “explanations” and “cutesy comments.” Did I miss something or wasn’t that what our blogger was assailing? And as far as being “off the point” I’d have to say that is exactly the point! The original purpose of such “products” was, I believe, on the order of a service to those who temporarily or otherwise were unable to study the printed words. That, of course, was before TMC began to see a revenue stream from such things. And if the anonymous commenter is in the category of individuals with a temporary need, I apologize but otherwise I’d have to ask: Why? Why would anyone purchase such a product other than to think they were “studying” the lesson while multitasking? Doesn’t work, that way, folks!

Then we have someone who is apparently a current Reader outright bragging that they “announce” the topic of their Wednesday Readings. And talk about “cutesy” they further brag that they gave the topic in a “riddle.” And they were apparently proud that very few “got it.” Doesn’t that beg the question that if they were so obscure with the topic that the readings themselves might not have been that clear? As a former Reader I can tell you this: I never “announced” the topic although I always had one. I occasionally gave out citation lists after the meeting but never full-text printouts on the theory that if they really did mean so much to an individual that individual could certainly expend the effort to look them up. And here’s an additional discovery that I made: More than once I was standing smugly at the desk feeling I had delivered a masterful reading on a particular topic when someone in the congregation got up and gave remarks or a testimony that they had gotten so much inspiration or even a healing out of the readings on “XYZ” subject this week or last—when I thought the topic was “ABC!!!” The speaker always had specific citations to reference and they always made sense towards “XYZ.” A “mini-subject, if you will, but more than humbling for me and inspirational for the other members of the congregation I’m sure. My point is, announcing the topics is not only “unnecessary explanation” but can be extremely limiting if not domineering by the Reader. It’s “Reader” NOT “Leader!!!” Reading is NOT an ego-trip! As Mrs. Eddy says somewhere, “Let the Word have free course.”

Anonymous said...

((And if the anonymous commenter is in the category of individuals with a temporary need, I apologize but otherwise I’d have to ask: Why? Why would anyone purchase such a product other than to think they were “studying” the lesson while multitasking? ))

I subscribe to the online Bible Lesson as a supplement. I in no way think of it as a substitute for basic study in the books. But I do find it pleasant at times to hear the week's Lesson read in addition to studying it. Soemtimes new sparks of inspiration come from the way a Reader intones a a particular text. That is, I enjoyed the audio version until listening to last week's corrupted version.

I do not listen to the audio version every week by a long shot, but whenever I had in the past at least it had been a pure rendering.

Perhaps these undivine, insidious insertions have been added to what are supposed to be uncontaminated Lesson Sermons before in the audio version, but this is the first I've heard them. Now due to that mischief, will I or anyone else who listened to that Lesson (and I could not bear to listen to the whole thing) ever again be able to read cites from Mrs. Eddy's trial scene without thinking "now we're getting pretty dramatic here..." or some such rot (the latter was not an exact quote but a paraphrase of one of the frivolus editorial additions.)

"The Bible and 'Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures' shall henceforth be the Pastor of the Mother Church. This will tend to spiritualize thought. Personal preaching has more or less human views grated into it. Whereas the pure Words contains only the living health giving Truth."
Mary Baker Eddy

[Mary Baker Eddy Christian Healer, Yvonne Cache von Fettweis and Robert Townsend Warneck, Page 157]

Anonymous said...

(( If CSPS really wanted to help, they'd restore the Bible notes discontinued a long time back. ))


They were the best thing in the Journal.

Anonymous said...

I made several typos in my earlier post that I am letting slide but I MUST correct my errors in the quotation from Mrs. Eddy.

I mistyped: "more or less human views"
correction: "more of less of human views"

I mistyped "grated"
correction: "grafted"

I mistyped "Words"
correction: "Word"

Corrected MBE quotation in full:

"The Bible and 'Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures' shall henceforth be the Pastor of the Mother Church. This will tend to spiritualize thought. Personal preaching has more or less of human views grafted into it. Whereas the pure Word contains only the living health giving Truth."
Mary Baker Eddy

LowlyWise said...

Unlike what the Anonymous commentor who flamed me a few days ago asserts, I did not post as bragging. I used the "490" title to introduce some playfulness into the reading. We have found that announcing the TITLE--as distinct from the topic or subject--spurs interest, and helps to involve the members in the reading. Sometimes the topic is self-evident from the title especially if it something like "'Clearer than the noonday': Issues of Aging and Maturity," which was the second Wednesday that I read.

I haven't time to write a jeremiad; I tried to last week, and it turned out to be self-righteous drivel. I'll just say that the congregation elected and re-elected me, and I receive many compliments to the effect that I really bring out the meaning and the correlations between the Bible and S&H. I must be doing something right.

Anonymous said...

Is your congregation growing?

Anonymous said...

One thing I don't understand is how two people, both devoted, consecrated students who love God with all their hearts, can reach polar opposite conclusions on the human plane. The first student believes that homosexual marriage is God, Love's dictate and the second student believes that homosexual marriage is morally abhorrent. How does this difference happen?

LowlyWise said...

To the Anonymous who asks, is "my" congregation growing: it isn't "my" congregation. It's the members and visitors who come together out of gratitude to God and to hear a reading by their elected reader. In our quantitatively-oriented society,
our first and kneejerk reaction to "growing" must mean by body count, right? The numbers fluctuate, but people come back. A more thoughtful response must be, those attending are "growing" in their understanding and ability to heal, as their testimonies witness.