I was at work on my next entry when the Mercury (Winged Messenger) of Andrew Hartsook's latest "Banner" (Spring 2010) rumbled into my study like a freight train, temporarily diverting my little choo-choo onto a siding. Just when some readers may have thought my last entry about the periodical situation in Bean Town was a bit too caustic, this newsletter arrives. I cannot urge too strongly that all sympathetic readers of this blog obtain it posthaste, if they haven't seen it already.
The Banner's inditing of the MC BOD's returning again and again to their vomit confirms much of what I have written over the past couple of years. The Board--individually and collectively--is too all appearances wandering helplessly and hopelessly in the stygian darkness of moral and spiritual idiocy. Any light by which they might have seen the saving compass of Christ and Christian Science and been led out was obviously snuffed out years ago.
The following question appears at the end of the first paragraph of Bunyan's "The Pilgrim's Progress": "What shall I do?" He later expands it to the more significant: "What shall I do to be saved?" As each of us navigates through the treacherous shoals, reefs, sand bars, and submerged wreckage of mortal mind and aggressive mental suggestion, he may need to ask the same questions. For me, one answer is that I must become a better example for mankind and for "honest seekers for Truth". It therefore seems only right that I should not be a party to any activity--church or otherwise--which is not scrupulously obedient to the Church Manual (letter and spirit) and the demands of Christian Science. This means refusing to support with my money or services any activity or church which violates these standards. Simply going along (compromising) with wrong-doing in order to get along in dishonest amity with fellow church members or my neighbor is disloyalty to God and my Leader.
The blessings which can result from being truthful to one's beliefs is beautifully illustrated in an article by Raymond L. Cox in the Salvation Army's "War Cry", which was exerpted in "Signs of theTimes" in the September 21, 1957, Sentinel [Remember when they were a pleasure to read?]. During the Civil War a Christian soldier, obviously in both senses, aroused the antagonism of his tent mates because every night before going to bed in his cot he would kneel in prayer at its side. Ongoing abusive language eventually led to physical violence, and he was advised by his chaplain that it might be wise to pray in bed. He started to do so one night, but his conscience was uneasy with this compromise of his principles. He then climbed out of his cot and resolved to resume his habit of kneeling in prayer, preferring "prayer with persecution to peace without it". In a few months his companion's hearts were touched and their spiritual interests awakened. "Eventually all of them began to kneel nightly in prayer with him."
The article continued: "Never ought a Christian to compromise his conscience or convictions. No advantage is likely to be gained by striking one's spiritual colors. Jesus commanded, 'Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.' Some are sure to try to extinguish the light. . . . In spite of unfavorable reactions, Christians should never haul down their standard. Surely the prize is worth the price!" Very well said, and most of the non-quoted material also uses Mr. Cox's wording. In the words of the famous Pete Seeger labor song: "Which side are you on?"
Note: A reader recently asked my opinion of the current Sentinel. This and certainly the previous entry should give a pretty clear answer. I haven't read the Sentinel for a good 15 years and maybe more and may have seen only a half dozen copies during that period. It needs in my opinion to be handled with fireplace tongs, which is obviously a nuisance.