Tuesday, June 8, 2010

"I say it's spinach, and I say to hell with it!"

For some there may be nothing like a really vexing crisis to provide the get-up-and-go necessary to pump up their demonstration of Christian Science. Wasn't one of the last lines in "Casablanca" Claude Rains issuing the order to "Round up the usual suspects"? It may be that one reason some of us are more than a tad delinquent in our spiritual progress is that with every attack of adversity we return like swallows to our secure, personal San Juan Capistranos--to the same few pages in "Christian Science Practice" or our well-thumbed chrestomathy of familiar and comforting statements. If such a method works, who am I to gainsay it, but I suspect some afflictive fires re-ignite again and again because they are only dampened for the nonce with habitual squirts of metaphysics. There is always, probably, a need in our famished affections for more freshness, decisiveness, and spontaneity in prayer and metaphysical work. "Ill habits gather by unseen degrees,--/As brooks make rivers, rivers run to seas." (Dryden)

Too often we may only parry sportively with the error at hand rather than give it an inspired, decisive, and spontaneous "Touche!", as in the famous New Yorker cartoon. Habit can stultify and undermine progress. To return to Captain MacWhirr in Conrad's short novel "Typhoon": "This man, disturbed by a storm, hung on to a matchbox absurdly, as though it hand been a symbol of all those habits that make manifest the reality of life." Our practice of Christian Science should never become stale, routine, and uninspired. "Mortal mind presents phases of character which need close attention and examination. The human heart, like a feather bed, needs often to be stirred, sometimes roughly, and given a variety of turns, else it grows hard and uncomfortable whereon to repose." (Mis 127-128) To do this is, so to speak, to clean up our spiritual act anew and become more vibrant, inspired, and spontaneous in our daily practice of Christian Science.

Where aggressive mental suggestion is concerned we should daily strive to break out of any habits which hobble progress and be more like the young lady in another famous New Yorker cartoon who, looking disgustedly at her dinner plate, made the statement which is the title of this entry.

Note: The other New Yorker cartoon referred to above shows two fencers with foils, one of whom has just decapitated his opponent as he shouts "Touche!" [I know I need an acute accent over the "e", but do not have one.]

23 comments:

Oxford said...

What a title! This is going to draw readers in, if they weren't already accustomed to good writing on your blog.
Most interesting essay.

A friend (MA) said...

Just commented on your previous blog post, and here you are again. My, you are one prolific fellow (at least I assume you are that.)
Enjoyed this one, too...

Denver, CO said...

I don't believe there's another Christian Scientist out here who presents metaphysics quite the way you do! This latest is fascinating, original, fresh. A pleasure to read, for me. And I can't help but think for many others as well.

Anonymous said...

Love the title you've put on this one, Christian. So attention-grabbing. And wish I had seen that cartoon you took the title from.

Thanks! said...

Hi there,
While I'd like to see something like this in the periodicals, I realize it wouldn't have a chance. Way too well done, funny, and creative.

C.S. Practitioner said...

You make a good point about our needing to have spontaneity in our metaphysical work. The Bible says that God's mercies are new every morning. And being that we are reflection of God, and have His Mind think with, how can our work be less than inspired, spontaneous?

Anonymous said...

And I say, I like it!

NYC said...

An enjoyable read, blogger. You are so original. And to think your essays have substance to them metaphysically speaking.

Close to Boston said...

You keep turning them out, and superior essays at that, in my view. Well worth reading, then going away to ponder.
God bless you, Christian-

LowlyWise said...

Great metaphor: "well-thumbed chrestomathy of familiar and comforting statements." I would say that too many of us regard S&H as a compendium of cheery aphorisms.

é There's your e with acute accent. Hold down Alt the with NumLock on, go 0233, release Alt. Find more on Character Map.

W. H. said...

Really warmed up to this one, blogger. Especially found your title arresting--if not a little fun!

Dorothy (PA) said...

I do feel if we are doing our best to follow in Jesus' footsteps as our dear Leader did, striving to be obedient to God's commands, listening for His guidance, then we can't be stale in our thinking or demonstrating of His laws. At least, this is what I think about what you've said.

Anonymous said...

I admire you for using your talents in the service of Christ and Christian Science. Just wish more would do as you are doing. You are a blessing to many in the Field.

Northeast said...

You rock! Just love the way you write about CS!

Longtime viewer said...

Just love the way you started this one off. That title is a gem! Though I can imagine some uptight CS's not caring for a certain word that appears in it.

Practitioner (CA) said...

How right you are, Christian We need to be decisive in handling error and not let up on our metaphysical work until we are clear that God is indeed All in all, that there is nothing present but Him. And furthermore, there never has been anything present but Him.

Phoenix, AZ said...

Well done, my favorite blogger on CS topics. I look forward to seeing what you are going to come up with next. Always fresh.

Portland CS said...

You touched upon a vital point, to me, in our demonstration of divine Science and that is, what are we pursuing our religion for? Is it just to get relief from physical ills, then go about our business as though knowing God better and being more like His Son doesn't matter much? I think too many just turn to CS for the temporary benefits, just to get comfortable in matter, without a desire to grow into Christ's likeness. Which motivates us will determine how much progress we make, in my opinion.
Good blog post.

Anonymous said...

I don't normally read CS blogs, much less comment, but I came across this one today. Concurring with others, it's good to see current CS writing that is not fluff mixed with drivel. But we want to be loyal, obedient students in every way and maintain the dignity and integrity of the Cause. Mrs. Eddy was very particular about her use of language and we naturally want to follow her example. The Sybil Wilbur book describes Mrs. Eddy's opinion of slang. From that, we can surmise what must have been her opinion of cursing.

I am writing for one reason, that is the subject of decapitation. It is important. Notice in the story of David and Goliath, David doesn't stop where the lesson usually leaves us, he goes over and cuts off Goliath's head — and only then, do the Philistines flee. Mrs. Eddy had a statue (which she bought herself, it was not a gift) of David holding the sword in one hand and Goliath's head in the other. She wrote, "Such is the sword of Science, with which Truth decapitates error, materiality giving place to man's higher individuality and destiny." (S&H:266:2)

Finally, as a previous commenter implied, seeking to be comfortable in matter is not Science. Too many people are not alert to the distinction Mrs. Eddy draws between demonstration and healing, as, for example in the definition of "church". Recalling Jesus' words, "We must beware of making clean merely the outside of the platter." (S&H 382:11)

羅志誠 said...

幸福不是一切,人還有責任。..................................................

A supporter (CT) said...

Dear Christian,
And I say, notwithstanding one objectionable (to a previous commenter) word you quoted from some place else, keep up the good work. You are using your considerable writing talent in the greatest of all Causes, and do not let anything deter you!

Anonymous said...

It's a cute quote and hell is NOT slang sweetie! Its a place we all find ourselves if we aren't studying! ;)

latecomer said...

In answer to the previous post, the objection to "hell" was not as slang, but as a curse. Excellent points made by Anonymous, last post on June 10, 2010 (just before the spammer). We need to decapitate "error, materiality", not just give it a knock-out punch.

For anyone interested, the cartoon with the quote used as a title can be seen here and depicts a mother with her young daughter at the dinner table. The mother says, "It's broccoli dear." To which, the daughter replies as indicated above.