Beware the Jabberwok, my son!
The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
The danger is more immediate , more malicious, more persistent, and more subtle than many of us suspect. Our unleashed minds relax and wander aimlessly through gardens of earthly delights, heedless of the vipers lurking patient and unseen, ready to strike. The skulking mental assassin, the shameless stooge, the self-righteous and unprincipled toady, the selfish, cutthroat opportunist--those who wittingly and unwittingly serve the Prince of Darkness in the name of God--they all lie waiting in ambush for the unwary, faithful, and dedicated Christian Scientist. It is probably no accident that I am currently reading Shakespeare's "Richard III", who is the very model of the smooth-tongued villain.
Rushing in where an angel would fear to tread, I have made missteps, which I have tried to acknowledge. The poet Theodore Roethke has a lovely line, which I hope I quote correctly: "I learn by going where I have to go." One is not obligated to chain himself sine die to past indiscretions and excesses. To the contrary.
It was not mere coincidence that I turned this week to the Bible Lesson of 20 November 1898, then called "Ancient and Modern Necromancy; or, Mesmerism and Hypnotism". It is a powerful lesson, taking for its Golden Text and Responsive Reading (and I the title of this entry) II Thessalonians 2: 1-13. It was as if God had laid a necessary feast before me saying "Read and Heed!"
Two malignant influences are, I feel, at the bottom of what is going on sub rosa. One is a disgusting, disloyal attempt which has been going on for many years until it now pervades the entire Church and its branches, all of it cynically masked by a thick fog of sophistry, to discredit and demean Mary Baker Eddy and question, downplay, and erode her place as Leader, now and always.
The other pernicious influence, also long-standing and pervasive, I will leave nameless, like the yet undiscovered melody which Elgar said runs through his "Enigma Variations". I have alluded to it almost from the outset of this blog. The name 666 will do for the nonce. At the risk of being accused of effrontery I humbly admonish all loyal Christian Scientists not to ignore either of these issues. "So secret are the present methods of animal magnetism that they ensnare the age into indolence, and produce the very apathy on the subject which the criminal desires." (S&H 102: 20-23)
Finally, a more personal issue. Accusations of vituperation and logomachy, just and unjust, come with the territory, but the snarky and mean-spirited characterization of kind comments made on this blog as fawning adulation is crass and uncalled-for. In the Bond movie "For Your Eyes Only", I think, the faux-contessa says "Me nightie's slipping." Something has slipped somewhere else as well, but what has been revealed this time isn't pulchritude, but smacks of the venomous spume of jealousy and resentment. I have never in any of my 185+ entries angled for flattering comments or for comments of any kind, nor have I ever suggested my example was a brightly-shining star to which lesser mortals should be eternally grateful to hitch their humble wagons. I appreciate all sincere, kind comments as well as sincere but less kind ones. I have profited from both. Only an unchristian churl would find something to sneer at in that.