Saturday, August 21, 2010

"Let no man deceive you by any means"

Beware the Jabberwok, my son!
The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
(Lewis Carroll)

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.

26 comments:

R. L. said...

If your many readers do not give an extra hurrah for this blog post, I'll eat my hat!

Anonymous said...

Terrific! Had to read this twice, will go back again to get all the goodies. Not sure on the personal paragraph just who you are referring to, but you took care of him or her. Green eyes for sure. Why? Christian's blog has LIFE in it.

Phoenix, AZ said...

This is what you do best--exposing evil in CS places it should not be. Well put indeed, Christian!

Meant to add said...

And as to comments made on this blog being fawning, let me say for the record that not only have your essays helped me; more than once the earnest comments have lifted me up, even provided healing!

Cambridge said...

Excellent essay, Christian. This is going to be read widely and recommended to others, I assure you.
A lot in it to ponder.

Longtime viewer (MA) said...

Simply marvelous. So powerful. And I'm not playing up to you, since I can't get anything from you. Don't know who you are. My words are from the heart. I know devotion to CS and plain-spokenness when I come across it.

Anonymous said...

Yes -- "There is nothing hid that shall not be revealed."
Jesus Christ

Practitioner (near Boston) said...

Well, there's so much in this blog posting I don't know where to begin to comment. Splendid is what I want to say right off the bat. You touched on something chillingly important for followers of Christian Science to open their eyes to and this is the long and devious attempts by those entrusted with the running of her Church to drag her down. I could cite so many examples of this (to satisfy those who say they have eyes, yet refuse to see lest their titles or cozy relationships with the powers-that-be be jeoparized). But I applaud you for speaking to this vital issue. The whole piece you wrote is outstanding, Christian.

Helen said...

What you quoted from Lewis Carroll made me think of something I've found wise advice that our Leader gives us in Prose Works.
"O friendly hand! keep back thy offerings from asps and apes, from wolves in sheep's clothing and all ravening beasts. Love such specimens of mortality just enough to reform and transform them, -- if it be possible, -- and then, look out for their stings, and jaws, and claws; but thank God and take courage, -- that you desire to help even such as these."
Isn't she wonderful the way she puts things! Just think of double-dealing and ingratitude she endured, from those she helped most. And from those who called themselves Christian Scientists.

P.S. said...

Oh, what I just quoted is on page 294. For anyone interested in reading the whole article, it starts on page 293 and the title is "A Cruce Salus".

NYC said...

If you're not an attorney, you certainly think and write like one. And a good one, at that.

Appreciation (CA) said...

Bravo blogger. Your love for our Cause is obvious, apparently to not only me, but many others. And by the by, this comment I'm making is sincere, by heaven.

Anonymous said...

"Cruce Salus " -- salvation by or from the cross.

Thanks from Australia! said...

That passage from Mrs. Eddy goes right along with Jesus' call to be wiser than serpents -- wiser -- and as harmless as a dove. We can't go wrong if we heed this sublime counsel.

Anonymous said...

As I work in Boston and do not wish to identify myself (but then, Christian doesn't either), and I haven't the courage at present to do so, want to say how much I admire you for taking a stand against those who would demean our Leader. Worse than demean, in my view. But then, you no doubt are fully aware of the evils of the past few years.
Thank God there are wide-awake followers of CS such as you. Keep doing what you are doing!

CS - Washington state said...

Ooh, this is good. You really put it out there as only you can do it.
Much to think about in what you've said, for sure. And of course, what our dear Leader points out for the students of her teachings. She has given us all we need to stay ahead of error--however it tries to come at us.
Aren't we grateful though!

Upper Midwest said...

Dear Faithful Student,
You must have some good metaphysicians working on your behalf, is all I can say. (I know of a few.) You've been at this for, how long now? Almost 2 years? Work well done.
Just continue blogging on behalf of Christ's divine Science.

Anonymous said...

Why do Mother Church Officials stay in their positions ad nauseum ? If they were really devout they would not spend their lives as church administrators.
Nathan Talbot has had a chief seat in the synagogue for decades ....flying around the world and talking about "me firsters" as though he wasn't the mother of all "me firsters"

Best (UK) said...

It's the "by any means" we have to watch out for. Antichrist does use subtle strategems, usually coming through people we've been bamboozled to trust and appearing in the guise of something good for us. The sooner we acquire the alertness our great Master had, and Mrs. Eddy gained (the hard way), the better for us serious CS's.

Thanks! - D. C. said...

Dear Christian,
You've a buzzing blog today! Someone emailed me I should be sure to check out your latest. Not only a helpful piece--but the comments, too.

A sincere commenter! said...

That a him/her/or it inferred the comments on your blog are made by people guilty of "fawning adulation" IS snarky. Don't know what this means exactly, but sounds right to me.

Anonymous said...

As someone whose affiliation with the Christian Science movement has been disappointing to say the least, I have to say that it has compelled me to look further and turn more to God.
There is no doubt that there is a relatively materialistic culture in many churches as well as the Mother Church. I have also met very kind individuals in some of these churches.
The Bible teaches us that it is the “church made without hands” that is essential. This is where atonement takes place. This is the church of the incorporeal Chirst. This is the divine imprimatur.

Irving Tomlinson states in his book , The Revelation of St. John : An Open Book ,that the twenty four elders are the questions and answers in the chapter on Recapitulation in Science and Health. The implication of this is that the true “elders” are actually spiritual understanding. It is not human authority at all.

We can only perfect the church by perfecting our individual prayer. We do not have to follow or comply with the infantile pettiness that is inherent in human policy. We have to let it go and follow Truth.
Scientific Christianity is taught by Jesus and Mary Baker Eddy and is learned by the quintessence of our individual sincerity. We all need the Christ. Jesus instructs us to be in the world but not of it. When the human policy within the world including churches asks us to “be of the world” ,then we can follow Jesus.
Jesus taught us the imperative to “shake the dust from your feet”. I am sure this includes the residue that comes from “the world within the church”.

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Thank you (Oklahoma) said...

This is so good. Got a lot from reading it, I want you to know. The people you are helping in the Field!

Anonymous said...

Christian, would you please tell me how to scientifically prove that God is supreme?
from Ohio

Anonymous said...

I, for one, am unable to make any connection between a characterization of remarks made on the blog summarized as "fawning adulation" with being "crass," a "venomous spume of jealousy and resentment" posted by a "churl" who needs to "sneer." This insecure reaction is rife with arrogance on the part of one who claims to "appreciate all sincere comments" when the last paragraphy of the August 21 post in practice tolerates no criticism and brooks no dissent--the very antipode of Christian's stance, when the shoe is on the other foot, with reference to that which might be accurately termed church theocracy and an entire host of issues that have swirled about any number of actions on the part of those in positions of authority. It's hypocritical to abuse your own power of the press because you are now the authority. It seems reasonable to me to assume that it is statistically unlikely that your comments columns would be devoid of some critical content. I appreciate the blog's intent but find some of the rhetoric overbearing. I don't think of myself as a mean-spirited, snarky, jealous, resentful churl with a need to sneer, and I hope you don't either. Keep posting, Christian. I hope you'll invite me to comment again in the future.