What Does Politics Have to Do with Christian Science?

There’s this belief among some in our culture that we should avoid talking about politics with each other. Frankly, I think that’s part of the reason our society is in the trouble it’s in right now – we don’t talk about stuff with each other. We’re afraid: We’re afraid of losing friendships; or afraid someone might question our long-cherished beliefs and make us actually think about them; or we’re afraid – horror! – that people might disagree with us.

But I think sharing our thoughts with each other is important to maintaining a healthy democracy. We can’t function as a democracy if we’re all living in our own vacuum, you know? We need to be able to see other people’s perspectives, and we need to learn about other people’s challenges in order to be compassionate, informed voters. We need to be able to listen to each other and learn from each other, and share our concerns and aspirations with each other in order to move forward as a nation.

My teaching major at university was history, and, maybe because of that background, I’m comfortable moving around in the world of Big Ideas. A large part of my studies involved discussing politics in class. This is how my classmates and I learned from each other – we debated and stretched our thoughts, listened and learned and saw different perspectives. Having my beliefs questioned, and being put in a position where I had to defend them, was so helpful to me! It was like sticking a rough hunk of rock into a rock-polishing machine, grinding away all the ego, nonsense and misconceptions, and pulling out a shiny agate at the end.

The belief that talking about politics is taboo exists among some of my fellow Christian Scientists, too. I was recently asked by one of my fellow CSists what politics has to do with Christian Science and why I had posted a link about the January 6th hearings in a group I had created with “Christian Science” in the title. Here’s my response to that:

For many of us, Christian Science informs every part of our human experience – we apply our understanding of God to heal broken relationships, physical challenges, mental and emotional challenges, our human governments, the environment, oppression, inequity, sexism, racism, and etc.

Mary Baker Eddy writes in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, “A sinner is not reformed merely by assuring him that he cannot be a sinner because there is no sin. To put down the claim of sin, you must detect it, remove the mask, point out the illusion, and thus get the victory over sin and so prove its unreality.” Eddy writes: “If you venture upon the quiet surface of error and are in sympathy with error, what is there to disturb the waters? What is there to strip off error’s disguise?” She writes: “Though error hides behind a lie, and excuses guilt, error cannot forever be concealed. Truth, through her eternal laws, unveils error. Truth causes sin to betray itself, and sets upon error the mark of the beast. Even the disposition to excuse guilt or to conceal it is punished. The avoidance of justice and the denial of truth tend to perpetuate sin, invoke crime, jeopardize self-control, and mock divine mercy.”

I know that these kinds of discussions are uncomfortable for some people, and I totally understand if you want to scroll past posts like this and move on to other posts. But, from my perspective, these kinds of discussions can be really healing if we keep Love and Truth at the “helm of thought.” Mrs. Eddy writes (p. 201): “The way to extract error from mortal mind is to pour in truth through flood-tides of Love.”

I don’t believe that it’s helpful to anyone to just let error sit there, unexposed and ignored.

K2: The Highest Paintings Ever Painted

In 1953 my dad, Dee Molenaar, was a member of the climbing expedition to K2 that attempted to be the first team to summit the world’s second highest mountain. Being who he is, my dad brought his watercolor paints with him. As anyone who’s ever been on a high-altitude climb will know, water is a precious commodity up there. After my dad painted the art you see below, his teammates (understandably) made him drink the water he’d used for the paintings. Dad was always kind of proud of that.

Dad’s painting are the highest paintings ever painted. Here are a few photos of them (I cropped one of the paintings so you could see Dad’s writing on it):

One of the two highest paintings ever painted. Painted on K2 by Dee Molenaar in 1953.
Cropped photo of one of the paintings Dee Molenaar made at 25,000′ on K2.

Posted by Karen Molenaar Terrell.

Treasure-Hunting for Hope

I can’t sleep and go
to my friends’ FB walls
treasure-hunting for hope;
for love that calls
to all creation; for jewels
of inspiration and wisdom
that go beyond human rules
and resonate with the rhythm
beating in my own heart.
And I bring back these gifts:
A poem about father-love;
A photo of a puppy nestled
in her new human’s arms;
A painting of a golden sunrise;
Posts about epic bike rides
and happy-together times;
Pictures from mountain climbs;
The blessing from a flute;
Photos of home-grown fruits;
and everywhere magic.
-Karen Molenaar Terrell

Rainbow Flowers by Karen Molenaar Terrell

“And Now You’re Saving Lives!”

There’s a large part of this story that’s not mine to share and I’ll leave to my friend to share if she wants. But I think I can share this part:

Looking back on Facebook at the history of our friendship, it looks like we met on November 8, 2018, and became immediate friends. I was taking my walk on the Bellingham boardwalk when I first met her. It was a cold day. She wore a hat, I remember. I recognized a kinship – I saw in her expression a shared experience. I opened my heart to hear her story and she poured her heart out to me. Heart-to-heart. I felt so privileged by that – by her trust in me.

I understood some of what she was going through – I’d gone through a similar experience about ten years before. I’m not sure what I said to her. I might have told her that I understood – that I’d been there, too – that I knew she was in a scary place – but that she was also in a really amazing place – that she was completely free to create a whole new life for herself and that I knew that was scary, but that I thought she’d find it was also really exhilarating. An adventure!

I went home and found her on FB and discovered we had a bunch of friends in common. That was cool. And I asked her to be my FB friend.

Through the last four years we’ve sometimes run into each other by magic – not purposefully, but always perfectly. We’ve come upon each other at rallies and in the supermarket and walking along a street. When it was my turn to get a COVID vaccine, I was a little freaked out, and I contacted my friend because I knew she was working at the vaccination site and I knew I could count on her to help walk me through what I had to do. She was a blessing to me during that time.

And today I ran into her at the supermarket. She shared with me that last weekend, through her new role at work, she was in a position to help someone who told her that she “most likely” had saved his life.

As she was sharing her story I started crying. And then she started crying. And we hugged and cried and laughed together. She asked me if I remembered where she was when we’d first met, and I nodded and said, “And now you’re saving lives!”

In the last few days, I’ve felt the Cosmos reaching out to me with hope and reassurance and love. I’m being constantly reminded of all the Good in the world. I’m so grateful for that.

I Remember You

I was working in the yard when our neighbor walked by with his daughter and his little five-year-old grandson.

Karen: Dmitri, you’ve grown so big! It’s so good to see you again! (I wave.)
Dmitri waves back and then runs across the lawn to give me a big hug. I feel my eyes tear up a little bit.
Karen: Dmitri, it’s been a long time and you might not remember me, but…
Dmitri: (looking up at me) I remember you. I remember you like hugs.
Karen: And that’s why you gave me a hug?
Dmitri: (nodding) Yes.

May the little children of the world save us, one heart at a time. ❤

Sunset over flooded fields in Skagit County, Washington State. Photo by Karen Molenaar Terrell.

Unchanging Law

A thought I’m working with:

All that’s changed are human laws.
The law of Love and Truth (God’s law)
is still here
and won’t ever change
or be impeded,
can’t be thrown out
or superceded
by human opinion
or a human court.

God’s law is supreme.
-Karen Molenaar Terrell

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.”
-Galatians 5:22-23

What’s Real Can Never Change or Die

So much has changed
in the last day, week, year –
and I feel great fear.
But then Clara Kitty curls
up on my lap and I see
Love is still here
and a butterfly flutters by
the window and flits
through the blue sky
and I feel Life moving ‘round
me in an eternal satisfied sigh.
Life and Love: what’s true
and real can never change
or die.
-Karen Molenaar Terrell

Forcing Their Will on Us

There are two men sitting on the Supreme Court who have been accused of sexual misconduct towards women. Those same men were among those who voted to end the right for a woman to have control over her own body. It feels, to me, like what those two men were accused of doing to individual women, they are now doing to an entire collective nation of women – forcing their will on us. And it seems to me they are among the LAST people who should have been given that kind of power over others.

I Found Hope Yesterday

I was feeling discouraged this morning. No, “discouraged” is an understatement for what I was feeling – what I was feeling was something beyond that. As I was posting on FB, my friend, Kathy, commented that she could use a hug and said she’d be working to register voters at the Mount Vernon YMCA. Coincidentally, I needed a hug, too. I also needed to get some groceries. So I got in Rosalita Ipswich O’Molenovich and drove, first, to the supermarket, and then to the YMCA.

When I got to the supermarket, I saw a man standing on a corner with a sign indicating he was in need. And the thought that came to me was, “I maybe don’t want to be on this planet right now, but maybe I can do some good while I AM here.” So I parked and walked over to the man and asked if I could get him something in the supermarket. He said he was really hungry, so I asked him if I could get him a sandwich, and he said yes. I bought my groceries – including TWO quarts of Paul Newman virgin lemonade – and then picked up a sandwich for the gentleman on the corner.

When I brought him his sandwich, I realized he was probably pretty thirsty, too – it’s hot here today – and I realized the second quart of lemonade was for him. He smiled and thanked me and took the sandwich and lemonade from me.

I was already feeling much better.

After the supermarket, I drove down to find Kathy at the YMCA to exchange a hug, and met a whole lot of other really cool people, too. There was young Roran with his rainbow drawings, a woman who helps victims of domestic violence, a couple people who work with Planned Parenthood, and folks from PFLAG of Skagit County. And meeting these people – brave and compassionate and caring people – has given me back my hope.

It’s Too Big for Words

I know.
I can’t find the words.
It’s too big for words.
So much seems too big
for words these days.

It’s hard to wrap my head around
the fact that we live in a country
where we are all at the mercy
of other people’s religious beliefs.

Just know you’re not alone.
You have a world of mothers,
and fathers, aunts and uncles,
and sisters and brothers
standing right there with you.

-Karen Molenaar Terrell