Government Of the People, By the People, For the People

It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth. – Abraham Lincoln, The Gettysburg Address

“…he that is greatest among you shall be your servant…” – Matthew 23

Our government exists to serve us. In fact, according to Abraham Lincoln, our government IS us.  Those politicians who represent us in our government are our employees, entrusted to work for us and keep our infrastructure and governmental offices running smoothly.

When the time comes that our politicians – our employees – are no longer concerned with serving us – then it is time for them to move on to other endeavors.  It is time for us to let them go.

I came upon some passages in The Bible today that I found timely.  These passages talked of service – of how the real leaders aren’t the ones who are served, but the ones who serve:

 Jesus knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he was come from God, and went to God;  he riseth from supper, and laid aside his garments; and took a towel, and girded himself.  After that he poureth water into a bason, and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded… So after he had washed their feet, and had taken his garments, and was set down again, he said unto them, Know ye what I have done to you?  Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am.  If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another’s feet.  For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you. Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him. If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them. – John 13

And there was also a strife among them, which of them should be accounted the greatest.  And he said unto them, The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and they that exercise authority upon them are called benefactors. But ye shall not be so: but he that is greatest among you, let him be as the younger; and he that is chief, as he that doth serve… – Luke 22

Life, Love, Truth (God) bless those individuals who step up to the plate and put themselves in positions of responsibility and service. I pray to know they will have the wisdom of Solomon in these challenging times – that they won’t divide “the baby in half’ to appease jealousy,  rivalry,  and political demands. I pray to know that those who represent us will know when to “render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s” (Luke 20).  And I pray that they will know when to, like Jesus, turn their backs on those who would make them kings (John 6).

Pride and fear are unfit to bear the standard of Truth… – Mary Baker Eddy

One Christian Scientist’s Views on Health Insurance

Health care, in my opinion, should be considered a basic necessity of life – in the same category as food, water, and shelter…

Adventures of the Madcap Christian Scientist

And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise.” – Luke 6: 31


A few years ago a dear friend shared with me that she was told the drugs she’s been prescribed to take while she’s in cancer remission will cost $30,000 to $40,000 a month.  She did not have health insurance at the time.  I was floored by the financial burden her family was going to be expected to bear while she recovered from cancer, chemo, and radiation, and tried to find a way to pay for the drugs she was told she needed to take to stay alive.

Health care, in my opinion, should be considered a basic necessity of life – in the same category as food, water, and shelter; I don’t believe anyone should be denied access to the care they believe they need simply because they lack the financial resources…

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I’m not really interested in Mary Baker Eddy’s personal life. Does that make me, like, a bad Christian Scientist?

“Those who look for me in person, or elsewhere than in my writings, lose me instead of find me.  I hope and trust that you and I may meet in truth and know each other there, and know as we are known of God.”  – Mary Baker Eddy (The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany, page 120: 2)

 “… follow your Leader only so far as she follows Christ.” – Mary Baker Eddy (Message for 1901)

So I got this flyer in the mail today, telling me about a good deal on biographies about Mary Baker Eddy’s life.  And… I found I wasn’t at all interested in it.  And I’m wondering… does that make me a “bad” Christian Scientist?

The thing is, I’ve always been someone who’s more apt to follow ideas than personalities.  I cherish the ideas that Mary Baker Eddy, the discoverer of Christian Science, brought to us.  I am beyond grateful to Mary Baker Eddy for the sacrifices she made in her life, and the challenges she had to overcome, to bring her discovery to the world – and I know enough about her life to know that those sacrifices and challenges were immense – her early widowhood, the betrayal of friends and family, poverty, her young son taken from her when she was ill, trumped-up lawsuits, hatred, bigotry, prejudice…


In Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, the textbook for Christian Science, Eddy writes: “In founding a pathological system of Christianity, the author has labored to expound divine Principle, and not to exalt personality.”

I don’t believe Eddy wanted adulation. I do not believe she wanted those who consider themselves Christian Scientists to worship her, or to focus on her personality.

Eddy writes in Science and Health: “People go into ecstasies over the sense of a corporeal Jehovah, though with scarcely a spark of love in their hearts; yet God is love, and without Love, God, immortality cannot appear.”  And later she writes: “It was now evident to Peter that divine Life, Truth, and Love, and not a human personality, was the healer of the sick and a rock, a firm foundation in the realm of harmony… In an age of ecclesiastical despotism, Jesus introduced the teaching and practice of Christianity, affording  the proof of Christianity’s truth and love; but to reach his example and to test its unerring Science according to his rule, healing sickness, sin, and death, a better understanding of God as divine Principle, Love, rather than personality or the man Jesus, is required.”

So there you go.

The healing Truth, Love, is what a Christian Scientist follows, right? Not a human personality. Not a man. Not a woman. But the Christ – Love and Truth and Life.

In one of my favorite books, The Greatest Thing in the World, a sermon on I Corinthians 13, Henry Drummond writes: “‘Love rejoiceth not in unrighteousness, but rejoiceth with the truth.’… for he who loves will love Truth not less than men. He will rejoice in the Truth—rejoice not in what he has been taught to believe; not in this church’s doctrine or in that; not in this ism or in that ism; but ‘in the Truth.’ He will accept only what is real; he will strive to get at facts; he will search for Truth with a humble and unbiased mind, and cherish whatever he finds at any sacrifice.”

I love that – “…he who loves will love Truth not less than men.” It seems to me that thought is really the basis for all Science.  I believe that to be a true Christian Scientist one must seek Truth,Christ, not human personality.

The most romantic, over-the-top feel-good marriage proposal I have ever seen in my life. Ever.

Happiness is spiritual,born of Truth and Love. It is unselfish; therefore it cannot exist alone, but requires all mankind to share it. – Mary Baker Eddy

Okay, I just watched a youtube clip that still has me wiping the tears from my face.  I was so moved by this clip – so completely inspired by it.  It went waaaay  beyond your typical proposal of young man on bended knee proposing to young woman – no, this proposal included a choreographed dance to Billy Who’s upbeat song, Somebody Loves You and an ensemble cast of parents, friends, youngsters, oldsters – all there to support the handsome couple. This marriage proposal was testament to the power of community and the power of love. And part of what made the proposal so extraordinary, for me, was that the couple wasn’t a man and a woman at all – the couple was a man and a man… in Salt Lake City… Utah. And… did I mention that their mums and dads were there? Friends? Little girls in pinks tutus doing cartwheels? Babies? If you haven’t seen this clip, you gotta watch it – you just gotta!:

This is the way it’s supposed to be. Acceptance. Support. Celebration. Love.

Last March, on the eve of our 29th wedding anniversary, I wrote a blog post in support of marriage equality ( ). Even in the six months since that blog post there have been signs of progress that are giving me hope for mankind – and the youtube clip of the marriage proposal is one of them.

I look forward to that day when every citizen can share in the exact same rights as every other citizen of our land. 

Matrimony should never be entered into without a full recognition of its enduring obligations on both sides. There should be the most tender solicitude for each other’s happiness, and mutual attention and approbation should wait on all the years of married life…  Kindred tastes, motives, and aspirations are necessary to the formation of a happy and permanent companionship…    The scientific morale of marriage is spiritual unity… Marriage should signify a union of hearts. – excerpts from the chapter titled “Marriage” in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy

Let’s Stop Hating on Each Others’ Bodies (and On Our Own)

Love, redolent with unselfishness, bathes all in beauty and light. – from Science and Healthy with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy

In the 1960s, you could eat anything you wanted, and of course, people were smoking cigarettes and all kinds of things, and there was no talk about fat and anything like that, and butter and cream were rife. Those were lovely days for gastronomy, I must say. – Julia Child

Last week a video clip came through Facebook featuring TV anchor Jennifer Livingston responding to a viewer who had written to her: “I was surprised indeed to witness that your physical condition hasn’t improved for many years. Surely you don’t consider yourself a suitable example for this community’s young people, girls in particular. Obesity is one of the worst choices a person can make and one of the most dangerous habits to maintain. I leave you this note hoping that you’ll reconsider your responsibility as a local public personality to present and promote a healthy lifestyle.” Jennifer Livingston’s response to this viewer was pretty powerful, and empowering. “I am, ” she said, “much more than a number on a scale.”

Not long after this, I saw that the hilarious and talented Melissa McCarthy (of Bridesmaids and The Heat) had encountered a similar sanctimonious criticism of her weight by well-known movie critic, Rex Reed, who wrote: “As a critic whose opinions are constitutionally protected by law, I stand by all of my original remarks about Melissa McCarthy’s obesity, which I consider about as amusing as cancer, and apologize for nothing.” I love how McCarthy responded to Reed’s comments: “”I felt really bad for someone who is swimming in so much hate… I just thought, that’s someone who’s in a really bad spot, and I am in such a happy spot. I laugh my head off every day with my husband and my kids who are mooning me and singing me songs.”

It would seem that people who are perceived as “overweight” by others are, basically, being told that they have no right to use their talents and gifts and shouldn’t be allowed to be seen by others because it might set a “bad example.”  Overweight people should be, like, invisible…? Hide themselves away until they can present bodies that others find acceptable…?


Why do we do this to each other? Why do we feel we need to hate on other peoples’ bodies? Why do we think the size of other people is any of our business? Why do we feel the need to label everything and everyone as good or bad, right or wrong? And what makes us think that our unsolicited advise to someone else about her weight is in any way helpful to the other person?


Okay, what I’m about to present isn’t very Christianly Scientific, I guess – but I feel the need to present it just the same. After I read about the experiences of McCarthy and Livingston, I thought I’d do a little research about the correlation between being overweight and ill health. I’m guessing most of us have just sort of accepted what “experts” have told us about the bad effects of being overweight on health – certainly Rex Reed and the man who criticized Livingston’s weight have bought into the idea that being “overweight” is harmful to one’s health – and appear to have used that idea as an excuse to look down on others. But is it really true, from a medical standpoint, that being overweight hurts your health? Curious, I googled.

I found several sites that actually contradicted the commonly accepted meme about weight and health:

“Being overweight linked to lower risk of mortality” one headline reads.

“Obese individuals with at least moderate CRF (cardiorespiratory fitness) have lower rates of… all-cause mortality than their normal-weight but unfit peers. In fact, death rates in the former group are about one half those of the latter.”  (Editorial, JAMA, 2004) And “If the height/weight charts say you are 5 pounds too heavy, or even 50 pounds or more too heavy, it is of little or no consequence healthwise – as long as you are physically fit. On the other hand, if you are a couch potato, being thin provides absolutely no assurance of good health, and does nothing for your chance of living a long life.” (Steven Blair, P.E.D., Cooper Institute for Aerobics Research, 1997.)

“Recent research suggests that people who are obese but metabolically healthy are in no more danger of dying from heart disease or cancer than healthy, normal weight people.”


Okay, all that aside…

Do we think that we’re healthy because we don’t smoke? Do we think that we’re healthy because we eat right, exercise, eat an apple a day, get 8 hours sleep, take our vitamins…? Although it seems sensible to me – and natural – to move, play, run, dance – to express the movement and grace of God –  I also believe it’s natural for us to be healthy – I don’t believe good health is something we have to “earn” by rigidly following a checklist of do’s and don’ts. I believe good health is our right and it’s ours to claim right now.  I also believe that beauty is ours to claim right now. None of us can be “too thin” or “too heavy.” “Beautiful” is not something we have to work on becoming. I believe we’re already there. We can recognize it, right now, in ourselves, in each other, and in all of God’s creation.


As the physical and material, the transient sense of beauty fades, the radiance of Spirit should dawn upon the enraptured sense with bright and imperishable glories. – Mary Baker Eddy

 Except for the error of measuring and limiting all that is good and beautiful, man would enjoy more than threescore years and ten and still maintain his vigor, freshness, and promise. Man,  governed by immortal Mind, is always beautiful and  grand. Each succeeding year unfolds wisdom, beauty, and holiness. – Mary Baker Eddy

Immortal men and women are models of spiritual sense, drawn by perfect Mind and reflecting those higher conceptions of loveliness which transcend all material sense. Comeliness and grace are independent of matter. Being possesses its qualities before they are perceived humanly. Beauty is a thing of life, which dwells forever in the eternal Mind and reflects the charms of His goodness in expression, form, outline, and color. – Mary Baker Eddy

It is ignorance and false belief, based on a material sense of things, which hide spiritual beauty and goodness. – Mary Baker Eddy

Truth should not seem so surprising and unnatural as error, and error should not seem so real as truth. Sickness should not seem so real as health. – Mary Baker Eddy

Take my life and let it be
consecrated, Lord, to Thee.
Take my moments and my days,
let them flow in ceaseless praise.
Take my hands and let them move
at the impulse of Thy love.
Take my feet and let them be
swift and beautiful for Thee.

– Chris Tomlin


Things I Learned from the Year of Insanity

(All photos [except the Big Hand Karen photo, by Scott Terrell], were taken by Karen Molenaar Terrell.)

The other afternoon my husband and I went out for dinner at our favorite Italian restaurant. For whatever reason, I was feeling cranky.  Put upon. Impatient.  And then I saw the leaves on the tree outside the window, and I remembered what those leaves had meant to me during the Year of Insanity. I remembered a time when I hadn’t had a choice in how I felt – when I couldn’t seem to “make” myself happy, and had no control over what was going on inside my head. And I remembered the pledge I’d made to myself at the end of that long, dark time when I had a choice again: So long as I had a choice, I would never, ever choose sadness over joy. And right that moment, I let go of the crankiness, and, watching the leaves flicker on that tree outside the window, chose to enjoy my time at the restaurant.

The Year of Insanity was a whopper for me. I’d never experienced anything like it before – and don’t see a need to ever experience anything like it again 🙂 – but, looking back, I am convinced that I needed to go through that time. I learned so much from it – one of the chief things being that even when I’m depressed, I can be happy – even when I’m sad, I can experience joy. Another important lesson was that the pain passes – always, always. It doesn’t last forever. I learned I was strong. I learned I could survive.

There were certain things during that year that seemed to bring me peace when i looked on them. I can’t tell you why my distressed thought was comforted by these things – why they were the objects that seemed to calm me during that time – but I can tell you what they were: The leaves on that particular tree outside the Italian restaurant; sailboats on the bay; my hands; butterflies and dragonflies; seagulls in flight; and big bright sunflowers.

One of the things that happened to me during that time – and that has stayed with me – is that I began to – I was forced to, really – tune in more intensely to the beauty around me – I began to notice things in my surroundings that I might have just walked by in the past: Little insects on flowers; all the varied colors in the sky and water; clouds – I’d never so appreciated clouds before this time! The insanity forced me to live moment-by-moment, taking each moment one at a time – being grateful to have survived that moment before moving on to the next one. I learned to stop the constant dialogue in my head by taking a deep breath and focusing on the gifts of that moment – the dragonfly over the water; the sailboat gliding by; the flickering leaves on the tree. “Thank you, God, thank you, God, thank you, God” became my mantra. 

And one day I woke up and came back to myself.  I remember walking down the ramp toward the boardwalk – the bay stretched out in front of me, and a ray of sunlight breaking through the clouds and sparkling on the water – and I was free.

 The time to be happy is now. The place to be happy is here. – Robert Green Ingersoll

 Step by step will those who trust Him find that “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” – Mary Baker Eddy

(More about the Year of Insanity can be found in The Madcap Christian Scientist’s Middle Book.)