Prepare ye the way…

Preparing for Christmas here. This year I’ve decided I’m going to start with what’s “inside” – my thoughts – and work my way out from there. 🙂

 Lord, thou hast heard the desire of the humble: thou wilt prepare their heart… – Psalms 10: 17

The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. – Isaiah 40:3

But what went ye out for to see? A prophet? yea, I say unto you, and more than a prophet. For this is he, of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee. Verily I say unto you, among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist… – Matthew 11: 9-11


I’ve been thinking about John the Baptist this week. Born of a woman who, according to the first chapter in Luke, was “barren” and “well stricken in years.” The Scriptures tell us that an angel appeared unto John’s father to let him know that his wife, Elizabeth, was going to give birth to a son. According to the account in Luke, John’s dad was a little freaked out by this, but the angel told him to chill and rejoice:

And there appeared unto him an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of incense. And when Zacharias saw him, he was troubled, and fear fell upon him. But the angel said unto him, Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John. And thou shalt have joy and gladness; and many shall rejoice at his birth. For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord… and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother’s womb. And many of the children of Israel shall he turn to the Lord their God. And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord. (Luke 1: 11-17)

Not long after this Mary conceived Jesus. And when Mary and Elizabeth met, it tells us in Luke that “when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost…”

After John was born, his dad looked on him and made a prophecy: “And thou, child, shalt be called the prophet of the Highest: for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare his ways… Through the tender mercy of our God; whereby the dayspring from on high hath visited us, To give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.” Pretty cool that John’s father recognized the worth of his son from the get-go, eh? Yeah, I’m thinking that’s how all parents should usher their babies into the world.  In the next line The Bible tell us “And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit…” In Matthew Jesus says of his cousin: “…among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist...”

So, using John as my example, I’ve decided I’m going to prepare my own heart for the arrival of the celebration of Christ. I’m going to guide my feet “into the way of peace” – fill my heart all up with  joy, gratitude, forgiveness, hope, calm, serenity, acceptance, love.

“Throughout all generations both before and after the Christian era, the Christ, as the spiritual idea, – the reflection of God, – has come with some  measure of power and grace to all prepared to receive  Christ, Truth.” Mary Baker Eddy writes in the Christian Science textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, andEvery valley of sin must be exalted, and every mountain of selfishness be brought low, that the highway of our God may be prepared in Science.”

Every time I hear the words “prepare ye the way” I think of that song from Godspell. I’ve just spent the last half hour trying to find a clip of that song being performed on youtube – went through the clips from the Broadway performance, found a clip of it performed on The View – but none of them seemed quite right, and I was just about to give up when I found this perfect little clip from a performance by a Presbyterian church in Davenport, Iowa. God bless them. They did good. 🙂

Let us learn of the real and eternal, and prepare for the reign of Spirit, the kingdom of heaven, – the reign and rule of   universal harmony, which cannot be lost nor remain forever unseen. – Mary Baker Eddy

Ode to Black Friday

Add yI do not like Black Friday, sir

I do not like the brrr, grrr, whirr

I do not like to fight over socks,

I do not like to get crammed in a box

store, you will not see me at the Mall

I do not like it, no, not at all.our thoughts here… (optional)


I do not like Black Friday, sir

I do not like the brrr, grrr, whirr

I do not like to fight over socks,

I do not like to get crammed in a box

store,  you will not see me at the Mall

I do not like it, no, not at all.

The crazy, scrambling, hunter’s race

Doesn’t fit my ambling, gatherer’s pace

I like to feel, I like to sniff

I like to take my time and if

I take more time than Sally and Sam

It’s the way I shop, and it works for me, ma’am.

So you will not find me camped outside the store

You will not find me standing at dawn at the door

You will not find me wedged in the mall’s lot

Or crammed in traffic, with wares newly-bought.

For I do not like Black Friday, friend.

Well, except online shopping maybe – they’ll…

View original post 8 more words

The Gift of Gratitude

In God I find a precious gift
That knows no fear, no feud,
That glows so still, serene and pure:
The gift of gratitude.
– Christian Science Hymnal, #146

Monday is my errand-running, photo-taking, take-time-to-create-something, walk-on-the-Bellingham-boardwalk day. It is a sacred day for me – the day I set aside every week to be an explorer, and an earth-tourist.  I am hugely grateful for the gift of Monday.

With confidence it hails each task,
With courage undismayed,
For naught against Infinity
Can ever be arrayed.
– Christian Science Hymnal, #`146

I had a boatload to accomplish yesterday – needed to prepare readings for Wednesday night, mark my books for Thanksgiving, and choose hymns for Wednesday, Thanksgiving and the Sunday morning church services; had photos and writing I needed to print; books and packages that needed to be mailed;  food for Thanksgiving that needed to be picked up; and a Thanksgiving service that needed to be rehearsed. When I looked at all that needed to be done, I was a little overwhelmed. But, taking each thing one at a time, step-by-step, trusting in God, Love, I was able to get the bulk of it done by noon.

The oldest son is home from university, and at noon – just about the time I’d finished getting most of my to-do list done – asked me if I was planning to go up to Bellingham for my walk. I told him I was, and asked him if he’d like to join me. Within the hour both my sons had joined me for an expedition to Bellingham’s Boulevard Park.

It was good to be all together again – good to hear the rascally sons laughing with each other again, wonderful to be able to sit down together at Mambo’s Italian Restaurant, eating pizza and calzones, and talking about books we’re reading, plans for the future, good memories from the past. It was just good to be in the same space and time together.

So much good! Family and friends, home, satisfying work, endless opportunities to give and share and love…

I am enjoying the moments of Life. Right now. I’m not going to wait for Thanksgiving to be grateful. The gift of gratitude is one gift we don’t need to wait to open. 🙂

Thank you, Life!

In seamless gratitude I weave
A silent, healing prayer,
With shining threads of ceaseless joy;
For man is God’s great heir.

– Christian Science Hymnal, #`146 

“Love… blazons the night with starry gems”

 It is Love which paints the petal with myriad hues, glances in the warm sunbeam, arches  the cloud with the bow of beauty, blazons the night with starry gems, and covers earth with loveliness. – Mary Baker Eddy

Arctic regions, sunny tropics, giant hills, winged winds, mighty billows, verdant vales, festive flowers, and glorious heavens, – all point to Mind, the spiritual  intelligence they reflect. The floral apostles are hieroglyphs of Deity. Suns and planets teach grand lessons.  The stars make night beautiful, and the leaflet turns naturally towards the light. – Mary Baker Eddy


Just took the dog for her nightly walk. It is freezing out there. The lawn is sparkling with frost, and the sky is sparkling with stars…

I heard stories today – scary stories about people doing scary things – hurting each other, showing no kindness or care for their fellow man. I admit that for a while I felt overwhelmed by the sadness of those stories. Helpless to make things better.

But when I looked up at the stars tonight – their far-away light reaching us through milliions of miles and thousands of years  – I felt as I always feel when I look out at the stars – like I’m part of something really amazing. Like there’s a majestic purpose to it all, and we’re all of us a part of that purpose. 

And my thoughts went to those people doing the terrible things to their fellow man. I wondered if they were looking up at the stars, too – or if, at some point, they’d stopped looking at them. I asked them, in my thoughts, if they realize how amazing they are, and what an amazing world they are a part of.  I found myself hoping that they would look up at the glittering sky and share in what I’m feeling right now – share in the joy, share in the love – know their beauty and nobility as Love’s children.  I found myself hoping  and longing for all of creation to see the universe through the eyes of Love.  As Mary Baker Eddy writes in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures:  “It is Love which paints the petal with myriad hues, glances in the warm sunbeam, arches  the cloud with the bow of beauty, blazons the night with starry gems, and covers earth with loveliness.”

There’s an oft-repeated line from the movie, Clash of the Titans: “Release the kraken!” And it came to me yesterday that it’s beyond time we “Release the peace!” instead. Our world is long past krakens. We all deserve more than myth and hatred and violence.  It’s time we recognize who we each are as the children of Love, made in the image and likeness of Love.

A new friend in Africa who’s just finished reading my book, Blessings: Adventures of a Madcap Christian Scientist, sent me a lovely message this morning. This part of his message especially touched me: “i now feel like you are an African and i can boast of having a new and a good friend…” I love that! I love being seen as an African by an African. That has got to be the highest praise.

I know my new friend looks up at the stars when his part of the world is dark. And I’m sure that he feels what I feel, too, when he gazes on them. I know he looks up at the stars through Love’s eyes.

I’m so very glad to know we are dwelling under the stars, and amongst them, together.

Midnight foretells the dawn. Led by a solitary star amid the darkness, the Magi of old foretold the Messiahship of Truth. Is the wise man of to-day believed, when he beholds the light which heralds Christ’s eternal dawn and describes its effulgence? – Mary Baker Eddy


Bokononism, Humoristianity, and Christian Science: A Really Scholarly Essay

The time for thinkers has come. –  Mary Baker Eddy, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures

“All of the true things I am about to tell you are shameless lies.” –Kurt Vonnegut’s character, Lionel Boyd “Bokonon” Johnson, in Cat’s Cradle

You must be able to recognize how ludicrous your beliefs might appear to others. – Alpha Wingoov Karen, The Humoristian Chronicles


I just finished reading Cat’s Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut. In his book, Vonnegut introduces us to a new religion, Bokononism. I very much enjoyed learning about Bokononism. I am also pretty sure that I myself am a Bokononist.  But then, the books suggests that we ALL are.

So, counting the religion I was raised in – Christian Science – and the religion I founded – Humoristianity – I guess I can now identify myself as a Humoristian Bokononist Christian Scientist – or HuBoChriSci, for short.

I thought it might be useful – at least to me – to compare and contrast these three sects.  In keeping with the religion I founded, Humoristianity, this will, of course, be a really thorough and scholarly presentation. 🙂

And away we go…


Truth, independent of doctrines and time-honored systems, knocks at the portal of humanity. – Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy

As Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of the Christian Science Church, states in The Manual of the Mother Church, the Christian Science Church was  “…a church designed to commemorate the word and works of our Master, which should reinstate primitive Christianity and its lost element of healing.”

In the textbook for Christian Science, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Eddy defines “Church” as “The structure of Truth and Love; whatever rests upon and proceeds from divine Principle,” and says, “The Church is that institution, which affords proof of its utility and is found elevating the race, rousing the  dormant understanding from material beliefs to the apprehension of spiritual ideas and the demonstration of divine Science, thereby casting out devils, or error, and healing the sick.”.

In Cat’s Cradle, Vonnegut’s character, “Bonobon” Johnson, explains the purpose of his religion in a “calypso” poem:

I wanted all things
To seem to make some sense,
So we all could be happy, yes,
Instead of tense.
And I made up lies
So that they all fit nice,
And I made this sad world
A par-a-dise.”
–Kurt Vonnegut, Cat’s Cradle

My purpose in founding Humoristianity was to bring laughter to those weary seekers of humor, athirst in a discussion board desert of stodginess, pomposity, and people who took themselves waaaay too seriously.

Here, as I laid them down on that discussion board, are the tenets of Humoristianity:

1) You must be able to laugh at yourself.

2) You must be able to recognize how ludicrous your beliefs might appear to others.

3) You must want nothing but good for everyone, everywhere in the universe. (Editor’s note: Don’t let this one scare you. None of us is quite there, yet.)

4) You must have a natural aversion to meetings, committees, and scheduled events (as we will be having none of those).

5) You must enjoy the humor of Jon Stewart, Steven Colbert, Tom Lehrer, and Jerry Seinfeld (if you’re a Jerry Lewis kind of guy, you might want to think about starting your own religion – although we wish you nothing but good).


God is Love. – I John 4

In the Christian Science textbook, Eddy writes, “’God is Love.’ More than this we cannot ask, higher we cannot look, farther we cannot go.”

And in Cat’s Cradle, one of Vonnegut’s characters seems to echo this thought when she recounts a (fictional) conversation she had with one of the inventors of the atomic bomb:

“Do any conversations stick in your mind?”
“There was one where he bet I couldn’t tell him anything that was absolutely true. So I said to him, ‘God is love.’”
“And what did he say?”
“He said, ‘What is God? What is love?’”
“But God really is love, you know,” said Miss Faust, “no matter what Dr. Hoenikker said.”
“Miss Faust,” Vonnegut writes, “was ripe for Bokononism.”


Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. – John 8

“Dr. Breed keeps telling me the main thing with Dr. Hoenikker was truth.”
“You don’t seem to agree.”
“I don’t know whether I agree or not. I just have trouble understanding how truth, all by itself, could be enough for a person.”
– from Cat’s Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut

“Truth is ever truthful, and can tolerate no error in premise or conclusion,” writes Eddy in the Christian Science textbook, and “Christianity as Jesus taught it was not a creed, nor a system of ceremonies, nor a special gift from a ritualistic Jehovah; but it was the demonstration of divine Love casting out error and healing the sick, not merely in the name of Christ, or Truth, but in demonstration of Truth.”


What? You want me to, like, give you an actual answer to this question….?


“Are you a Bokononist?” I asked him.
“I agree with one Bokononist idea. I agree that all religions, including Bokononism, are nothing but lies.”
“Will this bother you as a scientist,” I inquired, “to go through a ritual like this?”
“I am a very bad scientist. I will do anything to make a human being feel better, even if it’s unscientific. No scientist worthy of the name could say such a thing.”
– Cat’s Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut

“In this country most people don’t even understand what pure research is.” 
“I’d appreciate it if you’d tell me what it is.”
“It isn’t looking for a better cigarette filter or a softer face tissue or a longer-lasting house paint, God help us. Everybody talks about research and practically nobody in this country’s doing it. We’re one of the few companies that actually hires men to do pure research. When most other companies brag about their research, they’re talking about industrial hack technicians who wear white coats, work out of cookbooks, and dream up an improved windshield wiper for next year’s Olds-mobile.”
“But here…? “
“Here, and shockingly few other places in this country, men are paid to increase knowledge, to work toward no end but that.”
“That’s very generous of General Forge and Foundry Company.”
“Nothing generous about it. New knowledge is the most valuable commodity on earth. The more truth we have to work with, the richer we become.” 
Had I been a Bokononist then, that statement would have made me howl. – Kurt Vonnegut, Cat’s Cradle



No sour grapes here, nosiree…

What mean ye, that ye use this proverb concerning the land of Israel, saying, The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge? As I live, saith the Lord god, ye shall not have occasion any more to use this proverb in Israel. Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine… – Ezekiel 18: 2-4

The transmission of disease or of certain idiosyncrasies of mortal mind would be impossible if this great fact of being were learned, – namely, that nothing inharmonious can enter being, for Life is God. Heredity is a prolific subject for mortal belief to pin theories upon; but if we learn that nothing is real but the right, we shall have no dangerous inheritances… – Mary Baker Eddy


I realized today that even in our own families there are things we skirt around in conversation. The things it’s okay to talk about are trips we’ve taken, hikes we’ve hiked, how much money is in the savings, what books we’re reading, and what movies we’ve seen. The men in the family bond over talk of sports and car up-keep, and the women bond over talk of politics and  flowers and pets. And I mean in no way to belittle any of those conversations  – they are legitimate, they have a place, they bring us together. But there are other conversations that we skip around, things that would be helpful to say, and that maybe should be said – but we’re afraid might bring confrontation or discomfort, or make someone feel hurt or attacked. And so we don’t go there.

Today as I sat at breakfast with my oldest son and my husband – as they talked sports and car up-keep – I realized I was standing at a sort of verbal crossroads – I could go the safe direction and throw in my two cents about the Seahawks and Pete Carroll, and the price of petrol, or I could go that other direction and maybe hear something that would hurt, but might be helpful to me.

I took a deep breath, and plunged towards the scary path.  I’m not going to tell you what I asked, or what was answered, because I do not want to. But because I went down the scary path, I had an epiphany this morning.


Speaking from a materially-genetic, hereditary standpoint, I guess you could say that I’ve inherited two very different natures from my very different parents. Mom is a wise, nurturing, loving, compassionate  empath –a  defender of the down-trodden, and champion for truth, justice, and equality.  She is Frodo Baggins in a Superman cape – a homebody without ego or the need for adventure, although she has had her share of adventures.  Dad is… Dad is a little more complicated.  He’s an explorer, an adventurer, a Renaissance man – artist, mountain-climber, geologist, hydrologist, ski instructor, cartographer, author.  He’s always up to something.  Last summer, at the age of 95, he finished a mural he’d painted on the side of their shed – and this mural covered a space that was 12 feet high – so I’m guessing there was some ladder-climbing involved. He’s traveled to six of the earth’s continents, hob-nobbed with politicians and celebrities, and lived a most unusual life. There are certain traits he possesses that have allowed him to lead this unusual life.

And, speaking from a materially-genetic standpoint, I might seem to be a weird combo of these two antipodal individuals. Sometimes these two natures seem to be at odds in myself. I can recognize the good stuff I seem to have inherited – the kindness and empathy that are qualities of Mom; the need to explore, discover, and create that are qualities of Dad. And I can recognize the other stuff – the not-so-good stuff –  I seem to have inherited, too.

A lot of people have labeled me “sweet.” Sweet is good. I kind of wish I was wholly that person.  But I am not.  People are sometimes surprised, and disappointed, when they realize at some point that “sweet” is just a part of my human personality.  My human personality has also been known to be impatient, angry, self-righteously indignant, opportunistic, cranky, and reactive.  There have been battles with ego. The human personality is not always “nice.”

Does the bad of the human personality totally negate the good? Does the cranky negate the sweet?

Geeze. I really hope not.

So a couple things:

Regarding genetics – I don’t think I ever fully recognized that I even had this belief until today. But this morning my belief in heredity was exposed. I saw that I had allowed it to make a claim on me – had, without being aware I was doing this, allowed genetics to be an explanation, and maybe an excuse, for being who I am.  I had made it some kind of law that I had to follow. And, as Mary Baker Eddy writes in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, the textbook for Christian Science, “Heredity is not a law.”  It never was a law, and I never really was thrall to it.

Regarding the nature of man – In reality, we are all the children of God – the image and likeness of Love – and all we can inherit are the qualities of Love. There’s nothing Love, God, can create which could be in any way unlike Love.  That’s the truth about all of us – Mom, Dad, me, and you, too. In reality, there IS no dual nature of man.

I recently changed my “author’s bio” on Amazon  – removed the part about my up-bringing and how I was raised . I am responsible for my own behaviors at this point. Genetics is a two-headed coin – if you accept the heads of it, you also have to accept the tails. And I don’t wanna. I’m not dependent on inherited glories.  I don’t need to accept inherited pains, either. I am my own self.  And the only real inheritance I have comes from my Father-Mother God.

Questions from a friend about Christian Science…

A while ago I had an interesting exchange with a non-Christian Scientist friend on a discussion board. A question somebody else recently asked me about “malicious animal magnetism”  brought my thoughts back, again, to this exchange.  I’m going to share that exchange below. Note that I wasn’t responding to my friend in any official capacity for the Christian Science church. This was just me, responding as me.  I do not represent other Christian Scientists, or the religion of Christian Science, in my response. I’m sure there are Christian Scientists who would give a much clearer and more articulate answer.  But this is my blog, and so it is my response you will be reading here. 🙂

My friend asks:

As a follower of MBE, do you believe that illness is caused by incorrect belief rather than germs? MBE frowned on meds; Do you take meds? What about malicious animal magnetism? MBE sued a guy for MAM, which she claimed inflicted great suffering. Do you believe in that?

Are you going to get a flu shot?


Karen responds:

Medical research has shown that certain emotions – fear, anger, hate – produce chemicals that can affect your physical health:

– and I think this research on the mind-body connection correlates well to the teachings of Christian Science which include the belief that our state of mind plays a part in determining our human experience. On the first website I listed above, the research indicates that your emotions play an even bigger role than having basic needs – if this is true, I wouldn’t be surprised if your emotions/thoughts/beliefs ARE more powerful than germs in determining your health.

Do I frown on people using meds? No. I totally support people doing whatever it is they think they need to do to get well. I myself tend to not use many drugs, though – I’m not sure if this is so much because of my religious affiliation or just because I’ve always tried to live in a way that seems most “natural” to me – and the idea of putting a bunch of chemicals in my body just has never seemed very natural. I do remember taking antibiotics once, but I had a bad reaction and ended up getting sicker from the meds than I was from the original problem. I’ve found that using my understanding of God, Love, has been the most effective way for me to experience healing. But that’s just me and I would never think to force my beliefs on anyone else. (On a side note: I recently talked to a friend on the phone who has been diagnosed with cancer – the drugs she’s been prescribed to take while she’s in remission cost $30,000 to $40,000 a month!!!! Holy shamoley!!! There is something very wrong with our traditional health care system when the drugs people are told they need to take to keep them alive cost as much as a third of a house!!!!)

Do I believe in malicious animal magnetism? Well, I’m not sure what you mean by that, exactly – if you’re talking about the effect malicious thoughts have when they’re directed towards people, then I guess we’ve all, at one time or another, felt the force of hatred directed at us – there have been a few times when I’ve felt someone’s hatred as almost a physical kick in the stomach – and I don’t think we should underestimate the power of that. I think it’s wise to keep our thoughts on guard to that kind of emotion – to try to keep our own thoughts so full of love towards others that we don’t get pulled into that mental realm with them. Not sure that’s exactly what you’re talking about – but that’s the best I can give you, I think.


Oh. Flu shot? Don’t think so. Are you?


My friend responds:

“There is something very wrong with our traditional health care system when the drugs people are told they need to take to keep them alive cost as much as a third of a house!!!!)”

We agree!

“I think it’s wise to keep our thoughts on guard to that kind of emotion – to try to keep our own thoughts so full of love towards others that we don’t get pulled into that mental realm with them.”

You are right tolerable.

No flu shot for me either. I don’t like little pricks.