Others talk of an admonishing god – a lecturing god, an angry and exasperated god – a strict father who gives eternal time-outs to his children in hell.
But I have the God I need – Father and Mother, smiling on me laughing with me protecting and guiding me through Life’s playground, taking my hands and swinging me and spinning me over the bumps until I’m laughing so hard with my Father-Mother-Friend that I have tears on my face.
It’s a humble holiday, tucked in between Christmas and New Year’s, but it’s really keen. Things look a little bedraggled, it’s true. The tree’s a little droopy and no longer new.
The movies and music of the Christmas season are getting on our nerves now, and we’re seeing no reason to eat even one more sugary oversweet sweet. It’s time for broccoli and carrots (maybe hold on the beets).
The pressure for perfection comes off on this day, the toys have been opened, and it’s come time to play. And if before we were wearing faux holiday cheer to blend in with the others and not Scroogey appear –
it’s time now to be genuine, and honest and real – the food banks are empty, people still need a warm meal. The homeless and hungry and jobless and alone still need love and caring, still need a home.
(The audio podcast for this can be found at this link.)
Our salvation is bigger than what we could wish, and not dependent on what we “accomplish.” It’s bigger than what our little egos can give – bigger than how we “die” or how we “live” or how many letters come after our names – salvation doesn’t come from awards or fame. We are saved because we are made for God, made by Truth, made of Love. Guilt and shame and blame play no part in our at-one-ment with the divine Heart.
I need to stop thinking so small. I need to know myself as in the All-in-All. -Karen Molenaar Terrell
“Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace…” – II Timothy 1
So, on my walk yesterday, I saw a man wearing a t-shirt that said: “PROUD WHITE BOY.” I’m not going to describe the physicality of this man – other than to say that, obviously, he was White.
But his shirt got me to wondering. Was he proud because he was White? Was he proud because he was a “boy”? And… why would he be proud of things he has no control over? It’s like being proud of being human, or being proud of being born in this country. Being born here, and being born White, and being born male are not things that anybody has to earn. They are not achievements. They are not proof of your courage or evidence of your hard work. They are just the happenstances of your start in life – a part of earth’s crap shoot. And there’s no reason, in my mind, to be proud – or ashamed, either – of the happenstances of your human start.
It’s what comes after your start – the life you build here – that shows the most important things about you: Are you living a life of kindness? Of moral courage? Do you stand up for others? Are you generous with the good Life gives you? Are you honest? Are you living a life of integrity? Are you using your talents and gifts to make the world a better place? To me, those are the things that matter.
A t-shirt that says “PROUD TO BE KIND” would make more sense to me. Or maybe “PROUD TO BE HUMBLE.” 🙂
“…the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such there is no law.” -Galatians 5:22-23
Years ago an old boyfriend said to me, “I can’t see that Christian Science has made you any better than anyone else.”
“I know!” I said, nodding my head in complete and happy agreement, “But can you imagine what I’d be like without it?!”
He raised his eyebrows and laughed. What could he say? He was looking at a self-centered, moralistic, stubborn idealist who saw everything in terms of black and white. But I could have been worse. I believe without Christian Science I would have been worse.
Let’s get one thing clear from the start: I am not the best example of a Christian Scientist. I’m not as disciplined as I could be. I have fears and worries and doubts. I’m a little neurotic. I am the Lucy Ricardo of Christian Scientists.
I should probably put in a disclaimer here, too—the views expressed in these pages are not necessarily the views shared by other Christian Scientists. Christian Scientists are really a pretty diverse group of people—there are Democrat Christian Scientists and Republican Christian Scientists, “Green,” and “Red,” and “Blue” Christian Scientists, and Christian Scientists with no political affiliations at all. Frankly, I like that about us. We keep each other on our toes.
I should also tell you that this book is not an authorized piece of Christian Science literature. If you want to actually study Christian Science you should probably read the textbook for this way of life, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy.
My purpose for writing this epistle is really two-fold (I don’t think I’ve ever used the word “two-fold” in my life, and using it now is making me feel sort of professorial. I like the feeling.):
First-foldly, to introduce you to one Christian Scientist so that if you ever hear someone talking fearfully and ignorantly (feargnorantly?) about Christian Scientists you’ll be in a position to say, “I have a friend who’s a Christian Scientist, and, although it’s true she’s a bit of a nut, she’s also…” and you can go on and talk about how your friend has used her study of Christian Science to try to make the world a happier place.
Second-foldly, I feel the need to acknowledge God’s blessings in my life. I don’t want to be like those nine lepers in the Bible who couldn’t take the time to thank Jesus for healing them. I want to be like that one leper who “fell down on his face at his feet” before Jesus and gave him thanks (Luke 17). Through my study of Christian Science I’ve witnessed some incredible proofs of our Father-Mother God’s love for Her creation in my life. God has filled my life with infinite blessings and it’s time for me to acknowledge these blessings to others. -Karen Molenaar Terrell
Here’s the beauty of it – the whole Christmas thing You don’t have to go anywhere to find it waiting You don’t have to be anyone special or rare Christmas doesn’t depend on a who, when, or where You can be at the North Pole, or on the equator – at the bottom of the deepest sea, or in a volcano’s crater – it might be mid-July or it might be December but Christmas is right now if we only remember to open our hearts wide to the love all around to witness the beauty, and feel the good of love abound -Karen Molenaar Terrell
T’was two weeks afore Christmas and all through Eff Bee not a creature was stirring – not a they, he, or she We were frozen in place – old traditions wiped out – finding it hard to remember what it all was about
There’d be no parties this year; no off-line celebrations (some of us contemplated months-long hibernations) Some of us would be zooming, others face-timing (those of us without working mics would be doing some miming)
There were still cookies to bake and gifts to send out but this year we’d be masked-up as we moved about Gone were the handshakes, the hugs, and side kisses – replaced with tapping elbows as we went about our business
And as we forged on – made what we could of twenty-twenty – we began to unfreeze and realize there was still plenty of beauty all around us – joy and peace and kindness We saw that gratitude brings us Christmas and Love it is that binds us -Karen Molenaar Terrell
Registered Democrat here. A few things – 1) I’ve never collected welfare. 2) I’ve never collected unemployment. 3) I’ve never been on Medicaid. 4) I’ve never had an abortion. 5) I’ve worked almost my entire adult life as a teacher.
More things: 1) Although I’ve never needed welfare, unemployment compensation, or Medicaid – I’ve never begrudged these things to the people who DO need them. I don’t mind contributing to a federal pot of money to help my fellow Americans who are in need. I consider that is one of the privileges and responsibilities of being a citizen of this country. It’s not all about me. It’s not “me first.” Being a citizen of the United States is about being a part of something bigger than myself. It’s about caring for the well-being of others in my country, too.
2) Although I’ve never had an abortion – was never in a position where that was something I needed to think about – I don’t believe it’s my place to make that choice for another woman. Being pregnant is a big deal. Childbirth is a big deal. Women die from these things. Medical decisions regarding a woman’s health should be between the woman and her doctor – and are not anyone else’s business. My pregnancies were planned and celebrated. I was healthy. My sons were healthy in the womb. We anticipated our sons’ births with great excitement and joy. But I can imagine circumstances being different. I have friends who had to make that choice – and I know it wasn’t easy for any of them. NO ONE IS FOR ABORTION. – Karen Molenaar Terrell
“…freely ye have received, freely give.” – Matthew 10:8
Please do not tell me what I believe, feel, and think.
– Do not assume because I am a progressive and tend to vote for Democrats that I don’t believe in God, “hate the Bible,” and want to kill babies and take away your guns.
– Do not assume because I believe in God that I am anti-science, believe the earth is flat and the world was, literally, created in seven days.
– Do not assume that because I’m white, middle-aged and named “Karen” I am racist and want to talk to your manager.
– Do not assume that because I identify as a “Christian” I am conservative, opposed to LGBTQ rights, opposed to women’s rights, travel heavily armed, and am voting for you-know-who.
I think if we see others in terms of stereotypes we miss out on some beautiful friendships and kinship with our fellow humans.
-Karen Molenaar Terrell