Introduction to Blessings: Adventures of a Madcap Christian Scientist

Introduction to Blessings: Adventures of a Madcap Christian Scientist:

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

Christmas Doesn’t Depend on a Who, When, or Where

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

Christmas Lights

Two Weeks Afore Christmas 2020

T’was Two Weeks Afore Christmas 2020

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

Christmas Peace

Registered Democrat Here

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

Do Not Assume

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

God Doesn’t Need Evil to Accomplish Good

To my fellow Christians –

If you are under the belief that God needs lies, dishonesty, and concealing the truth to accomplish His will then I believe you sorely underestimate God. If you believe that God allows corruption, hypocrisy, misogyny, racism, greed, bigotry, bullying, mocking the handicapped, inequity, injustice, greed, bribery, and extortion in order to bring “salvation” to our nation – then I believe you are missing, entirely, the whole point, the fundamental message of the Christ – “love your neighbor” – “God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them” – “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus” – “Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was hungry, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me” – “behold, the kingdom of God is within you.”

The God I worship doesn’t need the help of evil to accomplish Her will.

– Karen Molenaar Terrell

“…on earth peace, good will toward all.”

I Exist for Love

I was made by Love
Made for Love
Made to do the will of Love
and to fulfill Love’s purpose
That is why I’m here
and when I realize that
it changes EVERYTHING
In an instant everything shifts –
my thoughts take wing
I feel them lift and join with
something bigger than me
and it’s no longer about my
desires, my wants, my
complaints big and small.
None of that matters at all.
I exist for Love.
– Karen Molenaar Terrell

love-hath-made

The Beginning Times

Had an interesting exchange with a man at the supermarket today. I was sitting on a bench, waiting for my husband, and a man came up and asked if he could join me. I said, “Absolutely! Have a seat!”

He talked about the rain. And then he said something about the mess the world is in. And THEN he said, “I’m a Christian and we believe the world is in the end times.”

I smiled at him and nodded. “I’m a Christian Scientist and we believe we should heal it,” I said.

And then my husband appeared. I smiled back at the nice man on the bench and went to join my spouse.

The End.

Or… The Beginning.

***

“There are people praying for the world to end. We don’t want to destroy the world – we want to heal it.”
– Harvey Wood (his words as remembered by me)

(Photo by Karen Molenaar Terrell.)

moonrise over baker maybe this one also 2 really

“Cool! What is that?”

“The weapons of bigotry, ignorance, envy, fall before an honest heart.” 
– Mary Baker Eddy

I didn’t usually tell people right away – and certainly not the men I dated. I always thought it was better if they got to know me first as a human being. Sometimes it took months for me to tell my friends. Sometimes years. Sometimes the moment never came. I have friends who maybe STILL don’t know. After a number of early experiences, I’d come to the realization that some people would see me differently as soon as they found out. In the past I’d had all kinds of labels attached to me that weren’t really me – I’d been instantly lumped in with fundamentalists and creationists; with people who speak in tongues and handle snakes; with dominionists and faith healers and fire-and-brimstone folks. When one friend – who’d known me for years – finally found out, she’d asked me if I would just leave her bleeding and injured on a sidewalk if she was hit by a car. Which. What…?!

So I guess it says something about Scott that I told him on our first date. I no longer remember how the subject came up, but I found myself saying, “I’m a Christian Scientist.” I guess I half-expected an awkward pause after my reveal, but Scott quickly responded with, “Oh! That’s cool.” Then he glanced over at me, and asked, “What’s that?” 🙂

Turns out he’d never heard of Christian Science! And that was AWESOME – it meant I could explain what it was all about from my own perspective, without any preconceived ideas on his part. I can’t remember now exactly what I said – I probably talked about the Christian Science idea of God as the power and presence of Love; I probably talked about how I had experienced healings in my life by drawing my thoughts close to this power of Love.  And as I talked he listened and nodded and accepted me. He shared some of his own thoughts about God – he’d been raised in the United Methodist tradition of New England and he, too, had been raised to believe in a loving God who cared for His children. He understood the beliefs I was describing, and accepted me as “me” right away.

Scott and I have never had a need to “convert” each other – to try to make each other hold the exact same religious beliefs. If asked, he’d probably still say he was a Methodist. If asked, I’d probably still say I was a Christian Scientist. But beyond religion, we share the same values – we both believe in the power of kindness. We both believe we should be generous to those in need; fair and honest in our dealings with others; and protective of our natural environment. We both believe we shouldn’t be quick to make judgments about others.

It’s been thirty-six years now since I  had that first conversation with Scott. Through all that time he’s continued to be supportive of me and my practice of Christian Science. I am so grateful for him, and for people like him – people who approach others with open minds and hearts – ready to listen and share and learn from each other – people able to go past stereotypes and see the individuals behind the labels.

what people think I do