Boondoggle Chicanery Fricassee Frack

boondoggle chicanery fricassee frack
we’re treating our planet like it’s mere bric-a-brac
brouhaha blunderbuss balderdash trump
are the politicos shrewd or just foolish chumps?
shenanigans skiddaddle kerfuffle flummoxed
some leave with stealth; some because they’re fuxed
cacophony kiester debacle folderol
the last thing we need is to build a wall.
– Karen Molenaar Terrell

earth NASA

Is Christian Science a Dying Religion?

“But the time cometh when the religious element, or Church of Christ, shall exist alone in the affections, and need no organization to express it.”
– Mary Baker Eddy, Miscellaneous Writings, p. 145

“When students have fulfilled all the good ends of organization, and are convinced that by leaving the material forms thereof a higher spiritual unity is won, then is the time to follow the example of the Alma Mater. Material organization is requisite in the beginning; but when it has done its work, the purely Christly method of teaching and preaching must be adopted.”
– Mary Baker Eddy, Miscellaneous Writings, p. 358-359

“It is not indispensable to organize materially Christ’s church. It is not absolutely necessary to ordain pastors and to dedicate churches; but if this be done, let it be in concession to the period, and not as a perpetual or indispensable ceremonial of the church. If our church is organized, it is to meet the demand, ‘Suffer it to be so now.’ The real Christian compact is love for one another. This bond is wholly spiritual and inviolate.”
– Mary Baker Eddy, Miscellaneous Writings, p. 91

A friend of mine recently pointed out an article in The Federalist titled, “How Christian Science Became a Dying Religion” In the article the author, Alfred Siewers, writes: “Today, demolished or converted Christian Science churches testify to its decline…The number of Christian Scientists in the United States was 270,000 in 1936 (the last reliable public count). Today, despite growth in the nation’s population, actual church membership in the U.S. could well be down to 50,000, based on a steep drop in numbers of congregations and registered healers.” And he mentions that the last Christian Scientists in Congress, Representatives Bob Goodlatte and Lamar Smith, are no longer members of the legislature.

Here’s my reaction to all of that:
– Regarding Goodlatte and Smith: I don’t care what religion (or non-religion) legislators practice just so long as they are in Congress to help bring equality, justice, and fairness to all Americans, to serve the constituents (rather than corporations), and to save our environment.

– Regarding the closure of Christian Science churches: Back in 1879, when Mary Baker Eddy was trying to share Christian Science with the world, there weren’t televisions, computers, radios, or the internet – and I’m thinking the most effective way for her to share her discovery of Christian Science at that time was through a church. Maybe an organized religion is no longer the most effective way to share the Science of the Christ (Love, Truth, Life).

I believe Christian Science is more a way of life than a religion. Christian Science isn’t something that needs to be housed in a material structure. It’s not dependent on a human organization or a physical building. Christian Science can be practiced anywhere at any time by anyone. The power and presence of Love – the power and presence that brings us healing – isn’t limited to people who are card-carrying members of the Christian Science church. It’s available to all of us – no matter our church or political affiliations, race, ethnicity, gender, or sexual orientation. No one is ever separated from the power and presence of Love.  The power of Love doesn’t discriminate or judge us, or leave anyone out. As Mary Baker Eddy writes in the Christian Science textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures: “Love is impartial and universal in its adaptations and bestowals.”

– Regarding the “declining” membership: Big numbers or little numbers, lots of people or just a few, popular or unpopular – I. Do. Not. Care. I don’t follow ANYthing just because it’s popular, or because celebrities and the “cool kids” like it – and I’m guessing you don’t, either, right?  I follow something because it resonates with me – it feels “right” to me – I follow an idea because it helps make me a better person, or gives me the tools to make the world a better place. I follow the teachings of Christian Science because it has brought me healing.

Is Christian Science a dying religion? I guess my response to that question would be another question: Isn’t Christian Science MORE than just a religion?

church

 

Marriage Equality

I believe that every citizen – regardless of race, ethnicity, social and economic status, religion, non-religion, gender, or sexual orientation – should have the exact same rights as every other citizen – including the right for consenting adults to marry whom they love.

This month my husband and I will celebrate our 35th wedding anniversary. Every year about this time I find myself thinking back to that happy day and the days leading up to it.

You know those shows you see on television where the bride spends HUGE amounts of time, thought, and bucks choosing the just right ring, dress, caterer, flowers, music, photographer, and reception venue for her “big day” – those shows where every minute detail of the wedding production is analyzed, critiqued, and judged for its merits on visual perfection? Where the ceremony is somber and refined and the highlight of the whole shebang is the dress the bride wears?

Yeah. That wasn’t us.

My engagement ring was a little garnet ring I picked out from a small jewelry shop in Pike Place Market in Seattle, and the man who sold it to us was cheerfully, flamboyantly, hilariously gay – he had us cracking up the minute we walked into his shop. My wedding dress was the first dress I tried on from the sales rack at our local Bon Marche. Cost me $120. Our minister was a hoot – we’d met with him for a required counseling session, and when he told us that anything he had to say to us would be pretty much useless at this point – because it’s really only AFTER the wedding that the bride and groom realize what they’ve gotten themselves into (we later learned that he’d just recently been divorced), we immediately recognized the man had a sense of humor, and he was, for sure, the minister we wanted officiating our nuptials.

The wedding was a joyful, light-hearted affair in a small Methodist church in Gig Harbor – I remember the minister asking us if we really wanted to hold the service in his church – it was very small – could maybe hold 100 people – and very old (it’s since been torn down and a larger church built in a different location) – but, for our purposes, that little church was perfect – I liked the cozy smallness of it and the stained glass windows – and from the church’s steps we could look out across the water and see Mount Rainier rising above the hills in the distance. The wedding itself was simple, joyful, and natural. We weren’t too concerned with “perfection” – we just wanted our guests to feel comfortable and loved. The reception was held in my parents’ backyard – with the sound of laughter, and the smell of daffodils and plum blossoms, filling the air. And we played volleyball in the pasture – the groom’s team won, but it was a close game.

The minister came to the reception, and fit right in with our hooligan families and friends. Before he left he told us that sometimes he’s really worried about the future of the newlyweds he marries – they often seem more concerned about the wedding than the actual marriage – but, after watching us yukking it up with our families and friends, he felt good about being a part of our ceremony. He knew we were going to be alright. We knew how to laugh.

When I think about that day, I can’t imagine why anyone would want to deny other people the right to a wedding, and to a life-long commitment in marriage with the partner they love. I can’t understand why any heterosexual couple would feel their own marriage is threatened by giving homosexuals the same rights that they have. I feel a real yearning for other folks who love one another, and are brave enough to make a commitment to each other, to be allowed to have what my husband and I were allowed to have.

***

“Happiness is spiritual, born of Truth and Love. It is unselfish; therefore it cannot exist alone, but requires all mankind to share it.” –
from the chapter titled ‘Marriage’ in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy

wedding photo

Karen and Scott Terrell, 3-31-1984. Photo by Bob Harbison.

Abortion

Warning: This one is of a political nature. 

I have noticed at least one politician who brings up abortions whenever his approval ratings drop. The word “abortion” seems to bring an instant knee-jerk reaction from people – they immediately fall into lock-step behind him. All the other things that need attention – global warming, mass shootings, poverty, homelessness, and national security – are put aside. People seem willing to throw out the Constitution and the well-being of their fellow citizens for this one issue alone.

I’ve never had an abortion. I’ve never been in a situation where I might have to make that choice: Both my pregnancies were planned; The pregnancies didn’t endanger my health or life; The sons were seen to be thriving and whole in the womb. My pregnancies were full of joyful anticipation. I could see my sons moving around on the screen – could see their little hands and feet moving and their hearts beating – and they were both very real to me. I can understand the feelings anti-choice people have about abortion, and I can relate to those feelings.

But I have empathy, too, for women who might find themselves in circumstances different than mine – I can imagine the gut-wrenching despair and heartache a woman might feel if she found herself in a position where she had to make this choice. I have had friends who had to make this choice for themselves and none of them celebrated abortions – there wasn’t wild rejoicing and laughter and applause. None of them approached this choice without deep reflection and thought. For each of them it was a somber, serious, sorrowful time in their lives.

No one should view another woman’s pregnancy cavalierly – like pregnancy and childbirth are just small blips in a woman’s life. Women die from pregnancies. Women die from childbirth. And to force a woman to go through a pregnancy that might endanger her health, or cause her death, is unthinkable to me. To force any woman to go through a pregnancy without consideration for her feelings and needs is just wrong. It’s not my place – or anyone else’s – to take control of another woman’s body and choose how it’s going to be used. Her body doesn’t belong to me, or to you.

Yeah, I admit I have sometimes found myself making judgments on women who have had multiple abortions, or who choose to have an abortion rather than give up their dream for a new car or a trip to the Bahamas or whatever. But I’m not proud of that. When we, as a society, start trying to add certain restrictions about who can get an abortion and who can’t and for what reasons, we’re making the right to get an abortion a subjective thing, rather than a medical procedure. Who am I to decide what reasons are good enough to allow a woman to have an abortion, and what reasons are not? All women should have the right to have control over their own bodies. And my personal biases – and yours – shouldn’t enter into the discussion.

Should there be laws that protect a sentient life from harm? Absolutely! And there are laws that do this. No state allows for murder. No state allows for infanticide. Any claims to the contrary are wrong.

Do I post this? Or do I not?
Okay, here goes..

“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

A Change in the Air

I felt it this morning – a lightness, a lifting –
a change in the air. A peace that hasn’t been there
for a long time now – a couple of years. A shifting
of the heart from doubt to hope.
This is what it looks like – no balloons or parades –
just smiling people greeting each other
in the sunshine and a pigeon
stretching her wings.
– Karen Molenaar Terrell

Pigeon Takes flight

A pigeon in Bellingham, Washington. Photo by Karen Molenaar Terrell.

 

Here’s what would be really cool…

Here’s what would be really cool, I think. If egos would take a back seat. If people weren’t branded as the “winners” and the “losers” in every political machination. If it wasn’t all about taking credit and laying blame. If regular people weren’t treated as pawns. If it could just be about… you know… actually helping people – helping the homeless, the oppressed, and the vulnerable . Saving the environment. Doing the right thing. Being kind. Being honest. Being decent. Wouldn’t that be lovely?

Alrighty. That is all. Carry on then…

kind-people-unite