Thoughts on Vaccinations

A friend recently asked me if I would post my thoughts about vaccinations. Here they are:

Because I’ve always identified myself as a Christian Scientist – and a lot of people think of Christian Scientists as “the ones who don’t go to doctors” – I’ve often been asked if I had my children vaccinated. The short answer is yes. (I’ve also had vaccinations myself – right after my oldest son was born I was vaccinated for rubella; I went in for a tetanus shot once when I fell kiester-first through a hole in the porch and snagged my legs on rusty nails as I was going down – I still crack up every time I think about that adventure – I am such a doof; and several years ago I voluntarily went to the doctor and got the pertussis vaccination to help alleviate the fears of the people around me when I began working at a high school during a time when pertussis was running rampant through my state. [As a youngster I had mumps, measles, and chicken pox – I was quickly healed of all of them – and a titer test later confirmed I carried the antibodies.])

When I took my sons in to be vaccinated I had to sign consent forms that listed a lot of possible side effects for the vaccinations, and I remember feeling frightened by what I read there. I did not sign those forms cavalierly – my sons are the most precious people in the world to me. As a Christian Scientist I used my understanding of God – of Love – to know that the vaccinations had no power to hurt my sons – that they were held safe in the arms of Love.

I should maybe add that I don’t believe God is some anthropomorphic being sitting in the clouds getting angry and throwing thunderbolts at Her children if we get vaccinated or whatever. The God I follow – Love, Truth, Life, Principle, Mind, Soul, Spirit (synonyms Mary Baker Eddy gave for “God”) – isn’t concerned with that – Love is going to remain unchanging Love, and Truth is going to remain unchanging Truth, no matter what we do or think or believe.

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“Where vaccination is compulsory, let your children be vaccinated, and see that your mind is in such a state that by your prayers vaccination will do the children no harm.”
– Mary Baker Eddy

“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

Is this appropriate?

My study of Christian Science has informed every aspect of who I am – it’s had an influence on my family relationships, friendships, career, art, adventures, and politics. I can’t separate Christian Science from any part of me – I can’t compartmentalize it into some box called “religion” and only bring it out on Sundays and occasional holidays, and those times when I might be in need of healing..

When I share my blog posts, I am only speaking for myself and my own experience with Christian Science – I am not speaking for any other Christian Scientists. Christian Scientists are not a monolithic group. We don’t all think, feel, and believe the exactly same way about things. We don’t all share the same political views. Some Christian Scientists identify as Democrats, and some as Republicans, and some as something else altogether. And I think that’s awesome.

In the past year a lot of my posts have been political in nature. Again, I’m only expressing my own views – as this particular Christian Scientist. I am living Christian Science as I feel God is directing me to live it – and I make no apologies for this, nor do I expect any other Christian Scientist to live their lives as I feel God is directing me to live mine. We are individual expressions of Love, each fulfilling our own “niche in time and eternity” (Mary Baker Eddy) and I believe we need to allow each other to have these life experiences and expressions without condemnation or judgment. Where God is leading you is none of my business. Where God is leading me is none of your business.

I will never use my blog to tell anyone how to vote. I will never use my blog to try to convince everyone to be Democrats, or Republicans, or any other political party. I will, however, use my blog to address issues that I feel need to be addressed.

Thank you for taking the time to read my posts, and to being open to what I have to share. It takes epic kindness and generosity to listen to others, and try to understand their perspective, and I thank you for that!

(This blog post is in response to a comment from a reader: “I don’t think your comments are appropriate under the heading of Christian Science writings!”)

God loves