The Need to Share What Matters

Four years ago, during the last election season, strangers would suddenly appear and comment on my public Facebook posts and they would say things with weird phrasing and syntax – stuff like “you are a big banana butt” and “you are a person brainless” – and sometimes their names were spelled with characters that are not used in the English language (μονοσε πουλι). These strangers would tell me to fu#& off and wished harm to me and my friends. It was an odd and interesting time.

I blocked those people (to block the names with weird characters I had to do a copy and paste – my keyboard doesn’t include weird characters on it) and learned from that experience to disallow commenting on my public posts from people who aren’t my friends.

I’m pretty sure now – looking back – that these strangers were not fellow citizens of my country. (Duh, right?) I’m not even sure that they were actually human beings.

I don’t want my posts to be divisive – that is not my intent. I don’t want to see my friends ganging up on each other and calling each other names. I don’t want to promote hate. I don’t want to let myself or my posts be manipulated or used to create havoc and confusion.

But.

I also have a real need to share things that matter to me; to share things that are important to me; to share the things that give me hope, and the things that feel like a punch in the gut, too; and to share things that might help us learn from each other.

I am struggling with how to proceed on Facebook. Honestly, sometimes the hate and mean-ness I encounter there is so overwhelming that I feel the need to leave. And sometimes I just get bored with myself – yada yada blah blah blah – and realize I have nothing more to add.

Anyway. We’ll see how it goes…
– Karen Molenaar Terrell

How do you argue with Love?

You can’t argue with Love.
There’s nothing in Love to insult, offend or attack.
There’s nothing in Love to be hurt or to hit back.
Love doesn’t see skin color – not white or black.
Love fills all space – and that’s a fact.
– Karen Molenaar Terrell

What I’m Feeling Right Now

How many black men have to die for things to change?

What’s on your mind? Facebook asks.
And I look at the little box and wonder
how I can possibly put into words
what I’m feeling right now –
I’m not sure there are any words
big enough for my feelings.
Our world is in desperate need –
in desperate need of love,
of honesty and kindness and wisdom.
And my heart breaks for our world
and for all its creatures.
Love bless us all – each and every one.
– Karen Molenaar Terrell

“Love is impartial and universal in its adaptation and bestowals.”
– Mary Baker Eddy

Spinning Heads and Pea Soup

(Originally published in 2013. Excerpted from The Madcap Christian Scientist: All Things New.)

I’ve never seen The Exorcist, but I have seen that scene with the pea soup and the spinning head – and lately I’ve seemed to encounter a lot of what I would put in the “pea soup and spinning head” category. There have been times, recently, when personalities have seemed to spin themselves out of alignment with the individuals they really are, spewing out all kinds of hell – anger, frustration, jealousy, fear, revenge, hatred, finger-pointing. And I’m embarrassed to say that on at least a couple occasions at the beginning of the week I myself was the spewer – feeling really angry and hurt that someone who had scorned me and treated me unfairly had managed to get himself promoted to a position of even greater power.

It none of it felt good.

But something became really obvious to me a couple days ago when I came across yet another spewing spinner in a conversation on a discussion board.  I found myself just stepping back and kind of observing in interested fascination as the pea soup flew and the vitriol sprayed my direction.  The pea soup and vitriol were so over-the-top and spewed so high in the air that it simply erupted above the spewer’s head and ended up landing back on her.  It didn’t touch me at all. And, standing there on the outside of the mess, it became really clear to me that the spinning, spewing personality was not at all the real individuality of my fellow poster. It was obvious that what I had just witnessed was nothing but a spinning, spewing counterfeit of the real man and woman, made in God’s likeness – made in the likeness of Love.  And it also became clear to me that I had no desire or need to spend my time engaged in conversation with a counterfeit. I was able to step back and move on and find other interesting dialogues that better served me.  I didn’t give the counterfeit the power to push me OUT of a space where I belonged, and nor did I give the counterfeit the power to pull me INTO a space where I didn’t belong. I didn’t have to react or respond to the counterfeit at all.

This encounter with the counterfeit poster, helped me come to terms with my feelings of anger and wish for vengeance towards the personality who had treated me so poorly in the past and been promoted. I had to recognize that the real man is the child of God – that God loves him no less than he loves me – and that God is instructing him, and leading him down his own path in life, with its own lessons waiting for him. And none of that is any of my business.

My business is keeping watch on my own thoughts and actions. Mary Baker Eddy writes, “Christian Science commands man to master the propensities, – to hold hatred in abeyance with kindness, to conquer lust with chastity, revenge with charity, and to overcome deceit with honesty. Choke these errors in their early stages, if you would not cherish an army of conspirators against health, happiness, and success.”

As Paul says, we all must work out our “own salvation.”  It’s rewarding work. It’s satisfying work. And it’s also enough work to fill my moments and my days for eternity. Who has time to worry about working out someone ELSE’s flaws and foibles, when I have enough of my own to worry about?

Spinning heads and pea soup, be gone!

“Evil is nothing, no thing, mind, nor power.  As manifested by mankind it stands for a lie, nothing claiming to be something, – for lust, dishonesty, selfishness, envy, hypocrisy, slander, hate, theft, adultery, murder, dementia, insanity, inanity, devil, hell, with all the etceteras that word includes.”
– Mary Baker Eddy

“Clad in the panoply of Love, human hatred cannot reach you.”
– Mary Baker Eddy

“Love has no sense of hatred.”
– Mary Baker Eddy

Universal Love

 

 

I don’t hate Donald Trump…

No, honestly, I don’t hate Donald Trump. I hate what he says and does and tweets. I hate how he twists events so that he never has to take responsibility for them. I hate the cruelty and mockery he shows to the disabled, the disadvantaged, and those who are seeking refuge here. I hate the way in which he incites hatred in others. But I don’t hate HIM. I don’t wish harm to come to him or his family. I just don’t think he’s the right person to be leading my country.

 

“Hating on people is not going to improve your life…”

No, you are not going to be arrested for saying “God bless America” or for going to whatever church you go to, or for voting as your conscience dictates. And yes, you can hate whoever you want to hate – so long as you don’t actually cause harm to come to other people or take away their rights to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” – but I would advise against hate. I’m pretty sure hating on people is not going to improve your life in any way. And it’s surely not going to make America a better place.
– Karen Molenaar Terrell

paranoia: a mental condition characterized by delusions of persecution, unwarranted jealousy, or exaggerated self-importance, typically elaborated into an organized system. It may be an aspect of chronic personality disorder, of drug abuse, or of a serious condition such as schizophrenia in which the person loses touch with reality.”

“God bless the whole world. No exceptions.”

Hating

Something Bigger than Personalities

Whoah. I was just thinking about a conversation I’d had with a friend – we’d been talking about the marches we were both in last Saturday – mostly how epic and inspiring it was to be part of that – but we also got into a debate about the hate signs and hate speech that some people brought with them to the marches. My friend felt one way about that, and I felt another. And as I was thinking about that conversation this morning I had a kind of epiphany for myself – and I know this is something that a lot of you probably realized long ago – but, for me, it was, like, whoah. Here’s what came to me: I’m against hate – whichever direction it comes from, whether it’s from the left, right, or upside down; I’m against hate and mean-spiritedness.

And the corollary – I’m FOR loving kindness. No matter which direction it comes from – left, right, or in-between.

When I brought my “Love rules!” sign into the march it wasn’t to show support for everyone who voted against Donald Trump – in my mind, the marches were about something bigger than personalities. In my mind, this wasn’t an “us” versus “them” kind of thing. When I joined the march it was to stand in solidarity with folks who are working and praying for justice and equality for ALL people – not just people who voted against Donald Trump.

Not sure I explained this at all well. But when have I ever let that stop me from posting stuff? 🙂

“Human hate has no legitimate mandate and no kingdom. Love is enthroned.”
– Mary Baker Eddy

“Your influence for good depends upon the weight you throw into the right scale. The good you do and embody gives you the only power obtainable.”
– Mary Baker Eddy

good you do and embody

No Place Safer

In the last several days I’ve been sort of toying with the idea of moving my family and myself to New Zealand. Beautiful country. The Fellowship of the Ring was filmed there. Big mountains. Nice people. They speak English there – which would be convenient.

But then I realized that the issues that we’re dealing with here in the States are the same issues our entire world is dealing with right now – racism, sexism, bigotry, hate. This is global. We are all of us up against the wall and we each have to do our part to heal these problems from wherever we are. We can’t escape this confrontation between good and evil. There’s no place we can go that’s safer than where we already are.

And I found this realization strangely comforting.

Wherever we are – Love is there. Wherever we are – Truth is there.  Love fills all space and time. There is no place safer than where I am.

no-place-safer