Is this the best leader for our country?

It is my belief that Jesus wouldn’t have approved of Trump’s direction for our country. Jesus told us to love our neighbors and love our enemies. He told us to feed the hungry, heal the sick, provide shelter for the homeless. Do you think he would have wanted to deny the poor access to health care? Do you think he would have wanted to deny refuge to our neighbors in Mexico, and across the sea, who need protection and shelter? Do you think he would have wanted tax cuts for the rich? He said, “Blessed are the peacemakers” and he said it is harder for a rich man to get into heaven than it is for a camel to go through the eye of a needle. He said, “…whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant…” 

Do you think Trump sees himself as a servant?

We don’t have to hate Trump to recognize that he’s not fit to be the leader of the United States.

Trump 1

I’m not really interested in Mary Baker Eddy’s personal life. Does that make me, like, a bad Christian Scientist?

“Those who look for me in person, or elsewhere than in my writings, lose me instead of find me.  I hope and trust that you and I may meet in truth and know each other there, and know as we are known of God.”  – Mary Baker Eddy (The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany, page 120: 2)

 “… follow your Leader only so far as she follows Christ.” – Mary Baker Eddy (Message for 1901)

So I got this flyer in the mail today, telling me about a good deal on biographies about Mary Baker Eddy’s life.  And… I found I wasn’t at all interested in it.  And I’m wondering… does that make me a “bad” Christian Scientist?

The thing is, I’ve always been someone who’s more apt to follow ideas than personalities.  I cherish the ideas that Mary Baker Eddy, the discoverer of Christian Science, brought to us.  I am beyond grateful to Mary Baker Eddy for the sacrifices she made in her life, and the challenges she had to overcome, to bring her discovery to the world – and I know enough about her life to know that those sacrifices and challenges were immense – her early widowhood, the betrayal of friends and family, poverty, her young son taken from her when she was ill, trumped-up lawsuits, hatred, bigotry, prejudice…

But…

In Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, the textbook for Christian Science, Eddy writes: “In founding a pathological system of Christianity, the author has labored to expound divine Principle, and not to exalt personality.”

I don’t believe Eddy wanted adulation. I do not believe she wanted those who consider themselves Christian Scientists to worship her, or to focus on her personality.

Eddy writes in Science and Health: “People go into ecstasies over the sense of a corporeal Jehovah, though with scarcely a spark of love in their hearts; yet God is love, and without Love, God, immortality cannot appear.”  And later she writes: “It was now evident to Peter that divine Life, Truth, and Love, and not a human personality, was the healer of the sick and a rock, a firm foundation in the realm of harmony… In an age of ecclesiastical despotism, Jesus introduced the teaching and practice of Christianity, affording  the proof of Christianity’s truth and love; but to reach his example and to test its unerring Science according to his rule, healing sickness, sin, and death, a better understanding of God as divine Principle, Love, rather than personality or the man Jesus, is required.”

So there you go.

The healing Truth, Love, is what a Christian Scientist follows, right? Not a human personality. Not a man. Not a woman. But the Christ – Love and Truth and Life.

In one of my favorite books, The Greatest Thing in the World, a sermon on I Corinthians 13, Henry Drummond writes: “‘Love rejoiceth not in unrighteousness, but rejoiceth with the truth.’… for he who loves will love Truth not less than men. He will rejoice in the Truth—rejoice not in what he has been taught to believe; not in this church’s doctrine or in that; not in this ism or in that ism; but ‘in the Truth.’ He will accept only what is real; he will strive to get at facts; he will search for Truth with a humble and unbiased mind, and cherish whatever he finds at any sacrifice.”

I love that – “…he who loves will love Truth not less than men.” It seems to me that thought is really the basis for all Science.  I believe that to be a true Christian Scientist one must seek Truth,Christ, not human personality.

The Bible: From “Baseline Data” to a Revelation

“Definition. Baseline data is basic information gathered before a program begins. It is used later to provide a comparison for assessing program impact.” – http://www.sil.org/lingualinks/literacy/referencematerials/glossaryofliteracyterms/whatisbaselinedata.htm

…our sufficiency is of God… Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.” – II Corinthians 3

SCIENTIFIC interpretation of the Scriptures properly starts with the beginning of the Old Testament, chiefly because the spiritual import of the Word, in its earliest articulations, often seems so smothered by the immediate context as to require explication; whereas the New Testament narratives are clearer and come nearer the heart.” – Mary Baker Eddy (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures)

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The Bible is really cool in that it’s a collection of writings from people who lived thousands of years ago and took the time to write down their thoughts and feelings about life – and their writing connects us to them – lets us see that people dealt with the same feelings that we deal with today. There’s joy in those pages, and hope, and great love. There’re stories of self-sacrifice and selflessness and courage – and there’re also stories of obsession and greed and jealousy. And it’s interesting, to me, to see how people dealt with all that stuff – as a society, and as individuals.

But there’s a distinction made in the Bible between the “spirit” and the “letter.” It says in II Corinthians 3 that “the letter killeth” – and I think when people interpret the Bible word-for-word literally they are killing the spirit, the essence, of its meaning. The Bible is chock full of symbolism. Interpreted literally, a lot of it just doesn’t make any sense – it’s full of contradictions and things that are just loopy. Interpreted literally, the story of Adam and Eve has any sane person scratching her head, trying to make heads and tails of talking serpents and a rib turned into a woman and a Creator sending his creation to hell for doing what he made it capable of doing. Interpreted literally, the book of Revelation is a complete nightmare.

And sometimes it might seem really tempting to just throw the whole thing in the trash and be done with it – there is a lot of insanity displayed in The Bible – narrow-mindedness, rigidity, misogyny, tribal warfare, chaos and mayhem and rape and murder and hypocrisy – and I can understand why I’ve sometimes heard people say they hate it.

But when I read The Bible what I see as a history major is the evolution and progress of society and mankind – gradually moving away from a god of war – a vengeful, angry, jealous anthropomorphic god – to God as, literally, Love. When I read the first chapter of Genesis I see the beauty of creation – I don’t get hung up on the whole seven days and seven nights thing – Christian Scientists don’t interpret that chapter literally – what I see is a creation made in God’s image and likeness – beautiful and good and perfect. When I read the story of Adam and Eve, it’s obvious to me that I’m reading an allegory. When I read the songs that David wrote I know I’m reading the words of a man who struggled with the same things I’ve struggled with in my life – I see his flaws and I see his mistakes and his victories, and I see him growing and maturing and I take comfort in that. Jesus’ healings are evidence, for me, of the power of our thoughts, the power of love and good overcoming the challenges we all face – and they give me hope. Revelations is totally symbolic – in my mind, at least – showing the ultimate triumph of the things of the Spirit over the illusions of matter.

I think it’s important to keep what we read in the Bible in context with the culture and times in which it was written – and to view the Bible as a work that’s not static, but dynamic – that shows us a progression from beginning to end.  When we read in Leviticus the ruling that adulterous women should be stoned, and “…eye for eye, tooth for tooth: as he hath caused a blemish in a man, so shall it be done to him again” – I don’t see this as an edict of how we should behave today – I see Leviticus as offering us the baseline data – as the “basic information gathered before a program begins… used later to show how far we’ve come…”   (http://www.sil.org). When we later see Jesus saving the woman accused of adultery from being stoned, and read his words, “Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also” (Matthew 5) – I see the progress mankind has made from the baseline given in Leviticus.

Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.” – Matthew 5

“There will be greater mental opposition to the spiritual, scientific meaning of the Scriptures than there has ever been since the Christian era began. The serpent, material sense, will bite the heel of  the woman, – will struggle to destroy the spiritual idea of Love...” – Mary Baker Eddy (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures)

“The Scriptures are very sacred. Our aim must be to have them understood spiritually, for only by this understanding can truth be gained. The true theory of the universe, including man, is not in material history but in spiritual development.” – from Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy