That M*A*S*H Scene Revisited

So here’s something… I woke up this morning with that scene from the M*A*S*H movie in my head – the one where Margaret Houlihan is trying to take a shower and Hawkeye Pierce and Trapper John raise the shower curtain on her in front of an audience of laughing men. M*A*S*H was one of the biggest movies of the early 1970s – nominated for all kinds of awards, including best picture. I didn’t see it when it first came out – too young – but I remember enjoying it, for the most part, when I finally saw it a few years later. I never did like that shower scene, though – it made me really uncomfortable – I thought it was mean-spirited. And now here we are in 2018. I’m thinking that scene might not play well in theaters, anymore. And I’m really glad about that.

We have made progress.

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Our World Is in Labor

Our world is in labor.
It’s painful to watch
and painful to go through.
But there’s a birth going
on here. Or a rebirth.
Something beautiful is going
to be born of this. I feel it.
– Karen Molenaar Terrell

Butterfly on Table Mountain

An alpine butterfly flits among the flowers on Table Mountain. Photo by Karen Molenaar Terrell.

 

Mary Baker Eddy: A Voice for Progress

In preparing for the Women’s March today,  I’ve found myself drawn to the writings of Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of the Christian Science church. Her words are as timely today as they were when she first began her exploration of Christian Science 150 years ago. She talks of women’s rights, oppression, social injustice, and the need to protect freedom of speech, and freedom of the press. She writes that “Progress is the law of God…” and writes, “… there is never a retrograde step, never a return to positions outgrown.” Her words bring me hope and help prepare my heart for the journey that lies ahead for us – not just today, but in the coming months. 

Here are some of the thoughts from Mary Baker Eddy that have inspired me this morning:

“The conclusion cannot now be pushed, that women have no rights that man is bound to respect. This is woman’s hour, in all the good tendencies, charities, and reforms of to-day.”
– Mary Baker Eddy, Miscellaneous Writings, p 245[

“Rise in the strength of Spirit to resist all that is unlike good. God has made man capable of this, and nothing can vitiate the ability and power divinely bestowed on man.”
– Mary Baker Eddy, Science and Health, p 393

“The weapons of bigotry, ignorance, envy, fall before an honest heart.”
– Mary Baker Eddy, Science and Health, p 464

“The inaudible voice of Truth is, to the human mind, ‘as when a lion roareth.’ It is heard in the desert and in dark places of fear.” – Mary Baker Eddy, Science and Health, p 559

“It requires courage to utter truth; for the higher Truth lifts her voice, the louder will error scream, until its inarticulate sound is forever silenced in oblivion.”
– Mary Baker Eddy, Science and Health, p 97

“Love for mankind is the elevator of the human race; it demonstrates Truth and reflects divine Love…” –
Mary Baker Eddy

“Covering iniquity will prevent prosperity and the ultimate triumph of any cause.”
– Mary Baker Eddy, Science and Health, p 446

“Bloodshed, war, and oppression belong to the darker ages, and shall be relegated to oblivion.”
– Mary Baker Eddy

“To my sense, the most imminent dangers confronting the coming century are: the robbing of people of life and liberty under the warrant of the Scriptures; the claims of politics and of human power, industrial slavery, and insufficient freedom of honest competition; ritual, creed, and trusts in place of the Golden Rule, ‘Whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them.'”
– Mary Baker Eddy

“It is the pulpit and press, clerical robes and the prohibiting of free speech, that cradles and covers the sins of the world, – all unmitigated systems of crime; and it requires the enlightenment of these worthies, through civil and religious reform, to blot out all inhuman codes. It was the Southern pulpit and press that influenced the people to wrench from man both human and divine rights, in order to subserve the interests of wealth, religious caste, civil and political power.”
– Mary Baker Eddy

“When the press is gagged, liberty is besieged; but when the press assumes the liberty to lie, it discounts clemency, mocks morality, outrages humanity, breaks common law, gives impulse to violence, envy, and hate, and prolongs the reign of inordinate, unprincipled clans. At this period, 1888, those quill-drivers whose consciences are in their pockets hold high carnival. When news-dealers shout for class legislation, and decapitated reputations, headless trunks, and quivering hearts are held up before the rabble in exchange for money, place, and power, the vox populi is suffocated, individual rights are trodden under foot, and the car of the modern Inquisition rolls along the streets besmeared with blood.” – Mary Baker Eddy

“Error giveth no light, and it closes the door on itself.”
– Mary Baker Eddy

“The time for thinkers has come. Truth, independent of doctrines and time-honored systems, knocks at the portal of humanity. Contentment with the past and the cold conventionality of materialism are crumbling away.”
– Mary Baker Eddy, Science and Health, p vi

“Who is telling mankind of the foe in ambush? Is the informer one who sees the foe? If so, listen and be wise. Escape from evil, and designate those as unfaithful stewards who have seen the danger and yet have given no warning.”
– Mary Baker Eddy, Science and Health, p 571

“If you launch your bark upon the ever-agitated but healthful waters of truth, you will encounter storms. Your good will be evil spoken of. This is the cross. Take it up and bear it, for through it you win and wear the crown.”
– Mary Baker Eddy, Science and Health, p 254

“It is a wise saying that ‘men are known by their enemies.’ To sympathize in any degree with error, is not to rectify it; but error always strives to unite, in a definition of purpose, with Truth, to give it buoyancy. What is under the mask, but error in borrowed plumes?”
– Mary Baker Eddy

“Divine Love is our hope, strength, and shield. We have nothing to fear when Love is at the helm of thought, but everything to enjoy on earth and in heaven.”
– Mary Baker Eddy

“Peals that should startle the slumbering thought from its erroneous dreams are partially unheeded; but the last trump has not sounded, or this would not be so. Marvels, calamities, and sin will much more abound as truth urges upon mortals its resisted claims; but the awful daring of sin destroys sin, and foreshadows the triumph of truth.”
– Mary Baker Eddy, Science and Health, p 223

“Philanthropy is loving, ameliorative, revolutionary; it wakens lofty desires, new possibilities, achievements, and energies; it lays the axe at the root of the tree that bringeth not forth good fruit; it touches thought to spiritual issues, systematizes action, and insures success; it starts the wheels of right reason, revelation, justice, and mercy; it unselfs men and pushes on the ages. Love unfolds marvellous good and uncovers hidden evil. The philanthropist or reformer gives little thought to self-defence; his life’s incentive and sacrifice need no apology. The good done and the good to do are his ever-present reward.”
– Mary Baker Eddy

“Casting out evil and fear enables truth to outweigh error. The only course is to take antagonist grounds against all that is opposed to the health, holiness, and harmony of man. God’s image.”
– Mary Baker Eddy

“Truth and Love prevail against the dragon because the dragon cannot war with them.” – Mary Baker Eddy, Science and Health, p 567

“Success in sin is downright defeat. Hatred bites the heel of love that is treading on its head….Conflict and persecution are the truest signs that can be given of the greatness of a cause or of an individual, provided this warfare is honest and a world-imposed struggle. Such conflict never ends till unconquerable right is begun anew, and hath gained fresh energy and final victory….Certain elements in human nature would undermine the civic, social, and religious rights and laws of nations and peoples, striking at liberty, human rights, and self-government — and this, too, in the name of God, justice, and humanity! …History shows that error repeats itself until it is exterminated.”
– Mary Baker Eddy

“Love is not something put upon a shelf, to be taken down on rare occasions with sugar-tongs and laid on a rose-leaf. I make strong demands on love, call for active witnesses to prove it, and noble sacrifices and grand achievements as its results.”
– Mary Baker Eddy

“Follow that which is good… Peace is the promise and reward of rightness. Governments have no right to engraft into civilization the burlesque of uncivil economics. War is in itself an evil, barbarous, devilish. Victory in error is defeat in Truth. War is not in the domain of good; war weakens power and must finally fall, perced by it own sword… Whatever brings into human thought or action an element opposed to Love, is never requisite, never a necessity, and is not sanctioned by… the law of Love.”
– Mary Baker Eddy

“So secret are the present methods of animal magnetism that they ensnare the age into indolence, and produce the very apathy on the subject which the criminal desires.”
– Mary Baker Eddy, Science and Health, p 102

“Love fulfills the law of Christian Science…”
– Mary Baker Eddy, Science and Health, p 572

“What has an individual gained by losing his own self- respect? or what has he lost when, retaining his own, he loses the homage of fools, or the pretentious praise of hypocrites, false to themselves as to others?”

– Mary Baker Eddy

“Ignorance, pride, or prejudice closes the door to whatever is not stereotyped.” 

– Mary Baker Eddy, Science and Health, p 144

“Clad in the panoply of Love, human hatred cannot reach you. The cement of a higher humanity will unite all interests in the one divinity.”
– Mary Baker Eddy, Science and Health, p 571

“Innocence and Truth overcome guilt and error.”
– Mary Baker Eddy, Science and Health, p 568

“In Christian Science there is never a retrograde step, never a return to positions outgrown.”
– Mary Baker Eddy, Science and Health, p 74

“Progress is the law of God…”
– Mary Baker Eddy, Science and Health, p 233

 
 
womans-hour
 
 
 
 

This Scary Stuff Isn’t New

“Progress is the law of God…”
– Mary Baker Eddy

Come on, Karen. You majored in History. You know the struggles our world has endured, survived, overcome. You know the scary stuff we’re seeing now isn’t new. I mean… it’s not like all the political corruption and corporate greed and dishonesty you’re seeing in America is something that’s springing up for the first time here. Look back at just the last 100 years in the United States – :

  • in 1918, when your 98 year-old father was born, women still didn’t have the right to vote in this country
  • when your father and mother were living through the Great Depression, members of the nation’s Supreme Court continually over-turned laws and programs designed to provide relief to the poor, to help the nation recover, and to bring reform to the economy
  • in 1942 Japanese-Americans had their homes and property taken from them and were sent to live in “internment camps”
  • in the early part of the 1950s – just before you were born –  government workers, and people involved in the Hollywood movie business, lost their jobs without recourse for being Communists – or just being accused of being Communists – by Sen. Joseph McCarthy and company
  • up until 1954 – just two years before you were born – racially segregated schools were still legal in this country
  •  in 1961, when you were a pre-schooler, there were still African-Americans who were living as slaves – who’d never been told slavery had ended in this country
  • when you were seven years-old the President of the United States was assassinated
  • when you were 11 years-old, Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated and, two months later, Bobby Kennedy was assassinated
  • when you were an eighth grader, four students protesting the Vietnam War at Kent State University were shot and killed by members of the National Guard
  • when you were in high school the President of the United States resigned before he could be impeached for trying to cover-up a break-in of his political opponent’s campaign headquarters

But recognize that for every step backwards – for every reaction against progress – we’ve seen humongo strides forwards. Look at the progress in the last 100 years:

  • in 1920 women were given the right to vote
  • in the 1930’s – in spite of the Supreme Court’s resistance to social reform – social security and other programs were established to ensure a safety net for our nation’s citizens
  • in 1954 the Supreme Court ended racial segregation in public schools
  • in 1963 the Equal Pay Act was passed – making it illegal to pay a woman less for doing the same work as a man
  • in 1964 the Civil Rights Act was passed, prohibiting discrimination in  employment, and in 1965 the Voting Rights Act was passed, making discriminatory voting practices illegal
  • in 1967 the Supreme Court ruled that laws forbidding inter-racial marriage were illegal
  • in 2015 same-sex marriage was recognized as a right protected by the Constitution

Karen, you now live in a country full of people who’ve never known legal segregation between the races. You live in a country full of young people who take it for granted that women can participate in politics – can vote, run for office, and serve on the Supreme Court. Americans are not going to allow this country to slide backwards. The gains we’ve made won’t be lost. Have trust in your fellow man and woman.

Buck up. There may be battles ahead – every generation has them – but progress always wins in the end.

“In Christian Science there is never a retrograde step, never a return to positions outgrown.”
– Mary Baker Eddy

Work in Progress

There were a couple things that came across my Facebook page this morning that really inspired me, and helped me deal with our current situation in the US of A. The first one was a clip of an interview Jon Stewart had on CBS (“I don’t believe we’re a fundamentally different country today than we were two weeks ago… The same country that elected Donald Trump elected Barack Obama….  America is not natural – natural is tribal – we’re fighting against thousands of years of human behavior and history to create something… that’s what’s exceptional about America and that’s what’s… this ain’t easy. It’s an incredible thing.”); the second was a story about what Pres. Obama told his daughters after the election (“You don’t get into a fetal position about it. You don’t start worrying about apocalypse. You say, O.K., where are the places where I can push to keep it moving forward.”).

The United States of America is a work in progress, ain’t it? And I love that. We can only go forward. In Science and Health Mary Baker Eddy says: “In Christian Science there is never a retrograde step, never a return to positions outgrown.” I believe that’s true for my country, too.
work-in-progress

Throughout All Time and Space

“The divine Spirit, which identified Jesus thus centuries ago, has spoken through the inspired Word and will speak through it in every age and clime. It is revealed to the receptive heart, and is again seen casting out evil and healing the sick.”
– Mary Baker Eddy

“This healing power of Truth must have been far anterior to the period in which Jesus lived. It is as ancient as ‘the Ancient of days.’ It lives through all Life, and extends throughout all space.”
– Mary Baker Eddy

I love looking out at the stars on a clear night, knowing that the starlight that’s reaching me now may have started out from some of those stars thousands of years ago. My new favorite star is Sirius – the light from Sirius takes eight years to reach Earth. That means the light I’m seeing from Sirius started eight years ago – when I was in the midst of a personal crisis I thought might never end. I find comfort somehow in knowing that, even then, Sirius was shining its light on me. When I look up at the stars I feel myself connected to something – a presence and power – far bigger than the little speck of the universe known as Earth. I feel myself connected to Life that’s infinite and fills all space. 

Okay, at the risk of being placed in the “tinfoil hat” category, I’m going to go ahead and say it: I do not believe Life is confined to this planet, or the three and half to four billion years that scientists believe life has been on Earth. I believe Life to be eternal and infinite – without beginning or end, or boundaries. “God forms and peoples the universe,” Mary Baker Eddy writes in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures  – and my thoughts about the universe coincide with her thoughts there.

There are some who believe, I guess, that the healings – what they would call “miracles” – that happened in Jesus’ time were only for that time and place in the universe, and can’t be repeated. But Eddy writes: “Jesus’ promise is perpetual…The purpose of his great life-work extends through time and includes universal humanity. Its Principle is infinite, reaching beyond the pale of a single period or of a limited following.” She writes: “The time for the reappearing of the divine healing is throughout all time…”

I like the idea that we’re not separated from the rest of the universe  – that we’re not separated by time or space from the healing power of God – Love and Truth and Life. I like the idea that this healing power of Love is perpetual, on-going, ever-present, without limits or bounds, and ever available to us. And I REALLY like the idea that there are other expressions of life peopling the universe.  When I look up at the stars, I send out my love to the other expressions of life that might be out there, with the hope that my love will carry through time and space.

It is my belief that the healing power of Love and Truth will, as mankind progresses onward, eventually be seen as the only real power. 

“The periods of spiritual ascension are the days and seasons of Mind’s creation, in which beauty, sublimity, purity, and holiness – yea, the divine nature – appear in man and the universe never to disappear.”
– Mary Baker Eddy

NASA image of Sirius: