We Need Leaders Who Are Grown-Ups

We need world leaders who are grown-ups; who aren’t guided by ego; who actually care about their citizens and care about the lives of the people who serve their country; who care about our environment and want to do what they can to address climate change. We need world leaders who read and think and reason and try to solve problems, rather than create them.

We need something different than what we’ve currently got.

(Indian Memorial at Little Bighorn, Montana. Photo by Karen Molenaar Terrell.)

To Those Who Serve –

Adventures of the Madcap Christian Scientist

Originally posted in 2013 –

On this Veteran’s Day I want to take a moment to express my gratitude to all the men and woman who are faithfully and bravely serving around the world in the armed services, the Peace Corps, the Red Cross, and the Foreign Service. I want you to know that we remember you and appreciate you. You have made a difference. Every word spoken with love, every thought of kindness and compassion, and every gesture of good will, brings mankind that much closer to “peace on earth.” Your work is not in vain, and you are not standing alone.

In the chapter titled Peace and War in Prose Works, Mary Baker Eddy writes: “The characters and lives of men determine the peace, prosperity, and life of nations.”  A little later she writes: “Right thoughts and deeds are the sovereign remedies for all earth’s woe. ” As we…

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Peace.

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below…
– John McRae
(Originally published on this blog on October 18, 2014)

Saw the movie Fury last night. Really powerful film. Great acting. Beyond gritty. If ever a war movie was an anti-war movie, this one is it.

I woke up this morning with scenes from the movie playing through my head – scenes of death and destruction, blood and cruelty, courage and war-honor. And, as I processed it all, two trains of thought emerged from the smoke.

One of the trains took me to a place of compassion and empathy for the soldiers in every time and every nation who have felt voluntarily compelled, or been drafted, to take up weapons and march to war. It occurred to me that if I had been a soldier watching that movie I might feel a kind of relief in the knowledge that I wasn’t alone – that the “reality” of war is a shared burden of responsibility, memories, and pain by all who’ve lived it.

The other train of thought took me to this place:War has become antiquated. There are no more lessons to be learned from it. It is time for civilization to move on.

Some may say that the cycle of War is never-ending and unstoppable, but I do not agree. Cycles DO stop. I believe there is a natural law – a law of God (Love, Truth, Life) – that pushes mankind towards progress. In Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures (the textbook for Christian Science) Mary Baker Eddy writes: “…progress is the law of God, whose law demands of us only what we can certainly fulfil.”

We’re surrounded by signs of progress, aren’t we? For all that we are bombarded with news of bigotry, sexism, racism, carelessness, greed, thievery, and murder – there is good going on all around us, too – signs of a mental stirring, or what Mary Baker Eddy would call a “chemicalization of thought” that is moving mankind towards decency. When we hear about slavery, racism, sexism, and bigotry – most of us in the United States no longer find these things acceptable – huge progress from just 150 years ago when slavery was still a part of our nation’s culture, or just 96 years ago (in my dad’s lifetime!) when women didn’t have the right to vote or run for public office. .

And I believe that progress will bring an end to the cycle of War, too. I believe that our world will find peace. I hope it will be soon.

“…and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.”
– Isaiah 2:4

peace 10

“Learn to Talk to People You Disagree With”

“It’s a very important thing to learn to talk to people you disagree with.” – Pete Seeger

I remember on Election Day when I was a little girl my mom and dad would go off in a car together to vote. My Dad supported one political party, and my mom supported another – but they cheerfully got in the car together and went to the polls to cancel out each others’ votes. They weren’t angry with each other because they disagreed about politics. They didn’t yell at each other, call each other names, cuss each other out, or think the other person was somehow an inferior human being – lacking in intelligence, reason, logic, and good sense. Nope. They loved each other. They respected each other. Although they’ve since then become members of the same party, at that time, they totally disagreed with each other about American politics – and it was alright.

They were a wonderful example to me.

Although one of my parents was, then, a Republican, and the other was a Democrat, although one was religious, and the other not – they shared the same values. Both my parents valued honesty, integrity, kindness, generosity, fair play, compassion, the beauties of Nature, and having a good sense of humor about oneself. They brought their children up to value those things, also.

Here are some useful things I learned about the exchange of ideas and opinions from watching my parents interact with each other:

  • Be kind.
  • Play fair.
  •  Laugh at your own nonsense, before you laugh at someone else’s.
  • Sometimes saying you’re sorry is the most important thing you can contribute to a conversation.
  • Avoid hearsay.
  • Don’t assume that a person is lacking in intelligence or reason just because he or she disagrees with you.
  • Listen.

I’m really grateful I grew up with the parents I did. I think it would be a marvelous thing if everyone treated each other with the same respect my parents gave to each other as they drove off to the polls on election day.

Rules of Engagement

No More Lessons to Learn from War

world peace duh right

photo by Karen Molenaar Terrell

Saw the movie Fury last night. Really powerful film. Great acting. Beyond gritty. If ever a war movie was an anti-war movie, this one is it.

I woke up this morning with scenes from the movie playing through my head – scenes of death and destruction, blood and cruelty, courage and war-honor. And, as I processed it all, two trains of thought emerged from the smoke.

One of the trains took me to a place of compassion and empathy for the soldiers in every time and every nation who have felt voluntarily compelled, or been drafted, to take up weapons and kill their fellow human beings. It occurred to me that if I had been a soldier watching that movie I might feel a kind of relief in the knowledge that I wasn’t alone – that the “reality” of war is a shared burden of responsibility, memories, and pain by all who’ve lived it.

The other train of thought took me to this place: There are no more lessons to be learned from war. Mankind has been fighting wars for thousands of years, and I’m thinking we’ve learned everything we needed to learn from that course, and it’s time for us to be done with it now. It is time, my friends, to graduate and move on to more productive and constructive Life-courses.

Some may say that the cycle of War is never-ending and unstoppable, but I do not agree. Cycles DO stop. There’s no law that says cycles have to go on for eternity. I believe there IS a natural law, though – a law of God (Love, Truth, Life) – that pushes mankind towards progress. In Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures (the textbook for Christian Science) Mary Baker Eddy writes: “Every day makes its demands upon us for higher proofs rather than professions of Christian power. These proofs consist solely in the destruction of sin, sickness, and death by the power of Spirit, as Jesus destroyed them. This is an element of progress, and progress is the law of God, whose law demands of us only what we can certainly fulfil.”

We’re surrounded by signs of progress, aren’t we? For all that we are bombarded with news of bigotry, sexism, racism, carelessness, greed, thievery, and murder – there is good going on all around us, signs of a mental stirring, or what Mary Baker Eddy would call a “chemicalization of thought” that is moving mankind towards decency. When we hear about slavery, racism, sexism, and bigotry – most of us in the United States no longer find these things acceptable – huge progress from just 150 years ago when slavery was still a part of our world, or just 94 years ago (in my dad’s lifetime!) when women didn’t have the right to vote or run for public office. This is progress, my friends, progress!

And I believe that progress will bring an end to the cycle of War, too. I believe that our world will find peace.

“What I term chemicalization is the upheaval produced when immortal Truth is destroying erroneous mortal belief. Mental chemicalization brings sin and sickness to the surface, forcing impurities to pass away, as is the case with a fermenting fluid… The muddy river-bed must be stirred in order to purify the stream. In moral chemicalization, when the symptoms of evil, illusion, are aggravated, we may think in our ignorance that the Lord hath wrought an evil; but we ought to know that God’s law uncovers so-called sin and its effects, only that Truth may annihilate all sense of evil and all power to sin.” – Mary Baker Eddy