Posts tagged ‘mankind’
by John D. Clague, Christian Science Committee on Publication for Oregon
It’s never easy to see tragedies that undo lives and families and communities. In my 30 years of law enforcement I encountered plenty of this sort of thing. Our hearts go out to the community of Newtown, Connecticut, and to all parents and teachers across the country. And yet, as we enter the season of good will and peace on earth, we are challenged to find a way to address the unexplainable. Without some view of the nature of life that transcends all the shortcomings of the human experience I’m certain that I would be adrift in despair.
I have found, though, that in holding onto and affirming what, for me, are fundamental truths, I can find peace.
This is what I feel:
I don’t know why this happened in a cosmic sense, and it’s futile to try and figure it out. My heart says that God did not cause this tragedy, nor turn His back on us.
To me, God is the essence of goodness. And God is complete love. As such, I feel that God loves each one of us as His own creation, including all involved at Sandy Hook School. That love is still with those dear children and staff, embracing them and holding them close. They are with God. More importantly for those trying to cope with the aftermath, divine Love is closer than ever to comfort and strengthen families and communities.
I believe we must be more persevering in our search for solutions to prevent future violence, whether it involves one person or thousands of people. For me, it means praying to know that a loving and good God will guide our desires and actions towards finding solutions.
I, and others, might find ourselves letting go of some cherished beliefs and ideologies in this search for solutions, no matter how uncomfortable that makes us initially feel. Motivated by love for our children and our communities, embracing each other with more patience and attentiveness, we must find a way to work together toward that end.
I believe that being willing to pray for real solutions will bring them to us. We can still feel the “peace that passes all understanding” during this season and beyond by insisting that we will not become cynical and afraid, and knowing that God has not turned away. And when we do that we will find a way to hold these crimes in check.
First published on OregonLive
John Clague is a retired sheriff’s office captain, father of two grown sons, and husband. He now works with the media to ensure accurate representation of Christian Science.
What I know of Christmas today is certainly different than what I knew as a child. I was really caught up in the magic of the holiday: the Christmas tree, decorations, presents, special treats, and being out of school for two whole weeks. It was a magical time of year.
As a child I was clueless about the sometimes unfortunate backstory of the magic. Stress, lack of money to buy gifts (or even to eat), being alone when you’re supposed to be with family and friends, broken relationships, overindulgence in alcohol and so on. This special time of year turns out to be the most dreaded for some. It doesn’t have to be the case, though, even in the most dire circumstances.
A different perspective on this season has emerged gently in my thought, and it continues to grow. You might think that my Christian affiliation means Christmas to me is a celebration of the birth of Jesus. But really, that is only the most familiar symbol of what Christmas has to offer.
A passage in the Bible in the book of Isaiah really tells the whole story of Christmas. It is the promise of hope fulfilled. In Isaiah it says that..
The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined. ( Isaiah 9:2)
What do we hope for? It can mean repaired relationships, finding companionship, financial needs being met, and health restored. Restoring and maintaining health perhaps has been the biggest quest of mankind. The human race has devoted untold resources to alleviating pain and suffering, and prolonging life.
Modern medicine makes the headlines, but the ability to heal one’s self and others through prayer has been around for thousands of years. Christ Jesus taught how to change thought in order to bring healing, and this power is still available for everyone. The promise is for all time and there is current evidence that the promise is being fulfilled.
I found the story of Gabrielle Giffords’ remarkable recovery this year to be a great example of the power of the right mental atmosphere in healing. Not only is Gabby someone who never gives up, but her husband, Mark Kelly, and mother, Gloria, also knew that Gabby would recover as well. They saw that she was surrounded by love and a positive and unlimited attitude. This is a story of strength and courage, living out the fulfillment of the promise.
The backstory of Christmas isn’t hopelessness and despair. It’s fulfillment of the promise. Health is the best gift, and we all have more resources than we know to achieve it. Better than seasonal magic is the hope that Jesus brought to 2000 years ago. And the promise is being fulfilled.
By John D. Clague, Christian Science Committee on Publication for Oregon
Or perhaps there is someone you personally know who is a selfless giver, not expecting anything in return.
I think immediately of incidents like:
Hundreds of boat owners and ferry pilots converging on the Manhattan shoreline to evacuate stranded New Yorkers after the World Trade Center towers collapsed.
People in my community working at food banks and soup kitchens for the homeless.
Victor Frankl helping fellow prisoners of war cope through simple acts of sharing and encouragement
These are people engaging in helping acts with no expectation of anything in return.
Where does this desire to help others come from? Not only is history full of people helping people, but the stories of different cultures are full of these examples as a way of conveying a virtue or a moral, like Jesus’ parable of the Good Samaritan. Why do we do it if there’s no expectation of reciprocal acts of kindness or money?
In examining my own impulses along this line I can’t find a clear answer. As a Christian, The Golden Rule could be a motivator out of obedience. And for those of other faith traditions, such as Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, Zoroastrianism, and Judaism there are similar guiding principles. But is this really what motivates adherents of any tradition to act for the benefit or others?
Perhaps we do this simply because that’s who we are. It’s part of the very fabric of our being to help others. From my perspective, it’s how God made us. Mankind is basically good at the very core. And perhaps that’s what impels us to help each other.
There’s a twist to this good samaritan attitude, however, that I hadn’t thought of before. It’s good for your health.
Stephen G. Post, PhD. has been researching this notion that helping others is actually beneficial to the helper. In his report It’s Good to be Good: 2011 Fifth Annual Scientific Report on Health, Happiness and Helping Others, Post makes these observations.
“My working hypothesis is that one of the healthiest things a person can do is to step back from self-preoccupation and self-worry, as well as from hostile and bitter emotions; there is no more obvious way of doing this than focusing attention on helping others.
“…we can no longer afford to believe that we will find happiness and health through self-obsession. Selfishness and greed are not a good way to care for the self, while compassion and doing “unto others” seem to be the successful strategy…
“There is solid evidence to support the perennial hypothesis that benevolent emotions, attitudes, and actions centered on the good of others contribute to the giver’s happiness, health, and even longevity. Although genuine benevolence must be chiefly motivated by concern for others, it has the side effect of nourishing the giver.”
He cites a number of case studies showing a link between better health, more happiness and helping others.
Thinking about this a little deeper, what if more of us worked harder to love and help out our fellow women and men? I mean really love them with compassion, forgiveness, and a longing for their well being that impels us to act when they need our help. Not only would we feel better, but we would live in healthier communities.
The implications are profound. I’ve often held to the axiom that I could never be harmed by doing for others. I certainly feel good about helping others. Now, I see it actually helps my health, too. How about you?
Today’s guest post is by a friend and colleague, Bob Clark, Christian Science Committee on Publication for Florida. His post is a beautiful discussion of where we need to be after dealing with a crisis. Just coping may actually be more harmful than the healing that is necessary and possible. I know you will find Bob’s post interesting and helpful. John D. Clague, Christian Science Committee on Publication for Oregon.
There’s coping with a crisis….and then there’s healing it. And there’s a world of difference between the two. Healing is about transformation and renewal. Coping is about making do, staying put…just dealing with it.
Here’s an example. A good friend’s daughter made an award winning documentary about 9/11 called, “New York Says Thank You”. I hope you’ll take the time to watch it, because it documents the process of a huge collective healing. It shows how we can go beyond just dealing with it to healing it. It shows real lives being transformed, lifted out of crisis mode and healed.
As I was watching “New York Says Thank You” it made me think of other examples of the difference between coping and healing. For instance, our national health care system, at the center of such rancorous political debate right now, needs to move beyond the ruinously expensive business of managing or coping with disease to healing it. How can this happen?
Ten years ago at this time, in the wake of the 9/11 disaster, churches were overflowing. Attendance at churches, synagogues and mosques was peaking. Hollywood and pro sports were on hold. We all “got religion” so to speak. And healing began immediately. Nobody wanted to linger in the ashes of shock and grief. We immediately rallied as a nation. Our love for each other poured out and into Lower Manhattan. The healing process began immediately…and has continued for over a decade now.
Can we move our health care crisis beyond coping to healing? And can our collective response to 9/11 serve as a model? I think so. A collective, focused, prayerful response has immense power, as we saw in the weeks and years following 9/11. There are ways to move forward and innovations that can take shape as the result of prayer.
An October 14, 2008 editorial in the The Christian Science Monitor told us that “Paradigm-shattering innovation is clearly needed in healthcare reform.” The article, “Keep Choice in Health Care”, offers some valuable insights about moving together, as a nation, beyond coping with our health crisis to healing it.
We know how to move beyond the static state of coping to the dynamic power of healing. We’ve done it before. We can do it again.
by Robert B. Clark, Christian Science Committee on Publication for Florida
By John D. Clague, Christian Science Committee on Publication for Oregon
I’ve been thinking about how the stories we hear and tell are a powerful way of learning and connecting. Through our stories we connect with our past, we experience the present, and we anticipate the future.
Many sacred texts such as the Bible are a compilation of stories that were passed on orally from generation to generation. When the written word, and the ability to read, became more common and widespread, these stories were committed to writing for the benefit of posterity.
As a Christian and a student of the Bible, I find that sincerely studying and pondering these stories enriches my life in many ways. One of those ways is that my health is restored and maintained through understanding my relationship with God. Today, many are learning how to heal others and themselves through understanding the deeper meaning of these Bible narratives.
But that isn’t the end of the story. Sharing with others our own healing is just as important as the stories told in the Bible. Sharing with others continues the collective story of God’s love for His creation, and is a source of new inspiration that can be used in our own lives.
Six contemporary accounts of spiritual healing can be found through the link below. In these videos, people talk about how Christian Science has restored their health. Do you have a story of healing to share? Please do for us all.