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Justice at the co-op
About 15 years ago, my wife and I bought our first piece of property: a unit in a large co-op building in Brooklyn, New York. Shortly after moving in, we discovered that there was a lot of “bad blood” between the managing agents, who owned about 70 percent of the building shares, and the resident owners. It wasn’t the best scenario, but we couldn’t afford anything better, and couldn’t back out. I decided to follow Mary Baker Eddy’s guidance from Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures: “Never breathe an immoral atmosphere, unless in the attempt to purify it” (p. 452). I thought, “Well, I can certainly try!”
To make a long story short, I decided early on not to accept any sense of sides or of an “us versus them” mentality—although the managing agents didn’t make it easy. They were quite religious but often seemed to feel that it was OK to treat people poorly, and even intentionally mislead them, if they were not of the same religious faith as themselves.
As time went on several resident owners convinced the management to at least follow state requirements, such as holding shareholder meetings. And shortly after, I found myself elected president of the co-op board. All this time I had been praying to know that man is honest and good, since in the spiritual creation story found in the first book of Genesis, God creates man and woman in His likeness. So we each have an inherent blessedness and a natural tendency to want to do what is fair and right. Each time I knew we would be holding a board meeting, I would spend extra time praying in the days leading up to it, knowing that there was only one divine Mind in control, rather than many mortal minds with opinions and vices.
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