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Hobbies

From the Christian Science Sentinel - November 1, 2013

Originally published in the May 12, 1921 issue of The Christian Science Monitor


In a recent article on why the average man does not go to church, a parish minister wrote: “Religion, as the average man sees it, is just the power to say ‘God’ where the rest of the world says Nature, Justice, Duty, Peace, Social Service, Foreign Missions.” It is just this power to say God with certainty wherever and whenever confused and perplexed finite belief is suggesting only a very limited and subdivided sense of good, which many average men are gaining from the study of Christian Science. They are beginning to understand that God really is infinite and indivisible, demonstrably so, and that He is infinitely and indivisibly expressed and that this also is capable of proof.

Parting from psychology, with its claim that the “God experience” represents only a part, often a very small part of what one is conscious of, the student of Christian Science knows, on the contrary, that all he really can be conscious of is God. He really loves justice only as he loves and understands God, Principle; he truly conceives of nature only as he loves and understands the infinite intelligence which is expressed in spiritual creation; he can render successful social service just to the degree that he understands God, infinite Love. Nature, justice, social service are not, then, unrelated concepts, any of which can be followed to the exclusion of the others, for the truth is that as one comes to know God rightly he cannot help knowing that God and His idea are inseparable.

One of the claims of the human or mortal mind is that this is not true, that good exists apart from God, is limited and finite. It admits that the desire for good cannot be quenched, but it also argues that it can never be completely satisfied. Any hope or plan based on the premise that good is not limited is usually pronounced unattainable, Utopian, millennial, or else attainment is admitted to be possible only at the sacrifice of something perhaps equally desirable. Beset by such suggestion, most of us in our quest for good accept one of two alternatives—both of the essence of limitation. We either scatter our interest and activity among a multiplicity of things, with the result that we really know and do little, or we specialize and pursue hobbies of various sorts, paying for our success and pleasure in them by almost total ignorance of everything else, ignorance which often becomes hostility toward anything unknown. One whose hobby is baseball is quite apt to regard the latest phase of the Shakespeare-Bacon controversy with an ennui only equaled by the lack of interest which the ardent follower of the latter may feel in the activities of the diamond. An individual who is capable of enjoying and understanding both, any one who is able both to do a variety of things and to do them well, the human mind, with its inevitable limitation of good, usually pronounces exceptional, and for this reason his ability is more often a source of discouragement to the average man than a help.

Since, then, the human mind offers no real comfort to one who is seeking to escape from a limited sense of good, many are turning to Christian Science. We may have heard that it teaches the allness of good and the nothingness of evil. In this allness of good must be included, we reason, anything good that we have been particularly longing for, and from it must be excluded whatever we have been fearing and seeking to escape, for we do not at first see that our very criterion of good and evil is itself the product of false belief, of a “liar, and the father of it.” If, for instance, so-called intellectual pursuits have seemed the essence of what is desirable in life, if physical exertion has seemed irksome to this belief, it may try to justify itself by quoting some statement of Mrs. Eddy’s, such as the one in “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures” (p. 199), “Not because of muscular exercise, but by reason of the blacksmith’s faith in exercise, his arm becomes stronger,” or if the belief to begin with is that exercise is good and study difficult, it may seek to excuse itself from the latter because Mrs. Eddy says in Science and Health that “Mind is not necessarily dependent upon educational processes” (p. 89). In the same way innumerable hobbies, social, economic, personal, attempt to identify their finity with absolute and infinite good, as revealed in Christian Science.

Mrs. Eddy warns us that these efforts are vain, on page 44 of “No and Yes,” where she says, “Error has no hobby, however boldly ridden or brilliantly caparisoned, that can leap into the sanctum of Christian Science.” No finite supposition about good can ever be present where there is the knowledge of the truth about it, of its infinity and absolute ever presence, a knowledge which is “the sanctum of Christian Science.” Jesus was giving the same warning when he said, “Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not…. Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not. For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be;" and also when he said, "Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world."

He dwelt continually in the sanctum, he had no hobbies. He was truly single-minded in that he accepted none of the classifications of the human mind but based his entire activity on the one divine, infinite Mind. Suppositions that his mission was predominantly a social, an economic, a theological one have not proved demonstrable. He had one mission, to demonstrate the allness of God. He classified everything that he did, whether mortal mind called it physical, mental, moral, as opportunity to manifest Mind. He did not scatter his energies, he shirked nothing, he specialized only in knowing the truth about every experience that came to him. It is this same specialization which Christian Science teaches and which is possible for every man in the ratio of his willingness to give up his former beliefs about good and “follow that which is good.”

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