“Awakened thought” and politics
There is so much going on in public thought right now, especially politically. Many issues have been a long time coming. And this being an election year, there are some who seek to control what is being said and how it is being responded to for partisan purposes. The times demand our clearest thinking and best response.
Christian Scientists are being called upon to engage, not so much in a partisan way, but as Christian Scientists. If there is a tendency to compartmentalize, to think political thoughts when one considers political things and Christian Science thoughts when one considers “religious things,” then we need to remember what we can do by bringing “every thought to the obedience of Christ” (II Corinthians 10:5).
What is Christ? Christ reveals God as the one exclusive Mind, or Spirit, and each one of us as a spiritual idea constantly showing forth our God-defined identity. This spiritual reality broke in on human history in the life and works of Christ Jesus, who called it “the kingdom of God.” And everyone who accepted it, in humility, could experience its power to heal and harmonize human experience.
In working to bring thought into obedience to Christ during this election cycle, I have found some helpful guidance in pondering the teachings of Jesus and John the Baptist. In a volatile time, Jesus and John represented the close of one era and the beginning of another, and the challenging transition from one to another. John came to courageously prepare the way for the new, and Jesus revealed the “new” as an already existent “kingdom of God” to be perceived and demonstrated.
John was a prophet. Unlike others who mirrored the moods and cultural opinions of the time, he gained his convictions from communing alone with God in the wilderness, not in the cities. He called his nation, Israel, out of the prevailing beliefs and values of the community culture, to have an encounter with God in order to see community in a new light—a self-examination necessary for spiritual progress.
In this time, leading up to our elections, instead of responding to the issues from a predetermined set of human values, we need more communion time alone with God, pondering the Scriptures and Mary Baker Eddy’s writings, and letting that align our thinking and actions in accord with Christ and the advancing modes of awakened thought.
John’s preaching caused many to change their ways in preparation for the coming of the Messiah. Yet while he was in prison, when he heard about Jesus’ healing works, he questioned if Jesus was the Messiah. John himself did no healing, Referring to John as a model of moral soundness and courage, Jesus said, “Among those that are born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist.” But, he added, “he that is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he” (Luke 7:28).
Jesus not only called upon his disciples to prepare for the “kingdom” through moral regeneration, but he also asked of them much more. He called on them to declare that this already present kingdom is to be demonstrated—by being healers. Contrary to the material sense that matter and spirit, both evil and good, were real, Jesus demonstrated that Spirit, God, alone is real, and the only power. Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures reminds us: “Until the fact concerning error—namely, its nothingness—appears, the moral demand will not be met, and the ability to make nothing of error will be wanting” (Mary Baker Eddy, p. 92).
Jesus also taught, “And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force” (Matthew 11:12). The kingdom of God cannot be forced on people through violence or through the clash of human wills, each seeking domination over all others. Based on the fact that there is one Mind—the Mind that is God—defining and relating us one to another, we can confidently look to Mind for new thinking and foundations for cooperation.
I find it helpful to realize that the kingdom of God is never a work in progress. It is already here as an established fact, ready for proving or showing forth.
Often what drives people to extremes is the fear of change. The fear that all that has given meaning to one’s life up to this point is disappearing and society is uncontrollably headed in the wrong direction. There is always change, and it seems unsettling, but I find it comforting to know that there is a Science that governs these changes.
Science and Health assures us, “As the crude footprints of the past disappear from the dissolving paths of the present, we shall better understand the Science which governs these changes, and shall plant our feet on firmer ground” (p. 224). The Principle of this Science is divine, ministering Love. This Love is here, embracing humanity and causing everything that represents good to be protected and improved, and understood on a spiritual basis. The good that humanity has achieved up to this point cannot be lost. At the same time this governing Principle is causing all that represents evil to be removed. Error of any kind cannot escape this exposure and elimination. Bringing every thought to the obedience of Christ plants our feet on this firmer ground.
Political campaigns almost always highlight personalities because it is much easier to fix attention on a personality to hate than to explain what one stands for. Mrs. Eddy once wrote to a student of hers: “. . .think of an error as having no cause whatever. If it is hate or envy, think of it as no part of individuality, but only error, illusion, in fact nothing. Hence it has no person back of it, and thus you separate the tares from the wheat and never think of any person when treating for error, but only of error itself” (Yvonne Cache von Fettweis and Robert Townsend Warneck, Mary Baker Eddy: Christian Healer, Amplified Edition, pp. 229–230).
At its core, hatred, or any other so-called evil, is a negation, a denial that divine Love is present and all powerful. Therefore, affirming the presence of divine Love, and deepening our commitment to it, is the sure destruction of hate.
Bringing every thought into obedience to Christ through more communion time alone with God, by praying from the standpoint of the allness of God to demonstrate an already established spiritual reality, by planting our feet on this firmer ground during times of change, and by focusing on the issues and not personalities, will prove as Paul found, “The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” (II Corinthians 10:4, 5, New International Version).