Tag Archives: christian science

Misunderstandings happen, a lot!

By Blogger Linda Ross

Sometimes they are small.  For example, last summer my husband and I were returning home from Italy.  It was an early flight, 6:55am.  Sitting on the other side of me was a college coed.  She let out a deep sigh.  I asked if she was returning home from a semester abroad, having spent most of the night packing and saying goodbye.

Apparently glad we understood her situation, she began telling us about how wonderful her time in Florence had been.  My husband asked, “So did you pick up any Italian?”  She responded, “Oh, two or three but nothing really serious happened.”  There was a pause in the conversation. Then at about the same time we all laughed recognizing that the answer had nothing to do with the intended question of learning the language.

But sometimes misunderstandings are larger and more pervasive, especially when we’re not familiar with the faith of others.

In the last week, I’ve read two articles that stated incorrectly that Christian Scientists are forbidden to choose any care but prayer or that they feel suffering is a divine will.  Through the years I’ve also  heard people say about my faith – that we’re the people who don’t go to doctors. Generally, a Christian Scientist’s first choice is to rely on prayer for healing because they’ve found it successful with past difficulties.

There is no biblical or church mandate to forgo medical intervention, nor do we believe that it’s God’s will that anyone suffer or die. A decision to rely on prayer comes from an understanding of Scripture as well as experience – not blind faith in God. God’s care continues under every circumstance.

Who knew? Study shows spirituality produces healthier teeth

By Blogger Linda Ross

My dental hygienist looked puzzled during a recent routine visit.  After cleaning my teeth, she reviewed my file.  Finally she said, “Your tissue is of someone younger; your teeth are so healthy – no cavities in the four years I’ve been seeing you.  You must have great genes.”  I told her, “It’s not genes.  I do take care of my teeth, but I’m also a spiritually minded person.  Each day I endeavor to live my faith, and sincerely believe it has a good effect on my life and health.”

I became curious to see if there were any studies to back up my convictions.  What a surprise to find something so specific:

In June of this year, the Department of Community Dentistry, Hebrew University-Hadassah School of Dental Medicine, Jerusalem, Israel, published a study to “explain the association between religiosity and dental caries [cavities].”  Those who identified themselves as religious had significantly fewer cavities.

While this is only one study, it is in line with numerous studies over the last few decades that indicate a regular practice of prayer and/or church attendance consistently improves health.

Perhaps Shakespeare, that great chronicler of human ways and means, also guessed at the connection between our thought and our experience. He wrote for Hamlet, “There is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so.”

Chocolate, cookies, and the Declaration of Independence

By Blogger Linda Ross

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal…”  Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776

Last week two little brothers, neighbors aged 5 and 6, rang my doorbell.  They stop by several times a month for a wrapped chocolate from the dish on my coffee table. Then they’re off to settle on my kitchen stools for cookies, milk, and a chat.

This day one of them, full of pride, opened the conversation with, “Linda, I’m better than my brother.”  The other brother sat silent, a little sad.  I answered, “Well, God doesn’t play favorites.  He knows you both as very, very good.” With that they sat up straight, smiling as we went on to other topics.

Comparisons are great when deciding what produce to buy; awful when overlooking or not respecting another’s strengths.

Thomas Jefferson, one of our Founding Fathers and author of the Declaration of Independence, was so well versed in scripture that he published The Jefferson Bible.  I wonder if he had come across this passage from the book of Ecclesiastes: “All things come alike to all.” It’s a good spring board for the tenor of the document. For me it means celebrating freedom is not only being free to live the best in myself but also highlighting the good in all I meet.

A lay-off doesn’t mean a love-buster

By Blogger Linda Ross
Today’s guest blog is written by Benjamin Gladden, husband and father of three, who’s currently logging lots of hours in the “What makes for a good marriage and parent” department. He writes from his home in Framingham, Massachusetts.

About three years ago I got laid off from a job that I absolutely loved. I could have sat in that chair doing that work for the rest of my life and been very happy.

It hadn’t been easy managing the care of three children while my wife and I bothworked full-time, but I really loved the work. It was completely fulfilling.

But then I got laid off.

The severance package I received included a class on resume writing, job interviews, etc. The resume tips were useful, but the most helpful part of the class was a little flier in our folders that discussed the emotional state of the person who just lost their job.

This little sheet talked about the need to take care of yourself emotionally and spiritually. But it also stressed the importance of taking care of your relationships–like your marriage.

To be honest, I hadn’t thought much about how my marriage would be affected. But this little flier got me thinking, and it began a journey that continues today.

I started making more of an effort to maintain and improve my marriage. I read several extremely helpful books. (See below for a list of those books.) And, most importantly, I prayed – a lot!

A recent New York Times article discusses the stress that long-term unemployment can do to a marriage. Although the article focuses on money-related issues, it has a lot of very helpful suggestions about making your marriage better.

After 16 years of marriage, I can honestly say I’ve never been happier about the state of my marriage.

Here are a few of the things that I tried. I feel they really worked.

Communicate. I made a conscious effort to communicate more often and about more things with my wife. Whether it was where and when I was going somewhere, or what I was thinking about my job search. I just started being more communicative. It wasn’t easy at first, but I think I’m getting used to it.

One book helped a lot in this regard. It’s called The 5 Love Languages. It made a huge impact on the way that I communicated with my wife, because it helped me discover what made her feel loved and how she could best understand what I was saying. You can read the book – or at least take the online quiz to find out the best way to communicate love to your spouse.

Take time off. I made an effort to take time for my marriage and myself, instead of spending every waking moment caring for the kids and looking for work. My wife and I started taking walks at night. This eventually developed into a near weekly “date night” – when we’d get a babysitter and go out, just the two of us.

Pray. I started getting up early (like 4:30am early) to read the Bible and pray. I tried to place God and Christ at the center of my marriage. This made a huge difference in the way that I behaved, which in turn affected the way that I treated my wife. Now when I read Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 4-6), I ask myself if I am treating my wife according to the guidance in these chapters. When I read St. Paul’s guidance for husbands to “love your wife as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her” (Ephesians 5:25), I asked myself if I was properly loving my wife and giving up “myself” for her.

None of these things were easy – or are easy, since I’m still working on them. But they made a positive difference in my marriage and in my own mental health. I can’t remember a time when I’ve been happier!

What things have you prayed or done in your marriage that has improved it? How have you changed your behavior toward your spouse or changed the way you think about your spouse? I’d love to read your comments and suggestions down below.

Further reading:
“Marriage Maintenance When Money Is Tight”, NYTimes.com, accessed May 17, 2012

“Love Languages Personal Profiles”, 5LoveLanguages.com, accessed May 17, 2012

Other resources to consider
The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts, by Gary D. Chapman
(There’s an editions for kids and a really helpful one for teenagers!)

His Needs, Her Needs: Building an Affair-Proof Marriage, by Willard F. Jr. Harley

Love Busters: Protecting Your Marriage from Habits That Destroy Romantic Love, by Willard F. Jr. Harley

In a season of less clothing, concerns about weight loss

By Blogger Linda Ross

Today a friend asked me for a thought to help step up her weight loss as she said, “in a season of less clothing.”  I shared with her my New Year’s post, which given the topic – is timely again:

A few years ago when my husband and I were new in town, one of the first questions a neighbor asked me was, “How do you do it?”  Seeing my puzzled look she noted that we were both grandmothers, but my figure was one of someone younger.  I struggled with my weight growing up.  As a teenager and young adult many were the diets I had tried.  Then over 30 years ago my approach changed.

Instead of trying to stop a bad habit – in this case over-eating – I focused on adding a good habit.  In response to a temptation, Jesus answered by saying it takes more than bread to sustain life.  In other words, to me the lesson was that as it is necessary to eat every day, so it is just as important to take in spirituality too.  Here was a good habit to add to my life!

Finding myself much heavier than I had ever been after the birth of my first child, I decided to adopt a daily diet of spirituality.  For me that meant in addition to a regular Bible study, I added an inspirational article.  My weight eventually normalized as did my eating habits, though that was not where I was placing my attention.

Occasionally in the decades since I have revisited this lesson when finding myself stuck in difficult circumstances or wanting to overcome negative personal tendencies that crop up.  I’ve learned that a consistent spiritual practice helps to find success in many areas – including weight loss.

 Linda Ross is a Christian Science practitioner living in Connecticut.

Consider yourself spiritually centered? Better health may be yours

By Blogger Linda Ross

My work at times affords a front row seat for some interesting observations in the arenas of spirituality and health. Yesterday was one of those moments. I was included in a meeting with a Health Care consultant, an attorney experienced in the Health Care and Managed Care industry.  He commented that spiritually centered groups are the healthiest populations.

A book published last year, based on a life long study of participants, came to a similar conclusion.

The Longevity Project: surprising discoveries for health and long life” examines the landmark results of a group of 1,500 Californians first studied as children in 1921, then followed for the rest of their lives.  It reports on 8 decades of data that included a focus on religiosity.

Dr. Howard S. Friedman, a co-author of the book, said he is often asked if praying leads to better health and longer life.

In a column last year for The Huffington Post Dr. Friedman wrote about some of the findings. Here is an excerpt: “What about spirituality? We did uncover various hints of the health importance of a deeper meaning in life.  Those who developed catastrophizing, negative thought patterns were inclined to precipitous actions, injuries, accidents, suicides and related risks… You may have heard the old saw that says ‘The best of men cannot suspend their fate; the good die early, and the bad die late.’  This turned out to be myth!  Instead, we sum it all up by saying, it is the good ones who can actually help shape their fate; the bad die early, and the good do great.” 

Intrigued? You can join in an ongoing discussion Dr. Friedman has set up on Facebook: http://on.fb.me/h8NzQS.

Linda Ross is a Christian Science practitioner living in Connecticut.

Through the millenniums, God as Mother

By Blogger Linda Ross

What are some of your favorite mothering or grandmothering traits?  The first one that comes to my thought is unconditional love.  And considering the Biblical passage, “God is Love”, in this post celebrating Mother’s Day, I thought it might be interesting to trace evidence of God as Mother through the millenniums. The following are only a few examples of many to be found in history.

 

Wikipedia

The earliest record could be in the first book of the Bible, Genesis, written around 2100B.C.  Its first chapter concludes, “God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good.”  Mothers are often their children’s biggest fans, they seem to see them only as precious.  Just try beginning a day considering that God made you very good.  Even take that one enjoyable step further and look for at least a glimmer of that goodness in each person you meet.  Hopefully you may find, as I have, a more satisfying day and a touch of unconditional mothering love.

About 1400, Julian of Norwich wrote “Revelations of Divine Love”.  It is the first text in English that can be identified, with certainty, as the work of a female writer. In her book, Julian spoke of God as “fatherhood, motherhood, lordship… God is as really our Mother as our Father.  And why?  Because a mother’s {love} is the most intimate, willing and dependable of all…”

My last instance is from Mary Baker Eddy, founder of the Christian Science church.  All through her books, articles and letters she refers to the nature of God as a mother as well as a father.  She explains, “To me God is All. He is best understood as Supreme Being, as infinite and conscious Life, as the affectionate Father and Mother of all He creates;”  I have found it particularly helpful to consider what I inherited as a child of this divine Mother and Father – and then express to my children and grandchildren. 

 

With these thoughts in mind, I wish you a Happy Mother’s Day!

Changing perspectives on spirituality in healing

By Blogger Linda Ross

How the approach to health has changed since I was a pre-med student in the 1970’s.  Up to that point in my life and that of my family and friends, prayer was a way to experience peace.  But a call from an insurance adjuster was the beginning of quite a change in my view of prayer and its transformative effect on the body.

Reviewing the damage done my car after being rear-ended, the adjuster said he had never known anyone to just walk away.  He thought my body was in a state of shock and had not yet begun to feel the effects of the trauma that would have been caused by the sudden blow to my car and its collapse against the driver’s seat. He asked me to have a complete physical before I signed a release of liability for the claim.

I had prayed the moment I had awaken from the impact of the accident.  I knew I needed to focus on God, not the problem, and began to ponder a passage from the Bible.  My strength returned and my neck normally supported my head again.  In fact the adjustments that took place were so gentle, I assumed there had not been an injury.  Following the insurance adjuster’s request, I went to my family doctor for x-rays thinking they would show nothing had occurred.

However, the physician pointed out in the x-ray he took of my neck, a white ridge indicating the vertibrae had knit back together. He said, “The way this has healed, you will not feel the effects of this accident for the rest of your life.”  That afternoon I told my parents about the visit to the doctor’s office.  My dad felt nothing had really happened to me in the first place.  In fact he was so concerned that I had decided to change my major from pre-med to business, that he refused to pay for any further college studies.

At the time I thought I was alone, even odd, in leaving the study of medicine to be free to pursue more deeply an understanding of healing through prayer.  The studies, books, and university courses on the role of spirituality in healing that exist today were rare 40 years ago.

An article I read last week shows me just how much the thinking about spirituality and health has changed.  Medical researchers at George Washington University’s Institute for Spirituality and Health will, according to the article, look to influence health policies by gathering evidence supporting the importance of spirituality in healing.  The work is made possible by a grant from the Arthur Vining Davis Foundation.

Christina Puchalski, the institute’s executive director and a professor in the School of Medicine and Health Sciences, said  that with the grant money the institute will present data and evidence that shows why health care would benefit from a spiritual focus. Puchalski’s research team, which includes policy experts outside of GW, would look to find data that gives a clear direction for the future of spirituality in the health care system.

I look forward to following up this post with the findings of their study once it is published.

A Spiritual Approach to Health and Healing Brings Results

Rodriguez

DARIEN — Prayer can be a trusted and effective means for bringing peace, freedom and healing into everyone’s  life, according to  Lorenzo Rodriguez, a Christian Science lecturer and spiritual healer.  Rodriguez will give a public talk titled “Spiritual Solutions for Desperate Situations”, on May 3 at 7:30 pm at the First Church of Christ, Scientist, Darien.” On May 5 Rodriguez  will deliver the same talk in Spanish at 11 am at Alexis Hill Montessori School in New Haven and again in English at 2 pm in the Christian Science Reading Room on the New Haven Green.

In his remarks, Rodriguez will show how people from every walk of life have demonstrated the power of God to bring solutions to adversity of every sort. He will describe his own experience in learning to engage the power of God and the divine law  of Truth and Love.

“Understanding God as infinite good brings trust in the power of good to help us overcome worry, doubt and fear,” Rodriguez says.

Claiming one’s  divine rights as a child of God is empowering and satisfying, he asserts.

Rodriquez’s talk will draw on ideas from the original sourcebook for Christian healing, the Bible,  along with Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy, a  companion book of universally applicable ideas on practical spirituality that has sold more than ten million copies.

Born in Cuba and raised in Mexico and the US, Rodriguez graduated from the University of Connecticut with a BS in Chemical Engineering.  Although he practiced engineering for a time, he felt since childhood that his calling was for the helping professions.  He became a pioneer in the field of employment for people with disabilities before  dedicating himself to the full-time practice of healing through spiritual means.  Rodriguez,  a Miami-based teacher of Christian Science and a member of the Christian Science Board of Lectureship  , is fluent in English and Spanish.

The Darien talk will be held at the Christian Science church edifice, 2331 Post Rd., near the YMCA. In New Haven, the Spanish lecture will be held at the Montessori school ,  330 Grand Ave., New Haven and the English version at 950 Chapel Street. For more information, call Darien’s Christian Science Reading Room at 655-2772

Sunday School and The Hunger Games

By Linda Ross

I was stunned when my three 13 year old Sunday School students told me that collectively they had read “The Hunger Games” 16 times and seen the movie nine times. When I asked what it was about the series that was so compelling, they responded with shoulder shrugs, “It’s really good!” and encouraged for me to see it myself – which I did

Having seen the film, the next week I was prepared with more specific questions.  This delighted the class to no end! Given that the venue for the discussion was our Sunday School class, my prayer was to find some related spiritual and moral path for them to consider.

They were much more talkative this time around knowing I had seen “The Hunger Games,” too. First we covered the more general themes, describing the action that kept them on the edge of their seats, the unrequited love, how much they liked the main teenage characters and the stars that played them.  But then I asked how they felt about the corruption of the rulers, the oppression, deprivation, and injustice suffered by the citizens, and the school where selected kids were taught how to kill.

One of my students told about an interview she had seen with the author of the book who had been inspired by the innocence of a 10 year old child that lived next door. Adults at times can marvel at its simple strength. The idea that innocence, not lost to exploitation, can lead to freedom is also found in the Biblical story of Daniel.  When asked why he had not perished after being thrown into a lion’s den Daniel answered, “My God sent his angel to shut the lions’ mouths so that they would not hurt me, for I have been found innocent in his sight.”

My Sunday School class agreed that they felt the film left them with a sense of justice that comes from pursuing the right thing and winning.  They thought the following passage, by the founder of their church Mary Baker Eddy, was a good summary of what they took away from the movie:

“The right way wins the right of way, even the way of Truth and Love whereby all our debts are paid, mankind, blessed, and God glorified.”