June 12, 2003

Practice not profession, understanding not belief, gain the ear and right hand of omnipotence and they assuredly call down infinite blessings.

Science and Health, by Mary Baker Eddy

A quick check of our [#page=archive#] search engine shows we haven't taken up Malpractice as a topic, nor even as a major element in our meetings over the years. So, the member who requested we work on it this week was certainly discerning not only her own need for clarity (after she felt "malpracticed"by someone) but also a more general need of the group.

We started by getting our terminology straight. Can one "malpractice"another? Upon reflection we thought not, since we'd hardly say we're "practicing"someone! Perhaps we could say we've malpracticed Christian Science, just as a lawyer or doctor might fail to practice his discipline properly, finding himself in trouble for malpractice.

The basic failure in the practice of Christian Science is to see ourselves or others as less than spiritual. Jesus' advice on the mote in our brother's eye versus the plank in our own is included in the readings, but this is simply the kind of thing we do instinctively, helplessly really, when we regard ourselves as mortals.

One member quoted the gist of something he'd heard on a Margaret Laird tape: "If you want to know what you're thinking unconsciously about yourself, just pay attention to what you're thinking consciously about others."

Members referred to advice and techniques offered by the founder of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, to break malpractice. Here are a couple:

  • "Stand porter at the door of thought. Admitting only such conclusions as you wish realized in bodily results, you will control yourself harmoniously."(Science and Health, p. 392:24)
  • "Jesus beheld in Science the perfect man, who appeared to him where sinning mortal man appears to mortals."(Ibid, p. 476:32)
Two members recommended getting off the mortal basis of belief, with its dualistic judgments, by uniting with the divine Mind or God. This method of handling malpractice is based on what Mrs. Eddy says regarding accidents (see Science and Health, p. 424:5-9). From the position of divine Mind, Christian Science can be practiced without fear of malpractice.

One member said, "It all depends on where we place the 'I'. Is 'I' merely personal, dualistic and mortal or is it God?"If it's the former, we're automatically awash in malpractice; if the latter, we're in the practice.

We had some newcomers at the meeting and spent time debriefing each other on the state of the Christian Science movement in our respective fields. One member caught us up on discussions with people at headquarters in Boston on extending enthusiastic inclusiveness to Gay people in the movement's organized outward expressions. We'll have more on this as exchanges unfold.

We talked about the onrush of gay marriage around the world. It's legal in Ontario as of June 10th and considered possible in Massachusetts soon. Some religions are welcoming these developments with clear-eyed generosity, while others recoil in resplendent outrage. The Pope on his road-show to Croatia even delivered a sermon denouncing Gay marriage. His minions around the world have been active in politics to undermine emerging law. We noted that when any organization such as a church tries to impede the emergence of real relationships, sexual energy often gets short-circuited into unhealthy channels where perversions like child molestation pop up. Fortunately ordinary folks worldwide increasingly understand this dynamic and leave the problem where it belongs. From our standpoint as students of Christian Science, we'll focus on the all-inclusiveness of Love which will heal even those who resist.

A member described his reactions to and the Science he saw embedded in a movie on Showtime this week. It's "Vanilla Sky"which came out in the summer of 2001 (n.b. before 9/11). He had stayed away from it originally because the critics said it was a "hodgepodge". And he quickly found it to be so, except there were some classical symbols of transformation appearing and this grabbed his attention. He did become increasingly disoriented as he couldn't tell whether the protagonist was awake or dreaming — or even alive or dead. As he let go of the need for the linear and literal, the whole effort could be seen as confirmatory of the thesis in Science that all material selfhood is illusory, though hinting at the Truth.

Then the main thrust of the movie became clear: to expose present-day American narcissism or obsessions with image, youth, meaningless sex, medical miracles and even "life extension"through cryonics. All the characters represent psycho-spiritual aspects of the main character. There's even an androgynous psychopomp, thought to be Gay, who may be Hermes Trismegistus — conducting our hero through various states of consciousness.

Freakily, the last scene of the movie shows the Twin Towers in the distance over the protagonist's left shoulder. Was this an acutely prescient indication by the filmmaker, certainly unconscious of its full import, taking American narcissism and vanity to the max?

Our member said he doubted we could recover from narcissism by working on it with mortal mind, however sincere the attempt. He felt however if we could see it as a corruption of a divine reality, there'd be hope. God seeing/being Himself as all creation is the non-dualistic prototype for a human ego-inflation known as narcissism. "If we'll let God be the only Narcissus of which we're the reflection, then impudent human narcissism will fade out."

Some healings were reported.

1) One member had a bout of insomnia mid-week. He tried to calm himself with "phony baloney"declarations of Christian Science. It didn't work. Then he recalled a practitioner once saying to him in similar circumstances, "Maybe you shouldn't sleep."He saw that as unusually cruel at the time but now he was willing to listen for any indication of why he was tossing and turning. Soon a couple of problems surfaced, he addressed them with specific spiritual truths and drifted off to sleep.

2) Another member talked of his decision to step down from the readership of his branch church while his leg was in a cast. He felt the sight of him in that condition would be too distractive to those, especially newcomers, attending services and perhaps impede the work they were assembled there to do.

3) Another member had some work in Science to do when people rushed up to him after a singing engagement to comment on how much light emanated from his face during the performance. He saw the commotion as an invitation to material self-glorification. He was able to stay centered and understand what the Light is.

4) This demonstration reminded another member of a breakthrough he'd had this week in the area of romance. Very much given to idle dreaming about this or that one in his daily rounds as being an appropriate mate for him, he suddenly awoke to how silly and frustrating such ideation was. He could suspend this and work on discerning his relationship with and as Love. He said, "Be Love and see what drifts in on that realization."We'll have periodic updates.

For next week in recognition of Father's Day we'll have the topic Father.

The Bible

Let them shout for joy, and be glad, that favour my righteous cause: yea, let them say continually, Let the Lord be magnified, which hath pleasure in the prosperity of his servant. And my tongue shall speak of thy righteousness and of thy praise all the day long.

Thy righteousness is like the great mountains; thy judgments are a great deep: O Lord, thou preservest man and beast. How excellent is thy lovingkindness, O God! therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of thy wings. They shall be abundantly satisfied with the fatness of thy house; and thou shalt make them drink of the river of thy pleasures. For with thee is the fountain of life: in thy light shall we see light.

Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye.

Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.

Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, by Mary Baker Eddy

So long as matter is the basis of practice, illness cannot be efficaciously treated by the metaphysical process. Truth does the work, and you must both understand and abide by the divine Principle of your demonstration.

Never fear the mental malpractitioner, the mental assassin, who, in attempting to rule mankind, tramples upon the divine Principle of metaphysics, for God is the only power.

The Christian Scientist demonstrates that divine Mind heals, while the hypnotist dispossesses the patient of his individuality in order to control him. No person is benefited by yielding his mentality to any mental despotism or malpractice. All unscientific mental practice is erroneous and powerless, and should be understood and so rendered fruitless.

Jesus said, "Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom." This truth is Christian Science.

Christian Scientists, be a law to yourselves that mental malpractice cannot harm you either when asleep or when awake.

Jesus beheld in Science the perfect man, who appeared to him where sinning mortal man appears to mortals. In this perfect man the Saviour saw God's own likeness, and this correct view of man healed the sick. Thus Jesus taught that the kingdom of God is intact, universal, and that man is pure and holy.

Science declares that Mind, not matter, sees, hears, feels, speaks.

God is not the creator of an evil mind.

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