Archive for May 2015

Can We Heal the Culture of Violence?   Leave a comment

$ dreamstime_6602712 - CopyThe issue of violence is prominent in our community conversations at the moment. Terrorism, drug-related violence, domestic and institutional abuse, and even road rage are insistently crying out for our attention and solutions.

Despite serious efforts over many years to prevent violence, to deal with its effects and to punish the perpetrators, there’s now general agreement that violence will continue to escalate and to propagate fear in the community until we find and treat the real causes.

Fundamental beliefs that underlie and perpetuate all kinds of violence are: that humans have an animal nature prone to competition, self-preservation and aggression; that certain brain-based dysfunctions may be the root of addiction and violence, aggravated by abuse or neglect during childhood; and that there are deeply rooted social and cultural patterns, leading to a distorted sense of manhood and womanhood, that may take generations to change.

However, there’s evidence that these beliefs may be just that …. either long-held or fairly recent beliefs that need to be revised.

Drugs and alcohol are often associated with violence. People working in the police and community services speak of how addiction and abuse reoccur from generation to generation, and there is now general realisation that special attention needs to be given to the families involved.

However, there is some progress as communities work together to fight apathy and educate each other that this cycle can indeed be broken.

A retired commanding officer in the police force shared one such approach: “…anytime I knew I was going to a call related to domestic conflict or violence I would pick up the local pastor.” Often they were able to provide a spiritual viewpoint and connection that would later solve the problem.

It is often acknowledged that recognising a man’s spiritual nature has a healing effect.

Significant psychological research studies find that spirituality is not only helpful to, but integral to mental health. This is an important point in considering individual and whole-society wellbeing.

We may need to adjust our thinking about our real nature.

Another long-held false belief will be overturned by realising that the spiritual qualities generally attributed to women – such as care for others, gentleness, forgiveness and patience – and those qualities attributed to men – such as wisdom, truthfulness, tenaciousness and strength – are innate in both men and women.

Jesus’ ability to express both the fatherhood and motherhood of the divine set the benchmark for us. And like him, we’re actually “tuned in” to hear spiritual intuitions that will prompt, direct and uplift thought, although we may choose not to listen.

Knowing that no-one can be excluded from hearing and acting on divine thoughts can help to overcome violent impulses and begin to heal the culture of violence.

A pioneer in investigating the effects of our thoughts on our health, Mary Baker Eddy, recognised this voice as the ever-appearing of “the divine message from God to men speaking to the human consciousness.” (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures)

When Susannah (not her real name) moved out of home and obtained a copy of that book, she just loved the way the author described the divine power that governs the universe as Father-Mother.

Her family had suffered violence at the hand of her father for many years. To think her father could be capable of reflecting the gentle motherhood of God seemed absolutely impossible. However, she decided to stop wrestling with this idea and worked hard to try to see him as reflecting this tender divine nature; learning that he was meant to be nurturing, gentle, tender.

Susannah was listening for the divine message, which replaced the macho view of her father and other men, with this new view of men. Her thought and experiences gradually began to change.

As the weeks went by, she learned that her parents had not had a fight in months and her father was treating her mother and sister with new tenderness. Eight years on, this is still the case.

A scientific approach to thought and prayer in this way does not whitewash evil deeds; rather it exposes the mistaken beliefs and causes them to be discarded.

Further changes in thinking about her own spiritual nature, meant that Susannah no longer saw herself or her mother as survivors of mental, verbal or physical intimidation, but as well-adjusted and balanced individuals.

She had no lingering emotional scars, but had learned truly to love and see the undamageable good in herself and her mother.

As Australian of the Year and domestic violence survivor, Rosie Batty, advocates, Susannah truly took responsibility for her own life, bringing vital change to those around her in the process.

Such approaches hint at the possibilities for healing the culture of violence in ourselves and in the community.

This article was contributed by Kay Stroud, of Queensland.  Kay writes on the connection between spirituality and health.  This article has been published on 40 APN news sites, including: Sunshine Coast Daily, Toowoomba Chronicle, Lismore Northern Star, Rockhampton Morning Bulletin, Mackay Daily Mercury,Tweed Daily News, Bundaberg News Mail, Coffs Coast Advocate, Grafton Daily Examiner,Gladstone Observer, Fraser Coast Chronicle, Gympie Times, Caboolture News, Stanthorpe Border Post

Prayer for the Neighbour’s Dogs Brings a Harmonious Solution   Leave a comment

$ dreamstime_6562165About three years ago a young mum moved into the house next door to us. She had a couple of children, a cat and a dog. Soon her friend moved in too and he brought with him a tiny pup. These were both outside dogs but they had provided no shelter for them. They lived largely without human interaction in the bare backyard and it was the middle of a fierce and wet Canberra winter. In the mornings this tiny short-haired puppy could be seen sleeping curled and shivering in the long frosty grass. During the blustery winter days he cried and cried. When it rained he tried to stand under the larger dog for shelter and together they looked soaked and miserable.

I found this very difficult to witness day after day and I became incensed with indignation.

I succumbed to the error of believing that evil existed – in the form of my neighbours and that there were places where Love – another name for God – did not exist. If I believed that the neighbours were cruel and unloving then I was believing that God wasn’t all. I had to choose which idea I believed.

But, I didn’t want to let go of that indignation – I found it very difficult. But Mary Baker Eddy, the discoverer and founder of Christian Science, tells us in her textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures:

Rise in the strength of Spirit to resist all that is unlike good (p393).

It was Spirit, God, who gave me the strength to resist this faulty thinking. I knew that there was no place where God was not. The Bible tells us that man is made in the image and likeness of God … of Love. The real man could not be unloving. So I held to this truth about man and acknowledged God’s love for all His creation. This dissolved the indignation. Within a day of this turn around in thinking the dogs were being invited inside and for the rest of the winter they were given shelter and companionship.

I have learned never to underestimate the power of practical applied scientific prayer!

This post was submitted by Deborah Packer of Canberra, Australia.

Love – The Fulfilling of the Law   Leave a comment

$ dreamstime_209356Love – the Fulfilling of the Law – Readings from the Bible and the textbook of Christian Science, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy.

Love inspires, illumines, designates, and leads the way.  Right motives give pinions to thought, and strength and freedom to speech and action.

(Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy p454)

Every Wednesday at 6.00 pm a Testimony Meeting is held at the Christian Science Church in Canberra. Each meeting begins with readings selected from the two books designated as the Pastor of Christian Science: The Bible and Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy.  A new topic for the readings is selected each week.

At the conclusion of the short readings the congregation is invited to share thoughts on this topic and relate how they have used the principles of Christian Science to solve life’s problems and bring physical healing.

If you are in Canberra on any Wednesday please join us. Everyone is welcome.

This recording represents the readings on the topic: Love – the Fulfilling of the Law.

Ben’s Story   Leave a comment

shutterstock_123957178Sometimes life throws up situations where you have to stick to what you understand to be true, even if the physical evidence is saying something else.  I suppose that’s a bit like Copernicus, when he was starting to realize that the earth rotated around the sun, and not what was commonly thought, he had to use his scientific understanding and not the popular opinion or even his physical senses.

I’ve had experiences, simpler, humbler ones, where I’ve had to stick to a spiritual understanding of what was going on and not just accept the outward sense of things.  One of these times was when my dog, Ben, was hit by a car.

Ben had suddenly spotted by husband across the road and run straight out into the path of a car.  The car, a huge four-wheel drive, had hit him, spearing him into the ground, the full force being taken by his head.  And although there were only a few external abrasions, it was obvious something serious had happened to his skull. We took him home and I began to pray immediately.

Now my younger daughter was, at that stage, growing up and she was making her own mind up about things, and we’ve always respected our girls’ rights to think differently to us.  And she felt very strongly that we should take him to the vet.  She was actually shouting at me, and it was not easy, but I over rode her objections, and I did this for several reasons.  I had more faith in God than in man.  I had seen so many healings in my life, particularly of animals, that I had absolute confidence that the dog could be healed, but also I actually did not think that he would survive through any other means.  So I just went to God for help.

I prayed through the night to know only what God would know about the situation, to know that His divine care was ever present and all powerful, that divine Love did not cause this accident so it had no divine authority, that His almighty care surrounded us and governed the scene with harmony.  And as the day dawned, it suddenly became clear that I absolutely believed, and understood, God’s unwavering, unchanging love for all of His creation; that the Ben’s life was safe because he had always been in God’s care, and I knew it and I believed it and understood it more than what the physical senses were telling me.

Shortly after, my daughter came in to check on him and he leapt straight up into her arms perfectly well and happy, with all symptoms and pain completely gone.  And within two days even all evidence of the abrasions was gone.  But, as importantly, my daughter received the evidence that she needed as well.

This article was submitted by Beth Packer, a Christian Science healer from the South Coast of NSW, Australia.

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