A FRIEND telephoned to ask if I'd read a particular article on the front page of the previous day's issue of this paper. It began, "There you are, gliding down the blacktop in a Ford Taurus digging on Hootie and the Blowfish." My friend had called because Hootie and the Blowfish were playing the next night at a summer program that is very much in our sound range. Amused by the juxtaposition, I read on.
The article discussed the ongoing debate about what in the past has qualified, and what should now qualify, as an item to be labeled "made in America." Items are sometimes judged as well made, or cheaply made, just by looking at the "made in . . ." label. A "made in our own country" tag can give us a sense of pride or a feeling of competition with "made in another country." Thoughtless, even unwarranted, pride, aggressive competition with others, shoddy cheapness, are not things with which most of us want to identify. These labels can be hurtful, even hateful, and sometimes contribute to international tensions.
I began to think about my own life. I asked myself if I ever thought of myself or someone else as labeled a certain way because of a point of origin. The answer was an embarrassing "yes." Then I remembered occasions when this kind of labeling had been corrected by acknowledging that we are all the children of God, infinitely varied and without limitation, but all coming from the same divine source.
I began to look in a new way at those little words "made in." Right in the first chapter of Genesis we're told "God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him" (1:27). Man-each of us-is "made in" the image of God. This is the truth Christ Jesus illustrated through his life and healing works. In Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, the Discoverer of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, answered the question "What is man?" Part of the answer reads, "The Scriptures inform us that man is made in the image and likeness of God" (p. 475).
As God's image, man expresses intelligence, love, vitality, since God is Mind, Love, Life. When I remember this and really see myself and others in this way, I feel such a warmth of the embrace of divine Love itself. This spiritually grounded view of "made in" removes the weights of unwarranted pride or the feeling of being better than another that really arises from an aggressive belief of competition or of haves and have-nots. I find myself valuing the variety and abundance of intelligence and vitality wherever found. All are made in superb quality, the image of God, good.
This recognition uplifts the kind of "made in" that newspaper article was about. In days past many items were 100 percent made in America. But with today's global economy, items from many parts of the world may be necessary to put together the final product. This hints at cooperation breaking through aggressive competition. But then can we say these multicountry products are "made in" one specific country? Some say "yes" if the majority of design and manufacturing ideas originate there. Others disagree. But there is another viewpoint.
While God does not make things, we can look at these man-made items from the viewpoint of spiritual perception. Man is "made in the image and likeness of God." As designers and manufacturers express this fact to an increasing degree, cooperation, accuracy, beauty, durability, usefulness, intelligent creativity-all qualities coming from God and thus knowing no national boundaries-are evident in the products, and these become the criteria for their support. Sloppy, shoddy, careless thought does not belong to God's likeness. It produces for profit, but not for durability or beauty. This can be discerned and the resulting item rejected. Our recognition of spiritual qualities is possible because all good ideas come from God, divine Mind, and are abundantly and impartially communicated. Then we learn to discern excellence of thought and spiritual judgment, and thus we see evidence of that which is "made in the image and likeness of God."