When the other candidate wins

A Christian Science perspective.

The US national election this week revealed very close popular votes for both the open congressional seats and the presidency. That means that almost 50 percent of those who voted didn’t see “their guy” win.

So how do we all get behind those candidates who were successful in order to support our elected officials? By understanding that the highest form of human government reflects the divine government of God, divine Mind, presiding over His creation, which He dearly loves. This creation includes each one of us – Republican or Democrat, conservative or liberal, black or white, wealthy or poor.

The founder of the Monitor, Mary Baker Eddy, was a dedicated student of the Bible, and, like many today, found it a source of strength and wisdom for every challenge. Much of the Hebrew Bible (the Old Testament to Christians) conveys the story of the Israelites surviving a wilderness experience under the God-trusting leadership of Moses, only to eventually make their way into Canaan, have tribal judges guide them, then throw it all overboard for a government of kings. The lessons were heartbreaking as their kingdoms were crushed and the people taken into exile (first, to Assyria, then Babylon).

The prophet Jeremiah was one of those taken from his Jerusalem home to the Babylonian kingdom governed by King Nebuchadnezzar. The 29th chapter of Jeremiah speaks to those trying to find their spiritual equilibrium after an election when “the other guy” triumphs. The prophet’s counsel to his fellow captives is relevant to those who feel they live in a political system that feels foreign.

“Work for the peace and prosperity of the city where I sent you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, for its welfare will determine your welfare” (verse 7, New Living Translation). The verses continue with God speaking, as the prophet heard Him: “For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope” (verse 11).

What relevant and practical guidance for every citizen in any election, regardless of who wins. Mrs. Eddy wrote, “Infinite Mind creates and governs all, from the mental molecule to infinity” (“Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” p. 507). What a relief to glimpse that an intelligence so far beyond human intellect is capable of guiding, protecting, defending, and providing for every individual involved in city, state, or federal government. The demand is for us to be aware of this divine power, then listen for and follow these spiritual directives that can have such relevant application to a 2012 election.

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Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

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