The ‘creative Principle’ we reflect

A Christian Science perspective: A response to the Monitor’s View editorial ‘The best answer to commercial cybertheft.’

In a recent editorial, the Monitor wrote on an agreement between the United States and China “to work together to fight the theft of commercial secrets in cyberspace,” noting that it “signals to countries, companies, and individuals that they must develop their own creativity – rather than steal ideas and technology from others” (“The best answer to commercial cybertheft,” CSMonitor.com).

The editorial board also observed, “The pact will only succeed if Chinese leaders now understand their people are quite capable of generating creative ideas, more so than stealing from others.”

This capability doesn’t belong just to people of a certain nationality or in a certain line of work; it applies to all of us. As I read the editorial, I couldn’t help thinking of this statement by Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science: “The creative Principle – Life, Truth, and Love – is God” (“Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” p. 502). God being the creative Principle, the only creator, then His creative activity must be as inexhaustibly infinite as God Himself is.

Furthermore, God, divine Mind, is eternally expressing Himself in us, His spiritual children, made in His image and likeness. “Man reflects infinite Truth, Life, and Love,” states Science and Health (p. 94). This means that qualities such as creativity – and the discernment to know how to express it in a unique, inspired way – are innate in everyone. They can’t be inhibited any more than our relationship to God could disintegrate.

In the Bible, we read: “Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good” (Ephesians 4:28). We don’t need to steal others’ work or ideas to get ahead, because the true source of creative activity is not a human personality or a particular brain – it’s the divine Mind we all reflect. As Christ Jesus explained, “I can of mine own self do nothing” (John 5:30).

This really hit home for me one time when I took a final exam that involved inventing and writing a fable. I love writing, and I was excited to begin. However, after a few false starts, I found myself feeling stuck, unable to move forward. Some of the ideas just weren’t coming together, and others simply didn’t seem good enough. As the minutes ticked by, I became increasingly worried. I wondered what my classmates were writing about. Glancing around, I saw them working away, which only added to my concern – they were obviously producing something; why couldn’t I?

At that point, I paused to turn my thought toward God. I knew that He is indefatigable and fully in control of His spiritual universe; so, I reasoned, as His spiritual expression I could never lack the inspiration, productivity, or creativity that derive from Him. And there could never be enough for some of His children but not others. As I quietly prayed, I felt an enlarged sense of the magnitude – the infinitude – of divine Mind.

I soon realized gratefully that my anxiety had dissolved; and right on the spot a new idea came to thought that ended up being the perfect basis for my fable. I finished writing with time to spare and received an excellent grade.

Striving to nurture a sense of creativity in all our endeavors is natural, because every one of us is the reflection of God, the infinite “creative Principle.” This understanding helps us to prove more and more in our experience the inexhaustibility of divine Mind.

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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.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.

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