Appreciating signs of progress

A Christian Science perspective: A response to the Monitor’s View editorial ‘China’s reach for sage advice.’

I was glad to read the Monitor’s recent editorial “China’s reach for sage advice” (CSMonitor.com). It encouragingly points to some awareness in China of the need for a higher moral standard within the ruling party and in society as a whole. And, quoting He Huaihong, a philosopher at Peking University, it suggests, in essence, that a single-minded pursuit of material power and wealth is at the expense of spiritual power and its indispensable benefits.

This reminds me of Christ Jesus’ parable of the rich man whose land produced considerable goods, so much that he decided he’d have to pull down his barns and build bigger ones to store all of them. He could then, as he saw it, just sit back and selfishly enjoy himself for years to come. But the parable points out that it wouldn’t work out that way. It concludes: “But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God” (see Luke 12:16-21). The message of this parable is universal, and the good news is that it helps us understand that our focus should be on spiritual riches for well-being – and satisfaction – that lasts.

The Scriptures bring out in so many ways that thought and action expressing the nature of God as unchanging divine Love – rather than selfishness – have a solid foundation. They promote the prosperity of individuals and society. Thought and action inspired by God’s nature as Truth – rather than by deception or dishonesty – are supported by the unlimited power of Truth itself. Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered and founded Christian Science, employed “Love,” “Truth,” and other Bible-based terms for God, to give the reader a fuller sense of God’s nature and of who we really are as His expression. This Science leads to a growing perception that whatever is impelled by the one God, by infinite divine intelligence, by pure Spirit, rather than by self-centered materialistic goals, must succeed. Human devices, on the other hand, strive aggressively – but ultimately in vain – to prop up what has no genuine, spiritual basis.

Bible teachings reveal that God, Spirit, is the all-powerful creator of all that’s real, true, and good. His image, man, reflects the divine nature in love, wisdom, intelligence, integrity, purity, and so forth. This is the spiritual reality of God and man, established for eternity. It’s the law of God. And to the extent that individuals and governments conform to divine law – act in accord with man’s true, God-created nature – the outcome must be progressive for all. Mrs. Eddy writes, “Right thoughts and deeds are the sovereign remedies for all earth’s woe” (“The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany,” p. 283).

There’s good reason to be thankful whenever and wherever right thinking, expressing God’s universal law of Love, becomes more apparent. It means that we’re all beneficiaries.

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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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