A Christian Science perspective: Looking beyond a foggy view of our fellow man.

Each morning when I wake up, I look out on the pond to check for wildlife and waterfowl. Most days there will be a flock of Canada geese, perhaps some mallard ducks, or a pair of mute swans, and occasionally a great white heron will grace us with her presence. Not this morning. This morning a thick white blanket of fog had rolled in, obscuring the pond; not even the outline of the opposite shore was visible. It was as if someone had taken a giant eraser and erased the whole picture of the pond.

If I didn’t know better, I might have been inclined to panic. But I knew that the fog would eventually clear and I would be able to see the familiar view again. Even though they weren’t visible to me now, I knew that the ducks were probably foraging and that the heron was probably inching her way along the shore looking for her breakfast fish.

Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered Christian Science and founded The Christian Science Monitor describes a different kind of fog on page 299 of her book “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” where she says, “Corporeal sense, or error, may seem to hide Truth, health, harmony, and Science, as the mist obscures the sun or the mountain; but Science, the sunshine of Truth, will melt away the shadow and reveal the celestial peaks.”

As a student of Christian Science, I am learning to look beyond what is considered a worldly or material view of things in order to perceive the spiritual view – the clear, harmonious view that “the sunshine of Truth” reveals.

One time when I had started a new job, the employee who was training me made it obvious that she didn’t want anything to do with me. She even ignored important questions I asked regarding details that were pertinent to my job. Each day seemed more difficult than the day before, and soon I actually dreaded going to work. I decided to pray about this situation to find an answer. I endeavored to look beyond the view of a person who was hard to get along with – who was uncooperative and who probably just didn’t like me – to a different view, a spiritual view.

This spiritual view sees that God, Spirit (see John 4:24), made every one of us like Him – spiritual and perfect – just as Christ Jesus revealed throughout his healing ministry. I was determined to see this person the way God made her, as His perfect child, full of love and compassion. As I strove to do this each day, things started to change. My work days became more enjoyable and I no longer dreaded going into the office.

After a while, I eventually moved on to a new job, and I unexpectedly met this woman in a store one day. When she saw me, she came over, gave me a hug, and said: “I miss you. Let’s get together for lunch sometime.”

We actually did, and she even apologized to me for making my life difficult when we had worked together. She said that she had been going through some tough times back then and she really didn’t mean to be the way she was. I realized that her true self had just been temporarily obscured, just as the fog sometimes obscures my view of the shore, and I was so grateful for the understanding that she was truly a loving child of God.

Mrs. Eddy wrote, “When we learn the way in Christian Science and recognize man’s spiritual being, we shall behold and understand God’s creation, – all the glories of earth and heaven and man” (Science and Health, p. 264).

One of my favorite hymns also expresses the joy that comes from seeing others from a spiritual perspective:

From sense to Soul my pathway lies before me,
From mist and shadow into Truth’s clear day;
The dawn of all things real is breaking o’er me,
My heart is singing: I have found the way. ​​(Violet Hay, “Christian Science Hymnal,” No. 64, © Christian Science Board of Directors)

God’s man is happy, healthy, whole, and free. There’s nothing foggy about that view – the true, spiritually clear view of us all.

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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.