Famine and prayer-inspired activism

A Christian Science perspective: Finding humanitarian and spiritual relief now.

The specter of famine in several African countries demands humanitarian relief now. There's an equally pressing need for spiritual sustenance. People's ideas about God have a tremendous impact on their courage and their ability to survive hardship. I've never forgotten an interview I heard with an Ethiopian man during the drought and famine there in the 1980s. "You see," he explained, "the spirits who cared for us have died, and now we are dying also."

I wanted to reach right through the TV screen and say to him, "No! It isn't true. Cultures as ancient as yours turned to a supreme eternal Spirit whose love and care sustained them through wars and drought and famine. Their histories describe an all powerful wise God that directed them to safety and sufficient resources."

In our times, too, prayer-inspired activism has brought humanitarian relief – witness people rising up to feed and shelter refugees in many countries, and nations politically opposed to each other stepping up to help the other after natural disasters. This moral and spiritual force originates in God, which Christian Science defines as the perfect Principle governing the universe with justice, the all-loving intelligence that creates and blesses all equally. This omnipotent Love, when expressed and felt by individuals, overwhelms fear and the lust for power that underlie so much suffering. It redeems people from behaviors that are foreign to their true status as the offspring of God.

The prayers and works of Christ Jesus recorded in the Bible showed that people aren’t helpless victims of material forces. “You will know the truth and the truth will set you free” he said (John 8:32, English Standard Version). The truth is that every child, man, and woman are spiritual beings sustained by the one Spirit. This truth is powerful to set us free from every unjust material limitation.

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

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.