A Christian Science perspective: A victim of racist remarks found peace that was more than the absence of conflict, but a presence that turned things around.

I’d been happily attending a gym in my new neighborhood for a few months, when something happened that just wasn’t right. I heard a man speaking unkindly about my ethnicity and questioning why people of my “kind” were at “their” gym. He repeated these comments every time I was nearby. It felt mean and threatening.

Prayer was definitely my choice for handling this situation. One of the many truths I’ve learned from the Bible and my study of Christian Science is that God is everywhere, and that His quality of peace is not merely the absence of conflict. Rather, peace has a presence, everywhere at all times. It’s an actual something that fills all space! That meant it was natural for this gym to be a place of peace, not of conflict. And all of us there had the ability to live that, because we are truly God’s spiritual children.

For a few minutes I calmly reflected on these ideas and all the good I had experienced since the move to this neighborhood. Then I had the chance to speak to this person. He listened carefully as I explained why I was at this gym and how much I loved being there. I also said how much I loved this part of town and all the people in it. Without any fear, I introduced myself and we shook hands. The man even introduced me to his mother, who had come over to listen.

Since that time, there have been no further comments, and we’ve had normal, courteous greetings and exchanges. I’m so grateful for the permanence of this healing.

This article was adapted from an article in the June 2017 issue of The Christian Science Journal.

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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.

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