Toward consistent cooperation

A Christian Science perspective: An honest desire to love and obey God, divine Love, opens the way for harmonious collaboration with others.

The recent Monitor editorial, “An Arctic pact shows what’s possible,” points to how dozens of countries have come together in the signing of an international pact (CSMonitor.com, Dec. 12, 2017). Their agreement to hold off fishing commercially in the warming Arctic for 16 years in order to better understand and preserve this natural environment is an inspiring example of how people can come together in a spirit of unity to improve the world we live in.

Contrastingly, we all know that sinking feeling when collaboration with others is difficult or missing entirely. So how can we find cooperation that isn’t fleeting – a cooperation we can really trust?

At one point, I had a distressful situation with a co-worker over a period of months. We were not working well together, and our work demanded that we cooperate! It has long been my inclination to turn to God in prayer when problems arise, so that’s what I did. As I prayed one day, my thought was lifted to a different view of my identity as spiritual, indeed wholly spiritual, reflecting God’s goodness. In this unclouded view of myself I saw that I could never for a moment be in conflict with God, divine Love, or with any of Love’s children. The Bible teaches we are all God’s children, and that had to include my colleague. Human opinions, personality traits, and personal likes or dislikes could no more be put into my true identity or theirs than darkness can be put into light. I saw clearly that both my colleague and I were under Love’s government, and therefore harmony between us was natural.

An indescribable peace came over me through this prayer, and right then, the sense of being at odds with my coworker literally left my thought. From then on we worked together harmoniously.

A perspective on collaboration I greatly value comes from the Bible records of letters by the Apostle Paul, who wrote, “We are confident that God is able to orchestrate everything to work toward something good and beautiful when we love Him and accept His invitation to live according to His plan” (Romans 8:28, “The Voice”).

What struck me when reading this verse recently was the “loving God” part. I saw, with greater insight, that loving God is the first thing we need to focus on. Not as the means to an end of making people work together better, but because that’s what we’re made to do as God’s own reflection.

The Bible puts it this way: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength” (Mark 12:30, New King James Version). To love God to our utmost is to bring every motive, impulse, and thought under the rule of the Christ, the consciousness of Love’s all-powerful presence expressed immeasurably by Christ Jesus. The Christ dissolves any sense of domination and unhealthy competition that would block unity. It heals!

Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered and founded Christian Science, wrote, “ ‘As in water face answereth to face,’ and in love continents clasp hands, so the oneness of God includes also His presence with those whose hearts unite in the purposes of goodness” (“Miscellaneous Writings 1883-1896,” p. 152).

Every joint effort for good, no matter how small, that is impelled by Love – in our homes, at work, and even on the playground – is a forward step for humanity. It helps open the way for greater opportunities and possibilities to better our world through friendship, fair play, and peace.

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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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