Reacting to headlines?

Today’s column explores the idea that a desire to see things from God’s perspective empowers us to discern tangible solutions to worrisome or tragic news events.

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Speculation about trade wars dominated the morning headlines. Within hours a massive sell-off caused a major stock indicator to tumble more than 500 points. The next day, fear of trade wars subsided, and the economy roared back into the news, this time because of an equally fast and robust recovery. This roller-coaster ride continued, playing itself out over the following weeks.

A financial reporter asked one of the analysts on the floor of the stock exchange to explain the dramatic swings. “We’re running on a lot of headlines,” he said. Emotion and fear were driving things.

His comment seems fitting on more fronts than just the economy. From the constant flow of headlines that exaggerate and sensationalize everyday life, it would seem that today’s world has never been in worse shape. With the ability to access news so quickly and simply, it’s a good idea to ask ourselves: Are we “running on a lot of headlines”?

Most of us prefer not to be swept up in daily broadcast turbulence. Yet we still want to make a difference – to bring solutions to what’s going on in our communities and world. But if we’re harboring uncertainty and unsettling emotions, we’re not able to do much more than imagine what a happier, more harmonious life would be like. Maintaining a sense of peace while addressing tough issues in the news requires a strong commitment to a different outlook, rather than just wishing for better news.

I’ve found it empowering to identify that commitment as a spiritual one, to turn to God as the source of every healing response. Christian Science teaches that God is the all-encompassing Principle of being. He is omnipotent, supreme over all creation. And He is Spirit, the all-good and infinite divine Mind – the origin of every true thought, motive, and act. Mind naturally and harmoniously governs its ideas. The prophet Jeremiah described God’s perspective this way: “I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end” (Jeremiah 29:11).

As we trust in God’s guidance and strive to perceive Him as constantly good and loving, our thoughts rise above an emotion-driven, limited interpretation of things. We’re drawn instead to Mind’s calm, spiritual perspective. The real news is that although a grossly imperfect model of life may pass itself off as the way things are, this just isn’t so. God has given us the capacity to perceive what’s divinely true for everyone: that we are each the perfect and perpetual expression of Spirit.

Holding to this radically spiritual sense of being corrects – and brings healing to – the mistaken, disheartening impression that there’s so much wrong with life. Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered the Science of Christ in the late 19th century, explains in her signature work, “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” “Truth and Love antidote this mental miasma, and thus invigorate and sustain existence” (p. 274). (Here, Truth and Love are used as synonyms for God.)

No amount of anger, conflict, or despair in the headlines can separate us from what God is revealing of life in Spirit, complete and good. A plan of action for taking further steps of progress? It’s really about the natural activity of the qualities of Mind in our consciousness, supplying practical ideas for healing our world. Through prayer and a desire to learn more of this spiritual reality, we become inspired and find a deeper sense of peace and well-being. More and more, this spiritualized thinking makes us problem-solvers, able to discern tangible solutions to worrisome or tragic news events.

Adapted from an editorial published in the July 23-30, 2018, issue of the Christian Science Sentinel.

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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

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