Freed from cynicism, alcohol use, and chronic illness

Resentful of society, frequently sick, and living a wild lifestyle, a grad student began to yearn for a healthier, less cynical path. Then he came across a magazine about Christian Science healing, and what he learned as he began studying this Science more deeply turned his life around completely.

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During the 1960s period of the Vietnam War, I was a graduate student living with a group of other grad students and involved in political protests, wild parties, and frequent use of alcohol. We thought we were sophisticated, but with hindsight I realized that we were actually hateful and cynical. Often, I would return from political protest marches filled with resentment toward society.

This riled-up state of thought was often accompanied by illness. In fact, I would frequently find myself at the campus health care center with symptoms of flu, mononucleosis, and pneumonia.

My parents were Christian Scientists and took me to the Christian Science Sunday School when I was young, but in college I stopped attending church or studying this Science. Eventually I got tired of being so frequently sick, though. I thought, Why not get back to the healthful lifestyle I had when living with my parents?

One day, I was doing my laundry at a local laundromat and saw a rack containing copies of a magazine called the Christian Science Sentinel. I picked up an issue and read it. The way I felt as I read the articles reminded me of the comforting, spiritual atmosphere I used to feel when attending church.

The following week I met the man, a Christian Scientist, who had left the magazines at the laundromat. He was a very sweet recent immigrant employed as a barber. His manner was such a contrast with the hateful, cynical, pseudo-sophisticated atmosphere that I felt pervaded my apartment.

The barber directed me to the local Church of Christ, Scientist, and I started to attend services there and read the weekly Bible Lessons (found in another publication, the “Christian Science Quarterly”) once again. This led me back to a harmonious and stable lifestyle. I’m so grateful for that happy barber who brought me back to Christian Science and a happy, healthy life.

Soon after returning to studying Christian Science, I realized I was completely free of dependence on the use of medicine and alcohol. I never again missed a day of grad school, and for the next 34 years until retirement, I never had to take a sick day from work. I learned that as God’s children, all of us are governed and maintained by God, divine Mind. As we come to understand this spiritual reality, healing and peace are natural results.

I learned, too, that it didn’t help to resent society for its misdeeds, but it does help to see everyone as the sons and daughters of God, reflecting God’s qualities. Christ Jesus was the best example of how this results in healing. Mary Baker Eddy wrote in the textbook of Christian Science, “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures”: “Jesus beheld in Science the perfect man, who appeared to him where sinning mortal man appears to mortals. In this perfect man the Saviour saw God’s own likeness, and this correct view of man healed the sick” (pp. 476-477).

We can all strive to see ourselves and others through this spiritual lens, and experience more of the help and healing this brings.

Adapted from a testimony published in the Oct. 12, 2020, 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 CSMonitor.com.