How can we heal division and injustice, whether race-based or otherwise? A spiritual take on the concept of “protesting” offers a radical starting point.

Christian Science Perspective audio edition
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Less than a year ago, I was trying to comprehend George Floyd’s death under the knee of a police officer. Now, the trial of that former officer, Derek Chauvin, has ended, and a verdict has been reached. But the need to fix the problems that led to George Floyd’s death and heal divisions and injustices in the United States and elsewhere persists. And that calls for protesting.

I’m talking about protesting in the way Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of The Christian Science Monitor, describes it in “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures.” She says that Jesus’ “humble prayers were deep and conscientious protests of Truth, – of man’s likeness to God and of man’s unity with Truth and Love” (p. 12).

“Humble prayers.” Hmmm. Do I have the humility, I ask myself, to let go of my own opinions about the Derek Chauvin case and instead protest in favor of man’s likeness to God? What would that even look like? And would it change anything?

The first chapter of the Bible says that God made man, which refers to everyone, in His image. Everyone’s true identity is spiritual, the likeness of God, divine Spirit. And since we’re God’s likeness, we’re inseparable from God.

That’s where the unity part comes in. Jesus’ prayers were protests of our “unity with Truth and Love,” which are names for God. As God’s likeness, our unity with divine Truth and Love is already established. We don’t have to do anything to make it happen. Our job is to live it, to express our unity with Truth and Love in the way we think and act. As Science and Health puts it, “The scientific unity which exists between God and man must be wrought out in life-practice...” (p. 202).

That “life-practice” is my protest – striving, moment by moment, for all that I do and say to show my unity with Truth and Love. And to ensure that the way I think of others honors their unity with Truth and Love.

That might seem like a pretty quiet protest plan, but picture the power of us all putting our unity with God, with divine Truth and Love, into practice. That looks like justice to me.

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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.