Armed With Spiritual Clarity on Capitol Hill

Armed With Spiritual Clarity on Capitol Hill

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by Don Ingwerson

For today’s blog I wanted to share with you a new metaphysical article from the Federal Committee on Publication site. This blog is about a December trip that Christian Scientists from Delaware took to visit Capitol Hill to talk to their representatives about a legislative effort  to promote an exemption to purchase health insurance as required by the Affordable Care Act. Josephine Bayard, an interior designer and owner of Plain and Fancy Interiors in Wilmington, initially felt a strong resistance to making the trip. She writes about how she worked through her sense of “I didn’t want to go” and ended up finishing the day thinking, “I’m glad I went.” This article can be found here: From “I didn’t want to go to I’m glad I went”: armed with spiritual clarity on Capitol Hill and is written by Josephine Bayard.

I didn’t want to go.

For so long I had felt inadequate, uninformed, and unwilling to try to represent Christian Science publicly. Finally, Christ broke through that resistance with the thought that Mrs. Eddy asked members to show up for various assignments on short notice regardless of their resume, obligations at home, or lack of self-confidence. I have always admired those early workers and now it was my turn.

Alfred Farlow’s metaphysical points were surprisingly relevant in 2013! His mention of fairness and justice struck me as all that we are asking of our legislators in their provisions for Christian Scientists. Considering our Constitution, fairness and justice are not too much to ask, and this strengthened my resolve and confidence in our mission.

His reminders to stay awake did keep me focused when my mind wandered during discussion of political ramifications. I could feel myself beginning to daydream about the artistry of the architecture, and lovely lunch we had shared. Very quickly Farlow’s words came to me, “my usefulness to the Cause is in proportion to my wakefulness.”

In preparing for the day, I noticed the story of the man healed of a withered hand in the lesson. I felt the Christ calling me to “stand forth” – stand up for what I knew to be the Truth, and “stretch forth” – extend my conviction beyond my comfort zone, trusting the Comforter, in the zone of divine Love, to govern man. Bearing witness to the patience and persistence of the Federal Office as it performs its vital work with our Congressmen and women, was evidence that the restoration of justice and fairness was and is going on.

The idea that “angels are God’s representatives” (see p. 299 ofScience and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy) stayed with me that day as we watched the members of the House of Representatives voting and networking with each other. It was a precious opportunity to see government, prayer, and the Christ in action.

As a church member and constituent of my state, I look on that day with great gratitude for Christian Scientists working in Boston and Washington, and for our elected officials, committed to getting it right. There was definitely the presence of Mind in our meetings, and obvious prayerful preparation, leading to a collegial meeting and a successful result.

I’m glad I went.

 

‘Be-attitudes’ for Keeping New Year’s Resolutions

‘Be-attitudes’ for Keeping New Year’s Resolutions

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“‘Be-attitudes’ for keeping New Year’s resolutions” is a recent article originally published in mycentralnewjersey.com by Valerie Minard, a health and spirituality blogger.  You will want to read her spiritual approach to making resolutions that improve our lives, even here in Southern California.

After the Turkey, Christmas shopping, and family gatherings–focusing on everyone else–it’s natural to shift focus to one’s own well being. This is the time when most of us begin to take stock of our own inner space, and make those New Year’s resolutions that hopefully will improve our lives.  Some of the most popular resolutions made last year were lose weight; quit smoking; get fit; decrease alcohol consumption; learn something new; save money; get a new job.

Perhaps you’ve made one or more of these resolutions in the past.  Some you accomplished and others fell by the way side.  Regardless of what resolutions you might pick this year, I bet it can be boiled down to one thing–doing something that will make you happier.  Studies have shown that being happy is not only good for the soul but also good for our health.

But, if you’re one of those people who have tried and failed at making a resolution, perhaps this is the time to drill down deeper into making resolutions that will actually stick.  I’ve found that before I can change a behavior, I sometimes need to change my view of or attitude about myself or others.  In other words, adjust how I operate on a spiritual level in spite of stressful circumstances. To read Valerie’s whole article, click here.

 

Healing Addiction by Filling the Spiritual Vacuum

Healing Addiction by Filling the Spiritual Vacuum

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A guest post written by Robert Moran from Goleta, California

For the past several years I have had the opportunity to work with troubled college students as a part-time counselor. Being an active Christian Scientist for nearly forty years, I have come to understand how spiritual principles supersede all other healing methods – including in the field of addiction. Most of the students I work with have been cited for being a minor in possession. As a first-offense diversionary tactic they have been sentenced to examine their relationship with drugs and alcohol by attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings.

Students sentenced to attend Alcoholics Anonymous meetings for these minor law infractions are usually told that they need to admit they are powerless over alcohol and/or drugs if they are to get any help from AA. They also must come to understand that addiction is an incurable illness, which will haunt them their entire lives.

But recently I read a wonderful article by Tony Lobl that clearly gave a higher view of man as untouched by addiction. Like Tony, I have learned through experience that an individual’s addiction is merely a symptom of an underlying spiritual vacuum. But someone can only perceive a seeming spiritual vacuum if s/he hasn’t gained a deeper understanding of man’s relationship to God as taught in Christian Science. Luckily AA readily admits on pg. 164 (the last page of their textbook) that they know only a little and that God will disclose more to them if their relationship to God is right. Mary Baker Eddy teaches us that God is all-powerful and that there can be no disease when we understand our relationship to the Divine. Each Christian Scientist would do the field of addiction a huge push forward if we support this idea in relation to addiction. Let us keep any perceived spiritual vacuum filled with the knowledge and understanding of God’s powerful healing ideas.

Pursuing God Through Science

Pursuing God Through Science

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by Don Ingwerson

The spiritual insights recorded in the Bible and many other books such as Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures have long been the basis for healing disease and addressing other health concerns. What is unusual today about the use of prayer in healing is the rigorous research by scientists exploring the connection between prayer, spirituality, and physical healing.

According to David Larson, MD, President of the National Institute for Healthcare Research, in the past ten years research focused on the effectiveness of prayer has nearly doubled. Dr. Mitchell Krucoff, who has been studying prayer and spirituality since 1996, commented, “…we’re seeing systematic investigations – clinical research – as well as position statements from professional societies supporting this research, …funding from Congress, …all of these studies, all the reports, are remarkably consistent in suggesting the potential measurable health benefit associated with prayer or spiritual interventions.”

Because there have been many studies on prayer, meta-analyses of prayer efficacy have also been conducted. One such review by David R. Hodge even investigated if the research supported the idea that God answered prayer for healing.

This quest for answers is not new, but it’s taking on a new look. It’s no secret that the public is using prayer for health purposes and that prayer has been reported as the most used integrative medical practice. One question now isn’t so much whether prayer is being used, but rather how the use of prayer can be implemented in a conventional health setting. What support can the patient expect from his physician if the patient desires the integrative medicine of prayer?

From his research, Harold G. Koenig, MD found that religious beliefs influenced medical decision-making and that taking a spiritual history is becoming a standard procedure during patient care – which may enhance the doctor-patient relationship. This understanding by the physician of the patient’s spiritual history will be a key component in giving the desired support to the patient. Koenig was interested in finding what benefits these religious beliefs gave in treating the patient and found that prayer was linked to a feeling of greater wellbeing, with accompanying lower rates of anxiety, depression, and suicide. He also found that the actual physiological condition improved with the use of prayer.

Not only is prayer now being understood as helpful in the healing process, but the research into how prayer works is also expanding.

Dr. Eben Alexander, neurosurgeon and author of Proof of Heaven, is leading the field in a new direction when he states, “Consciousness is the thing that exists. It is the support, the basis on which all of the universe is based. Consciousness is our oneness with the Divine. It is pure God-given love and power. It’s time for brain science, mind science, physics, cosmology, to move from kindergarten up into first grade and realize we will never truly understand consciousness with that simplistic materialist mindset.”

Prayer has been an effective method of healing for me, so I enthusiastically look forward to further scientific results on the healing power of prayer and to our expanded understanding of our relation to the Divine. Each step in our understanding of this relationship will undoubtedly lead to new and higher views of self, which will lead to an increased sense of health. Something everyone can look forward to!

Article first published in Blogcritics.

Frequently Asked Questions About California’s Health Insurance Marketplace

Frequently Asked Questions About California's Health Insurance Marketplace

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by Don Ingwerson

The implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has led to the creation of state health insurance marketplaces. California’s marketplace is called Covered California and is designed to be an easy way for someone shopping for health insurance to compare benefits and costs. Covered California has a webpage with frequently asked questions about this marketplace, including when insurance is available, what type of insurance is available, what the insurance will cover, assistance programs to help defray the cost of insurance, to name just a few. Click on this link to find answers to your questions about Covered California: Frequently Asked Questions

What You Gain By Living With Less

What You Gain By Living With Less

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Kim Shippey is a regular guest blogger for Ingrid Peschke’s blog Changing Tides of Health. As an international journalist who has relocated with his family many times during his career, he offers helpful insights when he writes about reducing clutter. Although the treatment center for hoarding he mentions is not in Southern California, we all can recognize the benefits of letting go.

A noticeable effort is being made these days to improve mental health among people of all ages, cultures, and communities. For example, depression and its effect on health, on people’s well-being, and even on their physical condition, has been the focus of much research. Less well known is the attention being given to many other psychological disorders–including something called “compulsive hoarding syndrome.”

There’s even a center for its treatment in Sacramento, California, which was established by a clinical psychologist and social worker, Robin Zasio. She and her team help people who have difficulty in letting go, “helping them to begin making decisions that support both their emotional and physical wellness.”

And there is an increasing flow of books available to help people gain sound perspectives. One of the most helpful books on hoarding to have come my way in recent weeks was written not by a psychologist but by a mother of four grown children, who for more than 30 years has worked in family ministry in her church, Susan V. Vogt.

This slim book (her sixth), titled Blessed by Less: Clearing Your Life of Clutter by Living Lightly (Loyola Press, 2013), describes what a year of giving stuff away taught Vogt about life, relationships, and what’s really important. As the blurb puts it: Cluttered closets. Crowded minds. How do we begin to lighten our loads?

The book’s 122 pages are packed with practical tips and spiritual wisdom, including ways to consume and hang on to less, become more generous, let go of burdens and intangibles, waste less, save energy, worry less, laugh more, and, as you win, eliminate the “smug factor.”–

Taking a more spiritual perspective, Vogt says, can lead to abundant blessings we might otherwise miss. The search for God and a spiritual core is universal. She writes that the “deeply-rooted instinct to live more lightly upon this earth transcends any one religion and abides in conscientious people of good will.

”Vogt speaks of the role played by prayer in the culling process, and doesn’t hesitate to share passages of Scripture that have helped her worry less and have enriched her own increasingly uncluttered spiritual journey.

By happy coincidence, one of the passages she quotes (from First Corinthians, chapter 13) was key in restoring perspective, peace, and well-being to my own life when I was required not just to downsize my home, but relocate  to another country thousands of miles away. I had to learn in a hurry to be less preoccupied with things and center my attention more on thinking — wise, God-inspired thinking.

I had to sort and ultimately abandon decades of hoarded material — from rusty bikes to sagging armchairs, to thousands of books I believed I could never live without! — belonging not only to me and my wife, but also to five children. Our peace of mind and even our physical health took some severe knocks until we realized fully that no matter where we lived, and how many our material possessions, what would “abide” (among many other spiritual qualities) were “faith, hope, and love.” And they would always be plentifully available.

Eventually we learned — with gratitude — the lessons that Vogt was to provide 25 years later in her book, which is a good read for anyone.

 

Can I See God’s Qualities in Everyone?

Can I See God's Qualities in Everyone?

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A guest post written by Ann Botts from Redlands, California

A dear friend recently asked me to read Cutting For Stone by Abraham Yoghese. She said that it would not be a book that I would select, but for her, would I read it? As it was about the life and experiences of a doctor, she was right. I would never have chosen that book.

But, I reasoned, she is a retired nurse and a former Catholic nun who has given her life to nursing and caring for others. She had spent her life watching people in pain and suffering. In her retirement years, she still offers loving help, counseling, and encouragement in our community. She gives hope to all and that is what I love most about her. A lot of her time is spent helping people communicate with their doctors. So, of course, I knew why the book would interest her.

Here’s an example of her compassion. We had stopped in to buy yarn at a knitting shop and found the owner in tears. When we asked if we could help, the woman told us that her doctor had just called and told her that she had a very serious cancer, to drop everything, and come to his office with her family. “I am dying!” the woman exclaimed. Immediately, my friend put her arms around her, and said that she must dry up her tears because there is always hope. I was silently praying and found myself saying with authority, “You must know, right now, that you are God’s precious child and He will lead you to the right decisions. He can and will be caring for you!” Her eyes locked on mine and I knew she had heard me. When we left, she tightly hugged us both and thanked us for helping her through those fear-filled moments.

In the car, my friend and I decided that we were quite a pair – a medically trained nurse and a Christian Scientist – trying to help as best we could.

So back to the book, that I had given up on so many times. This dear friend continued to say to me – keep going, keep reading. So to humor my friend I did – skimming some of the pages, I confess. With any book or movie that I read or watch, I try to practice Christian Science to see where thought needs to be changed and up-lifted. But I found this hard to do with this particular book. I tried to see it as a story of passion, forgiveness, and progress. Here was a story of a famous doctor incredibly dedicated to his work, and many sought him out, as he was brilliant in his surgery. At the end of the story, it is revealed that this genius of a doctor becomes extremely ill before he goes in to perform his surgeries. All of a sudden, I saw that this man was humbled by this affliction. He had to overcome feeling ill each and every time he performed the duty before him. Talk about overcoming fear! It was at this point in the story that I realized that my friend was asking me a question. A question for all Christian Scientists to answer – if that doctor had called me and asked me to give him a Christian Science treatment so he could perform his duty, would I?

I concluded that I would. Mary Baker Eddy wrote in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures in the chapter on Prayer, “Love is impartial and universal its adaptation and bestowals.” Love itself is powerful and impartial and this doctor is ever reflecting all of God’s goodness, wellness, love, and caring. All qualities to be cherished wherever we find them!

Note by Ann Botts: I have had the opportunity throughout my life to share Christian Science with those in the medical field – to share my healings. I have given Science and Health to prayerfully-minded doctors and they have expressed their appreciation. It has been a way of “giving a cup of cold water and never fearing the consequence.” I have many friends in the medical field and I love them for all their efforts to help mankind. No one knows more of the limitations of human efforts than doctors and nurses. And the medical field has been giving more and more credit to the healing effect of prayer, for which I am grateful. When I discuss spiritual healing and/or Christian Science, I have never had a doctor or nurse turn away and not listen.

Article first published October 9, 2012

Words Have a Powerful Influence on Health

Words Have a Powerful Influence on Health

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by Don Ingwerson

A patient’s fear is an important consideration in treating disease, and the word cancer brings with it significant fear when used in patient diagnosis. That’s what scientists are realizing and why there is now a push to leave out the mention of cancer in diagnosis of certain precancerous conditions. In this way, scientists are hoping to “reign in over-diagnosis” in areas of cancer diagnosis, because less fearful patients are less likely to seek treatments that prove to be unneeded.

Dr. Otis W. Brawley, the chief medical officer for the American Cancer Society, and Dr. H. Gilbert Welch, Professor of Medicine at Dartmouth, both support this effort to end over-diagnosis. Welch explained, “The basic strategy behind early diagnosis is to encourage the well to get examined — to determine if they are not, in fact, sick. But is looking hard for things to be wrong a good way to promote health? The truth is, the fastest way to get [most any disease] is to be screened for it.”

Changing or eliminating fear words puts into practice the understanding of how fear affects the mind and the body. Fear is mental but often expresses itself in unhealthy bodily conditions. According to Lissa Rankin, author of Mind Over Medicine, when a person is fearful, the body is unable to repair itself.  Rankin and Dr. Larry Norton, a cancer researcher who offers “a potent drug of [invigorating] and pugnacious hope,” both feel a way to stem and dissolve fear is to encourage a patient’s spiritual identity. Norton also suggests that to take care of someone’s body and not their soul is not to take care of them fully.

Along this same line of thought, a 19th-century theologian and health researcher, Mary Baker Eddy, wrote, “…sickness is belief, a latent fear, made manifest on the body in different forms of fear or disease.” Patients can use a number of different tools to keep fear and its accompanying sickness from taking hold. Many find that prayer, and understanding their connection to the Divine, lead to a sense of peace and security that makes clear their spiritual identity. Patients can also actively exchange unhealthy thoughts, such as anger, resentment, and fear, for healthier thoughts, such as gratitude, compassion, and forgiveness. These spiritual thoughts provide additional mental and physical benefits and never come with unhealthy side effects.

Changing the language used to diagnose various conditions, as well as encouraging a patient’s thinking while treating the body, are positive ways of controlling fear. This nuanced name change is just one step toward the gradual understanding that mind is in control of the body. The results directly affect health.

Article first published in Blogcritics.

ACA Penalty Does Not Kick in Until March 31, 2014

ACA Penalty Does Not Kick in Until March 31, 2014

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This new information from the Federal Office was just posted January 14, 2014 and I thought it would be helpful to pass it along to my readers here in Southern California. As noted previously, under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), this year (2014) virtually all Americans will need to either have a medical health insurance plan that meets federal requirements, or pay a tax penalty. (Those who are enrolled in Medicare Part A or another government health plan will be treated as complying with the law; those enrolled in an employer-sponsored health plan should check with their employer to confirm whether the plan is ACA-compliant.)

Individuals who do not obtain the required health insurance may be subject to a penalty. Note that if an individual enrolls in a qualifying plan by March 31, s/he will not have to pay the penalty.

How does this timing relate to the ongoing efforts of the U.S. Federal Office to find a resolution for Christian Scientists under the law? 

The March 31 deadline provides Congress with an extended window to finalize a legislative solution in Congress that would enable those with sincerely held religious beliefs against purchasing the required medical insurance to apply for a 2014 exemption. We’re hoping Congress will act on this solution by March 31.

There is strong bipartisan support for the solution among Members of Congress. (207 Representatives; 27 Senators.) Tremendous thanks is due in large part to the ongoing efforts of Christian Scientists throughout the country!  However, we continue to need your help NOW!

  • Let us know if you will be in Washington, DC soon and would like to meet with your representative to engage with him/her on this issue.
  • Find out whether your representative will be at a local event in your area, and let us know—it could be an excellent opportunity for church members to ask or thank the representative for his/her support!

As always, please periodically visit this website for updates; and if you hear your family, friends, or fellow branch church members wondering about this topic, encourage them to check out the resources on our website and to subscribe to the Federal Office newsletter!

 

Gratitude Lifts Mind and Body Over Himalayan Pass

Gratitude Lifts Mind and Body Over Himalayan Pass

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A gratitude-based approach to healthcare has its rewards and my colleague Eric Nelson experienced the benefits it brings when he was trekking through the Himalayan Mountains. Even though the mountains in Southern California aren’t nearly as rigorous, Eric’s message is just as pertinent. I’m sharing an excerpt, and there’s a link below to the full article.

As far as I know, my wife and I had already purchased our tickets to Nepal before grasping entirely what we’d committed to: an 18-day trek through the Himalayas including an ascent up Thorung La – at 5416 meters (17,769 feet), one of the world’s highest mountain passes.

Sure, we had experience hiking to the top of some pretty big hills. But even our one-day trot to the top of California’s Mt. Whitney – the tallest peak in the Lower 48 – couldn’t compare to what was in store for us.

The first few days of the trek were just about as carefree as they come as our small group of adventurers (7 clients, 7 porters, and 2 guides) slowly but surely made our way through the balmy jungles, alpine forests, and hillside rice paddies of the Marsyangdi River valley. However, the closer we came to Thorung La, the more aware I was of the potential health risks involved with high altitude trekking.

To read the rest of the Eric’s article originally titled “Giving Thanks Lifts Mind and Body Over Himalayan Pass” click on this link for Communities @ WashingtonTimes.com.

You can also find him at www.norcalcs.org.