A New View on Independence – Health Freedom

A New View on Independence - Health Freedom

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by Don Ingwerson

Tomorrow is Independence Day! Some may ask what The Declaration of Independence has to do with the topic of health. I maintain that it has everything to do with the health of a nation. “Like our nation, Christian Science has its Declaration of Independence. God has endowed man with inalienable rights, among which are self-government, reason, and conscience. Man is properly self governed only when he is guided rightly and governed by his Maker, divine Truth and Love.”
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Ensuring Health

Ensuring Health

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Model used for illustrative purposes

A guest post written by Ginny Nilsen

When I recently saw a San Gabriel Valley Tribune article about insurance, it reminded me of when I told my parents that I was discontinuing my health insurance. I felt that my study of Christian Science was giving me an understanding of God that was meeting all my human needs – including my health care. But when my parents heard of my decision, they were very worried because I had experienced many health problems while growing up. My mother felt powerless as she saw the ineffectiveness of pursuing health from the medical model, and yet she continued to rely on this model to give me some kind of comfort and relief from disease, suffering, and pain.

Thankfully, As a young adult I had been learning in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, by Mary Baker Eddy, about a God who is not just loving, but Love itself; a God who is self-existent and knows only good; a God who created man in his image and likeness where man is completely innocent, pure, and whole. It was also giving me the way to defend myself mentally and feel God’s protection in all ways. I found this truth indeed set me free of any limiting sense of health, peace, purpose, and confidence.

I first became fully aware of this freedom when a feeling came over me that caused me to take stock. I had never felt that feeling before. I thought, “Oh, this is what confidence feels like!” Another clear instance of freedom came when I started out the front door to get the mail. My thought was so free of anxiety, fear, heaviness, or imaginings that I found myself running. I had long hated running – it was so hard and uncomfortable. But here I was, running freely to the mailbox. I loved it. It felt great. From then on I took almost daily runs until I switched to water aerobics. The freedom from self-consciousness and the fullness of a God-consciousness and prayer is totally satisfying.

Health is such a built-in state of consciousness as reflected by divine Law, God. The same is true for all of God’s qualities such as happiness, intelligence, discernment, and listening. I am so grateful for the understanding of God that Christian Science gives and the understanding that health, peace, and brotherhood for all is not only ensured, it is guaranteed.

Need an Emancipation Proclamation for your Health?

Need an Emancipation Proclamation for your Health?

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A guest post by Bob Cummings, media and legislative spokesperson for Christian Science in Michigan

Do you sometimes feel like a slave to disease? Or to its treatment? Or know someone who does? How do chapped lips, Abraham Lincoln’s visit to Kalamazoo, Michigan, and a case of poison ivy shed light on needed emancipation?

Abraham Lincoln made only one visit to Michigan – to Kalamazoo in 1856. Why did he make that visit? To address slavery, of course.

A recent article in the Kalamazoo Gazette, no doubt spurred on by the new Spielberg movie entitled, “Lincoln”, relates that Lincoln told the crowd in Kalamazoo, “This is the question: Shall the government of the United States prohibit slavery in the United States?”

Of course we know how this turned out: with the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863 during the Civil War and the eventual end of human slavery in this country.

But there is another kind of slavery. Many suffer a form of slavery to disease. And others, seeking relief, all too often end up exchanging slavery to disease for slavery to drug-based treatment.

In the past, illnesses tended to be ‘acute,’ meaning that they occurred and were treated, and the patients either got better or died. But today, most illnesses are chronic and complex.” “… [The] condition will be with him for life and will need multiple treatments, many medications, and probably a number of hospitalizations…” according to Dr. Stephen C. Schimpff, M.D. in The Future of Health Care Delivery.

In light of the connection between thought and the body, might we find freedom by exploring how our thoughts either enslave us or through an understanding of spirituality free us? It’s a growing field of medical research but not really something new.

Shortly after the Civil War, Mary Baker Eddy, a pioneer in researching the relationship between thought, spirituality and health, wrote this: “Legally to abolish unpaid servitude in the United States was hard; but the abolition of mental slavery is a more difficult task.” And she shares this insightful observation, “I saw before me the sick, wearing out years of servitude to an unreal master in the belief that the body governed them, rather than Mind.”

An experience I had taught me about the mental slavery of illness and what happens when you become a slave to the treatment as well.

As a child, I suffered often from chapped lips. It was especially troublesome in the Michigan winter. I used a lip balm (Chap Stick) and I got to the point where for years I used it year round. I fell into a habit of licking my lips, getting chapped, applying the lip balm, and then licking my lips again. This went on all day long, all year long. I carried a tube of lip balm in my back pocket year-round.

I was essentially a slave to chapped lips and to an ointment that wasn’t solving the problem.

After a number of years of this, one day, when I came down with poison ivy, I prayed to God for healing. I found comfort from Biblical statements in Genesis that caused me to feel God’s love and care for me. Through this prayer I also came to realize that this plant did not have dominion over my body, but that my thought – through connection with the divine – was empowered with dominion over my body and over the plant. This resulted in quick and permanent healing of the poison ivy.

But what I find really interesting is where this realization led next. I then saw that just as I was free from mental slavery to poison ivy, on the same basis I could also be free from the mental slavery of thinking I was dependent on lip balm. This was like an emancipation proclamation for me. I threw out my tubes of lip balm and have been free, still living in Michigan, ever since.

Perhaps this is the kind of freedom Jesus was referring to when he said, “… ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”

I wonder if the question Lincoln presented to the Kalamazoo crowd could be paraphrased to ask, “Shall we prohibit all forms of slavery, including mental slavery?” Shall we? Can we? The answer is “yes”.

God Made Man Free

God Made Man Free

photo by Mike Baird

A guest post written by Patti Mehring

At times it seems like there is nothing stronger than the grip of fear. Its hold on thought can feel like heavy chains bound to a hopeless end, but I have found that raising children brings many opportunities to master the sense of fear and claim the right to health, happiness, and freedom for each of us.

With the aid of Christian Science, I have overcome many parenting challenges simply by acknowledging their true heritage as children of God. This idea loosens the mental hold that fear would have on me and lightens the burden of responsibility. Accomplishing this, healing followed.

There have been several instances when I have been awakened at night by a sudden attack of fear, worried about one or more of them traveling in a distant country or in an area where they were unreachable. This happened recently when my son was on a sailing trip. I was not concerned until I heard there might be storms in the area.

When I heard this news, I prayed for his safety and wrestled with this sense of fear until I felt at peace. I knew that wherever he was, God was there and I didn’t need to hear my son’s voice or be there with him to know that he was all right. He had been planning and looking forward to this trip for many weeks and I knew it was his “right” to experience it to the fullest. And he did as the trip proved to be full of adventure and growth beyond all expectation.

I have learned in Christian Science that neither my children nor myself are subject to material beliefs including health laws, heredity, or contagion. As children of God, we have a right to break free from any fear that might bind us, whether it is sin, sickness, disease, poverty, loneliness, depression, anxiety, discouragement, addiction, or any claim of suffering.

As we celebrate our country’s independence this month, I encourage everyone to reclaim their own inherent freedom, as “heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ.” Mary Baker Eddy reiterates this idea when we read in Science and Heath, “Citizens of the world, accept the ‘glorious liberty of the children of God,’ and be free! This is your divine right.”

The title of this blog is a quote from Science and Health.

Independence Day and Summer Camp

Independence Day and Summer Camp

photo by Anthony Cramp

A guest post by Ingrid Peschke, legislative liaison for Christian Science and spirituality in Massachusetts

I just found out that New England was the birthplace of the summer camp during the late 19th century.

Aside from face painting, barbecues, and flag cakes, what does summer camp have to do with July 4th? It has me thinking about the value of giving young people independence and time away from home. Especially since I’ve just come up for air from the land of trunk-packing and clothes-labeling for my kids’ summer camp experiences.

According to Michael Thompson, Ph.D. psychologist and author of “Homesick and happy,” camp offers kids crucial development experiences. Thompson claims that time away from parents can help children grow in ways they can’t under their parents’ watchful eyes. He says today’s parents are “the most conscientious parenting generation, but also the most anxious.” (Listen to: Summer Camp Gives Kids Crucial Experiences)

The term “hovercraft parenting” was coined to refer to the mom or dad who is never too far from the action–just in case they need to swoop down for a save. The problem with that is that kids don’t learn how to trust their own  instincts and in turn they don’t always develop the perspective to truly value the guidance that comes from involved parents.

I remember as a child when I’d be off all day during the summer, playing with my brother and friends and finding rope swings to fly through the redwood canyons near our home. But those days of unsupervised play are all but gone.

Summer camp provides similar freedoms for kids, while still under the supervision of responsible adults and counselors.

When I was in college, my mom let me travel to Japan for my job as an English teacher. And that was before cell phones and email! The opportunity to live and interact in a culture where I didn’t speak the language and only had a bike for transportation completely changed my life. I know I relied more on my spiritual GPS than I ever had before.

For my kids, sleep-away camp has also provided an opportunity to learn more about their relationship with God and how to put their prayers into practice. As a parent, I strive to teach my kids the value of independent thinking, which is what prayer is all about.

“The time for thinkers has come,” wrote Mary Baker Eddy. Amen!

I’d love for this to be a thinking conversation. I encourage you to share your thoughts on the relationship between independence, spirituality, and health. Summer camp is just one perspective, but there’s so much more that could be said! Go ahead, chime in . . .

What are you thinking about this Independence Day?

Link to Ingrid Peschke’s blog 

 

A Nation’s Heritage: Liberty and Justice For All

A Nation's Heritage: Liberty and Justice for All

photo from Beverly & Pack’s photostream

A guest post written by Anne Stearns Condon

Scheduled to be published in The Ventura County Star

Liberty, freedom, independence. People all over the world are continuing to fight for these principles.

Americans are blessed. We fought for these privileges over two hundred years ago, when our forefathers came to these shores seeking freedom to worship God in their own way. Our very heritage is freedom, and it has produced the greatest individual liberty among a people that the world has ever known.

As we’re about to celebrate on the Fourth of July our 236th anniversary, I’ve been pondering the Bible’s ancient roots of freedom’s birthright.

The children of Israel were held in slavery by the Egyptians for hundreds of years. Yet their God did not forsake them. He chose His servant Moses to lead His people into the Promised Land. The journey was not without peril, but through persistence and Moses’ strong leadership, they finally arrived.

Moses would not travel on with them, but he reassured his successor, Joshua, and all the Israelites with these words of truth: “Be strong and of a good courage: And the Lord he it is that doth go before thee; he will be with thee, he will not fail thee, neither forsake thee: fear not, neither be dismayed” (Deuteronomy 31:7,8).

It sends a surge through me when I think of this towering figure, this great lawgiver, who, under God’s direction, exercised justice and brought freedom to the people of his day. In the United States House Chamber a marble sculpture of Moses sits high above our present day legislators. May these elected officials look up and hold in memory his triumphant acts, as they go about the people’s business.

We hear of individuals all over the world who are searching for a truth that will free them from every kind of mental and physical bondage. It was Christ Jesus who spoke these immortal words: “Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32). The import of this message continues to ring out through all eternity, not just in America but also in every nation.

And just what is truth? From my standpoint, I see Truth as a name for God. He’s given His truth without measure to His obedient servants. The Ten Commandments through Moses (Exodus 20) and the eight Beatitudes through Christ Jesus (Matthew 5) reveal His laws and are His instructions for living a life based on truth. I’ve found, though, that to reach the heights of these truths and experience their blessings, obedience to God’s precepts is mandatory.

An example of a seeker for truth and a champion of liberty and freedom in the nineteenth century was Mary Baker Eddy. She discovered and established the Christian Science religion. It presents a system of spiritual healing founded on the knowledge and understanding of Christ Jesus’ divine healing works centuries ago. She wrote Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, which shows how to reinstate primitive Christianity’s healing ability through the infinite power of God. Recognizing God as Truth, Life, and Love, as the Bible indicates, Eddy would write: “Trust Truth, not error; and Truth will give you all that belongs to the rights of freedom.”

Mary Baker Eddy, a daughter of New Hampshire, was able to anchor her discovery in the United States, because America’s primary purpose began with freedom of worship. And the Constitution of this great Republic safeguards that God-given right.

Our country has never been self-bound, but has always extended an open hand to the citizens of the world. George Washington, the Founding Father, in one of his Rules for Life, said it best: “Act for God, for the universe, and for eternity; and in such a manner as is adapted to promote the highest good forever.”

I think that “highest good” is Truth, God, the divine power that bestows freedom, honor, and victory upon His universal family.

Such is our nation’s destiny.

Thought Controlled Robotic Arm

Thought Controlled Robotic Arm

Photo illustrated by ACWA

A guest post written by Bob Cummings, media and legislative spokesperson for Christian Science in Michigan.

“They’ve found that it is possible for a person to mentally control a robotic limb in three-dimensional space.”

This profound news comes from Roderic Pettigrew, M.D., Ph.D., director of the National Institute of Health’s National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering, in a press release today (5-16-2012).

Back in 1982 my wife and I attended the World’s Fair in Knoxville, Tennessee. One of the big highlights for us was an exhibit showing a new machine called a robotic arm. It was big, yellow, and computer-programmed to draw a picture of the symbol of the World’s Fair. We waited in line and then it drew one for us.

Since then, computer-controlled robotic arms have been implemented extensively in manufacturing, including in automotive factories such as we have here in the Detroit area.

The NIH-funded research has been working on what it calls BrainGate, which is a neural interface system which uses an implanted sensor to capture signals that direct movement and link those to robotic devices. The big news out right now is that for the first time, “by using her thoughts“, a woman paralyzed by stroke was able to direct a robotic arm to reach for a drink and then take a sip on her own. Impressive!

In the press release, researchers indicated that the ultimate goal is, as one might expect, to reconnect the brain to paralyzed limbs instead of a robotic arm.

While this story is primarily about the connection between the brain and the limbs, the story does seem to indicate that it is thought that initially directs movement. The brain is next in the sequence, with the limbs at the other end of the process – although some might argue about the distinction between thought and the brain. So, does the brain control thought, or does thought control the brain? Does the brain move limbs or does thought direct the brain to direct the limbs to move? When it comes to movement, is thought the master? (The press release said that the woman moved the robotic arm “by using her thoughts“).

If thought is the ultimate master of movement, then when thought decides that movement is restricted by injury or disease and fails to initiate or control movement, could thought be freed from such limitation by the influence of a higher power?

The Bible (in Hebrews 12:12-13) challenges thought with this: “… lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees; And make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed.”

According to the Bible, Jesus healed paralysis (see Matthew 15:30).  So did some of his students (see Acts chapter 3 for an example).

And today?:
Account of stroke symptoms healed through prayer - click here.
Restricted movement healed through prayer – click here.

Food for thought!

To read the NIBIB 05-16-2012 press release - click here.

Remove God? Impossible!

Remove God? Impossibe!

A guest post written by Fran Esser

Very often in the news we hear or read about one or more people wanting to remove God or any reference to God from the Pledge of Allegiance, from schools, government facilities, courtrooms, etc., claiming separation of church and state.

How can God be removed from anything since God fills all space? We are fully covered and protected by His law of love and this law does not need amending. It’s free, a gift from our creator, because we are His offspring. What an insurance policy!Continue Reading