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Christian Science in the news

Below are articles in the news primarily written by Christian Science Committees on Publication. Please support the Press Room by sharing these articles.

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Stop seeds of hate

On Faith Panel
The Washington Post, April 8, 2011

Q: Muslim leaders are often asked to condemn the actions of Islam’s radical fringe. Should Christians be expected to condemn the inflammatory actions of Pastor Terry Jones?

It’s hard to imagine someone reading the story on Pastor Jones and not thinking horrible thoughts—as I did.  Pretty much in this order, and within a moment or two, my emotions ran something like this: surprise followed by sadness, then quickly on to anger then seething anger and then…well, finally utter disbelief.  “Are you kidding?!!” “You call that Christian?” “Someone should…”

In my private world it was red hot condemnation alright.  But then I wasn’t acting on my toxic thoughts, as Jones was acting on his, so for me it’s no big deal, right?  A little steam coming out of my ears is no match for the plumes of smoke from a hate-laced book-burning that’s then streamed over the Internet for all to see and react to with deadly rage.  My repulsion was different.  It was beneath the surface.

Source: Photostogo / Model used for illustrative purposes only.

Houston Chronicle, April 4, 2011
By Keith Wommack

Jane Sarasohn-Kahn reports on a recent Health 2.0 Spring Fling in her March 29 post at Disruptive Women in Heath Care.

She writes: Wellness and disease prevention were the meta-themes … Dr. Dean Ornish told the attendees in the standing-room-only ballroom space that the joy of living is a greater motivator than the fear of death. And the 1.0 version of managing health risks has been more the latter than the former. As a result, Ornish’s two decades of research have shown that health is more a function of lifestyle choices than it is drugs and surgery. In fact, people have a “spectrum” of choices to make based on their personal preferences — not a one-size-fits-all “diet,” Dr. Ornish has learned.

Huffpost religion logo

Tom Krattenmaker’s opinion piece earlier this week in USA Today was also published yesterday in the Huffington Post. Check it out here.

In it, the author discusses the importance of practicing spiritual care in a responsible way. He says, “there’s a reasonableness about the Christian Science approach…” He also quotes Russ Gerber, the Manager of media and government relations (Committee on Publication) for the church, saying, “There’s a duty to practice this type of health care reasonably, especially when it comes to children.” Protecting children’s lives, he says, “is a standard we should all be held to no matter what means of health care we choose.”

Thomas Jefferson's cut-and-paste Bible

Stephen Prothero wrote an opinion piece for the Wall Street Journal on March 25, 2011 titled “Thomas Jefferson’s cut-and-paste Bible.” It’s about the Smithsonian highlighting an 86-page version of the Bible written by Jefferson. Prothero mentions Mary Baker Eddy and her work Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures as another example of a re-crafted Bible. However, this isn’t accurate. Science and Health, which is the textbook of Christian Science, doesn’t replace the Bible. Christian Scientists read and study both the Bible and Science and Health, and Eddy never intended her work to replace the Holy Bible.

By Stephen Prothero

The book that the Smithsonian is preparing to put on display is actually one of two Jefferson Bibles. Jefferson produced the first over the course of a few days in 1804. Not long after completing the Louisiana Purchase, he sat down in the White House with two Bibles and one razor, intent on dividing the true words of Jesus from those put into his mouth by “the corruptions of schismatising followers.”

Last November, in response to protest, the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery removed a video installation depicting ants crawling over a small crucifix. This coming November, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History will exhibit a cut-and-paste Bible of a mere 86 pages. Were it the work of David Wojnarowicz (the artist behind the crucifix video) or Andres Serrano (of “Piss Christ” fame), this Bible would doubtless stir up a hornet’s nest. But in fact, it was created by Thomas Jefferson.

Even religious freedom has limits

This is an opinion piece by Tom Krattenmaker published in USA Today on March 28, 2011.

Does the religious freedom of a small, separatist faith-healing church trump the rights of its members’ children to live to adulthood? The Oregon Legislature is finally saying “no” after the headline-grabbing deaths of three children whose parents belong to the Followers of Christ Church in Oregon City. These were children with treatable illnesses: pneumonia, a blood infection, kidney blockage. They received prayers, anointing, the laying on of hands — but no doctors or medicine. Even in famously tolerant Oregon, the deaths have proved to be too much for an alarmed public and its representatives. In a move that will align Oregon law with most other states, legislators are pushing ahead with a bill that would remove religious conviction as a defense against homicide charges faced by parents who shun medical care for their kids, even at death’s doorstep.

With no organized opposition stepping forward, the bill’s passage into law seems inevitable. And pass it should. But before the episode fades out of the spotlight, it’s worth pausing for a moment to learn what we can from a case that has something valuable to teach about religious rights and their inevitable limits.

Why do placebos work?

Cubes of sugar

Source: Photostogo

Some scientists are digging into a fascinating question – why do sugar pills have an effect?

In a blog network that highlights diverse perspectives on science and medicine, Steve Silberman wrote an interesting piece called Meet the Ethical Placebo: A Story that Heals. He discusses a study showing that some patients who take sugar pills, even when they are told they are taking sugar pills, get better.

Some of these scientists have decided that this effect should be studied, instead of just being thought of as a “statistical distraction,” as many pharmaceutical companies may have considered them.

So, back to the original question: why do placebos work? Silberman says, “The precise nature of the placebo effect is shaped largely by patients’ expectations.”

The Spokesman-Review (Spokane, Washington) March 12, 2011
By Bill Scott

 When you see the words Christian Science, what comes to mind?
 Christian Science Reading Rooms, perhaps? The Pulitzer Prize-winning Christian Science    Monitor?

Hopefully, you don’t think of Tom Cruise. Nothing against Tom, but he is a devout Scientologist, and Scientology is not related to Christian Science.

Did you know that there has been a Christian Science church in Spokane since 1896? For the past 115 years, members of the Spokane community have experienced Christian Science healings, many medically diagnosed, of heart disease, rheumatism, stroke, astigmatism, appendicitis and also of addictions to smoking, gambling and alcohol.

A prayer tsunami

Guest Blog
Written by Steve Salt, Committee on Publication for Ohio

Wrecked car

Source: Photostogo

As word spread today about the devastating earthquake that hit Japan, a wave of fear began to spread around the globe. It is palpable. Video of the destruction viewed by billions is intensifying that anxiety.

As of this writing, the west coast of the United States is under a tsunami warning and residents are bracing for possible destruction along the western shores caused by the volume and speed of ocean waters. Just as tangible are the tidal waves of apprehension.

The ripple effect of this news is a heightened sense of insecurity. It is a challenge to the human psyche when the very ground we stand on is deemed unstable. It can shake our very core.

The Practice of Gentleness

Times Colonist (Victoria, British Columbia, Canada) March 10, 2011
By Anna Bowness-Park

As I write this, I have a four-foot deep, mud-filled trench at the back of my house; the contractor is banging loudly as he finishes the siding; and my electricity panel looks like a hedgehog with loads of wires sticking out into fresh air. Needless to say, we’ve had no power all day. And tomorrow the drills will arrive to dig up the concrete in our front patio.  If this seems like one of those home renovation movies we all laugh at – it is.

I should have realized the level of frustration that goes with renovations when we went to our City offices for a building permit. There, the sign on the desk read, “Offensive and abusive language is unacceptable in this office.”  The official told us about the anger, threats and insults she had received. And after being sent running for yet one more approval, I could see why. It was tempting to give in to frustration and upset. But instead I said, “We just really want to work with you on this project.”  She appreciated that. And this one comment took our relationship in a different, more peaceful direction.

Spiritual care – at the script stage?

Woman

Source: Photostogo / Model used for illustrative purposes only.

George Lucas speaks and Hollywood listens. But it wasn’t always that way.

He once described his first six years in the film business as “hopeless”. The industry just didn’t get it. Here’s what he said in an interview with the Academy of Achievement organization in Washington: “All of my films have been very hard to understand at the script stage because they’re different. At the time I did them they were not conventional. The executives could only think in terms of what they’d already seen.”

That’s a good description of the inside-the-box thinking that we too seldom question, and that would hide some new vision that could impact our lives in a big and perhaps meaningful way. What a shame for filmmakers and viewers alike if Lucas had stopped knocking on doors and pleading with executives to think differently.

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