Sharing comforting ideas, sharing Christian Science
Updated: Feb 7, 2022
By Elaina Simpson, C.S. (a chat with Evan Mehlenbacher, CSB)
Elaina Simpson here, writing from Washington, D.C. For this week’s post I chatted with Evan Mehlenbacher. He is a Christian Science Practitioner and Teacher from the other Washington, Washington state (Richland). In focusing on ‘sharing Christian Science’ this week, I thought of Evan. He has written various published articles in the Christian Science periodicals and also has a blog called SpiritView, where he posts ideas on spirituality almost daily. It’s nice to have another voice on here, to switch it up. As mentioned, the topic for this Monday evening is on sharing Christian Science. The beauty about sharing comforting ideas with others is that you don’t have to study Christian Science for a long time to do so. This is about sharing to receptive hearts, in the way we feel inspired to. We all can share and in our own way... Whether we share a helpful idea with a friend or family member, forward a helpful article to a friend in need, or give a testimony or gratitude at church. It’s all-important. There are no recipes or formulas for how to share when we feel inspired. So if you're interested in some fresh ideas for sharing Christian Science, glad you’re here. This is a helpful guide to prayer, that also serves as a theme for this post tonight: “Millions of unprejudiced minds — simple seekers for Truth, weary wanderers, athirst in the desert — are waiting and watching for rest and drink. Give them a cup of cold water in Christ's name, and never fear the consequences.”
(Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Mary Baker Eddy, p. 570:14–18)
Elaina: First I think we should start with defining ‘sharing.’ Perhaps drawing the difference between sharing and proselytizing. Proselytizing is not something Christian Scientists do. But sharing to those willing, especially in times of need, is always a loving thing to do. What do you think, Evan?
Evan: Sharing is an expression of who we are. I love Christian Science and all the benefits it has brought into my life over the decades, so it comes natural to share what I love and understand with others. It’s just me being me.
Elaina: I'm wondering if you can recall a turning point in your study of Christian Science? A time or experience when you really made CS your own?
Evan: Practicing Christian Science has been fairly a straight line for me. I believed its truths since the earliest years I heard them. It has not been hard for me to accept the reality of God’s allness and the unreality of evil.
I certainly had times when I questioned some of the basic teachings, like how to explain the unreality of matter, but my questioning was always from the vantage point of wanting to understand. Christian Science works when practiced correctly, so my prayer has always been to figure out how to practice it better today than yesterday. I strive to stay humble about it because I still have much to learn.
Elaina: Don’t we all have so much to learn! Yes, I understand what you are saying about the unreality of matter. There is such an emphasis on our spirituality in this study. That idea of being a spiritual idea of God is new to some, but it’s quite freeing.
How do you feel your own experience has inspired you to share with others? Whether that’s in your writing online or for the periodicals, in your community, or even in your Christian Science Practice. Evan: Jesus instructed his followers to “Preach the gospel to the world.” I do not take this command lightly. I believe it is critical for success in demonstrating Christian Science that we be ready and willing to share the truth we love and hold dear. We can’t hold it in and thrive with it. That can be suffocating. We have to “let it out.” We have to let our light shine, which includes a readiness and willingness to share freely and abundantly with others what God has freely given and shared with us.
Elaina: I’ve always had a sense that sharing CS is about selfless giving. I know for me, I felt shy to share my own stories wondering what others would think. Getting thought off of 'self' and onto God, made it easy to share. I realized it was really about an impersonal oneness with divine Love and not being separated from Love. That recognition made it feel natural for me to share. It was really all about God giving gratitude and glorifying Him/Her. How has giving been a blessing to you?
Evan: I learned a valuable lesson about sharing in public when serving as a lecturer on the Christian Science Board of Lectureship. As you probably have heard, speaking in front of an audience is one of the greatest fears people have. That was true for me too, early on. But with practice, I realized that I only got nervous when I thought about me. When I forgot about me and focused on my message and my audience, fear would vanish. The message would come through clear and I would have an easy time delivering it.
This serves as a valuable lesson about sharing with anyone. If you are focused on you, then your sharing may be stifled, half-hearted, worried, halting, and ineffective. But if you focus on how you can help the other person by giving them something useful, your sharing will be free and buoyant.
Sharing is about loving the other person. Love knows no fear.
Elaina: I’ve had similar experiences with public speaking and feeling free of that fear. Thinking about giving rather than thinking of ourselves, helps that fear instantly, doesn’t it? No matter how we are sharing, this idea of getting thought off of ourselves, (What people will think, whether it will be uncomfortable for me...etc.) really clears the way for fearless sharing. I know religion is something people don’t often talk about. If a friend ever needs some encouragement with sharing and (and maybe feels a little shy), what would you say to them? What does the Bible say about this?
Be God-conscious, rather than self-conscious. The God-centered thought is the Truth-centered thought, and it is filled with courage, strength, poise and dominion!
Elaina: Navigating the online world can be interesting. I have seen advice columns where maybe people don’t give very helpful advice. Can you talk about how sharing CS with others is different than that kind of thing? Evan:
Christian Science explains how God governs the universe spiritually. So, sharing Christian Science is about helping others see how God is at work in their lives causing good things to happen. It’s not about personal opinion, subjective points of view, guessing, temporal human theories, psychological analysis, or examining a mortal history. It all comes down to “What is truth?” Sharing Christian Science is all about sharing truth that helps and heals.
When I think about sharing, I think about our family’s story about how Christian Science was shared with my great-grandmother. A friend came by for coffee (I believe this was something they did weekly), and the friend happened to bring Mary Baker Eddy’s textbook on healing, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures. The story goes that they talked about Christian Science, and didn’t end up drinking the coffee to avoid the jittery feeling. She had previously felt addicted to the coffee and gave it up that day. That is certainly not a prerequisite to reading the textbook on Christian Science, but for some reason she felt inspired to make that change, and here we are, with CS in my family 100+ years later. What a blessing it’s been.
A little bit of Christian Science can have rapid and far-reaching impact!
Elaina: Relating to sharing Christian Science… My grandmother-in-law GG from Hamilton, Montana USA, is seeking some prayerful suggestions on how to comfort someone (who knows nothing about CS) about their COVID-19 concerns. What has helped you? Evan:
I find great comfort and protection in knowing that the omnipotence and omnipresence of God neutralizes a virus and renders it harmless.
Elaina: Yes, when I was faced with this disease, your above point came through and manifested in a quick healing. I’ll attach that experience here. I've found that when sharing comforting ideas (regarding the virus or something else), it helps to speak from experience, speak from the heart. To share genuinely and authentically ideas that have been helpful to you. It doesn't have to be an elevator pitch. When CS ideas are explained properly and gently, I've found everyone to agree and be receptive. When talking about Truth, God, we don't have to convince someone about a fact... But people begin to see the fact too.
That’s a beautiful prayer (Evan’s above) for both those wondering about how they can pray about this, whether that be for curative or preventive purposes. This prayer is a strong defense for ourselves, as our thought and health are connected. Not only is that idea helpful for ourselves, but for the way we pray for the world. Evan:
When I go into public, I include everyone around me in my prayers to see that everyone is enveloped in Love, walking in an atmosphere of uncontaminated Love.
Elaina: I love that. I've noticed that the opportunities to share come as an outcome to our prayer for the world. On the news for many, Co-vid seems, scary and certainly feels like a power opposed to God, Good. It seems to be out of control, but there are spiritual answers. We follow the law, and follow the Golden Rule (loving our neighbor as we love ourselves.) But with that said, the best place to start with someone, is to handle the fear of it. This also benefits our health in general.
Covid is not something to fear, but to master. Christian Science gives us the spiritual truth we need to master it and prevent harm. Christian Science is the answer to solving the pandemic. I pray that more people discover it, practice it, and reap its healing benefits!
Yes, so tr It’s always Love that heals and protects. Here is the definition of Christian Science found in the Christian Science textbook on healing, Science and Health. "The terms Divine Science, Spiritual Science, Christ Science or Christian Science, or Science alone, she employs interchangeably, according to the requirements of the context. ... the term Christian Science relates especially to Science as applied to humanity. Christian Science reveals God, not as the author of sin, sickness, and death, but as divine Principle, Supreme Being, Mind, exempt from all evil.
(127:9–12, 15–19) Acknowledging this brings lasting benefits. We all have the ability to share fearlessly. Love is always showing us how.
Thank you Evan for being here, and for all you do to share love to the world! __
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