The High Oaks, Inc. Spring Meeting 2019
Sunday, April 28, 2019
Report and Introduction by Nancy Miller Batty, Administrator
After our brief High Oaks annual report, Kevin Ness will offer fresh insights into his work as worldwide Manager of the Committees on Publications at The Mother Church in a talk titled “God’s Promises are Kept.” We want to start by welcoming Kevin, along with 3 of his state Committees on Publication who are here today in the audience.
Aren’t we so grateful to know Christ healing is the fulfillment of God’s promise! What beautiful proofs of feeding the hungry and healing the heart we’ve seen in our work at High Oaks this year!
I’d like to ask our Board members and the Finance Committee to all stand. In addition to Christine Polito, serving on our Board is Joe Benedict, Judy Ditz, Pat Elliott, Gretchen Liuzzi, and Bob Reed. On our Finance Committee, along with Judy Ditz and Bob Reed, are Art Morath and Jeff Smith.
During calendar year 2018, the Benevolence Committee of our Board gave grants to a total of 402 individual children and adults who reside is states stretching from New York to Virginia. These grants, given prayerfully and with genuine love, came to a total of $280,000. They were given for payment for treatment from Christian Science practitioners, care at Christian Science nursing facilities as well as in the home by Christian Science nurses, Christian Science nurses training, necessities on a short-term basis, and tuition for Christian Science camps.
For several of these grants, High Oaks is pleased to have partnered with the National Fund for Christian Science Nursing administered by the Principle Foundation in Kansas City. And, now, this year, we’re delighted to partner with a new funding group which is working to assure no child or family will be turned away from a Christian Science summer camp for financial reasons.
The Finance Committee of our Board diligently oversees our investment portfolio and our contributions which, together, provide funds for benevolence. The large number of financial requests we received in 2018 occurred at a time of lower receipts and an unsettled stock market. Prayerfully, on a monthly basis, Board action allowed for the use of a portion of High Oaks investment reserves to maintain our giving at a consistent and generous level. We are grateful that — due to investment gains so far in our current calendar year — and to your contributions — we have been able to replenish our reserves.
Our heartfelt gratitude for your unselfish support – metaphysically and financially – which makes our work possible. The Board of Directors of High Oaks and I thank you for your love for your fellow Christian Scientists which is evident in the work so many of you are doing individually and in your joining with us in our love for our High Oaks mission.
Now, it’s my pleasure to introduce you to Kevin Ness. A lifelong Christian Scientist, Kevin Ness served as an attorney for the legal department of The Mother Church for over 17 years, including 10 years – from 2007 until 2017 – as General Counsel. Subsequently, he was appointed to the position of worldwide Manager of the Committees on Publication. He has been a Journal-listed practitioner since 2008.
God’s Promises Are Kept
By Kevin Ness
A talk for the High Oaks Spring Meeting 2019
Welcome friends! I have been looking forward to this visit with you all. Many thanks to the High Oaks Board for inviting me, and thank you for being here today to hear about the work of the Committee on Publication and God’s unbreakable promise to His creation, all of us, that supports this work on a daily basis.
Committee work is healing work
Because this Committee work is based on the promises of God’s great care for each of us, the work isn’t a burden, it inspires. It isn’t a chore to fulfill the Committee on Publication’s duties outlined in Article XXXIII of our Church Manual, to correct impositions on the public about Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, and our fellow members, it is a joy. By seeing the spiritual reality even when faced with an unpleasant human picture, we see promise for our own church and all humanity. Not mere hope, but hope fulfilled for all. Through its own majesty and dignity Christian Science reveals this light of eternal promise, and shows itself vital as ever to meet the world’s needs. As a well-loved Christian Science Journal article by Allison “Skip” Phinney once said, “Christian Science is what’s coming, not what’s going.” (The Christian Science Journal, September 1987)
This Committee work for Church begins and ends with our heavenly Father-Mother God, omnipresent, omnipotent, and omniscient good, who does not share power with another. “Who is so great a God as our God?” the Psalmist asks. (Ps. 77:13)
God is the perfect Principle of all true being, and we are each essential in the great architect’s grand design. As God’s reflection, man is God’s complete, whole, and perfect idea. We are God’s glorious completeness, expressed.
The synonyms for God that Mary Baker Eddy gives represent that completeness. Principle, Mind, Soul, Spirit, Life, Truth, Love. These synonyms also represent who we are. We can each say:
Spirit is walking as me.
Principle is standing as me.
Soul is expressing beauty as me.
Love is embracing everyone and expressing itself as me
Mind is thinking as me.
Life is living as me.
Truth is speaking the Truth as me.
God’s promise to man is a permanent covenant, showing divine Love’s indissoluble link with each of us. It is a promise that these aspects of God are established for all time and never weaken or wane. “I know that, whatsoever God doeth, it shall be for ever: nothing can be put to it, nor any thing taken from it:” (Eccl. 3:14)
“God’s promises kept” is God’s completeness expressed. It is the basis for the divine authority with which Christ Jesus healed. Jesus approached every situation as its Master, knowing every healing opportunity was already a “done deal”, already complete. And that is how we approach every Christian Science practice case, we “meet every adverse circumstance as its master” (SH 419:16 only), as already done.
“Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you.” (James 4:8), the Bible promises. And someone one I know proved this with a special healing. A woman woke up one day and saw a large lump on her body. It did not hurt, and for a year or so, it was not only ignored, but almost forgotten, which is never a wise thing to do. Then one night she realized the lump was quite enlarged and had become painful. This individual had depended on the healing power of Christian Science all of her life. So instead of examining the body she began examining her own thought to see if she was holding on to any false beliefs about herself or others. She found she had been so busy in her work that she had neglected to give herself a thorough Christian Science treatment every day for the last year or so, and had let her deep well of the water of life dry up. So she began to pour in Truth through floodtides of God’s love. And for the next three weeks she stayed in a holy place with God. She continually read the Bible and Science and Health. She studied the Christian Science Bible lesson in a deeper way, and held on to what our Leader says in Miscellany p. 210:2-7: “Beloved Christian Scientists, keep your minds so filled with Truth and Love, that sin, disease, and death cannot enter them. It is plain that nothing can be added to the mind already full. There is no door through which evil can enter, and no space for evil to fill in a mind filled with goodness.”
This was what was needed for spiritual healing. After a few weeks of the deepest study and communion with God, the lump began to drain. The severe pain began to subside, and within a very short time, the healing was complete. She felt she had been cleansed in the river of Life, anointed with the oil of gladness, and redeemed by the living palpitating presence of the Christ, Truth. The sunlight of Truth and Love invigorated her and purified her life. Truth was the victor.
Committee work is beautiful work
That same deep spiritual conviction is what is needed for the Committee on Publication, too, in its important role of maintaining the “dignity and defense of our Cause.”
This work is done as an expression of the perfection of beauty and love, not hate, or as an “eye for an eye.” In the Committee report at the 2018 Annual Meeting of The Mother Church, I opened by saying “Committee on Publication work is beautiful work.” Someone questioned this and said — How you can say this when you face ugly things written about Christian Science each day? My response: When you bring beauty to it, it is beautiful work. There is joy and beauty in giving a true, fresh understanding of Science and Mary Baker Eddy. And we have this promise from the book of Ecclesiastes: “He [God] hath made every thing beautiful in his time:” (Eccl. 3:11).
Understanding our heavenly Father-Mother God and Her elegant creation, man, is how we see this beauty. Mrs. Eddy writes, “As our ideas of Deity become more spiritual, we express them by objects more beautiful.” (Peo. 14:1-2) Mrs. Eddy once said to one of her early publishers, William Dana Orcutt, “If a man has beauty in himself, he can put beauty into anything.” (Mary Baker Eddy and Her Books, p. 45)
I first realized the power of this idea while in law school, when I was required to write about a legal case that involved a pretty ugly set of facts, but yet I still knew my thinking reflected the beauty of divine Love, and that this beauty could be expressed fully in the assignment. And seeing beauty in it became my focus in writing. Not only did I complete the challenging assignment, the paper ended up winning an award for Best Brief — I know it was because it was full of God’s beauty.
It is the same with the corrective responses of the Committee on Publication. If there is beauty in our thought, this beauty is expressed on the page, and the reader feels it. And this pure expression of divine Love heals and melts any hardness. “The heathen raged, the kingdoms were moved: he [God] uttered his voice, the earth melted.” (Ps. 46:6)
Can’t you see this applied to all of the tasks in front of you? When you see the beauty and order of our heavenly Father-Mother, it will naturally be expressed in that letter you have to write, the presentation you have to give, the decision you have to make, or even that bill you have to pay. Divine beauty is everywhere and cannot be stopped. “Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God hath shined.” (Ps. 50:2) It’s a promise!
Bringing the beauty of divine Love, seeing the world as God sees — as perfection — brings healing and fulfills the Manual’s instruction to make the Committee on Publication’s correctives in a Christian manner. With the same love that Christ Jesus brought to every case, such as raising his friend Lazarus from the dead. And when we do this, we see the same sure results.
This Christly love motivates our Committee work. When one loves humanity, it isn’t possible to stand by and watch the misconceptions that would abuse this Science and somehow block others from receiving it. We love others deeply enough to see this Science bless them as it has blessed us, uninhibited and without misrepresentation, and that love is what will truly lift the public’s thought of Christian Science. When we reach our patient — here, public thought — in this way through divine Love, “the healing work will be accomplished at one visit,” our Leader writes in the Christian Science Practice chapter of Science and Health. (SH 365:15-19)
Mrs. Eddy bathed her patients and the world in spiritual love just as Jesus did. And we all must too. Alfred Farlow, the first Manager of Committees on Publication who served under Mrs. Eddy, told her in a letter that her replies to critics were “like a refreshing shower that washes away the dust so gently and completely that one forgets that it was ever in existence.” (Alfred Farlow to Mary Baker Eddy, June 24, 1909; Setting the Course, p. v) Isn’t that beautiful?
And we strive to do the same as Committees on Publication, returning blessing for cursing and following the Manual provision “Christ the Ensample” which says to “return no violent invective” and to “do good unto your enemies when the opportunity occurs.” (Man. 41:1)
For example, we encountered a professor outside the U.S. who wrote and did a radio program on religious cults that regularly featured Christian Science. He’d had many friendly contacts with Christian Scientists over the years, but still repeated unfair and harsh characterizations of Christian Science on these radio programs, in newspapers, etc. Our Committee in that country realized she was called to meet this with true Christian love and prayer, not just making nice with him, and knew she needed to see that the error was impersonal — that it was imposed on the professor’s thought and not his native thinking from God. She prayed to see a corrective response that would truly heal, rather than be one extreme of general friendliness or the other extreme of locking horns. In praying and working with a member of our Manager’s office staff, the Committee and the staff member prayed over this numerous times. They said it felt like going around the walls of Jericho seven times. And then they felt those walls come down in their prayer even before writing anything. They realized they didn’t need to change an individual man’s thought, but instead needed to pray to see the imposition lifted in their own thought and for all humanity. When the claim no longer weighed on their own thought, this led to a different kind of letter. It was loving, but it was also strong and very precise in the way it corrected the accusations. It didn’t just tell our Christianity, it showed it in the way it was written. And the response from the professor, who replied right away, was markedly different. It wasn’t a total reversal in position, but a clear reversal in tone, and one that showed a shift in how he would present Christian Science going forward, and with an openness to further discussion. We were deeply grateful.
When I’m tempted to react to things we see written about Christian Science, I think often of statement someone shared with me: “If they aren’t calling you the son or daughter of God, then they aren’t talking to you.”
God’s promises kept in legislative work
This same approach of returning only good for evil, and applying Christ’s teachings, such as the Golden Rule, has been very helpful in addressing legislative needs as well. Whether it is addressing health insurance, vaccination requirements, or other areas in the law, our approach to the work is to give a clear and accurate understanding of our Christian Science practice, which has the natural effect of establishing accommodations that give space in law for this practice. And in working with legislators, we follow Mind’s leading each step of the way as we strive for wisdom and balance, keeping central the conviction that Christian Science heals, while at the same time showing respect for the rights of others and public health laws. This healing approach takes it above human lobbying efforts and makes it a real joy.
You may be aware that Congress enacted into law a religious conscience exemption that allows for someone with sincerely held religious beliefs, like a Christian Scientist, to be exempt from paying a tax penalty for not having health insurance, as required by the Federal law. This was the Equitable Access to Care and Health Act (or EACH Act for short), and we are grateful its provisions were passed into law in 2018.
Some individual states have tried to enact a similar health insurance requirement, for which we have been seeking a similar accommodation or exemption. Let me tell you about the beautiful way one such accommodation came about it in the words of that Committee on Publication. He relates:
Testifying at the hearing for the Health Benefit Exchange and its proposed individual mandate wasn’t something that I wanted to do, but I realized it was needed.
In praying about testifying, and potentially answering almost any kind of question about Christian Science in a very public and recorded forum, I affirmed that as God’s idea, I and everyone else involved, express the wisdom of divine Principle, Love, and the intelligence of divine Mind. I thought of what God told Jeremiah, “…thou shalt go to all that I shall send thee, and whatsoever I command thee thou shalt speak. Be not afraid of their faces: for I am with thee to deliver thee, saith the Lord. Then the Lord put forth his hand, and touched my mouth. And the Lord said unto me, Behold, I have put my words in thy mouth…Thou therefore gird up thy loins, and arise, and speak unto them all that I command thee:” (Jer. 1:7-9, 17) What Paul wrote also came to thought, “…I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth…” (Rom. 1:16) I also cherished the fact that anything that was said, be it positive or negative, about Christian Science could not keep the “honest seeker for Truth” from finding and experiencing the healing power of the Christ, Truth, as found only in Christian Science.
As the Manager’s office attorney and I waited for my turn to testify, we were both praying and listening to know what the right thing was to do. I especially had to handle the fear of being mesmerized and tricked into doing the wrong thing. One of the ideas I prayed with in that moment was what Mrs. Eddy writes in Pulpit and Press, “Know, then, that you possess sovereign power to think and act rightly, and nothing can dispossess you of this heritage and trespass on Love. If you maintain this position, who or what can cause you to sin or suffer?” (Pul. 3:7-11) In truly the last possible moment before I was to testify, I felt inspired to withdraw as a witness, and instead submit my written testimony for the record. I then went over to the Executive Director and told her what I had done. She asked me, “Are you sure?” I said, “Yes. I know that we have a good faith agreement. I have entered my written testimony for the record, but I’m not going to testify.” She was surprised and appreciative. It felt like the most right thing to do under the circumstances. And after listening to the other witnesses, it was clear our testimony would have sounded out of place, and made Christian Scientists sound like they don’t care about the healthcare needs of the community. However, had we not been at the hearing and prepared to testify, I’m not sure everything would have unfolded the way it did.
I continued to pray to affirm the completeness of the situation. In a follow-up a few weeks later, when the final bill was being disseminated among the legislators, I received a phone call early one morning from the Executive Director herself telling me that the language was missing from the bill, and to please immediately send her our language again. Our accommodation was included in the bill, and it subsequently passed the legislative body (twice). I am SO grateful to God.
We were grateful too! And saw this as evidence of Mrs. Eddy’s statement, “Working and praying with true motives, your Father will open the way.” (SH 326:20-21)
Correcting injustices done our Leader
I love reading about Mrs. Eddy’s life, and seeing how she applied the Truth successfully in her own experience and for her Church. I’ve also found that understanding her life is an important part of being able to correct injustices done to her in the press. To this end, Alfred Farlow required all the Committees on Publication to be thoroughly acquainted with Mrs. Eddy’s life and background, and that is good guidance for all of us, too.
In fact, did you know Farlow helped Sibyl Wilbur gather material for the articles she had published in Human Life magazine and later published as a stand-alone biography “The Life of Mary Baker Eddy”? This information and other accurate biographies help give true facts about Mrs. Eddy and her life and let the world understand her in her “true light and life”, which she said “would do more for our Cause than aught else could… .” L07433, Mary Baker Eddy to Edward A. Kimball, October 15, 1893, The Mary Baker Eddy Collection.
In writing corrective responses and sharing about the life of Mary Baker Eddy in public talks, it’s a joy to explain that her discovery of Christian Science was more than a single moment of a fall on the ice and the realization afterward — which can sometimes be perceived as a hard-to-believe legend or myth — but a product of her lifelong love of God. When she wrote “the time for thinkers has come,” she also could have been writing about herself. Her pure thought of God instinctively challenged the Calvinistic notion of God, which she learned in her early upbringing. She always knew God was a God of love alone. In fact, Mrs. Eddy experienced healing by looking to God even as a little girl, being healed of fever, and healing a mentally unstable man who came to her school. One of her biographers wrote of these experiences: “The child had won with God.” (Mary Baker Eddy: Her Mission and Triumph by Julia Michael Johnston, p. 5)
This same childlike trust was true of Mrs. Eddy as an adult too. One of her workers, describes Mrs. Eddy in a reminiscence, as always looking to God like a child looking to her mother, and would hear Mrs. Eddy say aloud: “Precious Mother Love, darling Mother, show me thy way. Oh, show me thy way!” (We Knew Mary Baker Eddy, Expanded Edition, Vol. II, p. 194) Can’t we approach each challenge the same way? “Mother Love … show me Thy way. Oh show me Thy way!”
And Mrs. Eddy showed how others could feel that same tender Mother Love. When that same worker said that she didn’t have “enough of the mind that was in Christ Jesus” to make a given demonstration, Mrs. Eddy asked, “Would a mother give a child a weight too heavy for it to carry? Would Love give you a task beyond your strength?” (Ibid p. 195) That same infinite Mother Love is supporting every detail of our experience, too.
Christ’s Christianity overcomes evil with good
Before a meeting with all of the Committees on Publication worldwide last October, I asked everyone to read Science and Health and highlight portions related to the Committee work. Many said they highlighted almost the whole book! We also asked they pay special attention to the Atonement and Eucharist chapter, which Mrs. Eddy said in Miscellany, p. 136:3 explains the life of Christ Jesus, as well as her own.
When I studied this chapter, I literally wept. I was touched beyond words at what both our Master Christ Jesus and our Leader Mary Baker Eddy endured in order to bring us Christian Science, and how we can better demonstrate their teaching by humbly and wholly relying on our Father-Mother Love as they did. It also caused me to better understand their lives — what they faced and how they triumphed. I saw in a new way why Christian Science is Christ’s Christianity, and why we owe such a debt of gratitude for what Christ Jesus and Mrs. Eddy faced and accomplished.
It really hit home for me why there was such persecution of Christ Jesus and Mary Baker Eddy, who did the most good. Both were challenging the very existence of so-called mortal error. Mrs. Eddy wrote that Jesus and his teachings “laid the axe of Science at the root of material knowledge….” (SH 27:18) And this error, if it had an intelligence, would resist being destroyed in the form of hatred. “The real cross, which Jesus bore up the hill of grief, was the world’s hatred of Truth and Love.” (SH 50:30-31)
In reading the reminiscence of another worker in Mrs. Eddy’s household, I came across an important example of what Mrs. Eddy faced: The worker related that when writing Science and Health, Mrs. Eddy would have flashes of revelation where she would write so rapidly she didn’t even have time to put the manuscripts on the table, and they would flutter to the ground. Mrs. Eddy said, “So great was the chemicalization in the household after one of these outpourings that I would not be allowed to remain in the house. I moved eight times in eight months while writing Science and Health. I would find my trunk and my chair set out on the sidewalk, and sometimes I would find my manuscripts covered with ink by some person in the house through malice. Sometimes people would leave me only the bed slats to sleep upon…. I tell you these things, my dear students, so that you may not be discouraged.” (Reminiscence of Daisette D.S. McKenzie, pp. 27-28, The Mary Baker Eddy Collection)
In the same way, this Atonement and Eucharist chapter helped me to understand the impersonal resistance to Truth and public criticisms we see in the Committee work, where our Church and our Leader are often portrayed to be the opposite of their true character. But Mrs. Eddy tells us that even though the “idea of Christian healing” may be subject to “unchristian comment,” “this does not affect the invincible facts.” (SH 55:2) And when we take up the cross by turning to God with “Not my will but thine be done” just as Christ Jesus and Mary Baker Eddy did, we wear the crown of rejoicing and fulfill our spiritual mission no matter the challenge.
Christ Jesus loved righteousness and hated iniquity, the Bible tells us, and that is instruction for us to do the same and identify and handle the claims of error or evil through our understanding of good. Our work as Christian Scientists can’t be done without it. We do this in our own thought first, defending ourselves daily from aggressive mental suggestion, as the Manual requires, knowing, for instance, that one Mind alone governs harmoniously, and therefore we cannot be made to forget nor to neglect our duty to God, to our Leader, and to mankind.
Mrs. Eddy told Alfred Farlow of the need to handle malicious animal magnetism. She said to Farlow, “You have learned just the wise ways of meeting the press and would have mastered if m.a.m. [malicious animal magnetism] had been out of the conflict. You must master that or you can do little for me.” (Mrs. Eddy to Farlow, January 21, 1901; Setting the Course, p. 6). Quite an arresting statement!
Whatever the form it takes, we must recognize the error for what it is, an attempt of the so-called carnal mind to destroy Christian Science. That is the watching — recognizing the foe in ambush, as well as the loud, screaming foe, and then handling it through Christian Science, seeing the allness of God and the nothingness of evil, which, as God showed to Moses, turns the serpent into a staff to lean upon.
This important defense will keep us awake to the ways and means of mortal thought, such that we won’t be mesmerized or disturbed by false prophecy (i.e., what we often see on the news), and will see the spiritual light that the Christ imparts to each of us.
God’s promise to pour us out the blessing
Because we do this Committee work as church, all members are vital in supporting it, and seeing through the misconception calling itself lack of vitality of Christian Science or of all organized religion.
Mrs. Eddy told Alfred Farlow how important it was to stay awake and alive, especially in our healing practice, when she wrote him: “… stir the dry bones all over the field, to more words, actions, and demonstration in Christian Science. … ‘Awake thou that sleepest and arise from the dead and Christ shall give thee light.’” (Mrs. Eddy to Farlow, August 19, 1909; Setting the Course, p. 8) And we know this stirring is needed more than ever today.
It may seem to many who are steeped in secular materialism that God is unknowable or that being spiritual isn’t needed because matter feels satisfying.
Yet, we can address this seeming lack with an abundant understanding of God that feeds the heart hungering for other than materialism. Mrs. Eddy writes of the word “Unknown” in the glossary of Science and Health, “Paganism and agnosticism may define Deity as ‘the great unknowable;’ but Christian Science brings God much nearer to man, and makes Him better known as the All-in-all, forever near.” (SH 596:3)
To address this underlying error, let’s do our part in knowing God ourselves and affirming the Bible’s promise from the prophet Jeremiah (Jer. 31:34 to 2nd colon) “they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the Lord…”
When we do this actively, the whole world feels the realness, nearness, and dearness, of our heavenly Father-Mother God, who is constantly pouring out a blessing to all ready to receive it, as promised in Malachi:
“Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.” (Mal. 3:10)
This poured-out blessing stirs the dry bones and makes them live. It makes our dried, shriveled up sense of life restored and alive. It makes our dried up relationships come alive. Our dried up bank accounts and businesses come alive. And not just us, but our churches, our Sunday Schools. We can know that Spirit has already made them vital, breathed life into them as an expression of divine Life. We look to the Father to meet every need.
I know of a branch church that ran into extreme financial difficulties — its bank account seemed dried up. A member of the Executive Board called a practitioner, explained the church had almost no money, and said, we need $10,000 by Monday or else we will not be able to pay our bills. This was on a Friday. The practitioner asked, “Did you ask God for the money?” The board member said no. “Well, then ask Him!” said the practitioner with a smile. On Monday the board member called the practitioner back. “You won’t believe this,” the board member said. “Someone just gave us a check for $10,000!” (It was not a direct response to the need), then paused and said, “We should have asked for more.” 🙂
And not only is God pouring out a blessing to us, isn’t Malachi telling us that God is pouring YOU out a blessing to the world? You are that blessing. What you know about God is blessing the world and is so needed.
It’s our turn to be the disciples, the prophets, or spiritual seers, as Mrs. Eddy defines “Prophet” (SH 593:4), that see the spiritual reality. In the book of Acts it describes the apostles healing works and says that “great grace was upon them all.” (Acts 4:33) We are each those disciples, with great grace upon us to do this work.
You might ask, is this a promising time? In our Committee on Publication conference last year someone shared the insight, that while there are many encouraging “signs following” that the age is reaching out for more than materialism, that isn’t why it is promising. We don’t take our cues from the world. We look to God and the teachings of the Bible and Science and Health to tell us what is real and true.
And Mrs. Eddy tells us “The promises will be fulfilled. The time for the reappearing of the divine healing is throughout all time” and therefore not dependent on the particular time or era. And we can fulfill our duty to lay our “earthly all on the altar of divine Science,” so that we can see we are all “endued with the spirit and power of Christian healing.” (SH 55:15)
Mrs. Eddy tells us “Christian Science is irrevocable …” (Pan. 12:26-2) Therefore the time is now. And divine Love’s tender promise to us as expressed in Hebrews remains true. “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” (Heb. 13:5)
The High Oaks, Inc. Spring Meeting 2018
Sunday, April 22, 2018
Report and Introduction by Nancy Miller Batty, Administrator
After our brief annual report, we’ll present our much anticipated opportunity to hear Dr. Laurance Doyle deliver a talk titled “There is no ‘outer’ space.”
Why is High Oaks featuring a talk which challenges our ideas about outer space? From his expert standing as a celebrated astrophysicist and drawing from his understanding as a life-long Christian Scientist, Dr. Doyle will expand our understanding of this topic, showing its profound and wide-ranging application to our work in Christian Science.
Looking away from the physical to the metaphysical is an essential part of our work at High Oaks. This year, as we’ve focused on monthly prayer topics, we’ve looked to the reality of a spiritual universe where there is no distance between divine Love and His ideas. We’ve seen many reassuring proofs of how the consciousness of ever-present God, Good, filling all space, affects the human experience, letting our perfection and completeness shine forth, and eliminating any sense of need.
We might even say we’ve been understanding a little more of Mrs. Eddy’s discovery. She writes in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures:
“Unfathomable Mind is expressed! The depth, breadth, height, might, majesty, and glory of infinite Love fill all space. That is enough!” (Science and Health,p.520:3-5)
Prayerfully, with support and confidentiality, High Oaks provides financial assistance for individuals residing in 6 states which include the Christian Science nursing facilities of Lynn House is Alexandria, Virginia, Tenacre in Princeton, New Jersey, and High Ridge House in Riverdale, New York.
Requests for assistance include treatment from Christian Science practitioners, care at Christian Science nursing facilities as well as in the home by Christian Science nurses, Christian Science nurses training, tuition at Christian Science camps and necessities on a short-term basis. This year, High Oaks gave to several Christian Science organizations, as well as to several hurricane relief efforts to aid Christian Scientists living in Texas and Florida. We’re pleased to report that for 2017, High Oaks gave 317 grants totaling $304,995.
We express great gratitude for the continuing contributions and gifts in 2017 from our many friends of High Oaks. This year High Oaks’ work was acknowledged by substantial gifts from three churches for which we express sincere gratitude.
At the end of this past year, our financial statement showed a positive balance remaining after general expenses and benevolence grants. Our investments, overseen by the Finance Committee, cover all of the expenses and a significant portion of the benevolence grants. The market value of our investments benefited along with the rise in the stock market with very positive gains.
For all this good we are so grateful and thank you sincerely for support for our mission to make Christian Science care and healing possible for those who are in need and seeking it.
Now it’s my pleasure to introduce Dr. Laurance Doyle. Since 1987, Dr. Doyle has been a Principal Investigator with the SETI Institute (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence), exploring the fields of photometric detection of extrasolar planets, information theory applied to animal communications, and quantum physics.
He has been a visiting Lecturer at the University of California, Santa Cruz, served as a Member of the NASA Kepler Mission Science Team, and currently teaches at Principia College where he is the founding Director of the Institute for the Metaphysics of Physics.
A life-long Christian Scientist, he has contributed to the Christian Science Sentinel and The Christian Science Journal and given numerous talks throughout the field.
By Laurance Doyle
A Talk for the High Oaks Spring Meeting 2018
There are various models of the universe, and a popular current one is that the universe is mostly – almost entirely – made of dead matter. If matter gets complicated enough, then there can occur small pockets of organic life – that somehow dead matter can change its basic characteristic and somehow become its opposite, life. In this model we look through an almost entirely dead universe for evidence of life, and we often constrain this search for life to a search for water or organic molecules, or other representatives of organic biology. The Native Americans have a saying, “The white man is crazy; he thinks everything is dead!” They have a different model. Mrs. Eddy wrote of them, “Man is the expression of Soul. The Indians caught some glimpses of the underlying reality, when they called a certain beautiful lake ‘the smile of the Great Spirit’.” (Science and Health, p. 477: 26-29). (This is Lake Winnipesaukee.) The Native Americans were, of course, not saying that the Great Spirit is in the lake, but that the lake – seen spiritually – expresses the spiritual qualities of the Great Spirit.
The Native American view of the Great Spirit expressing Him/Herself in the spiritual nature of beauty is closer to the Christian Science view of the universe. To the Christian Scientist, looking for organic molecules to find life is a bit like looking for chalk or pencils in the universe to discover mathematics. The mathematics is not in the chalk, and we do not believe that life is in organic molecules. How many people here think of organic molecules are sacred? [Raise hands]. OK, now how many people here think that life is sacred? [Raise hands]. If you voted “no” to the first question and “yes” to the second question, then you clearly do not believe that organic molecules are life, for if one is sacred and the other is not, then they are not the same!
The Christian Science model of the universe, as far as I understand it, is that the whole universe is alive, as an expression of the one, infinite, divine Life itself, which is another name for God! But does that mean that all matter is really alive and that life is inside everything? It is pretty clear from in-depth studies of matter that matter is not only not alive, but that it does not even exist unless it is observed. This is the result of recent experimental investigations into the microscopic nature of things at the atomic scale – a field known as quantum physics. King Soloman wrote, “Will God indeed dwell on the earth? Behold, the heaven and the heaven of heavens cannot contain thee;” (I Kings 8: 27 will to ;). From this, if we consider divine, capital “L” Life as another name for God, then even the heavens of heavens cannot contain all of infinite Life!
So, if divine Life fills all space, and matter is not alive, then what is the logical conclusion for the Christian Science model of the universe? The only logical conclusion is that there is no matter! And this is what Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, states specifically about the Christian Science model of reality or being. By the way, the word “model” that I am using here is the one used in the scientific community to mean a well-developed viewpoint, not a tiny plastic replica. Mrs. Eddy writes, “Question. — What is the scientific statement of being? Answer. — There is no life, truth, intelligence, nor substance in matter. All is infinite Mind and its infinite manifestation, for God is All-in-all. Spirit is immortal Truth; matter is mortal error. Spirit is the real and eternal; matter is the unreal and temporal. Spirit is God, and man is His image and likeness. Therefore man is not material; he is spiritual.” (Science and Health, p. 468: 8-15).
So what about Moon rocks? Are they spiritual or material? Are they constructs of objective, material atoms, or are they ideas of God that express infinite, divine Life? In Miscellaneous Writings Mrs. Eddy writes, “But, say you, is a stone spiritual? To erring material sense, No! but to unerring spiritual sense, it is a small manifestation of Mind, a type of spiritual substance, the substance of things hoped for. Mortals can know a stone as substance, only by first admitting that it is substantial. Take away the mortal sense of substance, and the stone itself would disappear, only to reappear in the spiritual sense thereof.” (Miscellaneous Writings, p. 27: 27-2.)
So it appears that we are to take away a “mortal sense of substance” rather than try to replace a material universe with a spiritual one. What needs to be taken away is the limited way of looking at things, which is the only thing that seems to be constituting a limited creation called “matter.”
So is it the Christian Science viewpoint that divine Life Itself is the only substance of the universe? Yes it is! And all the ideas of creation are expressions of this infinite Life, the divine Mind (capital “M”). So is Life in anything? In the Glossary chapter of the Christian Science textbook, Science and Health With Key to the Scriptures, there is actually a definition of the word, “In.” Mrs. Eddy writes this: “In. A term obsolete in Science if used with reference to Spirit, or Deity.” (Science and Health, p. 588: 22-23). So divine Life is not “in” anything. To infinite divine Mind there is no “outer” space! Everything is rather in this infinite, divine Mind which is infinite Life itself!
Did you ever hear the expression, “I’ve never been there?” Well, it’s true. I was thinking about this and I realized that I have never been “there” either. This is because every time I have traveled to “there,” before I get there it has turned to “here.” So I think the saying, “You can’t get ‘there’ from ‘here’,” is true. You can’t. And similarly you cannot have any time but “now.”
There are some concepts of God that put God into the universe He created — some put Him/Her far away. He is said to have wound up the universe and perhaps mostly left it to run by the laws of physics like an immensely intricate clock. However, the former slave and abolitionist, Sojourner Truth, had a different idea. She once said, “God is the great house that holds all His children; we dwell in Him as the fishes dwell in the seas.” So rather than God living somewhere in the universe, all the universe lives rather in God.
In the teachings of Christian Science we learn to think of God as infinite Mind, filling all space. There is no “outer” space to God. As Mary Baker Eddy writes, “It would require an infinite form to contain infinite Mind. Indeed, the phrase infinite form involves a contradiction of terms.” (Science and Health, p. 257: 30-32). Thus, in Christian Science, then, the universe is the expression, the ongoing creation, of the one and only infinite Mind. The universe itself is the manifestation of infinite Mind, of the divine Principle, God, and so is the expression of the Mind that is God. And the ideas of this infinite Mind are being thought right now – and so the creation of the universe is an ongoing process.
So how does infinite Mind manifest itself? Doesn’t a mind manifest itself through ideas? And so what might be called the thinking of the infinite Mind is the ongoing act of the creation process—the creation of the ideas that constitute the universe, the expression of the Creator. And the ideas created by Mind cannot have any distance between them. God does not have to wait for one of His ideas to cross the universe to be near another of His ideas. How can there be any distance between the ideas in a mind? And so, in God’s true creation, there can be no distance, no separation, no loss, no loneliness, no “outer space.” God’s ever-presence precludes any of these.
A man once asked Christ Jesus to come and heal his son; he apparently lived about a day’s travel away. Jesus told him, “Go they way, thy son liveth.” And we read that “The man believed the words that Jesus had spoken, and went his way.” And when the man got home, his son had indeed been healed, and at the exact time that Christ Jesus had said he was healed (John 4: 46-53). This was but one of several times that Christ Jesus demonstrated the ever-presence of God, whom he called “our Father.” Jesus knew that the seeming distance between material objects was not real in the presence of the fact that God fills all space. And he was able to demonstrate this in what we might call “remote” healing.
However, he knew we can never be “remote” from God’s love and healing presence. As Mrs. Eddy writes regarding such healing, “Science can heal the sick, who are absent from their healers, as well as those present, since space is no obstacle to Mind.” (Science and Health, p. 179: 5-7). Christ Jesus knew God was already here and everywhere.
So as we explore the universe of God’s ideas, we can know that God fills all space. This means that there is no distance between His loving care and all of us. This means that the idea of separation of any ideas of God from each other, or from God is impossible. We can travel in the freedom that we can never leave God’s presence, or ever be outside of his loving Being and care—whether it is next door, to another country, to other planets, and even to the stars someday. Writing centuries earlier than Sojourner Truth, King David also described God’s all-presence in a similar way when he wrote, “And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” (Psalms 23). He, too, understood that our universal home is God, and we can never leave it.
Mary Baker Eddy writes in Science and Heath that “The astronomer will no longer look up to the stars, — he will look out from them upon the universe;” (Science and Health, p. 125: 28-29 to ;). Note that “astronomer” is singular, while “stars” are plural. So she does not seem to be discussing mere space travel. She does not write that the astronomer will look out from another star. The astronomer, singular, will look out from the stars, plural! Now that is the perspective of the infinite Mind! Infinite Mind “looks out” from all of the universe, with an infinite perspective. And anything infinite divine Mind does, we can do as infinite Mind’s very expression – Mind’s image and likeness, His/Her reflection.
So are we looking out from the universe of infinite Life? And does this have any practical value? Sometimes when someone calls me up for help in Christian Science I start with the idea that God fills all space. That means that good is the only presence. That means that, for example, a stomach-ache cannot exist; since God fills all space God must fill that space too. So the very location where you think your stomach hurts, right there is actually where God, only good, is. I have found this a very healing thought, and a good place to start when declaring the spiritual perfection of reality. You know, Christ Jesus said, “The kingdom of God is within you!” How could that be unless God fills all space?
So, in conclusion, there is no outer space to God. And therefore there is no outside-God space for us. The Christian Science model of the universe is that Life is everywhere, and the real, and therefore only, universe is the thinking of the infinite Mind. We are each ideas of this infinite, divine Mind and so we are exactly like this Mind since a mind cannot think ideas unlike itself. Did you ever say, “Let me reflect on that a moment?” Well, you are God’s reflection. A friend of mine said, “We are God’s contemplation.” God is constantly saying about you, “That is a great idea!” And you are! This is the Christian Science model of the universe, and it heals. Life is everywhere, and matter is nowhere. Matter is only the notion of a limited way of looking at the real thing. It is not another universe that we have to get rid of or escape from. It is only a notion to be seen through. This is why Christ Jesus said that we would know the truth, and the truth would make us free. If it doesn’t make you free, then it is not the truth. So the very nature of Truth is to undue false notions of limitation. As Mrs. Eddy put it in one of the statements that is the platform of Christian Science, “God is individual, incorporeal. He is divine Principle, Love, the universal cause, the only creator, and there is no other self-existence. He is all- inclusive, and is reflected by all that is real and eternal and by nothing else. He fills all space, and it is impossible to conceive of such omnipresence and individuality except as infinite Spirit or Mind. Hence all is Spirit and spiritual.“ (Science and Health, p. 331: 18-25).
So there is never a “there” to God because God is All-in-all. God only knows “here.” And there is no “then” to God either, for the same reason – God is only eternal. So there is only “now.” God’s creation does not come in any size but infinite, and it does not come with any duration whatever.
As God’s expression, therefore, we express God’s infinity in having no limitations, uniquely representing the Being of God, as God’s thoughts or ideas. This is our identity. So when you go out into the universe today, see everything as alive, not limited as matter, but expressing the Life that is the Source of all creation. Enjoy the universe of infinite Life and your infinitely unique and infinitely precious place in it! Einstein once said, “I’m not interested in the color of this or the spectrum of that. I want to know what God thinks. The rest are details.” Well you are one of the ideas that help make Life itself, infinite. You are the very idea that God thinks! The rest are details.
As Mrs. Eddy writes, “Unfathomable Mind is expressed. The depth, breadth, height, might, majesty, and glory of infinite Love fill all space. That is enough!” (Science and Health, p. 520: 3-5).