This is the only Commandment for which I did not think of a modern behavior which our culture accepts that older cultures did not.
We have many kinds of stealing. I could speak about forfetures or pirating intellectual property, for instance. But, I think most people, in general, understand that those things are wrong. I could not think of anything that I haven't already covered that falls under stealing that we think of as acceptable or good.
So instead, here is the entire text of the article on the Eighth Commandment that I quoted in part earlier.
Next Column will be on the Seventh Commandment, upon which there is plenty to expound.
The Ten Commandments, given by God to the children of Israel through Moses, have for centuries been a basis of human conduct, and to the extent that they have been understood and obeyed, they have uplifted the race. Many people cast them aside as useless and out of date; others see in them a moral code for orderly living; while some believe man to be a mortal sinner who must struggle to live in accord with them. From any of these standpoints there seems to be difficulty in reaching the standard laid down in the commandments.
Yet God, who is divine Love, could not give commands that are incapable of being obeyed. If we find them difficult to obey, we have evidently not understood the divine facts underlying them. When we learn their true, or spiritual, meaning through the study of Christian Science, we see them to be vital, practical laws, indispensable to our everyday living. Moses received the commandments through inspiration, and we cannot understand them except through inspiration. God's statutes are not punitive and restrictive rules that limit our enjoyment. Seen in their true sense, they protect our God-given heritage of perfection and blessedness.
Reasoning from the correct, scientific basis, we see that the man of God's creating cannot break God's law but lives forever as Mind's idea; thus it is divinely natural for him to live in accord with this law. The forbidding "Thou shalt not" becomes "Thou canst not." Mrs. Eddy states, "The real man cannot depart from holiness, nor can God, by whom man is evolved, engender the capacity or freedom to sin."1To accept the belief that there is a mind which can break God's laws is tantamount to admitting that God is not omnipotent and supreme. From this spiritual viewpoint, which is the true viewpoint, we realize that God's absolute laws, typified by the commandments, cannot be broken.
These grand truths are of inestimable value to mankind. They deliver us from every phase of evil. As we grasp these truths, we are given the strength and moral courage to overthrow evil suggestions. If in what seems to be a discordant situation we hold steadfastly to these truths, we find light and healing flowing into our consciousness, thereby replacing discord with harmony.
If we believe we have been born with certain evil instincts and are condemned to carry them out, these powerful truths enable us to lay hold of our true being, thereby counteracting the false sense we have held of ourselves. The scientific fact of man's inseparability from the one Mind is the savior from the belief that man is a mortal sinner living in disobedience to the commandments. In proportion as we perceive and understand that there is no mind or power to break the Ten Commandments, we are enabled to conform harmoniously to their requirements.
The world in which we find ourselves often tells us it is easier and pleasanter to break the commandments than it is to keep them. On every hand there is evidence that divine statutes are being broken. This belief of gods many, minds many, is the lie of mortal mind and presents the false view of man. It would claim to oppose God; but no matter how often or for how long the lie seems to assert itself, it can never become true. We read in the Bible, "There is no wisdom nor understanding nor counsel against the Lord"2Thus, the laws of God, the truths of being, stand inviolate; they need only to be discerned and practiced.
Christ Jesus taught the importance of the commandments. When he was asked, "Which is the great commandment in the law?" he answered: "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself."3
The Science of Christianity, which does not deviate from the Master's teachings, reveals one infinite God, who is Mind, Soul, Spirit, Life. It reveals man as divine Mind's reflection. Because man is Godlike, he is spiritual, perfect, and good. He lives eternally at one with his Maker, a relationship that can never be severed.
We learn, too, that this real man, living always under God's control, is infinitely blessed and can never be tempted to leave the harmony of the one infinite Mind for the discord and doubt of many minds. Man does not depart from the infinite light of Life into darkness and death, desert supernal joy and bliss for sorrow and sadness, or forsake the enjoyment of the indivisible allness of good to cross the threshold of limitation and lack. In fact, he has no consciousness of error and no option but to live forever in the glorious realm of reality. As we accept these facts, we find that rich blessings are evidenced in our everyday experience.
When we understand the true meaning and basis of the commandments, we shall realize that they protect man's wonderful state of being. Instead of depriving us of good, they reveal good as our natural state.
The sacred truth of man's sinless and pure nature is not mere theory; it must be demonstrated in our daily lives. The more we understand and express our real selfhood—the man God made upright and free—the more the false sense will fade out. Obviously, ours is no light task. We cannot in a single step depart from error to truth, from the unreal to the real, from the mortal to the immortal. Mrs. Eddy counsels us, "Think not to thwart the spiritual ultimate of all things, but come naturally into Spirit through better health and morals and as the result of spiritual growth."4
As our spiritual understanding grows, we realize that because we are the children of God we live at the standpoint of eternal satisfaction and completeness, and that therefore there is no need for us to indulge in the error of coveting. We realize that as God's expression we cannot rob or be robbed, kill or be killed. Nor can we be made to carry out or become the victim of any other delusion of evil.
A student of Christian Science is grateful for the inspiration she has derived from the Ten Commandments. At one time she found that her car, which had been parked in the town center, was missing. She made the usual inquiries of the police. The suggestion was that the commandment, "Thou shalt not steal,"5had been disobeyed. She then found herself declaring, "There is no evil mind to break the commandments." With this truth came peace of mind, a sense of assurance, and a certainty that all was well.
On going over this thought again, she realized that previously, while reading the chapter entitled "The Apocalypse" in the textbook, Science and Health by Mrs. Eddy, she had been impressed by the statement, "The ten horns of the dragon typify the belief that matter has power of its own, and that by means of an evil mind in matter the Ten Commandments can be broken,"6and it had now come to her aid in a time of need. The next day the student was guided to walk along a nearby street; and there was the missing car. She learned that someone had left it there during the night.
It is our privilege and duty at all times to hold to the truth of man's being, to know that he is Mind's perfect expression. As soon as we depart, in belief, from the one Mind, we run into the error of minds many, gods many. In this deluded state we believe man to be separated from God, good; we seem to live in disobedience to His laws and consequently experience discord. As we are willing to give up the belief of many minds and realize our oneness with God, we correct erroneous thinking. Then harmony is restored.
All of us at some stage of our experience must turn to God and understand His laws. God's will must be done. The Ten Commandments may at present be on our mental shelf tucked away in a remote corner, but we must bring them into the light and remove the dust of materialism that their spiritual meaning may glow and enlighten our lives. No matter how far we have strayed, God's love is ever available. As we understand His laws and demonstrate them, our lives are transformed and our being uplifted from the false sense of condemnation and discord to our native freedom and harmony as sons of God.
The Bible states, "Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man."7Through the revelation of Christian Science, Mrs. Eddy shows us the true spiritual meaning of these commandments, how to keep them, and how to experience the rich blessings resulting therefrom.
younger daughter was in tears because no one in our family could understand what she was saying. We knew that she had lost something from her pocket—something that was precious to her. I prayed with a desire to help her, something our family needed to do often when communicating with this child. We longed to have her healed of a serious speech difficulty. In my prayers for her, I realized that everyone with challenging speech difficulties could experience freedom. It was comforting to have faith that one's inclusive prayers would bless our child and others.
Ever since she had begun to talk, most of the time we could only guess at what this daughter was saying. As a Christian Scientist, I knew that the beauty and perfection of God were expressed by our child in her true being, the spiritual image of God. This divine fact had to be proved through practice of the spiritual truths that the Bible and Christian Science teach.
As I prayed to help our daughter find what she had lost, I noticed a small book with a cover that portrayed a noted author and her daughter. The child in the portrait is embracing her mother. As I thought of our daughter's words that we could not fathom, the word hugging came to me. I then asked our daughter if she was telling us that she had lost a picture of a little girl hugging her mother. She happily nodded yes. Her tears changed to smiles when she finally received the longed-for answer and the picture.
At bedtime our two daughters prayed the following prayer for children in Miscellaneous Writings by Mary Baker Eddy:
Guard me when I sleep;
Guide my little feet
Up to Thee.
After our younger daughter listened to her sister say the prayer, she could only say in broken English, "I pray the same, God." We knew she longed to speak as well as her sister and the other little children.
I prayed for everyone, my family and the world. Such prayer for mankind has often been for me a gateway to healing, a prayer that one knows is answered because of a silent inner assurance as powerful and as convincing as spoken words.
Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mrs. Eddy states, "Science declares that Mind, not matter, sees, hears, feels, speaks." I thought of these words of Christ Jesus' in the parable of the prodigal son: "Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine" (Luke). It was inspiring to know that this inclusive spiritual fact promises all good for everyone.
As I remembered the healing power of a hymn in the Christian Science Hymnal, I found these lines from the first verse helpful:
In Thy clear light of Truth I rise
And, listening for Thy voice,
I hear Thy promise old and new,
That bids all fear to cease:
My presence still shall go with thee
And I will give thee peace.
A statement from Science and Health is engraved on the wall of many branch churches: "Divine Love always has met and always will meet every human need." My family and I considered deeply and reverently this sacred promise with its power to heal.
My mother was coming to lunch one day when we were praying with strong trust that divine Love does "meet every human need." As my mother entered our house, she asked, "Can Patricia speak any better?" In a little while, as we gathered around the dining table, our younger daughter greatly pleased us as she said perfectly, "I can say God; I can say good; I can say Love; I can say anything at all." And she could! Our family was profoundly grateful for this beautiful healing of speech.
In kindergarten and first grade our younger daughter's school marks had been poor. In second grade, after her healing of defective speech, she received all A's. Her teacher wrote to my husband and me saying that in all her years of teaching she had never known such a remarkable improvement in a student's speech. She called the marvelous turnaround a miracle.
When this daughter was in high school, her school chose her to represent them in a television program in the state's largest city. The officials said they chose her because of her excellent speaking and confident manner. Later her school again chose her to take part in the state's assembly of gifted speech students. The girl whose family formerly could rarely understand her words was among those who received the highest honors in speech in their state.
Regarding the healing of speech, I recall this hymn in the Hymnal:
It was the voice of God that spake
In silence to thy silent heart,
And bade each worthier thought awake,
And every dream of earth depart.
Louisa Velnett Palmer Kent, Ohio
I do not remember all of the details of the speech difficulty. I do vividly remember sitting with my family at lunch and amusing myself with an imaginary game of cowboys and Indians, when all of a sudden I was making the sounds of hard c's and g's—sounds I had been unable to make before. What a joy it was!
I am of course very grateful for my mother's diligence and firm conviction in God's healing power. And I am deeply grateful for Christian Science, which continues to bless me and my family. Today my profession, interestingly enough, is that of English teacher!
Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor. (Exodus 20:16)
Some years ago, I read an article in one of my church’s periodicals about a woman whose care had been stolen. When praying about this issue, it came to her that the Ten Commandments were not just rules, they were God’s Laws. They were not just to be obeyed, they actually could not—in God’s Kingdom—be violated.
“Yet God, who is divine Love, could not give commands that are incapable of being obeyed. If we find them difficult to obey, we have evidently not understood the divine facts underlying them.
“A student of Christian Science is grateful for the inspiration she has derived from the Ten Commandments. At one time she found that her car, which had been parked in the town center, was missing. She made the usual inquiries of the police. The suggestion was that the commandment, "Thou shalt not steal,"5had been disobeyed. She then found herself declaring, "There is no evil mind to break the commandments." With this truth came peace of mind, a sense of assurance, and a certainty that all was well.
“The next day the student was guided to walk along a nearby street; and there was the missing car. She learned that someone had left it there during the night.”
Some time ago, I started applying this idea to the Ninth Commandment: Thou canst not bear false witness against thy neighbor.
A friend of mine was in a work situation involving a great deal of corruption. Efforts had been made to change things for years, but corruption apparently went all the way to the top.
I prayed along these lines for about a year, even though I had no expectation of change.
Those responsible were arrested and removed.
So, now I am using the same line of thought to pray about the news. In 2015, I saw with my own eyes how corrupt the news was when people and events I am familiar with were reported on entirely falsely.
While this is a work in progress, in the two years since then, much more awareness of the corruption in the news has come to light. I am still praying along these lines…to know that we cannot bear false witness against each other…and if we should try, God will reveal our falseness.
“For there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; neither hid, that shall not be known.” (Luke 12;2)
Today, a special book bundle comes out. I have the astonishing honor of having my Prospero Lost appear with some of the brightest luminaries of our field.
This is an unprecidented opportunity to own a great deal of quality e-fiction for a very reasonable price.
Some of the brightest luminaries of our field, and my humble self, unite to bring you an unprecedented deal on books.
Here is what Kevin Anderson, author extraordinaire and publisher of Wordfire Press, has to say about the Bump In The Night book bundle:
Books That Go Bump in the Night!
If you’re ready for summer thrills and chills (ones that don’t even require air conditioning), I’m happy to show off the brand new “Bump in the Night Thrillers” storybundle, which just launched today. Sixteen suspenseful, fun, and entertaining reads. http://storybundle.com
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The bundle books include compelling urban fantasy reads with some of the strangest detectives you’ve ever met, including Dan Shamble Zombie P.I. in my own Unnatural Acts, as well as ghosts, elves, vampires, sorceresses, modern-day dragon slayers, immortal Shakespearean characters, and more in Dean Wesley Smith’s The Deep Sunset, R.R. Virdi’s Grave Beginnings, Patrick Hester’s Into the Fire, Susan Sizemore’s Living Dead Girl, J.A. Pitt’s Night Terrors, L. Jagi Lamplighter’s Prospero Lost, Alex Berg’s Red Hot Steele and Cold Hard Steele.
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– Amazon Review
The Demon in Business Class by Anthony Dobranski
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– Amazon Review
Grave Beginnings by R.R. Virdi
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The Deep Sunset by Dean Wesley Smith
"[The Poker Boy] series is unlike anything else out there. It's quirky and a lot of fun."
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The Devil's Churn by Kristine Kathryn Rusch
[Rusch’s horror novels are] horror in the same way that Robert Bloch's Psycho is—horror of the soul.
Lady Sherlock – Circle of the Smiling Dead by Brooks Arthur Wachtel
"A terrific tale of sleuthing in post-Victorian England with Tasha Dorrington, a daring female detective who takes on a mysterious murder of a government official. The characters are fresh and come alive, and the prose evokes sights and sounds from elite clubs to remote islands. Brooks Arthur Wachtel has written many action adventure shows for TV and combines that with fascinating knowledge of the British Empire to craft a rousing story. A real page turner."
– Amazon Review
Unnatural Acts by Kevin J. Anderson
"Kevin Anderson sure knows how to write an "unnatural" adventure. The characters are lovable, in spite of their unnatural existence. And the cases are fun to unravel. Great series, looking forward to reading the next one."
– Amazon Review
Prospero Lost by L. Jagi Lamplighter
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– Publishers Weekly, starred review
Pulse Pounders: Adrenaline by Fiction River
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– Publishers Weekly on Fiction River: Pulse Pounders
Death Wind by Travis Heerman and Jim Pinto
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– Amazon Review
Night Terrors by J.A. Pitts
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– Amazon Review
Whack Job by Mike Baron
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Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor. (Exodus 20:16)
This is the next instalment in my series of articles investigating how we might view morality differently than it was viewed 150 years ago. To this end, I am examining each of the Ten Commandments to see if our views about what they represent has changed—if we might be accidentally accepting as normal concepts that those who came before us knew to be wrong.
As with Commandment Ten, when I first sat down to consider the Ninth Commandment, I thought: well, that’s pretty obvious. We all know it’s not good to lie about each other, right? I don’t think anything has changed.
Fake news came to mind, as fake news is bearing false witness against our neighbor. But, while we might argue about which news is fake and which is real, I don’t think any of us believes fake news is a good thing.
As I prayed more, however, one thing did come to me—a way in which we regularly bear false witness against each other, and even ourselves, without perhaps realizing it.
A deliberate lie is false witness, but misrepresentation is also false witness. One way of misrepresenting people is to label them.
What is a label?
A label on a can tells us what it in it. A can of corn says: Corn. That is an accurate label, and nothing is missing.
But if labels help us identify things, why should we avoid them?
Well, if you had a can of corn, and you called it Starch, the label would express only part of what the can contained.
A great deal of the labels we put on people today are like Starch or far, far worse than Starch.
They bear false witness against the “Image and likeness of God.”
Currently, there are three such labels: Political, medical, and personality.
The first kind of label is when you cut off conversation with a person who does not agree with you by calling them a name. Common names for this include: racist, homophobe, cuck, islomophobic, Churcian, bigot, etc.
In reality, there may be people whose actual words and behaviors merit such objections. But that is seldom how these words are being used on social media. More often, these labels are used preemptively, not to correct a real error in thinking but to cut off conversation before it can begin.
“I believe X…”
“YOU ARE A [insert favorite derisive label here].”
This extremely common use of labels isn’t helpful. It does not produce less racists, cucks, or bigots. Instead, it is a power play. It is designed to make one’s opponent quail and go on the defensive. It results either in groveling or in rejection and anger.
Calling names in this manner bears false witness against one’s neighbor.
Medical labels are very popular. All sorts of things that used to be merely a quirk or “well, that’s how he is” now have a name and a ism to go with them.
It used to be that when old Uncle Tad was a bit loony because he did X, he may have been odd, but he was an individual. But nowadays, Uncle Tad is an ism. Instead of looking at people and getting to know their personal quirks, we assign a label. He’s autistic. She’s OCD. He’s ADHD.
The problem with these kind of labels? Two things:
1) Labels of these sorts are meant to help identify problems for the sake of helping the person. But, in reality, often they become short cuts for not paying attention.
When we think we know, we stop noticing. We stop seeing. We assume.
So the label tends to have the result of making those who are suffering less visible.
2) In my church, we make a point of trying not to label people. I have read many testimonies in our periodicals that follow this pattern:
A teacher takes over a class. There is a student with label X. The teacher refuses to see the student as X but rather works to see the student as the “image and likeness of God” as defined in Genesis 1. By the end of the year, the student’s behavior had entirely changed. There was no vestiges left of behavior X.
A human being is not autistic or OCD or AHDH.
Those qualities are not what defines them. A human being is not an illness. A human being is the image and likeness of the One Altogether Lovely—who are merely currently suffering from the condition of…pick your label.
If we speak or think otherwise, we are bearing false witness against our neighbor.
The third type of popular labeling is often self-inflicted. These are personality labels. She’s a Capricorn. He’s INTJ.
Grouping people into personality types in order to help produce more harmonious work groups may have legitimate value.
But when we go beyond that we venture into dangerous territory.
We begin to limit our expectations of what we can do and excuse our shortcomings by explaining that we are an X-type personality, so said shortcoming is part of our package, because X-type people do that.
At this point, we have become like the can of corn labeled Starch.
The many glorious aspects of our being, bestowed upon us by our Creator, are being reduced to a few limited ideas.
Buying into personality labels is bearing false witness against ourselves.
Next week: The Ninth Commandment – a spiritual perspective: How I Pray With The Ninth Commandment.
For those of you waiting for The Ninth Commandment, I am working on it…but it hasn't come together yet.
In the meantime, here is a short testimony. Some people ask, "Why would you rely on prayer rather than medicine, if it means that you have to suffer pain? Especially for something modern that medicine can put a quick end to: Why not just go to the doctor?"
The answer is: It depends on what your premises are. What do you think causes illness?
If illness comes from physical causes, then avoiding physical cures is foolish.
But…if illness is the result of a spiritual cause, than applying physical cures might calm the symptoms, but it won't solve the problem. It's like taking a painkiller but not splinting your broken leg.
Have you ever drempt that you were thirsty, or had to pee, or were cold? Then, in the dream, you rushed around trying to solve this problem, but no matter what you did, you never got anywhere–until you woke up and realized that the issue had to be solved on the waking level–nothing you could do in your dream would actually solve it?
It's like that.
So…an example: once upon a time, I had poison ivy all over my face and hands. My face swelled up, my body oozed and iched. And, since I am not a person who endures itching well, it spread and spread.
It was not pretty…or comfortable.
A brief aside, during this period, I went around with dark glasses. If I removed them, people looked freaked out. But my kids, three little boys, did not seem disturbed at all. I wondered about this and asked John why he thought that the children were not scared of me.
He said: "They see you with the eyes of love. And I see you with the eyes of a science fiction writer, and you look like Odo from Dark Space Nine, so I think it's cool."
But I digress.
So…I had to decide what to do. Did I take some kind of medication? Put on some kind of cream? Or endure it and rely on prayer?
I picked prayer…because I wanted to solve the real problem, not just sooth the symptoms. So I prayed and prayed and prayed.
It iched something fierce.
Days went by. Then weeks. Five weeks.
I prayed and prayed and prayed. It still iched.
Then, one night, I woke up all of a sudden and discovered that something was entirely different.
I had previously forgiven someone who had been responsible for causing me a gread deal of harm. But, when I thought about him, I still saw him as having ogre-like qualities. I just didn't mind anymore.
But that night–after five weeks of itching, when I woke up, I suddenly no longer saw this person in a negative light. I just saw what was good about him. I could remember the harm…but without any sting.
Instead, I saw all the good, wonderful qualities that had been there all the time but which previously had been eclipsed by the dark image.
Now this might not sound like a big deal, but I have talked to other people who have had similar experiences. They have told me that escaping the sting that comes from such experiences is impossible.
That it cannot be done.
That this shadow, this spector of past trauma, will be with us forever.
So, from that point of view, this change in my perspective was an amazing thing. One might say miraculous.
Soon after this healing of the spirit, the poison ivy disappeared from my face. A bit of it continued for a week or two on my arms and shoulders, but one day I just dismissed it as no longer legitimate (something that happens in prayer sometimes), and…it was gone the next time I bothered to think about it.
If I had stopped praying and used medicine, I could have gotten on with my life much more quickly. I would have felt less irritable much sooner, which might have been nice.
But I probably would still be facing that ogre today.
Because I would not have kept praying. I would not have put my life on hold for weeks and spent the time turning to God, searching for healing. And that was what was needed to be free of the real irritation that I had been carrying around with me for a long time.
And this is why I rely on Christian Science, even when there might be an "easy modern fix"…because what I want is true healing.
Not just for the itching to stop.
In the midst of this period, when I was so miserable, I was sitting in bed reading testimonies and the Bible and such, I looked over at my baby, and he had poison ivy all over the back of his neck. His skin was red and irritated.
I couldn't bear this–the idea that the baby would be so uncomfortable, the way I was. I turned to God with all my heart.
When I looked back, the poison ivy on the baby's neck was entirely gone. His skin was normal and smooth.
In honor of this day, I would like to honor our Heavenly Father with a report of his amazing–and amusing–power.
I am working on my next article on the Commandments and morality, but in the interm, here is one of my more amusing healings.
One day, some years ago, I realized that I was seriously ill. Being a Christian Scientist, I decided to turn this over to God. I was scared, terrified, but I called a Christian Science practitioner, pulled out my Books (The Bible and Science and Health: with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy), and got to work. I spent the whole weekend studying, praying, and reading Christian Science periodicals (The Journal and The Sentinel, best magazines ever.)
After a bit, between contemplating the truths of the Bible and reading many testimonies of healing through prayer, the fear ebbed some. By the end of the weekend, I felt less terrified, and a sense of peace had come to me.
I wasn't healed yet. It would take another six months to a year, some frightening moments, and a lot of prayer before perminent healing came, but…
After that first weekend, I suddenly realized that I had been healed–of disliking bananas and monkeys.
All my life, I had hated bananas, their taste, their smell, and I had not cared much for monkeys either.
The day after this first weekend of prayer, I realized that this dislike had entirely vanished. I could now eat bananas, stand in rooms they were in, and could see the charm of monkeys.
Her father's been pronounced dead. Destructive earthquakes ravage the countryside. An invading army looms over the horizon. And Zaira's day is just getting started…
Abandoned at an early age, Zaira von Monocle found life as the daughter of a great adventurer to be filled with hard work and difficulty. She quickly learned to rely on only herself. But when a messenger brought news that her father was dead and that she was the heir to his airship, her world turned upside down.
Zaira soon finds herself trapped in the midst of a war between her home country of Rislandia and the cruel Wyranth Empire, whose soldiers are acting peculiarly—almost inhuman. With the enemy army advancing, her newfound ship’s crew may be the only ones who can save the kingdom.
For Steam and Country is the first book in the Adventures of Baron Von Monocle series by top-10 Amazon best selling space opera author, Jon Del Arroz.
"Witty, charming and downright thrilling! Del Arroz nails the feel of good old fashioned Steampunkery with wit, aplomb and of course… panache." – Nick Cole, author of the Dragon Award winner, CTRL ALT Revolt
"FOR STEAM AND COUNTRY is a rousing girl-powered fantasy tale. I thoroughly enjoyed this action-packed airship adventure!" – Laurie Forest, author of The Black Witch
"Choose you this day whom ye will serve" Joshua 24:15
When I was young, I was a crusading, socialist Liberal. As I grew older, became a Libertarian. Then, as I have recounted elsewhere on this blog, I hit a point when I withdrew from politics worked hard to understand each side.
I became a person who chose to "see with eyes unclouded by hate."
Standing thus, this is what I have seen:
The Left Has Left Me Behind
There are a number of strong beliefs that I still hold that I held in my youth. Back then, they were Liberal beliefs. Now, the same exact believe is considered Right-Leaning. The leading edge of the Left has plunged by me and rushed off to entirely new places from what they used to believe.
Sadly, many of the new positions of the Left are in direct conflict to what they used to stand for.
The Left Is Exclusive, The Right Is Inclusive
Other's experience may be different, but, over the last ten years, my friends and comrads on the Left have repeatedly declared me to be on the Right the moment I disagreed with them on one issue. Meanwhile, my friends and associates on the Right have continued to welcome me and address me as one of their own, even when I pointed out all the ways in which I disagreed with them.
Christ is On The Move
You see it at the corner store, on the subway, at get-togethers, in the bookstore ,yea, even on Facebook: Christ is on the move!
People who were afraid to talk about their religion before are suddenly feeling freer about doing so. Those who felt that they had to hide their faith are begining to lift their head and look around to see that they are not alone.
It appears as hearts lifted, as lives improved, as healings, as changes in finance, but–strangest and perhaps most wonderful of all–as dreams and visions appearing to Muslims. The phenomena of Muslims having dreams or visions of Jesus or other Christian figures is growing. You hear about it in books, from God Reports, whispered from Christian clergy in America, and, most recently, from an article in the New York Times.
Choose Ye This Day Where Ye Shall Stand!
So, it has come to me that the time has come to take a stand–no logner to just watch with eyes unclouded by hate, but to join and act. This does not mean that I need to allow my eyes to become clouded or to cease to have compassion for all my friends and all their views. But it does mean that perhaps more is expected of me.
Aslan is on the move. The time has come to grab a fist-full of mane and mount up! We know from the parable of the hired vineyard hands that we will be accepted, even up to the eleventh-hour. But I don't want to look back and see that I could have done so earlier and accomplished more.
But Where To Go?
I cannot join the Left, as they have become a bastion of intolerance and a panderer of vices.
I cannot join the Old Left, because while I believe their heart is in the right place, I don't believe their creed is correct. Among other things, it calls for a reliance on man instead of God–as it requires the belief in an underclass who needs to be propped up by seizing the belongings of others. This makes those who have more feel guilty or dishonest, which is bad enough. But, even worse, it convinces those who have less feel that, rather than strive to better themselves, they must compete for victim status, creating ever-growing crowds of entitled who have bought into the idea that their good can only come from another.
I cannot join the Alt-Right, for I believe all men are created equal as the Image and Likeness of God.
I cannot become a "Conservative" because no one knows what that word means anymore, and many people think it means Republican–and the Republicans don't seem to stand for anything but themselves.
I want to support morality, Christianity, virtue, self-reliance, tolerance towards those who believe otherwise, and charity.
So, hence forth, I shall stand with the Last Crusade (Christ, Constitution, Civilization.)
As I speak with friends and associates, I often discover that some people have no idea that healing through prayer is possible. Some are like my husband who, when he was an atheist, said: If it were true, it would be in the papers. We would hear about it everywhere.
Sadly, that is not so.
Here is part of a recent article from the Chrsitian Science Sentinel, a weekly magazine that includes substantiated reports of healing through prayer. It is a long article, so I will post the rest another Sunday.
The ninth chapter of John in the Bible recounts that when Jesus healed a man who had been blind from birth, the response of the local leaders was to deny that the healing had occurred. When the fact of the healing couldn’t be denied, the leaders sought to discredit Jesus, describing him as “a sinner” and contending that the healing couldn’t therefore be attributed to him. When the man who had been healed insisted that it was Jesus who had healed him, they “reviled” the man and cast him out of the temple.
The fact of healing in Christian Scientists’ experience over the years has often encountered similar denial and disbelief. This isn’t surprising, and it certainly isn’t personal in nature. Today, as in Jesus’ time, Christian healing challenges the limits of finite mortal thinking. It calls into question the basic belief of life in matter—the mindset within which people typically reason and think. And it does so, not just theoretically, but practically, as Christ Jesus did. It’s evident, as the Science of Christianity brings out, that he saw and thought about life in very different terms than the rest of us ordinarily do.
The blanket denial of Christian healing today has its source in the materialism that colors so much of contemporary thought, especially in the academic community. The two commentaries reprinted below respond to this denial. They don’t dismiss the questions raised by many who are skeptical of Christian Scientists’ healing practice. They acknowledge that serious questions deserve serious and thoughtful answers. They were written in the conviction that patience, understanding, truth—and Christian Scientists’ actual healing works, more than words—will ultimately find response in the hearts of honest thinkers.
A commentary in the Sierra Vista (Arizona) Herald, “Healing and the nature of humanity: A Christian Scientist’s view”:
Is human experience limited to what can be measured with scientific instruments? If not, what is the nature of reality? A Herald column [by a sociology graduate student] raised these and other issues that thinking people, religious and nonreligious alike, have wrestled with through the ages. As a Christian Scientist, I agree that questions so important need answers grounded in reason and practical experience.
More than a century ago, as sociologist Emile Durkheim gathered data to support his theory that religion is the product of human rather than divine activity, religious leader Mary Baker Eddy sought evidence for a “scientific” Christianity based on spiritual law. Eddy viewed the unmatched life and teachings of Jesus Christ as the supreme example of divine truth. But she agreed with Durkheim that believing wasn’t enough. As she wrote in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, “The hour has struck when proof and demonstration, instead of opinion and dogma, are summoned to the support of Christianity …” (p. 342).
Eddy felt that Christians need to live and demonstrate—not merely preach—Jesus’ teachings by following in some measure his example of healing sickness and sin. For her, genuine Christian healing wasn’t “supernatural,” a matter of praying for miracles, or even “having enough faith,” as one might have in a placebo. As she understood it, turning to God in prayer for healing, as Jesus’ disciples had, involves deepening of character, genuine moral uprising, spiritual growth in grace and understanding, the purifying of a heart in communion with God.
What was the result? In Eddy’s day, William James, a leading secular philosopher and trained physician, said of the healings that were occurring: “I assuredly hold no brief for any of these healers…. But their facts are patent and startling….”
More recently, a rigorous “Empirical Analysis of Medical Evidence in Christian Science Testimonies of Healing, 1969–1988,” published by the denomination, examined more than 10,000 instances of physical healing in published accounts. Some 2,337 of these comprised significant healings of medically diagnosed conditions, involving hundreds of specialists, hospitals, X-rays, and follow-up examinations, including 222 cases given terminal or life-threatening prognoses by physicians.
Such healings have often been dismissed as “obviously” impossible—the fantasy of deluded believers—or as examples of some as-yet-unexplained power of the human mind. To this day, objective examination of prayer and religious healing by physical scientists remains infrequent and problematic.
Yet these healings happened. Even in this technological era, it’s hard to brush aside so many experiences. As a Christian Scientist wrote in a church publication, denial and disbelief “can’t erase the simple, striking fact of healing, often in defiance of medical expectation, in so many thousands of people’s lives.”
Of course, a list of conditions healed doesn’t illumine the individual human encounter with the power of God, divine Love. The practice of healing is humbling, and no thoughtful person would say that authentic Christianity is easy. Christian Scientists are deeply conscious of how much more we have to learn about this power and practice of Love and how it heals.
Still, such healing has tremendous meaning, not only for Christian Scientists but for humanity—for understanding who and what we are. Are we just transient biological packages, or is there more to each of us, an irreducible spiritual identity at our core? As the book of Job declares, “There is a spirit in man.” The great breakthroughs of spiritual inspiration that have moved humanity forward haven’t necessarily fit what people at the time considered explicable in material terms—and still don’t today.
Diane R. Hanover
Christian Science Committee on Publication for Arizona