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August 6th, 2017

04:03 pm: Morality and the Ninth Commandment Part Two—Spiritual Thoughts

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.

Here are a few excerpts from the article, God's Law Cannot Be Broken.

“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,"5 had 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.”

https://journal.christianscience.com/issues/1968/12/86-12/god-s-laws-cannot-be-broken

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)

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July 26th, 2017

10:01 am: Bump In The Night Book Bundle!

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

You name your own price, get the eBooks via instant download in your preferred format. You support indie authors, and a portion of the proceeds goes directly to charity, to support the worthy cause of the Challenger Learning Centers for Space Science Education.

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.

For thrilling adventures in other times and places, there’s Death Wind by Travis Heermann and Jim Pinto and Lady Sherlock by Brooks Wachtel. For straight suspense with a high-tech or a darker edge, you’ll enjoy the Daredevils Club novel Artifact written by me, F. Paul Wilson, Matthew J. Costello, and Janet Berliner, and The Demon in Business Class by Anthony Dobranski, Whack Job by Mike Baron, and The Devil’s Churn by Kristine Kathryn Rusch. If you like all kinds of fast-paced fiction, there’s the new anthology Pulse Pounders 2: Adrenaline.

The bundle is only available through August 16. Get a huge bundle of reading material, help support indie authors, as well as the Challenger Center.

Learn more about how this works

Or buy now

Selected Reviews:

Red Hot Steele by Alex P. Berg

"Do you like Law & Order? Do you like ogres and elves and swords? Do you like snarky dialogue? Then read this book."

 – Amazon Revews

Cold Hard Steele by Alex P. Berg

"An absolutely thrilling and fun noir urban fantasy read."

 – Amazon Review

The Demon in Business Class by Anthony Dobranski

"A captivating tale crafted by a true wordsmith. The author Anthony Dobranski exhibits rare talent. This is a wonderful literary achievement as well as an intriguing story."

 – Amazon Review

Grave Beginnings by R.R. Virdi

"I believe R.R. Virdi belongs with other Urban Fantasy greats like Jim Butcher. The Grave Report is sure to go far and only pick up more fans with each successful novel. I can't wait to see where R.R. Virdi will take us next."

 – A Drop Of Ink Reviews 

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."

 – Amazing Stories

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.

 – Locus

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

"Intelligent and eminently enjoyable, this series opener by a first-time author is a first-rate choice for fans of mythic urban fantasy."

 – Publishers Weekly, starred review

Pulse Pounders: Adrenaline by Fiction River

"… fans of the unconventional will be well satisfied."

 – Publishers Weekly on Fiction River: Pulse Pounders

Death Wind by Travis Heerman and Jim Pinto

"Death Wind is a story that will keep you up well into the night. Highly recommend this title."

 – Amazon Review

Night Terrors by J.A. Pitts

"The heartbreak. The action. The drama. This is just pure awesomeness. The plot kept thickening. I can't wait for the next installment."

 – Amazon Review

Whack Job by Mike Baron

"Mike Baron's Whack Job is pretty freaking brilliant."

 – James Owen

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July 23rd, 2017

02:51 pm: The Ninth Commandment: Bearing False Labels

Morality and the Tenth Commandment Part Three

The Ninth Commandment: Bearing False Labels

This is a Last Crusade article. If you are not familiar with the Last Crusade, you can find the articles here and here. It is a new movement devoted to Christ, Constitution, Chivalry.

The Last Crusade portion are here:
Intro
Tenth Commandment, Part One
Tenth Commandment, Part Two

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.

Political Lables

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

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.

Personality Labels

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.

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July 9th, 2017

03:55 pm: Why I rely on Christian Science

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.

God is good.

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Originally posted to Welcome to Arhyalon. (link)

June 18th, 2017

03:42 pm: Funny Healing for Father’s Day!

Happy Father's Day,

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.

Why this particular healing, I have no idea!  

As my eldest son likes to say, "God is odd."

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June 15th, 2017

03:09 pm: Signal Boost: For Steam and Country

New book from Superversive Press!


 

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

 

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June 13th, 2017

04:10 pm: Choose This Day…


Liberty's back!

 

"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.)

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May 28th, 2017

03:31 pm: God Heals!

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.

Enjoy!

The fact of healing in Christian Scientists’ experience

From the March 20, 2017 issue of the Christian Science Sentinel

From the Office of Committee on Publication

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.

The diagnosed conditions healed included cancer (27 healings), tumor (42), polio (16), tuberculosis (68), pneumonia (38), heart disorders (88), kidney disorders (23), broken bones (203), childbirth complications (71), meningitis (9), appendicitis (24, 8 acute) scarlet fever (16), rheumatic fever (16), cataract (11), diabetes (12), pernicious anemia (13), rheumatoid or degenerative arthritis (12), gangrene (2), glaucoma (3), hepatitis (7), leukemia (3), multiple sclerosis (6), blindness (7), vision deficiencies (48), goiter (13), curvature of the spine (8), epilepsy (13), crossed eyes (3), and cleft palate.

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

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May 21st, 2017

07:29 pm: Morality and the Tenth Commandment, Part Two-B

First part of this essay is here.

As I mentioned in the first Tenth Commandment essay, I originally thought that I would find nothing for this commandment. But when I prayed to know if there was anything I should cover, two ideas came to me suddenly. 

This is the second.

When I was five years old, we lived by a lake. In the middle of the lake was a raft. Many happy childhood hours were spent climbing onto or diving off of this raft. But this particular day, I remember standing on the raft with a friend and discussing what we would do if we were king of the world.

“Wouldn’t you be queen of the world?” asked my friend.

Even at five, I knew that queens were weak. No, I insisted, I would be a king.

As I grew older, my distain for things feminine only got stronger. Some of it might have had to do with being forced to wear boys skates. My father wanted me to hand my skates down to my brother when I outgrew them. I was told that a girl could wear boys skates, but a boy could not be seen wearing girls skates. So I had to forgo lovely white skates like my mothers. My skates would have to be black.

Very soon, I was quite proud of my superior black skates. I still own black skates today.

When my brother entered Cub Scouts, I desperately wanted to be a Cub Scout, too. Brownies was boring. I would dress in blue and go along to the meetings and hope that I would be allowed to do what the boys did.

If someone had told me that I could actually be a boy, I would have jumped on it in a second. I would have thought Heaven had come to earth.

I could tell similar stories about how I stopped liking make-up, wearing dresses, and many other things that were related to being feminine. I looked down on everything feminine. I liked boys, but I also wanted to be a boy.

I completely and utterly believed that masculine and feminine were social constructs, only brought about by environment. So I was going to raise my children to be independent of such things.

It was a three year old boy who changed my mind.

I grew up as a dancer, raised by a dancer. I loved the joy of dancing, but, like most Liberal gals, I hated war. I hated fighting. I wanted to do everything I could to stop all violence. I tried to give my son less violent toys, but that didn’t stop him from using them as weapons. But it wasn’t that that cracked my worldview.

One day, as we were watching something downstairs, he cried out in joy, “They’re hopping and dancing and fighting!”

I stood there with my mouth open. This little boy, so cute, so sweet, equated dancing with fighting. He thought fighting was fun.

This floored me. Fighting? Fun?

I began talking to other young mothers with boys. They had had the same experience. They gave their boy a Barbie; he used it as a gun. Then there was the experience of a woman who went on to write a book about the differences between men and women. She refused to give her daughter any feminine toys…and walked in one day to find her cuddling a baby doll. Surprised, the mother moved closer to find that the doll was a blanket her daughter had wrapped around…a fire truck.

A few other things happened during the same period. I had always been an independent gal. No man was allowed to hold a door for me. And if they tried? I objected! I spoke out!

Until, one day, I was pregnant and carrying a baby in a carrier. The baby was heavy. I was tired. A man stepped forward to open the door for me, and, this time, I felt…

Grateful.

A similar thing happened with carrying things. I was strong! I could carry my own bags, boxes, trunks! I didn’t need any man’s help!

Until I was trying to lug groceries and two little boys, and I stood there, looking at the family gentlemen talking while I worked and noticed how much stronger their arms were than mine. So, I asked them to carry the bags, and I never looked back.

I began to be very grateful that, back when I had wanted to be a Cub Scout, no one had told me that it was okay, I could be a boy.

I always wanted to be a mom, even when I was little, but I also wanted to have a career. We all thought women should work. We gaped in astonishment at the one girl in high school who wanted to be a housewife.

Really? Are you crazy?

I was determined to have a career and earn my own way. The idea of staying home and letting my husband earn our keep was both offensive and shameful to me.

Eventually, I ended up at home, though, because it was a better deal than me working when the kids were young. Still, I felt embarrassed and unhappy about it.

I was at a party one day, and someone asked me, “What do you do?” I said, “Writer,” even though I hadn’t published anything yet—because NO ONE wants to say, “Stay-At-Home Mom.”

People sneer when you say that. Everyone knows this.

Later that week, I was thinking about this incident, and I suddenly realized: I had HATED working. Yeah, I had a job that was interesting and kind of fun, but getting up, going every day, sitting there whether I was busy or not, the whole experience was really painful.

And now? I got to spend the whole day with my kids. True, it was really, really hard. The kids had all sorts of struggles. Some days, I was in tears. But other days…we went to the park, or Mom’s Club, or read books or played in the grass.

It was truly wonderful.

I had it good!

So, the next time I was asked, “What do you do?” I said, with pride: “I’m a stay-at-home mom!”

But I got to wondering: Why had I had to go through all this? Why had the world told me that I would be happier as a man, acting like a man, doing man’s things, than as a woman?

Why had I been taught to look down on all things feminine? Why had I thought that men and women were the same, except for what experience and nurture taught us?

So, I looked into it.

I found out that this idea: that all other species the males and females act differently by nature, but in humans, it was all nurture had been invented by one guy. In the 1960s, a psychiatrist named Dr. Money came up with this theory. He began telling people this was the case and popularizing it.

His work went terribly, terribly wrong. The boy he helped turn into a girl at a young age lived a miserable life that ended in suicide.

The guy came up with his idea with no research and no evidence, He made it up out of his head, and yet, he managed to convince the rest of us of his crazy, crazy theory.

Now our whole society believes it.

Now, about now, you must be wondering, what in the world does this have to do with the Tenth Commandment

I have known for some time that in the Goetia, a 16th Century book on demons, one of the main powers the demons are said to have—other than teaching liberal arts—is conveying dignities and honors. It isn’t a thing we think about much today, but apparently, they were much in demand back then. Enough that someone would endanger their soul to get one.

Because people don’t just covet things, like donkeys and maidservants. They also covet ideas, like honors and dignities.

And yet, it was not until I sat down to pray about what to write in this series of articles that I suddenly realized the sad truth, that for most of my life, without even knowing it:

I had been coveting the dignities and honors of men.

Sadly, I fear I am not the only person in our modern world to have made this mistake.

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Originally posted to Welcome to Arhyalon. (link)

07:19 pm: Morality and the Tenth Commandment, Part Two-A

I have decided to separate my Last Crusade articles from my spiritual articles and have divided my previous articles accordingly.

This is a Last Crusade article. If you are not familiar with the Last Crusade, you can find the articles here and here. It is a new movement devoted to Christ, Constitution, Chivalry.

The Last Crusade portion are here:
Intro
Tenth Commandment, Part One

The spiritual portion are here:
CS
Healing of the singer

The premise of these articles is: The Ten Commandments is a fundamental part of Christian and Jewish believe and of Western Civilization. In the last hundred years, ideas have been introduced which make breaking these Commandments seem not only excusable but virtuous.

In the past, there were always men who preferred vice to virtue, but they usually said so. If a man drank absinthe or smoked opium, he knew that this act was disapproved of and might eventually cause him harm, but he didn’t care.

He might think himself justified; however, he didn’t believe that he was committing a virtuous act when he did these things.

But imagine that someone mixed absinthe with juice and told children that it was good for them and would help them grow. Or that they put laudanum in gummy candies and told children it was vitamins. So that the next generation would drink absinthe and consume liquid morpheme—and suffer the bad side effects—without even knowing that it was harmful.

That is the state that we have come to be in morally…where the arguments in favor of breaking the Ten Commandments are so well-crafted that we now believe that doing so is a virtue.

Last week, we examined the Tenth Commandment and the common modern argument:

Nobody needs more than a certain amount to live.  Over that amount is excess and should be taken away to give to the needy.

This argument, in many different forms, fuels much of todays politics. And yet, no one points out that to want to take your neighbors cars or tvs or vacations…is coveting. Even good people, who would never covet their neighbors good fortune often fall for this sugary lie: that it is okay to take the wealth of the rich.

Before I go on to part two, I want to stress that this not a political issue. This is purely a moral issue.

A moral person can believe, “We all need to do our fair share, rich and poor alike, so I believe in high taxes and many government benefits.”

But no one can believe, “The rich don’t deserve all that they have” and not be violating the Tenth Commandment.

On to Tenth Commandment, Part Two

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Originally posted to Welcome to Arhyalon. (link)

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