The big "we" of God: Healing racism
Is there anything else possible than a big, shining “we” including every single individual – every woman, man, and child? Is it possible to be a true Christian without acknowledging that salvation and healing are only possible for all – or none? How far can love travel? Are Truth and Love impersonal and infinitely committed to being what they are from the very outset: universal, omnipresent, infinitely near and her.
“I am a man.” This symbolic declaration can be a powerful affirmation of humankind’s innate humanity and dignity. But is it necessary to state the obvious? Isn’t it obvious what we all are?
This question haunted a friend of mine and myself of us after visiting, at different times, the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, Tennessee. “I am a man” was the hand held poster slogan in a 1968 museum exhibition illustrating black sanitation workers on strike and demanding fair wages and equal treatment. It was this demand for basic human dignity that drew Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to Memphis, his mountain top speech and ultimately his assignation in support of the protestors. As a protestation against discrimination the plea for human validation is metaphorically Shakespearian, echoing The Merchant of Venice’s similar cry for equal treatment, human dignity and resilience.
Either by prejudice (holding beliefs that rest on stereotypes) or discrimination (engaging in active denial of rights and opportunities to others) we, as citizens of the world, continue to treat others horribly based man-made ideas about racial/ethnic origin, religion, disability, gender, age or sexual orientation and then we behave as if these ideologies are real.
But there is a different “we”, a divine “we”, a togetherness that is spiritual, inclusive and very tender. Christian Science as the law of good redeems and heals, because it is truly impossible to understand humanity without understanding God. Christian Science reveals as Christianity’s heart and soul not only the scientific basis of true equality. It shows how God’s will indeed is done on earth now and not later in heaven. Liberty and freedom are not be found on earth, they abide in spiritual laws and come down to earth with the acknowledgment of one God and as man being the pure and dignified spiritual reflection. Mary Baker Eddy discovered God as being All-in-All, and broke radically through humanity’s heritage of inverted images about itself. Already in the preface of Science and Health she goes right to the heart of the matter: “The time for thinkers has come. Truth, independent of doctrines and time-honored systems, knocks at the portal of humanity. Contentment with the past and the cold conventionality of materialism are crumbling away” (Science and Health, p. vii).
She doesn’t waste any time with superficial remedies or band-aids of sweet words but invites us to think and heed Truth’s knock. With Truth’s knock at the “the portal of humanity” the “isms” of racism, gender bias and heterosexism loose their power to limit, torture and deny and are exposed as the hissing of the “talking serpent, contradicting the word of God and thereby obtaining social prestige, a large following, and changing the order and harmony of God's creation.” (Christian Science vs. Pantheism, p. 6)
This serpent appears on the runway of the second record of creation, in which all the ingredients of discrimination and human power play are shown. After the expulsion from paradise Adam and Eve become parents, and as soon as the two sons are adults and able to earn a living on their own, Cain slays his younger brother Abel. Mrs. Eddy commenting on this murder of Abel writes: “The erroneous belief that life, substance, and intelligence can be material ruptures the life and brotherhood of man at the very outset” (Science and Health, p. 541). Any notion speaking for discrimination and justifying prejudice is the snake talk that ushers in the fake story of humanity. It means murder already from the outset. When Cain has disposed of Abel’s corpse in the ground, the mythological God questions Cain concerning Abel’s whereabouts. Cain legitimizes with his self-assertive question his terrible act with which he has provided the justification for all discriminating thought and act throughout human history: “Should I be my brother’s keeper?”
When Christ Jesus radically changed the rules of the game and provided humanity with his own prayer for us, he could have easily accentuated the necessity for everyone to grow individually, starting the prayer with “My Father…” (Matt. 6: 9) But he provided his prayer as a daily reminder that we are of the same origin. We are one family, and we have no better way to daily attest to our joint heritage by meekly heeding his council: “Judge not that ye be not judged.” (Matt. 7: 1)
It is with solemn dignity and joy that we contribute to the world’s struggle for equal rights and deeper understanding of our neighbour. Our way is meant to be free and it is with us that peace among the people truly starts. We are free to feel loved and to love – and this freedom will be felt in our lives if we actively support this freedom for every one and purge ourselves of any tint of discriminating thoughts or reliance on code or creed to reveal to us who we all are. Mary Baker Eddy writes:
“God has built a higher platform of human rights, and He has built in on diviner claims. These claims are not made through code or creed, but in demonstration of ‘on earth peace, good-will toward men.” What a view awaits us looking out from this “higher platform” to see the richness and grandeur of God’s creation, completely unafraid and free.
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In my work as Christian Science practitioner and writer I draw on listening to God and listening to people.
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