Beliefnet
Everyday Spirituality

Sounds like a misnomer, Manhattan Country School.

Manhattan, New York, is home to over 1.6 million people. Where’s the country?

For over 45 years, the Independent, Manhattan Country School (MCS), has been teaching students social awareness while promoting academic excellence. They meet regularly in Manhattan, but also attend school at a 180 acre farm in Delaware County, upstate New York.

The MCS chickens that produce dozens of eggs daily

The MCS chickens that produce dozens of eggs daily

I had the opportunity to interview the Farm Director, Ginny Scheer, who will be retiring after 40 years on the farm.

“The children learn and experience sustainable living,” said Scheer. “They learn about textiles, how to care for animals, and how to grow a garden.”

The MCS is replete with solar panels, a green house, an old farmhouse converted into a school room and housing, and large barns. The students participate in milking cows, cleaning stalls, making maple syrup, and a host of other activities.

A vision of future leaders inspired to champion justice, compassion, peace, and equal rights is promoted at MCS. The school was established to reflect the Civil rights movement.

Students have built on these words of Martin Luther King Jr., “We have come to remind America of the fierce urgency of now. This is not time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksand of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God’s children.”

From 21st Century Science and Health, “Character development should be strongly fortified with virtue. It is not so much academic education, as an ethical and spiritual learning which improves the character of the audience. The pure and uplifting thoughts of teachers, instructors, and speakers, constantly imparted to pupils, reach higher than the heavens of astronomy.”

I receive a magazine in the mail. In Touch, established by Dr. Stanley. I like the little magazine. I may not agree with everything I read but we aren’t supposed to just accept everything we read without first contemplating our own conclusion. Thoughts evolve and we want them to evolve with God, Truth.

I recently read a lofty headline in the magazine, it reads:

Christ promises to provide everything you need for abundant life.

In a world lathered with problems, it seems as though the author doesn’t get out of the office much.

But, I nibbled and thought a little about a few of the promises listed.

When you’re discouraged, He comforts you. (2 Cor. 1:5)

When you’re confused, He gives you wisdom. (Col 2:1-4)

When you’re rejected, he accepts you. (Rom 15:7)

When you have financial needs, He’s your provider (Phil. 4:19)

As I digest these statements, the sheer practice of getting my mind to consider a new thought is opening my mind to the provision of a promise that becomes more believable.

Six or eight years ago, the time unimportant, our daughter was born. Ah, it was a special time. She came early in the morning on Christmas Eve. It was a bit of a surprise because the estimated birth date was set for later. Estimates can be a bane or blessing, depending on how you look at it.

There was no bane in this case. I clearly remember recalling the nativity story of Jesus’ birth as a promise fulfilled.

Time folded in the presence of an eternal God who made everything good. The job was finished, yet it continues on.

The blessing was a quick birth, a return home before noon, and the strength to attend the family Christmas Eve gathering that evening. The extended family was delighted to see the new baby and be the first to bear gifts.

I always tease this daughter that she was one never to miss a party. She isn’t that interested in gifts, but it tickles her to be with her aunts, uncles, grandparents, cousins, and anyone else that comes along for the family gatherings.

Two days ago, this very daughter birthed her own daughter. Hmmm, I may be older than I think here as far as being a mom, since now I am a grandmother, Yiieee, that is the first time I typed that…

first pictureAnyway, our granddaughter, taking after her mom, surprised us all.  Except great-grandpa.

For the past few months, great-grandpa has been telling others that a new great-grandbaby will be born in January. People just nodded and smiled as if he forgot the estimated due date, in February.

Again, I felt the impact of time folding. We shouldn’t be so quick to ignore new ideas.

I realized, too often it feels as though my spiritual progress is slow, however, spiritual ideas are being born all the time. Big time.

We can act on the birth of new/old ideas about God as Truth. We can manifest enlightened thought. We can experience the life of God, good. Spirit is our life.

From  21st Century Science and Health, “Consciousness is guided to “where the child was”[1]—even to the birth of a new-old idea, to the spiritual sense of being and of what Life includes. Thus the whole earth will be transformed by Truth as enlightened thought displaces the darkness of error.

“The underpinnings in the temple of Christian Science are to be found in the following postulates: that Life is God, good, and not evil; that Soul is sinless, not to be found in the body; that Spirit is not, and cannot be, humanized; that Life is not at risk to death; that the spiritual real person of God has no birth, no temporal life, and no death.

“Earth has little light or joy before Life is spiritually learned. Every agony of mortal error helps error to destroy error and actually helps us perceive immortal Truth. This is the new birth going on hourly, by which human beings may entertain angels, the true ideas of God, the spiritual sense of being.”

 


[1] Matt. 2:9

Immigration in reverse is depicted in the movie, Shanghai Calling. Starring Daniel Henney, Eliza Coupe, and Zhu Zhu, this film portrays people moving to China from America. Instead of a China Town in New York City, there is an America Town in Shanghai.

One immigrant, however, arrived not by his own free will. An ambitious lawyer was sent to China to promote a law firm based in New York City. The lawyer, played by Daniel Henney, brought with him archaic views of China, only to be dispelled by the 21st century globalized reality.

The romantic comedy couples the lawyer with an American woman, played by Eliza Coupe. This American ran away from a marriage, with her daughter to a place where she does speak the language.

The lawyer’s assistant, played by Zhu Zhu, shows the fierce determination to advance in the world, minus the need to move to another country. Her character finds peace with the Chinese traditions while yet rising in her career.

The lawyer however takes the whole 1 hour and 38 minute film to learn the value of integrity and family.

The film, Shanghai Calling is family worthy. Although the romantic aspect was cheesy, at least it was clean. It cleverly exposed how human beings can dream up presumptions and scenarios that rarely reflect reality. An element of people helping people can also be appreciated.