A literal interpretation of the Bible is moot next to the fact that human slavery was deemed the norm throughout most of the recorded history. The world has recognized the incompatibility of slavery and societal wellbeing and legislation is passed to make slavery illegal. The field of psychology has even picked up the ball to remove mental slavery.
To be honest, when I read verses such as Psalm 123, “I lift up my eyes to you, to you who sit enthroned in heaven. As the eyes of slaves look to the hand of their master, as the eyes of a female slave look to the hand of her mistress, so our eyes look to the LORD our God, till he shows us his mercy,” I am tempted to roll my eyes and shake my head. The reference to slavery is immaterial, even inappropriate in the 21st century. However, I can reconcile to the fact that no piece of human literature is perfect or complete, including the Bible, without the reader being able to think for him or herself ad-infinitum.
God is not some super-human sitting on a throne in a realm apart from earth. God is Life, Truth, and Love, expressing harmony, heaven. Although we don’t have slaves and masters, we do have philanthropy or mercy. I can look to thought-leaders expressing Christ. Moreover, I can extend this idea to God by focusing my vision and goals on Life, Truth, and Love. Through divine Science, I learn a divine interpretation and am better able to detect spiritual thoughts that remove any sense of slavery to that which is detrimental.
From 21stCentury Science and Health, “Men and women of all environments and cultures are still under the control of terrorists and bullies, ignorant how to obtain their freedom. However, the rights of humanity are being vindicated as people fight for equal rights and remove dictators from office. Moreover, this is prophetic of further steps coming toward the banishment of world-wide oppression, found on higher planes of existence and under more subtle and depraving forms…The voice of God in behalf of the people is reverberating around the world as the spokesperson of this new crusade sounds the keynote of universal mental freedom. A fuller acknowledgement of the rights of man and woman as useful spiritual beings demands that the terrors of sin, sickness, and death be exterminated from the human mind. Not through human warfare or boundaries, not through anger, but through spiritual Science is freedom gained.”
Bible readers almost have to be mental contortionists to glimpse the poignancy and spiritual power of what we call Scripture. I’m not talking about the poignancy of melodrama or the power to control others, but the tenderness and might of yielding to divine Life, Truth, and Love. Readers must have a stamina and agility to bend and expand with wisdom. for example, how do we read about slaves and masters when we know slavery is illegal?
Paul told the Ephesians, “Slaves, obey your earthly masters with fear and trembling, with a sincere heart, as you would Christ…Masters, do the same to them, and stop your threatening, knowing that he who is both their Master and your is in heaven, and that there is no partiality with him.” (Eph. 6, ESV)
Although illegal slavery has still yet to be stopped in the world, the laws of the lands recognize the unreasonable profanity of committing humanity to slavery of any kind.
So, do we ignore every verse encompassing slavery in the Bible? Do we throw the Bible away as irrelevant and stupid? Or, can we adjust our position and glean an insight?
I’ve often associated the human body as a slave to the human mind. I can usually tell my body what to do and when. And, the body is agreeable. Most of the time. During those times when the body rebels against its directive from the mind, I refer to the Bible and push consciousness to accept a body and mind that are respectful, sincere in heart, obedient to Christ, Truth, unthreatening, and impartial. My consciousness takes on a new spirit and I discover healing.
From 21st Century Science and Health, “We need to become familiar with original Bible texts and be willing to give up human beliefs, especially interpretations established by hierarchies or instigated by the worst passions of mortal beings. Familiarity with texts opens the way for divine Science to be understood and makes the Bible the map of life where the healing steps of Truth are clearly pointed out
The principles of Christian Science, as laid out by Mary Baker Eddy, work for me. I would not have gone to all the trouble to revise and update Eddy’s book, Science and Health if the book didn’t have formidable meaning to me. It, along with other books, help me practice Christian Science.
I know the difference between church rules and the rules of God, Love, Christian Science. The churches that study Christian Science, at this time, do not work for me.
There are a multitude of other reasons why I practice Christian Science however one reason is not that I want to identify myself as a Christian Scientist. I don’t categorize things and people into the term Christian Science. Categorizing doesn’t make sense and it is a terrible distraction away from the experience of Christian Science.
I hear people say, “Oh, he is such a good Christian Scientist,” or “That book is not Christian Science.” But, I advise you to pay attention, because those statements are myopic, absorbing, and muddling.
It’s like saying, “Oh that is a good mountain,” or “that mountain is not real.” Mount Mitchell (elevation 6,684 feet) is a mountain to people on the east coast. Mount Rainier (14,411 elevation feet) is a mountain to people on the west coast. A stack of hay (18 elevation feet) is a mountain to a child.
It’s impossible to define Christian Science with a personality or human lifestyle. Impossible. I’ve met healing, morally advanced, insightful, intelligent, active people who know nothing about Christian Science.
I also know Richard.
He is calm, perceptive, intuitive, aware, healthy and agile. Richard knows when I need healing and comes to me quietly but powerfully and I feel healing. Richard never ever smokes, drinks alcohol, swears, gossips, or says a bad thing about anyone. He keeps a healthy weight and eats very modestly. He doesn’t sit around and pray all the time but is alive and aware in the environment. Richard is my cat.
To fall into the trap of categorizing Christian Science as if it is a “thing,” only leads to frustration or stupid self-righteousness. Christian Science isn’t a “thing” and it certainly isn’t a person. Christian Science is more so “how” we interpret what we see, feel, hear, touch, experience, and know. It is thought and action governed by Love, Life, Truth, God. So, I can climb any mountain, read any book, deal with any problem in life, and hang out with a variety of people or pets, with God and God will bring into light the all-encompassing truth of holiness, unity, health, and strength.
Problems are not to be feared, but serve as a reminder that you must be stewards of your thoughts and behavior and should not wrestle them into submission. You must seek resiliency and flexibility, or what I call spiritual ascendency. New ideas in healing often become popular after each problem. It’s part of adapting to life rather than being victimized by it.