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Removing Stumbling Blocks
JOE N. BARNDOLLAR

 
         Ask the average child, "To what kingdom do you belong?" and he will promptly answer, "To the animal kingdom." For has he not been taught that he is an animal, rather than a vegetable or a mineral? Now allow that child to work with this ignorant, almost universal belief about himself until he reaches maturity, and it will be found difficult indeed to convince him that he is not an animal. Nevertheless, according to the Scriptures, man does not belong to the animal kingdom, but to the kingdom of Spirit. His true selfhood or identity is entirely spiritual, even now awaiting recognition and demonstration. As Jesus said: "The kingdom of God is within you."

         When individuality is recognized as consciousness which is ever coexistent and coactive with God, or good, separate and apart from the so-called material body, with its supposititious five physical senses, the student begins to awaken from the Adam or animal dream. He glimpses the fact that the physical body is but the suppositional evidence of true individuality, and takes his first step into the light that Christianly metaphysical reasoning throws upon so-called physical existence.

         Divinely metaphysical reasoning shows that reality exists entirely apart from the so-called material or physical. This reasoning leads the student into realms of thought where the physical or material has neither precedence nor sequence. Hence, when an afflicted one turns to the purely metaphysical method for the overcoming of moral, physical or financial disability, he must necessarily deny the physical or material in his thought-processes. This denial or displacement of the physical in his thought may seem an insurmountable task when he faces it for the first time, but as he lays away the material concepts of self and environment, the spiritual facts of self and of existence gradually unfold to him.

         On page 368 of the Christian Science textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," its author, Mary Baker Eddy, writes: "Admit the existence of matter, and you admit that mortality (and therefore disease) has a foundation in fact. Deny the existence of matter, and you can destroy the belief in material conditions." "But just how am I admitting the existence of matter?" one may ask. "Surely I am endeavoring to follow the behests of the master Christian!" Many students of Christian Science find themselves in just such a quandary; and, upon analyzing their habits of thought a little more closely, they find them surprisingly inconsistent with the Christian metaphysics they profess.

         The desire to be consistent in his thinking will always reveal stumbling blocks to the student; and it is not unlikely that he will find himself continually declaring for the existence of matter in such expressions as, "my back," "my side," "my stomach"! Then he will readily perceive that such declarations glaringly portray a physical concept of himself unconsciously held in thought; and while he may be trying to recognize man as God's own likeness for others with whom he comes in contact, and even be helping to convince others of their true individuality, obviously he is not accepting the true concept of man for himself. To progress farther, he must discontinue this ignorant and harmful practice. The correct practice of looking to the truth of being to find man will surely quicken his realization of the true individual, spiritual self, and bring into his experience an almost incredible sense of freedom.

         A young student with whom a Christian Science practitioner had discussed this line of reasoning called the practitioner over the telephone, several days later, asking for help and incidentally remarking, "I am suffering terribly with my stomach." When he was quietly asked, "Whose stomach did you say?" he quickly remembered that his identity or individuality was not physical, hence was without bodily parts or material organs; that as the child of God he was the image and likeness of Spirit, or divine Mind, and necessarily wholly spiritual; that his true consciousness could know only that which God knows. And this true concept of man in that single moment healed him instantly.

         Throughout her writings, Mrs. Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, has emphasized the necessity of denying matter if one would attain those spiritual altitudes necessary to heal the sick and reclaim the sinner. Such an explicit statement as, "The denial of material selfhood aids the discernment of man's spiritual and eternal individuality, and destroys the erroneous knowledge gained from matter or through what are termed the material senses" (Science and Health, p. 91), has clearly blazed the trail from sense to Soul for him who would journey along the highway our Way-shower, Christ Jesus, trod. With a sense of gratitude to Mrs. Eddy for having given to the world this correct, scientific method of thinking gratitude that can best be expressed in better thinking and living let us go forward, continually awakening more fully from the Adam or animal dream of life in matter to the knowledge that, as our Leader tells us in "Miscellaneous Writings" (P. 309), "man's individual life is infinitely above a bodily form of existence."

 

"Removing Stumbling Blocks" by Joe N. Barndollar
Christian Science Sentinel, June 5, 1926


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