Christian ‘Silence’ Reading Rooms

“So quiet…it’s like Christian Silence Reading Room.”  In her rich Columbian accent, Gloria comments on a family feud between her husband, Jay, and son, Manny.  They are part of the cast of Modern Family (ABC network; Wednesday @ 9/8c).  Funny show!  The play on words alludes to Christian Science Reading Rooms, the iconic institution that has been around almost as long as mom’s apple pie. This clip is from the latest episode (airdate 11.3.10)

There has been a public fascination with Christian Science Reading Rooms for as long as I can remember.  That’s partly due to the fact that they are located in so many communities and downtowns around the globe.  There is even one in Homer Simpson’s fictional town of Springfield.   

photo by omniNate

There is also a curiosity about Reading Rooms.  What are they and what do they do in there?  It’s not really so mysterious.  They are community bookstores and hubs for the exploration of spirituality, prayer, and healing.   Just like the local Churches of Christ, Scientist that maintain them, Reading Rooms are open to everyone.  No proselytizing, no nagging or indoctrination, just self-guided spiritual learning centers welcoming the inquisitive.  Reading Rooms are public spaces.  

Each Reading Room has its own personality.  Many are quiet havens, peaceful bastions located within frenzied city centers.  The one on Mass Ave. in Boston’s Back Bay with its abundant computer stations has a synergy all its own.   Many Reading Rooms are located in small communities, some in malls.  Others are simple street side kiosks.  You might even find one at a community event or fair.   Click here for the location of one near you.                                         

I hope this clears up some questions.  And I’m glad Gloria knows about Reading Rooms.  Sounds like Jay could use one.

Election Day at the Statehouse

Well…the elections are over for the most part. I have to admit, I’m glad that the political ads are over with.

Ohio Statehouse

I spent some time on Election Day at the Statehouse. There were no winners or losers yet.  It was pretty quiet with everyone off doing their election thing.

This is a good time for me to thank the men and women who represent us, who listen, formulate, debate, and pass the laws here in Ohio. What a service they provide. And it is also important to acknowledge those people who put their names on the ballot and are willing to represent us win or loose.

Christian Scientists like me enjoy the freedoms of living in this great state.  We appreciate the individuals who lead us and we respect the laws that govern us.  We talk with our elected officials and support our legislators in making sure that all Ohioans, children, women, and men are fully represented and protected under the law.

I invite you to send a note to your representative or senator, thanking them for their dedication to Ohio. Here are links to find the members of the Ohio Senate and the Ohio House of Representatives.

60 second blame game

As the 2010 election cycle finally draws to a close, Americans across the country are breathing a collective sigh of disgust.  It has been a brutal campaign season and all those candidate’s anti-ads are finally history…at least for a week or two.  Here in Ohio the pressure has been particularly intense. The New York Times reports that Ohio is the most politically important state in America.  At least that is what the White House thinks.  President Obama visited Cleveland just yesterday, his 12th visit to Ohio since he took office.

Steven Salt

 

 Negative ads have suffocated the airwaves in recent weeks with some TV stations reporting 80% of their commercial time sold to political interests.  So what are we to make of all the name calling, finger pointing and misrepresentation?  Aren’t we better than that? 

 Strategists say it works.  Voters respond to negativity.  I suspect it has a lot to do with the way we communicate.  Speechifying today embraces nano-bites, the tiniest tad of information possible.  So how can you scrutinize someone with so little information to go on?  You can’t.  How can answers to a multifaceted problem like health care reform be articulated in minuscule fragments?  It can’t.  It is much easier to denounce in 60 seconds than to make someone understand a complex issue.  It is quicker to pinpoint fault than to expound virtue.  Does it have to be that way?

 Mary Baker Eddy never sought political office.  As one of the most influential women of her time, she could have.  But as the discoverer of Christian Science and founder of the Church of Christ, Scientist, she had a different role to fulfill.  She could have used her clout to influence voters.  But she didn’t.  Her life’s work was to forward deeper understanding of God and man and to advance compassion in the human experience.  Genuineness was her approach. 

 In addition to establishing the Christian Science Church, she founded the Christian Science Monitor to combat the misinformation that plagued the media of the early 1900’s.  She, too, was sometimes the target of disinformation. Yet, she handled the attention without mudslinging.  She spoke plainly, gently.  Can we do that?  We can.

5 Mile Mark

Runners @ mile-marker 5

15,000 people packed my small neighborhood yesterday, if only briefly, without even stopping to say hello.  They were too busy running.  Men, women and children of all shapes, sizes and ages were here giving their all in the annual Columbus Marathon.  I walked down to the end of my block to cheer them on. 

I live at mile-marker 5 on the challenging 26+ mile course.  At that spot, some runners were gliding along effortlessly.  Others plodded along in a rhythm that attested to the difficulty in having reached this point and knowing they had a long way to go. Continue reading 5 Mile Mark

A messy, messagy world

No wonder some many people are grasping their cell phones today.  3339 texts are sent and received by the average 13-to-17-year-old every month according to the Nielsen Co. as reported by the Wall Street Journal yesterday.  That’s over 100 per day! Adults are also texting at an increasing rate. 

According to WSJ reporter Katherine Rosman, this surge presents some interesting challenges.  She writes, “A text message’s content is so condensed that it routinely fails, even more than email, to convey the writer’s tone and affect.  The more we text, the greater the opportunity for misunderstanding.” Continue reading A messy, messagy world

Writing about the connections between health, thought, and spirituality