Monday, August 19, 2019

"superhero or professional athlete..."

"I can't stand to fly,
I'm not that naive,
I'm just out to find
the better part of me..."

I hope you can see the connection between today's post, Five for Fighting's  "Superman," and Unspoken's  "Reason."

This morning we had our first Bible lesson study at Adventure Unlimited's Adult Minicamp. If you don't know what that is, it's a time set aside for us to gather in the lodge, read Scripture together, share inspiration, and discuss ideas. It is one of my favorite activities at Minicamp.

In today's gathering Alison Peticolas, AU's Ranch Director, shared an analogy that blew the windows out for me. It was in the context of this passage from Mary Baker Eddy's Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures:

"In Latin the word rendered disciple signifies student; and the word indicates that the power of healing was not a supernatural gift to those learners, but the result of their cultivated spiritual understanding of the divine Science, which their Master demonstrated by healing the sick and sinning."

She explained that earlier in the summer, during a staff Sunday School class, one student had said that walking on water, raising the dead, etc. just seemed too big, too hard.

That was when Alison realized that there was a general sense that these "mighty works" were being perceived as the works of a super hero. Superheroes have special gifts: x-ray vision, tele-transportation, flight.  And because these gifts are superhuman, no one - who is just an ordinary human - would ever even think that they could aspire to become a superhero.

But then, she thought of a professional athlete. Anyone could aspire to be an elite athlete with practice and determination. There was no special gift -- just the demand to show up every day and put in the the time and effort.

The disciple - or disciplined student of Christian Science - is not a superhero, but a committed athlete. He/she is one who shows up willing to cultivate his/her understanding of the divine [God-based] science that is always in operation.  Spends countless hours in the laboratory, seeking a better understanding of the practical law of Love, that is behind every healing, transformative experience.

The practice of Christian Science healing is not a "supernatural gift." There are no superheroes in the scientific Christian community. Only studious disciples -- eager to know God and to understand the divine Principle that is impartially at work governing the universe.

Suffice it to say, I loved this idea. I immediately asked her if I could share it more broadly. She graciously said, "yes."

None of Jesus' acts were supernatural, but "supremely natural." They were not the works of a spiritual superhero, but of the great Exemplar.  Jesus showed mankind what is possible when we know the nature of God's love, and trust it's universality.

Jesus was the supreme spiritual athlete. He showed up each day eager to discover what "infinite" looked like - in everything around him. He was hungry to explore the boundless nature of limitless Being as Spirit. And although he may have been the first of God's children to break through the false records of time, space, and fear -- he never thought that he would be the last.

I've seen this kind of record-breaking, in the sport that I am most familiar with these days - rodeo eventing. Everytime an arena record is set -- no matter how long the former record was in place -- it becomes the new normal.

For example, I remember the first time I saw someone break into the seven second range in the keyhole event at our camp arena. It was an amazing moment. But now -- although completing a clean keyhole in the seven second range is still an amazing run -- getting below seven seconds is the new high bar for those who are "professional" in their approach to the sport.

In his extraordinary book, The War of Art, author Steven Pressfield shares some inspiration about "going pro:"

"The professional loves "it" so much he dedicates his life to it. He commits full-time.

"What are the qualities that define us as professionals?

1. We show up everyday.

2. We show up no matter what.

3. We stay on the job all day.

4. We are committed over the long haul.

"The professional is on a mission. He eliminates chaos from from his world in order to banish it from his mind."

These are just a few of the remarkable things -- from so many more -- that Pressfield offers as inspiration for those who are seeking to "go pro," in any field of endeavor. Today, I am reading them with a fresh eye -- through the lens of Alison's insight.

As someone who is in the full-time practice of scientific Christian healing, I love thinking of myself as a professional athlete. If you know me, you know that using the term "professional athlete" to describe me, is laughable in any other arena. But when it comes to seeking a deeper understanding of God, trusting His love, exploring His invariable Law, and practicing the science of Christianity -- I show up. And I will always show up - as a professional.

No magic cape, no special gifts, no personal talents -- just the heart of a professional athlete.

Thanks Alison.   What an inspired idea, from a very professional spiritual athlete - herself.

offered with Love,


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