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Animal magnetism—powerless to oppose Church

From the May 1998 issue of The Christian Science Journal

We should regularly find inspiration, heartwarming fellowship, and a great sense of purpose through committing ourselves to serving Church. At times, though, it may seem as if this very commitment stirs up a hornet's nest of problems. Perhaps we've had the experience of accepting a new step of progress and then being challenged with some difficulty. It's as though the trouble were holding up a banner in our thought saying, "You can't do that!" Taking a step back from our own life at such a time, and objectively viewing the situation, we might feel we are seeing evidence of a very definite power arrayed against Church—snapping at the heels of those who would faithfully and courageously forward its mission.

Animal magnetism is a term used in Christian Science for the carnal, mortal mind and its claim that evil is powerful. It is a term that refers to all that appears to stand in opposition to good—including that which would oppose the healing mission of Church. Does such a power actually exist? Not in the reality of God's allness! God, good, knows only His own omnipotence, the all-power of good. God knows Church as a purely spiritual idea that He establishes and sustains; as such, it is forever untouched by evil, and unthreatened by it. In Science and Health we find a description of this pure idea in the spiritual definition of Church: "The structure of Truth and Love; whatever rests upon and proceeds from divine Principle." Seen from the divine vantage point, so to speak, Church isn't for a moment engaged in a struggle against an enemy able to know or counter its purpose; nor is man, as God's perfect, spiritual reflection, subject to antagonistic forces.

So if some daunting difficulty does appear to be associated with a willingness to participate in church activities more unselfishly, what is it that we're facing? It is material resistance to the human expression of the idea Church. The definition from Science and Health continues, "The Church is that institution, which affords proof of its utility and is found elevating the race, rousing the dormant understanding from material beliefs to the apprehension of spiritual ideas and the demonstration of divine Science, thereby casting out devils, or error, and healing the sick."Science and Health, p. 583.

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