Brian McLane

Media and Social Commentary

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February 22nd, 2011 · 1 Comment · Social Commentary, theater

These days I’ve been noticing that whenever I get some time to myself and I look around, the view is kind of scary. Beyond my own household what I see out in society, on the streets of New York, in the newspapers or media and of course on the web, isn’t very pretty.

It’s a mosh pit out there – of global and now epic proportions.

One explanation of course is that sensationalism sells. I believe there have even been attempts from News Networks at trying to provide only positive news… they failed. Maybe the reason is that people take a certain amount of comfort in knowing “at least that wasn’t me,” or “glad it was the other guy.” That’s because there’s safety in large numbers and the averages seem to favor people who aren’t looking for trouble or putting themselves in risky situations.

Like at the playground. My daughter is pretty much FEARLESS. She falls and gets back up, isn’t afraid to play with or go up to other kids, and loves exploring. Today she walked away from us towards the jungle gym. Of course I kept a keen eye on her the whole time. Sofia McLane went up to a girl playing on a slide. She wanted to make friends. The other girl didn’t want any new friends and wanted to play on the slide herself and pushed Sofia aside. Not once but several times. Sofia wasn’t leaving. The little girl kept looking back at her father who wasn’t going to get up from his bench. Like me, he wasn’t going to let anything bad happen. But the point is that neither little girl was “wrong.” The other girl moved off and I went to pick up and love Sofi. But Sofia wanted to play with the other girl, who wanted no part of her.

Still, two different people, two points of view, both correct.

We’re all human, fallible and vulnerable to fate as well as the wills of others. Which can be pretty scary. The more I think about it turning to God is answer. And that’s when I love reading emails like this. Once again, my mom has sent me an excellent article.

It’s a terrific read.

“Standing up to Fear and Terror.”

A small child is skipping along the pavement with his mother and takes a spill. The mother does several things all at once: She picks him up, embraces him, brushes off his clothes, straightens his hair, wipes his tears, tells him he’s all right, smiles reassuringly, takes his hand, and tells him to come along again.

A fearful state is disorienting, like the child who finds himself suddenly on the pavement rather than upright and walking along. In this disorientation, we mistakenly believe we have to do something to get out of the fear, whether it appears to be justified by certain events or inflicted on us for no apparent reason. But in fact, as in the scene described above, the child doesn’t do anything except respond; the mother is the active one.

In a similar way, when we’ve taken a dive into fear, what we actually need is to more fully observe and accept what our Father-Mother,God, is doing. We don’t need to help ourselves. God is the helper, the deliverer, and God will always rescue us whether it is from feeling slightly disconcerted or completely terrorized.
In the illustration above, the mother does four things. She comforts, corrects, convinces, and commands. Each of these elements is also needed in order to remove fear completely. And God provides them.

God is a loving ever-presence. God’s love is a constant embrace. In the Bible book Song of Songs, God’s relation to His children is described in this way: “His left arm is under my head, and his right arm embraces me” (New International Version). Supportive tenderness—the way a parent holds an infant—illustrates this unbreakable, blissful bond. It cannot be even slightly disturbed. God’s comforting messages continue to hover around us, too. Whether in a room filled with fear and hostility, or even where an explosion has taken place, it is impossible to be out of the reach of God’s arms.

Fearful thought is mistaken thought, and God’s corrective word, replacing fearful beliefs with spiritual truths, repeats itself throughout the Bible. It echoes that we needn’t be afraid. There are 63 passages in the Bible that explicitly say, “Fear not.” Twenty-six say, “Be not afraid,” and many others state in various ways the same sentiment.

Why needn’t we be afraid? Because God is All, over all. God is present, and His presence precludes harm. Right where fear appears or where terrorism threatens, Love is actually there, right there, restoring peace to our hearts.
Statements such as this one from Isaiah give us good reason for serenity: “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.” It is natural to trust such promise and such love. It is real.

How do we feel convinced of the power of good when we may be literally shaking in our boots? It is to be convincible. When facing fear, the need is to maintain a mental attitude unbiased by mortal thoughts and wrongly educated human thinking. To be readily touched by Truth is to be childlike and trusting—meek enough in the face of evil to admit that although it seems real, God is actually All.

Even when we encounter threatening thoughts or conditions, we can head thought in a direction that is healing, by turning to God as divine Principle for a sense of spiritual order, or health. God is right where evil seems to be. Humility enables us to acknowledge that although we may believe we’re afraid, God has given us spiritual sense to detect good above all, always.

When fear appears as an attack on our mental peace, it is practical to treat it as an invader—as imposition—and disclaim it as legitimate thought. Sometimes I’ve even spoken aloud to aggressive mental suggestions when they seem to have “moved in,” in order to move them out. Jesus did this, and we can imitate his methods and see the results.

When thought is truly convinced that God is all power, it is unshakable and equipped to defeat fear of any kind. Mrs. Eddy referred to the Christ consciousness as a divine influence. Aligned with influential Truth, or God, we have authority.
Rather than wincing from evil’s threats, we see errors actually shrink and wither when contested. There is no substance to evil. It is only a term that refers to the absence of God.

In light of what actually is true—that Spirit is all, and evil is nothing—challenges become opportunities to witness the power and might of God’s love. The Christ-message is God’s message. It knows no fear. It is God’s governing love with us.

God’s complete authority is emphasized in Science and Health in this statement: “Fear never stopped being and its action.” No doubt is left here regarding the totality and ever-presence of God’s government.

Returning to the metaphor of the mother and child, part of the child’s response is obedience. When the mother says, “You’re all right,” and the child stops crying, he is, in fact, agreeing. He is saying, “Okay.”

When the Master said, “Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid,” he had been speaking to the disciples about obedience. It is a comforting statement, but there is an implied discipline in the use of the word let. In this way, fear can be seen to be an indulgence of the material senses. To me, the Master is teaching that we mustn’t allow it, however paralyzing it may feel, because we have God-given dominion over it.

We can stand up to fear, and any form of terrorism because we stand right with God, who is ever with us. Nothing can pull us from Love’s embrace, or distract us from Truth’s promises of security. We needn’t be intimidated by fears, because our divine Father/Mother never stops comforting, correcting, convincing, and commanding us to come right along, fearlessly, even joyfully.

I’ve definitely been in my share of mosh pits in the 80’s. Now I’m a dad and watching these crazy developments from Wisconsin to Libya on TV. I think the ultimate result and analogy is that whether in the local playground, or in North Africa, or at a concert, one has to choose carefully the playground they’re playing in.



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