Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Q: How to handle rebukers

Here's some grist for the blogging mill:

(from a blog reader, slightly edited)

This past Sunday I went to church and found myself sneezing, coughing and blowing my nose frequently during the service. I thought about getting up and leaving, but instead just prayed and tried to control my sinuses.

At the end of the service, an elderly lady came up to me and sternly rebuked the error that I had been experiencing. I believe she meant well, but I was taken aback by it.

I was at a loss as to how to respond to her. I said, “Thank you,” and then to myself said, “I think.”

My question is, what is the right way to respond when someone does something like this?

Ha! Thoughts? I have a few of my own, but would love to hear yours first!

Your ideas and inspiration are welcome! Please comment below or Contact Laura.
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At 4/24/2007 10:16:00 AM, Anonymous Emily said...

I don't think I would have the nerve to walk up to someone and verbally rebuke their error (largely because of the scenario described above -- I wouldn't want the person to feel I was rebuking him) ... but mentally, we all probably need to take this elderly lady's position when error tries to disrupt a service or distract someone from the Lesson. Error generally won't stick around where it's not welcome.

At 4/24/2007 10:28:00 AM, Anonymous Dennis R said...

Correct me if I am wrong, but if I understand the ethics of Christian Science, one is supposed to get permission first before treating someone.

On the other hand since this person was elderly, I think the response is to treat with respect. Saying thank you and moving on seems appropriate.

At 4/24/2007 02:59:00 PM, Anonymous Marc said...

I'm not sure, really what the lady did. I guess it depends on what was said and how it was said....
"sternly rebuked the error that I had been experiencing" can be interpreted in a variety of ways.

At 4/25/2007 03:59:00 PM, Blogger PtCakes said...

Hummmm....I guess I might have said something like: We all get colds at one time or another. I guess it's my turn. Next it might be yours.

Or said something like: It's a good thing I learned how to cover from my kids. You know they teach them sneeze into their elbows instead of their hands. Spreads less germs.

At my advanced age, I tend to let rebukers have their opinion and move on. Life is too short to pick up the il will of others.

At 4/25/2007 05:45:00 PM, Anonymous Emily said...

To clarify my earlier comment: I do not mean that we should treat others without their permission, but when error disrupts our own experience (for instance, someone is having a sneezing fit that distracts us from the service), we always have the right to address ("rebuke") it in our own thought.

Mrs. Eddy is very clear about this issue. I don't have the book handy, but somewhere in Miscellaneous Writings, she talks about how you wouldn't break into another's home and rearrange his furniture without permission, so you shouldn't break into his thoughts and rearrange his perceptions, either. But of course you are always free to rearrange your own furniture -- or thoughts -- as you see fit.

Interestingly, there are many accounts of Mrs. Eddy healing perfect strangers without ever actually treating them -- she simply "beheld in Science the perfect man," which came naturally to her, and healing was the natural outcome of her pure thought.

I look at it like this: We shouldn't treat others without their permission, but that doesn't mean we should go around bearing false witness against them in our own thoughts, either.


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