The ancient myth of Adam and his tribe gives definition to the term dysfunctional. It tells the story of a dust-made man who was placed in a lovely garden where it was assumed that he would thrive. But was he happy? No. He was lonely and bored. It’s not that there wasn’t a lot to do. There were fruit to pick and animals to name. But Adam didn’t like his job. It didn’t satisfy him. His solution? He got a mate.
What a gift! You would think they would have been a perfect fit, but not so. Unfortunately, she inherited a bit of Adam’s attitude. After all, she was pulled directly from his side. Eve was unhappy in her garden with all those animals. One creature suggested that it would be smart to eat fruit from a forbidden tree. Bad idea. And Adam, the poor dolt, followed his wife into the same trap.
Things slid downhill rapidly for the couple. Unhappy, dissatisfied, bored, disobedient, and now, exhausted… (Did I mention Adam was demoted from a fruit-picker and animal namer to a ground tiller?) … the couple decided it was the perfect moment to have kids.
Along came two sons. And, yup. Cain and Able were two apples that didn't fall far from the tree. Dissatisfaction led to jealousy, and jealousy to infighting. Given their roots, it seems only natural that they would become predators and victims in their turn.
The way the story goes, Adam’s tribe couldn’t really help themselves. They were born that way. It was the creator’s fault, of course - this miserable god who, out of mist and dirt, activated a storyline that was destined from the beginning to degenerate into dysfunction.
In all, the Adam myth is a pretty good explanation of what the nightmare of mortal existence looks like when we reason from the false premise that man is the victim of material circumstance, and that gods, or God, made us this way.
Some segments of the population take the Adam story as a literal truth. Certain others reject the general account while accepting the logic it emphasizes – material origins, dysfunctional comportment unavoidable – as generally correct. But a third point of view was first offered by a 5th century prophet, reiterated and demonstrated by Christ Jesus, carried forward by the apostles and early Christians, and later researched, proven and published in the works of Mary Baker Eddy. They give a better, accurate view of creation as spiritual, not material, and show us a way out of the chain reaction of dysfunction.
A discontented, discordant mortal is no more a man than discord is music. EDDY, SCIENCE & HEALTH WITH KEY TO THE SCRIPTURES,, 305
Through false estimates of soul as dwelling in sense and of mind as dwelling in matter, belief strays into a temporary loss or absence of soul, spiritual truth. This state of error is the mortal dream of life and substance as existent in matter, and is directly opposite to the immortal reality of being. So long as we believe that soul can sin or that immortal Soul is in mortal body, we can never understand the Science of being. When humanity does understand this Science, it will become the law of Life to man, — even the higher law of Soul, which prevails over material sense through harmony and immortality. IBID. 311
The good news about dysfunction is, we aren't born that way. It is NOT a life sentence.
We CAN do better, start from a better, correct view of who we are and where we come from. As we near the broader, spiritual interpretations of being, and gain clearer views of God and man, dysfunction will be - completely and finally - put off.
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A blog reader sent me the link to this 10 minute sermon given last Sunday by Nadia Bolz-Weber at her church, House for All Sinners and Saints, in Denver, Colorado, where she is the founding pastor. She makes some really helpful points, so I am passing it along to you as the Prayer MOJO post for this week. I recommend that you listen to, rather than read, her message, because preaching is a spoken art form.
To hear her sermon, be sure your speakers are on, and click the button:
If you prefer to read the sermon, the following is the intro. A link at the end will take you to her full text.
"A couple hours ago on Facebook, Catherine posted that she had just seen a snake on her hike. As her pastor I thought it best to reply, “If it starts talking, don’t listen.”
"This likely came to mind since I was editing this very sermon about Adam and Eve. The story of the Garden of Eden is what is called an origin story and every culture has theirs. Origin stories tell us how the world came about and where we came from and other important things like why snakes don’t have legs. We think we might know our origin story really well, but in the Genesis account of the Garden of Eden, there actually is no mention of sin, or a fall, or Satan, or temptation, and I hate to break it to you but there wasn’t even an apple involved. Which means the cultural understanding of the story of the Garden of Eden is slightly corrupted. This is due in part to the countless paintings throughout the history of Western art which for some reason portray a tree and a snake and an extremely white Adam and Eve holding a Red Delicious.
"See, for generations folks have called the tale of Adam and Eve and the serpent and the forbidden fruit “The Fall from grace” or “The story of Original Sin."
"That's a little weird to me. Like, God created the heavens and the Earth and animals and it was like, this awesome all-inclusive primeval club-med for Adam and Eve – they ran naked through the warm sunlight of an idyllic paradise and everything was theirs for the taking – except for that one tree that they were told to steer clear of. And this absolute paradise in the garden between God and Humanity lasted approximately 20 minutes. Until Eve had a chat with a talking snake and then disobeyed God and ate the forbidden fruit. And because Eve, ate some fruit she was told not to, now all of humanity is cursed and this so-called original sin of Eve’s became sort of like a sexually transmitted disease.
"Because now, according to this version of what the story is about, every person born after that inherited original sin from Eve. That’s right. Eve messed it up for everyone by eating some piece of fruit God told her not to. Which feels kinda unfair to her and kinda unfair to us. But this is what we are told the story is about.
"See, religion has taught many of us that the story of Adam and Eve is a story primarily about their disobedience. And that the fracture in the relationship between God and humanity is caused by us breaking God’s arbitrary little rules. So it feels like maybe religion was established just so we could be certain about what rules we need to follow in order for our relationship with God to be a loving, peaceful one.
"But this week, after reflecting on several conversations I’ve had with many of you about your lives and identities and the struggles we all have to hear the truth of who we are, well, I started to wonder if the real damage to the relationship between Adam and Eve and God wasn’t the rule breaking nearly as much as it was in allowing themselves to believe lies about themselves and God. See, the serpent lied to them about who they were and who God was and like all the most dangerous lies, these lies the serpent told were just close enough to the truth to be really destructive...." Find full sermon.
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_An Indiana Senate committee voted 8-2 on Wednesday in favor of a bill that would require public schools to teach creationism alongside evolution in science class. Is this progress? Or is the already murky water of the creation debate just getting an infusion of more mud?
On one hand, there is the materialist view of man's origin excluding Spirit from the equation altogether. This is found in the teaching that substance and life is 100 percent material and self-evolved.
On the other hand, there is a religious view of creation based on the Adam and Eve story, with man originating in divinely activated dust. Setting aside or perhaps unaware of Biblical scholarship that exposes the contrary, creationists teach that the 7 day explanation in Genesis, chapter 1, results in the hopelessly flawed Adam generation in Genesis, chapter 2, - as if these two accounts are one singular literal rendering of the origin of man.
I have practiced Christian Science professionally in
some form since 1979.
But my journey with
Christian Science started
in a Sunday school
where as a young child
I was taught the Scriptures and some simple basics
of Jesus' method of
scientific Christian healing.
A significant experience
at the age of twelve
opened my eyes to
the great potential
of this practice.
After impaling my foot
on a nail,
I prayed the way I had learned
in Sunday school.
the pain stopped
and healing began.
By the next morning the wound had disappeared completely.
the great potential
of Christian Science,
there would be no