(Published in the Houston Chronicle & Waxahachie Daily Lite, July 19, 2016)
No one makes a better Dory than Ellen DeGeneres, the voice of the poignantly lovable/hilarious title character in Disney/Pixar’s new animated movie Finding Dory. In a recent interview, Ellen spoke of her childhood and mentioned her parents’ religion, Christian Science.
I’ve never met the family and obviously can’t speak to their situation. I can say that pretending to be happy when one isn’t, or merely telling oneself that “everything is fine all the time,” isn’t what Christian Science teaches.
Jesus told his followers to “abide” in the love he was showing them, so that “my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.” No more than other Christians do Christian Scientists equate this abiding joy with mindless happy talk, or psychological repression, or refusal to deal with negative feelings and aspects of human life.
Perhaps most parents would tell us that they wish they could be better at recognizing when their children are mentally struggling. I suppose we could all ask ourselves as we attempt to have our emotions validated, are we hugging tight to what we are not? Honesty is expressed freely by those who are getting to know themselves. Christian Scientists see this as, most profoundly, getting to know themselves as God, divine Love, truly knows all of us — not as damaged, inadequate mortals, but as the spiritual image and likeness of God, complete and wholly beloved.
Ellen DeGeneres explained of her TV show, “It is a happy show, on purpose. . . .” And it certainly is. How important to know that happiness doesn’t have to be forced, outlasts the struggles that would diminish it, and ultimately has its source in an infinite Love that encompasses everyone.
- Keith Wommack, Christian Science Committee on Publication for Texas