‘How to respond to a world that’s crying out for help’

Jamaica Plain resident Tom McElroy thinks helping the world is so important that he’s traveled across the globe to talk about it—and to do it. But don’t expect to find McElroy with a hard hat on and a set of construction plans in hand. McElroy’s tools, and the tools he claims are everyone’s to use, are those of a spiritual practice which he says has helped him, and can help the most underserved areas in our own communities, and in the world at large.

He’ll explain how at a free talk, “Spiritual Discovery: How You Can Better the World,” at 2pm on Saturday, Nov. 5, at the Christian Science Reading Room & Bookstore in Hyde Square (351 Centre Street). But McElroy’s own life serves as a kind of sneak preview for the way prayer can have powerful results beyond the walls of our personal lives.

After what he calls a “tough upbringing,” McElroy dug deep into his spiritual practice looking for answers to everything from relationship problems to health issues. And he found what he calls “genuine healing”—fundamental shifts in perspective that transformed his life.

Such results might sound cliche, except that McElroy has seen them repeated in the lives of others he has been able to help through this same approach to spirituality. As a volunteer chaplain with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, McElroy talked and prayed with men, women, and youth across a range of correctional facilities.

“Here I was striving to put into practice what had inspired me and seeing that it had effects that went far beyond the perimeters of my own life,” he said in a recent interview. “And I wanted to do more.”

That volunteer work eventually grew into a full-time career as a Christian Science practitioner, a role which McElroy describes as, “someone who helps others make the kind of spiritual discoveries that bring about a tangible difference in their lives—including their health, finances, relationships, anything.”

From there, McElroy began speaking to audiences worldwide about the Christian Science approach to prayer and healing.

“I was getting to do what I loved—meeting lots of different people and learning how this message about spiritual discovery and its unique role in our lives connected with them and their own spiritual framework.”

Best of all, he says, was getting to collectively consider some big questions: “Does spirituality have anything to offer to the tough situations we’re facing worldwide? Can a fresh perspective of spirituality, God, and prayer actually help us help others—offering something beyond just a coping mechanism, or a placebo effect? Is it possible to say with any kind of scientific certainty that your spiritual practice could make a difference for people on the other side of the planet? If so, how, and how does that work?”

McElroy will explore these questions—and answers that have been helpful to him and others—in his talk on Saturday, Nov. 5, three days before Election Day.

“I really think of this talk as the good news for anyone who is civic-minded, or whose heart burns with the desire to make a difference,” he says, “because it gets at just that—how to respond to a world that’s crying out for help.”

  • Truth

    ‘How to respond to a world that’s crying out for help’

    ….I don’t think the answer is to join a cult

    • Cheryl

      Dear Truth,

      Christian Science actually isn’t a cult. Though, that is a common misconception. It’s the divine laws of God, good, that are universal and therefore apply to all of us. I was spiritual seeker for many years and found Christian Science, didn’t know a thing about it. It has transformed my life and heart in ways I could have never imagined. To put it simply, I learned that I’m not alone in this world and that my purpose is to express and witness beauty, love, kindness and an abundance of good all around, which comes directly from our Divine Source. Pretty magnificent realization..still learning about this and it’s infinite manifestation everyday.

      • Truth

        Actually it is a cult. Go read about the deaths of all children who were refused medical treatment by their deluded parents who were brainwashed with the crackpot teachings of the loony christian scientists. Were their suffering and painful deaths examples of the beauty, love, kindness, and abundant good you’re referring to? I’m not attacking you; I feel sorry for you.

        • Marty

          Umm….there are “brainwashed….loony” people all over the place who are not Christian Scientists (BTW, I’m not one). Also, with a nickname like yours, you probably know that not everything you read is true, “Truth”.

          • Truth

            Ummm….I was responding to the “article” here about christian science, and thus my comment was directed towards that subject (and those loony “folks”). I feel sorry for the people who have died or allowed their family members to die because of that crackpot cult. My comment was not a sleight against all of the other loony people out there. Feel free to be their cheerleader, marty, if you’re worried about them not getting their due.

      • Monster

        From Wikipedia: “[Christian Science] was developed in 19th-century New England by Mary Baker Eddy, who argued in her book Science and Health (1875) that sickness is an illusion that can be corrected by prayer alone…The church does not require that Christian Scientists avoid all medical care…but maintains that Christian Science prayer is most effective when not combined with medicine.”

        I’ll leave it up to readers to determine if this sounds like primitive nonsense or not.

        (Olive branch: The Mapparium is dope though.)

    • Cheryl

      The folks over at the Christian Science Reading Room and Bookstoore at 351 Centre St in JP are really radically open minded and warm people and neighbors of JP. If you’re ever interested in chatting or sharing about your own spiritual journey, or want to learn more about Christian Science the door is always open for you! Comfy seating, quiet place to read etc.

      Warmly,
      Cheryl

    • Alex

      I went to the talk on Saturday and found it super insightful and even-handed.

      • Truth

        Even handed? So they talked about all the kids who died unnecessarily because their ‘folks’ decided that their imaginary friend could heal their cancer, diabetes, appendicitis, etc. Just a question.

  • Monster

    From Wikipedia: “[Christian Science] was developed in 19th-century New England by Mary Baker Eddy, who argued in her book Science and Health (1875) that sickness is an illusion that can be corrected by prayer alone…The church does not require that Christian Scientists avoid all medical care…but maintains that Christian Science prayer is most effective when not combined with medicine.”

    I’ll leave it up to readers to determine if this sounds like primitive nonsense or not.

    (Olive branch: The Mapparium is dope though.)

    • KarlaV

      No, it does *not* sound like primitive nonsense, because of so many experiences I’ve had in my own life: physical healings (of a broken arm as a pre-teen, of malaria symptoms while traveling in Africa are two of the most dramatic; most are more mundane — headaches, financial & relationship & workplace issues, etc.)

      So no, not “primitive nonsense” at all.

      Eddy introduced ideas that were thought-provoking 150 years ago and are still thought-provoking today; the latest scientific discoveries demonstrating the role of consciousness in our understanding of reality (as the study of mind-body medicine and quantum physics continue to show all of us).

      But I agree the Mapparium is dope 😉

      • Truth

        Broken bones will heal without medical intervention, but they don’t necessarily fuse perfectly. Prayer didn’t do it.
        Malarial ‘symptoms’ do not equal malaria. They are similar to the flu or food poisoning, so you need a medical diagnosis (by a doctor, not some quack) to determine if you actually had malaria, which I doubt you did.
        Rather than telling us how your headache miraculously disappeared because you prayed to an imaginary friend, please address the previous comments regarding people who allowed their children to die because of this “religion.” None of you ever want to talk about that.