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Talking About True 'Coolness'

A spiritual look at issues of interest to young people

The expression cool has been around for a while now, but it still gets used a lot. And people have many ideas about what's "cool" - that is, what's important, what's considered popular. Television programs and the stores tell everyone the latest crazes and fashions. Hollywood portrays celebrities as the definitive trendsetters.

Cool is not always wrong. But it's not enough. We're told essentially that the best identity or appearance is something we buy or get somewhere else, and then add to ourselves. That our current identity needs something more.

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But the best identity you can have is already yours as God's spiritual reflection. And you can be naturally distinctive, cool in your own way. A big part of it is knowing that you don't need to add anything to yourself, because you are perfect and important - even complete - now.

Everyone wants to, and should, feel self-worth. As we said, there are many ways people try to find it. But we can find a real feeling of worth only by understanding that it is ours from God alone.

Jesus Christ explained where to find who you are when he said, "The kingdom of God is within you" (Luke 17:21). Later, the woman who founded the Christian Science Church wrote more about this kingdom within. She said you can see yourself as "the compound idea of God, including all right ideas" (Mary Baker Eddy, "Science and Health With Key to the Scriptures," Pg. 475). What does that mean?

All that we could ever need or truly want is already included in the identity that God has given each of us as His spiritual image and likeness. Some people might say that thinking about God or spiritual things is not the cool or popular thing to do. But what about thinking about Life itself? Or Truth itself? Or Love itself? That's what God is. And when we begin to see that, it's easier to see that all we could really want is from God.

Think of God as Life, and see that you express Him with freedom and activity. Consider God as Truth, and see that you express His honor and strength. Know that God is Love, and see that attractiveness and happiness are yours from Him. These wonderful qualities are naturally inherent in your true self, your spiritual self. That is how God made us all. Spiritual.

Not everybody sees it this way. And that can be the tough part - to see your value even when other people think it's not there. Once when I was in high school and went to a party, a new friend I had made noticed that I did not have a beer in my hand, and said, "Don't you drink?" (I didn't.)

I simply replied, "Nah."

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Jokingly, he then said, "But you're still cool."

Again I replied, "Nah."

I remember that he was a bit surprised by my comment. But I couldn't imagine that fitting in was related to what I did or didn't drink, did or didn't have in my hand. In situations such as that one, the pressure to conform can be intense. That's when I've found you've got to mentally acknowledge - know very clearly - who you are. Are you trying to act like someone you really aren't? Are you feeling that the only way to be accepted is to act in a way that seems expected by others but is unnatural to you? Or even against the law?

Well, does this sound cool - having to put on an act?

Science and Health talks about how these days people "... progress slowly for fear of being thought ridiculous." It says: "They are slaves to fashion, pride, and sense. Sometime we shall learn how Spirit, the great architect, has created men and women in Science" (Pg. 68). Being slaves to other people's perceptions and opinions does not sound very impressive to me, particularly when it slows up our progress. But I believe that being true to ourselves, and finding more of the good identity God has given us, bring respect from others.

You can find other articles like this one in the Christian Science Sentinel, a weekly magazine.

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