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Define Yourself as God’s Expression!
Metaphysical Application Ideas for the Christian Science Bible Lesson for:

“Soul and Body”
November 14—20, 2016

By Craig L. Ghislin, C.S. Glen Ellyn, Illinois (Bartlett) / (630) 830-8683

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Do you feel defined by your body? Are you proud of it? Ashamed? Do you feel that your body is pre-programmed to do what it wants? Or that it has the intelligence to feel, think, and act without your permission? Most people feel that while there are some things they can do to help the body through diet or exercise, the fact still remains that the body generally governs itself, and they assume all we can do is manage what happens. In this Lesson we’ll see how Christian Science challenges this assumption.

In the Golden Text Paul uses two metaphors. The first is taken from agriculture, and the second from architecture. The idea is that: crops don’t plant, tend, and harvest themselves, nor do buildings exist without first having a plan conceived and implemented. In historical context, Paul is reminding the Corinthians that the church isn’t theirs—neither has it been conceived by them, nor is it sustained by them. The church is God’s, and God sustains it. But in the context of our Lesson, Paul’s message can be applied to our bodies. Much thought and effort is expended on taking care of our bodies. But, as God builds and tends the church, He also forms and governs us. However, we don’t live in a material body; we live in Soul.
[Those interested in architecture might want to look at the implications of the “…ye are God’s building” (GT). Architect Warren Huff asked readers of a 2002 lesson on “Soul and Body” to consider how Spirit as the great Architect has given the 10 Commandments as His specifications (specs) to guarantee the quality of his building, YOU, at .]

This idea continues in the Responsive Reading. In historical context, Paul is specifically instructing the Corinthians to avoid sexual promiscuity, and to observe purity of mind and body. They are to behave in such a way that glorifies God, and avoid indulging in sensuality. Mark Dunagan, pastor of The Fifth Street Church of Christ, in Beaverton, Oregon, observes that the Corinthians mistakenly thought being “spiritual” meant not caring what is done with the body. Paul, Dunagan explains, is declaring that, “Being ‘spiritual’ means that you regard your body as a temple, and that it doesn’t belong to you for the satisfying of sinful desires or selfish whims.”

Religious temples are reserved for holy activities, and spiritual worship. They are free from the pollutants of sensuality, and provide sanctuary from danger. If our bodies are to be regarded as temples, how does that affect what we do and how we act? Dunagan suggests we could ask ourselves, “Am I glorifying God or am I dishonoring God with my body? Does my speech, dress, and bodily activity bring honor to God? When people observe what my body says, and what it wears, and how it acts and where it is found to hang out, is it clear to all that my body serves God? Or, would people never guess that I professed to be a Christian?” He also suggests we ask ourselves, “Who is in charge of my body. Me or Christ?” (Mark Dunagan Commentary on the Bible). These questions are worthy of our consideration.

The psalmist wouldn’t have any trouble responding to Dunagan’s questions. The psalmist says his soul thirsts for God. Theologian Adam Clarke (ca. 1760-1832) writes that only those whose hearts are fixed on God are able to relate to this spiritual longing. What do the rest of the people do? They spend their time looking to the body for their comfort, validation, and satisfaction. The object of this endeavor is often illusive, and even if it seems to be fulfilled, the achievement is short-lived. Thus the cycle of hope and disappointment goes on. The psalmist asks, “Why art thou cast down, O my soul?” Looking to the body for fulfillment one would have reason to be cast down. But one who looks to God for fulfillment has no need to be cast down, for God is able to fulfill all honest desires and needs completely. [See PS#1.] The psalmist calls on all the people to praise God, and acknowledge His goodness. God holds our soul in life. In fact, God is Soul and the only Life.

Rising above the claims of the flesh, and realizing God is our Life and Soul can seem to be a trying process. As metals are refined, and the dross is cast off in the furnace, so our lives are purified in the crucible of human experience.

Section 1: Soul’s Expression Is in Spirit not Matter

To human sense man is body-oriented. The psalmist is “God oriented,” and he uses the grandest elements of the environment as metaphors symbolizing God’s splendor, majesty, and dominion (B1). The rising and falling of the sun represent God’s all-encompassing majesty, overseeing every action of our lives from beginning to end (B2). Calvin (1509-1564) notes that God’s “calling to the earth” is to rouse mankind from their complacent security in the flesh to the need for paying serious attention to God. Men tend to rest in the false comfort of barren lives, “costumed in the appearance of godliness.” In God we find the true beauty of holiness—not merely outward ritual—but inward holiness, radiant with Christly beauty. It’s as if the Lord is saying, “Hey, wake up, and pay close attention to this!”

David, the psalmist, keenly feels the longing to be closer to God. He is completely spent, and longs with all his being to be in the courts of the Lord (B3). This refers to the inner sanctum of the tabernacle wherein resides the Holy of Holies. His one desire is to dwell permanently with God in constant service, and perpetual praise. We might well ask ourselves to what degree we desire to live in God. Are we content with the insecurities of the flesh? Or do we long for the genuine, deep joy that comes with trusting God as our sun and shield, warming, protecting, invigorating, illuminating our way, and defending us from all evil? The body offers us no protection, but is in fact, utterly vulnerable. Living in God means we are completely safe at all times. And whereas the body is always needing to be tended and cared for, if we live in God, our protection is assured, and no good thing is ever withheld from us.

Mary Baker Eddy saw that Soul, or Spirit is unchangeable, and that man is God’s image (S1). As the psalmist did, she too, saw the sun as a symbol for God or Soul (S2). But, she takes the analogy a step further. Just as to the senses it appears that the sun revolves around the earth, so to human sense, it appears that soul resides within a body. Astronomical science corrects the misperception regarding the sun, and Christian Science corrects the misperception regarding soul and the body. In Science, Soul, Mind, cannot be contained (S3).

When posing the question, “What are body and Soul?” she answers, “Identity is the reflection of Spirit…” (S4). The upshot is that matter or body, is not the reflection of Spirit. Man does not live in a material form. He lives in God, Soul. As the perfection of beauty shines forth, so does the real man emanate from the one Mind, or Soul, called God (S5). Many religions teach that God is expressed in man, or through man. Sometimes, even Christian Scientists use terminology that makes it seem like man is expressing God. But she says it’s a “leading point in the Science of Soul, that Principle is not in its idea” (S6). God is not man’s expression; man is God’s expression. “Man is the expression of Soul” (S7).

Section 2: Soul’s Reflection Is Not Bound by Material Law

The book of Job declares, “I know that my redeemer liveth” (B4, PS#2). A redeemer is defined by Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance to the Bible, as “the next of kin…avenger, deliverer.” The redeemer is a person who provides legal protection, preservation, and deliverance to a close relative. God is our deliverer. From what do we need deliverance? In this case, we need deliverance from the belief of living in a human body. The human body is temporal. Temporal does not mean temporary. Temporal refers to something measured or limited by time. Though the decay of the body through the passage of time seems inevitable, God is our helper, standing firm—“unmovable, and victorious, in full power and authority” (Matthew Poole’s English Annotations on the Holy Bible).

Most people feel that the body has been programmed through genetics, and that we are subject to whatever that programming dictates. But, God dictates our inheritance—not the body, or the human genome. “The Lord is the portion of mine inheritance,” writes the psalmist (B5, PS#3). We therefore have “a goodly heritage.” Do you ever feel hopelessly entrapped by the limitations of the body? This psalm gives us hope and gladness. God would never leave His idea in a hopeless mortal shell. Nor, are we condemned to a lifetime of coddling and serving the body to get it to do what we want it to. Our path to life is through the joyful pursuit of divine Love.

Man isn’t defined by the dictates of the body. “Man is the reflection of Soul” (S8). Understanding this fact frees us from the constraints of bodily beliefs. The body does not act on its own. We are not imprisoned in a body. The body is no more than an objective state of thought, and it only reflects what governs it (S9). Therefore, we can see how important it is to be sure that Truth is governing our thoughts rather than genetics.

In Science and Health, Mrs. Eddy points out that most theologians of her time misinterpreted Job as meaning “he should stand in celestial perfection … still clad in material flesh” (S10). It’s worth noting that at least one modern theologian has finally come around to see this passage in a way similar to Mrs. Eddy. Mark Dunagan, mentioned earlier, writes, “The expression ‘from my flesh’ does not mean ‘from the vantage point of being in the body,’ … rather he is talking about seeing God apart from his body” (emphasis added). This is really a big step in theology. But, Christian Science is still leading the way to “eternal harmony” through the understanding that destroys both the belief that man lives in or because of matter, and the belief that soul lives in the body (S11). This understanding—that man lives in Soul—utterly eliminates the belief in mortality (S12).

Section 3: Are You Governed by Food?

For the psalmist only one thing is important—that the consciousness of his oneness with God fill his every thought and action throughout every day of his life (B6). This is a laudable aim, and one that should be followed by spiritually-minded people. Filling one’s thoughts with the consciousness of God sounds good, but for many it’s not easy. Not only are we inundated with constant images of sensuality, and fears of disease, but a disproportionate amount of time, thought, and effort is devoted to the amount and type of food we consume. The diet industry is booming. Even homemade concoctions and potions are now filling the Internet with promises that the pounds and inches will disappear if you follow their plan.

Is there a way out of this quagmire? Yes, there is. Look to the word of God to feed us and satisfy us. The story of Daniel and his three companions (B9) is a prime example of overcoming the belief that food in quality or quantity determines our health and comeliness. It’s worth noting that the meanings of the names of the four young men give us guidance as to how we can pray about overcoming dependence on diet for our health and happiness. John Gill (1697-1771) finds these names to be significant in deciphering the spiritual lessons in this story.

Gill writes, Daniel signifies “God is my judge.” Often what we eat is impacted by how we think people will look at us. But we shouldn’t be motivated by fear of what others think. When we know God is our judge, our concerns about food diminish. Therefore, we won’t overindulge, or starve ourselves, but we will eat enough to get by, think little of it—being more concerned about pleasing God.

Gill says, Hananiah may be interpreted, “God is gracious to me.” Knowing God is gracious, we can never be deprived of anything good. We will always be satisfied and supplied with just what we need. Therefore, we’ll be free of cravings and anxiety over our meals.

Mishael has a few meanings. Some feel it means, “he who is God, or as God” and others prefer the meaning “asked of God.” Either way, we can recognize that we are of God, not material genetics or hormones. We are God’s expression, and as such we are always beautiful and comely.

Finally, Azariah means, “God is my help,” or “God helps me.” This is especially important, because so often people feel they have no control over their weight, or ability to regulate what they eat. They feel they don’t have enough will power, or discipline, to have dominion over appetite. Human will power is inadequate. But God is our help. We can do all things when we turn to God.

Ultimately, it’s neither the amounts, nor the qualities of food that cause us trouble or help us. It’s the beliefs we attach to them. “All cause is mental, not physical” (S13). Mrs. Eddy is very clear on this—food has only the power we give it. “The fact is, food does not affect the absolute life of man” (S14). Mind feeds us with beautiful images that override the material beliefs of ugliness and decay (S15).

Aside from concern about food’s affect on our weight, there’s also the issue of defining beauty itself. The media promotes a very narrow, and often distorted, view of beauty. Standards of human fashion are in constant flux. But spiritual beauty never changes, nor goes out of fashion. “The recipe for beauty is to have less illusion, and more Soul” (S16). Isn’t that a relief? Beauty has nothing to do with food, and food cannot satisfy us. Soul feeds us, and Soul alone is capable of fulfilling our cravings (S17).

Section 4: The Healing Radiance

Just as the media focuses on diet and body image, it also peddles disease. It’s well known on Madison Avenue that in order to be sold a cure, you first have to be sold on the disease. The best way to sell a disease is to make people afraid of it. It’s therefore, noteworthy that Calvin interprets bones being “vexed” as an extreme state of fear. The only real way to let go of that fear is to turn to God as the only means of salvation (B10). The psalmist always looks to God for healing and strength (B11). The thought leads the body. When our soul—our consciousness—is fixed on God, our health is secured (B12).

The man at the pool of Bethesda (B13) spent many years looking in the wrong place for his health. As I’ve mentioned before, he makes his bed in five porches, which to me, represent the five senses. Here he made his bed expecting someone else to do something for him, rather than making up his own mind, to trust in God. Jesus’ command, “Rise, take up thy bed and walk” broke the mesmerism for the man. He needed no time to convalesce, but immediately responded.

Mrs. Eddy attributes Jesus’ healing power to his knowledge that “Soul and its attributes” are “forever manifested through man” (S18). Jesus didn’t wait for the material senses to give consent. He commanded the Truth to be seen because he knew there was no other power (S19, S20). Our textbook teaches that believing Soul is in body, and Mind in matter, hides the spiritual reality, and causes man to rely on matter instead of God for his health (S21). We read the words so often, but we really have to understand and accept that, “Man is not matter; he is not made up of brain, blood, bones, and other material elements” (S22). This is basic to Christian Science. Yet, how often do we act as if the exact opposite were true? There is absolutely no truth, or use in any material means. We don’t live in matter, and we’re never born into matter. The material picture is a lie, and always has been. The only salvation from these lies is the healing radiance of the “sunlight of Truth” (S23) that comes through the understanding of Christian Science.

Section 5: A Taste of Spiritual Perfection

As Christian Scientists, we talk a lot about perfection. But we need to remember that when talking about perfection, we’re talking about man in his true spiritual nature, not perfect human beings. The psalmist is neither concerned nor satisfied with human perfection, or any of the achievements he may have accomplished on his own. His only rejoicing is in the wonderful reality that God is All (B14). He magnifies only that which is Godlike, and invites the world to give it a try for themselves. The psalmist also knows that God is the compelling force that provides him with everything necessary for fulfilling his mission (B15).

The word “perfect” generally means, “complete”—sometimes as in a fully matured tree, and other times as a completely assembled machine. The point being—it’s a finished product. As the crops need to be planted, and buildings need to be planned, our perfection doesn’t happen on its own, or through any material process. We are perfect for one reason—because our Father in heaven is perfect (B16).

Why can we say that? We can say that because man is God’s image. “Perfect God and perfect man” is “the basis of thought and demonstration” (S24). But lest we start getting boastful about it, we need to remember the humility of the psalmist and make our “boast in the Lord” (B14). God is first, and God doesn’t express Himself in matter, or in a material body. “Man is not a material habitation for Soul; he is himself spiritual” (S25). The Lesson has talked about this many times. It’s vital to understand that a mortal body is not housing for Soul. The mortal body is mortal mind (S26). The material body isn’t real: it’s only a false concept. Our perfection is not therefore, in mortal body, but in our true being as God’s image.

Our Leader tells us “The material body is temporal, but the real man is spiritual and eternal” (S27). Remember that “temporal” means, “measured or limited by time.” The real man doesn’t live in a linear timeline. The real man is idea, and is eternal—without beginning or end. The real man is perfect “because the Soul, or Mind, of the spiritual man is God” (S28). That is so clear. If we start with that premise everything else will fall into place. Try thinking that way—taste it—and see what a difference it makes in your prayer and in your life.

Section 6: What Are You Wearing?

Many of us decide what to put on before we start our day. Our activities play a strong part in determining what we wear, but aside from our clothing, shouldn’t we be more concerned with what point of view we will “wear”? I’ve heard the saying, “Your attitude, determines your altitude.” As Dunagan asked earlier, will our actions and words throughout the day be clearly reflective of God and holiness? Or would onlookers be totally surprised if they knew we were Christians?

Paul urges us to focus our thoughts on heavenly things, and to put off the old (mortal) man for the new (spiritual) man (B17). Putting on the new man opens the door of thought to the power of God to “sanctify,” or purify our lives. This sanctification serves to preserve our true nature (B18).

In Christian Science, it’s clear that man isn’t self-made. As we put off mortal beliefs, the immortal is seen, understood, and demonstrated (S29). Acknowledging how entrenched the human belief is that the body governs rather than Soul, Mrs. Eddy asks us to recall that Jesus proved long ago that Soul, God, controls and heals the belief of a material body (S30). Jesus tells us that because he did it, so can we. Our Leader tells us there’s no need to wait for anything. Now is the time to let go of finite conceptions of God, and of the belief that the material body dictates our health and happiness (S31).

There is no human soul in a material body. God is our Soul, and we live in God. Body is not the master, God is. This plain statement in Science and Health sets the record straight: “The divine Mind is the Soul of man, and gives man dominion over all things” (S32). So that’s it. We live in Soul and we’re God’s expression. Why would we define ourselves any other way?

[Warren’s (W’s) Cobbey Crisler (CC) additions on the Christian Science Bible Lesson on “Soul and Body” for 11-20-16 (Met by Craig Ghislin)

[PS#1: Cobbey Crisler on Psalm 42:11 (RR)—Hope in God is the cure for depression

“Psalm 42, Verse 11 is a refrain in this psalm and the next. It’s a question we all need to ask ourselves, "Why art thou cast down?” Depression, if not an economic fact, seems to be a mental one at present. "Why art thou cast down? Examine the reasons. "Why art thou disquieted within me?" That's getting mad in a sense. That's challenging what we are accepting without question. Why am I depressed? Why is this disquiet? What's the reason for it? Then notice the remedy. "Hope thou in God: praise God, hope in God. The health of our countenance is in God. "

Leaves of the Tree: Prescriptions from Psalms” by B. Cobbey Crisler. To buy your own copy, see W’s PS#6.]

[W’s PS#2— Cobbey Crisler on Job 19: 25-27 (B4)—my Redeemer lives
“New English Bible translation of Job 19: 25-27 … what a beautiful message lies behind these words.

"But in my heart I know that my vindicator lives and that he will rise last to speak in court, and I shall discern my witness standing at my side, and see my defending counsel, even God himself whom I shall see with my own eyes, I am myself and no other…"

That reaches a genuine peak of mental dominion it seems to me. Those are some words to be engraved on the rock. They must be practical. That practical religion must be emerging in Job's thought as the Comforter, the parakletos. When he says "I know that my Redeemer liveth" isn't he also saying that he's found no remedy in human thought when he finds his redeemer higher, where (in Job 16:19) "his record is on high."]
“The Book of Job: A Mental Court Case”, B. Cobbey Crisler. To buy your own copy, see W’s PS#6.]

[W’s PS#3: Cobbey Crisler comments on Psalm 16: 5 the source of your inheritances
“Psalm 16:5, for heredity being deal with in this pharmacy of the Psalms. "The LORD" is what? "The portion of mine inheritance!" Sometimes we're proud of our inheritances. At other times, we're ashamed of them. To anchor inheritance, heritage, and heredity in God, is, first, a radically different concept of origin, where we came from. Secondly, it only allows for the expression of the nature from which it is flowing, and that's divine. The only inheritances, then, can be divine, if that logic prevails.

“In Verse 6 you will note that [deep] concern the psalmist [has] about hereditary limitations on his ability. Apparently he comes to the conclusion through accepting the divine fact, the prescriptions he’s had filled, "Yea, I have a goodly heritage.”

Leaves of the Tree: Prescriptions from Psalms” by B. Cobbey Crisler. To buy your own copy, see W’s PS#6.]

[W’s PS#4 on Cobbey Crisler’s insights on John 5:2-9, 17-20 (B13)—overcome the belief that someone always gets the perfect parking place before you…“The Son can do nothing of himself”
“John 5:2 We’re now at the famous incident at the “Pool of Bethesda”. Near what serves as an occasional sheep market today, there is still a pool that has been excavated, that has archeological remnants that suggest the five porches. There is apparently, if this is the correct location of the pools, a structure that had two pools, each with two porches. Down the middle was a fifth porch with pools on either side. It may have been the ancient equivalent of a hospital.
John 5:4 There’s some indication that it might have at some point in its history a spot that might have been associated with Aesculapius, the pagan founder of medicine, and that this superstition may have gotten to the point “that those who stepped into the pool when the water was troubled would be instantly healed.”
John 5:3 At least “an awful lot of people were waiting around for that event,” so the news must have spread that this occurred.
John 5:5 Here we run into a man that doesn’t seem to be going anywhere. “He’d been there for thirty-eight years.” I’m sure that many of us would feel for him. We all have been sitting around our own pool of Bethesda waiting for something to happen, something miraculous, something fateful. We have all waited for something unexpected from the outside to lift us out of a condition that we haven’t made too much of an effort to do anything about.
There was an environment there that did not help the problem. As a matter of fact, here’s how Professor Dodd describes it. I like this:
‘There is another story about a man who had given way to a chronic disability, and for years had nursed a grievance which excused him from doing anything about it.’
John 5:7. “Someone else always gets in before me.” If that sounds like a familiar excuse, then Bethesda isn’t so far back in history. So he translates Jesus’ statements this way. Do you want to recover? That pinpoints it, doesn’t it? Do you see who that translation exhibits Jesus dealing with the thought of the patient? Where must it happen?
If communication from God to man must work, where must we work? In the thought of the receiver. Do we want to recover? That almost sounds silly to people who have been in a longtime condition, but it may very well be the core of the issue. Do we really want to be healed? Or have we become so settled into our condition that for thirty eight years, we just sit there with our friends and talk about our operations? Misery loving company is a quality that attaches itself to human nature.
John 5: 6. Here’s how Dodd again translates Jesus’ question and then his demand on the patient. “Do you want to recover?”
John 5:8, “Then, pick up your bed and walk.” Jesus wasn’t about to volunteer to pick up his bed for him.
That says a lot. How else do we know Jesus, but to study his thoughts, his words, his methods, his messages, his intent, the logos, not but the word, but the thought behind it? What is required for the healing of a paralytic condition that has lasted practically a generation? It’s the very thing that he thought he couldn’t do, to pick up his bed and walk. Do you want to be healed? ‘Let there be light!’ (Genesis 1:3) That’s permission. Let it in.
John 5:9, “Immediately the man was made whole.” We don’t have any sense that there was a convalescence period. “He took up his bed and walked.”

Jesus responds to the debate on the Sabbath with a brilliant exegesis of the seven days of creation.
In John 5:17, “Jesus said, You’re stopping me for healing on the Sabbath day. But my reading of the Scripture is this, My Father worketh hitherto and I work.” If the original works, what can the image or reflection do?

Notice also John 5:19 is Jesus’ famous statement, “The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do.” Taking this apart, it really gives you what man’s role is. What is it? It’s reflection. It’s image.
Man is not original in what he does. What he does stems from the original which is God. Then it reflects originality. Otherwise there would be competition for the job of Creator. Under monotheism there is no possibility for such competition (“For what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise.”)
He took the Son of Man through every problem that the world could hurl at him and proved that even the Son of Man can be victorious and not a creature of circumstances when the understanding of his true nature as the Son of God can be applied.
Our understanding of the Son of Man and the Son of God, and the difference, might be heightened by realizing that the Christ comes to the Son of Man. The Christ doesn’t come to the Son of God because the Christ really presents the Son of God.
We’re on the human side of things, who feel the foot of domination on our necks from outside circumstances. Is that where the Son of Man belongs? Notice the argument of Bildad in the book of Job… It uses the very same phrase that Jesus does, elevating him way above the outlines of fleshly domination. So, “The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do.” Why?

John 5:20, “The Father loves the Son.”
John 5:30. The same point is repeated, “I can of mine own self do nothing.” Is this false humility or is Jesus actually giving us the facts straight out? What is the secret and source of everything he thought or did? What is the obstacle then between us and following Jesus? There’s something in there. Some kind of different concept of our selfhood than what he had. His was so transparent that there was nothing obstructing his at-one-ment with God, even on earth. His summons to us is to follow his example and shows his own expectation that we’re equipped to do it. So, we’re equipped to receive and to act on the instructions given us via communication. All we need to do is tune in.
We’re coming to understand Jesus’ view of himself, and where he thinks this authority originates, “The Son of Man can do nothing of himself. (John 5:19)]

John, the Beloved Discipleby B. Cobbey Crisler. To buy your own copy, see W’s PS#6.]

[W’s PS#5 Cobbey Crisler on Psalms 138.8 (B15)—God perfects everything about you!
“Psalms 138.8 Despite the fact that many of these psalms come de profundus, right out of the depths, out of the pits, to use a modern term, Verse 8 of Psalms 138 says, “The Lord will perfect [that which] concerneth me.” What’s the goal? To obviate all need for healing is the goal in the Bible. Not to have you come back and make more appointments for newly-arrived-at diseases, but to obviate healing completely. Do you remember the inhabitants of the spiritual city of Zion in Isaiah? What it says about the inhabitants? “You shall not say I am sick” (Isaiah 33:24).
Leaves of the Tree: Prescriptions from Psalms” by B. Cobbey Crisler. To buy your own copy, see W’s PS#6.]

[W’s PS#6: You can buy your own transcripts (and audio CDs) of most of Cobbey’s 28 talks at a new website: Email your order or inquiry to, or directly to Janet Crisler, at ]

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