So, what DO Keith Richards and Mary Baker Eddy have in common?

Earlier this week, my colleague Eric Nelson turned up an amusing article by a writer called Steven Saum in the Perspective section of the KQED radio site.

Apparently Mr Saum received the following recommendation from Amazon:

Dear Customer,

We’ve noticed that customers who have purchased or rated ‘Rolling Away the Stone: Mary Baker Eddy’s Challenge to Materialism’ have also purchased ‘Stone Me: The Wit and Wisdom of Keith Richards.’ For this reason, you might like to know that ‘Stone Me’ is now available in paperback.

Considering this a dubious connection, Mr Saum delved into the subject a little more closely, and you can read (or listen to) his conclusions in the article Mrs. Eddy and Mr. Rock ‘n’ Roll.

That question of what Keith Richards and Mary Baker Eddy might have in common first came to mind – well, to my mind! – towards the end of last year, when “Keef” appeared on the BBC’s Andrew Marr show, on a Sunday morning. In a conversation between the two about how the guitarist wrote the many classic songs he is responsible for, the Rolling Stone offered the following – humble – insight:

What I usually find is that there are songs floating through the air… I really look upon myself more as an antenna than going to that thing of “I created this, I wrote this” which is a little bit presumptuous, I think.  My best description of it is that you are there at the right time, at the right place, and this idea will come in.

Was this a spiritual comment?  I like to think so.  Many musicians have a sense of a non-local creative source.  The brilliant violinist Isaac Stern once famously said that he didn’t play the music, the music played him.

In her own experience as the author of the Christian Science textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Eddy wrote of herself as a “scribe under orders” who could not “refrain from transcribing what God indites”.  While Keith Richards has an outstanding track record as a creative song writer with an “antenna” for sharp lyrics and a cracking tune, Eddy could be described as an “antenna” attuned to the ideas springing forth from divine Spirit’s constant self-revealing, which she perceived, proved and articulated. While Keith Richards can name many r’n’b masters as his guiding lights in musical composition, Eddy looked to Jesus particularly and other Bible luminaries, as her guiding lights.

Of course, the differences in their biographies are legion.  While Keith Richards famously said “I’ve never had problems with drugs…I’ve had problems with the police” Eddy has helped millions of people find healing from all kinds of ailments without resorting to recreational or medicinal drugs. And while the Rolling Stones famously made “I can’t get no satisfaction” an anthem for a generation that were experimenting with all kinds of ways and means to seek satisfaction, Eddy’s ideas have helped millions of people find a profoundly sincere sense of satisfaction through simply feeling the spiritual love of God, without any material aids.

Notwithstanding these differences in specific talents and scope of action, I share the thoughts of one of the commenters under Mr Saum’s article, who wrote:

Frankly, I love both Keith Richards and Mrs. Eddy. And now I have to love Steven Saum…anyone who could come up with with this juxtaposition deserves it!

Here is a video of Keith Richards honouring the African-American blues maestros from whom the Rolling Stones got their ideas and developed their sound.


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Categories: Mary Baker Eddy, Spiritual healing, Spirituality and Society

Author:Tony Lobl

I write and edit articles on spirituality from the perspective of the practice of Christian Science as an Associate Editor for the Christian Science periodicals. I studied at the University of Surrey earning a BSc Hons Degree in Modern Mathematics before the teachings of Christian Science transformed my life and re-shaped my career.


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2 Comments on “So, what DO Keith Richards and Mary Baker Eddy have in common?”

  1. April 30, 2011 at 12:57 am #

    Love, love, love this. I’ve been known to find spiritual significance in the work of Bob Marley (“Don’t worry ’bout a thing, ‘cos every little thing is gonna be all right” sounds like a Rasta riff on the Sermon on the Mount), the Grateful Dead (“Once in a while you get shown the light in the strangest places if you look at it right” sounds like “seek, and ye shall find”), and the Beatles (I can’t really get away with putting “Divine Love always has met and always will meet every human need” on the wall of my public high-school classroom, but “All you need is Love” works just as well to keep my thought and my students’ thought elevated), so why not Keef? 🙂


  1. Então, o que Keith Richards e Mary Baker Eddy têm em comum? | Porta-Voz da Ciência Cristã no Brasil - May 2, 2011

    […] Tony Lobl – Porta-Voz da Ciência Cristã na Europa Steven Saum, escreve na Seção Perspectives na Rádio KQED, Sacramento, CA, EUA […]

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