If we would open their prison doors for the sick, we must first learn to bind up the broken-hearted. If we would heal by the Spirit, we must not hide the talent of spiritual healing under the napkin of its form, nor bury the morale of Christian Science in the grave-clothes of its letter. The tender word and Christian encouragement of an invalid, pitiful patience with his fears and the removal of them, are better than hecatombs of gushing theories, stereotyped borrowed speeches, and the doling of arguments, which are but so many parodies on legitimate Christian Science, aflame with divine Love. – from Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy
My dear Christian Science friends,
I humbly suggest that there are things we should consider NOT doing – because… well… we ALREADY look weird enough.
1) Instead of saying “I’m feeling ill” we sometimes tell people “I am working on the problem of a belief of sickness…” By the time we finish telling people we’re not feeling well, their toddlers are graduating high school. This is weird.
2) We wonder why we haven’t seen Ed in church for a year, and then finally someone tells us he is “no longer with us.” In other words – he died a year ago, but let’s not talk about it. This is weird.
3) We can no longer read up-close, but refuse to get glasses because that would be “giving into error.” This is ego and vanity, and it’s also very weird.
4) If we visit an optometrist, dentist, or other medical doctor we feel terrible pangs of guilt and remorse and feel unworthy of Christian Science, and a disappointment to God. Okay. Listen. God doesn’t give a hoot about that stuff, one way or the other. When we try to attribute human emotions and feelings and judgment to God we are anthropomorphizing God – trying to make God man-like. God is unchanging Love, Truth, and Life, and nothing we do or say or think or believe is going to change the nature of God, or Her love for us. So please, friends, stop doing that guilt thing! It is really weird.
5) When we catch someone using improper Christian Science-ese in conversation (refer back to #1), we sometimes seem to feel it is our duty to lob an earnest, lengthy, preachy lecture upon them “correcting” their thought and setting them back on the right path. We sometimes do this to non-Christian Scientists, too. Heck, I’ve seen Christian Scientists doing this to people they’ve never even met before. This is a little off-putting. It’s also totally weird.
6) When someone tells us they’re hurt, to state “there is no sensation in matter” and then ignore the person who’s come to us for human comfort does not seem to me very Christianly or Scientific . Please take whatever human steps you can take to help or comfort someone who’s come to you in need. Dismissing someone who’s hurt or sick with the words “there is no sensation in matter” is kind of lazy, not very loving, and really, really weird. Although we can, and should, see the truth – the perfection of God and Her creation – when confronted with a picture of injury or sickness – that is our job as Christian Scientists – Mary Baker Eddy tells us in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures: “The tender word and Christian encouragement of an invalid, pitiful patience with his fears and the removal of them, are better than hecatombs of gushing theories, stereotyped borrowed speeches, and the doling of arguments, which are but so many parodies on legitimate Christian Science, aflame with divine Love.”
7) Long meetings about whether it’s okay for a reader to thank a soloist after her solo; whether we should be allowed to read from any bible but the King James Bible in church; whether we should call ourselves “Christian Scientists” or “students of Christian Science”; whether we should refer to Mary Baker Eddy as “Mrs. Eddy” or “Eddy”; whether we should exclude people from membership in our branch churches because of their sexual orientation, or because they use medication, or because they haven’t ascended, yet; whether we should allow any kind of accompaniment but an organ; what readers should wear on the platform; and etcetera, are all, in my opinion, a colossal waste of time and a distraction from the real mission of Christian Science, which, I believe is the transformation of our world through the power of God, Love. To expend a huge amount of time on human fussiness and opinion and narrow-minded nonsense, instead of on the healing work that Jesus demanded of his followers, is a terrible shame. It is also beyond weird.
8) We sometimes walk around with a kind of smugness about ourselves as Christian Scientists – like our religion owns the power of Love and Truth. We sometimes seem to be especially smug if generations in our family have been practicing Christian Science. Or if we’ve gone to private Christian Science schools. Or our parents or grand-parents held official positions in the Christian Science church – like CS is something we somehow inherited from our parents and grandparents. Umm…. no, the power found in Christian Science is not genetic – it’s not like the midi-chlorians that “run strong” in the family of Luke and Leia of the Star Wars movies. Christian Science is available, equally, to all of God’s children – no one has more access to the power of Love than anyone else. And to think that we do is just completely weird.
9) And if you’ve read this post, and none of the things I’ve mentioned that make us look weird seem weird to you… well… that is just…yeah, weird.
In his book, Rolling Away the Stone, Stephen Gottschalk writes: “…after the death of their founder, Christian Science became to a significant degree routinized… Eddy appears to have anticipated with great apprehension that the Christian Science church… would settle down into a kind of bland predictability when she was no longer on the scene. To her, being a Christian Scientist in any meaningful sense involved not only a strong commitment but, in a sense, a spirit of adventure.” And Gottschalk quotes William F. Hillman as writing: “The awakened Christian sees Christian Science as a means for coming into the full truth of being – the full awareness of God… It turns man away from system, dogmas, formal creeds, to God… Christian Science describes Mrs. Eddy’s experience of God. It is not a theory about God or speculation about Him… it is this experience we are after and not some understanding of a system. ” Gottschalk writes: “The readiness to plunge ahead, to leave behind what had been outgrown, to move in a new direction before it could be fully determined where it would lead – these traits were elements of Eddy’s sensibility… If there is a pattern to her life, it is the recurrence of new beginnings, and new departures.”