Revelation & Religion
May 18, 2000
as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.
Our topic derived from the title of an Association address one of our members was scheduled to hear over the weekend. Others in our group wanted to work along the same line.
The member who attended the Association led our meeting and, after readings, began by bringing up major points raised and discussed there. Here are some, as filtered through his thought and enhanced by comments from our group. The focus was on how divine Principle is worked out in human life, under the impulsion of Christian Science
1) Mary Baker Eddy, as both Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, was beset by a paradox: while teaching her followers to rely on divine Principle she had to exercise considerable personal control over all church proceedings. After her departure, strong personalities and of course The Manual of The Mother Church put a kind of protective, mothering shell around Christian Science allowing it to take root and survive in a hostile environment. Eventually, procedures and formats became frozen.
All of this seemed to us analogous to the protection afforded the baby Jesus in Egypt (see Matthew 2: 13-15). Eventually such protection could have become stifling and worked against the emerging Christ, so Joseph got the family back to Israel (Matthew 2: 19-15, based on the warning in Isaiah 31: 1, 3).
We felt that today Christian Scientists are being called to peck open the mothering shell of personal sense with divine Principle.
2) We need to seek our Leader in her writings, as she herself recommended. What are the fundamentals, the basics of Christian Science? In light of these, how do we rethink, reorder the church organization, the practice and teaching?
As we reported last week, a listed Christian Science Society in California is modernizing and making friendly its services and meetings Anyone who has taken a newcomer to any of our church activities knows how forbidding they can be and how needed reforms of this type are.
Our own Christian Science group, devoted to spiritual exploration and healing, probably represents a fresh way of accessing Science that others will in the future find helpful. Even here however, arrogant attitudes can creep in and drive people away.
3) Christian Science has become too identified with problem solving. Both newcomers and old hands get the mistaken notion that the purpose of Christian Science is to give us the results we want; forget the struggle, the listening, the growth needed.
This is a tricky area. Religious practice is a bit prone to hot air, and scientific demonstration has the benefit of cutting through this and keeping us honest.
One member felt that demonstration is the heart and soul of Christian Science. It need not be about phenomenal exhibitions nor mere comfortable human existence. Take this statement from Science and Health: "The pains of sense quickly inform us that the pleasures of sense are mortal and that joy is spiritual" (p. 265:28). For him, it is precisely the pains which point out where the needed work is in Science, not only personally but more generally in the world. Praying and working as so led, he and other Scientists will spiritualize the universe. That would result in huge comfort and joy.
4) Church squabbles like the Great Litigation in the 20's and the Christian Science Monitor's TV venture in the 80's could have been used as occasions to love — i.e., to look beyond person to Principle as the source and condition of being — rather than invitations to sniping and setting up armed camps.
But new problems are rising to meet the need. For instance, turmoil sweeping through most denominations concerning homosexuality may well prove an occasion for love. It was a hopeful sign that the Monitor printed a letter asking for just this kind of treatment by Gay and non-Gay church members.
5) The position of materia medica in relation to Christian Science was a major concern at the Association. Mrs. Eddy is pretty clear what the limits are, but much silliness has developed over the years. As the 21st Century unfolds, Christian Science and materia medica will undoubtedly be brought into close proximity and we need clarity as to what blocks full healing.
One of Mrs. Eddy's clearest statements on the relationship is represented in the healing of Mr. Clark as recorded in Science and Health, pp. 192-193. Even though he was under materia medica care, and Mrs. Eddy encountered the doctor who gave her discouraging test results, she went right to the patient's bedside and effected a healing in a few moments. Think how much craziness and posturing might be involved in such a case today.
Two of our members had comments. One feels that employing a doctor to give him a diagnosis would be basically a matter of amplifying his own dualistic fantasies about the situation. The same would apply to employing a stock market forecaster or even weather person. There may be some value in getting all this stuff up for handling in Science; the danger of course is that one can become seriously mesmerized and start trying to manipulate matter or dualism, from a dualistic basis. A real crap shoot.
The other member has enjoyed discussing the facts of being with medical people. Of course he had to use their language, but was able to see the Science behind their matter based statements. He promised to tell us more next week. But he noted that he would still use the realities of Science to handle a problem.
6) The practice of Christian Science must be the thrust of a student's interest and growth. We are not all called to be listed practitioners, but we are called to live our lives consciously as the reflection of God — giving back to the Father every human concept and bringing forth reality as the substance of everyday existence.
In addition to the areas covered at the Association, our members had some additional points to make on Revelation and Religion.
1) Mrs. Eddy was quoted as saying, "I buried Truth so deep I hope they can find it." No one seemed to know where this came from, but if she said it, perhaps she meant no one would have had an inkling what she was trying to say in her writings unless she used very human terms, and thus compromised to some extent the real scientific message. As we seek our Leader in her writings we must look to Principle and not a human person in order to get the real stuff of Science. Working from the standpoint that we are already fully knowledgeable, fully informed might be helpful as we read Mrs. Eddy's works.
2) One member is particularly interested in the Science of other religions — for instance the Moslem and Hindu religions. They are both filled with wonderful stories and exhortations to goodness, as is our own Christian source-religion. He's also interested in the Science back of psychology and physics. He feels that every system of thought and inquiry is a dualistic statement of Science, just waiting for scientific recognition.
Next week we'll work on Self-Immolation. Some members of the group have recently gone through major growth producing situations and want to prepare thought to assess the Science thus demonstrated.
Hearken to me, ye that follow after righteousness, ye that seek the Lord: look unto the rock whence ye are hewn, and to the hole of the pit whence ye are digged.
For the Lord shall comfort Zion: he will comfort all her waste places; and he will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the Lord; joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving, and the voice of melody.
let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us: and establish thou the work of our hands upon us; yea, the work of our hands establish thou it.
Whosoever cometh to me, and heareth my sayings, and doeth them, I will shew you to whom he is like: He is like a man which built an house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock: and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock.
Is it possible to know why we are put into this condition of mortality?
It is quite as possible to know wherefore man is thus conditioned, as to be certain that he is in a state of mortality. The only evidence of the existence of a mortal man, or of a material state and universe, is gathered from the five personal senses. This delusive evidence, Science has dethroned by repeated proofs of its falsity.
The more I understand true humanhood, the more I see it to be sinless, — as ignorant of sin as is the perfect Maker.
Through the eternal reality of existence I reach, in thought, a glorified consciousness of the only living God and the genuine man.