Despite the ongoing decline in Churches of Christ, Scientist, the rise in people who claim to study Christian Science, but not adhere to a religious organization, should be seen positively, especially by religious people.
To accept this as good news, however, requires listening to what these spiritual seekers are saying, rather than scoff or ignore them as anomalies.
Before dismissing either side, we can first determine why the religious institution turns these Christian Science seekers off.
- They’ve become wary of the guidance of authorities who restrict intellectual progress to church rituals.
- They are weary of having their spiritual natures suffocated or denied.
- They know better than to believe there is only one way to express spirituality, faith, and the search for enlightenment.
- They are hurt, so much so they are willing to leave what was once a unique infrastructure of American history.
The decline in the church is a wake-up call to leaders willing to listen to this growing number of people. The wariness and weariness of those who have left the church have legitimacy. They can no longer be overlooked.
The religious organization based on Christian Science may have become inflexible, barren, or insular, but giving up on a collection of fallible human beings isn’t the answer either. There is no infallible human being.
Over the millenniums, people have discovered new ways of expressing their faith that speak to their contemporaries. It takes great effort to cultivate the life of faith and sometimes we work in a bed of thorny roses.
But, we can find ways to advance and live our faith in the presence of others, which is in fact what Christian Science is about.
The history of Christian Science shows it is a spiritual rule that has existed since time began. It is the law of God translating itself to humanity, revealing a spiritual cosmos of harmony.
It is time to stop dismissing one another. The idea behind a vital congregation is still very alive and can be found among the individual students of Christian Science or within a religion willing to keep up with progress.