Year of Sundays

Year of Sundays

This Sunday: Christian Science

This Sunday is a bit of a reconnaissance mission for me. I come from a big family of Christian Scientists whose church membership ended with my father’s generation. I’ve never been to a Christian Science church before, in spite of the fact that my own Grandmother was a reader and she was one of my favorite people ever.

What, you ask, is a reader? It’s basically a Christian Scientist Pastor/Priest(ess), the person who conducts the services and reads from the Bible and Science & Health With Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy. Especially now that I’m working on this project, I regret never seeing her read. I’m sure it would have been a beautiful thing, but religion was off the table so we never even talked about it and it never occurred to teenage me to go see her in action. Grandma Ardie died in a car accident when I was 19, about a month before I was slated to be the Spanish translator on her church-lady trip to Costa Rica. She was 80.


I’m still not over it.

I want to understand this religion. We all know about its obvious dangers – rejection of modern medicine – but what, if anything, is good about it? How does it work? What are the services like? Is it really a cult? Who are the members? What are their stories?

But most importantly – is Christian Science scientific?

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posted March 19, 2011 at 8:25 pm

I don’t know much about Christian Scientists other than they have special observances for those moments when children are sick, involving calling down the powers of The Lord and pointedly declining to call on any medical practitioners, who practice, according to the terms of their theology, a form of the dark arts because they base treatments on evidence, peer review, knowledge of how the body works, and similar evils. Their observance has, I am given to understand, a mixed (at best) record of success in healing the sick, but they’re quite certain that all the people they’ve watched die while not calling a doctor are now playing table tennis and/or Scrabble with Jesus. If you’re lucky(?) enough to have a sick child there at the service, and have the chance to see these rituals in action, please feel free to violate the Prime Directive, notify someone who can actually help, and watch the fur fly.


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Julie Marsh

posted March 19, 2011 at 4:11 pm

Looking forward to this one! As you know, Kyle was raised in a Christian Scientist family in the Portland area.

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Canadian Rachel

posted March 19, 2011 at 11:06 am

Your last question reminds me of something my grandpa, a Methodist minister, used to say: “Fundamentalism will never last. It’s neither fun, nor mental.” Of course, it HAS lasted, as has Christian Science.

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posted March 19, 2011 at 10:17 am

Cool-I know next to nothing about Christian Science. Looking forward to the review. And it truly sucks you never got to see your Grandmother in an environment that was obviously very important to her.

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