Christian Science – educating and engaging with others? Yes, and more!

This post is a blog by my Texan colleague Keith Wommack, called A RESPONSE: What Makes Your Religion or Faith Valid?

In an October 9 CNN-Belief post, Richard J. Mouw argues that the Mormon Church should not be considered a cult because it has established a university and engages in respectful dialogue with others. Mouw, however, did not hesitate to throw other well-established religions in the cult bin.

The post raises the question: What makes your religion or faith valid? In the long run, I believe, it is not whether a religion or faith establishes a school or is engaged with the world on the world’s terms, it is whether it enriches the lives of its members and others that proves it has a valid and useful place in society.

Since Christian Science was mentioned in Mouw’s post, I thought it would be fair to consider The Mary Baker Eddy Library for the Betterment of Humanity. Although respectful dialogue itself does not warrant a stamp of approval, the Christian Science Church, through its Library and other activities, does deserve a check mark, if we were actually keeping score.

Water Wall at the Mary Baker Eddy library - by Tony Lobl

The Library’s events are symbolic of what the Christian Science Church and those who practice Christian Science hold dear — the freedom to think individually, to openly listen without judging, to live with honesty and dignity, and to bless others through compassion and grace.

The Christian Science Church, along with the help of renowned historians, established the Library at the Church’s headquarters, the Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston.

Mary Baker Eddy was an American author, teacher, and religious leader. She is known for her ideas about spirituality and health. She named her system of healing Christian Science. She founded the Church of Christ, Scientist, in 1879.  In 1908, she also founded an internationally recognized newspaper, The Christian Science Monitor, which has won many Pulitzer Prizes.

The Library allows historians and the public to explore one of the most extensive collections by and about an American woman. It is the home of thousands of published and unpublished writings, artifacts, and photographs that chronicle Eddy’s ideas and achievements during the nineteenth-century world in which she lived. As well, the Library regularly holds forums on a wide range of multicultural topics.

For instance, the Library’s website mentions:

On October 30, teenage facilitators from Youth Leaders Engaging Across Differences will provide teens with the opportunity to explore a wide and varied terrain of belief systems and to develop new approaches to communication and understanding in this area.

On October 25, the Library will continue its celebration of the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible by hosting one of the annual Massachusetts Bible Society Beck Lectures. Author Adam Nicolson will speak on his book God Secretaries: The Making of the King James Bible.

Past Library events included:

May 15, the Library gave voice to the unheard stories of the Dalit people in Rajasthan, India. Untouchable Voices was an original performance that fused music and theatre with acts of peace and social justice. Attendees learned about the challenges of the Dalits, a people of social outcasts in the Hindu caste system.

February 11, the Reverend Kaia Stern, Ph.D. spoke on “The Bible and Liberty and Justice for All.” Dr. Stern’s background is in the field of transformative justice. She is an interfaith minister and directs the Prison Studies Project at Harvard University.

February 25, Reverend Dr. Carl Scovel focused on the subject of “Translating the Bible – Art, Accuracy, and Faith.” Dr. Scovel was minister at King’s Chapel in Boston, Massachusetts for over 30 years. He currently participates in the Unitarian Universalist Spiritual Directors’ Network.

Again, although respectful dialogue itself does not warrant a stamp of approval, the Christian Science Church, through the Library and other activities, does deserve a check mark, I believe, if we are actually keeping score.

Another question: If a religion merely establishes a school, does this make it valid? Once more, I don’t believe so. But as long as we are talking about excellence in education, it is appropriate to consider Principia College.

Principia College is located in Elsah, Illinois. The College’s website states: Principia students, faculty, and staff come from many different countries and an even greater variety of backgrounds, but they share one thing in common: Christian Science. Neither the School nor the College is affiliated with the Christian Science Church, and Christian Science is not taught as a subject, but its principles form the basis of community life at Principia.

Past notable speakers at the school include Barack Obama, Colin Powell, George H.W. Bush, Jimmy Carter, George Will, Maya Angelou, David McCullough, Elie Wiesel, Robert Duvall, Coretta Scott King, and Margaret Thatcher. The College’s intentional attention to divers views through its choice of speakers is symbolic of the demand by Christian Scientists for individuality, involvement, and openness.

Even without taking into account its respectful dialogue with others, its Library, and the College run by individuals who adhere to the Church’s highest moral and ethical standards, Christian Science has had a 140-year history of healing and enriching lives around the world.

Why don’t we let each religion or faith speak for itself through its teachings and actions? Let’s allow each the liberty to exist without judgment or condemnation; to prove its worth to the people; and to rise and fall by its own merit.

Find Keith on Twitter: @TexasCS
Related post:  What makes Christian Science relevant today


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Categories: Christian Science

Author:Tony Lobl

I write and speak on spirituality from my perspective as a Christian Science practitioner. I am also 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 impact of spirituality on health caught my attention and re-shaped my career.

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