The day after I mailed in my letter of voluntary withdrawal from The Mother Church I got junk mail from the same organization:
Special Offer – 20% Savings! complete with the option to enroll in the Automatic Renewal Program. The pre-checked box said:
YES! Please send me 12 issues of the Christian Science Quarterly Bible Lessons– Full-Text Edition for just $120.00 That’s a savings of 20% off the cover price.
That’s totally bogus. I get better savings from Martha Stewart Living – they most recently tried to entice me with the “please come back!” price of $12/12 issues plus a complimentary tote bag, I already have a tote bag from the last time, it is nice, but not $12 worth of nice.
The letter is generic, apparently they can’t mail-merge the generic “dear Friend” to match the “Kat at Kindism” on the mailing address, it then goes on to make sweeping generic assumption about me which are blatantly false:
As you explore your deep, fundamental relationship to God and experience the healing that naturally comes from that pursuit, the Christian Science Quarterly Bible Lessons are an invaluable tool in your study and practice.
So are Bible Lesson Cozies.
Having a subscription to the Quarterly’s Full-Text Edition ensures that the complete text of the Bible Lessons will be ready when and where you are, providing immediate inspiration and healing solutions for life’s challenges – big and small.
Why not make a smart phone app?*
They continue with how convenient it is to just give them your credit card information and they’ll bill you every year. Poof, there goes $120 and
The full text of the Bible Lesson will arrive in your mailbox each month, ready for you to dive in and enjoy the many benefits that comes from regular Bible Lesson study.
You mean like a nap? Bible Lesson study is very different from Bible Study. I’ve been to both. Bible Lesson study usually means you sit quietly and read very carefully selected and edited passages that have been approved by a committee to conform to a theme for the week. There are 26 topics and they are cycled through twice a year.
- Christ Jesus
- Are Sin, Disease and Death Real?
- Doctrine of Atonement
- Probation After Death
- Everlasting Punishment
- Adam and Fallen Man
- Mortals and Immortals
- Soul and Body
- Ancient and Modern Necromancy, alias Mesmerism and Hypnotism, Denounced
- God the Only Cause and Creator
- God the Preserver of Man
- Is the Universe, Including Man, Evolved by Atomic Force?
- Christian Science.
The committee edits carefully and has no problem playing favorites with which books of the Bible they include. They enjoy jumping around a book/chapter and often cut out verses which might make God, or the protagonist of the story totally bat-shit. To get the full story you really do need to read the lesson from the books themselves, but the full-text is so convenient and a great way to stay away in church – follow along with a pencil and mark any mistakes the readers make.
The first few topics, like Life, Truth and Love all sound reasonable, the latter half of the list: Probation After Death, Everlasting Punishment, Ancient and Modern Necromancy, alias Mesmerism and Hypnotism, Denounced, and my favorite Is the Universe, Including Man, Evolved by Atomic Force? get some of the Sunday School teachers all wound up.
The topic Is the Universe, Including Man, Evolved by Atomic Force? remains a favorite. I once had a Sunday School teacher, Ms. S, who emphatically declared the answer to be “YES!” Her reasoning: Atomic Force is another term for God, and by working to harness atomic force man could unleash awesome power.
“You mean like an atomic bomb?” I asked. She blinked blankly for a few moments, “an atomic bomb for God!”
My father called her line of reasoning “muddled metaphysics.” I decided she was just crazy.
Adam and Fallen Man always reminded us that Adam was just sleeping, he never woke up from the dream state God put him in when he created Eve in Genesis 2, and that Adam’s name was “A-DAM” (conveniently leaving off the “n” to make him “Adamn”). As good CS we didn’t buy into the dream state, we were to only hold steadfastly to the Genesis 1 version of creation, and lets face it, everything after Genesis 1 gets pretty trippy (although so does Ms. Eddy’s glossary of terms at the back of S&H).
God the Only Cause and Creator was always unpleasant for my Sunday School teachers because I’d haul out the tried and true “why do good things happen to bad people” line. They’d groan and remind me that God is not in the earthquake, wind and fire… which is great, but what about people like Job? Suddenly it was time to move on to a new topic.
Are Sin, Disease and Death Real? was another tricky one. Who cares about sin, it isn’t real. Disease and death on the other hand, those are up for debate. Fact-check-able-Science shows that viruses and bacteria are often the causes of disease, not mortal mind (although the human mind can do some pretty weird stuff).
Looking back at this list, I find that I miss Sunday School. I miss the discussion and debate that often carried over to lunch. Church is so much less fun, and reading the Bible Lesson on one’s own is great if you want to put yourself to sleep.
Bible Study is when a bunch of people who’ve all been reading the same chapter/verses in a particular book of the Bible get together and have cookies and tea and chat about it, often hauling in maps, outside references, exegesis, etc. and having a discussion.
The average CS Sunday School and church set up frown upon this sort of activity. If it isn’t authorized literature, it isn’t allowed. Some will make allowances for slightly different variations of the Bible (the churches in Germany for example use Martin Luther’s translation), and a few might allow for Biblical-based maps which are dubiously accurate at best – they’re based off a book of myths and legends and further distilled by 2000 years of patriarchy, interpretation, political intrigue and general scandal.
I wonder what Ms. Eddy was thinking when she picked the 26 lesson topics. Several of the latter ones sound pseudo-scientific but, as with all the other lessons, they are pulled exclusively from the Bible and Science and Health. The Bible is not scientific, and Science and Health gets progressively more difficult to follow as Ms. Eddy delves deeper into the pseudo-science of mortal mind and unreality.
*That was meant to be scarcastic, then I googled and turned up eBible Lessons.