A person can’t just inherit an expertise in geology – you have to do your own work, and put in your own study of it to be able to make the claim that you’re a geologist.
She was drawing a parallel with Christian Science, because this notion of inheriting expertise makes no sense:
This holds true for any science, really – including Christian Science. Just because one’s grandparents or great-grandparents called themselves Christian Scientists doesn’t make one an expert in Christian Science, or the best practitioner of it. I mean… well… calling yourself a “third generation Christian Scientist” makes about as much sense, really, as calling yourself a “third generation geologist” – right?
Most of my friends from Principia were at least second generation Christian Scientists, many were third generation. Some even traced their lineage back through people who had actually worked with Mary Baker Eddy or had a relative who had taken Primary Class Instruction with someone who had been taught by someone who had actually been taught by Ms. Eddy. It got a little ridiculous. (1)
For many of my Christian Science friends, they are also the final generation of Christian Scientists (at least in their branch of the family tree). Our parents and grandparents joined in Christian Science’s heyday in the early 1900s, when modern medicine was in it’s infancy and prayer (or carefully ignoring the problem) often worked just as well (and often less painfully) than seeking medical treatment.
For those of us in the “Final Generation” of CS, we have seen family and friends suffer agonizing deaths (2), preventable deaths, crippling injuries, and fear of being ostracized from their beloved community for daring to seek medical treatment.
We have been judged harshly for our failings. We are reminded over and over our demonstrations are not good enough, we lack spiritual understanding. We need to pray more. We must reexamine our motives, recommit to the cause. As the sewing the reaping and all that good stuff.
If after seventeen years of Sunday School and struggling to learn, we are still “unprepared,” I’m not sure it is we who are at fault. There has been discussion about the “transition” from Sunday School to Church and how many young people are failing to make it. Many of us are also unwilling to commit to Primary Class Instruction, unable to demonstrate over even a “simple” physical malady, and prefer to turn to modern medicine for solutions. I’m fairly certain it isn’t the fault of the people, but the inflexibility of the Church.
We grew up reading the weekly Bible Lessons, occasionally attending Wednesday evening services, and with our butts firmly planted in our seats nearly every Sunday in Sunday School. Yes, we asked questions, challenged views, and wanted answers. We were told to sit down, and be quiet. Apparently we had to go over the ten commandments again (3).
The beautiful thing about sticking people in Church is that there is no time for questions, it is “individual study” all week long and then you are read the same passages that you’ve been reading all week. In church people are expected to continue their spiritual growth unassisted by anything except the Bible and Science & Health. They are expected to set aside quiet time for CS study. I’ve done my share of “delving into the books” for answers and aside from a few nuggets of wisdom I usually come up empty handed.
I’ve since come to the conclusion they didn’t have the answers any more than I did. They didn’t want to admit it, they were Grown-Ups, and I can totally see why they didn’t want to admit they didn’t have a clue any more than we did. I suppose I’m a Grown-Up now too (4), and I openly admit, I haven’t got a clue how Christian Science is supposed to work.
I know sometimes people claim to have experienced things they “can’t explain” as anything other than a healing, and I know that sometimes when I’ve turned to “prayer” I’ve managed to work through several mental challenges, but for physical challenges it failed completely. I have never met anyone who could “heal like Jesus” did, or any CSP who capable of instantaneous results.
For a religion that supposedly is open to all earnest seekers of Truth, why do so many of us fall so short of the promised miraculous healing that Divine Mind is supposed to bestow upon us? This Divine Life, Truth, Love, Soul, Spirit, Mind, and Principal supposedly make up a truly Awesome God who loves us, no matter what we do, also seems to regularly drop the ball in the healing department… but it isn’t God’s fault, it’s never God’s fault (5), we are the one’s who need to work to realize our perfection.
- This phenomenon also applied to Principia. There were Third Generation Principians, Life-time Principians (people who had gone K-college), people who were related to people who had helped Mary Kimball Morgan in the early years, and people whose entire extended family had attended/worked for Prin in some capacity as well. It felt sort of inbred.
- See Emerging Gently’s “death in my family” tag if you have any doubts
- I used to have them memorized backwards. I can still recall 6 out of 10 on a moments notice.
- I have kids, responsibilities, and can no longer sneak into a Sunday School class, so I guess that makes me a Grown-Up.
- God is always Perfect and Loving and Kind… not sure which version of the Bible Ms. Eddy was reading, but my KJV differs a bit in that aspect of God.