mental malpractice and cookies

Most of my e-mail comes from clicking the “follow comments” option on another blog post, but every now and then something original sneaks past my tricky-to-get-right e-mail address. Sometimes it is a fellow former-Christian Scientist who has been inspired, or simply one who is glad to hear they are not alone. Other times, it is a Christian Scientist with a differing view, and we are able to have interesting conversations. I’ve also had delightful e-mail exchanges with atheists, and other seekers of something.

Then I got the e-mail which weirded me out with an over-familiar tone and the reassuring fact that

  • I just want you to know that there are a lot of people still praying for you.

It was a very upbeat e-mail, the writer had a troubling CS experience, but some missionaries (hurray for missionaries!) had shown them what Jesus was really all about – insert love and rainbows here. They concluded the e-mail wishing me “Lots and lots of Love!!!

Issues with Jesus aside, the “lot of people still praying for me” creeps me out a bit. My husband noticed I was agitated, and when he found out why, he immediately responded with the reminder that in Christian Science, praying for someone without their consent is a form of mental malpractice.

I know there are people praying for me, they are holding me in their thoughts and prayers that I may reconsider returning to The Church, and while I would honestly prefer they stop, I feel this falls into a grey zone when it comes to calling it “mental malpractice.” In Message for 1901 on p. 510, Ms. Eddy states

  • We have no moral right and no authority in Christian Science for influencing the thoughts of others, except it be to serve God and benefit mankind.

In the mind of the Vigilant Christian Scientist, it is clearly serving God and benefiting mankind that I attend The Church and raise my children in the One True Religion, it is most likely alright for them to be praying for me. They could also just as easily step back and let me work out my own salvation -but let’s be honest, this isn’t a suffering situation, it is an “I have made a choice they think is wrong” situation and that needs to be prayed about.

The Madcap CS has an excellent piece entitled “On Judging, Condemning, and Other Really Stupid Stuff I’ve Done” which talks about exactly this:

  • Yesterday I found myself thinking about a loved one – about the course of his life – and I found myself wanting him to do this instead of that, to go there instead of here – all well-intentioned wishings, of course, but totally none of my business. And then I found myself doing that thing – that horrible non-Christianly Scientific thing that often tries to pass itself off as “practicing Christian Science” – I found myself trying to “unsee” all the characteristics that my own human opinions had labeled his “faults” – when, really, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with what he is right now, and with his life, and with the choices he’s making. What’s wrong and needs to be corrected is my own perception and thoughts and judgments about him.

While I wish more Christian Scientists would follow Mad Cap’s sound advice, it seems unlikely, so in the spirit of accepting what I cannot change, I will share a cookie recipe instead.

Cranberry, Orange & Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • zest of one orange (about 2-3 tsp)
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
  1. Preheat oven to 350F and line a couple of baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  3. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and the sugar, beating with an electric mixer until light. Beat in egg and orange zest. With the mixer on low speed, gradually add in the flour mixture, stirring only until just combined. Stir in the cranberries and chocolate chips.
  4. Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls (about 1 1/4-inch balls) onto prepared cookie sheets and bake for 9-12 minutes, until edges are very lightly browned. Cool for 3-4 minutes on baking sheet then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
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