Or why I don’t actively do outreach to Christian Science communities.
31 He told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. 32 Though it is the smallest of all seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds come and perch in its branches.”Matthew 13:31-32 New International Version
First a little background.
I grew up in a deeply conservative religious region of the country. I had acquaintances who regularly attended church, vacation Bible school, and youth groups. WWJD merch and promise rings were not uncommon at my high school. I had friends, who, upon hearing that I was a Christian Scientist took it upon themselves to “pray with me” to help me find the “right” spiritual path and relationship with Jesus. I may have identified as “Christian” but I was not the right kind of Christian. I had some doubts, but it was usually of the other person’s chosen religious path.
I went on to attend Principia College, and I quickly realized I was not “good” at being a Christian Scientist. I was not “enough” of a Christian Scientist to correct my thoughts and demonstrate healings.
When I was in Christian Science, and particularly during some hard times at Prin, I harbored doubts about my ability to heal, my ability to elevate my thought to a higher spiritual level, and instead of listening to my doubts, I turned back to Science and Health for answers.
Eventually I listened to my doubts.
I recently came across a blog post by Lutheran Pastrix Nadia Bolz-Weber which discussed Faith, Doubt, and Mustard Seed Necklaces, and I thought about the idea of faith the size of a mustard seed and how it grows. I didn’t have faith in Christian Science, I had doubts. So many little doubts, and they grew.
I sat with my doubts, as uncomfortable as they made me. Then I dove in looking for answers. Faith was not my driving force, doubt was.
When I started to leave Christian Science I went online and was told that Christian Science was wrong, and a cult, and I really needed to find Jesus and the right One True Path. Well-meaning Mormon missionaries showed up at my doorstep and assured me that their path was the One True Path, and which was great and all, but I’d already left the One True Path of Christian Science.
I knew Christian Science wasn’t right for me, but I also wasn’t ready to take on a new One True Path that someone else insisted, often forcefully, was right, and the Only One.
I read God’s Perfect Child, and Liz Heywood’s testimony, and I blogged, and read the Bible, and I looked at my children, knowing I could never “correct my though” enough for them to overcome the common cold, and my doubts about Christian Science grew. I took tylenol, and went to a doctor, and didn’t attend church anymore, and I learned more about Mary Baker Eddy’s background and the historical context in which she set up her church, and my doubts exploded.
I don’t think there is One True Path. No group has a monopoly on Oneness or Trueness or Paths. It is not my place to go around to Christian Scientists and tell them their belief system is wrong, it is, but I was once there too, and telling someone your belief system is wrong is kind of a conversation stopper.
I’m trying to live a decent life post-Christian Science. I’m open about having health issues, finally getting vaccinated, and various struggles that I’ve resolved without Christian Science. It is possible to have a life beyond Christian Science and I have found openly living it is the best way forward.
If my openly post-CS lifestyle causes others to have doubts about their faith, or they seek me out for further conversation, great. I don’t want to convert anyone to a new One True Path, I want people to feel comfortable doubting Christian Science. I want to give people resources so when they’re ready to question further, they’re not met with a wall of Christian Science is a Cult and not actually Christian and you’ve been doing it all wrong all this time SHAME SHAME! That is not helpful, that shuts down the conversation.
I’m not going to tell you what new One True Path you should take, but I will help provide a place for sharing experiences, sharing uncomfortable truths, sharing news articles, biographies, medical resources, and more. When someone feels comfortable enough with their doubts to google “former Christian Scientists” they’ll find resources, and perhaps reach out. It doesn’t take much doubt, a mustard seed’s worth is plenty.