It was decided that the scribe of this blog and his merry little band of cheerleaders should pay a visit to The Mother Church. Our first desire was to meet, however briefly, with the Board of Directors to reassure them we bear no ill will. Church Manuals in hand, we were directed to the Publishing Society Building. When the Directors came into our presence they refused, however, to take our proffered hands or speak to us, but trod on silent as Trappists and grim-faced as a procession of men condemned to hang within the hour. Our desire to reaffirm to them our loyalty to our Leader and to her Church Manual was rebuffed. "Klaatu barada nikto" shouted one wag as they shuffled away.
We then decided to visit the MBE Library and have a latte at the coffee bar. We had the place entirely to ourselves, and there was an ominous chill in the air. One of our little band read some passages from the Gillian Gill book on Mrs. Eddy. "I confess to sympathizing with those who--like the eminent lawyer and United States Senator William Chandler...consider Mrs. Eddy to be deluded. I can raise a wry chuckle with those, like Mark Twain, who see her as a mercenary old humbug." (p. 297) "That this spiritual, even theological, interpretation of the intense discipline Mrs. Eddy required of her staff at times masked, or served as alibi for, some real defects in Mrs. Eddy's character cannot be denied. She could be bad tempered, irrational, capricious, inconsiderate, domineering, sanctimonious, unkind." (p. 405) "While Hanna was laid low in mind and body by the torrent of Mrs. Eddy's criticisms, the older men looked on, horrified that their leader should act more like a virago than an angel, and that she should seem so quick to forget all the services her officials had loyally rendered her in the past." (p. 444) They build this monument in her name and then rejoice in the publishing of a book containing that and much more. This should tell people something. Then, to add injury to insult, the coffee bar was closed and we didn't even get our lattes.
Our final destination was the original Mother Church, Mary Baker Eddy's glorious prayer in stone, whose wedge cuts, figuratively, deep into the lie of life, truth, intelligence, and substance in matter. As we walked about in awe and wonder, thinking of her stupendous Discovery and gift to mankind, someone noticed a figure leaving Mother's Room. "I think I know who it is", said one. "A pretender, a soi-disant MBE, a specter?" said another, a little unnerved. "I've seen that face, the one who said Science and Health was a 'general-interest book'", said a third, and then the figure was gone, or was it never there?
Now perfectly still, the atmosphere in the church became suffused with a gentle radiance, and we knew that if everything at the Church Center crumbled to dust, all of it but this one priceless edifice, it would be enough. It would be more than enough, for Christian Science cannot be taken from us. Kneeling in gratitude for these great blessings we knew that of all earth's wonders and treasures, this place was the most holy, sweet, and sacred.
Note: Some of you "little band of cheerleaders" have already commented on the rather smug and self-righteous comment on the previous entry. A few of that writer's concerns are touched upon above, sometimes obliquely. If this Olympian keeper of the true flame of Christian Science thinks we are so few and so insignificant, why did he even bother to waste his time commenting? Because he knows that however few or many our number, we represent hundreds and maybe thousands more who feel the same. That is what troubles them and why someone felt the need to issue a put-down. It is, however, but the tremulous squeak of hired loyalty, which hears an insistent and alarming scratching at the door and cringes.