Saturday, April 25, 2009

The MC Blue-plate Special: Arrogance W/Contempt

Any wise and cautious diner would probably not think of playing culinary Russian roulette in a restaurant, no matter how tony, which had been cited by the local health inspector for serving contaminated food. Even ordering a dish which hadn't been found to be tainted might not be a, shall we say, palatable decision to make. By the same token, why should the chefs or sous-chefs of a malignant dish like the Gill book on MBE be trusted to prepare or oversee the preparation of spiritual food for Christian Scientists, as, for example, Bible Lessons, ". . .on which the prosperity of Christian Science largely depends." (Manual, Article III, Sect. 1) As James 3 admonishes, no fountain can yield both salt water and fresh.

Apparently the Gill book is mephitic enough that even some otherwise subservient churches will not display it in their Reading Rooms. But to produce it for sale sub rosa from under the librarian's desk like a jug of moonshine or even to order it on request is a hypocrite's game. Those who find the Gill book obnoxious (or, more likely, deeply obnoxious) might also need to think about obedience to Article VIII, Sect 12, of the Church Manual vis-a-vis Reading Rooms.

How comfortable should any Christian Scientist worthy of the name feel when asked to subscribe to and read periodicals edited by someone who dallies in horoscopes, eriscopes, and louche moral standards? Should he patronize an editor who would permit the use of the Christian Science periodicals as a forum for cynical metaphysical makeovers, ticket punching, and preening? And how can he have any trust in a church administration which has megalomaniacally and cavalierly squandered the better part of a billion dollars in lovingly donated contributions and from under whose doors come the rancid, telltale seepings of moral and ethical degeneracy?

The moribund wheezings, gaspings, and ominous silences of unhealthy lungs are not "The freer step, the fuller breath,/The wide horizon's grander view" which betoken the salutary and uplifting activity of those who walk obediently and faithfully in the Light. One would think even a soupcon of common decency and love for Christian Science would turn at least some of the nabobs from their corrosive and self-indulgent fantasy that a lifetime handout is God's gracious reward for chronic fecklessness and smug disloyalty to their Leader and her Church.

Note: As a comment to a recent entry pointed out, the mention of Batmobiles somehow spontaneously morphed into a lively discussion of Bible Lessons. Those interested in the subject (Bible Lessons, not Batmobiles), and there appear to be quite a few, might be interested in an article from a 1974 pamphlet "Speaking to You: The Bible Lesson". The article was by Robert L. Shaul (otherwise unknown to me) and was titled "The Evolution of the Christian Science Lesson-Sermon". No source or original date was given for the article, which may have been written for the pamphlet. A 1941 leaflet titled "Divinely Inspired Sermons" should also be of interest. It was reprinted from the October 1941 Journal.

And, finally, thank you to the person who pointed out the source of Dr. Tutt"s phrase "The readiness is all".


Anonymous said...

Thank you again ...

I bought the Gill biography about 5 years ago when I saw it prominently displayed (not under the counter) on a shelf in a Reading Room. Full disclosure: I knew there was a little controversy simmering and wanted to check out the book for myself. I still have not read it from cover it cover, found it was far too ponderous. Certainly there was some material that shocked me.

When I first got interested in CS, I thought Mrs. Eddy, after her fall on the ice and healing revelation, had never suffered another physical ailment in her entire human life.

I don't know which is better; being totally naieve (ignorant) about her life, or being overdosed with the details.

Can there possibly be a need for any more biographies about Mrs. Eddy? It seems that every event of her life has now been thoroughly aired, what else is there to say?

All things work for the good for them that love God; with regard to the unpleasant details found in the Gill bio, the one thing it does do is force us to turn away from Mrs. Eddy personally -- which I understand is what she always wanted anyway.

Thanks from Boston said...

Savage pen! But the Directors deserve it. As does the Editor for dabbling in things she shouldn't. They have no respect for the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science. You clearly do.
Thanks for speaking out.

With appreciation said...

Love that title! Have been checking to see your latest and not disappointed. Very well put. Yes, TBD have lost their way--which you capture so well in your blog posts.
Keep up your much needed plain speaking.

Anonymous said...

Another excellent, perceptive and hard hitting post, blogger!! Unfortunately the disobedient intransigence of the crew in Boston—actually it’s gone on so long there have been several crews—is well established for anyone who—like yourself—is willing to see what’s going on.

Which begs the question, why would anyone who realizes the depth of disobedience and the continued downward direction of the organization want to continue to be a member? (Full disclosure: after almost fifty years, I’m no longer a member.)

Two points weighed heavily in my decision to withdraw from TMC membership: 1) Could I honestly recommend anyone join that church in order to grow spiritually—let alone metaphysically? If not—and I certainly could not at this point—what am I doing being a member of an organization I don’t wholeheartedly endorse for others. And 2) Based on what I believe is one of the key precedents of the Nuremburg trials, that even in the military, one has a duty to stand up and say, “No!” when the actions of an organization to which they belong, violate basic ethical and moral principles. If one continues to be a member of such an organization—or go along with the actions of the organization—they can no longer expect protection under the law. They are essentially, “guilty by association.” “I was just following orders,” doesn’t cut it.

The effect of the contamination of one's thinking by being a member of a corrupt organization cannot be overestimated.

No longer being a member of TMC in no way means that I have given up on the study Christian Science nor seeking to follow the Christ—although I realize many would think that. On the contrary, it has actually given added impetus to my study. I would say being free of the organization in Boston has resulted in greater insight, clarity and focus. My wife and I have a “church service in our home” every week—much like the early Christians and Christian Scientists. So, no, not being a member of TMC has not meant the end of the world. Quite the opposite.

Anonymous said...

The board of directors is made up of a group of people. How we see them depends on how we choose to understand man and his relation to God. If we insist on seeing them as a bunch of sinning mortals, then that is all they will ever be to us. But can't they also be recognized as the children of God? And aren't we just perpetuating the illusion of evil by holding up their apparent mistakes for ridicule and scorn? Our leader says that "the Christian Scientist has enlisted to lessen evil, disease and death; and he will overcome them by understanding their nothingness and the allness of God, or good"(S&H 450).

The allness of God encompasses the Mother Church and the Board of Directors just as much as it does you and me. We should be lifting them up in our thought and loving them as we love ourselves instead of lambasting them for their seeming faults in a public forum. Only in that way can we expect to see healing and progress. As Mrs. Eddy also tells us, "One infinite God, good, unifies men and nations; constitutes the brotherhood of man; ends wars; fulfils the Scripture, 'Love thy neighbor as thyself;' annihilates pagan and Christian idolatry,--whatever is wrong in social, civil, criminal, political, and religious codes; equalizes the sexes; annuls the curse on man, and leaves nothing that can sin, suffer, be punished or destroyed" (340). I, for one, believe her and would like to see this blogger's considerable verbal skills applied toward achieving this much more worthy goal.

LowlyWise said...

Could someone point me to specifics concerning the BoD and eriscopes? I can't find a definition, and Google earnestly asks, "Did you mean periscope?" I gather that it has to do with a sexual horoscope. Having come rather lately to this blog, I'd appreciate some background, especially if it's irrefutable and incontrovertible.

Having said that, I'd like to point out that MBE got very tough at times, and did not hesitate to "tell the truth about the lie," as she herself puts it. Yes, we can know the truth, but until and unless the exact nature, magnitude and potential consequence of the error(s), sins, transgressions, omissions, scofflaw attitudes and thefts (to use English rather than NT Greek) are exposed, rooted out, and reformed, there can't be any healing. If these allegations against the BoD are true, not generated by "rumour with a thousand tongues" it is a binding obligation on members of TMC to take appropriate action under the Matthew code. I know that at least two CSBs (now defrocked) tried to and didn't get to first base. Lawsuits got nowhere. What next?

LowlyWise said...

One more thing. If you wanted to set up a governmental entity with the most opportunity for corruption, you set up one with plenary powers, no accountability for actions or expenditures of unlimited funds, infallible, irrefutable, and self-perpetuating. In other words, the CS Board of Directors.

MBE required, and assumed, that the Manual provisions would not be abused, that the five chairs would be filled by people of such moral probity, common sense, gumption, savvy, and unassailable spiritual sense--and transcendent love--that they couldn't abuse the office if they tried. That's the only way it could work.

I notice that Margaret Rogers is now chairman.

Sharon (Farragut, TN) said...

To the commenter who asked, what's next? I would say, God opening their eyes to the horrendous injustices they have done our Leader and her great Cause. Nothing less than His influence will do it--nothing less than what Mary Baker Eddy states in "Miscellaneous Writings" on page 237 occuring: "Some people never repent until earth gives them such a cup of gall that conscience strikes home." Apparently we have not yet reached this point with CSBD or we would be seeing resignations, apologies, full disclosure of the wrongs that have been done. In short, genuine change of heart. And absolutely essential, actions following thereon.

Fortunately, there is never a moment when we can't take whatever steps it takes to get ourselves right with God. I sincerely hope we get to witness this--for the sake of Christ's divine Science our world so needs. And for the individuals' own eternal good.

Thanks for a great blog said...

I agree with what Sharon said. Having watched all this for several years, it has become clear to me that only the Almighty can bring the changes we yearn to see. And I know that God can do it. As the prophet Jeremiah said: "Ah Lord God! behold, thou hast made the heaven and the earth by thy great power and stretched out arm, and there is nothing too hard for thee."
I continue to be optimistic.

Anonymous said...

In rethinking what I wrote about not needing any more biographies about Mrs. Eddy: we may not need any more biographies about the events of her human life ... but there still many great biographies that could be written about her discovery's place at the head of all science, theology and medicine. Her name today is unknown to many and slandered and mocked by many and that needs to change.

C.S. Practitioner, Florida said...

Yes, indeedy, our Leader's name is slandered and mocked by many. And the Directors of her own Church have contributed to this through the endorsement and hawking of the Gill biography! The evil of their actions is enormous!
When they awake to the wickedness they have been a part of, or in some cases, have not denounced, I would hate to be in their shoes. It's going to be truly awful.

Anonymous said...

Yoo hoo, previous commenter who couldn't find out anything about "eriscopes" vis-a-vis the Editor. Google "mary trammell/eriscopes" and you'll find some material that might enlighten you.
She still hasn't denied one thing, hasn't made one effort to clear her name, has she?

Dallas C.S. said...

That commenter a ways back who quoted Mrs. Eddy's vivid phrase about "conscience striking home" (who says it the way she can?) put her finger on the current state of affairs. Nothing is going to be corrected until TBD sees the light and turns from their attempt to water down CS and Oprah-ize our religion. One would think they would see this hasn't worked and abandon what they've been doing, but alas, obviously not yet.
Thanks for a "take no prisoners" blog!

Anonymous said...

Can anyone please tell me in what specific ways Gill "slandered" Mrs. Eddy? Yes she revealed a lot of biographical facts that might have better been left private, but that is not "slander".

Gill in fact advocates strongly for Mrs. Eddy's stature as a very great woman, albeit from the feminist perspective that her proper due has been discounted in a patriarchal history.

Anonymous said...

"Slander", "detraction" -- choose your word here. If those details were better left unsaid, why then were they not?! Why did the Board of Directors sanction such a biography, let Gill loose in the Archives? I am a devoted student of CS and I would not have been allowed to roam free in there. Can we imagine the Lutheran Church, or the Methodist Church, being behind such a bio on Luther or Wesley? Not in a million years.
The motive could only have been money, or downright wickedness. Either way, deplorable. this point said...

Bravo, previous commenter. Let me add my two cents; the motive had to be mercenary AND wicked.
Jesus warned that the broad way leads to destruction. They are obviously ignorant of what our Wayshower taught, or are so steeped in evil they no longer care.

Anonymous said...

(("Slander", "detraction" -- choose your word here. If those details were better left unsaid, why then were they not?!))

Being unwise and being slanderous are two separate issues. Someone may say something about me that I'd rather them not, but if what they say is true, it is not slander.

The crap that Mark Twain wrote about Mrs. Eddy, like she didn't write Science and Health ... now that was "slander". BTW Gill decimates the slander that Mrs. Eddy didn't write Science and Health.

Anonymous said...

((Why did the Board of Directors sanction such a biography, let Gill loose in the Archives? I am a devoted student of CS and I would not have been allowed to roam free in there. Can we imagine the Lutheran Church, or the Methodist Church, being behind such a bio on Luther or Wesley? Not in a million years.
The motive could only have been money, or downright wickedness. Either way, deplorable.))

True, it may have been deplorable and unwise to let Gill into the archives, and the result of her book damaging. Nevertheless, like it or not, the Gill bio is not 'slanderous' because she backs up everything she says with proof.

Anonymous said...

If any sincere student of CS who has read that bio thoroughly doesn't think it "detracts" from the life and character and accomplishments of Mary Baker Eddy, then he or she is in moral darkness.
You can't just wave it away. Not for me. Not ever.

Cambridge said...

I think we've settled that the Gill bio was a regrettable decision on the part of the CSBD. It obviously was done for money, But what's new? We've seen this pattern over and over, and we can only hope the light dawns on them and decisions taken are rescinded.
We can hope.

New York City said...

So very well written. (As usual with you.) Your title says it all to me. A most creative way you have in pointing out wrongs being done.
Keep up the good work!

Anonymous said...

I hope everyone has seen this interview with Rabbi David Lewis

Devoted fan said...

Your witty assaults on TBD are so needed, and I hope you'll keep it up. I'm sure you will. You are articulating what so many of us out here have felt for years!

Anonymous said...

While there's no one out there in cyberspace with our talent, still I wish more CS's would step up to the plate the way you are doing.
You are precious!

Anonymous said...

Oh dear! I watched the video with the Rabbi whose father was healed while hooked up to machines and drinking beer! I was thinking this blog was blowing things way out of proportion but now I am beginning to see what you guys mean! I am sure the Rabbi is a wonderful person, but I wish my dying, class taught, and lifelong CS mother who relied on Christian Science to the bitter end could have had the "ok" to drink beer and get a little medical help! Yes, it is terribly disturbing to see so many devoted Christian Scientists who have given their lives to preserve what they feel is the truth having to watch it twisted and perverted into just another mainstream "do what you want, it will still work" religion. Not only is the video not in line with a Christian Science healing, its promotioon is deceptive as it conveys the notion that Christian Science was responsible for the healing when clearly the man was still receiving medical care.

Anonymous said...

((but I wish my dying, class taught, and lifelong CS mother who relied on Christian Science to the bitter end could have had the "ok" to drink beer and get a little medical help! ))

I wish your mother had been healed.

When Mrs. Eddy was dying and not one of her students could heal her she said, Has it come to this?

Why? why? why?

Anonymous said...


the question ((Why? why? why?)) was MY question

it was not part of what Mrs. Eddy said.