This week's question about church

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Your questions—your Church community’s answers. Each week, we’ll feature a new question from the Field, with responses from two experienced spiritual thinkers to kick off the discussion. Next, it’s your turn to help bring new insights, ideas, and solutions to light by posting a comment or participating in our discussion forums.

Share your questions here!

Responses by Susan Mack and Rebecca Buhl. Every small Christian Science Branch Church or Christian Science Society has to face this question: "What are we going to do about music? Can we figure out a way to have live music or do we need to use recordings?" 

Responses by Anne Cooling and John Biggs. This is a good question and your compassion will guide your church as to how to best address the needs of the youth in your community. There is very little in the Manual of The Mother Church about what not to do and what to do in terms of the By-Laws related to Sunday School (see p. 62). However, Mary Baker Eddy did provide us with a powerful, timeless structure to her different audiences: The Mother Church, branch churches, and Christian Scientists, as we are obedient to it. The inspiration that fills that structure, she left to branch churches’ unfoldment. 

Responses by Ginny Luedeman and Kate Johnson. For me, anything that interferes with clear thinking is an enemy, whether it's alcohol, drugs, or addictions of any kind. I love to think clearly. It has brought forth the ideas that God gives us as His loved creation and has brought light and healing radiance in my life. 

Responses by Jon Benson and Jacklyn Williams. Church members and community can thrive without thought for thriving, focused instead on living church everywhere, all the time, and at this moment.

Responses by Lois Carlson and Dave Stevens. To me, being members of the body of Christ means we find our unity in our shared experience with Christ. Christ is working among us and in the hearts of each member. This secures branch churches on the Rock of Christ and shows how the whims and weaknesses of human organization can be neutralized. 

Responses by John Q. Adams and Lisa Troseth. Often, joining a Christian Science church is a big step because one is going public with his or her commitment to the teachings of Christ. These teachings emphasize, not simply a belief in God, but an understanding of God as infinite Life, Truth, and Love. And because Jesus' teachings promise mankind a full salvation from sin, disease, and death through one's understanding of God, they require much of their followers. In Science and Health, Mary Baker Eddy wrote, "A great sacrifice of material things must precede this advanced spiritual understanding" (p. 16). This sacrifice has to do with surrendering the declaration of the material senses as being absolute, and a strong affirmation of God, infinite Mind, as being real and all-inclusive.

This understanding and our desire to prove it, does not have to be accompanied with fearful apprehension. 

Responses by Melanie Daglian and Curt Wahlberg. However, in defense of Christian Scientists who you think “just” sit and pray, and also with the hope of encouraging us all in a bigger demonstration of good, I’ll mention that about 20 years ago when I started getting quite involved with the church and in the practice of Christian Science, I deeply explored your same question. . .And to make a long story short, over the course of several years, I found that in fact, my prayer and our collective prayers were essentially what would enable any progress for the church and humanity. 

Responses by Mike Davis and Annette Dutenhoffer. Without a doubt, the definition of a book has changed to include the digital or e-book along with our traditional type of paper books. Many are finding this new form of reading helpful. For example, most computer literate students of Christian Science have experienced the value of Concord—the e-concordance to the Bible, Christian Science Hymnal, and the writings of Mary Baker Eddy. But do these new e-books have a place in our church services? 

Responses by Mark Swinney and Anna Bowness-Park. There are many angles from which to respond to this question, but the short answer is, yes! Yes, it is entirely appropriate to share with people how you’ve been blessed. In fact, it’s appropriate to pray for opportunities to do so. 

Responses by Melanie Wahlberg and James Spencer.  I appreciate your desire to see progress in this area, and I think it’s reasonable to feel hopeful. In fact, I recently witnessed a large-scale discussion about the order of service in Christian Science branch churches, and I was encouraged (as were others) by the amicable tone of the lengthy discussion. Although the topic was important, it’s probably safe to say that any of our individual salvations depended on the outcome of the discussion. However, the qualities that were expressed on either side—softened hearts, humility, a dedication to church, intelligence, self-discipline, and childlikeness—were tangible supports to salvation. 

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