This week's question about church

A city sky line by the water and with trees

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 Anthony Whitehouse and Michelle Nanouche. Sharing Christian Science in the way you do is entirely admirable. Posing this question as you do demonstrates a great love for Christian Science and its future progress. Without that love no progress is going to be made on any front. Nonetheless my sense is that we need to be consistent in the way we go about things. We need to go beyond a personal sense of what it is “comfortable” to a point where we tackle the issue of decline head-on. 

Responses by Steven Salt and Sabrina Stillwell. Google, texting, Twitter, Yammer, Skype, Facebook, You Tube, Vodpod, and Flickr are just a handful of ways people are talking to each other in 2011. And it’s not just chatter. There is real learning going on. Should this technology be used by our churches? It already is. 

Responses by John Minard and Rebecca Odegaard. Never doubt that turning to God—the divine Mother-Father of us all—when a child is ill is the best Motherly love you can bring to the situation.

As adoptive parents, too, my wife and I understand how our obligations to the state may play a role in health care decisions for our children. Like you, we want only the best possible care for them. So, if an illness occurs, we turn quickly to prayer, with the children praying, too. And, like you, we’ve had wonderful success! However, if things don't go as anticipated, or a hospital becomes involved, no one need ever think that Christian Science has failed, or that they’ve failed to live up to its standards. 

Responses by Julie Ward and Dave Stevens. Actually, there’s nothing in the Manual provisions that precludes joy and brotherhood! In fact, these provisions provide a safe, stable “launching pad” for praise, gratitude, and healing. But we don’t go to church to get these things, but to give them. So the real question becomes: How can I bring that spirit of love and joy into my daily practice of Christian Science? 

Responses by Dave Hohle and Cali McClure. A branch church I was a member of considered this question several years ago. We discussed the issues you mention, and eventually voted to simplify our application process that previously required applicants to be free from alcohol, tobacco, and drug use before they could become a member. The overriding consideration for us was what Mary Baker Eddy included (and didn’t include) in The Mother Church membership application forms printed in the Church Manual of The Mother Church (see pp. 114, 116, 118).

Responses by Colleen Douglass and Tony Lobl. I love the outward thought expressed in this question. You’re so right that the world needs our prayers today as much as ever. Thank you for your compassion. As a lifelong Christian Scientist myself, I’ve loved both the solitary and the universal aspects of prayer. While we each commune with God on an individual basis, we pray with universal truths that apply to and surely bless all humankind. 

Responses by John Kohler and Dawn-Marie Cornett. Love is attractive! Or as Mary Baker Eddy says, “Love is reflected in love” (Science and Health, p. 17). To me the crux of Sunday School and teaching is the sharing of love.

Responses by Sandi Justad and Lois Herr. At the risk of being redundant, the bottom line is always love. When I have found myself in discouraging church situations, my prayer usually becomes, “Father, show me how to love more.” And yes, it has sometimes been a prayer of desperation, when I’m at my wit’s end. Then I have been reminded of the enthusiasm of one member, the love for little children of another, the handyman’s generosity, the faithful attendance of another, and so on. These qualities I can love unconditionally because they represent what is real and true about each member. 

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