“Christian Science (Church of Christ, Scientist)” in How to Be a Perfect Stranger
Westberg, M. Victor. “Christian Science (Church of Christ, Scientist),” Pages 73-84 in How to Be a Perfect Stranger: A Guide to Etiquette in Other People’s Religious Ceremonies. Edited by Arthur J. Magida. Woodstock, VT: Jewish Lights Publishing, 1996.
The Christian Science Church is one of the communities of faith depicted in the 1st edition of this book, which offers visitors a point of entry into unfamiliar faith community settings. The authors claim that “religious belief can be particular without being intolerant, that it can be fervently held without being divisive, that it can ennoble life with a concern for the common interests of a society reflective of many different traditions” (17). Each tradition provides information about its history and beliefs, the basic service, guest behavior, dogma and ideology, and celebrations of life cycle events (birth, marriage, funerals). Christian Science is based on a theological premise from Genesis that God made humanity in the image of God and that sin, disease, and death do not originate in God. The Church pastor is the Bible and Mary Baker Eddy’s textbook, Science and Health, and it holds regular services on Sunday, testimonial meetings on Wednesday, but no special occasion services except Thanksgiving. There are no special events for marking births and weddings, but families determine for themselves the type of memorial services they wish. Sources for learning more about Christian Science include magazines, Reading Rooms, and The Mother Church website.