Structure of the 
Christian Science Church Manual


The horizontal correlation between
 "Temple" and "Church"

presented by Rolf Witzsche

"Discipline" (3)   "Teaching Christian Science" (11)

 

 The section on "Discipline" covers a wide range of topics, but they all merge into one, namely that discipline has nothing to do with punishment, but with assuring the most efficient path to fulfilling one's mission as a human being. If discipline is not observed, the mission fails. That is where the punishment comes in. It is always self-imposed. While the Board of Directors has the power to excommunicate a member, meaning that the offender's name be dropped from the membership roll, such actions bear no weight in the universal domain. Nothing can touch a person's identity as a spiritual being or alter the scope of one's mission to advance civilization. Removing a name from a list doesn't really alter anything, unless it affects one's self-recognition and self-acceptance.

The element "Discipline" is located in the first column, which is the functional correlative of the third column with its river 'flowing' in the world of understanding and acknowledgment -- "Divine Science understood and acknowledged." The functional correlative of understanding and acknowledgment, would be the quality of recognition and acceptance unfolding in the Temple where it is defined in the first column as the love of "the good and beautiful and their immortality." The quality of recognition and acceptance of ones own and one-another's spiritual fullness completeness becomes the real discipline, a discipline in thinking that is demanding, but highly rewarding. It is an active discipline that fulfills the passive demands that are normally called discipline, such as to mental and physical invasion and rape. Recognition and acceptance close the door to the invasion of one-another and rape on the whole front of human interaction; sexually; economically; financially; politically; militarily; socially; intellectually; and so on.

The process of "Discipline" in this sense reflects the process of the Decalogue. The Decalogue presents largely a collection of passive moral demands, such as "thou shalt not kill," and "thou shalt not steal," and "thou shalt not commit adultery," and so on. (Exodus 20) However, each passive demand stands an active principle by which the demand becomes met without fail. For the case of adultery the German translation adds a unique facet where the passive directive is, not to break the honourable bond (ehebrechen), such as the bond (or bonds) that love has forged. here the discipline of recognition and acceptance opens a whole new scene for a more profound social platform. These are the wider implications of 'membership' in the universal sense.

The weighty matter in respect to Church is actually located in joining the membership. The application form for joining that membership needs to be signed by an approver, one who approves of the applicant. Each application form has the following note attached relating to the status of the approver: "If you have been taught by a loyal student who has taken a degree at the Massachusetts Metaphysical College, or by one who has passed an examination by the Board of Education, fill this blank." Mary Baker Eddy urges the applicant to evaluate the approver, and to determine if he or she is qualified as an example for the mission that the individual finds essential.

The wording of the note is interesting. The approver can be one who has passed an examination by a Board, or has taken a degree at Mary Baker Eddy's college. The Board awards a bachelor's degree, CSB and issues certificates. That's the current practice. But only the college can award the doctor's degree CSD. However, the college stopped functioning when Mary Baker Eddy died and thereby stopped awarding the degree, though she remained its President. Thus her note suggests that a degree at the college that she is President of can still be obtained, by the deeply conscious act of taking it, based on "Divine Science understood and acknowledged" as it is taught by her through the totality of her works in a spiritual process. Note: the element "Teaching Christian Science" is located in the second horizontal row, the domain that she defined as, spiritual. Here the spiritual dimension is primary, rather than the physical dimension.

Today's convention is that college-course can be taken, but that the resulting degree is always awarded. But with with Mary Baker Eddy's college still intact as a spiritual institution, with Mary Baker Eddy retaining in the position of President, it is possible that she suggests that someone who is taught by Mary Baker Eddy through her writings (in her college) and is by his own honesty qualified for the degree because of the work accomplished, is authorized to "take" (assume) the corresponding degree (but without receiving a certificate that is irrelevant in an environment of self-acceptance). Also, the degree that is thus taken is the higher degree, the CSD degree, instead of the CSB degree that is awarded with a certificate by passing an examination if front of a Board as is the current practice. A certificate is needed only for formal teaching, not for one's self-acknowledgment and self-acceptance. 

In this context the public is alerted that the process of one person sitting in judgement over another person's achievement is inefficient and uncertain, and shouldn't be trusted any further than a bachelor's degree suggests. Mary Baker Eddy seems to suggest that a degree taken from the standpoint of a person's deepest honesty with himself, or herself, is more trustworthy and is of greater value, which raises the whole question of certificates versus achievements, or one person certifying another.

When building a civilization, which is everyone's mission, the mission of Soul, shouldn't the individual person not rather be known by his or her achievement which enriches culture and transcends the ages. This means that a certificate only measures the temporary, while the eternal should really be measured. That puts on the table a critical determinant for the entire system of education with far-reaching consequences. It also defines the parameter of our individual mission as spiritual human beings.

 

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Published by Cygni Communications Ltd. North Vancouver, BC, Canada - (c) Copyright 2008 - public domain - Rolf A. F. Witzsche