Structure of the 
Christian Science Church Manual


The horizontal correlation between
 "Temple" and "Church"

presented by Rolf Witzsche

"Relation and Duties of Members to Pastor Emeritus" (7)   "Church-Building" (15)

 

"Church-Building"
"Relation and Duties of Members to Pastor Emeritus."

Another similarly interesting correlation between Church and Temple can be found on the second-highest row from the top, connecting the Church-related Manual-section "Church-Building" (this denotes a process) with the corresponding Manual section in the domain of Temple, called "Relation and Duties of Members to Pastor Emeritus." 

While the section in the Manual concerned with "Church-Building" speaks about the structure of an edifice and a deed of trust pertaining to the land on which it stands, the title of the section speaks of a process, the process of building. Otherwise it would not have been hyphenated. In other words, the universal Church as a scientific institution that shapes human culture is still in the process of being built and will always remain so. 

Mary Baker Eddy highlights this sense of continuous Church-building in the preface to the Manual in the last paragraph under Historical Sketch.

THE FIRST CHURCH OF CHRIST, SCIENTIST, IN BOSTON, MASS., is designed to be built,,, thus to reflect in some degree the Church Universal and Triumphant.

The larger sense of the dimension of Church-building is reflective of the forever ongoing need to upgrade human culture, giving it the highest spiritual dimension that can be attained for it. Human culture is an accumulative progression made up of advancing ideas that become a part of the platform of human existence for all times, reflecting the principle of the immortality of good. 

For example, while Plato is long dead, his scientific achievements are still with us. The same holds true for all the achievements of good from before Abraham to beyond our present day. The sum total of it defines human culture, a culture that spans far beyond our lifespan and reflects the boundless quality of Truth and Life. Civilization is a construct of advancing culture. While the genetic development in biology is painfully slow, human culture, which is maintained in thought and ideas, has exceeded all previous limits by many orders of magnitude, both in powers of expression and in the rapidity of progression . Anthropology tells us that it took mankind a million years to stand with a fully erect posture, while cultural progression enabled us to build a civilization in less than 10,000 years that makes it possible for mankind to stand on the moon and explore the universe from it, with most parts of this progression stemming from the last few hundred years. And even then, our cultural development seems to have just begun. 

But as history has also shown, cultural achievements are not handed down to us on a silver platter. That Church needs to be built, stone by stone. And the more profoundly spiritual its structure becomes, the freer and more powerful human living becomes. This interrelationship is extensively explored  in the context of the story of Jacob. The same dimension is also reflected in the functional structure of the Temple in the Manual section of, "Relation and Duties of Members to Pastor Emeritus."

Pastor Emeritus is a title that Mary Baker Eddy assumed for herself when she was called upon to become the pastor of her newly created church. She refused the position of serving personally as pastor, saying that she already speaks to the congregation through her textbook. She suggested therefore that she assume the title, Pastor Emeritus, which she did. However she also said about herself in the very preface of this very textbook: "To-day, though rejoicing in some progress, she still finds herself a willing disciple at the heavenly gate, waiting for the Mind of Christ." And she emphasized in a message to her church in 1901 and again in 1902, "Follow your Leader only so far as she follows Christ." (Message... 01, p. 34 /02, p.4)

In the context of Church she defined Christian Science, as the great Exemplar of the Christ-idea, and the example of it (S&H p.577). In the context of Temple the Science of Church becomes everyone's responsibility as pioneered by her example. She makes the advance of human culture everyone's responsibility, powered by the most leading-edge scientific and spiritual development afforded by the function of Church. What begins in Church lights up the Temple. The Pastor Emeritus thereby reflects itself in society as an obligation of it to spiritually and scientifically light up the world.

Here an odd provision comes into play from the Manual section of, "Relation and Duties of Members to Pastor Emeritus." It is made the duty of any member called upon by the Pastor Emeritus, personally represented by Mary Baker Eddy, to serve in her household without hesitation, is so called, regardless of that member's other family obligations. This by-law provides for servitude that borders on slavery and may have never been implemented.  However, its universal implication is profound. 

Culture is the soul of humanity. Without it, what would we have? When the call comes upon one from the Sublime of our humanity to enrich it with ever-greater spiritual contributions, the call cannot really be turned down, can it? Culture is the life of society. It is a living construct and ultimately the only true riches we have. Indeed, most of the great scientific, spiritual, artistic, literary, and technological contributions that have enriched human culture through the ages were freely offered and often with an intensity of devotion that makes slavery appear like a holiday. Mary Baker Eddy devoted everything to her mission, as inspired by the Christ, holding back nothing. That is the model that she sets before us, reflected in the Temple as Pastor Emeritus, the standard-bearer for the Christ. Her standard is the highest spiritual achievement that she attained. That is what she demands society to emulate. The interrelationship is well illustrated in the painting Christmas Morn.

It appears that all the great advances in culture were produced in this process of following the call of the Sublime, such as the great symphonies of music that have enriched human culture, and the great achievements in science, and likewise the lesser contributions that aid the cultural projects, like contributions of support. When Mary Baker Eddy published the first edition of her textbook, the printing cost took all that she had and the result was useless, being filled with printing errors. So she had to get it redone, which added to the burden. Also the renting of suitable halls for her early public presentation imposed enormous burden on her budget. But in time the contribution were received to advance the work that would in time uplift the whole of human culture with a contribution that has barely begun to unfold. Many became a part of this process in their own way. As the result, thirty years later, her work had permeated and uplifted the nation and had spread into many parts of the world and enriched society universally with a wave of healing which still continues to some degree. When in 1902 the modest church edifice in Boston was deemed too small, two million dollars were pledged in a motion, to built a larger one to seat 5000, which was completed and dedicated in 1906, all fully paid for when it was completed with donations from all over.  More than 30,000 had come to Boston to attend the dedication service that had to be repeated all day long.

The directive by Mary Baker Eddy to serve in the household of the Pastor Emeritus is essentially a model for society to dedicate itself to its own cultural advancement. If that is neglected, what is one's life worth? When society is unprepared to serve in its own household, then it serves as slaves to someone else, or something worse, wasting its life in an ultimately empty pursuit.

A story comes to mind here that appears to be applicable. In the Gospel of John we read about a woman named Mary who took a large supply of costly ointment and anointed the feet of Christ Jesus with it. But Judas objected. "Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred pence, and given to the poor?" he asked. Christ Jesus replied to him, "the poor always ye have with you; but me ye have not always." (John 12) That answer still applies. Modern society maintains huge charitable organizations to still the ever-growing human need brought on by ravishing poverty, and even then the charity is rarely sufficient. Wouldn't it have been far more efficient for society to dedicate its effort to the cultural requirement of creating a poverty-free world, taking a few simple steps to shut down the war of empire versus civilization that leaves a trail of poverty in its wake? In the above story the woman Mary had put the emphasis on where the efficient solution lies. Modern society has not risen yet to match her example. It lets the bleeding continue and supplies a few Band Aids to patch up the worst of the wounds.

In many places throughout the Manual Mary Baker Eddy requires the major decisions to be made "subject to the approval of the Pastor Emeritus." The woman Mary evidently got her approval from the Pastor Emeritus and rightfully so, Her Sublime act was so profound that it still remains a beacon after two millennia of passing history. The approval by the Pastor Emeritus that is required by law in the Manual is one of the greatest demands for constitutional government that has ever been put into law. It literally demands the approval of the Christ in human consciousness, so that the criterion is determined by what most efficiently advances the cultural power of mankind. This criterion demands absolute honesty with oneself. No deceit is possible without deceiving oneself. If this bylaw is understood as a universal model it becomes impossible not not to have a new renaissance erupting on this planet. It is by far the most spiritually demanding bylaw in the Temple.

 

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