CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MEMORIES….Jim Capozzola writes a bit sadly today about the closing of the first Christian Science church in New York. The congregation has been dwindling ? he says 20 attendees was a good showing back when he attended ? and they are joining forces with the Second Church of Christ, Scientist down on 68th Street.
I know how he feels. Christian Scientists have never been proselytizers and their ranks have been shrinking for years. The branch I grew up in, First Church of Garden Grove, was sold years ago and is now home to a Korean congregation of some kind. My mother is still an active member of the church, but my teenage relations with Christian Science theology were a bit, um, contentious, and I stopped attending around age 16 or so through sheer force of obnoxiousness. I’ve only attended once since then, on the occasion of my mother’s maiden service after she was elected First Reader. (No clergy in Christian Science churches, just a First Reader and a Second Reader. Very democratic.)
Christian Science is a pretty radical theology ? though hardly original ? once you figure out what it is, and in my case I didn’t figure it out, despite years and years of Sunday School, until my father explained it sort of accidentally one day. Frankly, I’m not sure which was worse: knowing or not knowing.
In any case, none of it stuck. But I can still name the Seven Synonyms for God. Most of them, anyway….