Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Whose Church Is It? Bringing a Spiritual Perspective to Daily Life

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Whose Church Is It? Bringing a Spiritual Perspective to Daily Life

Article excerpt

An intriguing aspect of the current religious scene is the interest many people express in spirituality - apart from the conventional religious expression found in organized churches. One Gallup survey, reported at a December conference in Boston - "Spirituality & Healing in Medicine" - indicated that while 96 percent of Americans said they believed in God, only 43 percent had attended worship services within the past week.

There seems to be a perception that traditional religion and denominationalism are not providing the mental and spiritual sustenance - and healing - that people need. Why might this be? And what, if anything, might churches do to regain favor?

Discussing the loss of spiritual healing from the Christian Church, the founder of this newspaper, Mary Baker Eddy, wrote, "In proportion as the personal and material element stole into religion, it lost Christianity and the power to heal; and the qualities of God as a person, instead of the divine Principle that begets the quality, engrossed the attention of the ages" ("Christian Healing," Pg. 3). Could it not be that preoccupation with material elements and personality in religious denominations has discouraged the inclusion of church in today's search for spirituality? Perhaps Paul the Apostle accurately stated the challenges of modern denominations when he said to the Athenians, "God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands {or as one Bible translation has it, 'manufactured, of human construction'}" (Acts 17:24). Whose Church is it anyway? It is difficult to find spirituality in human constructions governed by material laws and persons. And yet that is often what a traditional sense of religion presents. How do we view Church? As a material structure governed by legal authorities and courts, or as the activity of God, evidenced through the Church's own governing principles and authority and good works? Perhaps Paul was conducting a somewhat similar inquiry when he wrote to the Galatians: "This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? …

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