A guest post written by Leslee Allen
Attending monthly meetings of the Newport Mesa Irvine Interfaith Council for the past few decades has been very rewarding to me. A loved hymn says, “All one body we, one in hope and doctrine and charity.” Studying Christian Science has expanded my appreciation for all people of faith. While Christian Science is firmly based on the Bible and its practical application to daily needs, interfaith dialogue has caused me to love more — to love Jew, Muslim, Protestant and Catholic Christians, Bahai, Hindu… Through interfaith contact, I realize that we have so much in common!
The “Golden Rule” — “to do unto others as you would have them do unto you”– found in the gospels of the New Testament of the Bible is all-inclusive. Most faith traditions include some form of it. When we meet adherents of other faith traditions, and speak not of doctrine, but from the heart, Love unites us.
Think of how Christ Jesus united his twelve disciples. Many of them were of such diverse cultural backgrounds and occupations, that they might have killed each other on the street had they not been united by Christ. But the spirit of brotherly love and love for Good united them.
Mary Baker Eddy was far-reaching in her prayers for all mankind. At one time, a student was impressed by her knowledge of China. (Remember, in the early 1900’s travel was limited to horse and buggy and ships.) Mrs. Eddy encouraged her followers to pray not just for “me and mine, (but) for all.” She said,“The still small voice of scientific thought reaches over continent and ocean to the globe’s remotest bound.” (S&H 559)
I saw tangible proof of the oneness of interfaith dialogue several years ago. The Interfaith Council held one of the monthly luncheons focusing on “women in the ministry” in the 1990s. Several women ministers spoke of breakthroughs in being accepted as women in seminary training. A third generation Christian Science practitioner spoke of her grandmother, mother, and then her experience as a woman practicing Christian healing. At that meeting, denominational “rifts” and misunderstandings were healed. A long-time minister told how his view had changed of Christian Science during her talk. Several of the ministers, including a Jewish rabbi, mentioned that they embraced the thought of God as Mother as well as Father. It was wonderful to see mutual appreciation and brotherly (sisterly) love replace animosity and misunderstanding.
After 9/11, a friend of mine asked me to join her at a meeting of Muslim, Jewish, and Christian women in a mosque in Orange County. I was asked to explain Christian Science to the group. I shared a copy of the Christian Science Tenets with the group and found acceptance of them. I also listened to an imam speak of the Muslim faith and other Christian representatives spoke of their faiths. After my talk, there was much interest in the healing aspect of Christian Science and many of the Muslim women took a copy of Science and Health. My appreciation for their dedication to family and their faith was expanded through this interchange as well. After that brief interchange, I now look at women with headscarves in a much different way.