“I love the whole human family and have labored to bless all, not a clan, but all. I am abrupt, but honest in what I say to all. But behind this is my universal and deathless love for every one of the human family.”
Mary Baker Eddy
(Letter to Mrs. Swarts, 1885)
“I’m gay!” “Oh yeah? Well, I’m a Christian Scientist!”
I remember the first time I really identified myself as a Christian Scientist. I was a residential advisor at my college during our summer team building exercises. We had to play a game called “The Circle of Life.”
We all formed a huge circle and people would come into the middle and yell out something they identified themselves with like “I am gay!” Then every other person in the circle who identified him or -herself as gay would run into the middle of the circle and dance around.
The exercise went on for about half an hour and I hadn’t gotten to dance once. My self-identification as a heterosexual white male had afforded me no opportunities to shake my booty.
Finally, someone came into the circle and yelled “I’m a Christian!”
“Well,” I thought. “This might be my only chance to dance. I AM a Christian – half Christian, half Scientist. I ran inside and finally got down.
It occurred to me during my dance that I could even identify myself in public as a Christian Scientist! And this was a big thing for me.
My freshman year I went to a different college, Principia, where every person there was a self-identified Christian Scientist. It was during this time, ironically, that I refused to really be a Christian Scientist. I was a musician, a student, a video game player, a dancer, an actor, but, my goodness, I wasn’t a Christian Scientist.
But now was my chance—with the added bonus that I would get to dance again. I ran into the middle and yelled, “I’m a Christian Scientist!”
The silence was deafening. It was the only time during the whole day that anyone was in the middle all alone. I didn’t so much feel like dancing anymore.
“Is that the Tom Cruise thing?” someone yelled. Everyone began to laugh.
I felt like I should’ve just said I was spiritual.
But even though I endured a few moments of embarrassment, my “coming out” as a Christian Scientist forced me to discuss it with others. I had several other RA’s approach me to learn more about Christian Science.
It forced me to answer questions that I had never even thought of, “Did Jesus die for your sins?” “Do you hate doctors?” “Are you against universal healthcare?” I had some good conversations. I may have been alone in the circle, but ever since, I’ve been united with other spiritual seekers (with plenty of opportunities to dance).
By Michael Morgan