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Karl Barth speaks of the Incarnation in terms of a journey by Christ into "a far country." My own encounter with Christ began in a far country.

I was raised, very intensively, in Christian Science. I say "very intensively" because I was an only child, and my mother was a highly intelligent and conscientious Christian Scientist. Understandably, she saw one of her main responsibilities as a mother to be that of instilling Christian Science as deeply as possible in her one and only child. (My father, although a gentle and sensitive man, was rather detached as a parent.) Every day began with readings from Mary Baker Eddy's Science and Health as well as from the Bible. The world and daily life were construed for me according to the standards of Christian Science. I do not mean to make this sound like indoctrination in the pejorative sense of that term. It was a conscientious mother's effort to raise up her son in the truth.

Christian Science is not a form of Christianity. It is not even near enough to Christianity in the traditional sense of the term to be called a heresy. It is often thought of as centered on faith healing, and it is true, as the very title of Mary Baker Eddy's book suggests, that it is centered on the achievement of health. This is not, strictly speaking, a matter of healing, however, for the very reality of sickness is denied. Sickness is an illusion. Faith, therefore, does not bring healing but rather a realization that one was never sick to begin with.

No phrase is more common among Christian Scientists than "knowing the truth." This means that when the illusion of sickness arises, you continually tell yourself that in actuality you are perfectly healthy. This is apt to bring peace of mind, which may be physically ...

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In the Magazine

April 26, 1999

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