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The Church Manual: A book of meekness

From the March 2024 issue of The Christian Science Journal

“A soft answer turneth away wrath,” says the Bible (Proverbs 15:1). In other words, meekness is more sensible than a contest of wills. And the Manual of The Mother Church by Mary Baker Eddy promotes this attitude. Article VIII, Section 1, “A Rule for Motives and Acts,” reads in part, “In Science, divine Love alone governs man; and a Christian Scientist reflects the sweet amenities of Love, in rebuking sin, in true brotherliness, charitableness, and forgiveness” (p. 40). 

A soft answer applies to what we think, as much as to what we say. For instance, can we accept, without a hint of animosity, decisions fellow members of a branch church approve that differ from our preference? To be sincere, the purity of thought behind a soft answer must not be mixed with any antagonism. There must be no resentment or taking offense in thought. 

When our new branch church edifice was being built years ago, I wasn’t in favor of the proposed design, and I felt that, according to our branch church by-laws, it had not received the necessary membership approval. The executive board of the church thought the proceedings had conformed to our by-laws but asked an attorney for his interpretation. The attorney came to the same conclusion I had, which caused the board to return to the membership for approval. The membership approved the design. The executive board had expressed what Mary Baker Eddy, the Founder of Christian Science, calls “the nobility of human meekness” (Miscellaneous Writings 1883–1896, p. 141).

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