Sequel: Wes wouldn’t engage

September 1st, 2008

No dialogue for now. My Christian Scientist friend of many years, dubbed “Wes” in the preceding post about blindness to the Bible, has deflected my overture for a discussion of our differing beliefs. His reply to my email came within hours, as follows:

    Thanks for your clear explanation. I have always valued you as a friend and as a perceptive thinker and continue to do so.

    I understand (more clearly with each passing year it seems) that each of us have to find our own way through life’s grand adventure.

    I am presently communicating with a young man who worked for [me] during college and while studying to be a minister. He married, had a couple of kids and was pastor at a Presbyterian church. He quit his pastorate, divorced his wife (or she him) and next week he is getting married to “Steve” his gay partner and they are coming to visit [our town].

    I confess to struggling to understand the choices he has made and the wreckage left behind but I know him as a good and decent man whom I count continue to count a good friend.

    At times like this I tend to ask myself, “What would Jesus do?”

There are a number of ways to read this, and I’m not going to spend much time on it, let alone ask Wes to clarify. Better to drop the matter for now, as the message is quite clear that he prefers not to engage on the touchy (to him, not to me) question of why I left CS and why he hasn’t.

But how the homosexual pastor got into the discussion certainly isn’t clear. Was it because this troubled individual is, like me, a Presbyterian? Or did this man’s “finding his own way through life’s grand adventure” somehow remind Wes of my choosing a different path as well, as though our two stories were somehow comparable?

As for the “What would Jesus do?” cliche, does that too signal that I and the gay apostate are to be equally forgiven, incomprehensible as our respective actions may be in Wes’s mind? Not that I’d feel offended by this implication; but if true, it says something about the hermetically sealed world of doctrinal certainty in which many Scientists live.

On the other hand, maybe this implies no reference to me at all, but merely seeks to illustrate that he too follows Jesus no less than I do. Nearly all Scientists utterly believe that about themselves — missing the crucial distinction between the Savior we meet in Scripture and the Wayshower or Examplar whom Mrs. Eddy proclaims.

In any case, two things are plain from what Wes wrote about “each finding his own way.”

He doesn’t accept the exclusivity of Jesus’ statement that “no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” and of Peter’s confirming assertion that “there is none other name given under heaven among men [but that of Jesus Christ], whereby we must be saved” (John 14:6 and Acts 4:12).

Nor, on the other hand, does he seem to accept the exclusivity of Mrs. Eddy’s bold prediction in 1902 that “Christian Science is destined to be the one and the only religion and therapeutics on this planet” (Miscellany 267). Or perhaps he does accept the latter and simply prefers not to talk about how it’s all expected to work out for such stragglers as the apostate pastor and me.

No matter. I’ll still be praying, as stated in the previous post, for Wes and all the Christian Scientists — as well as “Steve’s” husband-to-be — to find “the Way, the Truth, and the Life” in the Man of Galilee as I did.

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