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ERIC Number: ED451575
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2001-Apr
Pages: 21
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
"Standing Porter at the Door of Thought": The Social Order of the Christian Science Church.
Swanson, Douglas J.
This examination of the social order of the Church of Christ, Scientist, provides a valuable learning opportunity for leaders of any organizational entity--or for any student of organizational communication/behavior. The study addresses labor, trust, power, and legitimization of activity within the church. It raises the issue of whether Christian Science can expect to survive as an organizational entity in the years to come, given that its theology and organizational structure depart from, and seem so contrary to, many contemporary social expectations. The Christian Science Church is a 21st century religious movement that is bound to an unchangeable theology and intractable management structure developed by its 19th century founder. The church is a worldly business entity whose leadership manipulates assets, personnel, media and information while striving for "rectitude and spiritual understanding" (Eddy, 1906, p. 403). Christian Science is a way of life which systematizes the personality of its charismatic founder while denying the reality of all things physical and personal. The immediate question at hand is whether the social order of Christian Science can allow the religious organization to survive in the years to come because the church is bound to theological and organizational "rules" its members are prohibited from changing. While this study cannot answer that question, it raises important issues for leaders of any social/cultural entity to consider as they contemplate establishment of a social order which is consistent to values and yet will survive through changing times. This study of the social order of Christian Science should prove valuable for any student interested in the presentation ("marketing") of religion in contemporary society, or relations between the church and society. (Contains 3 notes and 25 references.) (Author/RS)
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A