Why do Christian Scientists have reading rooms? That thought occurred to me last night as I drove past the one we have downtown. I’ve never seen any other denomination “reading rooms” - do people actually walk in off the street, sit down and read Christian Science material there?
Other christian faiths do have reading rooms… Just ask your nearest Catholic Library or Catholic Bookshop or a local Church’s Secondhand book shop, because that’s what we call them instead, you can go in an sit down and read till your heart’s content. Protestants likewise have libraries, bookshops, secondhand shops and reading rooms.
A reading room is simply a Library/bookshop where you can’t borrow or buy the stuff they have there…
A few years ago I lived next door to a Christian Science family, and had many conversations with the lady, who was more “into” the religion than her husband. She gave me a copy of Mary Baker Eddy’s book, Science and Health With Key to the Scriptures, which I read about half of. I went to church with them a couple of times, and went into a couple of CS reading rooms at various times.
My impression is that CS is a very intellectually heavy religion. Their idea of how physical and emotional healing takes place is that one meditates on God and, with the help of the Eddy teachings, come to a realization that disease is an illusion, and then poof, it goes away. Something like that. As I recall, much of M.B. Eddy’s main book is a guide unto that realization. A reading room probably is not much more than a quiet place to read and meditate, and perhaps to mingle with other like-minded people. I emphasize the mind part because I’ve also visited churches that call themselves Science of Mind, and they have very similar teachings, or at least they appear to me to have similar teachings.
I have dropped in and read the book as well. It has an appeal but it just…is not true…evil and matter are real…Nice people, they do not respond at all to the salvation message, they have different meanings for so many words it takes a dictionary to even speak the same language.
“A reading room is simply a library/bookshop where you can’t borrow or buy the stuff they have there”??? Excuse me? All the Catholic bookstores I have been in sell books, and don’t encourage folks to sit all day reading them.
So would a Christian Scientist Church “simply” be a church where you can’t get the Eucharist?
Catholic bookshops of cause are retailers so it would be rude to sit there and read all day. However it does not mean you can’t sit there for an hour or so and read some books. The rude thing is reading those books and not thinking about buying one of them. That’s why we have libraries and Bookshops with a Cafe/lounge area(so you can sit there and read all day, then buy a book or just get a coffee and give them something for their service).
Besides you can also just go to a secular bookshop with large range of catholic and religious material and they do encourage you to sit and have a read, all day if you want, just look at the success(in my country) of Borders.
And there are many Catholic Libraries around which have stuff for you to read all day of cause, some of them actually are part of the church’s second hand bookshop(my closest one is) and they’ve built up their collection of catholic classics by way of donation to the church.
Protestants have the same thing going on…
“A reading room is simply a Library/bookshop where you can’t borrow or buy the stuff they have there…”
Actually, you can buy pretty much everything they have in a Christian Science Reading Room. As well as the book Mary Baker Eddy wrote, they also have various different Bibles and Bible study books, plus music CDs and magazines and stuff for Sunday Schools.
Historically, most publishing companies had reading rooms back in the days before books were widely distributed. It was a way for customers to browse a publisher’s entire catalog in one place. So when Mrs. Eddy started her own publishing division, it wasn’t unusual for her to open a reading room. She took it a step further by mandating that all branch churches had to support a reading room as well, as a way for local communities to have exposure to Christian Science publications. Pretty shrewd business move!
you see there you go, they are really little bookshops…