Category Archives: Christian Science

Next Burning Man Call: Sunday 2/16 at 6PM Pacific Timezone (9PM Eastern, 8PM Central)

Burning Man 2013 hands sculpture

Hi folks,

Let’s all try to be on this call (we’ve had 2 calls so far for the 2014 Camp and about 1/2 of us have been on each call, some haven’t been able to make either yet.)  We have some new people who are coming this year, and people who went last year who are for sure wanting to do it again.

If you’re on the fence about joining us this year, feel free to dial in and be part of the call.  We’re targeting ~1 hour for the call.  Remember, your participation is key to us having a successful camp this year!

Conference Call number:
(619) 326-2772
Access code: 1246521

Here is the suggested topic, assignment and agenda for this call:
Topic: Mission Statement & Official Camp Name

Pre-Call Assignments — Please do each of these!

  1. Read the story of foot washing in the Bible and think about its significance for our group:
  2. Read / re-read the 10 Principles of Burning Man –
  3. Email Gabriel ( your draft idea(s) for a Mission Statement, or add directly to this document:
  4. Make sure you are registered at with a user account so you’ll be prepared to purchase tickets.

Proposed Agenda:

  • 10 minutes – Inspiration sharing time, open
  • 5 minutes – Introductions for people who are new / haven’t been on last 2 calls
  • 5 minutes – Optional, time for any quick questions people may have
  • 40 minutes – Discuss / work towards a shared Mission Statement the group can agree on.  This will be a guiding statement we can all turn to as we begin work in earnest over the next few months on the Camp.
  • 5 minutes – Next steps – in our next call we’ll start organizing into specific teams / groups for logistical / task purposes.  Set time for next call.

Feel free to forward / share this with anyone you think may be interested in joining us at Burning Man in 2014.


Washing Feet

I’ve begun doing some preliminary reading about washing feet, per last night’s teleconference. I see a Wednesday night topic in the making!

Feet ready to be washedAlso, I really love this quote in relation to Burning Man:

“Cleanse every stain from this wanderer’s soiled garments, wipe the dust from his feet and the tears from his eyes, that you may behold the real man, the fellow-saint of a holy household,” ‘Retrospection and Introspection,’ by Mary Baker Eddy (Pg. 86).

The playa is our ‘holy household’ for the week, filled with fellow-saints! And again, when you read the passage in context, it is clear that this cleansing starts with one’s self.

Walking into a church…or a CS camp at Burning Man

This poem made me think about what it might be like to walk into our Burning Man camp, then to participate and experience our camp’s expression of church and Reading Room. I especially like the idea of washing “feet and thoughts,” and knowing that we start with our own! Do you see anything else in this poem that you can relate to our camp?     -Nancy

Walking into a church


From the March 1983 issue of The Christian Science Journal

should be like walking into a manger,
not a hall of judgment—
a place so shorn of self-righteousness,
so free of all reproach,
that the hungering heart will feel no
shame, no awkward fear,
no insecurity.

Sitting in a church
should be like sitting in a field of sunlight—
comfortable and warm—
while Love’s sweet air is bearing
fragrances of Christ’s simplicity.

Experiencing church should be like walking through* a stream,
where Christly ministrations
wash your feet and thoughts
and make you clean.

Oh, yes—I know how I expect my
church to feel ….
Dear Father-Mother, teach me
now the way to make it real.

* A correction was made in the February 1985 German Herold and the March 1986 French Heraut, in which this poem was reprinted and translated: “wading in” was changed to “walking through”.

You’re invited to hear our experiences in person on Dec 14, 2013 4:30pm at the U.C. Berkeley CSO

Come hear the life-changing experiences of the participants who were part of the 2013 Christian Science camp at Burning Man at the U.C. Berkeley CSO on Saturday, December 14 at 4:30pm.   There will be a photo slideshow, video footage, stories and more.  Refreshments will be served.


Download PDF: Burning ManSharing Invite (8.7 MB PDF)

Video and slideshow of our sharing with the Reno church families immediately after Burning Man 2013

Michael shot and edited this video of our group’s sharing presentation with the families in Reno who supported our 2013 trip.  We were still covered in playa dust and everything was still fresh in our minds.

Share and enjoy!

“First Church Black Rock City” – by Brian

Christian Science Camp at Burning Man 2013

There is something gracious and tender about washing feet. By this I don’t mean the person washing feet is being gracious and tender, even though they are, but that graciousness and tenderness are present in abundance when feet are being washed because it can be felt and experienced by people watching or hearing about it. There is a genuine, kind, and loving presence which is shared when two people humbly sit down and care for each other in this way. It feels beautiful, strengthens humility and love for both participants, and is actually really fun. Perhaps my favorite thing about it is: it’s extremely difficult to misinterpret the message of care.

The Burning Man festival is an arts and culture event which takes place in the Nevada desert north of Reno. A temporary encampment called Black Rock City pops up in a circle stretching three miles across centered on a large wooden statue of a man. At the end of a week, the “man” is burned, and people head home. It has been, and will continue to be described in many different ways, but the word which really captured me was “radical.” There are ten principles of Burning Man, the first is radical inclusion; there’s also, radical self-reliance, radical self-expression, and an economy based on giving. The costumes, sculptures, structures, traditions, and activities of the festival are quite impressive, but do not entirely describe the openness and receptivity of the people who have traveled to be there, and of the place itself.

This year, after a successful lecture the year before, a group of Christian Scientists planned, built, and hauled a camp to the desert with more than one hundred gallons of extra water just for washing feet. I was extremely grateful to be included at the last minute, and traveled to Black Rock City a couple days after the festival began.

Washing Feet at Burning Man 2013While I was washing my first pair of feet and enjoying delightful conversation with a Frenchman from Montreal, he commented, “It really helps you understand why Jesus did it.” As someone who has sometimes found it difficult to share what I know and love about Christianity and Christian Science, this was such a joy to hear. I hadn’t been thinking of it in those terms, but of course he was right. What my friend was talking about wasn’t the physical touch alone, but the mental expression of care and tenderness, of presence imbued with love, and without expectation. When we were done he asked if he could wash someone else’s feet and did, and he returned on another day with friends to wash and be washed. There are many stories like this from the week in the desert, unique and personal expressions of love and care which dotted the landscape of the inspired adventure, but what I hadn’t anticipated was how easy and natural it would be to discuss deep spirituality while washing feet. I had always expected the metaphor and the gift of washing feet to be clear, what I hadn’t expected was how easily the spirit of this activity would be to enjoy and share.

Why was it so easy to share? Why were people so receptive? Mrs. Eddy writes “Grace and Truth are potent beyond all other means and methods.” S+H 67. With a focus on presence, and giving, instead of convincing, we found our voice in the only language that matters: love.

The folks whose feet we washed constantly mentioned they felt as though they were completely clean, as if not just their feet were washed. Many of them participated in washing, and even more brought friends and neighbors, and returned on other days. Topics were discussed, prayers were said, copies of Science and Health and Sentinels were handed out, all of it without a sense of pushing or proselytizing.

An atmosphere of love pervaded our camp and activities, including two lectures, a Wednesday testimony meeting, and a Sunday morning service. It really did feel like First Church Black Rock City, and reminded me of Jesus’ words “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” Matt 18:20.  We were able to feel and express church even there.

Feet ready to be washedAfter spending some time in the desert it is easy to see why washing feet became a tradition of hospitality and care for the people of Israel. In the desert you don’t notice your feet getting dusty, you know they are, but you don’t experience the increasing dustiness in the way you might experience an increase in weight. But you certainly notice them getting clean. It’s a lot like negative habits of thought. The assumed knowledge, the insistent senses, and human conflicts, seem to gather together suggesting to us something other than perfect man, the image and likeness of God. Of course the dust on your feet isn’t and can never BE a part of your feet, so those habits of thought which didn’t start as part of you, cannot become a part of you. Which brings us to vinegar.

The desert dust where we were is high in alkaline, a base, which has to be counteracted with a mild acid before you can use soap or water usefully. Diluted vinegar cuts the dust and gets the feet ready for washing. It’s the same way with healing. You can’t ignore the fear and burden mortal mind seems to accumulate, it must be removed in order for the tender comfort of the Christ to be glimpsed and received.

Of course Jesus didn’t do it to fulfill tradition or simply to make his disciples feet feel good; he was handling the question of “who shall be greatest,” among his disciples. Instead of answering the question, he replaced the question entirely with humility and service. Who can contemplate their own greatness when the master is here, forever, washing the feet of his followers? His indelible example, is with us for all time, and reminds us that we are here to give.

In reality who could be, or would want to be, resistant to Truth? It is often our human desire to be successful in convincing someone which finds us trying to take a shortcut through human sense, personality, or coercion. The goal can seem good and so we do not easily recognize the influence of human sense asking to be acknowledged and used. But if we are sharing truth divinely inspired, giving grace and love, these are always accepted and find their proper place. We cannot argue, legislate, or coerce the divine. God does not fight, compete, or contest, the divine mind is supreme. God simply removes the question through the emination of infinite and perfect Life and Love. We should not attempt to contest or convince where God does not. When we look to God, and to Jesus’ example, our path becomes more clear: to witness, express, and understand more of the divine Mind; to remove fear and misunderstanding, not with coercion, but with genuinely expressed love.

Brian Bort
Richmond, CA

This Is Love!

Michael’s Church Alive post

Michael Morgan

Growing up in the Church of Christ, Scientist my whole life, I’ve always wondered why so much action is expected to happen inside the building. What about outside of the building in the broader community? Over the years I developed a type of spiritual boldness through “trial and prayer.” I learned that the worst thing people can say to me if I offer prayer or inspirational literature is “No.” The best thing that can happen is that someone’s life is transformed forever.

After a successful experience of bringing a Christian Science lecture to the Burning Man Art Festival last year (see this Sentinel article about it), our team of Christian Scientists from the West Coast wanted to explore new ways of really serving the population of Black Rock City, Nevada where there are approximately 70,000 people and zero buildings!

Read entire post here

Surprise! Church at Burning Man

By Anna Lisa Kronman – Full story here

Burning Man 2013 hands sculpture

What would inspire folks to shelve their iPhones and computers for a week, wait (with extraordinary patience!) for long hours in line to camp out in a severe desert environment, pack in all food and water, and pack out all trash, enduring dirty fingernails and dusty feet?  An annual event called Burning Man with these elements, and more, brought over 60,000 such folks together this year in a remote Nevada desert.  The rules for the community are basic (and can be see in their entirety here:  In my reading of them, they are essentially a pragmatic statement of the Golden Rule (do unto others as you would have them do unto you.)  A unique element of Burning Man is its gift-based, rather than consumer-based economy.  The only things for sale are ice and coffee, and the proceeds go to a charitable organization.  Everyone that comes is expected to give something.  Also part of this culture: extraordinary creativity, art, loud music, a markedly friendly and open/permissive atmosphere, and whimsical clothing (or sometimes none.)

A group of people who love Christian Science felt there was a good reason to be a presence in this city.  We came to wash feet.

Click here to read the entire story