Yesterday I watched a really nice Christmas movie called The Preacher's Wife. Some of the movie takes place inside a Christian church and you see church services with a preacher who is inspirational and a congregation who joins in with "praise the lord" and "hallelujah", etc. As I was watching I thought about the Scientology Sunday Service and how different it is from that.
Some Scientology haters have portrayed the Scientology Sunday Service as a sham and other Scientology Church Services as window dressing.
So I thought, after seeing that movie, that I'd put in my two cents worth.
First of all, naming ceremonies, marriages and memorials are most definitely not window dressing. They are very important events and are treated that way. The Scientology ceremonies I've attended tend to be less serious than similar ceremonies I've attended in other, more traditional, churches. For example, at my mother's funeral at a very stuffy traditional church the minister talked about God all the time and my mother hardly got a mention.
I think the Scientology ceremonies are less serious because they are very much focused on the person or persons the ceremony concerns rather than on a deity. Also memorials are lighter because we know the person is coming back and so it's not such a heavy loss.
Now let's look at the Sunday Service. If you compare a Scientology Sunday Service to the one shown in "The Preacher's Wife", then the Scientology Sunday Services I've attended are very tame indeed. My take on this is that it is because Scientology is a religion of wisdom. It's main services are training people in that wisdom and then getting them to use that wisdom in their lives. It's a more analytical than emotional religion. So it follows that our Sunday Services, not being geared toward worship, would look quieter and more reserved, and because, as I said in my earlier article, most Scientologists will have been attending services most nights or days of the prior week, so they are less likely to feel the need to attend an additional service on Sunday.
As Scientology continues to expand, Sunday Service may morph into something bigger and more boisterous, or the fact that Scientology is open to people of all religions may mean that people who like a more lively service may simply continue to go to their traditional churches.
Personally I think having both the analytical side (as in Scientology) and the emotional side (as in, for example, a Baptist church) is a great combination: that way you get the best of both worlds.