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Rebirth and Reform

in the Practice of Christian Science

by George Wadleigh

The Ram in a Thicket is about mercy and honesty in religious practice. It is not a treatise on the theology of Christian Science. It brings to light the often-downplayed humane dimension in the practice and teachings of Christian Science, as well as pointing out dogma which has for decades subordinated and concealed that humane dimension. Christian compassion, embodied in the life of Jesus, is the vital part of all Christian living, and is evident in the basic teaching of Christian Science and much of its practice.


I've practiced medicine for forty years, the first twenty as an ER doc. When I married a woman of the Christian Science faith I began my journey in spiritual healing. Today a psychiatrist, I feel so blessed by the difference Christian Science made in my life, my family's life, having seen so many miracles. For me it was a Come to Jesus for the First Time Moment, seeing these healings. The Ram in a Thicket is eloquent and personal. It gives a beautiful description of the trials and tribulations of Christian Scientists attempting to decide when medicine could help them. The book very well describes how the founder of Christian Science gave much credit to good, competent doctors, yet today so many Christian Scientists have taken an absolutist sort of negative view of physicians not shared by the founder of their own faith. I find George Wadleigh's book a gift and one I will study for a good long time.

Peter E. Newsom,

M.D. SF Bay Area

As a person with Lutheran and Catholic faith traditions who is married to a Christian Scientist, and as a 30-year hospital physical therapist who believes in the power of prayer to heal, I am profoundly grateful to the author for this book. I trust it will build bridges for many who have felt unnecessarily separated.

Kathryn García-Rivera,


The Ram in a Thicket thoughtfully explores the relationship between Christian Science and the world of modern medicine. This book points out that the divergence of an extremist religious approach does not align with the core teachings of the Christian Science faith but is dogma that evolved over time. Illustrating his study with many compelling personal narratives, the author recommends a revitalization of Christian Science practice that imposes no guilt or compulsion upon any of its adherents over the issue of medical care, and places the welfare of children above considerations of religious freedom. 

Valerie Patten,

J.D. Redwood City, CA

This book is a stirring illumination of self-imposed baggage that has blunted the progress of the Christian Science movement. The author has tackled hard questions that many have quietly considered but seldom profess. The Ram in a Thicket provides an opening for dialogue that can lead to deep rebirth and reform in religious practice. 

Dr. Taylor Delaney 

I love this book. Although I am no longer a practicing Christian Scientist, I found Ram in a Thicket to be very healing. As Abraham Lincoln said, “The dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate to the stormy present." George Wadleigh identifies unfounded, potentially harmful church dogmas and conventions. But more importantly, he proposes positive, possible steps that can help to renew faith and reform church practices.

Peggy DesAutels,

PhD Dept. of Philosophy,

University of Dayton 

The Ram in a Thicket is a tour de force on the contemporary practice and beliefs of Christian Science. For anyone who affirms God as the Source of Healing and Wholeness, this is an extremely worthwhile and uplifting volume.

Rufus S. Lusk III, M. Div.

Retired UCC & ELCA Pastor

Baltimore, MD 

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About the Author and Illustrator

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George Wadleigh has worked as a Christian Science practitioner for over forty years. He graduated from  Stanford University in 1974 with a degree in journalism, and a minor in Religious Studies. After college he served as a VISTA volunteer running a youth center in southern Illinois, and then taught middle school in Alton, Illinois prior to entering the ministry of his church. He has served for over fifteen years as a volunteer chaplain in mental health centers in Alton and Chicago and has been active in the ministerial alliances since 1980. George and his wife Bonniesue have three grown children and currently live in Lake Villa, Illinois.


Anne Farley Gaines produced the illustration used on the cover and throughout this book. She worked with many challenging suggestions from the author until arriving at the expression on the  ram's face. She envisioned the illustration as an ancient ceramic shard of terra cotta clay, perhaps originally part of a vessel on which the ram in Genesis 22 could have been depicted. A 6’x 6" stoneware tile was used as the figure's substrate. Anne's husband, sculptor Geoffrey Novelli, cut out the shape that Anne had drawn on the tile. He used a ring saw so that it appeared like a graceful piece of broken clay. The ram, the background and frontal area of brambles and dry, dusty earth were painted in terra cotta ceramic glaze using very small brushes. Then the shard was fired in a ceramic kiln. Afterwards, Anne intensified the terra cotta effect with acrylic paint of similar brownish-red and orange hues.

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