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New Church Perspective
is an online magazine with essays and other content published weekly. Our features are from a variety of writers dealing with a variety of topics, all celebrating the understanding and application of New Church ideas. For a list of past features by category or title, visit our archive.

Friday
Nov212014

Meditate | Adverse Learning

Meditate is a monthly column in which insights gained from meditating on the Word are shared. We welcome your insights, too, in the form of comments or even your own article. Contact us if you'd like to write a submission for this column. -Editor

“Cease to do evil, learn to do good” (Isaiah 1:16-17).

“In the day of prosperity be joyful, but in the day of adversity consider: surely God has appointed the one as well as the other” (Ecclesiastes 7:14).

The other day I read a very clear statement that speaks to an ongoing issue in my spiritual growth: it’s okay to feel angry, it’s not okay to act on it. This statement came into my mind like a drop of soap in dirty water. After reading it, I went about my day and had the idea to track when I felt angry—to approach this feeling with curiosity, to “consider in the day of adversity.” The only “action” I would take when I felt angry was to make a note of what triggered my anger. It was surprisingly satisfying, rather than to have no action to take when I am feeling anger, to have something specific I would do—write it down, or in most cases, dictate it to a note on my phone! After doing this just for one day, I felt an ease, and less fear when the anger came up, because it no longer meant I acted out in a way I would regret a moment later.

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Friday
Nov142014

Empathy in Marriage: Gender Differences in Communication Part 2

Carrying on with the ideas from last week, Micah breaks down some of the spiritual differences between men and women as described by Swedenborg. What is innate and what can we change? Looking at the changeable nature of mirror neurons, Micah suggests we can develop quite a bit. -Editor

As discussed last week, neuroscientist Schulte-Rüther’s study lent support to the issue of whether or not there are gender differences in the human mirror neuron system while also reframing behavioral research as it relates to empathy. This research concluded that men and women have statistically equal ability to provide empathic support, but that particular types of empathy come more naturally to each gender on a biological level. This has some interesting interactions with New Church thought.

What are the Gender Differences at a Spiritual Level?

In general, men and women appear to be spiritually similar. They both have freedom (the ability to choose between good and evil, and live accordingly) and rationality (the ability to think about truth), which are the qualities that make a human truly human (Divine Providence 98). Further, Emanuel Swedenborg, author of the Writings for the New Church, claims that both men and women have an intellect (the ability to have higher cognitive thoughts so as to think about truth objectively) and will (the loves that inspire people to act), though he qualifies by explaining that for men the intellect leads and for women the will leads; “and people are characterized by what is in control” (Heaven and Hell 369). Men therefore, are spiritually distinguished by their intellect—their ability to think, rationalize, and explain abstract ideas objectively. Women are spiritually distinguished by their will—their ability to act according to their intuitions, loves, and inspire people to act through shared loves.

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Friday
Nov072014

Empathy in Marriage: Gender Differences in Communication Part 1

Women and men are different. Their bodies are different in obvious ways, but also in less apparent ways—like the structure of the brain. Emotions are processed in the inner workings of the brain, and Micah examines the ways that men and women's brain neurons differ when feeling empathy. -Editor

You don’t understand. You don’t know how I’m feeling. How often do these ideas come up in relationships? These ideas often stem from a basic miscommunication, or failure to empathize.

Good communication, particularly in an intimate relationship, depends upon how two people perceive one another through empathy. Miscommunication, which seems to be a common issue in marriages, therefore indicates a lack of empathy between spouses. Who is at fault? Is either partner at fault? It turns out that there are gender specific approaches to empathy that lead to miscommunications in relationships, but, with conscious effort men and women can improve their non-dominant approach to empathy and thus communication with their spouse.

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Friday
Oct312014

Mixed Media | Are You Living Up To God's Expectations? 

We have tried a few different mediums here at New Church Perspective, and this week we offer a video by Ronnie Schnarr. Watch Ronnie's powerful message about what God wants for us compared to what the hells want for us. Where does your burden and your anxiety actually come from? -Editor

The Lord tells us that His "yoke is easy and His burden is light," but I think a small part of us all goes "Yeah right, spiritual life easy? I don't think so." But what a lot of us don't know is that the load we think we are supposed to be carrying is not something the Lord has put on us at all, but is something we have put on ourselves. The Lord's expectations are light in comparison and His work actually brings rest into our life in the long term.

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Friday
Oct242014

The World Is Amazing and Nobody Is Happy

Relentlessly upbeat, Todd pokes us to question why we aren't happier. How do we appreciate the incredible luxuries and conveniences of life without immediately absorbing them into our set of expectations we can be disappointed over? This post was scooped from Todd's Blog. -Editor.

Recently I came across a comedian, Louis CK, who was on a late night talk show and explaining to the host how, “The world is amazing and nobody is happy.” I posted a link to this on the Hurstville Facebook page, and encourage you to watch it. This guy is absolutely right. We go to the airport, complain when our flight is delayed by 30 minutes or an hour, totally forgetting that it really is amazing that we can travel coast to coast in about 5 hours. Even if you add in the time it takes to get to the airport, going through security, etc., you can make the Sydney to Perth trip in 8 hours. Amazing. Consider that 100 years ago that trip wasn’t something you did in a week, much less a third of a day.

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Friday
Oct172014

Meditate | Spiritual Transformation as Erosion by Water

Meditate is a monthly column in which insights gained from meditating on the Word are shared. We welcome your insights, too, in the form of comments or even your own article. Contact us if you'd like to write a submission for this column. -Editor

“And behold, the glory of the God of Israel came from the way of the east. His voice was like the sound of many waters; and the earth shone with His glory” (Ezekiel 43:2).

“His feet were like fine brass, as if refined in a furnace, and His voice as the sound of many waters; He had in His right hand seven stars, out of His mouth went a sharp two-edged sword, and His countenance was like the sun shining in its strength” (Revelation 1:15-16).

“And it shall be that every living thing that moves, wherever the rivers go, will live…for they will be healed, and everything will live wherever the river goes” (Ezekiel 47:9).

“‘Living waters’ are often mentioned in the Word, and by them are meant truths that come to us from the Lord and are received. These are living, because the Lord is life itself…The Lord also…opens the spiritual parts of our mind, and imparts to us the affection of truth; and the spiritual affection of truth is the very life of heaven within us” (Apocalypse Explained 483 as quoted in What Would Love Do? By John Odhner and Sasha Silverman).

“ ...the earth is full of the knowledge of Jehovah, as the waters cover the sea” (Isaiah 11:9).

The Bishop of the General Church of the New Jerusalem released a statement a couple of weeks ago saying the policy of the General Church would not be changing with regard to women’s ordination. My meditation on the ideas in the passages above along with processing my own thoughts and feelings about the state of the General Church, of which I am a member, led me to writing the following poem as I considered the prospect and process of an organizational shift in the General Church that would allow for the ordination of women as priests. I offer it here for your own contemplation.

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