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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
Jun262015

Affection for Truth 

The Writings teach that truth on its own is not enough. This week Joel uses a few passages from the Bible as well as other ideas from the Writings to look at why we need more than truth to have a complete perspective. -Editor.

Give therefore your servant an understanding heart to judge your people, that I may discern between good and evil: for who is able to judge this great people of yours? (1 Kings 3:9)

Affection for truth makes the church. What is affection for truth? It is loving the truth for its own sake and also because it leads to the good of life. As children we are born with the potential to be truly human, to be wise and loving, but in order to become so it is a long, even a lifetime process. The first step is education: we need to learn knowledge and truth. This is why children are so receptive to soaking up new information like sponges. When we become teenagers we need to develop the rational mind, Ishmael. This first rational is harsh, untempered, but another step along the journey.

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Friday
Jun192015

Meditate | Salty Bible, Salty Life

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. —Editor

Swedenborg writes that salt is a symbol for longing (Arcana Coelestia 10300). Salt is all over the place in the Bible. In the Old Testament, priests were ordered to season the offerings with “the salt of the covenant of your God” (Leviticus 2:13). All the offerings were called a “covenant of salt forever” (Numbers 18:19). Associating salt with a covenant points to how salt on a spiritual level of meaning plays a part in the coming together of things or the longing for certain things to come together in covenant. The chemistry of salts suggests this spiritual meaning as well—they are ionic compounds that are always “longing” to be electrically neutral (apologies to any chemists out there who might be cringing at my amateur and anthropomorphized description). Personally, I just have to think of salt and my mouth starts watering. 

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Friday
Jun122015

The Future Part 3

Todd concludes his look at life prolonging technology and our desire to control the future. He looks at what could happen if we stopped fearing death, and the peace that comes with relying on God. -Editor.

The last couple weeks we've had a look mostly at Raymond Kurzweil's view of the not-too-distant future. The main theme is robots and technology become a part of us, and we gain the ability to escape death. Kurzweil's future isn't that far off, about 30 years or so, but what if we take a look farther into the future? Then what can we hope for? Funny you should ask, because a man named Robert Monroe, a fellow who I've referenced before in an NCP article (http://www.newchurchperspective.com/essays/2010/9/17/weird-ii-what-kind-of-weird-are-you.html) had a out-of-body experience where he was taken into a potential future for the earth, sometime beyond the year 3000.

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Friday
Jun052015

The Future Part 2

Carrying on from last week's article about technology prolonging life, Todd ponders why humans might want to extend their time on earth. Why be afraid of moving on? Is it good to live longer or are we trying to outsmart God? -Editor.

Last week I introduced you to Raymond Kurzweil, a prominent inventor and futurist. Kurzweil believes computer intelligence is advancing so rapidly that in a couple of decades, machines will be as intelligent as humans. Soon after that they will surpass humans and start creating even smarter technology. By the middle of this century, the only way for us to keep up will be to merge with the machines so that their superior intelligence can boost our weak little brains and beef up our pitiful, illness-prone bodies. His predictions for the future are somewhat like the Borg from Star Trek, in that we will be assimilated into cyborgs, but with a more immediate timeline for these developments that is like the Terminator movies. Oh, except in Kurzweil's future the machines will be nice. Great!

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Friday
May292015

The Future Part 1

There are many ways to try and control our future life and death, and Todd starts to look at a technological one and all it's implications. -Editor.

What keeps you up at night? Is it the anticipation of another great day?! Or is it the worry of impending doom? I suspect for most of us, it is more the latter than the former. What often gives me a restless night is the worry that I'm going to oversleep and miss my flight. Hasn't happened yet, mind you, but that doesn't keep me from worrying about it. Other times it can be a concern over what is happening or not happening at work. Do I have all my work done? Have I done a good enough job? Will people appreciate what I have done? Whatever the specific nature of the concern, they all have one thing in common: they are concerns about the future.

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Friday
May222015

Utterly Enchanted

There are parts of the Bible that seem no longer relevant in modern life. This week Helen demonstrates a way of taking the information we have from Swedenborg's Writings and making applicable connections about those passages. -Editor.

Sometimes in his Writings, Swedenborg tells us of a person who lived in the past. It usually makes me stop and think about being alive hundreds, or maybe thousands, of years from now, like in the line from the hymn, Amazing Grace, “When we’ve been there ten thousand years…” As I turn back to the page, Swedenborg is telling me something about the state of the person from the past.

One such example is Cicero (Jan 3, 106 BC – Dec 7, 46 BC). Because he lived in ancient Rome, he would not have known about the Word unless he came in contact with some Jewish traders. He certainly learned about it when he went into the next life, though, because Swedenborg relates the following about him,

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