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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
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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Friday
May152015

Gender and the Priesthood: An Alternative Perspective

This week Chelsea offers a different angle from which to view gender in relation to the priesthood and marriage. Looking at what is unique about men and women in addition to what they have in common and examining how the marriage of love and wisdom is at work on multiple levels, Chelsea provides a thought-provoking discussion. -Editor

I just have to start by saying that here I am expounding on the doctrines of marriage and I can’t talk about it without acknowledging that it is through my experience of marriage that I am totally humbled in every regard. All of us can write about marriage like we know what we’re talking about. We can read Conjugial Love and put to memory its teachings. But when it comes to the day to day of being married to another human being, I can at least speak for myself and say it confronts me and my fallibility at every turn. I find it especially and acutely true with regard to marriage that what I know is minuscule compared to what I don’t know. Before I push off into the teachings of marriage, I have to acknowledge that the waters are deep and full of creatures of extensive variety; “with marriages…there are infinite variations among partners who are in a state of conjugial love” (Conjugial Love 324). 

As long as the idea of women serving as priests is considered not only to be doctrinally unfounded but even a threat or opposed to the very marriage of good and truth, it is easily dismissed. The teachings on marriage are central to the New Church and so it is understandable that they also come up centrally in the discourse of whether it is orderly for a woman to serve as an ordained minister in the General Church.

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Friday
May082015

Calling for the Lord in the Priesthood Part 2 

Tomoya adds to his discussion of gender and humanity this week. He presents a different approach to the ownership of the priesthood, suggesting that it needs to be stepped back from, and full ownership handed over to God rather than any humans of either gender. -Editor.

The Ripple Effects from before the Time of the Last Judgment

What the First Commandment addresses, namely the source from which truths ought to be thought of, has been one of the major pillars of inquiries in human philosophy. As a human philosophy, however, it ended up deciding that this source rested with us. Beginning with Descartes's cogito, which is our own immediate self-reflecting selfhood, we have come to see ourselves as a complete whole human based merely on our physical indivisibility, which is the smallest unit of our cogito. This idea was emphasized in the atheistic existentialism of Jean-Paul Sartre in the last century, wherein we were the owner of our own existence and the power of rationality, before being defined by anything else, including the Divine. In its insistence that we must keep the ownership of our own existence, this philosophy did not allow any room for us to ever start from the Divine. So it established itself diametrically against the First Commandment; the truths must not be thought of from any other source than our own cogito.

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Friday
May012015

Calling for the Lord in the Priesthood Part 1

This week we have the first of a two part article by Tomoya. He takes a step back and looks at the question of the ordination of women by first looking at the ordination of human beings in general. -Editor.

Regarding the topic of women in the priesthood, I have read the articles and the reader comments as well as the most of the papers here in New Church Perspective. The more I read, the more I was drawn to the processes, rather than the products, of proponents’ arguments. I thought that I might be able to contribute to this topic from a different perspective, without exploring anything more about masculinity and femininity. We have seemingly exhausted what needs to be said about these, and I am convinced now that the call for women in the priesthood doesn’t even have much to do with masculinity and femininity, if none at all. Since this is a long article, I’d like to start with a synopsis.

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Friday
Apr242015

Journey: Walking with the Lord in Song (Mixed Media)

This week we have a song by Nora about journeying through life with the Lord. She shares here about the inspiration for the song and some of the reasons that music is important in her life, and we have a link to her song. -Editor.

While working as a music therapist in a hospice setting, my patients would often ask me why I wanted them to sing with me. They would self-deprecate with a variety of judgments and perceptions about their singing abilities. In reply, I would tell them the truth; that I've tried singing alone and with others, and that nothing brings me more joy than to share music making. As I wrote the song “Journey,” (linked below) I explored the concept of walking through life with the Lord, not on my own, and not letting Him do all the singing.

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