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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.

Entries in biography (4)


Divine Providence Reveals that Trial and Tribulation only Appear to be a Curse (Pt. 2)

You'll be surprised read, here in part two, that Cortland had farther to fall. Miraculously, he can see that all he went through was a direct expression of his spiritual state. Through it all, the Lord was revealing his inner state for what it was, calling him to love the truth for the right reasons. (Start with part one here). -Editor

From Part 1: There was a hitch in my giddy-up. All I did was work, drink beer, smoke marijuana, and socialize. Although I was a hard worker my work ethic was not based on the principles of charity so I was externally productive but still void of fruit. Even still, I believed that pure influx would lead me to a life of genuine good use and the most egregious part of my life was long behind me. Boy did I get a wrong number! What was to come was purely a manifestation of where my spirit was and it manifests itself in every particular of my life.

From here on the reader will have to excuse me for not going into detail about what happened over the next 10+ years. If I were to attempt to do so it would fill many pages so I hope the trials and tribulations in themselves will reveal what this small piece is trying to express.

On November 23, 1999, two days before my 30th birthday, my mother called 911 and told the operator that she was going to take her life and then proceeded to do just that. I appeared to be doing okay until about two months after when it dawned on me that Mamma was gone. For the next two years I sat in my studio apartment(as I had moved away from my children) with my one and only love: alcohol. I was able the receive a two year respite from full blown addiction only because of the fact that I drank myself into destitution and had to move back in with my family. I still drank on a daily basis, but it was not as bad as it had been during the previous two years when I lived alone.

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Divine Providence Reveals that Trial and Tribulation only Appear to be a Curse (Pt. 1)

This is part one of Cortland's honest account of where he came from and how he found (or was found by) the Lord. He lays out the exterior and interior facts of his life with abandon. It's a remarkable story. Stayed tuned for part two next week. -Editor

I don’t believe in God, was the statement I made, in a casual tone, as we lay watching television in our bedroom at our home in South-central Los Angeles. “What!" my older brother replied. How could there be a God when black folks are subject to so much apathy, injustice, and flat out evil? Of course I was not able to articulate my sentiments in such a fashion at the time. I was barely fifteen but I felt confident that my stance had been validated within my statement as such. He looked at me, rolled his eyes and said, "Whatever," as if I was just going through a phase.

By the Spring of 1986, I would put my atheistic beliefs into practice by indulging in the un-godly crack-cocaine epidemic that plagued our community at the time. After spending six to seven months in one-room apartments and motels, both selling and using the illicit drug, I would spend another six months in many of the various juvenile facilities throughout the county of Los Angeles. In June of '87, after being released back to the custody of my mother, we relocated to Sacramento. I made an earnest effort to reform upon arrival but it did not last very long. One year later, the day after graduating high school, Mamma said that I 'gradually-waited' for them to give me a diploma, since I barely graduated receiving a D grade in the majority of my classes. I went to the local Carl’s Jr. and got a job. The very next day I went into Der Wienersnitzel right down the street and took a second job. While my classmates were enjoying their summer and preparing to enter college, I was working sixteen to twenty hours a day cooking corndogs and double-cheeseburgers. This endeavor may have been honorable if it were not for my intentions.

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Swedenborg the Evangelist?

Here Nathan argues that the sentiment that Swedenborg did not intend to start a church is erroneous. He illustrates this point with many personal accounts from Swedenborg's life. Originally given as a talk for the Carmel New Church Swedenborg Banquet January 2010, we are publishing it now in honor of the 323rd anniversary of Swedenborg's birthday, January 29th, 1688. -Editor

In the New Church we believe that the “Writings” are revelation from the Lord. So why would we care about Swedenborg? It seems like making a big deal over the cover on a book rather than the content. Would you call Swedenborg an evangelist? The Gospel writers are often referred to as evangelists. They are called evangelists because they wrote the gospels which told the good news about the Lord Jesus being born and how he was the Christ or Messiah com to save people. They were telling the “good news” which is what the “evangel” literally means.

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Genuine Christianity

Genuine Christianity testifies to the value of reading and understanding more about Emanuel Swedenborg's biography. In this highly recommended article, Chelsea Odhner shares some of the insight she received from learning more about the context in which Emanuel Swedenborg wrote. Chelsea uses a light touch and makes the case for reading a Swedenborg biography by supplying a couple of the tantalizing shifts in thinking which she herself experienced. -Editor

Have you ever read any books by a certain Emanuel Swedenborg? Do you go so far as to consider yourself a believer of his teachings? Have you been baptized into the New Church?

If you fall into any of these categories, I highly recommend that you read a biography of Emanuel Swedenborg, if you haven’t already. I’d be curious to know what percentage of people who consider themselves to be in the New Church have read a biography of the good man. Now I have to admit, I’m twenty-six years old; I fit into every category, and only recently finished reading a biography of Swedenborg for the first time.

And there are many to choose from! If you live in the Philadelphia area, or are near it sometime, take a jaunt to the Swedenborg Library in Bryn Athyn, PA. Ask the person at the front desk where to find a biography of Swedenborg and you will be led to an aisle that contains up to eight shelves worth of biographies devoted to this one man!

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