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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 community (6)


Out of Isolation 

Kendall shares this week about a new program designed to make joining a New Church small group easier and more available the world over. Small groups allow people to connect and discuss religion in a more thorough and hands on way than just reading or listening. Kendall explains the new program and the difference it has made in her life. -Editor.

Of the many gifts that the Lord has offered me in my personal spiritual journey, one of the most rewarding has been my discovery of a small community in which I can find truth, connection, and refreshment on a regular basis. My experience attending weekly group meetings with my small community has shown me just how rich and fertile the soil of a group setting can be for spiritual growth.

Not everyone can connect to the groups I attend, as they are limited to those in my immediate geographic area. So I am motivated to share with you an opportunity to plug into a simple program that could support you or someone you know in your spiritual lives.

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Sharing and Spreading the New Church with Mutual Support

Karin observes the New Church as a movement much larger than its organized chapters. In a magnanimous voice she explores how negative attitudes towards diversity that exist within the church limit its growth and diminish its success. She walks the reader through another way of responding to difference. -Editor.

The New Church is so much more than organizations. The New Church is a mentality—a state of mind, and a way of acting. There is much “New Church” thought being mulled over in the world, both among people who read the works of Emanuel Swedenborg and among those who have never heard of him.

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Here Edmund expounds on holistic management principles as defined by Allan Savory. He finds that Savory's focus on the whole is a concept mirrored everywhere in Swedenborg's writings. These guidelines are as applicable to a farmer managing the natural resources around him as they are to an individual navigating his spiritual life. -Editor

Over the last year I've been studying the principles of Holistic Management as developed and described by Allan Savory. Savory's background was as a scientist and park ranger in the African bush. He developed a system of land management that has successfully reversed desertification, improved water availability, increased livestock and game populations, and helped stabilize unsettled human groups by improving their economic opportunities. Holistic Management centers on the development of a holistic goal and then using seven questions to test decisions, large or small, prior to instituting change.

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Why I Believe in Organized Religion

Derrick observes that many people are drawn to spirituality, yet repelled by religious organizations. While admitting his fundamental bias, he argues for organized religion and asserts that both the individual and the community have something to gain from engaging with each other fully. -Editor

"I am athletic, but not sporty."

"So you don't like group sports, but do you run?"

"No, running is too boring."

"So, do you swim or surf?"

"No, I don't like the water—I always feel like Jaws is going to chomp me from underneath."

"So, then you train at the gym."

"No, I bought a membership but never went, so I dropped my membership."

"So, is there anything you do?"

"No, I am just athletic."

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To Buy or not to Buy

If thinking is something you like to do, read on. Garth Brown argues that our modes of consumption and production present “the great moral problem of our time.” As I finish mindlessly stuffing another piece of Halloween candy into my mouth, I greatly appreciate this call to consider. Do we live purposefully? Do we make our choices with real usefulness in mind? -Editor

We should all provide our bodies with food. This has to come first, but the goal is to have a sound mind in a sound body. We also ought to provide our mind with its food, that is, things that build intelligence and judgment; but the goal is to be in a state in which we can serve our fellow citizens, our community, our country, the church, and therefore the Lord. (True Christianity 406)

Consumption is the great moral problem of our time. I say this not because it is the most obviously evil, but because it is the most opaque. History texts claim, or they did when I was in eighth grade, that industrialization standardized both the process of production and the product itself, and that this so increased efficiency that it led to more; more was produced more cheaply, and more people made enough money to buy more. I don't doubt the truth of this narrative, but it does not examine how, by moving labor and production from small shops to factories, from communities to industrial districts, it obscured the material and human conditions requisite to making a given product. And in the years since the continuation and acceleration of this trend have rendered production so complex, distant, and hidden that we are now unlikely to know in any real sense where a single thing we own came from.

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Brian Smith deals with pain left by the loss of a friend. He looks at how closely the loss of a person to a community resembles wounds to the body. Brian notices how the slow signs of healing on a community level indicate that the community itself is alive and has a structural integrity. -Editor

About seven weeks ago I fell while I was running in the forest. I broke open the skin on my knee in a long gash. The cut was impressively deep and spilling a good amount of blood. It was the type which a doctor would immediately decide needed stitches. I chose not to go through the hassle of a doctor partly because I like cool scars and also because I was confident that my body could heal on its own, even if it took a little longer. I like watching cuts heal.

Healing is the opposite of decay. Dead things decay. Alive things heal. Watching a thing repair itself is an inspiring reminder of the mystery of life. Why does the 155 pounds of material that I call my body hold together as a unit and repair itself rather than decay?

With the recent passing of my friend I have watched a fresh, deep cut in my community spill blood.

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