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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 correspondences (6)


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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Heart and Lungs Part 2

This is the second part of Brian's essay on what the church would do if it were aligned entirely with the correspondence of the heart and lungs. The first section can be found here. -Editor

In the first half of this article last week, I launched a discussion of the true meaning of the place of the church specific—meaning the church which has the Writings of Emanuel Swedenborg—as the heart and lungs of what we call the Grand Man, the human form of society.

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Heart and Lungs

Brian explores what the essential actions of the church ought to be in light of what the heart and lungs correspond to in Swedenborg's writings. This essay is the first of two on this topic. The second part is found here. -Editor

About fifteen years ago I fell into a late-night New-Church-camp conversation with two cousins of mine—who were, like me, church-indoctrinated from birth—and Martie Johnson. Martie would go on to become a minister and Navy chaplain, but was at the time still a rather wide-eyed newcomer to Swedenborg and the concepts in his Writings, and was probing us for information.

At some point, one of us mentioned the Grand Man, and Martie stopped us.

“What’s that?” We explained how heaven is organized in the human form, with societies performing functions that correspond to the various parts of the body, and how that same human form is reflected in the earthly church, human society, nature, and creation itself.

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The Hidden Influence and Relevance of Swedenborg 2: Egypt, Assyria, and Quantum Mechanics

This is the second of three sections of an essay by Curtis Childs on the significance of Emanuel Swedenborg's work. Start with Section 1: Why We Are Here. Finally, turn to Section 3: Swedenborg's Influence. - Editor.

Perhaps one of Swedenborg’s most striking revisions of Christian thought centers around what is today called the Holy Bible. While Jesus Christ’s use of parables to teach is well documented in the New Testament, Swedenborg lays out, especially in his multi-volume work Secrets of Heaven, an extremely thorough, systematic, and extensive exegesis illustrating the belief that the entire Bible is, in fact, an allegory. Swedenborg’s interpretation relies on “correspondences,” the idea that the places, characters, and even the words appearing in Biblical text simultaneously represent aspects of God, humanity’s relationship to the divine, and a map of each of our personal spiritual journeys. The actual concept, though consistent, is quite complex, as one scholar studying Swedenborg’s Secrets of Heaven noted, “unfortunately, any straightforward definition of correspondence fails to capture the incredible richness of the Swedenborgian concept” (Woofenden 47).

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The Culture of Heaven: An Explication of the Wine-making Process as Corresponding to Spiritual Reformation and Rebirth 

Johanan likes to think about the process of making wine. He shares ideas ranging from the factual process of fermenting grape juice to its spiritual implications and meanings. This article delightfully balances the tangible and the philosophical as it unpacks one of the key spiritual images in the Word.

Heaven is not as far away as we often think it is. Heaven on earth is a state of mind, available to those who are willing to live their lives in such a way as to be receptive of what God offers all people: the opportunity to find happiness through serving others. By believing in God, a person accepts that all of creation is designed to serve God’s ultimate purpose: establishing heaven from the human race (Divine Love and Wisdom 330; Divine Providence 323). Since everything serves this purpose, everything in the natural world must have relation to spiritual things. Knowing how the natural world relates to the spiritual world is the prerogative of a heavenly mind because having an understanding of this relationship is angelic knowledge itself, and is the means of communication with heaven (Heaven and Hell 87). Thinking in terms of correspondences between the natural and spiritual worlds requires a mindset that is practiced in recognizing and discerning how spiritual principles are reflected in natural events. A fully integrated mindset is the same as a way of life, and a collection of individuals (such as a family or community) with this heaven-oriented mindset can be said to be an example of heavenly society, or heavenly culture. In this paper we explore the idea of a heavenly culture and correspondence in the process of wine-making, which we relate to the process by which the Lord introduces us as individuals into heavenly culture.

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Spiritual Body Image

Taryn and Pearse explore the idea of people created in the image and likeness of God. In a certain way, everything in creation reflects the human form from the Divine but how are people distinct from the rest of creation? Malcolm continues to look at issues of body image, though his focus is on clothing.

We humans place a lot of importance in appearances, especially our own, often glancing at a mirror several times every day. But most of us are aware of a part of a person beyond that assemblage of cells. People have inklings of another reality apart from bodies made of flesh and bone. Someone can be “beautiful on the inside,” while another can be “inhumane” and even “bestial.” On this earth, these are just turns of phrase.

Meandering through a zoo, no one should have trouble telling the human visitors from the animal inhabitants. One only has to look at the forms of the people and compare them to those of tigers or elephants. People look human. But we are not human merely because of our outward appearance.

According to the Word, the Lord modelled the human race after Himself.

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