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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 Divine providence (8)


The Phrases that Define Divine Providence

Abby identifies some commonly used phrases about Providence and how the Lord works. She suggests that these ideas are not only harmful to our individual perceptions of the Lord, but to the spread of the New Church. Abby hopes that through correcting these ideas, we can present a more accurate, appealing, and useful picture of the Lord and His church. -Editor.

“God only gives you what you can handle.” “I’m sure God will smile on you for your kindness.” “If I keep following God, I will get what I deserve.”

There are these little phrases, sayings, and cliches that sneak into the way many people think about Divine Providence. Phrases that I’ve heard from Christians and non-Christians, readers of the Writings, and people who haven’t read the Writings. Whether the speaker has thought it through or not these phrases and sayings describe a kind of God and a kind of fatalism that just doesn’t sit right with me. And when I hear anyone assign these ideas to God it makes me angry. Angry because of the way that these ideas get in and make us feel a certain way about how God works, when these ideas are diametrically opposed to what I have come to understand and love about how God works.

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Meditate | A Memorable Start to the New Year

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. Contact us if you'd like to write a submission for this column. -Editor

“And…” (Genesis 1:1, Genesis 1:2Revelation 22:19; occurring 28,364 times, it is the most common word in the New King James Bible)

The Shining Word “And”

“And” teaches us to say yes
“And” allows us to be both-and
“And” teaches us to be patient and long-suffering
“And” is willing to wait for insight and integration
“And” does not divide the field of the moment
“And” helps us to live in the always imperfect now
“And” keeps us inclusive and compassionate toward everything
“And” demands that our contemplation become action
“And” insists that our action is also contemplative
“And” is the mystery of paradox in all things
“And” is the way of mercy
“And” makes daily, practical love possible

(Adapted from The Naked Now: Learning to See as the Mystics See,
pp. 180-181, in Richard Rohr’s Daily Meditation, “Yes And,” for January 11th, 2014)

I received a new journal for Christmas and my first entry in it occurred on January 3rd, a day that began in Minneapolis and ended with us all sick in bed in a hotel room in Denver…we were meant to be in Philadelphia. Or were we?

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Meditate | Lost Sleep, Gained Hope 

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 better yet, your own article. Contact us if you'd like to write a submission for this column. -Editor

The Lord's divine providence works things out so that what is both evil and false promotes balance, comparison, and purification, which means that it promotes the union of what is good and true in others...

The Lord provides for the union of what is good and true in others by purification. This happens in two ways, by temptations and by fermenting. Spiritual temptations are simply battles against the evil and false things that breathe forth from hell and affect us. These battles purify us from things that are evil and false, so that goodness in us is united to truth and truth to goodness.

Spiritual fermenting happens in many ways both in the heavens and on earth, but people in our world do not know what these processes are or how they happen. There are things that are both evil and false that are injected into communities the way agents of fermentation are injected into flour or grape juice. These serve to separate things that do not belong together and unite things that do, so that the substance becomes pure and clear. (Divine Providence 21, 25)

When I was in high school, I remember staying up until four in the morning and somehow enjoying sort of falling through the day, functioning as I could on less than four hours of sleep for days and days on end. I think back to that now and wonder why I ever did. As a teenager, I think there was an attraction to the sort of drugged-stupor you live in when you haven’t gotten sleep—a form of escape, a way to dull the senses, without the need of actually taking drugs or drinking alcohol! It felt good—when I was a self-absorbed adolescent, not responsible for the care of any other human being.

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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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Tent Talk: Unexpected Treasures

If you ever find yourself in the wilds of Alaska, stuck in a tent with an obnoxious teenager, you will wish you had read this article by Lauren Anderson. In it she recounts her experience of a surprising opportunity to talk about the big questions of life. Are humans more than animals? Did the universe come from nothing? -Editor

During the month of July, I embarked on an outdoor adventure that would test my tolerance for adverse weather, steep boulder-clad slopes, and adolescent men with drug and attitude problems. My sea-kayaking and backpacking trip through south-central Alaska, indeed, was more of a social challenge than a physical challenge. The challenge was that the average age of my eleven-member student group was seventeen. The culture shock of interacting (for the first time ever in my life) with teens from affluent families and worldly backgrounds of blatant abuse of drugs, alcohol, and sex, was quite shocking and rather dismaying. One lad, in particular, let’s call him Peter, was a huge test of my patience due to his meticulous ability to shirk most work with procrastination and poor excuses, his disrespect of others made apparent by his colorful and repugnant vocabulary, and his disrespect of the environment, which was unfortunately exacerbated by his laziness. It pains me to speak ill of so ill of one, however, which is why I am quite pleased to relay my best (as in, most pleasant and somehow profound) interaction with Peter, and the coincidental – or, more accurately, providential – lessons I learned from it.

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