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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 God (7)


Tools for Dealing with Doubt with Dan Synnestvedt

In this episode, Dr. Synnestvedt, a professor of philosophy at Bryn Athyn College, outlines some categories of doubt: local or global, subjective or objective, from the intellect or from the will. With these categories in mind, he suggests ways of dealing with some of our doubts and the fear that accompanies them. He also recomends the book Alvin Steadfast on Vernacular Island How can we learn from and live with uncertainty?

Tools for Doubt with Dan Synnestvedt


Brian Smith on Doubt part 2

In this episode, Pearse and the Rev. Brian Smith continue their conversation about doubt. They discuss the place of prayer in times of doubt--even when people may doubt the very God to whom they pray. And doubt doesn't have to be all doom and gloom. How can doubt be "the servant, if not the friend of truth"?

Brian Smith on Doubt part 2


Brian Smith on Doubt part 1

We interview the Rev. Brian Smith about doubt. Is it really necessary? It seems counterintuitive that often-painful times of doubt and despair can serve to build our faith, and yet Brian describes three ways doubt can help us. This is a first for us, a two part episode. Tune in next week for Part II!

Brian Smith on Doubt


The Trinity, Doubt and Peace

In this episode, the Rev. Dr. Andy Dibb describes his religious upbringing and concept of God. Influenced both by his New Church mother and Anglican schools, he came away with conflicting ideas. Was God a trinity or unity of Persons? Andy later found resolution and peace in the idea of a single, loving, Human God. Andy discusses the impact a person's view of God has on the rest of his or her life. With that in mind, how does one discuss religion with an atheist or agnostic?

The Trinity, Doubt and Peace


My Word!

Heath Synnestvedt invites us to join his musing about words. With playfulness and irony, Heath suggests that the use and meaning of words have an important effect both on how we experience and respond to reality. (Heath intends the use of lower case “i”) -Editor

Irrelevant Pre-ramble

“Bless you,” Paddington said when a lady at the table next to his coughed. She had sneezed earlier when he was beyond the proper range for public blessing.

On his way out of the cafe he paused to wonder whether he ought to have paid more than the price of the cocoa for the privilege of sitting in such a fine spot for watching the passersby. “Next time I'll go for the Knickerbocker Glory.”

But he didn't. And again he didn't. It wasn't good for him, and besides, he wouldn't eat it all, or so he once was told.

Eventually holes began to form in his brain and likewise in his memory. Decisions got confusing unless someone helped him, and tasks that used to be second nature were now as mysterious as the cloud forests of Darkest Peru seemed to the Brown family.

“Bless you!” he called out across the room. He no longer read the newspaper.

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Does God Have a Sense of Humor?

Do you have to be boring in order to be good? This week Coleman Glenn wonders if God has a sense of humor... and what God's sense of humor might imply about human joking. Coleman acknowledges some gray area in distinguishing appropriate and inappropriate humor but works towards his own conclusion. -Editor

A person may frequent places of amusement, talk about the affairs of the world, and need not go about like a devotee with a sad and sorrowful countenance and drooping head, but may be joyful and cheerful. (Heaven and Hell 358)

Some persons from habit, and some from contempt, make use in familiar conversation of the things contained in Holy Scripture as an aid or formula for jokes and ridicule, thinking that doing so makes these more pointed. But such things of Scripture when thus thought and spoken add themselves to their corporeal and filthy ideas, and in the other life bring upon them much harm; for they return together with the profane things. (Arcana Coelestia 961)

Does God have a sense of humor? In the New Church we worship a Human God – and it seems hard to imagine someone who is truly human lacking a sense of humor. On the other hand, there is no story in the Word where the Lord tells a joke or laughs at one; there is nothing that explicitly says He does have a sense of humor.

That’s the first question I want to address in this article. The second is related, but not identical: if God does have a sense of humor, does that mean it’s okay to make jokes about Him or about the Word? Maybe you can tell from the tone of the question that I think the answer is “no.” But I’ll get to that in a bit.

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