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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 habits (7)


Understanding More Truthfully - About "Why This Way"

How does the way you think affect the way you speak? And the things you speak the way you think? Sylvia introduces the core ideas of Why This Way and shares how her efforts to shed even the subtle false bits and pieces in communication has allowed for true things to come into her thoughts and words. -Editor.

I remember being at Bryn Athyn College and regularly being involved in intellectually stimulating theological discussions, both in class and in social contexts among friends. There I learned to communicate about deep issues, and to discuss ideas on their own merits. One thing I love about New Church culture in Bryn Athyn is the emphasis on truth seeking – not just truth, but the constant, humble search for it. And I didn't realize how important that was to me until a couple of years ago, when I started looking more closely at communication patterns.

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Where Can I Put This Pile of Stress?

Striving for balance, Janine contrasts two avenues towards achieving success and happiness, summarized by Stephen Covey as the modern 'Personality Ethic' and the time honored 'Character Ethic.' The first invests energy in manicuring the public image to the detriment of other relationships and areas of life. The second urges one to embody virtues universally. Self-examination reveals the inefficiency of the first and inspires her to integrate her values with equipoise. - Editor

If you are a moderate person, click the “X” box at the top of your screen, and save a few more minutes of your well-managed time, not reading my article. You don't really need it. If however, you are in my boat, navigating the river of “striving-to-learn-healthy-balanced-habits” and finding that the paddling is mostly upstream, then please continue with me.

Have you heard of the book The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey? The name is so familiar to me, as well as a few of the concepts, that I feel as if I have read it, but never have. This week I picked it up and some of the ideas inspired me and encouraged new thought on the subjects of balance and moderation, and the process of achieving deep success in my life.

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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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If you tend to procrastinate, worry not about this article. Normandy Alden's piece on procrastination get's right to point and will take you as little time to read as a few Facebook status messages. Normandy offers a useful reflection on what happens in our minds as we procrastinate and she also invites further discussion and reflection from her readers. Please share your experiences in the comment lines. -Editor

“I’ll have more time tomorrow. Besides, I have some phone calls to make… and I’ve got to run to the store before the weekend. Maybe the right snack would help me focus. Okay, Fig Newton’s were not the right snack, maybe a piece of cheese? I wonder what the weather will be like this week? Checking Facebook….”

These and similar thoughts have been the creation of my procrastinating mind. I have been procrastinating about writing this article for over a month, in fact. Originally, my idea was to write about the impact my yoga practice has had on my spiritual life. Once I realized that I had been procrastinating about the article because I didn’t really want to write on that topic at all, I decided that perhaps a more apt topic for me would be “Dealing with Procrastination”! What has finally brought me to the keyboard was the idea that I could apply spiritual tools to a very mundane, frustrating issue.

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Creating Your Own Reality

Todd Beiswenger leads off a series of three dissertation digests. In the following short essay, Todd gives us a taste of the topic he is exploring for his capstone research and writing project in the Academy of the New Church Theological School (ANCTS, Todd's goal is to uncover what role humans have in manifesting or “creating” their own destinies. In the following two weeks we will hear from two other ANCTS students: Pearse Frazier on Celestial Bliss and Stephen Muires on The Sacred. -Editor

Every love has a purpose. If you understand all this in the right way, you will be able to see the universe as a coherent work from beginning to end, a work holding purposes, means, and results in indissoluble connection. (True Christian Religion 47)

Every now and again, I drive to some familiar place, and ask myself, “How did I get here?” I’ve driven it so many times that the turns, the traffic, and the surroundings are tuned out. I don’t remember hardly a thing about the drive, but nevertheless I made it to my destination. This happens to us as well with our whole life. We have certain mental routines that drive us to various places, often without us remembering why it is we do these things. The fact is there is a reason why we do what we do.

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Normandy is a ceramic artist and she shares her love and insight found in working with clay. She delights in the spiritual discipline of committing to the task in her hands. She offers some photos as proof.

Clay is such a responsive material. Each choice and touch is in some way evident in the finished vessel, from its infancy as a mound of wet clay in my hand, to the finished vessel: glazed, fired, and functioning in the world. The process of making ceramic vessels by hand is rich in metaphors for ourselves and spiritual lives. Even the words potters use to describe a pot relates to our bodies: lip, foot, handle. The vessels of our lives are filled with our desires, relationships and beliefs as surely as the mug in my hand is filled with coffee. With all things, form follows function.

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