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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 holy (2)


A Study of the Sacred

For his capstone dissertation work in the Academy of the New Church Theological School (, Stephen Muires is studying the nature and process of the sacred. Included here is a brief abstract in which Stephen introduces the reader to the motivation which propelled him into this study and one section from his dissertation entitled “Relation Between Holiness and Our Life.” This is the second theological school dissertation digest. Last week Todd Beiswenger shared a little of his work on Creating Your Own Reality. Next week we hear from Pearse Frazier about the nature of Celestial Bliss. -Editor


The topic of my dissertation is holiness, or the Sacred. Why holiness? Because I am interested in the experience of religion, not just the understanding of religion. Holiness implicitly has an experiential side. Holiness is where meaning and value become obvious, without needing arguments as proof.

The topic has within it a development, moving from what is ordinary, given and part of the order of creation to the purpose, goal and process of human life. There is a movement from a state of holiness in objects and places, to a becoming or growing in holiness. This is also a movement from an external to a more and more internal reality.

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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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