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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 love of the neighbor (6)


What can we hate?

Do you spend time critiquing the people around you? Do they just keep looking worse and worse to you? Judah exposes this attitude for the narrow, self-centered posturing that it is. Look on the world with love! -Editor.

I can’t stand those blind idiots who rant about the self-satisfied fools who condemn judgmental morons for categorically hating bigots (and just between you and me, although I believe that bigots are people too, you know what I think about people…) So I was reading Secrets of Heaven no. 1,079. It’s about Noah, after the flood. The water has gone down, and Noah and his clan have disembarked and thanked God for their deliverance. Life returns to normal. Noah even plants a vineyard and makes some wine, but he overdoes it. Drunk and naked, he is sprawled out in his tent, asleep, when in walks his son, Ham. Ham goes and brings his two brothers, presumably to let them in on the joke. But it’s no laughing matter, as Shem and Japheth are savvy enough to know, and they walk backwards until they’ve draped some clothing over their father’s bare form.

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Love Your Neighbor (yep, even those different than you)

Rather than argue her perspective with quotes from scripture, Michelle urges people to listen deeply to each other and maintain a humble and open mind when discussing homosexuality. While certainty remains out of reach, mutual love and respect must inform the search for it. This is the final entry in our July series on homosexuality. -Editor.

I am sure I’m not alone when I say that I’m still trying to balance my view on homosexuality between its modern cultural context and the authority I give the teachings of the New Church. We are probably the majority out there— wishy-washy about what we believe, or too hesitant to say what we actually believe in fear of offending someone. But the truth is, offense has happened. Feelings have been hurt. People have died over this issue. No matter what conclusion people come to, there is discomfort out there around homosexuality and it’s not going anywhere right now.

Here’s the way I see it: it is fairly evident that homosexuality is not completely orderly or within the parameters of “conjugial love”— procreation the obvious example.

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The Pro-Love Agenda

Dylan's argument for the equal rights of homosexual people stands on the back of the greatest commandment, to love the Lord above all, and the neighbor as oneself. In a world of nuance and division, this message simplifies the terrain and encourages us to enlarge our concept of the human family. This is the second essay in our series on homosexuality -Editor.

I was asked to write a "liberal" response to the idea of homosexuality, a subject that is being debated here as well as many other places in our culture right now. I don't want to do that. I think these two teams have already done a very fine job of establishing their talking points and worldviews by this point, and all the movements, laws, websites and other armaments are firmly institutionalized to support either position. This culture war is already a war of attrition, each side hoping...I don't know, that the other side will be worn down enough that they'll relent and admit intellectual and theological defeat? Or that maybe the issue will just disappear, and all the detractors with it? I doubt most people even have a strategy for how this should all play out. They have strong emotions, and convictions, and that's enough to dig in and swing away - thoughtfully at times, crudely and aggressively at others. Either way, it'll likely fall to our children to settle this debate, mostly by not being interested in it. They'll have the robot uprising to think about after all, and gay rights will be lumped into the "issues my parents fought over" bucket, along with Facebook privacy concerns and lamentations over the death of paper books.

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Come, Preach the Gospel!

Isaac invites all who have received the truth of the Lord's coming to proclaim the good news fearlessly. With the enthusiasm of a biblical prophet, he warns everyone to share what they have or risk losing it. - Editor

Brothers and Sisters, you who have heard and clearly received the message of the Lord’s coming in Power and Glory in the Clouds of Heaven, come! You who are stirred by a zeal to teach and to lead, come share the good news around the world. Stay not behind. Pat each other not on the back and say “Well that we have known.” I say no! Let the gospel burn inside you! Be not ashamed! Be not afraid! Be of good courage and confess the Lord before the nations! He who is ashamed will only receive shame. He who is timid will receive timidity! Fearful and doubting spirits have no part in the New Jerusalem, but are cast alive into the lake of fire. So let us encourage one another in the strength we have from the LORD!

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Celestial Bliss

This is our third dissertation digest. Pearse Frazier (with help from his wife Taryn) give us a little taste of his study on bliss. Pearse helps us understand in simple and real terms what constitutes pleasure or happiness at the different levels of our being. Two weeks ago we featured Todd Beiswenger's disseration digest on Creating Your Own Reality. Last week Stephen Muires shared extracts of his dissertation on The Sacred. -Editor

Many people say they would be happy to just barely make it to the lowest level of heaven—what the teachings for the New Church call the “natural” heaven. The idea of ending up in the highest, “celestial” heaven may seem overly ambitious. Even the term “celestial” is hard to grasp; it sounds nice, but its meaning is ephemeral. Do you really think you’re able to experience celestial bliss, the kind of delight the highest angels feel?

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It Will Not Be So Among You

With excitement and urgency, Isaac Synnestvedt asks the reader to consider the Lord's powerful and present rule in this world and in the lives of all individuals. He considers the difference between useful and destructive loves of ruling. Finally, Isaac leads the reader to consider the amazing blessings in store when we “persist in charity against all odds.” -Editor.

In actual fact heavenly blessedness does not consist in wishing to have dominion and to be served by others but in wishing to serve others and to be the least, as the Lord teaches.... (Arcana Coelestia 6393:2)

Can our love and good works be filled with the glory of the Lord? Yes! if we prepare ourselves and receive Him. Can we shine from our hearts and rule nations and peoples in the presence of the mighty God of the universe? Yes! The nations we will rule are the affections of good flowing in continually from heaven that we will form into beautiful vessels receptive of life according to our art and skill. The peoples we will govern are the tools of thought and reflection that we will use with intelligence and increasing knowledge to shape our offerings of service. This humble rule will be ours as we turn away from any desire to exercise external compulsion of our neighbors' words or actions. We shall inherit our thrones as we decline the invitation to control our neighbors.

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