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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 money (2)


The New Church, Money, and a World Full of Endless Need Part 2

Where have we come from and where are we going? Last week Joel looked back at some of the history of Bryn Athyn and the General Church of the New Jerusalem. Today he looks to the future—to what he sees we can do moving forward. -Editor.

Part 2: Where the World is and What It Needs

So if the money has allowed Bryn Athyn to become what it is today, what is up with the rest of the world? The short answer, from what I can tell, is vastation as far as the eye can see. Vastation is the dying of the old to make way for the new. In the long term, it is actually a beautiful process. In the short term, it is always very painful. In this sense, it is exactly the same whether we talk about the collective states that society and churches go through, or the individual states that we go through in our own lives. When we are going through a temptation, vastation, or spiritual trial it is brutal. And the Writings tell us that these spiritual processes must run their course, even to despair. It is only later, looking back, when we can clearly see that old lower things in us needed to die in order that new higher things in us could be born. So in the big picture of the long term the world is also moving toward heat and light, love and enlightenment. But it cannot get there without going through pain and shadows.

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The New Church, Money, and a World Full of Endless Need Part 1

Sometimes we can learn how to move forward by looking back at where we've come from. Joel looks back at the history of the General Church of the New Jerusalem and its founding families in Bryn Athyn, PA. By looking at the origins of the organization Joel looks to the future, proposing some ideas about how to keep things moving forward. -Editor.

Part 1: Where We Are and How We Got Here

Let’s talk about something that people don’t seem to like to talk about, at least not in public – the New Church and money. The tradition I grew up in, the General Church of the New Jerusalem and the town of Bryn Athyn, is, by any objective measure, quite wealthy. The history is quite telling. Bryn Athyn, the General Church, and the Academy were founded as a utopian town, church, and school system at the end of the 19th century thanks to the largesse and generosity of John Pitcairn. For a long time the Pitcairn family continued to exert a large degree of control over the town and church in a sort of benevolent feudal way. These were of course different times, times when class was more distinct in an America still living in Old World shadows -- time when noble minded patricians were expected to bridge the gap between rich and poor, between the aristocrats and the laboring classes, by acts of civic minded giving. So while the so called “robber barons” made enormous fortunes off the backs of immigrant labor, special access to land and resources, and elite clubby connections -- men like Vanderbilt, Rockefeller, Hearst, and Pitcairn -- they also built parks, endowed schools, and funded all kinds of public projects.

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