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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 other religions (8)


Other Revelations

Stephen brings our attention to how the Lord is revealing himself to us, and to others, in the present. He challenges the notion that the Bible and Swedenborg's writings are the exclusive and static emanations of a God who only wanted to speak twice. The water is still moving under the bridge. -Editor.

This is a New Church perspective on other revelations. Other revelations meaning: revelations from God through human beings other than those who wrote down the Bible and the Heavenly Doctrines.

The great thing about the New Church doctrines is that they allow for the validity of other religions and place all value in the embodiment of faith through action, good will and love.

But what about revelations? Don’t we consider the Word, including the Writings of Swedenborg, as the Divine Truth? We do. And sometimes those words “Divine Truth” get to have overtones that make it sound like “Final Truth,” or even “the Only Truth.” But that would be ridiculous, don’t you agree? That would be similar to asserting that the Hindu, Muslim or Native American religions are invalid, and they are not.

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What do We have in Common with Other Christians?

By focussing his attention on what the New Church shares with other Christian denominations Solomon augments a sense of oneness, a sense that we are all part of Lord's church on earth. - Editor

Sometimes it seems like we spend a lot of time distinguishing ourselves from other Christian churches, and in the process we end up distinguishing ourselves from other Christian people, almost as if we were somehow better people. I think this is a bit like eating of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil; believing that we know better than other people.

Swedenborg has some great things to say about this

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The Swedenborgian Asterisk: A Drag-in's Tale

Lauren Dale Anderson uses an author's note to explain the motivation for her project (below). Lauren offers the reader a window into her experience of coming into contact with members of the organized New Church. With humor and insight she illustrates some of the gaps in understanding, language and culture between New Church Christians and non-New Church Christians. Lauren warmly encourages reader feedback in her ongoing effort to gather perspectives on the New Church. -Editor

Author's Note

This is the introduction to a book that is yet to be birthed from the folds of my mind and reading notes. I got the idea for it a few months ago on one of my many plane trips around the country and wrote the introduction and a brief purpose/outline, both of which I share with you below.

I had meant to keep this under wraps, afraid of what the response to it might be, until I had developed more of the text.

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Malcolm Smith unpacks the meaning of "Namaste" and asks whether "the divine within me, honoring the divine within you" is a doctrinally sound concept through a New Church lens. -Editor

In India and Nepal the traditional greeting is to say, “Namaste” and bow slightly to the other person with your hands pressed together in front of your chest. In Sanskrit, namaste literally means simply “I bow to you,” but this simple phrase has also been invested with many other meanings. For example, “I honor the Spirit in you which is also in me” and “That which is of God in me greets that which is of God in you.” The authors of the Wikipedia article on namaste argue that it’s just the equivalent of “how do you do you?” and it’s not accurate to say that it means these things.

In recent times the term “namaste” has come to be especially associated with yoga, spirituality and meditation in the United States, Europe and Australia. In this context, it has been redeployed in terms of a multitude of very complicated and florid new meanings which do not tie in with original meaning or etymologically sound analyses of the word.

However, regardless of whether it is accurate to say that namaste means these things, the idea of that which is of God in me honoring that which is of God in another person is out there and I want to examine this idea from the perspective of some New Church teachings.

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Dating “Outside” the Church

In this article Garrett Smith explores his changing attitude toward dating "outside" of the New Church. Like Meryl Cowley a couple weeks ago in Spirituality in Relationships, Garrett concludes that spanning differences of religious background with romantic interest offers some unique benefits as well as challenges. - Editor

So… who am I, and what does dating “outside” the church mean? First, a little background:

I grew up in about as New Church a family as they come. As a preacher’s kid, I had the privilege of living the gypsy-esque lifestyle that is normal for any preacher’s family—in our case moving from Mitchellville, MD to Westville, South Africa before finally ending up in Kempton, PA. Through these moves, the New Church was always strong focus in our day-to-day life and I remember that our family had worship most weeknights at home and went to church pretty much every Sunday. (Religiously you might even say.)

For schooling, all three of my older brothers ended up going to “normal”, public schools—although they might disagree with calling the uniformed, British, all-boys, public high school that they went to, “normal”. I on the other hand managed to skip public school all together. Through careful planning started as a 5-year-old, I managed to go from Washington New Church School to Kainon New Church School to Kempton New Church School to The Academy of the New Church finally ending up at Bryn Athyn College of the New Church for freshman and sophomore year of college. (You may notice a common suffix to all of these school titles.)

With religion classes standard in the curriculums of all of the above, I mention my schooling only as a preface to illustrate the pervasiveness of New Church teachings that I was exposed to by the end of sophomore year in college. The specific doctrine relevant to this particular story is that by this stage I was very familiar with was: you should not marry outside of the church. The very reasonable reason for this being that having the same religion is the most important criteria to be sure of when getting married. This being the case, it’s probably best to not even date outside of the church.

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Spirituality in Relationships

Meryl and her husband Diogo both come from deeply spiritual backgrounds but the shared elements of spirituality between were not necessarily what she expected while growing up. In this article Meryl explores her evolving understanding of what it means to have spiritual alignment with another person. -Editor

What does it mean to share a spiritual vision with your partner? As a person raised in the New Church, I grew up hearing about conjugial love and the importance of finding somebody who shares your beliefs. As a child, this meant to me that New Church people would naturally marry other people in the New Church, since they shared this special connection to Swedenborg and his wonderful teachings. I remember once overhearing my parents talking about a woman that we knew who was struggling in her marriage. I asked what they were talking about, and they said that it was a great source of sadness to this individual that her husband showed no interest in the New Church, and did not want to come to church services with her. I found this hard to believe. “How could you fall in love with someone who didn't like the same things you like?” I asked them. They smiled a knowing smile and told me that it happens to lots of people. That stuck with me for a long time. I was determined that I wouldn't end up like that woman, but how could I be sure? What did it really mean to be spiritually aligned with your partner?

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