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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 parenting (7)


What are the Priorities in Parenting? 

The most important things in life can easily get lost in the shuffle. The same applies to parenting—in the crazy that is having kids, school events, homework, sports, friends, etc., a parent can easily lose focus on the bigger picture. Derrick offers a re-focusing based on the teachings about parenting found in the Writings. -Editor

Today I am going to offer a few reflections from New Church teachings about parenthood. Since I am a father, my reflections are probably going to lean that direction. But most of my thoughts are going to apply to all parents.

Parenting Is the Highest Priority

From the Lord's perspective, parenting is the most important work you could be doing.

[Marriage's] use excels all other uses in creation, for by marriage is the orderly propagation of the human race and also of the angelic heaven, which is from the human race. (CL 156)
Propogation is a fancy way of saying reproduction. Marriage is the Lord's mechanism for creating more people. And parenting is the Lord's mechanism for getting more angels.

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The third piece in our series on homosexuality is contributed by Lawson Smith. Rather than speaking out against homosexuality directly, Lawson focuses on the creation story and what it means to be created in the image of God, male and female. He draws passages together that suggest that the highest use we can perform in this world would be to raise children who can come to know the Lord and serve Him. -Editor.

Coleman did a very good job introducing this difficult subject. He referred us to a site where we can find several studies from doctrine on it. Dylan brought in a key teaching from the New Testament on love toward the neighbor. Perhaps it would be useful to look through some passages in bite-sized pieces, rather than in the form of an extended dissertation. Here are some reflections on one passage, the creation story.

When we open the Word, the first story is creation. That in itself tells us a lot about who the Lord God is.

On the sixth day, when God created mankind, it says, “And God created man in His [own] image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. And God blessed them, and God said to them, Be fruitful, and multiply…” (Gen. 1:27-28)

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Can She Still Be With Me?

Having had a child after her mother passed away, Abby writes about her struggle to comprehend how connected she and her mother are now and how this may change after her own death. She draws heavily on one of her husband's theological papers which leaves her central question unresolved. Ultimately, though grieving the loss of her mother, she is confident that the Lord is in charge. -Editor

Author's Note

For the last several months I’ve had the idea to write this article about the interaction between people here on earth and their loved ones who have died. Parts of it keep rolling around in my head, but every time I come back to trying to write it I can’t capture really what I am trying to say. A year ago my husband wrote a paper about whether or not people recognize each other after death for one of his theological school classes. This paper says a lot of the things that I have been wanting to say. So I thought that rather than essentially plagiarizing his paper I would just include chunks of it with my thoughts interspersed. The sections from Malcolm's paper are in block quotes, and the long quotes within the quotes from the paper are in italics. If you'd like to read the whole thing, here it is: “Why People Do or Do Not Recognize Each Other After Death” (PDF).

Can She Still Be With Me?

Just over two years ago my Mom died. She had cancer and had been sick for many years, so in a lot of ways it was a relief when she died. But that doesn’t change the fact that I miss her.

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Snap-Shots of Marriage

In one of her recent, daily "Marriage Moats," Lori Odhner responds to the mystery and questions prompted by Caleb Kerr's photography. In thinking about stories told by photographs, Lori shares her growing view of marriage and its dynamic nature. -Editor

My personal feelings about photography have changed. Drastically.

I used to want only photos of my own children, clean, cute, and facing the camera. Now I think that is vanilla. Pictures like that mark the end of a scene... the one in which I struggled to comb and coax, lick stray strands into place, and hush rebellion into submission. Ta-da. Click.

Not only that, I was incredibly ego centric. I wanted the snapshots to tell about my progeny, and how they reflected well on me.

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Skinned Knees and Hurt Feelings Build Character

One of the things Chad does is raise children. Here he shares an anecdote of hiking up a mountain with his kids. Through analogy, and reference to the work Divine Providence, Chad explores ideas about the Divine perspective when caring for His Human children. This essay comes across as humorous and light hearted while conveying satisfyingly grounded philosophical conclusions. -Editor

Lately I have been thinking about the Lord as the Perfect Parent and Divine Providence as His consistent implementation of a flawless parenting philosophy based on the everlasting mercy of His Divine Love and Wisdom! I like this approach because it helps me think of Him in a more intimate way: He is the Person who has been in my life from the very beginning, making things work and loving me unconditionally—rather than my boss, or my coach, or my best buddy or some of the other perfectly acceptable ways of thinking about God. What I like best about this concept of the Lord is that, being a parent myself, it helps me: understand the limited nature of my own freedom; recognize some of the ways that the Lord is raising me toward heaven; and accept that I cannot grow up to be an angel unless the Lord lets me learn from my own mistakes and the mistakes of others.

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Feeling Complete

Janine draws on practical examples and passages from the Word to illustrate her quest for peacefulness. She paints an all-to-familiar picture of the obsessive energy of trying to get everything right before the peace and enjoyment in life can be experienced. Is she trying too hard? Is she not trying hard enough? Janine asks herself, she asks the Lord in His Word and the reader is challenged to look at the same questions.

These days I have a thought lodged in the back of my head that goes like this: “Have I experienced this (fill-in-the-blank) enough to feel totally satisfied?” Or maybe it sounds like: “Have my needs been met enough for me to move on from this and meet other people's needs now?” Let me fill this in with some examples. I am out for a walk and I have a fear that if I don't walk long enough I will feel a little cheated of personal time, so as I walk I think, “Is this far enough yet so that I can let it go? Did I get all the exercise I need so I can move on to something else?” In another example, I am eating a meal and I don't want to stop until I feel totally satisfied. I don't want to overeat either, but I just don't want to leave the table at all hungry, because if I do, my mind will be half distracted by feeling hungry instead of having a feeling of completion about the meal and a willingness to move onto the next thing.

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