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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 spiritual growth (16)


The Future Part 3

Todd concludes his look at life prolonging technology and our desire to control the future. He looks at what could happen if we stopped fearing death, and the peace that comes with relying on God. -Editor.

The last couple weeks we've had a look mostly at Raymond Kurzweil's view of the not-too-distant future. The main theme is robots and technology become a part of us, and we gain the ability to escape death. Kurzweil's future isn't that far off, about 30 years or so, but what if we take a look farther into the future? Then what can we hope for? Funny you should ask, because a man named Robert Monroe, a fellow who I've referenced before in an NCP article ( had a out-of-body experience where he was taken into a potential future for the earth, sometime beyond the year 3000.

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Journey: Walking with the Lord in Song (Mixed Media)

This week we have a song by Nora about journeying through life with the Lord. She shares here about the inspiration for the song and some of the reasons that music is important in her life, and we have a link to her song. -Editor.

While working as a music therapist in a hospice setting, my patients would often ask me why I wanted them to sing with me. They would self-deprecate with a variety of judgments and perceptions about their singing abilities. In reply, I would tell them the truth; that I've tried singing alone and with others, and that nothing brings me more joy than to share music making. As I wrote the song “Journey,” (linked below) I explored the concept of walking through life with the Lord, not on my own, and not letting Him do all the singing.

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Out of Isolation 

Kendall shares this week about a new program designed to make joining a New Church small group easier and more available the world over. Small groups allow people to connect and discuss religion in a more thorough and hands on way than just reading or listening. Kendall explains the new program and the difference it has made in her life. -Editor.

Of the many gifts that the Lord has offered me in my personal spiritual journey, one of the most rewarding has been my discovery of a small community in which I can find truth, connection, and refreshment on a regular basis. My experience attending weekly group meetings with my small community has shown me just how rich and fertile the soil of a group setting can be for spiritual growth.

Not everyone can connect to the groups I attend, as they are limited to those in my immediate geographic area. So I am motivated to share with you an opportunity to plug into a simple program that could support you or someone you know in your spiritual lives.

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Sobriety as a Means to Spiritual Growth VS. Spiritual Growth as a Means to Maintain Sobriety: A Critical Look at Recovery Part 1

Using his life experience and doctrinal study Cortland has come to several thought provoking conclusions about recovery programs and spiritual growth. This week Cortland shares his background and introduces the faults he find with AA and other 12 step programs, and next week will share more about his personal experience with these programs. -Editor.

I would like to start this essay by stating that it took much longer than needed to complete it. I have been stabbed six times, set myself on fire, my mother committed suicide, and I suffered from alcohol addiction for many years, along with a number of other instances of trial and tribulation, and I have no problem writing about any of it with two exceptions. One is that of dealing with the aftermath of being stabbed. The other is that of my experiences with recovery programs and institutions. The reason why I have difficulty writing on this subject is that there is a lot of contempt and animosity for individuals who are considered experts on the subject of recovery along with certain of their beliefs about the recovery process. I do not wish to put forth a scathing account of my experiences because that would be useless, as well as contrary to doctrine. All I can do is look to the Lord and pray that he tempers my hostility (a hostility which has grown over my years of recovery).

When did I first come to the realization that I had a problem with alcohol? When I realized that I like the feeling of being intoxicated better than how it felt to be sober.

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Act As If...

What does acting have to do with your spiritual life? What are the ways the Lord asks us to interact with other people? Drawing on her personal and work experience Justine links three acting fundamentals and New Church teachings to help us understand how we live life from the Lord as if of ourselves -Editor.

The particular details of faith on man’s part are:

1. God is one, in whom is the Divine Trinity, and He is the Lord God the Savior Jesus Christ.

2. Faith leading to salvation is believing in him.

3. Evil actions must not be done because they are the work of the devil and come from him.

4. Good actions must be done because they are the work of God and come from Him.

5. A person must perform these actions as if they were his own, but he must believe they come from the Lord working in him and through him. (True Christian Religion 3, emphasis added)

Human reason may, if it will, perceive and conclude from many things in the world that there is a God, and that He is one. This truth may be confirmed by innumerable testimonies from the visible world; for the universe is like a stage on which are continually being exhibited evidences that there is a God, and that He is one. (True Christian Religion 12)

When teaching a theatre workshop, I often prompt my students to walk around the room and explore how different character types, emotions, and environments affect their movement. There are countless directives to try; act as if you are happy, sad, angry, old, young, cold, or hot. The possibilities of this simple “act as if…” prompt are limitless. We can “act as if…” almost anything using only our bodies, voices, and imaginations—three fundamental acting tools that we all carry with us in everything we do.

The “act as if…” concept extends beyond the realm of traditional theatre.

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Having Fun with Snow and Mud

Managing the mud. Wystan uses very tangible images and experiences of early spring to raise larger reflections on the way life unfolds - often in messy ways. Each phase of season comes with a mixed blessing and a lingering resistance to moving into the challenges of the next. Wystan helps us see this in a broader context through a playful exploration of mud. -Editor.

I am thinking about snow and mud. On the one hand, three plus months of grey skies and wet to icy precipitation falling out of it leave us longing for the sunshine, gardens, outdoor games, and morning walks without a parka that are coming. And warmer temperatures means mud.

During every warming trend this long winter I was reminded of this fact. Every weather shift brought two simultaneous and conflicting emotion: “YES!” and “ohhh noooooo.” Muddy footprints cover the floors, muddy eggs fill the nesting boxes, mud-caked shoes pile up on the porch and are strewn through the hall, muddy drying doggie legs shed dusty sandy stuff in piles all night long.

This morning, as I plowed through my reading for Arcana class, the natural phenomenon of mud banged into a spiritual thought as I read

“A life of faith without love is like sunlight without warmth – the kind of light that occurs in winter, when nothing grows and everything droops and dies.” Arcana Coelestia 34(2)
In winter we have light, sometimes glorious sparkling light, and even some heat from the sun - snow melts even in very cold air temperatures when the sun’s angle is right. But all plant life dies or at least is at stasis. Things don’t grow.

And yet, it strikes me powerfully (as I stare at the floors of my house) how handy it is to have everything frozen up solid, compared to the mud of kinder weather!

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