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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 truth (7)


Affection for Truth 

The Writings teach that truth on its own is not enough. This week Joel uses a few passages from the Bible as well as other ideas from the Writings to look at why we need more than truth to have a complete perspective. -Editor.

Give therefore your servant an understanding heart to judge your people, that I may discern between good and evil: for who is able to judge this great people of yours? (1 Kings 3:9)

Affection for truth makes the church. What is affection for truth? It is loving the truth for its own sake and also because it leads to the good of life. As children we are born with the potential to be truly human, to be wise and loving, but in order to become so it is a long, even a lifetime process. The first step is education: we need to learn knowledge and truth. This is why children are so receptive to soaking up new information like sponges. When we become teenagers we need to develop the rational mind, Ishmael. This first rational is harsh, untempered, but another step along the journey.

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High Stakes

Jasper considers the spiritual risk involved in challenging our beliefs and trying others on for size. How far should one go in search of spiritual integrity? How much should the stakes affect your spiritual decision making? -Editor

A little while ago I saw a problem with the way I was thinking. I didn’t feel like the package of belief that I officially subscribed to was one that I could clearly explain or defend. When challenged to do so—either by a friend or simply by an idea—my responses came up hollow and unconvincing: repetitions of other people’s words or hedging statements that didn’t really address the issue. It’s important that the way I live my life, the way I understand the world, and the things I believe be in alignment and I realized that I needed to reevaluate my beliefs if I wanted to have that integrity.

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One Experience of "The Shack"

Abigail offers a personal response to the novel The Shack. While confounding influences tainted her lasting appreciation of the book, she was uniquely fed by it at a time when she was sincerely hungry. -Editor

I first read The Shack early in 2009. I had been married less than a year, and since getting married my Mom had died, I had miscarried a pregnancy at ten weeks, and I was at a loss as to the direction I was supposed to be heading with my life. Oh, and my husband was in his second year of Theological School, and in the daily practice of examining religious texts and wrestling with doctrine.

I was vulnerable and hurting. He was thinking critically as a theology student. We started the book together, but before long decided that I would continue it on my own. Malcolm couldn’t get past the questions he had about the presented doctrine, especially the presentation of the trinity and the human representation of God that is a major part of the plot. He felt mainly critical about the book, while I felt like it was teaching me things about the Lord and religion that I needed to hear.

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A Church That Appeals to Young People

Sasha shares her perspective on what drives young people to reject religion. She believes the solution lies in our living the religion we embrace with our lips, wedding truth to compassion and forgiveness. -Editor

It seems to me that the passion driving any church is the sense of having a body of truth that the rest of the world needs. Some privileged understanding of who God really is, and what God really wants from us.

So wouldn't it seem natural for young people—who are driven to find something real, true, and just—to feel drawn to churches?

Maybe so. But after talking with many disheartened teenagers who’ve given up on religion, I think it may come down to an essential component they find missing in their church’s message: compassion.

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How I View The Writings Part II

In part two, Coleman addresses what the Writings tell us about themselves. For reasons laid forth below, he takes them at their word. Find the first part here. -Editor.

2.) What do the Writings say about themselves?

Up to this point I’ve been focusing on what the Writings say about reading the Old and New Testaments, since that’s where they have the most to say about how to read revelation from God. But in coming to my current understanding, I also paid a lot of attention to what the Writings say about themselves – the ways they’re similar to the Old and New Testaments, but also the way they’re different.

First of all, as I mentioned, I reached a point in my life where I was convinced that the Writings were true, and I’d take Swedenborg’s word for it when he described what they were. And over and over again, I saw them claiming that they were directly from God. The most well-known passage on this is probably True Christian Religion 779:

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How I View The Writings Part I

In this essay, the first of two, Coleman shares principles for how one might approach the Writings most successfully. He advocates carrying an affirmative attitude toward what the Writings literally say, a watchful eye for weighing the larger messages in scripture against any apparently incongruent truths, and an openness to being found incorrect. -Editor.

In a lot of the discussions that happen on this website, a question arises: how should we read the Writings? I think it’s pretty clear from the discussions that the answer to this fundamental question affects everything else in the way we approach New Church teachings. This article is about my own understanding of the best way to read the Writings; I’m hoping it sparks discussion from lots of other points of view.

For starters: I assume the Writings are true. Why is that? Well, it’s a long story, which I shared in detail on an old blog. In summary, though, I got to the point where I said, “I see the truth in the these books, and it seems to be truer than any other truth I’ve seen before – so I will trust that what they say about themselves is true.” Part of that willingness to make the commitment came from teachings in the Writings themselves: that unless you commit to the truth and start living by it, you’ll never really see the truth in it. The more I live by the teachings of the Writings, especially about repentance, the more truth I see in them.

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