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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 use (6)


“The Ball Is In Your Court”

Peter has taken three essential concepts of the New Church—love, wisdom and use—and condensed each one into a strong statement of purpose. They illuminate the role we must play as individuals in cooperating with the Lord and His providence. -Editor.

One of the things that has always struck me about the teachings of the New Church is the significant role the Lord gives us in charting our own destiny. Not only is this true in the big picture of our lives, namely whether we choose to live in heaven or in hell, it is also true of so many facets of the life we live along the way. We are called to obey the Lord’s teachings, to repent of certain things, to be life-long students of the Lord’s Word, to believe in the Lord and trust in His providence, to seek enlightenment, to pray, to engage in worship, to be useful, to care for one another, and to figure things out for ourselves. It’s true that the Lord’s part will always be larger than our own, and that we are called to acknowledge that we don’t do anything good without His help, but there is no doubt that He has set up the system in such a way that requires our engagement. There are three phrases that I’ve discovered which now serve as a consistent reminder of this theme of “doing my part.” One came in the context of marriage, one arose out of a mental exercise I was asked to engage in, and the third came out of my pastoral work.

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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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Andy Dibb and "The Calling"

In this episode, Pearse interviews the Rev. Dr. Andrew Dibb, Dean of the Bryn Athyn College Theological School, about the calling to the priesthood. Andy describes his own calling to the ministry and discusses the qualities he looks for in a potential candidate. More generally, Pearse and Andy examine the calling someone can feel to any occupation. How do we know what we're supposed to be doing with our lives?

Andy Dibb and the Calling


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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We, Distinct from Our Teachings

Derek challenges the reader to examine the dissonance between actual teachings in the church, the culture surrounding it and the community of believers by looking at three pertinent examples. He argues that we are often not clear enough about what mean when we use the term “church.” Through an exploration of the teachings about acceptance, use and marriage, Derek seeks to start a conversation in which people learn to see what is taught in distinction from what is culturally absorbed. -Editor

Consider this: when you think about the New Church, when you comment on it or complain about it, when you praise it or when you hate it, to what specific reference point is your action directed? In other words, what is the object of your complaint, praise, or thought? Is it the people in the community around you? Is it the doctrine itself? Is it an interpretation of that doctrine? Often the concept of the New Church is lumped into a conglomerate whole and we fail to challenge ourselves to define and delineate its separate aspects. In my view, there are three primary components of the Church: the teachings, the organization, and the culture. As people of the larger New Church society, we need to recognize these as distinct elements in order to build a healthier community, and ultimately, to better align them.

Think: where do they not align? Where has a cultural trend supplanted a doctrinal teaching? In such an instance, would we even be aware of the shift, or in our oversimplification of the definition would we be blind to the difference? Let’s take a closer look at how this pertains to a few specific and fundamental New Church principles: acceptance, use, and marriage.

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Protecting Ideals and the Reality of the World in which We Live 

From a mother's perspective, Stephanie asks the hard questions about balancing ideals with the challenges of reality. Stephanie is insightful and penetrating in her questions but remains gentle in her conclusions as she acknowledges how difficult and personal the struggle is for each person trying to make the best choices she can. -Editor

The New Church offers beautiful teachings with unadulterated ideals about marriage. Something I struggle with is how to hold and protect these precious, perfect ideals I've been privy to have an awareness of, and how to love and accept myself and others in our imperfect states and world. Specifically, I struggle with the ideals of conjugial love and the myriad ways in which it is adulterated. Some questions that arise in my mind include relationships outside of marriage (including homosexuality, cohabitation, pre-marital sexual relationships, open relationships, etc.), the spectrum of the presence of mothers, and the roles and specific duties of men and women within marriages.

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