The Answers to All Your Questions

I've added a Frequently Asked Questions page to the blog! It's currently not showing up in the tabs, but hopefully that will be fixed shortly. For now, you can think of this link as providing super classified access to top secret information.(Image copyright: convisum / 123RF Stock Photo) … [Read More...]

The Best Things: The Kempton Project

(See previous Best Things here.) This week’s Best Thing might not be particularly relevant for anyone with only a passing interest in Swedenborg, but for anyone wanting to dig deeper into New Church interpretation of Scripture, it’s indispensable. The Kempton Project: What is it? The Kempton Project itself is an effort to create a faithful translation of the Old and New Testaments guided by New Church doctrinal principles. The New Church has a fairly unusual position on Scripture: we believe th … [Read More...]

Small-town Faith Comes to Broadway in “Come From Away”

Scene: a frightened man from Africa on a bus with his wife in rural Newfoundland, being taken to who-knows-where from a plane that landed far from its destination. They come to a camp full of people in military uniforms. The bus driver stops, and motions for the passengers to get off the bus. The man doesn't move. He does not understand the bus driver's language. He does not trust him. And then the bus driver points to the Bible that the man's wife is clutching. She hands it to him nervously. He … [Read More...]

120 Years of a Swedenborgian “Benedict Option”

Rod Dreher’s long-awaited book The Benedict Option was released on Tuesday, and it’s already sparking spirited debate among various Christian readers. My copy of the book just arrived, and I’m hoping to explore in further posts what the New Church can learn from the Benedict Option. For this post, though, I want to talk instead about what the Benedict Option can learn from the New Church. What is the Benedict Option? In simplest terms, the "Benedict Option" is a decision by Christians to find t … [Read More...]

Why I Don’t Say “Swedenborg Says…”

One of my first posts on Patheos was about a conundrum Swedenborgians face - what to call ourselves (Swedenborgians, New Churchmen and Women, New Christians, etc.). Today I’m writing about a similar challenge, but one that goes a little deeper - namely, how to refer to the theological works penned and published by Emanuel Swedenborg. The many names for Swedenborg’s theological corpus There are lots of different ways to refer to these works. Growing up in the General Church of the New Jeru … [Read More...]

The Best Things: Swedenborg Foundation Videos and Blogs

This is the second in my “Best Things” feature, where I highlight things from online or elsewhere that I think are awesome but that aren’t particularly well-known. This week’s entry is actually kind of cheating - it’s three things for the price of one. Off the Left Eye webcasts and videos If you’re looking for a video-based introduction to Swedenborg, there is no better place to start than the work of Curtis Childs and his “Off the Left Eye” team, sponsored by the Swedenborg Foundation (they ex … [Read More...]

Family First or Vocation First? A New Church Challenge

Life is starting to get back to normal, although we’re still not sure what normal will mean for the immediate future. It was almost a year ago now that Anne underwent the fateful surgery that revealed her cancer. She had surgery again for treatment in July. We haven’t put any updates on our family blog in a few months now - sorry! - but she’s doing fairly well. Recent scans haven't revealed any visible disease (we know she has microscopic tumors). She does have daily bouts of intense abdominal pa … [Read More...]

Does the Trinity Matter? A Swedenborgian View of The Shack

Note: All opinions expressed on this blog are my own and do not necessarily express the stance of the General Church of the New Jerusalem or any other organization.I went to see The Shack, a new movie based on the runaway bestselling Christian novel, intending to watch it from a dispassionate theological perspective - critique its view of the Trinity, maybe, and explore its theology of suffering. But early on I found myself being drawn into a story that hit me viscerally, in ways both good an … [Read More...]

The Best Things: Marriage Moats

I’m starting a new regular feature on the blog that I’m calling “The Best Things,” highlighting some of the best things that I’ve come across online (and maybe in print / elsewhere) that aren’t as widely known as I think they should be. First up: Lori Odhner’s “Marriage Moats.”Marriage Moats: Daily Stories about Chickens, Children, and Making Marriage Work Lori describes “marriage moats” this way:These are small doses of hope couched in stories about chickens and children and carrots. … [Read More...]

“Repent” Does Not Mean “Wallow in Self-loathing”: An Ash Wednesday Reflection.

Ash Wednesday is a day of self-examination and repentance, the beginning of the season of Lent. My denomination doesn’t tend to formally observe the day, but Anne and I like the ritual and symbolism of it, and we’ll be having a short service with ashes with our family at home.The ritual of putting ashes on the forehead echoes the more elaborate ancient mourning rituals of wearing sackcloth and rolling in the ashes. These, too, were symbols of repentance. From Arcana Coelestia: As being clo … [Read More...]