Friday, May 29, 2009

A Good Explanation of the Reason for Having a Priesthood

At the ordination service this past Sunday, Rev. Andy Dibb, dean of the Academy of the New Church Theological School, gave a great sermon about the priesthood. Why are priests necessary? What can they do? What can they not do?

I really liked the readings he chose from Malachi 2, Matthew 10, and Divine Providence 154 and 171. And, in the sermon, I thought he did a good job of explaining the background information necessary for understanding why priests are needed.

Listen to the sermon, "The Salvation of Souls", online at the new New Church Audio web site or download it from there and listen to it on your MP3 player.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Wayfarer's Chapel Appears in Sprint Commercial

The Wayfarer's Chapel (www.wayfarerschapel.org), which belongs to the Swedenborgian Church (swedenborg.org), was used in a Sprint commercial, "What if film crews ran the world?"

Web Sites for New Church Summer Camps

There are a bunch of New Church camps that happen during the summer. The new NewChurch.org has a Camps & Retreats page that has information about a lot of them and links to their various web sites.

The camps happening this summer include Laurel Family Camp (www.laurelcamp.org), Jacob's Creek Family Camp (www.geocities.com/jcfamilycamp/index.html), British Academy Summer School (www.newchurchuk.org/bass/bass.php), and several others.

This page only includes information about General Church camps. Is anyone aware of any information online about other New Church camps?

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Cool Stuff Having to Do with Arcana Coelestia

When Swedenborg published volume 1 of Arcana Coelestia it was listed in the Gentleman's Monthly Intelligencer. This was the first advertisement for any book of the Writings. There's an online archive of the Gentleman's Monthly Intelligencer or London Magazine, as it was later called. You can see the first listing of Arcana Coelestia here. I know that other advertisements and letters about Swedenborg and his works were also published in this magazine; let me know if you find any of them.

Volume 1 didn't sell well (see Spiritual Experiences 4422). So Swedenborg decided to publish volume 2 of it, chapter by chapter, in English and in Latin.

When the first chapter of volume 2 was published, Swedenborg's English publisher, John Lewis, wrote a fascinating letter about it to be published in the Daily Advertiser. You can read this letter on pp492-497 of Documents Concerning the Life and Character of Emanuel Swedenborg by R.L. Tafel, which can be found online in Google Book Search.

You can download a PDF of a scan of the 1750 English translation of chapter 16 of Arcana Coelestia—a 100dpi version (6MB) or a 200dpi version (12MB). This translation was by John Marchant, who later also translated Brief Exposition. It's fun to look at this translation to see how it was laid out and how the Latin was translated back then. Rev. Jonathan Rose, series editor of the New Century Edition and translator of True Christian Religion, told me that he thinks the translation is good—"lively and in real English." (The PDF is provided by the Lord's New Church (www.thelordsnewchurch.com). They have other Free Swedenborg Books Online on their web site, in English, Dutch, Croatian, and Latin.)

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

New New Church Audio Web Site

The new New Church Audio site (www.newchurchaudio.org) launched yesterday. Like the new Vineyard site it has a bunch of categories to pick from, right on the homepage. If you're just looking for sermons on a given topic, click the "Worship Services Only" check box on the search results page to filter out weddings, funerals etc.

There's a form on the upper left corner of the page to help you find recordings. You can now filter by topic and can also say that you want results recorded before or after a certain date, or between certain dates.

Some of the recordings now have descriptions (for example) and better cross linking so that when you're listening to one sermon it just takes one click to find more sermons by that minister or preached in that location.

Because the site is brand new there are a couple of things that still need to be ironed out.
  • The "Request this event be made available for sale." link doesn't work.
  • Though on the About page it says that many of the recordings are available for downloading, there is no obvious way to do this.
  • Certain recordings are separated into separate tracks for hymns, lessons, and sermon (for example). Currently, clicking on a later track does not play that later track.
I also have 2 suggestions/hopes for the site (which they may be working on implementing or have chosen not to do).
  • It would be awesome if it would be possible to download/subscribe to different sermon feeds (by minister or location) as podcasts.
  • It would be cool if there were a "Share this sermon" link or button to make it easy for people to recommend a sermon to their friends by email or on Facebook.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Keep Up to Date with New Church Live

If you're wondering what New Church Live is or what they're doing these days, there are a couple of new ways to get information.

They have a Facebook profile. You can access that here if you don't have a Facebook account. There are 3 videos there—a welcome video from the new pastor, Rev. Chuck Blair and 2 promos/advertisements. There are also details about an upcoming event on May 31st and you can ask any questions you have by posting them on the Wall.

You can also follow New Church Live on Twitter.

New Web Site for the Swedenborg Foundation

The Swedenborg Foundation (swedenborg.com) has a new web site. I'm not sure when it launched but the new site is much lighter, better looking, and easier to navigate than the old one.

On their site you can, of course, find their bookstore; but you can also find their mission statement, annual report (PDF), and an archive of their newsletter, Logos, back to 2001. They also have a news page which currently includes a short piece about the 2008 Nobel Prize for Literature winner voicing his admiration for Swedenborg.

New Web Site for the Sunday Night Thing

The Sunday Night Thing now has a web site, sundaynightthing.org. What is the Sunday Night Thing? Ah, well you can now read about it on the About page. The most exciting thing, though, is that you can also listen to some past services now on the Audio page.

Just this morning I put up recordings of Rev. Eric Carswell's talk about different responses we can have to evil and Rev. Lou Synnestvedt's talk about worry. Eric talked about trying to integrate statements like "I will fear no evil; for You are with me...." (Psalm 23), on the one hand, and teachings like "Everyone is regenerated by abstaining from sinful evils, and shunning them as anyone would on seeing the hordes of hell seeking with torches in their hands to attack him and to throw him upon a pyre" (True Christian Religion 510), on the other. And Lou talked about understanding feelings of worry as the influence of the spirits that are with us and dealing with worry by working on believing in the visible God (see True Christian Religion 339:3). Good stuff.

A Great Mother's Day Sermon

Rev. John Odhner gave a really interesting and useful sermon yesterday on "The Wisdom of Woman". He talked about Jehovah's words to Abraham, "Whatever Sarah has said to you, listen to her voice..." (Genesis 21:12) and about the teachings from Conjugial Love about how the wisdom of women exceeds that of men (e.g. Conjugial Love 208), and about how contempt destroys relationships.

It was "choir Sunday" so there's lots of singing in the recording of the service. If you want to just listen to the lessons and sermon, jump to 24:48 for the lessons and 40:31 for the sermon.

Friday, May 8, 2009

New Web Site for the New Church in Canada

The General Church of the New Jerusalem in Canada has a new, pretty fancy looking web site, www.newchurch.ca.

I haven't done much poking around their site but the FAQ page looks interesting and they have a bunch of pages under beliefs.

A Neuropsychologist's Reflections on Perception

"I Won't Believe It Until I See It" is the title of a fun post about perception by Dr. Karen, a psychologist with expertise in clinical neuropsychology who reads the Writings. She brings in a video of people passing basketballs, a quote from a sermon by Rev. Mike Gladish, Arcana Coelestia 5881, and some brain research. Enjoy!

It looks like Dr. Karen has some other interesting posts on her blog, Psychology of Swedenborg. Let me know if you read any of the other posts and recommend them.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Listen to Brother Miller's Radio Show Online

Back in March I alerted you to the fact that the Church of Truth has a web site. However, I've heard that, if you really want to experience the message of the Church of Truth, you need to listen to their radio show. Rev. Jonathan Rose just sent me instructions about how to do that:
Brother Miller's show starts at 6:30pm on Saturdays. It usually runs for an hour, but the second Saturday it runs for two and a half hours. The address is www.myspace.com/1240wllv. If the system is working correctly (which is most of the time) you should hear a brief burst of sound as soon as you go to the site, then twenty seconds of silence, followed by continuous sound. That silence is a function of the 20-second delay the radio station puts on the signal, apparently.