#FBF: Cincinnatian Eliza Lovell Tibbets & her Orange Utopia

California’s citrus industry owes a huge debt to the introduction of the navel orange tree—in fact, to two trees in particular, the parent trees of the vast groves of navel oranges that exist in California today. Those trees were planted by a woman named Eliza Lovell Tibbets.

Born in Cincinnati in1823, Eliza’s Swedenborgian faith informed her ideals. Surrounded by artists and free thinkers, her personal journey took her first to New York City, then south to create a better environment for newly freed slaves in racially divided Virginia, and onward to Washington, DC, where she campaigned for women’s rights. But it was in California where she left her true mark, launching an agricultural boom that changed the course of California’s history.

Eliza’s story of faith and idealism will appeal to anyone who is curious about US history, women’s rights, abolitionism, Spiritualism, and California’s early pioneer days. Follow Eliza through loves and fortunes lost and found until she finally finds her paradise in a little town called Riverside.

Via www.swedenborg.org

Creating an Orange Utopia

#InternationalWomensDay Dorothea Harvey

Here in the U.S. Rev. Dr. Dorothea Ward Harvey (1922-2010) was the first woman to be ordained in the New Church (Swedenborgian).

In her early life, she was recruited directly from Wellesley University to be a code breaker in WWII, was in WAVES, and did archaeological and biblical research in Jordan and on the Dead Sea Scrolls.

Dr. Harvey got her doctorate from Columbia University and was on the teaching faculty of Lawrence University, Urbana University, Milwaukee Downer College and Wellesley College.

She was the Chair of the Swedenborg House of Studies at the Pacific School of Religion, and a faculty position is named after her. Dorothea was an influential and spiritual woman and through her intelligence, kindness and mentorship helped many along the way.

Relatively Presidential

Are you interested in Presidential History? Check out this article by Francesca McCrossan, Ph.D. And Rev. Dr. James F. Lawrence, about the great grand-uncle of George HW Bush, the first George Bush, and his connections to the New Church.


#Tunesday “With My Own Two Hands” @CinciMUSEchoir

“Out of this sorrowful experience (not being able to speak) I understand more fully all human strivings, thwarted ambitions, and the infinite capacity of hope.”  ~Helen Keller, (Famous Swedenborgian)

“With My Own Two Hands,” written by Ben Harper, and arranged for MUSE, Cincinnati’s Women’s Choir by Steve Milloy.

#FBF, #Cincinnati #Fry #Woodcarving


Fry woodcarvings

The Cincinnati Society of the New Jerusalem was once home to many woodcarvings, done in Cincinnati, by people who were members of the church, “Benn Pitman and the two Frys introduced Cincinnatians to hand-carved, decorated furniture and architectural elements…In the early 1870s the Frys formed a private woodcarving class, initiating the art-furniture movement in the city.” (Howe, Jennifer L., ed. Cincinnati Art Carved Furniture and Interiors. Cincinnati: Ohio University Press. Print.)

Loving Our Neighbor

11-9-17 Love pic

Unselfish acts are the real miracles out of which all the reported miracles grow.
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

From Heaven and Hell, Emanuel Swedenborg (trans. Dole), n. 15):

15. There are two quite distinguishable loves in heaven—love for the Lord and love for our neighbor. Love for the Lord is characteristic of the third or central heaven, while love for our neighbor is characteristic of the second or intermediate heaven. Both come from the Lord, and each one makes a heaven. In heaven’s light, it is easy to see how these two loves differ and how they unite, but this can be seen only dimly in our world. In heaven, “loving the Lord” does not mean loving him for the image he projects but loving the good that comes from him. Further, “loving one’s neighbor” does not mean loving companions for the images they project but loving the truth that comes from the Word. Loving the truth is intending and doing it. We can therefore see that these two loves differ the way “good” and “true” differ and unite the way these two unite.(c)

All this, though, will not conform to the notions of anyone who does not know what love is, what the good is, and what the neighbor is.(d) Loving the Lord and our neighbor means living according to the Lord’s laws: 10143, 10153, 10310, 10578, 10648.

8122. Loving one’s neighbor is not loving the image he or she projects but loving what is within one’s neighbor and is therefore one’s neighbor’s source, namely the good and the true: 5025 [5028], 10336; if people love the individual and not what is within the individual and is therefore the source of the individual, they love the evil as much as the good: 3820; thoughtfulness is intending what is true and being influenced by things true for their own sake: 3876, 3877; thoughtfulness toward one’s neighbor is doing what is good, fair, and honest in every task and in every office: 8120, 8121, 8122.



“The Botany of Desire,” Johnny Appleseed & #RoadTrips

johnny-appleseed-applesJohn Chapman, or Johnny Appleseed as he came to be known, was a missionary for the Swedenborgian Church, pronouncing “Good news, right fresh from heaven.” Along the way he not only planted ideas of a new way to think about Christianity, but apple seeds, which some purport, would’ve resulted in unsweet, inedible apples.  In the documentary and book, “The Botany of Desire: A Plant’s-Eye View of the World,” Michael Pollan discusses John Chapman; referring to him as a “modern-day” Dionysus, the Greek God of wine and merriment. Tart apples, once grown, would’ve been made into alcoholic cider, a safe drinking-water alternative, and popular on the frontier.

He understood he was working for the apples as much as they were working for him. -Michael Pollan.

To get a different perspective on John Chapman’s spiritual goals, the Swedenborgian Foundation interviewed Ray Silverman, who wrote “The Core of Johnny Appleseed: The Unknown Story of a Spiritual Trailblazer”.  Chapman was a shrewd, yet kind businessman who had a love for nature and his fellow human.

Johnny owned at least twelve thousand acres of land and planted numerous nurseries in nineteen counties (in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Indiana). This kind of documentation helps to demonstrate that Johnny was not just a wandering, good-natured vagabond, but rather a skilled businessman and visionary entrepreneur who anticipated people’s needs and filled them. At the same time, it should be remembered that business was not Johnny’s primary love—it was the heavenly doctrines of the New Jerusalem. -Swedenborgian Foundation

You can find out more about Johnny Chapman in Urbana, OH, at the Johnny Appleseed Educational Center and Museum.  There is also a Johnny Appleseed Festival in the town where, John Chapman died: Ft. Wayne, Indiana.  And, in Cincinnati, Ohio, you can see a bench (pew) likely used by Johnny Appleseed during prayer meetings, at the Glendale New Church.