#ThursdayTheology: Thoughts and Feelings @offTheLeftEye

An illustration of a person with brown hair and a white halo ring around their head.

“When thoughts together with feelings diffuse themselves, they circulate almost according to the form of the folds of gray matter in the human brain.” —Emanuel #Swedenborg, Secrets of #Heaven 6607 @offTheLeftEye

3 Steps to Start a New Life

1) Repentence 2) Reformation 3) Regeneration

But what do these mean, really? Here’s what we find on Swedenborg.org


Swedenborg is careful to emphasize that “repentance,” as he defines it, doesn’t just mean confessing our sins, being forgiven, and then forgetting about it and going right back to what we were doing before. In order to truly repent, we need to change our ways.

He lists four steps in this process:

1. Examine ourselves.

We have to start by looking not only at our actions, but our motives. This doesn’t just apply to obvious sins, like theft or adultery, but also to the things we think about and dwell upon in everyday life. Have we been selfish? Egotistical? Unkind? Dishonest? Have we harbored resentments and nursed grudges when we should have been more forgiving? Have we openly or secretly controlled and manipulated others when we should have shown respect for their freedom and individuality? In declaring this as the first step in the regeneration process, Swedenborg anticipated the “searching and fearless moral inventory” of the twelve-step movement by two hundred years!

2. Recognize and admit our sins.

“Sin” can mean different things to different people. When Swedenborg talks about sin, he’s usually referring to the sins listed in the Ten Commandments (murder, adultery, stealing, and lying, for example). These are the sins that prevent us from loving our neighbor—that is, loving others in general. It’s obvious that anyone who murders, steals from, or lies to their neighbor is not acting in a loving way. But when these sins are removed, the way is opened for God to flow in with genuine love for others.

Swedenborg says that if we want to be regenerated, we have to want to manifest God’s love in the world. That’s why this step is so important. When we know what kind of a person we truly want to be, we need to recognize that we have not been acting in ways that are consistent with our highest aspirations. This is what Swedenborg means when he says that this second step is to recognize and admit our sins. We do this because we want to be better people.

3. Pray to the Lord.

An important part of this step is admitting that we need help. Ever tried to kick a bad habit? Go on a strict diet? It’s not easy. Sometimes we may experience success; at other times we find ourselves right back where we started. Much more difficult is removing those deeply ingrained traits, habits, patterns, and attitudes that prevent us from realizing our true inner nature. The removal of everything that stands in the way of our becoming fully human, loving, and wise is much more than we can handle by ourselves. That’s why Swedenborg says we need to ask God for help.

4. Begin a new life

. This is the hardest part—we have to put our intention into practice. It’s all right if we don’t always succeed, as long as we learn from our mistakes. The important thing is that we never stop trying to do better.

It’s important to remember that this part of the process does not end with prayer. It begins with prayer. After prayer, we must do all we can to work towards the spiritual goals we have set for ourselves. We must, of course, believe that God is working the miracle of inner change within us. But we must also believe that it cannot happen without our cooperation and do the necessary work. Our real efforts become the fulfillment of our prayers.

In the following passage, Swedenborg talks about many of the things we have mentioned in the first three steps. He concludes by reminding us how easy it is to read and believe these things, and yet, how hard it is to do them:

It is amazing but true that it is easy for any of us to rebuke someone else who is intending to do evil and say, ‘Don’t do that—that’s a sin!’ And yet it is difficult for us to say the same thing to ourselves. The reason is that saying it to ourselves requires a movement of the will, but saying it to someone else requires only a low level of thought based on things we have heard. . . .

All people who do good actions as a religious practice avoid actual evils. It is extremely rare, though, that people reflect on the inner realms that belong to their will. They suppose that because they are involved in good actions they are not involved in evil actions, and even that their goodness covers up their evil.

But, my friend, to abstain from evils is the first step in gaining goodwill. The Word teaches this. The Ten Commandments teach it. Baptism teaches it. The Holy Supper teaches it.

Reason, too, teaches it. How could any of us escape from our evils or drive them away without ever taking a look at ourselves? How can our goodness become truly good without being inwardly purified?

I know that all devout people and also all people of sound reason who read this will nod and see it as genuine truth; yet even so, only a few people are going to do what it says. (True Christianity #535)

Read what the next two steps meant according to Emanuel Swedenborg Via Swedenborg.org  according to Swedenborg.

#ThursdayTheology: Did we miss The Last Judgment?

Read more to get Swedenborg’s view on the Last Judgment and how he interprets The Word. You can also watch Swedenborg and Life‘s piece on The Last Judgment.

It has been granted to me to see with my own eyes, that the Last Judgment is now accomplished; that the evil are cast into the hells, and the good elevated into heaven, and thus that all things are reduced into order, the spiritual equilibrium between good and evil, or between heaven and hell, being thence restored…It was granted to me to see all these things with my own eyes, in order that I might be able to testify of them. This Last Judgment was commenced in the beginning of the year 1757, and was fully accomplished at the end of that year {Swedenborg, LJ, No 45).

Those who have not known the spiritual sense of the Word, have understood that everything in the visible world will be destroyed in the day of the Last Judgment; for it is said, that heaven and earth are then to perish, and that God will create a New Heaven and a New Earth. In this opinion they have also confirmed themselves because it is said, that all are then to rise from their graves, and that the good are then to be separated from the evil, with more to the same purport. But it is thus said in the sense of the letter of the Word, because the sense of the letter of the Word is natural, and in the ultimate of Divine order, where each and every part contains a spiritual sense within it. For which reason, he who comprehends the Word only according to the sense of the letter, may be led into various opinions, as indeed has been the case in the Christian world, where so many heresies have thus arisen, and every one of them is confirmed from the Word. But since no one has hitherto known, that in the whole and in every part of the Word there is a spiritual sense, nor even what the spiritual sense is, therefore they who have embraced this opinion concerning the Last Judgment are excusable. But still they may now know, that neither the visible heaven nor the habitable earth will perish, but that both will endure; and that by “the New Heaven and the New Earth” is meant a New Church, both in the heavens and on the earth. It is said a New Church in the heavens, for there is a church in the heavens, as well as on the earth; for there also is the Word, and likewise preachings, and Divine worship as on the earth; but with a difference, that there all things are in a more perfect state, because there they are not in the natural world, but in the spiritual; hence all there are spiritual men, and not natural as they were in the world. That it is so, may be seen in the work on Heaven, in a special article there, on the Conjunction of Heaven with man by the Word (n. 303-310); and on Divine Worship in Heaven (n. 221-227).


#CincinnatiSpirituality @Meetup tonight 7pm #Glendale

ABiXe3Dw.jpgAt 7 pm, April 2, 2018, we will meet for our once-a-month Meetup group at the Glendale New Church; 845 Congress Avenue. We will discuss spirituality while sharing food and drinks. Food and drink is complementary. Program lasts approx 1.5 – 2 hrs. Stay for what you can. We welcome you!

#MindfulMonday: Add this Meetup on Happiness

Put it in your calendar! February 5 is our next Meetup on the topic of Happiness. We will watch a clip from Swedenborg and Life and discuss. Food and wine will be shared. 7 pm. Glendale New Church, 845 Congress Ave, Glendale, OH, 45246.

http://meetu.ps/e/DN0JD/Z8B9/g #Meetup #Cincinnati via @Meetup