The Children of Israel left Egypt and were pursued by the Egyptians. When they reached the Red Sea, they were trapped, but the Lord worked a miracle: the sea parted, the people crossed on dry land and the Egyptians couldn’t follow.
“Israel saw the great work that the Lord did against the Egyptians. So the people feared the Lord and believed in the Lord and in his servant Moses.” (Exodus 14:31, NRSV)
“’And they believed’ means faith and trust. This is clear from the meaning of ‘believing’ as possessing faith, and also trust since one who possesses faith also possesses trust. Trust is an attribute of love expressed through faith; consequently trust in Jehovah, that is, in the Lord, does not exist except with those in whom love is present, that is to say, love to the Lord and towards the neighbour; for faith does not reside with any others.” (Arcana Coelestia 8240, Elliot)
Trust, an attribute of love. I have been meditating on this idea this last week, on the relationship between trust and love. Trusting the Lord means loving Him, and both are active choices on my part. Continue reading Trust
For one of my college classes this year, we were asked to complete a Life Values Inventory at http://www.lifevaluesinventory.org/. This website invites people to reflect on what they value and how they prioritize those values. They define our values as our lens, what we use in order to view ourselves and the world. For my assignment, we needed to complete the inventory and then reflect on how our particular values (our lens, our perspective) influences the way we see the field we are studying.
This was a fascinating process for me, and I found it to be very useful not only for my class but also for better understanding myself (and maybe others). Continue reading Reflecting On Your Values
Anne Glenn is a wife, parent, and graduate student working on an MA in Religious Studies with a focus on children’s spirituality at Bryn Athyn College in the US. This article was a paper she wrote for one of her psychology courses highlighting the importance of children’s spiritual development from a psychological perspective, with particular focus on Swedenborg’s high regard for children’s spiritual development in his writings.
The field of Children’s Spirituality is a relatively young one, both from psychological and theological approaches, with the vast majority of research being done in the last 20 years. Children have historically been neglected or minimized by both psychologists and theologians, but slowly over the last century both religious and secular scholars have turned their attention to children and childhood. In recent years the research has begun to shift from studying children and their spiritual capacity only in terms of their potential future as adults to seeing children as complete spiritual beings as they are, and focusing on nurturing their spiritual development for their own sake.
This paper is an investigation into the significance of the field of children’s spirituality, including summary of the history of the field, the interactions between theology and psychology in this field and the implications of research into children’s spirituality on religious communities, particularly in the New Church.
Continue reading An Overview of the Field of Children’s Spirituality
Two years ago I was the Children’s Ministries Coordinator at New Church Westville, and in April of 2016 we began to run a Godly Play program as our Sunday School. The programs continued on after I left, and now seeds of Godly Play seem to be sprouting in Bryn Athyn. I initially wrote the bulk of this piece two years ago before the launch at New Church Westville, and going over it again has renewed me with a sense of awe and wonder for this beautiful process for nurturing children’s spiritual development. I’m currently a student in the Masters of Arts in Religious Studies program at Bryn Athyn College and my focus is on children’s spirituality. I’d love to share with you a bit about Godly Play and why I’m so passionate about it.
Godly Play is two things: a philosophy of children’s spiritual development and a program designed to nurture that growth and development. It was developed by pastor, author and teacher Rev. Dr. Jerome W. Berryman over decades of training, research and practice. It is Montessori-based and invites children to learn to “do for themselves” with regards to their spiritual life, providing children with the space, language and tools to develop their relationships with God and theological learning in a way that is internally driven rather than externally directed.
Continue reading Godly Play: An Invitation to Wonder