Swedenborg talks about how every person is a church. Within every individual there is a marriage of good and truth that creates the church within them. This doesn’t mean denomination or the building where congregations hold service, or even the group of people that call themselves a church. It is everyone’s personal spiritual identity.
Finding one’s individual and unique spiritual identity is a lifelong journey that I am only just beginning and already struggling with. I have often felt the need to conform and I can feel anxious or stressed when my church might be different from someone else’s. This might manifest as a need to make those around me believe what I do, but it might also make me feel that I must change what I believe to fit what someone else says is true.
But like most things in life, the trick is to find the balance between the two options. To listen to those around me in a way that allows me to find what I can accept as true or what I feel I need to change about my beliefs. If what someone is telling me feels uncomfortable or out of sync with what I believe it could be because what I’m being told is not true or maybe what I believe needs some refinement. We have to not only follow the Lord’s Word and bend our will to His, but also not let ourselves get trapped by what others say is true.
This past year I took an english class in which we read Jane Eyre. This is my favorite novel and I have read it many times but it wasn’t until this most recent reading that I really appreciated the spiritual journey that Jane goes on through the course of the novel. She goes through a significant transition from a dependent and downtrodden orphan, to an independent and self-confident woman all the time finding confidence in her own spiritual identity.
Continue reading Why I Love Jane Eyre: Spiritual Identity
Being a minister’s kid means that my family has lived all over. In my life time, we lived in Pennsylvania, Florida and Ohio. The place I have always considered to be my childhood home was our house in Darrtown, Ohio. I spent six years there between ages 5 to 11. That’s the house where I learned how to read and discovered all my favorite childhood movies and books. That’s the house where I played imaginary games and got my first bike. That’s the house where I made most of my memories of my mom and it’s where she died. Moving out of the house was slow and so there was never really a time when I made a point of saying goodbye. The house I knew and loved just sort of slipped out of my life until it finally got sold and other people got to fill it with memories. We called that house Hopehaven and I will probably always regret that I didn’t get to say goodbye to it.
After leaving Ohio, I moved in with my sister in Bryn Athyn and have called it my home for the past ten years. But even in that little town I have lived in four different houses during that time. Since my freshman year of high school I have lived with my sister Tirah in a house technically in Huntingdon Valley but within half a mile of Bryn Athyn. But, despite it being my physical home, I was always subconsciously careful to keep it emotionally distant. Instead of inviting friends to my house I would invite them to my sister’s house. Somehow I was both living with my sister and just staying with my sister. It was almost like I had to think of it as temporary for the sake of my emotions. Continue reading Home
Fear Of Missing Out is the most common meaning of the abbreviation: FOMO (pronounced: “foe-moe”). As much as I can identify with this meaning I think a more accurate version for me would be Fear Of Missed Opportunity.
I loved going to the Academy of the New Church and have so many fond memories of the wide variety of activities I took part in. As I get farther in time from my high school experience, I am able to recognize just how big of an impact it had on me and my personality.
I took a lot of things with me after leaving the Academy and most of them are pretty typical of all high school experiences. But the biggest thing I took away was not only unique to the Academy, but also totally subconscious. In high school we were encouraged to try everything, to participate in everything, and to always do our best. The faculty had high expectations for their students and the student body was small enough that they could hold each of us personally responsible for our success. You had to be a good student to stay on top and earn the approval of the teachers. That isn’t to say that they held everyone to the same standard or individually chastised us, but there was a definite attitude that you owed it to your teacher to get good grades. Continue reading FOMO
In 1989, due to a decrease in viewers, the British television show Doctor Who was suspended. For those who are unfamiliar with the popular BBC production, the basic idea of the show is that “the Doctor” is a humanoid alien who has a spaceship that can travel through time and space and has a particular liking for earth and its people. He also has the ability to avoid death by “regenerating” into a new body if/when he sustains a deadly injury.
In an attempt to reboot the series, a movie was produced in 1996 featuring a new Doctor that would be the show’s eighth reincarnation. It was a British-American-Canadian production and is notorious for its low quality. It is considered by fans to be a bit of a blemish on the show’s reputation. At the very beginning we see the last doctor of the tv series regenerate into the eighth doctor. It is a very melodramatic and drawn out scene. Upon awakening into the world, the new doctor stumbles around an abandoned hospital in a sheet because… he has amnesia? Finally he dramatically falls to his knees crying out: “WHO AM I?”
I’m sure the directors were trying to depict an emotional moment to pull the old audience into this new imagining of the story, but sadly the only emotion that the scene evokes is laughter. This very long story was all to say that recently I have been thinking of this moment in the movie and been surprised at how much I feel like begging the universe to answer this same query: Who am I? Continue reading Who Am I?