Step one: identify the problem. Step two: come up with a solution. Step three: solve the problem. I understand this process of problem solving and yet somehow I find myself time and again getting stuck between steps two and three. It’s all well and good to come up with a solution; to understand how to solve my problems but putting that solution into action appears to be harder than it sounds. That disconnect between our thoughts and our actions is hard one. We can have all sorts of plans and ideals going around and around in our minds, and yet actually living our lives according to those ideals and plans can go very wrong.
There is a little known German fairy tale, first recorded by the Grimm brothers, titled, “The Shreds” that shows how important it is to not only think what is good but to do what is good as well.
It is a short little story about a beautiful girl who is so lazy that while she is spinning thread and comes upon a knot, she will pull off the knot and throw it on the ground. Her maidservant, on the other hand, is so industrious that she picks up these threads, cleans them, and weaves into a dress. A young man falls in love with the lazy maiden and they are betrothed, but on their wedding day, the maidservant wears the dress she wove from the shreds and dances in it. The beautiful maiden complains and tells her bridegroom that the dress is made from her shreds. The young man, then sees how lazy the beautiful maid is compared to her maidservant and he decides to marry the maidservant instead.
This is a clear cautionary tale against laziness, but using Swedenborg’s science of correspondences, a more spiritual meaning can be seen as well. Continue reading Shredded Truth
It was lunch time on a Tuesday afternoon and I was starving. As I perused the menu options I considered which would serve the purposes of both filling my painfully empty stomach and be the most pleasing for my taste buds while doing so. When I saw tacos in the hot line my heart skipped a beat. I could barely control my excitement as I gingerly carry my two overstuffed pockets of cheesy, meaty goodness to my usual table. After witnessing my first rather ravenous bite, one of my teachers inquired as to the quality of my meal. I replied through a second bite that the tacos were delicious. Despite a slightly skeptical look, my teacher quitted the table presumably to retrieve his own plate of tacos. It was not long after his return, however, that he indignantly informed me that I lied to him and the tacos were no good at all.
This anecdote serves as a platform on which to introduce a few questions on the matters of opinion, honesty, and truth: How should an opinion be formed and what use does it serve? How valuable is an “honest” opinion? Do opposing opinions invalidate each other or should we accept the opinions of others? Is even the truth simply an opinion? The irony of these questions is that one can try to answer them but even those answers are little more than an individual’s perspective. So keep in mind that what follows is only one humble but honest opinion.
According to the Oxford dictionary, an opinion is defined as, “A view or judgement formed about something, not necessarily based on fact or knowledge.” This makes sense since anybody can have an opinion on any topic with little to no knowledge to back it up. Doctrine is similar to an opinion except that it is an interpretation based on our understanding of the word which has an internal meaning that is the Truth. A refined doctrine is based off a great deal of fact and knowledge of the Word. According to the teachings of the New Church doctrine must be formed by interpreting the Word and learning doctrine taught by others (Sacred Scripture 53). First you start with a foundational doctrine, which you need in order to understand the word because without doctrine the internal meaning of the word is impossible to comprehend (Sacred Scripture 51). Then you must go to the word on your own to discover more truths. You can then mold your personal doctrine based on your foundational doctrine and your new found truths from the Word. This process can be seen in the formation of opinion as well. Continue reading An Honest Opinion
About a year ago, it was my senior year of high school. I had been accepted to Bryn Athyn College and had created an image of what it would be like. I decided that college was a bunch of young adults sitting around talking about politics. Pretty silly, I know. The funny thing is that based on the data of my first year at college, that image is more or less right. College is obviously much more than that but I had to laugh quietly anytime I found myself in that exact situation this past year because it happened surprisingly often. I thought to myself: so this is what college is like.
Looking at myself and who I was a year ago is a very strange experience. I know it sounds super corny but my first year of college has changed me and how I think. I have learned quite a lot in just one year which makes it feel like it has been a much longer chunk of time. But it also makes sense. I have done a lot of growing and have hit a lot of firsts: My first job that wasn’t cleaning or babysitting, my first time doing my taxes, my first time driving a road trip, my first car accident, the first time I’ve made a friend from scratch since elementary school, my first date, my first boyfriend, my first college show, the list just goes on and on. I feel much more capable and responsible after all that and yet college has also opened my eyes to everything else that there is to be capable of and responsible for. Continue reading My First Year
The Carmel New Church is located in Kitchener Ontario, Canada. For this spotlight, we interviewed both the Head Pastor, Brad Heinrichs and the assistant Pastor, Nathan Cole.
How long have you been in Kitchener?
Rev. Heinrichs: I have been at the Carmel New Church since 1999. From 1999-2002 I was the Assistant to the Pastor (Michael Cowley). For the last 15 years from 2002-2017 I have been the Pastor. I have had Matt Genzlinger, Ethan McCardell, Fred Chapin, and Nathan Cole as Assistants.
Rev. Cole: I started July 2008, and was ordained into the 2nd degree here in 2010. I will be starting my 9th year this July.
What’s the history of the congregation?
Our New Church School was established in 1888. The school institution predates the church congregation which started in 1891 with the official split from Convention and began operating as part of the General Church in 1892. The current location in Caryndale was set up in 1962 when the congregation moved from a downtown location out to the suburbs, starting a new church community in the neighborhood. The church has gone through major renovations in 2002 which expanded the school, and then in 2007 when another addition was added for the new high school program. Continue reading Spotlight: Carmel New Church, Canada