Category Archives: Article

Imaginary Playmates

Did you have an imaginary playmate when you were a child? Did you know children who did?

Our 3-year-old grandson, Jack, just introduced his friend, “Masten” to our family. Last week his sister celebrated her birthday. “It’s Masten’s birthday today, too!” Jack shouted. So we sang Happy Birthday to Masten’s empty chair, to Jack’s delight … and to the delight of us all.

I was quick to tell my daughter, Jack’s mom, to welcome and respect Jack’s unseen friend, Masten. I have come to believe that these unseen playmates could be one of the many angels that surround us. And this young child can see one! A guardian angel? Who knows?.

My son, Joe, had an unseen friend, John Cooper. John was very real to Joe. Joe acknowledged John’s presence at our dinner table by pulling out a chair for him, and when we travelled away from home, Joe asked me to stop so he could call John to tell him where we were.
Continue reading Imaginary Playmates

Focus on the Lord

“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.” Matthew 6:34

I had negative ideas about what meditation is. It seemed too self-focused for me. I used to think of meditation as emptying the mind, or focusing more on oneself or something like that.  I don’t need to think about me more. I need to think about the Lord more. How is meditation going to help with that?

Well, one day I decided I needed to just breathe and not let my thoughts get the better of me. I sat and focused on my breath and would chant “Thy will be done” over and over, or “Trust the Lord. Trust the Lord.” again and again to try to drown out the thoughts that were pounding on my mind. But it didn’t help much. It didn’t help because I was still trying to control the situation. That’s not trust.

I tried several times with this method. I would start with reading the Word and then “meditate.” Or I would try to meditate for a bit and then read the Word. I didn’t notice a change in how I read the Word or a change in how I felt. I still couldn’t focus, and I still felt overwhelmed. I mentioned to a few friends that I wanted to try meditating and one friend recommended a particular app for meditation, so I decided to give it a try.

It worked. Continue reading Focus on the Lord

Home

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

“If Anyone Hears My Voice”

I am convinced that all genuine religions contain at least some truth (the ‘church universal’), and that the New Church accepts the validity of other religions because of it.

Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him, and sup with him, and he with me. (Revelation 3:20)

All nations whom you have made shall come and worship before you, O Lord, and shall glorify your name. (Psalm 86:9)

The recognition that God exists and that there is one God flows universally into human souls. As a result, every nation in the whole world that possesses religion and sound reason acknowledges that God exists…. (True Christianity 5)

The Lord’s mercy is universal, that is, it is extended to all individuals. … So he provides that everyone shall have some religion, an acknowledgement of the Divine Being through that religion, and an inner life. Living according to one’s religious principles is an inner life, for then we focus on the Divine….” (Heaven & Hell 318)

I’ve just read Libby Purves’ book Holy Smoke – Religion and Roots: A Personal Memoir published in 1998 by Hodder & Stoughton. I would recommend it to anyone interested in how faith becomes a part of someone’s life. Continue reading “If Anyone Hears My Voice”