Wednesday, November 26, 2008

New Web Site for the Bryn Athyn Church

A while ago I wrote a post about the completely redesigned Yesterday evening the first of the redesigned New Church congregation sites launched—

It's much cleaner, better organized, and less busy than the old site. As with the previous site, you can get the Bryn Athyn Post for free online and on the homepage you can find out what's going on in Bryn Athyn. The new site has far more information about Bryn Athyn—its history, its vision and purpose, a summary of beliefs etc. Take a look.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

When Should We Say the Blessing?

For this week's Bryn Athyn Post (PDF) Rev. John Odhner wrote a fun piece on when to say the blessing at a meal.
Sometimes the rush of preparing the last dishes, or the lateness of some of the feasters, or a need for some to start eating before others have arrived keeps us from saying a blessing before we eat, and we interrupt the meal for a blessing or even say it after people have finished. At times people have asked if it’s too late to say a blessing after we have finished eating. I have responded with this passage: “When you have eaten and are full, then you shall bless the Lord your God for the good land which He has given you” (Deuteronomy 8:10).

Is it better, then, to bless the Lord after we eat? The Lord Himself gave thanks before breaking bread (Luke 22:19, John 6:23). The simple answer is that there is no after or before. Angels don’t regret the past or worry about the future. “They say that the Lord gives them every moment what to think, and this with blessedness and happiness; and that they are thus free from cares and anxieties.” This is why we ask for “daily bread” in the Lord’s Prayer (Secrets of Heaven 2493). “A person who lives with love or who has goodwill keeps the Sabbath holy because then nothing is sweeter than to worship the Lord and glorify Him every day” (Secrets of Heaven 1798).

Daniel gave thanks three times a day (Daniel 6:10, 13), but the Lord’s gifts come to us more often: “In heaven the Lord gives heavenly food to angels moment by moment, thus perpetually and eternally.... If you can believe it, countless gifts are given every single moment” (Secrets of Heaven 5664). ...

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

A Great Sermon on Forgiveness

I got a lot out of Rev. Scott Frazier's sermon on forgiveness on Sunday. I particularly appreciated his discussion of what forgiveness is not and how he tied forgiveness together with rejecting hatred.
There are many things that are not forgiveness. Forgiving is not forgetting. Forgiveness is not excusing. It is monstrous to think that all the terrible crimes man commits against man are somehow what the Lord wants.

Only the Lord can forgive sins. The Lord is asking us to reject hatred. Every time we are hurt and we feel that anger and resentment, the hells will attack. The Lord only permits evil for the purpose of temptation, and temptation is only allowed so that we can strengthen good and truth in ourselves. Feeling resentment towards someone is as insane as swallowing poison in the hopes of punishing an enemy.

A Christian Perspective on Quantum Mechanics and Materialism

Though the focus of this blog is New Church teachings, articles etc. I thought that you, the enormous readership of this blog, would get something out of reading an article I just read. Neil Shenvi is a Baptist and a PhD in Theoretical Chemistry. The article of his that I read (and there are more) is called Quantum Mechanics and Materialism and provides a quick and clear overview of quantum mechanics and the philosophical implications of it, particularly as they relate to materialistic arguments against the miracles in the Word.
Today, after decades of testing, thousands of experiments have confirmed the predictions of quantum theory so that it is widely accepted by the scientific community. Yet in my opinion, there is no theory that so fundamentally challenges our intuitive views of reality. ... My hope is that this essay will help people understand the significance that quantum theory has for various worldviews, especially materialism. ...

If nothing else, quantum mechanics teaches us humility with regard to our own knowledge. Our understanding will always be partial, mostly incomplete, and often faulty. ... [S]cience, at its best, will lead us to ask questions that are beyond its reach. ... If we want truths that go beyond the natural, we need to look to for a source beyond the natural. The Bible presents us with a God who is both transcendent and immanent, a God who is both infinitely beyond the created order and intimately involved with it, whose ways are not our ways and whose thoughts are beyond our understanding. If we want to understand the universe, the wisest thing we can do is first to seek the one who created it.