Saturday, December 12, 2009

I don't know what's best

On Sunday Rev. David Lindrooth gave a talk at the Bryn Athyn Contemporary Family Service that has stuck with me. (I don't know if it was recorded. So far it's not available on but if it ever becomes available it should be here.)

Luckily for you he also posted a summary of it on his blog: "A Church is Dead Without Innocence". He has a list of all the things that the Writings say aren't possible without innocence and then applies this to thinking about a church.
In the light of these statements, look at the church through the lens of innocence. What does the church without innocence look like? How does it operate? What are the risks for a church organization that gives “innocence” short shrift? -no regeneration -no wisdom -no good -no charity -no worship…. The cultivation of innocence is a defining factor in the church. No wonder Jesus said “let the little children come to me for such is the kingdom of heaven.”
The main thing that stuck with me, though, was a passage that he read from Heaven and Hell that talks about the angels' innocence. Most people who've had some New Church education or gone to a New Church congregation for a while could give you the New Church definition of innocence: "a willingness to be led by the Lord" (Heaven and Hell 341. This is a great phrase for summarizing what innocence is all about, but there's also another, more personal one that I got from Dave on Sunday: "I don't know what's best."

In Heaven and Hell 278 (the passage Dave read) it says that angels in a state of innocence
recognize that they themselves do not know what is good for them, the Lord alone knowing this.
How do I work on being innocent? A good place to start is to say "I don't know what's best; the Lord does." This can be applied to all sorts of things—"I don't know what's best for me and my life; the Lord does." "I don't know what's best for this person who's asking me for help; the Lord does." "I don't know what's best for the church organization; the Lord does."

Friday, December 11, 2009

Insights into Life

Stephen Muires, another student (or theolog) at the theological school has a blog ( The tagline of his blog is "Insights into Life." A typical post is only a couple of paragraphs long but usually incorporates a fascinating short quote or two and then a few of Stephen's reflections on them.

If you're into New Age stuff and Swedenborg, this will probably be perfect for you. Stephen brings together quotes from New Age sources and Swedenborg in really interesting ways (e.g. this post and that post).

If you're into Swedenborg (or the New Church, rather) and not so much into New Age stuff, I would still encourage you to give Stephen's blog a chance. He finds lots of interesting quotes from the Writings and I'm guessing that he'll get you to think about even familiar passages in new ways (e.g. this post and that post).

Monday, December 7, 2009

Download PDFs of Pott's Concordance

I've posted before about the advantages of using Pott's Concordance (AKA The Swedenborg Concordance: A Complete Work of References to the Theological Writings of Emanuel Swedenborg compiled by Rev. John Faulkner Potts). I've also posted before about how you can read parts of the concordance online.

But Rev. Clark Echols has just sent me even better news: you can download the whole concordance in PDF form. The files are available from the Internet Archive. If you search in their americana collection for John Faulkner Potts you get a list of results which includes links to the volumes of the concordance.

If you click on one of these results you get some information about the book and are given a couple of different options for viewing it. To save you some time I've collected all the links to the PDF versions by volume below. For some of the volumes there are 2 versions. I'd recommend the ones with smaller file sizes.

Volume I (A-C): version 1 (PDF, 57.2 MB), version 2 (PDF, 87.2 MB)
Volume II (D-F): version 1 (PDF, 87 MB)
Volume III (G-J): version 1 (PDF, 97.3 MB)
Volume IV (K-N): version 1 (PDF, 54.8 MB), version 2 (PDF, 98 MB)
Volume V (O-Sq): version 1 (PDF, 52.4 MB), version 2 (PDF, 94 MB)
Volume VI (St-Z): version 1 (PDF, 48 MB), version 2 (PDF, 80 MB)

As you can see these are chunky files so they may take a while to download and may be a little sluggish to navigate through with your PDF viewer but, now you have the entire concordance on your computer whenever you want it and now you can search it electronically.

What I'm guessing you want to do now is take the text version of these scans, clean them up, and build a brilliant little website that has all the references linked so that you can easily read the full passage.