Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Daily Marriage Emails

Caring for Marriage (www.caringformarriage.org) has just started offering a free, daily marriage support email called "Marriage Moats." Here's the welcome message that you get sent when you sign up:
Welcome to Marriage Moats!

My son Benjamin's latest recurring question is about moats. He asks "What is a moat?" eager to hear again what he already knows.

"A moat is water that surrounds a castle and keeps it safe from enemies."

He smiles, and asks what enemies are.

"They are people who want to hurt you."

He wanders off into a memory about moats in movies he has seen, and laughs about bad guys who fell into them.

People sometimes say that a person's home is his or her castle.
Marriage can be a castle, but that does not mean it is never under attack.

I am intrigued by the idea of a moat, as a deterrent for flame flinging masked marauders.

This daily message is called Marriage Moats, because it is a modest obstacle to those influences that undermine marriage. It will offer a puddle of protection in the form of a quote, or anecdote, or book blurb. Some mornings it will slip into your inbox, and you will hurriedly delete it sight unseen. Other days you will open it, as you invite in those few sentences that may surround your mental fortress with a waterway that keeps you safer. Water is like truth, in that it keeps you clean and quenched, and paired with a boat, gets you to places you would be hard pressed to find otherwise. Truth can transport you to resorts as well, places of refuge, and beauty.

Marriage Moats is one wet barrier you can create to stave off the armies of negativity and apathy that incessantly bash on your door.

You may even find it funny to watch the critical thoughts splashing and thrashing, unable to reach you, while you watch from a turret in the clouds.
I'm on a couple of different lists that email me inspirational stuff daily or weekly (e.g. Daily Inspiration from www.newchurch.org and the weekly newsletter from Gary Chapman (www.5lovelanguages.com)). Like Lori says, often I delete them or archive them immediately but sometimes I find them really useful. To sign up for "Marriage Moats" go to www.caringformarriage.org. Currently you can sign up for the program right on the homepage. Eventually it will probably be relegated to the Online Programs section. (Techie note: If you use an add blocking addon like Adblock Plus you'll need to disable that to see the sign up form.)

Thursday, March 18, 2010

New Church Podcasts

Do any New Church podcasts exist? Up until today I would have guessed the answer was no. But I just found out from Rev. Dave Lindrooth (www.newchurchweblog.org) that Rev. Ethan McCardell at the Light for Life New Church (www.lightforlifenewchurch.org) has just started publishing his sermons as a podcast. You can find the podcast here.

It's free to subscribe and I recommend that you do because then the podcast will have more subscribers and, more importantly, then you'll have a couple of good sermons on your iPod when you need one. I haven't had the chance to listen to the podcast yet but I've gotten a lot out of other sermons I've heard by Ethan so I look forward to taking a listen.

On the subject of New Church podcasts, while looking at Ethan's podcast, I discovered that the Pittsburgh New Church had a podcast in 2008, though it doesn't look like it's been updated in a while. (You can find it here). And, I happen to know that another New Church podcast project is in the works so stay tuned for news about that.


For more information about Ethan, check out his blog (www.ethanmccardell.com) and for more of an idea of the services at Light for Life New Church watch this short video that Dave Lindrooth put together.

Monday, March 15, 2010

New Church Perspective on Clothing

I wrote an article titled "Clothing" for New Church Perspective about, you guessed it, New Church perspective on clothing.

If you haven't heard of New Church Perspective you might want to read my post about it.

Monday, March 8, 2010

A New Online New Church Magazine

I've been really meaning to tell you all about New Church Perspective (www.newchurchperspective.com) and now I'm finally getting around to it. It's a really exciting, New Church online magazine project.

Here's a bit from the About page:
New Church Perspective is an online magazine celebrating the understanding and application of New Church ideas with weekly essay publication.

More than a discussion forum, New Church Perspective is based on essays from a wide variety of writers on a wide variety of topics. However, this is a two-way conversation. Discussion and response to the weekly essays are warmly encouraged. We ask only that people are respectful of each other, the Bible, and the theological writings of Emanuel Swedenborg referred to as the Heavenly Doctrines.
(For more about the idea behind New Church Perspective I recommend reading the launch day post from Brian Smith, the Editor-in-Chief.)

Every Friday morning a new essay is published with some perspective on the New Church or New Church perspective on some topic. It was launched on January 1st and so far 10 essays have been published. I'm now going to list them and give a summary of what they're about to give you the flavor of New Church Perspective so far.
  • "4 Reasons Most New Year's Resolutions and Other Habit Changes Fail and What You Can Do to Succeed" by Derrick Lumsden - The title pretty much says it. I particularly recommend the "Further Reading" at the end.
  • "Growing Up in The Park: Reflections on My Sub-Culture" by Freya Henry - Using the theories of various developmental psychologists, Freya analyzes her development growing up in a New Church congregation.
  • "Even as We are One" by Isaac Synnestvedt - This is my favorite article so far. If you only have the time to read one article, make this one it. It is an impassioned and humbling exploration of who is part of the New Church and an exhortation to try to see the Lord in all people.
  • "Meaning-making and the Power of Writing" by Chelsea Rose Odhner - This is a chapter from Chelsea's undergraduate thesis and so it incorporates a number of scholarly sources. But don't let the word scholarly make you think it's boring; it's a fascinating, well written, careful exploration of the act of writing.
  • "Are You Happy?" by Ronald Schnarr - Ronnie looks at what can keep us from being happy and encourages us to ask the Lord for real happiness.
  • "Spiritual Body Image" by Pearse and Taryn Frazier - This article looks at the spiritual meaning of being human.
  • "Buddhism and the New Church" by Ian Chapman - Ian's article is a short and interesting comparison of a couple of Buddhist teachings with New Church teachings.
  • "Marketing the Writings" by Coleman Glenn - In this article Coleman imagines what could happen if someone launched a huge, year-long marketing campaign for the Writings.
  • "Protecting Ideals and the Reality of the World in which We Live" by Stephanie King - In this heartfelt article Stephanie expresses both her strong ideals and her desire to understand and love people who don't. She raises a lot of good questions with no easy answers.
  • "We, Distinct from Our Teachings" by Derek Rose - In this article Derek encourages us to think carefully about what we mean when talk about the New Church—the teachings, the organization, or the culture?
Hopefully this makes you want to read some of these articles and subscribe to receive updates every Friday and, most importantly, inspires you to submit an article yourself.