Tuesday, July 20, 2010

A Good Sermon about Bitter Waters

I was catching up with Rev. Coleman Glenn's blog (colemanglenn.wordpress.com) and read a sermon he preached 2 weeks ago in Toronto "Bitter Waters Made Sweet". It's a good one. Here's an excerpt:
And then you realize it: you’ve stopped focusing on the Lord. You’ve stopped focusing on your commitment. You’ve stopped taking the time to think about how to love the Lord, how to love the people around you. Maybe you’ve stopped reading the Word. Maybe you haven’t been going to church. You realize what’s been missing. And so with hope you open up the Word to your favourite passage, you attend a doctrinal class, you go to church. You recommit yourself to your goals. You’re ready to get back on the right path. You see the cool waters right in front of you, and you take a deep drink.

And there’s nothing there. The same words that in the past have inspired you fall flat. You read the Word, but it’s not joyful; it’s a chore. Your doctrinal class feels meaningless. Church is boring. The waters that looked so refreshing, so cooling, so life-giving, are bitter!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Find the Context of Passages from Arcana Coelestia

When I'm researching something in the Writings (the teachings of the New Church written by Emanuel Swedenborg) I often want to understand the context of what I'm reading. I want to know what chapter and section I'm reading from. In most cases I can find out what I want to know from looking at the tables of contents for the individual works on the Read the Revelation page of SwedenborgDigitalLibrary.org. (See, for example, the page for New Jerusalem and Its Heavenly Doctrine.)

Passages from Arcana Coelestia (or Secrets of Heaven) are some of the main ones that I want context for—I want to know what text is being explained and what the general subject of the chapter is. If you look at the page for Arcana Coelestia on Swedenborg Digital Library, the first thing you'll see is a break out of all the doctrinal explanations that are interspersed between the explanations of the stories. This is helpful but not what I'm often looking for. If you read carefully, you'll see that you can also jump down to Auxilary Contents, which does tell you where the explanation of each chapter begins but not where it ends.

I wanted a little bit more so I decided to put together the tool below. A couple of notes: Typically the summary of the inner meaning of the chapter is the next passage after the first one listed for each chapter. The Kempton Project links take you to a more accurate translation of the text from the Word (read more about that here) and let you research where else in the Writings that text is discussed. The Bible Study Tools links take you to the New King James Version of the text on the very useful www.BibleStudyTools.com. And the chapter summaries come from here. I put this together mostly as a tool for myself but let me know if you find it useful or think of ways that it could be made better.

UPDATE: With help from Ian Thompson, the creator of www.BibleMeanings.info, the Arcana Coelestia links now take you to the relevant portion of that site. You'll find that it gives you a very handy interface for exploring the context of a given passage from Arcana Coelestia.

If you want to jump directly to a specific passage on BibleMeanings.info copy this URL and put the passage number you want at the end: http://www.biblemeanings.info/scgi-bin/hdref.cgi?p=AC (e.g. http://www.biblemeanings.info/scgi-bin/hdref.cgi?p=AC453).


Arcana Coelestia Passage Context Finder

Jump to...
1000 | 2000 | 3000 | 4000 | 5000 | 6000 | Exodus (6633) | 7000 | 8000 | 9000 | 10000 | End (10832)

6 - 66 | Genesis 1
God created the heaven, the earth, plants, animals and man in six days
Genesis 1 on Kempton Project
Genesis 1 on Bible Study Tools

73 - 167 | Genesis 2
God blessed the seventh day; extra details of creation and the newly created earth
Genesis 2 on Kempton Project
Genesis 2 on Bible Study Tools