Friday, July 1, 2011

Beginnings of a New Church Content Directory

I've noticed that there isn't one place online where you can find information about all things New Church/Swedenborgian. Individual denominations have information about their programs, individual bloggers had links to things that they like, etc. but there's no place that collects them all together and organizes them. So I've ambitiously decided that New Church Thought should do this and I'm calling the project New Church Content Directory (NCCD). Exciting, huh?

Here's an attempt at a mission statement for the NCCD: “The New Church Content Directory will contain well-organized, up-to-date, useful information about all things New Church.”

Friday, May 27, 2011

A Couple of New Church Perspectives on May 21st

First, here's a little snippet from the Nunc Licet Bible Study, where Rev. Jonathan Rose explained briefly (before May 21st) why the end of the world wouldn't happen on May 21st. (Over 5000 views so far - not bad!)

And then here's another great video from Curtis Childs. This one is about the desire to to say, "Ha ha! I told you so!" to the people whose predictions about May 21st didn't come true. Honestly, you should just subscribe to his channel (offTheLeftEye) already.

Monday, May 16, 2011

A New Church Bible Study Website Project That's Gaining Some Steam

Back in March of last year I first heard from Brian David about a concept for a New Church Bible study website that he was working on with a couple of other people. One of the early experiments with the concept from around that time was

The project has now had a lot more thought put into it and they've done some presentations to try to get funding for it. And so now, rather than have me try to explain the concept behind the site, I can just tell you to watch the fun, short, RSA Animate-Style video that they put together.

You can also find a bunch of documents about the project on, including some images of what the user interface might look like. A note about those images: they look like a bad site from the 90s but, never fear, Brian assures me that they were just to try to explain the concept and, when they make the site for real, they'll get professional design and UI help.

Anyway, I think it's a cool idea and I hope that they get the funding that they're looking for so that they can give it a try. It's definitely one of those projects that will only work if a lot of people get involved so, if it sounds interesting to you, be sure to like the New Christian Bible Study page on Facebook.

P.S. They also entered into the debate that Rob Bell's book has stirred up with a little video about the New Church idea of heaven and hell.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Live Video Streaming of Bryn Athyn Cathedral Services

The Bryn Athyn Cathedral has been streaming audio from their services for years. Now they're also offering live video streaming, using USTREAM.

You can find more information about their audio and video streaming options on the Live Services page of the Bryn Athyn Church website.

I haven't actually tried it out during a service but I have taken a look at the archives on Bryn Athyn Cathedral's USTREAM channel and I was impressed by the quality of the video. I was expecting it to be one badly positioned webcam, streaming grainy footage but, it looks like they've got at least 2 cameras that are well positioned to give pleasant shots of the service and the footage isn't too grainy, even in fullscreen mode.

Let me know if you've tried streaming a service live.

Here's a screenshot of Bryn Athyn Cathedral's USTREAM channel:

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Nunc Licet Bible Study Now Available Online!

"Nunc Licet" is a Latin phrase which means "now it is allowable." This phrase was used by Swedenborg to describe how it is now allowable to enter into the truths of the Word with our understanding.

For this reason Rev. Jonathan Rose chose "Nunc Licet" as the name of a bible study he offers in Bryn Athyn PA, and recently also online.

Though I have never attended in person, I was very pleased to find that the class is now available online, both archived and live streamed. (The next live meeting is 7:30 pm on Wed April 6)

This class regularly receives great reviews. Why?

In addition to all that Rev. Rose brings personally, this class takes a fairly unique approach.

The approach is to look at "the bible, the whole bible and nothing but the bible, through a Swedenborgian lens, with the special purpose of experiencing the Lord in the text." Often in New Church circles, the writings of Swedenborg are studied directly, but in this case the attention remains firmly in the powerful, direct and often confusing teachings of the Old and New Testament.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Help With Writing a Book Proposal

It's less than a month till the February 1st deadline for submitting a book proposal for the Bridge Book Awards.

To help people with their book proposals, back in December there was a webinar in which Rev. Grant Schnarr, author of a number of books, talked people through writing a good book proposal.

You can download the audio from the webinar here. The webinar is about an hour and 10 minutes long. The file is 52.3 MB so it takes a little while to download. It's in WMV format so, if you have a Mac (like I do), you'll need something to convert it so that you can play it. I used a free program that makes it so that you can play it in QuickTime called Flip4Mac WMV. This particular copy of the file expires on January 11th but I'm guessing that, if you ask nicely, I could probably get another one put up or you could just contact Kristine Medley directly (, 267-502-4901).

I hope that there are lots of people working on book proposals. I wish that I had the time to submit something myself.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

New Church Perspective is 1 Year Old

A year ago, on January 1st, an online magazine called New Church Perspective ( launched. The goal was to publish a new essay every Friday and now, 52 Fridays later, 52 essays have been published, by 36 different authors.

If you want to get a sense for the range of topics covered, I'd recommend looking at the digest posts that take 10 essays at a time and provide short blurbs about each of them. Here are the digests for essays 1-10, 11-20, 21-30, 31-40, and 41-52.

Towards the end of the year New Church Perspective expanded beyond just publishing weekly essays. On October 15th the editors announced the launch of a podcast called ChapmanCast and a column called Meditate. Here are the blurbs about each of these:
ChapmanCast – A New Church podcast about religion and life, featuring discussions and interviews. New episodes publish weekly on Wednesdays and last for about 15-20 minutes. The ChapmanCast is hosted by Pearse Frazier and guests. (Subscribe in iTunes)
Meditate – Meditating on the Word is a powerful way to expand your spiritual life and deepen your awareness of the Lord in your daily living. This column is updated weekly with passages I have chosen to meditate on and the insights that have resulted. I invite you also to meditate on the Word and share your insights with the readers of New Church Perspective.... What is here is shared with humility and I hope it may be a blessing to you. Chelsea Odhner, Editor
You can subscribe to any or all of these features for free by email or using a feed reader.

As Brian Smith, the Editor-in-Chief, puts it, New Church Perspective is intended to be “A Collaborative Adventure for the Sharing and Spreading of the Lord's Wisdom and Love” and there are lots of ways to get involved. One of the best ways is to submit an essay. The requirements are not too demanding (even very short articles are welcome) and the process can be pretty rewarding. Here's an excerpt from an invitation to write from Brian:
I'm writing to you now to invite you to commit to writing one (or more essays) in 2011. Writing is not always easy, but I believe it is always a valuable process. There is a value to the type of thought-leadership which trained priests can offer to spiritual communities. But there is also tremendous value in the musings, questions, conclusions, research and reflections which people from all walks of life come to in their efforts to understand God and live a heavenly life.


We only have three guidelines: be respectful of sacred scripture and the Writings of Emanuel Swedenborg, address spirituality/religion in some way and avoid commenting on individuals and current, specific decisions in the denominational organizations of the New Church.

Even if writing is not for you at this point, please share this invitation with anyone who you think may be interested by the opportunity. We are not looking for orthodoxy so much as we are looking for the heartfelt.
I hope that that whets your appetite to write, read, listen or otherwise participate in some form.

P.S. If you check back on Friday, you'll be able to read an essay that I wrote.