Among all the churches of the World the Swedenborg Church the Swedenborg church possesses a great treasure that religion and the world are in great need of. Yet most don’t use it, much less promote it. The treasure it possesses it the internal sense of the Word.
The ability to communicate the internal sense can be done directly or inherently. Among Swedenborgians it can be spoken of directly because it is known in the church, and by all means should be vigorously developed. It also can be taught also among all types of Christians simply by doing it. I do this all the time every day with Christians and any person who is interested. One simply communicates from the inspiration and meaning of the internal sense of the Word. There need be nothing political about this, it is simply about seeking the truth in the Word and going wherever it leads. I say this because the Swedenborg convention church has become ‘hyper aware’ of political implications. To stop oneself from seeking and following the truth in the Word where it leads simply lacks intellectual and spiritual integrity. There is no better way to seek
Genuine spirituality comes from union of love and wisdom, from the practice of doing good uses for others and acknowledging good comes from God; and they are to be done together. When the Bible says to be harmless as a dove and wise as a serpent it expresses a spiritual practice that is to be done in union, not separately. This requires humility toward the source, and the integration of the two is the spirituality of it. Yoga means union. To act from only one or the other only is dissociative, and they remain external. For instance those who act from blanket compassion toward immigrants are only being harmless as doves, and there is blindness in this without being discerning. Progressive Christians have long tended to overlook the principle of union in theology, and go all out for the one side of compassion; for instance when I was in a progressive seminary in Berkeley very few believed there was an actual hell. Many felt this way because they believed it was less than compassionate to think God would allow anyone to be in hell, a false belief that completely takes the teeth out of genuine religion. (This subject is discussed in another article). So they subordinate the spiritual reality to their feelings and ideology.
A similar phenomenon happens in a different way on the conservative side of religion. Protestants developed the doctrine of salvation by faith alone from their own prudence, not Gods. This doctrine is the opposite of the principle of union in that it separates faith from charity, when in truth faith (wisdom) and charity (love) are only effective when bonded in union. Faith and charity work together for the health and salvation of our soul, exactly like the heart (love) and wisdom (lungs) work together to keep the body healthy and alive, and cannot function without each other. Salvation is by faith and charity together, and they are bonded in our soul when expressed in useful activities for our self and especially others. The doctrine of salvation by faith alone was also the fabrication of man. During the bitter battle for control with the Catholic Church Luther provided leadership and made many advances that countered the oppressive ways of the Catholic Church; but in doing so he hit upon the Doctrine of Salvation by faith alone to distinguish the protestants from the Catholics. This doctrine caught-on and took the heart and soul out of religion by removing the bride of faith – charity. It started in a different way what was so objected to about the Catholics – put religion on the shoulders of a doctrine of tradition, not from the wisdom of the Word. It still goes on today, fervently held onto by evangelicals, but it has been an untenable doctrine from the beginning, and since the second coming it has been muted and reconciled in many ways so that in practice a lot if its harm has been taken away.
Much of liberal thinking originated in liberation theology, which is based on the idea that ‘God favors the poor and oppressed’. This was first started in South America by Catholic nuns and monks to serve the purpose of the poor and oppressed working people. This served a good purpose for the poor in that situation, but it is a false doctrine and has since been used as ideological tool for coercion, political leverage and power. It also was meant to serve the oppressed but became the oppressor. This is because it is by the will and fabrication of man, not from the divine of the Word. The black community took up the idea and used it in their activism to bring favor to their cause, and later the gay community took it up as part of their ideology. In the hands of man this doctrine of favor leads to selfishness, and power struggles. It is of the natural mind to think that God would favor any particular group or people – not the spiritual mind. It is a falsity because God does not favor the poor, the oppressed, the rich, or anyone. God favors none; and God favors all. God sees what is in the heart of every man and woman, and every nation and religion, and they receive according to the fruit of their soul. I believe it is of the nature of God that perfect justice is always done in the spiritual world. For any group to say that God favors them selves, or another group, spiritually descends into is nothing more than ploy for political leverage.
So the falsifications of both progressive religion and conservative religion can be understood by their mistreatment of the principle of union. This does not mean those who do this are all wrong by any means; these doctrines or beliefs become traditions and people are peer pressured into them to a large degree, but if at some point they make it part of their own will that is where they become culpable according to spiritual principle. It is very valuable to be able to distinguish these problems in thinking so that we make good choices and so we do not throw the baby out with the bath water. This understanding of how religion strays from being genuine helps one to deal with feelings of anger towards religion so that we don’t go so far as to destroy our relationship with God. The misconceptions are of the religion of man, but the internal of religion is always in a pure and holy state – a distinction that is invaluable to contemplate for the sincere seeker.