Bryn Athyn College Alumni Magazine Fall/Winter 2017-18 - Page 21

Phyllis said, “Your course, Rise Above it, is just what my husband Garth would have wanted.” Ray and Star gratefully received the prize, which they promptly used to hire a graphic designer, get the book published, and order their first shipment. Within two years, their book had sold over 5,000 copies. Many books went to people in the New Church, while others went to ne w places. For example, the director of prison chaplains in South Carolina ordered books for every prison chaplain in the state. Dur- ing this time, Ray became a professor at Bryn Athyn College. Bringing the Ten Commandments to the z College In 2001, Ray had been teaching religion at Bryn Athyn College for three years and felt ready to bring the course to the college stu- dents. It seemed like a natural fit. In fact, prominent spiritual educators had begun to recognize the book’s potential for use in aca- demic settings. Harvey Cox, professor of religion at Har- vard Divinity School said, “For the first time to my knowledge this book brings the an- cient wisdom of the Ten Commandments to bear on the college experience. The result is a kind of guidebook on how to look beneath the daily round of classes and seminars to see the spiritual core of what for many of us turns out to be the most unforgettable period in our lives.” Echoing this sentiment, Rev. James F. Lawrence, Ph.D., Dean of the Center for Swe- denborgian Studies said, “Rise Above It enters the rare company of the best works emphasiz- ing praxis through the keeping of a journal to record and concretely engage numerous lessons arising from the expanse of spiritual meanings within the Ten Commandments.” After using the text with his graduate students, Rev. Lawrence reported that “the methodology of Rise Above It assures each par- ticipant a far greater personal yield in daily living than they would normally extract and apply from spiritual study.” He added, “Stu- dents love the more profound and penetrat- ing analysis of each commandment than what Ray and Star on the day of their baptism into the New Church, May 3, 1980. Star is six months pregnant with twins Aria and Skyler. IT STARTED WITH LOVE When Ray met his soon-to-be-wife, Star, in the 1970s, the two found themselves in a vulnerable, yet hopeful state. They had witnessed and experienced the heartbreak of relationships that lack a spiritual foundation—both in their families and in their own personal relationships. They craved something radi- cally different: a loving relationship that would bring out the best in one another. Excited to learn more about this idea, and share this vision with others, they decided to write a book to- gether on “eternal marriage.” While researching the topic in a small library in Eau Claire Wis- consin, Ray and Star came across a book called Conjugial Love by Emanuel Swedenborg and said, “This is it!” Ray explained, “I remember opening the book to a passage about a couple who had been married for thousands of years. Thousands of years! And the passage went on to describe the way the two were becoming unified over time. My jaw just dropped.” Soon after discovering Conjugial Love, Ray and Star found a Swedenborgian church in Massachusetts where they contin- ued their research. Ray said, “The more we read and learned about Swedenborg, the more we saw that the kind of true love described in Conjugial Love depended on following the Lord and keeping the Ten Commandments. We realized we needed to really learn and study them.” For the next four decades, even while raising seven children, that is what they have continued to do. Star said, “This religion and its teachings are incredible. Learning more deeply about the Ten Commandments has changed our lives.” Ray and Star Silverman live in Meadowbrook, Pennsylvania. Ray has a Ph.D. in English and education (University of Michigan), a Master of Arts in teaching (Wesleyan University) and a Master of Divinity (Bryn Athyn College Theological School). Star has an Master of Arts in education from the University of Denver. B RY N AT H Y N A LU M N I M AG A Z I N E | 21