New Church Life March/April 2017 - Page 113

  interactions, we find good in one another.” Opening our minds and hearts to our neighbors “has to start with a desire to listen, to understand and to be tolerant of different points of view, and a desire to be reasonable, patient and respectful.” Sounds like the recent Journey campaign on Mindful Communication (Is it true? Is it kind? Is it useful?) It sounds just like the Golden Rule – not framed on a wall but brought down into life. It is that simple. And it is that profound. (BMH) distinctiveness redux One of the main purposes in the founding of the Academy and General Church was to create a New Church culture distinct from that of the world around it. The goal was not to be exclusive, but for the life of the Church community – in marriages, families, education and social life – to be as clearly distinct from the existing culture as New Church doctrines are from traditional Christian teaching. If elements of aloofness or elitism crept in, that was not the intent; although, given our fallen human heredity, some degree of distortion of the ideal was perhaps inevitable. But a misapplication of something that serves a good purpose does not mean that it is not useful when properly observed. Distinctiveness that comes from within, from a devotion to what is good and true, and not from a foolish sense of self-merit and a wish to look down on others, is good. In any case, because of the way the world around us is changing, the General Church is destined to become even more distinctive in the days ahead – unless, of course, it goes the way of the world. In the early days of the New Church the difference between it and the world around it, which still mostly identified itself as Christian, was mainly a matter of doctrine and not so outwardly apparent. In fact, the question of whether there even needed to be a separate organization was a matter of considerable debate. Now, though, the spiritual divide between the teachings and culture of the New Church and the ideas and culture around it is becoming ever deeper and wider. The outstanding example is the difference between the New Church view of marriage and that which has taken hold in the world and even many other churches. And yet, at the same time the world, in many ways, is growing further apart from the New Church, w H[YH\]X[ܙ\[HY\XY[ܛ[[\\[Z[[[\Y[\8$H܈[YYB[H]HY[YۛܙY[Z\X]Y [[[H^H\BM