New Church Life NCL May/June 2018 - Page 81

  especially at memorial services and weddings – which attract the most visitors. Our confident faith in life after death and the blessing of eternal marriage resonate with the deepest hopes and spiritual aspirations of many people. This is something to keep in mind with all of our services. Is there something in the message – whether a wedding, a memorial or regular Sunday service – assuring all listeners that a loving God wants what is best for all of us, and leaving them with an uplifting sense of hope and promise? We only get one opportunity to make a first impression – to connect with visitors like the young man at Fred’s service, who love the tone and feel of what they hear, hunger for more, and want to come back. (BMH) “think for yourself. live for others.” This is the motto of Bryn Athyn College, and a good motto it is. We live in a time when groupthink is prevalent, and the first part of the motto, “think for yourself,” indicates our desire to resist it. The second part – that we are born, not for ourselves alone, but for the sake of others – is explicitly stated in the Writings of the New Church and is a continual theme throughout them. (True Christian Religion 406) The doctrine of Use, Grand Man, and all the doctrines teach it. And a corollary is that how well we are able to serve others depends upon our ability to think clearly. The goal of teaching students to think for themselves is one all colleges would affirm, but in reality the heavy hand of political correctness makes independent thought rare on many campuses. Bryn Athyn College, however, is especially prepared to foster independent thought because of the light shed by the Writings upon the nature and use of the human mind. Truly free thought is thought enlightened and guided by revealed truth. “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (John 8:31) The psychology we find in the Writings is unique in its depth and its breadth. They explain the degrees of mental activity from the highest to the lowest: from the sensitivity and profound insights inspired by love flowing into the highest level of the mind from the Lord; to the rational faculty in the middle; to the storehouse of knowledge we call memory; and at the lowest level, the impressions made upon the mind by external objects detected by our bodily senses. There is no shortage of theories about the mind. Brain studies are advancing, and the promise of dramatic benefits is exciting. But the complexity of even the mind’s physical outer covering, the brain, remains daunting, and the mind is an even greater mystery, which no merely natural theory can ever solve. 257