Rev. Steve Sanchez

Rev. Steve Sanchez
Swedenborgian Minister

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

How Can it Be Explained that the Lord is the Living Word?

The Lord is the living Word made Flesh. This is a phrase Christians often use and I believe it is fabulously true; how is it true, and how can we explain such an extraordinary thing?
     In the Old Testament the great prophets such as Moses and Elijah prophesied from Revelation of the one who would come who would perform great deeds and save humanity. These phrophecies are part of the Word from the Old testament, meaning they are divine truth from heaven written by men on earth for the sake of conjoining heaven to earth. When Jesus was born on earth He gradually, step by step, fulfilled each of these prophecies during the course of his life, especially during his 3 year ministry
     When Jesus declares in the synagogue the words, ‘This day the scriptures are fulfilled’, it is an extraordinary moment in which history has come to fruition. It is the culmination of centuries of prophecy and preparation; it is the convergence of the divine truth in the Word with the divine good embodied in the human, Jesus. It is the boldest, the most unthinkable thing anyone could say, unless it were true – then it is a statement of unimaginable power, goodness, love, kindness, wisdomm, and transformation. The one as He is fulfilling the prophecy, speaks in full awareness that He is fullfilling prophecy.
There is a common saying that holds a great truth that makes this very understandable  – ‘A man (or women) becomes what they do’. What we believe and will leads to what we do. The essence of our humanness is in our will and understanding, and what we actually will to do forms our soul. When we are stripped away of all the externals, as we will be when we die, we are left with what we really love and believe; this is what composes our internal soul.
     It is the same thing with the Lord. He became what He did. By coming here he separated himself into an external and internal, (which is the situation of all humans who are born), His internal being His divine soul, and his external Jesus. The Mission of His life was to Merge these into one divine in the ressuerrection, which is called the glorification process. In human regeneration we seek to bring our external self and internal into harmony, which leads to wholeness of self. We are finite, and the Lord is infinite. There are many places in the Bible where it says that Jesus performed a deed ‘for the sake of the fulfillment of prophecy’ as he did in the synogogue that great day. There about 20 to 30 fullifillments in each Gospel. In his last temptation on the cross when Jesus speaks, “It is finished”, he accomplished fulfilling all prophecy. By progressively fulfilling all prophecy in the Word to the end, He made his external body and internal divine one, so there was no more separation. Therefore his physical body became divine, because that which merges with the divine is divine. When you break metal in two and then weld it back together, the weld becomes the strongest part. He became what He did, and what He did in his life is fulfill divine truth from His own might and passion, and thus He became divine truth. 
How is it possible that centuries and centuries ago it could be known that these things would happen, one after another in sequence; that each of these occurances were a necessary step for the redeeming of humnaity, and how could it be that the deteriating effects of natural time had no effect on taking these things off course. Also all of these things occurred within the organic process of the natural world and human interaction. Only the infinite wisdom of the divine could foresee and do this. Divine Love and wisdom is innate within all things and so inevitably effects them to his will. He is outside time and space and present to all time and space. All lines (of meaning) lead to the Lord and to his ressurection for this was the greatest act of love ever acted in the material world, and that ever will be. One can say this because the state of evil, and thus the dire threat to the existance of humanity was greater at that time than it ever had been or ever will be. The divine of the Lord within one man overcame it all.
Here is the cosmic story of the Word in short. The Lord is in the midst of the spiritual sun in the spiritual world. He is life itself and from him proceeds life to all things. Divine love and wisdom are life from him that creates and sustains all life; - just as heat and light together sustain life in the natural world for all the matter, plants, animals and humans on the earths in the universe. When man distanced himself from God in the fall it became necessary that there be a means of conjunction between heaven and earth. So the lord created the Word by means of the Jewish people and their prophets. The Word is divine truth itself that has been accommodated down to humans by discreet degrees. In the Word there are four levels or senses; the Celestial, the spiritual, the natural, and the material. The celestial sense is the most internal and is all about the Life and development of Christ from the time He was a baby. The spiritual is about all the truths of life and the true principles of life. The natural is consistant with the natural porcesses of nature and human community. And the material is the published Bible on earth.
From this we can see that there is an internal sense to the Word, and that its innermost is from and about the Life of Christ. From all this we can begin to see how Jesus is the living Word. This is the end of part one.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Equilibrium, the fundemental Principle in the Universe, Because it Comes from the Divine Human

Therefore my people have gone into captivity,
Because they have no knowledge;
Their honorable men are famished,
And their multitude dried up with thirst.
Therefore Sheol has enlarged itself
        And opened its mouth beyond measure; (Isaiah 5: 13,14).

This article may be challenge to absorb because it involves a very spiritual and essential concept of the universe, but it is well woth it. I will do my best to make it concise, and I hope you will take the time to meditate on it.
Equilibrium is a term that applies to all life, and I want to show it here in its most important context – the loss of equilibrium due to an overabundance of evil that led to the incarnation of the Lord. Equilibrium is fundamental to the structure of the universe. (This understanding is pioneered by Swedenborg.) On a cosmic level, the Lord maintains equilibrium between heaven and hell and governs both by his might alone. A single man or woman fighting against the forces of evil on his own is like a fly against a giant; there is no chance without the Lord. Before the Lord was born there was an accumulating darkness. As people died and entered the spiritual world, even if they were good, evil spirits intercepted them by artful deceptions and led them into their false heaven. These suedo heavens were in the spiritual world which is between heaven and hell. Once evil began to tip the tables in their favor, their power increased and increased. The over accumulation of spirits (people) in hell, and in this suedo-heaven eventually caused a dark cloud between heaven and earth that greatly blocked the reception of heavenly influx to humanity. This is what is meant by “Sheol has enlarged itself and opened its mouth beyond measure”. Here is another verse that refers to the loss of equilibrium between heaven and hell:

 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places (John 6:12).

This verse refers to evil forces infulttrating and occupying heaven; ‘high places’ meaning heaven. They were like a murading army ransacking the first levels of heaven, taking residence, and deceiving the people in a thousand horrid ways. Matthew describes this when he says “And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force” (Mat. 11:12).  The power of evil was overwhelming heaven. When this happens a measure of freedom is lost. Freedom on earth exists at the pinnacle of the balance between heaven and hell. When equilibrium is lost so is freedom. Under normal circumstances neither the angels of heaven nor the demons of hell can compel human beings one way or the other, but both can influence within the laws of freedom. During life it is up to each person to will and choose their way as they are exposed to the influences of heaven and hell. Thus freedom is the very means of salvation, and it is also the cause of hell. It is the cause of hell because freedom of will is total and complete; the consequences are real, otherwise freedom would not be real, and life would not be real. The structure of the whole universe is based on this equilibrium between heaven and hell. The Lord maintains equilibrium, subjugating evil and keeping heaven in divine order with His omnipotent power for the sake of human freedom. Understanding this is a profound key to understanding the nature of the universe, history, and the Bible. If Jesus had not come and reversed the process, the over-abundance of evil would have progressed until humanity was consumed in total darkness.
A similar loss of equilibrium took place at the time of Noah. The story of Noah describes how the whole earth was becoming wicked, that is, the over-accumulation of evil was on the verge destroying the entire human race. The Lord solved the problem by wiping out the wicked with a flood, and using Noah and his family as the seed of the new human race. He started over with Noah and his family, and the pairs of animals. This process of renewing from a remnant is called ‘remains’ in the Bible. Noah, his family and the pairs of animals were the remains from which the Lord started a new church with true charity in it. On an individual level the word ‘remains’ refers to the innocence from love stored on a person’s soul from childhood from which the Lord works to regenerate the whole person. So the collective sense it refers to the few left in a society who still possess true charity in their heart by which the Lord can establish a new church. After the Lord destroyed the people at the time of Noah the Lord promised he would never destroy people wholesale ever again, so when the loss of equilibrium took place again at the end of the representative Jewish church, the Lord chose to be born on earth in order to redeem humanity and put all things back into order.
It is often asked, why did the Lord choose or need to be born on earth? I beeive the answer can be approached from understanding how essential freedom is to salvation. God in his essence cannot approach a person or angel without destroying them. As the scripture says, no man can look upon God and live. It is like a person approaching the sun, the pure love of the Lord would destroy them. In the soul and the body of every human being there is hereditary evil, and this evil shrivels and burns in the presence of the pure good and love of the Lord. This is why in the Bible every time the glorified presence of Jesus appears those around make themselves postrate to him. By being born on earth Jesus became ‘the bridge’. He made God accessible to humanity. If instead God had waved his hand and made earth a paradise it would mean nothing, because in that case people would have done nothing from their own will. A bond only forms recipricaly. The Lord himself operated within the laws of freedom during his life on earth so that people could ‘become’ from themselves in a reciprical way.
An important scripture which speaks to the inevitable of equilibrium in the universe and our place in it - is this: “Woe unto the world because of offences! for it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh!” Freedom speaks to the essence of being human, yet from freedom it is inevitale that there will be evil, because their are consequences to freedom. In equilibrium, in the battle between good and evil, is the only way life can exist! There must be contrast and variety for there to be life, growth, and perception. From the nature of the Lord there is infinite variety and divine order, therefore there is continual contrast and meaning in life. If everthing were monotone as in a white-out or black-out, there would be no perception or individual identity. Nevertheless, this philosophical truth does not take away from the terrible consequences of evil choices in life. This is what is meant by, ‘woe to that man by whom the offence cometh’. In the battle between good in evil it is paramount that we favor the good in our heart, whether it bears fruit or not - we must still try.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Part Two: Integration of Psychology and Religion in Pop Culture, and How God is inherent in the Psychology of People

Part two

‘Omnipotence’ is the image of the creator in the child, because the creator is omnipotent. This is a psychological way of perceiving the spiritual truth that the Lord is intrinsic in the human soul. This psychological condition parallels the fact that freedom is the Lord’s nature, and the freedom we enjoy is entirely a gift from the creator. Omnipotence is the only form freedom can be expressed in an infant.
In this light the mission of life can be seen as working through the paradox of, on the one side, learning personal skill and competence; and on the other, returning fallacious omnipotent power to where it belongs – God.
The value of this principle is not so much theoretical and abstract, but it helps interpret what is always closest to us  – our inner life. What could be more important? Our internal life eventually determines our eternal life.
In adults we see all the time that the less one has inner self-knowledge the more they claim omnipotence (self-centeredness). In the adult the extreme of feeling that he or she is omnipotent is a form of insanity. Swedenborg writes of witnessing that the deepest hell is for those who believe they are God himslef. This is the ultimate example of an unresolved omnipotent fantasy. He says the spirits there completely believe that they are God and all others are subjects.
As adults when we regress, it is because we inwardly feel powerless and distressed, so we reflexively return back to the feelings of omnipotence for protection. These feelings are unresourced. Childhood omnipotence in the adult is by nature blind to others, and driven by survival. It is an ‘automatic’ default setting inside for the sake of self-survival. We may or may not have sophisticated ways of justifying it, but the quality and import of it is self-serving.
There is in regression, also, if we remain self aware, an opportunity. Regression points to the wounds within us that need development. If we react the same as in the past then there is no movement, but if we act with some measure of composure, we can change the phantasy within our self to a good one, or a better one. Regression is also an opportunity because beneath the feelings of childhood omnipotence are remains, the stored feelings of innocence and love. These feelings are often felt as a sense of personal ‘specialness’, because deep down we want and feel a core of good about our selves that is seeking expression; these are in potential and need development. If felt and opened, remains can be transmuted into a footing for submitting to God as the true source of ‘specialness’. And in yielding to Him we feel joy, more our self. This provides the inner security to care for others as much or more than our selves (which is the cornerstone of society and religion). Remains are in potential and need to be spiritually mined and thus incorporated into our will. This is spiritual remembering. God provides that remains are inside everyone, as a means of connecting with His will for life. Every time we regress there is an opportunity to renew the unresolved issue in our self that cries out for attention and healing.

Advertisers use the motivating energy of our need to sort out our omnipotent phantasies, and to believe in the good father and mother, all the time. A good advertising campaign attempts to tap the primal spot where we live inside; this way they influence us to image satisfying our deepest drives with their product. Where advertisers put their money is a good litmus test of something’s veracity: by study and process of elimination they do what produces. They are acting from very practical motivation - the bottom line, maximum results, making money.
One of the psychological means Advertisers use is to portray animals and objects talking and acting like humans. There is certain magic and delight kindled within us in seeing these absurd and exaggerated images. There are hundreds of examples of this on TV commercials and kids shows. We see talking animals, sponges, fruit, vegetables, and trees, constantly, and it never ceases to be funny! Recently, there has been a commercial of a humorous, straight-talking cow that tells the mom of a family what everyone is thinking when the mother shows up asking about her goofy clothes. The family is too afraid to say anything about it, but the sassy cow tells her like it is. It is hilarious for many reasons. It images for us a way that we can feel safe to hear and express what is underneath and real. The cow represents the phantastic mother being real, good, and refreshingly truthful to us; teaching us it is ok to express our most keen perceptions. The modeling of truth-speaking helps us move through a barrier of anxiety, which is a deeply satisfying inner (if minor) acheivement. This is joyful to us because it develops inner skill, and growth movement. We move from being subject-to our anxieties, to a creative agent.
In addition, psychologists (and Swedenborg) write that all children up to a certain age believe that their play animals and dolls are alive. Experiencing this as children is part of our original experience of the mystery of spirit. Robert Kegan refers to it as embodied childhood spirituality. Biddle calls it a developmental precursor to belief in the spiritual world and God. Swedenborg calls it remains, or the experience of love and innocence married into our soul. In a humorous way the commercial reminds us that as children we believed that magic is real. The act of remembering this kind of thing as adults is part of the process of integrating the forgotten remains of childhood. We are all engaged in the continuous activity of building a good image of the phantastic father and mother. We need the good father and mother because it helps us feel safe in the world, that we have a positive agency toward life and others.
An example in pop culture of transferring omnipotence to God that appealed to millions of people was Tebowmania. The symbol of Tebowmania is the pose he strikes at important moments. After a great play, or after winning, or after losing, Tebow kneels on the ground with his head down, his knuckles to his forehead, closes his eyes, and prays. This is a potent image of transferring omnipotence to the good father. In this pose, after the mighty struggle to achieve, he submits to God, and thanks God. The act of kneeling itself is a bold, demonstrative act of humility and honor. It is like the knights of old who kneeled before the King.
In Swedenborgian Spiritual psychology Tebow is also an example of another principle that intergrates psychology and religion, that is, the son with ‘good proprium’: Hiesman trophy winner, physique of a Greek god, good disposition, good Christian. Some people dislike him for these qualities. Proprium refers to the part of the soul that is inherited, and comes from self-will, not God’s will – and that has iinheretid moslty good qualities. Swedenborg warns that good proprium is at least as much a danger as bad proprium, because there is not much in the soul to overcome, and as a result the fighting spirit for good is not developed. Jesus often teaches that the person who is forgiven much and overcomes much is closer to heaven. Victor Frankl similarly says that it is the fighting spirit in the soul, no-matter how bad the circumstances, that makes the man or woman. In Frankl this comes from good authority, because he survived Auschwitz, where he led people to fight to live, and to keep their identity and faith. Conversely, the person with good proprium is often complacent, which corresponds to being lukewarm. But Tebow, with his image of good proprium and upbringing, demonstrates tremendous fighting spirit, and care for others.
We need good role models to help us perceive ways of incorporating the phantastic good parents in the world and our life; that magic and reality can come together, that we can achieve and transfer power to God. Sometimes we feel jealousy of these figures also, which is no doubt why the the crowds seek to take down and find dirt on popular figures. But jealousy can also be a powerful motivator for acheivement.
One of the central values of Christianity is to walk the narrow path; to not retaliate in the face of unfairness and conflict; to feel anger and not become it, but use it; to be steadfast in winning or losing. Anytime we see someone do this no matter how small, we recognize it as honorable.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Part One: Principles of the Integration of Psychology and Religion, and How God is inherent in the Psychology of People

Earl Biddle’s description of childhood anxiety, imagination, and omnipotence offers deep insight into the inner life of a child, and into adult psychological development. His theories offer an interesting way to understand the recent phenomenon in popular culture called, ‘Tebomania’. Before applying some of Biddle’s and Swedenborg’s insights to this phenomenon lets first look into Biddle’s theories. I believe Biddle’s ideas meld well with Swedenborg’s. I hope that in studying these elements of how psychology integrates with religion we will learn something about our own souls. Personaly, I study these things for the sake of self healing, not to be an intellectual.
          Biddle describes the inner life of the child and the importance of the child’s phantasies. ‘Phantasy’ emphasizes creative imagination, whereas, ‘fantasy’, implies more an element of illusory day dreaming:

Childhood is usually regarded as a period of life which is normally happy and carefree…But it is difficult to appreciate the extremes of anxiety and joy which the small child experiences throughout his everyday life. The small child dies a thousand deaths. Equally often he reaches the pinnacle of bliss…(These experiences) are very real to the child, but the adult says they are imaginary (Biddle, p. 32).
The small child under the age of three views his parents and other adults as gigantic, all-powerful people. They can do infinite good or infinite harm to him. But according to the logic of the child, a good person cannot do any bad, and a bad person can do no good… The child does not regard the gratifying father and the frustrating father as the same person. The same is true with the mother. Besides being real people the parents represent phantastic, illusory, or imaginary persons. The small child, then, has, in addition to his real parents, a phantastic father and mother who are preposterously good, and a phastastic father and mother who are preposterously bad.
Emotionally the child under age three experiences only extremes. When someone pleases him he does not simply like that person, but loves him with every fiber of his being. When someone displeases him he does not dislike him, but hates with murderous intensity.

These feelings remain latent within us throughout life, but are worked out, and refined and gradually become unconscious as we mature. When we react to people and circumstances we tend to regress to these feelings. Biddle describes how the child learns to process and work out these feelings in his or her imagination:

The child cannot physically handle the parents. He cannot defend himself against them when they appear to threaten him. The problem is worked out by a natural process whereby the child makes inanimate objects, which he can handle, represent symbols of the parent. A match stick may become an imaginary bad father who can be chewed, broken into bits, and thrown away…By this process of imagination the child “really’ gets rid of the bad parents because he destroys a real object which symbolizes a parent to him. The child can also change his inanimate objects from bad to good, and thereby improve the phantastic parents, which the objects represent. The imaginary threats are thereby relieved. The child never attacks the phantastic parent with the intention of doing harm. He may do so simply to assure himself that he is not really causing harm. He may in imagination harm the parent he has clothed in destructive phantasies only to find the real parent does something good. When this happens the child must in imagination repair the phantastic damage he has done.
Paiget (30-33) has done a great deal of work concerning the child’s conception of real objects. He confirms the psychoanalytic observation that the child animates and personifies all material objects. When a leaf is blown the child does not think of the wind moving it. To the child the leaf is a little person who walks, runs and flies…All objects when reduced to their primary symbolic meaning represent father and mother figures. Freud’s “phallic symbols” then can be interpreted more correctly as father symbols, and receptive objects as mother symbols.
The imagination of the child is so vivid that he cannot distinguish clearly between what is real and what is imaginary (43, Biddle).
The child uses the functions inherent in his own body as the means by which he exercises his imaginary omnipotence. In imagination he can annihilate the world by simply closing his eyes. Then he can recreate the world by opening them…His words have magic power. By calling Mama he can make his mother appear from ‘nowhere’. His tears, saliva, and bodily excrement are given phantastic destructive and creative power.
The child’s omnipotent phantasies are of tremendous importance in his psychic development. One need not fear that the child will continue to believe himself omnipotent if his phantasies are not disputed. A brutal assault upon the phantasies of the child renders him helpless and insecure in a gigantic real world with which he cannot cope…The entire life of every individual is shaped by the impact which the real world makes upon the imaginary world of the child. The adult helps the child to distinguish between reality and phantasy, but the phantasies cannot be eliminated. Strangely enough, the desire for omnipotence, which caused man to lose paradise, is essential to him in early childhood if he is to regain heaven. Only the genius of the creator could change what appears to be intrinsically evil desire into an essential good.
The phantasies of omnipotence do not continuously sustain the child. The child constantly fluctuates between feeling omnipotent and annihilated. There are many times too, when he is afraid of his omnipotent destructiveness. For instance if he ‘blows up the world’ he will have no place to stand.
The child’s omnipotence is relinquished not because of the threat of reality, as the psychoanalysts claim, but because of the safety of reality.

When reality is not safe, when parents are consumed with their own survival and cannot fairly perceive the child, the child is in danger of growing up to be self-centered, and have delusions about their personal power. If the child is made to feel overly fearful of his omnipotent power, then she grows up passive, shying away from life. This kind passiveness is not peaceful, but full of tension, and fear of conflict and anger, because the unresolved phantasies are stymied, and such a person feels diminished and destructive. As a chaplain one of my primary objectives when working with a person who suffered trauma and loss is to cultivate the kind of care and presence that helps people to feel safe. Appropriately, only when a person feels safe and can trust will they share their deepest issues, otherwise the conversation remains on the surface.
In the child ‘omnipotence’ is appropriate, because she is innocent and helpless. Objectively the child is born in ignorance, knowing nothing, can do nothing for her self, and must learn gradually. Swedenborg writes that all humans at birth have hereditary evil, but that it is latent. The creator clothes the child in innocence so that it is adored and taken care of; and the child’s actual experiences of love and loving are stored as remains in her soul. These remains of love connect her to God, and temper the hereditary evil in her as she grows. These remains are an essential means of reception of good from the Lord. Evil is latent because a baby has not developed an identity yet that is self-willing. The ‘omnipotence’ of the child is a reflection of the creator who is omnipotent and seeds us with this feeling for the sake of our protection and freedom. Remains are gifts of innocence and love married into the soul of the child from real feeling and experience. They are stored from experiences of pure love for parents, caretakers and playmates, and from utter enthusiasm for phantasy play with objects. Omnipotence is an appearance, but it is real to the child, just as every person that has lived appears to have life and freedom from themselves, but internally these are gifts from God. In the development of the child omnipotence is the seed that yields creativity and strength, if healthy; if held on to into older ages out of survival, it becomes the cause of delusion, self-centeredness, and mental disorders.
Recently I went to eat out with my seven-year-old daughter. I had some books and other objects with me and she had some toys. She spent time organizing everything on the table the way she wanted it. This was her way of working out and taking charge of her feelings – a healthy phantasy impulse. On the other hand when she is upset she has an extreme emotional reaction like the world is ending.
‘Omnipotence’ is the image of the creator in the child, because the creator is omnipotent. This is a psychological way of perceiving the spiritual truth that the Lord is intrinsic in the human soul. This psychological condition parallels the fact that freedom is the Lord’s nature, and the freedom we enjoy is entirely a gift from the creator. In Him it is true and infinite, in us it is an appearance and finite. (The appearance of) Omnipotence is the only form freedom can be expressed in an infant.

A Window into Christian Spirituality

          A woman asked me if it is possible to be spiritual without God. I think most of you would agree the simple answer is 'no'. But I thought it would be a good exercise to articulate the answer. Please feel free to leave your thoughts and comments in the comment section at the end. 
         We cannot be spiritual without God. God is life itself, and love and wisdom in the spiritual world radiate from him like heat and light from the sun. Just as the physical sun sustains life for the physical world, the spiritual sun sustains all life. Love corresponds to heat, and wisdom to light. The human form is a receptacle of life that originates from the source - the divine human - God. Yes God is in the human form, as it says in the Bible we are made in his image. The nature of the source is reflected in all the things he creates, as the macro and the micro. We are not God, there is only one God. We are receptacles of life from God like the eye is an organ that receives light from the sun - our soul is an organ, the highest form in all the universe that receives love and wisdom from the Lord.
            The reason there is no spirituality without God is this; the essence of spirituality is to acknowledge God and to do good things of use in our life, and these two must be done together. Spirituality comes from the union of the two; it comes from having the receptiveness, the innocence, the humility to see that the good we do comes from him, and not our self. Zen, Christian meditation, yoga all the practices seek to find the sweet spot of walking this narrow path - accepting the divine in our actions. This position makes our heart soft like good soil, soil that God can germinate life in.
Without God we are an empty, selfish, heap, on the ground dead as a door nail. Life and freedom are both entirely gifts from God, this awareness alone is sufficient to find humility and devotion.
        The articles on Correspondences and the human form are very helpful in further understanding these ideas.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

The Amazing Detials of Jesus' Process o the Glorification Described and Compared to the Einstein's Formula of Particle Excelleration

In this article I will explore the correspondence between the process of the glorification of the Lord, and Einstein’s theory of particle acceleration. Einstein's formula states that as matter approaches the speed of light it's mass increases, and theoretically approaches infinity. This was demonstrated in the Berkeley cyclotron. I will begin by describing the process of the glorification.
         Jesus was tempted and assaulted by evil during the course of His whole life. The 40 days and 40 nights that the Lord was tempted are symbolic of temptations that actually took place his whole life. These temptations and battles that took place were of an intensity far beyond what we could even imagine. The process of overcoming these temptations is how Christ purified his human and accomplished the glorification. Christ could be tempted by evil because he had a human body from his mother. All humans have Hereditary evil; it is passed on from generation to generation through the body, and the soul. The evil that comes from the father is more interior, because of the soul; and the evil that comes from the mother is more exterior, because from the body. Interior evil from the soul can be regenerated, but cannot be removed. Therefore, because Christ soul was divine, or Jehovah himself, he had no interior evil, but he did have hereditary evil from the body. The result of this is that He ‘entered the fish bowl’, so to speak, that is, He made himself accessible to all humanity, and at the same time to all evil. But the brilliance of this is that Jesus also access to evil. He needed to be able to be tempted by the evil so He could subjugate all evil.

The Lord grew like other men. He learned and grew in skills, except at a much greater rate and power. With his exceptional spiritual and intellectual skills he was tempted by spiritual pride, and every other vice during his growth. Day by day, step-by-step, He overcame all temptations. Evil forces tempted Him with power, fame, greed, wealth, and comfort. The reason he could be tempted but did not sin, is that as long as we a mulling a deed over in mind, it is not yet sin, but when we intend to do, or do he deed, it has entered our will and it is sin. They tempted Him to rage, vengeance, lust, pride, and self-love. They unrelentingly tried to persuade him to sinful actions by incredible magical arts. But Christ was able to see and reject the evil of men and women, especially in the spiritual world. He defeated the forces of  all hell by making them surrender to him.
To give some insight to the depth of these assaults, Swedenborg writes that even the angels of heaven tempted Him because angles, even though good, are former humans and have remnants of hereditary evil. Swedenborg writes: “He foresaw and overcame the most subtle of all temptations from the angels”. It took the power and might of His Divine Soul to overcome and do what no human could do.
Christ’s greatest temptation had to do with his boundless love and compassion for humanity. The evil forces knew this, so like terrorists on earth, they sought to destroy that which He loves the most.
Now it is very important to note that evil attacks according to ones innermost love, for from this they can destroy a person’s life; and because Christ was the greatest love to ever be all the greatest forces of hell sought to destroy him. But from the power in his soul each time Christ overcame a temptation He took another step in purifying His human body of all hereditary evil. And each time He removed hereditary evil, He entered a greater state of light, and the quality of his love rose to a higher level.

         Now lets examine the implications of this process. The progressive temptations the Lord underwent and overcame, and the ever-increasing love He opened to, sets up an exponential equation. As said above, it is a law of the hells that they seek to destroy a person by attacking their innermost love, and every time a temptation is overcome one’s state of love increases. In the case of Christ His soul possessed infinite potential because His father was God. Swedenborg writes, “Because this love (of Christ toward humanity) was not human but Divine, and temptation is great in proportion as the love is great, it is evident how grievous were His combats, and how great the ferocity on the part of the hells. That these things were so I know of a certainty”. So the ever-increasing formula is this: the more Christ overcame temptations and purified his human the higher his quality of love became, which in turn led the hells to attack with increased force at the higher level, and when He overcame that temptation, His quality of love increased again, and so on to the point of infinity.
     Having described Swedenborg’s conception of the Glorification process we can now compare it to Einstein’s theory of particle acceleration, which states: the closer a particle approaches the speed of light, the greater its mass becomes, and this increase continues exponentially to the horizon of infinity. Max Born writing on this subject says:
A glance at formula 78 for the mass tells us that the values of the relativistic mass m become greater as the velocity v of the moving body approaches the velocity of light. For v=c the mass becomes infinitely great.
From this it follows that it is impossible to make a body move with a velocity greater than that of light by applying forces: Its inertial resistance grows to an infinite extent and prevents the velocity of light from being reached (Max Born, Einstein’s Theory of Relativity, 277).
The primary difference between the Glorification and Einstein’s formula, is the infinite inertia of mass. But I believe the infinite love of Jesus could overcome the the law of the infinite inertia of mass.
In Einstien’s formula I would suggest that m (mass) corresponds to the body of Jesus, and v (velocity) corresponds to the accelerating love and wisdom of Jesus; c (the speed of light) corresponds to reaching the infinite potential, or making his body divine. The inertial resistance corresponds to the barrier between the natural world and the spiritual world, which physical substance (a body) cannot cross. Max Born’s statement about the infinite resistance of inertia preventing the speed of light being reached is a difference, but in a way it helps us appreciate the miraculous nature of the resurrection. The exact correspondence is that between mass becoming infinite and Jesus taking his human body into the spiritual world and merging with the divine, which is what Jesus accomplished in the resurrection. Jesus was able to do this because he entered into a love that never existed before, his love was divine and by utterly purifying his body of all hereditary evil he as able to enter the innermost of all things. His divine body merged with the divine essence of God. This is the mystery of all mysteries and the greatest event in all History.
Swedenborg writes that Christ was the only one to raise His corporeal body into the spiritual world and the only one who ever will:
He rose again on the third day with His whole body; which does not take place with any man, for man rises again only as to the spirit, but not as to the body. That man might know and no one should doubt that the Lord rose again with His whole body…He showed himself in His human body to the disciples, saying to them, when they believed they saw a spirit: Behold, My hands and My feet, that it is I myself; handle me and see, for spirit hath not flesh and bones, as you see me have. And when He said this, He showed them his hands and feet (Luke 24:39,40) (A.C. 5078).
The Bible is careful to show that the Lord’s has a divine body in transition after the resurrection. When Christ first appears to Mary after the resurrection and she mistakes Him for a gardener, He says to her, “Do not touch me, for I have not yet risen to My Father”. Afterward He invites the disciples to touch His body. As in the above quote to prove to the disciples further that He rose with His whole body He told Thomas to thrust his hand into His side (John 20:27,28). For the same purpose, in front of the disciples, He ate fish and honeycomb proving He had natural qualities (Luke 24:41-43). He also ‘appeared to them while the door was shut’ (John 20:19,26), in other words, He walked through walls indicating his body had divine qualities. It is also significant that after He had been with the disciples for some time, suddenly ‘He became invisible’ (Luke 24:31). The Bible is laying out the attributes of the Divine Human so that all generations can know that he resurrected His human body and merged with the divine, thus becoming the divine human.
 This process describes the resurrection of Christ. In physics when the velocity of mass equals the speed of light then theoretically mass becomes infinite, but this would mean infinite mass would occupy all space and thereby destroy everything, which of course is impossible. But in a spiritual way this makes sense, because Swedenborg writes that the whole unverse is in the form of the Grand man, the divine human. This is another subject, which I will write about in my next blog.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Why does God allow Evil, and How Truama Effects Belief in God - Distilled Thoughts from a Hospital Chaplain

I developed the following ideas from my experience at seminary and as a chaplain in a world class rehab center. I was doing both simultaneously, and it was painful for me to see the place where others had a hard time believing in God. I had to process through my experience, feelings, and perception about these things. It was not easy because everyone has different views for different reasons. In seminary it was a very political situation, because the Pacific School of Religion is very progressive, and all too often some people there move into an ideological corner. You'd be astonished how many folks there don't believe in the spiritual world, and certainly not that there is a hell. And some don't believe in God, or at least a Christian God.
         I would like to offer some thoughts on the pastoral implications of the belief that God is the cause of evil, and that God inflicts harm. I do not believe he in any way shape or form is the cause of evil. To believe that the Lord inflicts evil in the least degree can have destructive consequences. What pastor has not heard the question in time of crisis, “Why did God allow this to happen? Why did this happen to me? Is God punishing me?”  I asked a patient recently how he expressed his sense of spirituality. He said, “I guess I don’t. My wife has Parkinson’s and I blame God for it. I am angry at God for it.”
       The feeling is understandable, but this is reasoning from emotion. The questions above are a first response when the shock of tragedy begins to set in, and one has to deal with it. Often as people begin to talk further about their feelings and beliefs, they reveal that they do not really believe God is punishing them, but they are still angry. It is normal and healthy to feel so; in fact, it is very Biblical. In lamentations the response to deep suffering is modeled for us; the people wail with complaints at him, and wrestle with what God is doing, but they are taking their feelings to him. Lamentations shows how God is big enough to handle all our anger and despair, and that these feelings are safe with him. When we open and witness our feelings to each other and to God, they are shared suffering and gradually transformed into thankfulness and love.
       There are other times that people get stuck in their anger. Reasoning that God is punishing them involves the assumption that God is inflicting evil on them; that is how it may appear and how it feels. To work with this it helps to seek to discover the root of the anger and emotion, because it is trapped emotion that drives this belief. One needs to offer deep acknowledgement and compassion for the cause of the emotion. (This is the primary factor in all of this, and involves therapy, but being a chaplain is not usually full therapy). Later, at the appropriate time it may be possible to help a person re-think theology from a place of loving God. 
        There are other times though when a person does not change the feeling of anger nor their intellectual belief that God is punishing them. Lets explore how this works a little bit.
A friend approached me yesterday and we talked about his marriage struggles. He described how his wife was so emotionally attached to her family and their drama that she can’t bond with him. He has tried to help his wife’s family with their many compelling dysfunctional issues, even helping some of them by letting them live in his house. When he had to stand up to certain issues he got a lot of grief, not only from his wife’s family, but to his dismay – from his wife. He said he suffers because his wife’s love-hate relationship with her family prevents her from being able to fully bond with him. She is psychologically consumed in battling with, and trying to prove herself to her family. He said she suffered a lot of trauma in her youth and the unresolved anger around it is booby trapped with self-protect mechanisms against dealing with the pain. He said that she has even let go of her relationship with God, and refuses now to talk about God. This is a hardened place for her.
With the first shock of trauma we react from a default place of emotion, and think from appearances. The natural reaction is felt in this way: if no one cares about me, then I don’t care about you, or me. This is a cut-off, and feeds the forsaken feeling that ‘God is punishing me’. This may explain what is happening in the story above. These feelings are not necessarily bad. As I said above, often after the first shock people are put in a position to wrestle with God, and are able to incorporate a more spiritual perspective. They re-define and deepen their connection. But other times the pain of trauma is too deep, people have erected hardened barriers around it, and will not let their position be budged. Swedenborg gives us a great framework for understanding this subject. He writes:

  To think and conclude from the internal is to think from ends and causes to effects, but to think and conclude from the external is to think from effects to causes and ends. The latter progression is against order, but the former is according to order; for to think and conclude from ends and causes is to think and conclude from goods and truths clearly seen in the higher region of the mind. Such from creation is the nature of human rationality itself. But to think and conclude from effects is to conjecture causes and ends from the lower region of the mind where are the sensual things of the body with their appearances and fallacies (CL, 408). 

Feeling God is punishing us is an example of coming to a conclusion from external thinking. We see the evidence of, lets say a stroke; we appropriately feel anger and pain and loss, and from appearances conclude that God is punishing us. But this is from natural thinking. As we process the situation spiritually we can see that our experience is part of the human condition, and that God is the foundation stone that we can trust in our hearts. Healthy anger springs from the desire to find, establish and reclaim our identity. When we feel the grief there is an opening up, because grief is a form of love; it is love when there is the pain of loss. Bitter, hardened anger concludes that ‘no one cares, and there fore we are not going to care’ (although this is, of course, never true; it is either defiance, or crying out for help).
       It is my experience and observation that, quite often, the cause of the stuck place is unresolved emotion from trauma. The unresolved emotion drives a wedge between our selves and our loved ones, between God and us. To maintain the wedge requires dissociating from what we really need to deal with, which manifests in all kinds of addictions, and evasive behavior. It also causes us to use ideologies as dissociative tools, such as using relativism to justify any position we want so as to not face our self, or using the dogma of religiosity to avoid vulnerability and pain. If the dissociation becomes chronic, it causes a distancing from the foundation of our being - God. The anger and pain don’t go away, and the wedge displaces our ability to receive the Lord in our hearts. This phenomena of displacement is I think very significant. Swedenborg says it this way: To the degree we harbor evil, we cannot receive good.
      Many people have suffered trauma in their youth. The trauma could be at the hands of religion, one’s parents, political organizations, schools, relatives or any number of things. Trauma due to abuse causes a deep emotional imprint in the heart, and in the neuronal networks of the brain. It can also be added to by ones own misbehavior, which compounds self-inflicted hate and poor identity. These experiences cause disillusion, suffering, and despair. People learn strategic ways to protect themselves against these emotional scars. Even those who do a lot of processing work around the issue often don’t get to the core of it. Intense emotional experiences of injustice become internalized, held in a place where they can’t cause further pain. If this kind of emotional hiding persists the ‘underground’ emotion can displace our reception of good. The stuck emotion inside feeds-off polarized feelings from childhood that habitually and reactively dart between helplessness and omnipotence. These are drasticized childhood feelings that we regress to as a default strategy. Self-protection around the underground pain has been made a matter of survival, leaving us with un-resourced places inside, at least when it comes to certain matters. When triggered, we regress back to this place and react from it, unconsciously employing tried and true self-defense mechanisms, or escaping through some form of dissociation. The stuck person protects this emotion at all costs, even if they unconsciously hurt others. It sometimes doesn’t matter how much psychological or religious information a person has gained in their life; in fact the more they have, the more sophisticated the self-protection mechanism, and the more elaborate the intellectual framework that is used to mask it.
In this condition, deep down there is anger at others, and even deeper anger at God. There can’t help but be because God is the foundation of our being, and the true source we eventually need to humble ourselves toward to resolve it. Providentially God is always working to prevent these ill feelings from becoming trapped and unseen, where they become like poison in the blood. This is the essential meaning of the Biblical phrase to be hot or cold, not lukewarm. We are to let our love or hate of God, and each other, see the light of day where it can be worked out and removed.
       To say that God inflicts evil is not only a theological falsity, but what is worse; it inflames the negative and self-destructive impulses in the suffering person. Imagine telling someone who is struggling with the feeling that God is punishing them that God is the one who inflicts evil. If they really theologically believe that God is against them, then there is nothing that can help – end of story - self destructiveness is justified. Such a notion arises from external thinking. God never causes evil, but allows evil for the providential purpose of removing evil. The Lord is the redemptive force in our hearts and minds. He is the comforter; and his love is closest when we are most ill and suffering.  It is irrational to blame God for the evil that happens, because God is good itself.
        When trauma causes a gap in our psyche, we suffer a distortion, at least in some areas of perception. For instance, I was in a preaching class and a man gave a sermon on the story of how Mary came to Jesus and washed his feet with her tears. The student preacher was a talented speaker, and gave a very dramatic presentation of a traumatic event. He told of being in his room at the age of seven, and hearing disturbing noises in the living room. He desperately wanted them to go away, but they persisted. He heard thumping and crying. He stepped out of his room and into the living room. His step-dad was beating and abusing his mother. This story was very intense and shocking to hear. The preacher went on to exegete the scripture by offering this provocative interpretation: he said Mary was not there to worship and seek forgiveness from Jesus, but it was Jesus that needed to seek forgiveness from Mary.
         It seems to me most people would agree this interpretation of the text is inappropriate. It appears his interpretation was made in the image of his emotional reaction and traumatic imprint. This is the distortion of trapped emotion and trauma. It is good therapy for him in the right setting, which is not to be minimized, but that is not the purpose of the situation. In a sermon one is a servant leader to the people of the congregation, and looks to the tethering of God to make meaning of the text for the lives of the people, not ones own emotional needs. One needs to pay attention to, or seek to tether themselves to the urging of the Holy Spirit to make meaning for the sake of the congregation. We are always tethered to something, whether we know it or not, and sometimes we tether ourselves to money, addictions, people, and material ambitions, and emotions all of which can displace God. The point of this is not to judge people, but to be resourced as a practitioner in assessing what is going on, and seeing what people’s needs are. By discerning the particulars we have a better chance to be present and compassionate to the needs of our self and others.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Young Folks Sharing Their Incredible Stories at gathering in Rehab Center has Profound Effect

When we had 6 young people in the rehab center one of the nurses suggested the idea of putting on a Friday night party for the young folks, all of whom had recently had terrible accidents and were in different stages of parapalegic. I worked with the recreation therapist, and we called it, ‘Lets Hang Out’. We consulted the nurses and provided root beer floats. One young men could not eat or drink, and another had to have the root beer float with thickened water.
The young folks gathere around in their wheel chairs and we talked about sports and hobbies, and this was OK, but everyone was watching and holding back. The conversation was slow until one young man asked, “So what happened to you guys?”
I had known the young man that asked this for quite a while. We had been through a lot, and it was great that he said this. He had been in the ICU in critical condition for a long time, and recently come to the rehab center, which was a big step. Everyone was happy for him to get there. He reluctantly came to the party and said he would only come if I were there. In the ICU he was closed-up and wanted to ask all the questions. He gave the nurses a hard time, and didn’t cooperate with his treatment very well. The nurses said he was very bored, and that I should visit him. In my interaction with him I volunteered things about myself instead of asking things, and commented on our surroundings, and he became interested in my visits. The nurses began to encourage me to see him a lot because they found it helped his mood. I played guitar with him and we talked about music. He finally told me his life story and all his feelings and concerns about what happened to him. He had been shot through the chest from the side, by his friend (at the time) while they were both very drunk, and he had a lot of conflicted feelings about this, and the lack of direction in his life. While in the ICU it had been his goal to get off intubation and to the third rehab center for a long time.
When this young man asked his question it suddenly led to a very in depth discussion. Each person told their story.
The first to tell his story was a 20 yr old black youth, lets call him Henry. He had been giving the doctor some trouble. He was a pretty nice guy but very reticent and guarded about doing some of his therapies. For instance the doctors were trying to talk him into using a motorized chair, but he didn’t want to be ‘that guy’.
He told us that it was hard for him to talk about what happened, and he felt scared to do so. But he began talking and told the whole story in amazing detail. Very briefly he was on a youth outing day on a little boat in a lake with a supervisor and other kids. He dived off, but the water was only 2 feet deep. Be broke his neck, and couldn’t move. He was in a life jacket, but face down. He said he panicked and struggled desperately for a time but could not move his arms or legs. He knew people were around and not far from him, but could do nothing. He needed them to notice. The man in the boat later said he thought he was playing. He was very angry with that.
He began to tell the story with a lot of passion and emotion. He said that he finally gave up. He knew he couldn’t move and there was nothing he could do. He was breathing in and out water, and accepted he was going to die.
The boatman’s wife who was working with little kids in the water grabbed him by the foot and pulled him, but she didn’t know he couldn’t move and didn’t turn him over for a time. Then she pushed him over and he breathed.
He started to repeat himself, but we all listened in complete silence. He expressed he had been traumatized. He talked about how he was cocky and felt he was invincible before, but deep down he said he knew he was out of control and needed to change, but didn’t know how to begin.
The next day the doctor asked me what happened with Henry. She heard I had had a party with the kids, and she said that Henry was much more interested and cooperative. She said that he suddenly wanted to use a motorized chair. He said he had seen the other guys in these chairs and he wanted one. The doctor was kind of amazed at the change in him.
Each young person talked about their experience. One young man had severe aphasia and could not speak well. I assisted him a little in getting attention and interpreting what he said for the others, because I had visited with him and his dad several times and knew his story. It became kind of a fun game to understand what he was saying, and all the youths wanted to help him get his story out. (This young man suffered an off-road motorcycle accident).
There was a general theme the youths shared that went like this: They said that they knew inside that my life was getting out of control, but they didn’t pay attention. They felt they were wasting their time and nothing could happen to them. A couple said that now they know they need others, and they know who really cares about them. They said that they feel that they are still here for a reason, and that they want to give back and be a team player, not a lone wolf.
I felt that hearing each other speak in this way had a profound effect for them beyond what I could bring. I stayed with them until everyone was ready to go, about 7:00. It was a deep bonding experience for all of us, to respect each other and let each other share.

The Generous Nature Of the Lord's Salvation Applies to All Humanity by The Principle of Union

            A friend of mine asked me to describe what I do and the basic phrase I came up with was spiritual Christianity. It is very important to express a loving yet rigorous Christianity where we can live our lives in a lively way and embrace a deep sense of devotion; to get away from the stilted behavioral stigma of perfection and an expression of Christianity the is generous and embraces how the Lord is just to all. Here is an essay demonstrating the core of spirituality and of Christianity and how God is just to all in terms of salvation.
            I believe our state after dying is determined by the quality of love in our soul. And there are three basic practices from our life that effect this, and that are also the basis of Christianity: 1; To acknowledge God in our hearts, 2; To be useful in life and act with care toward our neighbor, and 3; rule one and two must grow together. Neither one is substantial without the other. The marriage of rule one and two is the heavenly pattern, because this is the union of love and wisdom in our soul. The degree to which we have created concordance between them determines our state. In scripture this is expressed this way. "As the tree falleth so it layeth". The exercise of the two together in everyday life is the expression of spiritual, emotional, and psychological intelligence. Swedenborg writes:
The chief thing is to acknowledge the Lord, His Divine in the Human, and His Omnipotence in saving the human race…The Lord taught how they would be saved, namely, that they should receive Divine truth from Him; and this is received, when it is applied to, and implanted in, the life by doing it; therefore the Lord so often said, that they should do His words. From these considerations it is evident that these two things, namely, to believe in the Lord and to do His words, make one, and that they can by no means be separated; for he who does not the Lord's words does not believe in Him (AE 328).
Here is an organic way to visualize how rule 1 and 2 are inextricably married in use: the branches and leaves of a tree cannot survive if the tree does not have roots in the ground; and conversely, the roots will not long survive if there are no branches and leaves. The relationship between the branches and the roots corresponds to the relationship between love and wisdom, or what is similar, the internal and the external of our self. Another example is symbiosis of how the heart and lungs work together in the human body to keep us alive. The heart corresponds to love, and the lungs to wisdom, and although the two are distinct they exist in symbiosis and work as one. It is the union between them that corresponds to the union of wisdom and love, or what is the same faith and charity.
In modern culture we have practices such as the law of attraction and positive thinking that in them selves can be good; but often the problem with them is that they do not acknowledge a source. They do not acknowledge God as the source of all good, and therefore one is left to believe that the good produced comes from oneself, or other humans. But this is not true, and is a kind of spiritual thievery. Good originates from the Lord in the spiritual sun upon whom we are dependent, and receive life, love, and wisdom. Human beings are saturated with hereditary evil from head to toe and it is structurally impossible for good to originate from us, but we can be agents of it as we receive it from the Lord. The good we perform can still be good for others when we do not acknowledge), but it is not particularly good for us; in this case we remain natural; in this case our external is not acting consistently with our internal self. So there is no concordance, and there is a level of avoidance in this. If we are not actively accepting Him, then we are busy avoiding him. This is an intense truth we think we can get away from, and we can try for a time, but ultimately we cannot. The Lord said if you are not for me you are against me – there is no in between. Non-acknowledgement (or avoidance) is an action just as much as acknowledgement is an action. These actions are the minute binary of our life, each one gradually accumulating and leading toward heaven or hell. Only God can trully judge that state of this in others, but we can tell to a degree in our own self examination.
Being able to acknowledge that all good comes from God, in spite of appearances, is the acid test of spirituality. Self examination can help to humble and soften our heart so we can receive from God. Humility and innocence relate to the quality of innocence latent in our heart from childhood. God can jwork in us through innocence because this allows the willingness to be led or to submit to good, as oposed to pride. Innocence blooms into maturity when it is combined with intelligence, and becomes wisdom. To acknowledge something true requires and increases innocence; and the innocence in us spontaneously, from deep affection, loves both rule 1 and 2. Innocence is the elixir that opens what is written in our souls from God. In Heaven and Hell Swedenborg expresses with great clarity and tenderness how innocence fosters the internal marriage of love and wisdom in life:

In the Word by "little children" is meant those who are innocent. Good is good so far as it has innocence in it, for the reason that all good is from the Lord, and innocence is a willingness to be led by the Lord. I have also been told that truth can be conjoined to good and good to truth only by means of innocence. Hence the conjunction of truth and good is called the heavenly marriage, and the heavenly marriage is heaven. Again, I have been told that love truly conjugial derives its existence from innocence, because it derives its existence from the conjunction of the good and truth in which are the two minds of husband and wife; for married partners are in mutual love, as their minds are. This is why in conjugial love there is a playfulness like that of childhood and innocence (HH 281).

Innocence longs to serve others more than oneself, and this impulse is the foundation of true strength, peace and wisdom. Innocence also tempers the ever-present inclinations toward evil in us. Perception is the reception of truth from the Lord in our heart and mind, and thus the beloved is approached with humility, especially the Lord.

Humiliation is the essential of all adoration and of all worship, for without humiliation the Lord cannot be worshiped and adored, for the reason that the Divine of the Lord cannot flow into a proud heart, that is, into a heart full of the love of self, for such a heart is hard; and is called in the Word a "heart of stone." But the Divine of the Lord can flow into a humble heart, because this is soft, and is called in the Word a "heart of flesh." Such a heart is receptive of the influx of good from the Lord, that is, of the Lord. (AC 9377).

Hand in hand with acknowledging the divinity of the Lord is the need to perceive and acknowledge that from our self we are full of inclinations toward evil, and without the Lord we are lost in evil. Most of us have unknown levels of intellectual, spiritual, or egotistic pride that blocks us from seeing this. While we are occupied with inclinations to evil, it is impossible to receive good. To temper and remove the evil inclinations we need to see them, expose them, and realize we need the Lord’s help, and then act on what we have realized so that the bond with good can take hold.
From all this I hope we can see that the acknowledgement of the Lord and doing good uses cannot be separated:

The very essential of the church is the acknowledgment of the union of the Divine Itself in the Lord's Human, and that this must be in each and all things of worship, thus also acknowledgment, for thought without acknowledgment and faith is not spiritual thought. The reason why this is an essential of the church, and consequently an essential of its worship, is that the salvation of the human race depends solely upon this union. Moreover the Lord came into the world for the sake of affecting this union. Therefore also in its inmost sense the whole Word treats of this, and the rituals of the church instituted among the sons of Israel represented it and signified it (AC 10370).

The extraordinary philosophical and practical truth expressed here is that the union is what counts; it is the effecting factor. Union is marriage, concordance, integration. This principle is as profound as can be, and as common as can be. We refer to it all the time in daily life and down to earth wisdom when we say things like: “Ideas without action mean nothing”, “to know is to love”, “think before you act”, “Mastery requires technique and spontaneity”, “There is no free lunch”, “Freedom must be fought for”, and many other such statements that might occur to you.
When we act by both principles there is concordance between our internal and external identity, the affections of our heart are reflected in our face and body language; we are whole-hearted in our actions. If we do good and loving uses for others, but take credit ourselves, not acknowledging the source in our hearts at all, concordance does not take place in our soul.
When we die the final state of our soul is determined by the level of concordance between our internal loves, and our external actions. At death the Bible says ‘the die is cast’ which by correspondences refers to the pattern or degree of concordance between or internal and external, or in other words how we have bonded (1) acknowledgement of God, and (2) doing good uses. This concordance defines the form and character of our soul, and in turn our capacity for love and growth for the rest of eternity.
This principle is everywhere in the Word because it is everywhere in life. Swedenborg writes: “The prudent virgins signify those in the church with whom faith is conjoined to charity, and the foolish signify those in the church with whom faith is separated from charity” (AE 840). The parable of the talents is all about this principle also. Talents represent spiritual intelligence, and spiritual intelligence is the result of the effort to marry rule 1 and 2 in our life. The primary theme of the whole Cane and Abel story in the internal sense is to show that faith and charity cannot be separated and when they are it is destructive.
Now it is wonderful to see how in the principle of union the Lord is entirely just and merciful, because it is up to each person to meet God half-way, to do the work of meeting the responsibilities that come with freedom and faith. We are masters of our own salvation no matter what our situation in life by the choices we make whether one knows of Christianity or not. Swedenborg writes: “It should be known that all who have not separated faith from love, when instructed in the other life, receive the heavenly idea of the Lord, that he is God of the universe. It is otherwise however with those who have separated faith from life”. So it is the pattern of union that determines salvation whether we are Christian or not. This makes us spiritual and able to learn of the Lord once in heaven. So even if a person in their life acted falsely or believed falsely because of the way we were brought up, but acted in good faith toward this falsity, then they can still be saved. Or if a person knows nothing of the Lord because of where they live, as long as they acknowledged God in some way and sought to live a life of good use, they are in the form of heaven. Thus the Lord is entirely just, because it is our own effort to effect union in our soul, however we may believe, that saves.