Blog: “Remembering Wilson Van Dusen” -Rev. Jane Siebert

 

Wilson Van Dusen: The Man Who Opened the Writings of Emanuel Swedenborg to Many

by Rev. Jane Siebert

May 2017

 

A couple of memories to share…  

Sitting in the home of Van and Marge, talking about Swedenborg, religion, mysticism, God, was the most holy experience I have ever encountered.  It was not Van directly sharing his spiritual thoughts, it was Van truly being with whomever he was talking to, asking pertinent questions, probing the other’s spiritual experiences and commenting on them.  He was the consummate therapist, friend and spiritual director.

Van told me everything he had ever written began with his own questioning.  He called himself a spiritual scholar and his papers were written to himself.  If it answered his question at a deep level, he could make things clear for others.

He often found his answers while sleeping.  When he went to bed with a question on his mind, often in the middle of the night the answer would come.  He would get up and write it down and the next morning it was clear.

One special evening, Van shared about his gift of tears.  He asked God for a sign that he was onto the Truth.  He got his sign, uncontrollable tears when something he said or intuited was truth.  He added with a laugh that it was not exactly what he would have preferred because people get anxious when someone cries.  It interfered with his ability to lecture, as people would get uncomfortable.  But there it was, not only for him to know but for everyone around him to experience, the Truth that was given to him.

Van surmised that he was in contact with the mystical from birth. He could see angels. He often saw an angel in the one to whom he was speaking.  It was like he was lifting up all that was good and true within you, to help you to see it too.  And then his admonishment, “Make the gifts God has given you useful.”

 

 

Rev. Jane Siebert is the current president of the Swedenborgian Church of North America. She lives in Pretty Prairie, Kansas, and enjoys the opportunities to visit Swedenborgian churches scattered around the United States and and Canada.

“How We Can Be Peacemakers” -Rev. Rich Tafel

 

In this sermon, delivered at the Church of the Holy City in Washington, D.C., Rev. Rich Tafel discusses the Beatitudes, and their ever-relevant call to be peacemakers amid socio-political division and adversity.

 

Click below for a PDF version of Rev. Tafel’s sermon:

“How We Can Be Peacemakers” -Rev. Rich Tafel

 

Rev. Rich Tafel, an ordained minister in the Swedenborgian Church of North America, is pastor at the Church of the Holy City and Swedenborg Center for Spiritual Entrepreneurship in Washington, D.C.

His proudest achievements are taking a lead in the 1980’s as a leader in the battle against AIDS, and for LGBT rights and the effort to support developing countries suffering through the AIDS epidemic. Tafel has spent the last four years leading conclaves to address the growing hyper-partisanship in American culture. He is a frequent commentator on politics on TV.

“Foundational Teachings in Paul’s Letters” WEEK II: Christology

 

Although one can find disparaging passages in Swedenborg’s writings about Paul, we need not assume prejudice against him ourselves. We will attempt to be a fair reader of both Paul and  Swedenborg. When we find doctrinal opposition, we will lay out both sides of the argument. In this way, one will be able to see how and where Swedenborg’s theology differs from Paul’s, and where the two are in accord.

In this 10-week course, we will encounter Paul as we find him in his letters, and also as the history of Christianity has interpreted him. It will interest those who have a background in Paul, and also those who have never read Paul and had little exposure to Christianity.

Click below for a PDF version of the second segment of the series:

WEEK II: Christology

 

Rev. David Fekete is senior editor of “Our Daily Bread”, as well as pastor at the Church of the Holy City, a Swedenborgian community in Edmonton, Alberta.

His particular interests and areas of passion include comparative religion, literature, the arts, as well as interfaith work and ecumenism.

“Fear Neutralizer” – Rev. David Brown

 

In this sermon, delivered at Wayfarer’s Chapel, the National Memorial to Emanuel Swedenborg in Rancho Palos Verdes, CA, the Rev. David Brown explores the theme of fear and insecurity, and insights into how we can cope with the spiritual challenges arising out of them.

 

Click below for a PDF version of Rev. Brown’s sermon:

Fear Neutralizer – Rev. David Brown

 

Rev. David Brown has been serving Wayfarers Chapel as lead chapel minister since his ordination into the ministry of the Swedenborgian Church in 2006, and currently oversees rites and sacraments there.

In 2004 Rev. Brown received a Master of Divinity degree from Pacific School of Religion at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California and is currently enrolled in their Doctor of Ministry program with a focus on applied spiritual practice.

“Spiritual Struggles” – Rev. Susannah Currie

 

In this sermon, delivered at the New Jerusalem Church (Swedenborgian) at Bridgewater, MA on March 19, 2017, the Rev. Susannah Currie explores the theme of spiritual struggle, as illustrated by the mythical struggle between Jacob and the “angel” in Genesis 32:

 

“Jacob was left alone; and a man wrestled with him until daybreak. When the man saw that he did not prevail against Jacob, he struck him on the hip socket; and Jacob’s hip was put out of joint as he wrestled with him. Then he said, “Let me go, for the day is breaking.” But Jacob said, “I will not let you go, unless you bless me.” So he said to him, “What is your name?” And he said, “Jacob.” Then the man said, “You shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel, for you have striven with God and with humans,and have prevailed.” Then Jacob asked him, “Please tell me your name.” But he said, “Why is it that you ask my name?” And there he blessed him.”

-Genesis 32:24-29*

 

Click below for an AUDIO version of Rev. Currie’s sermon:

 

Rev. Susannah Currie has served as pastor of the Bridgewater New Jerusalem Church since 2009. She served three terms as Treasurer of the General Convention of Swedenborgian Churches and five years as Recording Secretary for the denomination. She holds a BA in Accounting, a Masters of Divinity degree, a certificate in Swedenborgian Studies and is a Board Certified Chaplain through the Association of Professional Chaplains.

 

 

 

 

*New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright 1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.