Kindness and Caring in Business

Business and industry has gotten a reputation in some quarters as being a heartless, soulless behemoth whose only interest is in racking up money and profits for the people at the top.

But even if that reputation may be partially deserved, there’s much more to commerce than that.

Yasir Moore being helped at Target

Yasir Moore being helped at Target

Business and industry is also where many millions of ordinary people serve their communities day in and day out, stitching together with their mind, their hands, and yes, their hearts, the fabric of human society.

It would be impossible to list the billions of daily transactions and services we engage in for one another in the course of our daily work. The cashier ringing up your groceries, the mechanic fixing your car, the waiter or waitress bringing you your morning eggs and coffee at the diner, the pharmacist putting together your prescription . . . these and countless other activities that we do in the course of our business and employment are what keep us going each day.

Most of the time we don’t even think about it. Vast amounts of daily labor and service just seems to happen so that we can have food to eat, clothing to wear, a place to live, and a few of the enjoyments of life.

We may not even notice what a vital role commerce plays in elevating our lives until we see businesses and employees going above and beyond the call of duty to do exceptional things for the people they serve.

Let’s look at a few recent, heart-warming examples.

For more on kindness and caring in business, please click here to read on.

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Posted in Money and Business

Homosexuality, the Bible, and Christianity

Three Spiritual Conundrums have recently been submitted to Spiritual Insights for Everyday Life on the subject of homosexuality. First, from QuestioningMale:

PLEASE shed some light on Homosexuality.

I am a CHRISTIAN – never been abused, molested, etc. who has attended church ever since I was born. I accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior as a child and have been a Christian for many, many years.

I have also been gay for as LONG as I can remember.

I need some help on this. I have recently met a man, and I truly, truly care for him…

HELP me with this!

Some theological responses I read say that Homosexuality is mistranslated in the Bible and of course we know the opposite.

Thanks for your help…

Then from Cianna200:

Hello Lee, I am Cianna I’m an ex Christian and a Wiccan. I have a question. What do you believe about homosexuality? I am not gay but would like to know. I read a website about someone who claimed to speak to Jesus and he said “People choose to be gay. Homosexuality is because of bad karma and being gay is not okay. It is unnatural and not a creation of God.” I understand that Jesus did not condemn homosexuality in the bible and gay people who had near death experiences were not told that their homosexuality is wrong. Many Christians condemn homosexuality because of a few bible passages while other Christians have a problem with anti gay views. I must say I am a biromantic person and I am made to feel ashamed of it because what if Jesus really said that. Is homosexuality really something unhealthy and abnormal?

And then from Dennis Cobb:

Why do you feel homosexuality is alright with God? Clearly, we should love them, not agree with their lifestyle.

God Bless You

Thanks, QuestioningMale, Cianna200, Dennis Cobb, for your questions.

I am far from an expert on homosexuality.

However, I’ve read enough and experienced enough to know that there is a lot of prejudicial, uninformed thinking that leads to a lot of sloppy Biblical and theological scholarship on this issue. And that causes a lot of needless pain and suffering for many people.

What I can offer is the results of my own thinking on this issue developed over many years, based on:

  • my knowledge and study of the Bible
  • my knowledge and study of the writings of my favorite theologian, Emanuel Swedenborg (1688–1772)
  • my general reading and study on homosexuality and related issues, and
  • my experience of gays and lesbians among my friends and acquaintances and in the culture generally.

If that interests you, then settle in and get comfortable, because this is going to take some time! Along the way, I hope I’ll provide satisfactory answers to the questions in these three Spiritual Conundrums.

For more on the homosexuality, the Bible, and Christianity, please click here to read on.

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Posted in Sex, Marriage, Relationships

What does Emanuel Swedenborg Say about Homosexuality?

This article is for people who want to know what Emanuel Swedenborg (1688–1772) says on the subject of homosexuality.  If you’re not interested in that, you can safely skip it. For the broader picture, and my reasons for writing these two articles about homosexuality from a Christian perspective, please see the companion article, “Homosexuality, the Bible, and Christianity.”

While many Swedenborgian ministers and laypeople accept homosexuality as equal to heterosexuality, a great deal has been written by conservative Swedenborgian ministers arguing that Swedenborg condemns homosexuality as evil and contrary to God’s will. I am not aware of any article currently in print that considers their arguments point by point. This article is intended to fill that gap.

Writing and publishing these articles is not something that I particularly enjoy doing. It’s just something that must be done to help dispel a large weight of faulty thinking and bad scholarship swirling through our society and our world on the subject of homosexuality.

People’s lives—physical, social, and spiritual—are at stake. Although I would prefer to avoid the subject entirely, I cannot in good conscience stand idly by and say nothing.

For more on Swedenborg and homosexuality, please click here to read on.

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Posted in Sex, Marriage, Relationships

Do Atheists Go to Heaven?

Do atheists go to heaven?

For most atheists, the obvious answer is, “No.”

Ironically, atheists agree with traditional Christians on this point. It’s just that atheists don’t think anyone else goes to heaven, either. And traditional Christians think that atheists go to hell—an idea that atheists reject.

Then again, Christians and atheists can’t even agree on how to define “atheism.”

  • Christians tend to define atheism as a belief that there is no God.
  • Atheists tend to define atheism as a lack of belief in gods.

What strikes me about both of these definitions is that they’re all about belief or lack thereof. And these days belief is seen as something we do with our head, meaning with our intellect.

But Psalm 14 and its variation in Psalm 53 start out:

Fools say in their hearts, “There is no God.”

Not “in their heads,” but “in their hearts.” Saying in your head that there is no God, as your average present-day atheist does, is very different from saying in your heart that there is no God.

So before we get to whether atheists go to heaven, let’s look more closely at what the Bible means when it talks about believing or not believing in God.

For more on atheists and the afterlife, please click here to read on.

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Posted in All About God, Science, Philosophy, and History

Louis A. Dole Sermon Archive

I am pleased to announce a new website in honor of my grandfather, the Rev. Louis A. Dole. He was born 130 years ago today on January 30, 1885.

Louis A. Dole Sermon Archive

Sermons by the Rev. Louis A. Dole (1885-1964)

There are already over 80 sermons posted on the site. I am adding more almost every day. These classic sermons, written and delivered more than half a century ago, are full of practical wisdom based on the Bible and the writings of Emanuel Swedenborg (1688-1772).

For the text of the About page from the Louis A. Dole Sermon Archive, please click here to read on.

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Posted in Books and Literature

Is Jesus Christ the Only Way to Heaven?

Is Jesus Christ the only way to heaven?

Yes . . . but it’s not what you’re thinking!

Here’s the deal. According to the Bible, Jesus Christ is God. There’s nothing in the Bible about him being the second Person of a Trinity. That was a purely human invention. (See “‘Christian Beliefs’ that the Bible Doesn’t Teach.”)

Isaiah 44:6 says:

Thus says the Lord, the King of Israel, and his Redeemer, the Lord of hosts: I am the first and I am the last; besides me there is no god.

Guess who the New Testament says is the first and the last?

If you guessed Jesus Christ, you get a gold star!

Just take a look at Revelation 1:17–18; 2:8; and 22:12–13. The context makes it clear that the one who says in Revelation, “I am the first and the last” is none other than the risen and glorified Jesus Christ.

When Philip said to Jesus, “Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied,” Jesus replied:

Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and you still do not know me? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. (John 14:9)

And in John 10:30, he said plainly, “I and the Father are one.”

The message of the Bible is clear: There is one God, and Jesus Christ is that God. So according to the Bible, all people who believe in God believe in Jesus Christ, even if they do not call God Jesus Christ. There is no other God to believe in. “I am the first and I am the last; besides me there is no god.”

In other words, according to the Bible, saying that Jesus Christ is the only way to heaven is the same thing as saying that God is the only way to heaven.

Is there any religious person, of any faith, who would really disagree that God is the only way to heaven? Obviously, God, the Creator of the universe, who has all power in heaven and earth, is the only way to heaven. If it weren’t for God, there wouldn’t be a heaven. And if God didn’t give us life and the ability to choose heaven over hell, not a single one of us could go to heaven.

So Christians who think that anywhere from 68% to 99.99% of the world’s population is going to hell because they’re not Christian, or because they’re not the right kind of Christian, are really denying that Jesus Christ is God.

Let’s look at a few of the Bible passages these Christians quote to support the mistaken and non-Biblical idea that only Christians go to heaven.

For more on Jesus Christ and the way to heaven, please click here to read on.

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Posted in All About God, The Bible Re-Viewed

Islam, Christianity, or No Religion at All?

In a recent comment on the article, “If there’s One God, Why All the Different Religions?” a reader named Zabi said:

Thank you for writing this article, it has helped me a lot. Right now I’m having a struggle between which faith to choose. My friend says that I’m going to hell because I’m not I don’t believe in Christianity and my mum says that I can’t leave Islam because I have to be in a religion but I don’t trust religion. I pray to God by talking to him every night and apparently I sit on the fence and have to choose but in your insight

Do I have to choose a religion?

Apparently I have to and my heart and just me does not trust it so what would you think?

First, thanks again for your comment and questions, Zabi. I’m glad the article was helpful to you. As I said in my brief response to your comment there, these are very personal issues. You’ll have to make up your own mind. However, since you asked, I would be happy to offer you some of my thoughts, which I hope will be helpful to you.

Here is the quick version:

  • The most important thing is your relationship with God
  • Religion is about seeking to know God and to do God’s will.
  • Islam and Christianity at their best are both beautiful religions.
  • I would suggest avoiding the fundamentalist wings of both religions.
  • Belonging to a religion offers a community of people who share your faith.
  • Not belonging to an organized religious group is an alternative if you are self-motivated and strong in your faith.

Let’s look at these issues more closely.

For more on Islam, Christianity, or no religion, please click here to read on.

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Posted in All About God, Spiritual Growth

Tommy Gilbert: The Curse of Free Money and Easy Living

Thomas Gilbert, Jr.

Thomas Gilbert, Jr.

Thomas Gilbert, Jr., 30, had everything. His father was a Wall Street multimillionaire. He grew up amid wealth and luxury. He had attended the best private schools, and graduated from Princeton University in 2009 with a degree in economics. He was 6’3″ tall, healthy, good-looking, and flitted about the high-class society scenes with beautiful women on his arm.

Just one problem.

He didn’t have a job.

Why should he, when his $3,000 a month allowance from his wealthy father paid his rent and gave him some pocket money? He preferred to hang around his father’s multimillion-dollar mansion in East Hampton, NY, hit the gym, do some yoga, and then go surfing.

He did try to start a hedge fund like his father, but it didn’t get very far. He was in debt. And he had no income of his own to match his high-end lifestyle.

Thomas Gilbert, Sr.

Thomas Gilbert, Sr.

After months of tension with his father over the monthly allowance, which his father was starting to cut off, Tommy Gilbert finally took matters into his own hands. He headed over to his parents’ New York City apartment and told his mother, Shelley Gilbert, to go out and get him a sandwich and soda. Once she was gone, he put a bullet in his father’s head and left.

That, anyway, is what all the evidence points to. For more on the story, see these articles at ABC News, the U.K. Daily Mail, and the New York Post.

What went wrong?

Like any story about human beings, this one is complex and many-sided. But one thing seems clear enough: free money and easy living were not a blessing, but a curse in the life of Tommy Gilbert.

For more on the curse of free money and easy living, please click here to read on.

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Posted in Current Events, Money and Business, Spiritual Growth

Think No Evil, Speak No Evil: The Way of the Angels

Leviticus 19:17–18 says:

You shall not hate in your heart anyone of your kin; you shall reprove your neighbor, or you will incur guilt yourself. You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against any of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself.

In the Gospels of Matthew (22:34–40) and Mark (12:28–34) Jesus quotes that final line as the second of the two Great Commandments. In the Gospel of Luke, it is Jesus’ questioner who quotes it, leading to the famous Parable of the Good Samaritan. We’ll get to that shortly.

Emanuel Swedenborg (1688–1772) picks up on these Bible themes with this statement in Secrets of Heaven #1088:

People lacking in kindness think nothing but evil and speak nothing but evil of their neighbor. If they have anything good to say, it is only for their own benefit, or else it is an attempt to ingratiate themselves with the person, under the guise of friendship. People who love their neighbor think nothing but good and speak nothing but good of others. They do so not for their own sake or to curry favor with others but because it is what results when the Lord stirs their sense of kindness.

He goes on to say that thinking and speaking evil about other people is what evil spirits prompt us to do; but thinking and speaking good of others is what angels prompt us to do.

In the previous post, “Our New Year’s Resolution Idea for You: Look for the Good in 2015,” Annette and I suggested this as a collective New Year’s Resolution:

Look for the good in the people around us, in our communities, and in the world.

Maybe this sounds like just another of those nice but not so practical warm and fuzzy feel-good notions.

In fact, it is the way of the angels. And for us, it is not only the way we become angels, but also the way we help others to become angels.

Let’s take a closer look.

For more on the way of the angels, please click here to read on.

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Posted in Spiritual Growth

Our New Year’s Resolution Idea for You: Look for the Good in 2015!

We get plenty of bad news. It’s all over the media, and all over the Internet.

So here’s a suggested New Year’s Resolution: Look for the good in 2015!

Yes, we do have to pay some attention to the bad things that happen. If we don’t, we’ll never be able to fix them. But it’s just as important—if not more important—to look for the good in the people around us, in our communities, and in the world.

When we look for the good, not only does it give us some happiness and joy, but it inspires us to do good things for others, and give them happiness and joy. And that means we’re growing into angels.

Here are some good news stories that happened in 2014, compiled by BuzzFeed:

Librarian donates all his earnings to the poor

"Paalam" Kalyanasundaram

“Paalam” Kalyanasundaram

73 year old librarian “Paalam” Kalyanasundaram donated his entire librarian’s salary every month for thirty years to help the poor—especially children—in his home country of India. He took on odd jobs to support himself. Even after he retired, he continued donating his pension to help the poor and needy.

Kalyanasundaram also founded a charitable organization in order to receive donations and use them to help those in need. This man, a devout Hindu, has devoted his entire life to helping others.

For more on this story, see:
The 73-Year Old Librarian Who Has Been Donating Every Rupee He Earned To The Poor For 30 Years!

For more good news stories of 2014, please click here.

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Posted in Current Events, Spiritual Growth
Lee & Annette Woofenden

Lee & Annette Woofenden

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Earlier Posts
Lee Woofenden speaking at Fryeburg New Church Assembly, Fryeburg, Maine, August 2012

Lee Woofenden speaking at Fryeburg New Church Assembly

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