Lee Woofenden is an ordained minister, writer, editor, translator, and teacher. He is the author of Death and Rebirth: From Near-Death Experiences to Eternal Life and translator of The Heavenly City: A Spiritual Guidebook, by Emanuel Swedenborg, from Latin into contemporary English. He served for ten years as pastor of the New Jerusalem Church in Bridgewater, Massachusetts. He is currently engaged in scholarly work as Annotations Editor and Writer for the New Century Edition of the works of Emanuel Swedenborg, now in publication by the Swedenborg Foundation. He is also a popular online teacher on spiritual subjects. Lee enjoys taking spiritual insights from the Bible and the writings of Emanuel Swedenborg and putting them into plain English as guides for everyday life.
Annette Woofenden is an avid reader and observer of life. She provides many of the story ideas and much of the research behind the posts and articles here on the Spiritual Insights for Everyday Life website.
Thank you for “like”-ing my blog posts. I do believe you are the first person to read all the way back to the beginning at this late stage. Thank you.
Hi Lee & Annette I m glad u stopped at my blog.
Thanks for visiting my blog, be in touch with my blog browse through the categories, u may find it interesting
Will our pets live with us in the afterlife ?
Thanks for stopping by, and for your comment and question. From my perspective, the question of pets in the afterlife is a bad news / good news situation. It’s all explained in this post:
Will We See our Pets Again in Heaven?
I hope you find it helpful, whether or not you can entirely agree with it. We each must make up our own mind what we will believe on different issues. Then, when we die, we’ll find out for sure.
Meanwhile, Godspeed on your spiritual journey.
Hi Lee and Annette thank you for your interest in my blog. Do you know Carla Fredricks my former pastor and friend? I’ve been reading ES for several years now he has helped me understand many things. Blessing to you,
Thanks for stopping by. Yes, I know Rev. Friedrich. She is doing some very good work. Glad to hear Swedenborg is helping you to understand this often confusing life of ours!
Hello. Nice meeting you both. I was a Classics minor at Univ of PA. So you disagree with Ken Ham? He’s written for the magazine that’s putting out my article on achievement in a month:
For all your knowledge, I thoroughly appreciate your rejoinder that belief will follow LOVE. How we need this in the Church universal.
Thanks for stopping by. I presume you are referring to my most recent (as I write this) post:
Creation vs. Evolution: Can We All Just Calm Down, Please?
Given that Ken Ham is a young Earth creationist, and reads the Bible very literally, I’d say that yes, I disagree with him. Here are two articles that lay out some of my beliefs about the Bible and about Creation:
Can We Really Believe the Bible? Some Thoughts for Those who Wish they Could
How did God Create the Universe? Was the World Really Created in Six Days?
Warning: The first article may stretch your brain, and the second article will definitely exercise it! 😉
Thanks so much for visiting and liking my blog!
You’re very welcome. Thanks for stopping by.
Thank you for following my blog and reading a few of my posts. Hope you liked what you read.
Much warmth and love,
Thanks for stopping by, Baldeep. I enjoyed the posts I read, and look forward to your future posts.
Thanks for having a browse through my blog and liking many posts. I look forward to reading yours! Greetings from a festive Dublin 🙂
You’re welcome! And thanks for stopping by here at Spiritual Insights for Everyday Life!
Thanks for liking the quotes I posted, and for the insight you’ve put in your site for us!
My pleasure. Thanks for stopping by!
Thank you for reading my two recent blog entries on Billy Fingers and Swedenborg. I will look for your book “The Heavenly City”.
You’re welcome, and thanks for stopping by.
For more about The Heavenly City, and links to buy a new or used copy or read it free online, go to this blog post:
The Heavenly City: A Spiritual Guidebook, by Emanuel Swedenborg
Thank you kindly for dropping by my blog and leaving a response. 🙂
You’re welcome. Thanks for stopping by!
Lee, This is David Adams at Emerge. We’d love to hear from you and have a question. Please call me or Susan at Emerge, and leave contact information. Great blog, by the way!
Good to hear from you, and great to talk to you this morning. It’s been a long time!
For those reading in, David is one of the key figures at Emerge, a leading domestic violence counseling and education center in the Boston area where I did an internship during my seminary training in the 1990s.
Hello and thank you for stopping by my blog and “liking” today’s very simple post. I hope you’ll return often and find something useful in your Christian walk. I’ve perused your blog and find myself needing to return to read more. Thanks for the works you are doing.
You’re welcome. Thanks for stopping by!
Hello Mr. Woofenden,
Just wanted to thank you for commenting on our article on http://www.everwideningcircles.com “EWC is 6 Months Old!”, it was nice to hear your encouragement (in such a hilarious way no less!). Feel free to reblog anything you think fits your blog, my friend.
All the best!
You’re welcome! I’d forgotten all about that one. 😉
And thanks for stopping by.
Thank you Lee and Annette for your blog. It helps me understand alot of things that once troubled me! You make it very simple to understand. I’ve also gained alot of interest on Emanuel Swedenborg. Thank you!
Hi Mummy’s girl,
You’re very welcome! We are glad to know that our articles here are giving you greater understanding to help you face your struggles in life. We wish you blessings and strength on your journey forward. If you have any further questions as you read, please don’t hesitate to ask.
I’ve seen your name in other discussions. I don’t know how to contact you aside from this comment. I wanted to thank you for the careful critique on Christian Stack Exchange about Luther’s efforts to translate Greek and Latin in his fides solus ideas from Rom 3:28. I’ve been researching differences between Augustine, Luther, Calvin and Wesley, in contrast to Swedenborg’s critique of post Nicean Council Christianity, and Wesley’s angry attack.
I recently retired from teaching philosophy, and have been trying to write.
Yours, Justin Synnestvedt, Chicago
Thanks for stopping by. Glad you found the material over at Christianity.SE helpful. I’ve been engaging in quite a bit of doctrinal debate there, as well as answering a number of questions from the perspective of Swedenborg’s theology, not to mention asking a few questions of my own.
Good luck on your writing!
Well… I don’t know exactly where to begin, because I find myself a bit overwhelmed. I’ve only just recently discovered your website/blog, which I’ve spent the better portion of a day or so racing through reading as many postings and replies as possible, and now I’m trying to find the best way to describe my overall impression. Here’s an awkward, yet not too far off-base analogy…
My wife has a friend who was adopted from birth, who recently had the experience of using the Internet to discover a long-lost sibling whom she never previously knew existed. When at last, she met up with her sibling for the first time, she was amazed to discover… in this complete stranger… an individual who shared many of her same thought processes, preferences, views, beliefs and philosophical perspectives; indeed, more so than with anyone else she’d ever known, including those in her own adoptive family. By the end of her first conversation with her newfound sibling, the she was finding herself completing her sibling’s sentences, and she hers, as if they shared many of the same thoughts.
So, not to sound overly dramatic, but that’s rather what it has felt like for me to read through your blog site.
You see, I’ve been on a highly challenging, research-intensive, spiritual quest/mission now for the better part of fifteen years; one to explore and develop a framework for interfaith worship, peaceful coexistence and symphonic cooperation. It is a quest which to my dismay, has thus far been a largely, solitary journey… which has never been my intent nor expectation.
When I first began my quest, I set about eagerly trying to connect with like-minded others, to share my thoughts and revelations, bounce ideas and proposals, get further inspired, pool resources, etc. Of course, I have run into some relatively like-minded folks along the way, including even a few like-minded organizations… albeit a very small number. Some of these included folks in local and online religious denominations, non-profit advocacy organizations, user-groups, blogs, etc.
However, I’ve not really ever found a person, site, organization, or denomination whose writings and discussions even come close to “hitting the bullseye” insofar as the angle that I’ve been developing is concerned. For example, I was disappointed to discover that the majority of discussion that takes place within most “interfaith initiative” and “inter-religious dialogue” groups is usually folks trying make apologetics-style arguments for the “truth and rightness” of their religion over all others. And when I’ve visited some of the more open-minded, widely inclusive denominations to better understand their approach to interfaith worship, I also found myself. While I greatly admired their broad inclusivity, they often seem to achieve this via a BYOT (bring your own theology) approach that I find sorely lacking in spiritual depth and/or guiding theological doctrine. Since I, like the vast majority of followers, come to places of worship in the hopes of finding spirituality and guidance, this approach struck me as less than ideal.
So this brings me to your blog.
I have to say that thus far, I’ve never run across a collection of writings which resonate so powerfully, and which do such an astounding job of articulating so many of the ideas, concepts and perspectives that I’ve been striving to articulate myself for this initiative, for more than a decade and a half.
Of course, I realize it is not necessarily your (stated) interest or intention to neither promote interfaith dialogue nor possibly even (heaven forbid, we consider it…) worship. However, regardless of intent, your collective writings provide some of the most eloquent arguments I’ve yet read for cutting through the ignorance and single-mindedness that pervades much of the world’s religious systems. If we are to develop guiding documents to teach and define ways to diffuse the toxic tensions and break down the largely arbitrary barriers between people with varying perspectives on worship, they must be crafted with the kind of deft language which you’ve used in your blog.
So I must extend sincere Kudos to you sir, for great works!
I very much look forward to following your blog and getting to know your works further.
Christopher Daniel King
It’s good to hear from you, and hear your story. I’m glad our blog has struck a chord with you! Of course, it’s early yet, and you’ll probably need some time to mull it all over. But I will say that this is not the first time I’ve had people discover this perspective and these beliefs, and expressed it as finally finding people who believe what they have believed all along, but thought no one else did. For an increasing (I think) number of people who have searched and finally found it, Swedenborg’s theology (especially in its more contemporary expressions) is the spiritual home base they’ve been looking for.
During the decade I was a pastor I was very much involved in ecumenical and interfaith activities in the town where my church was located. And it seems I was very blessed to be among a group of pastors and chaplains who really weren’t there to push the superiority of their own beliefs, but truly wanted to work together with people of varying faiths and perspectives to accomplish good in the community. So I do have some previous experience of how that can work, even if on a rather small scale. In fact, during that decade I was one of the leaders of our local ecumenical and interfaith council, and brought together, if only briefly, pastors and churches that didn’t usually talk to one another.
Having said that, you’re right to sense that interfaith dialog and common worship is not one of my primary interests now. I am more focused on reaching out with the theology and perspective I love to people who will be helped by it, and for whom it will resonate. So while I’m supportive of greater connections among churches and religions, I’m not actively involved in efforts toward that worthy goal at this time.
Annette and I very much enjoyed reading your comment. Knowing that we’re reaching people who find these articles and the spiritual viewpoint behind them helpful is what keeps us going. So thank you for your kind words. And if you have any questions or there is anything you’d like to discuss as you read the various articles here, please feel free to comment at will.
Thanks so very much for your thoughtful reply!
I was certainly gladdened that both you and Annette enjoyed my comment, as the work you both are doing is certainly deserving of high praise.
Of course, I certainly understand your desire to stay focused on teaching Emmanuel Swedenborg, as that is clearly your calling. Moreover, I can definitely understand why you feel he deserves such focus. I was previously unfamiliar with Swedenborg, and your blog has definitely been my introduction to him. I certainly plan to explore his works and theology more deeply. I am particularly intrigued by your indication that he delved into near-death experience, or something akin to it, as a window into the afterlife. NDEs is a topic about which I’ve had a longstanding curiosity, for that very same reason. They are a phenomena that I look upon now with even greater fascination, having recently experienced three or more NDEs myself whilst undergoing a major medical crisis a few years ago.
Indeed, I think its partly because of those experiences, that for me, the interfaith initiative about which I wrote earlier continues to be calling of my own. I feel compelled, now more than ever, to strive to establish a framework of conflict-resolving rationales, mutually agreeable principles and common-ground beliefs to which multiple faiths might be open to subscribing; one that might potentially serve as a foundation for offsetting the rising tide of hostile, religious extremism around the world (wildly quixotic as that goal may sound). And as it happens, a number of your blog essays and arguments, all of which are so spectacularly well-crafted, are surprisingly well-aligned to my initiative’s goals. So I hope you won’t mind if I continue to go on being inspired by your works :-).
I would say for some people sites like this make them say oh it was meant to be taken in spiritual terms because when anyone is young the ones that teach tend to say stuff from religious texts as if they were literal, I for one am glad that people can finally not fear the texts when ever someone tries to teach the bible. 🙂
Thanks for your thoughts. Yes, as people grow spiritually, the hope is that they will move from a simple, literal understanding of the text to a deeper and more spiritual one.
Thank You. You have put into words what my “gut” has felt all along.
You’re very welcome! Thanks for stopping by. I’m glad the articles here are confirming what you already felt to be true. If you have any thoughts or questions as you read, please feel free to leave a comment.
Thank you for your teachings and I visited it today and I was stayed all the day reading and rethinking some of the things I was believing. Please may you email me with this email address [email address removed] so that I may ask you some of the questions you created in my mind?
Thanks for stopping by, and for your comment. I’m glad the blog is providing you with much food for thought!
I do try to limit the amount of individual email I send and receive simply for time’s sake. But you would be very welcome to ask your questions in comments on some of the articles here. That way our conversations would be of benefit to other readers as well. You are also welcome to submit a Spiritual Conundrum it’s not a question that would work well in a comment.
May God bless your family and your ministry!
Very glad to have found you both, altho, as I just commented elsewhere, I just don’t think you spell your last name quite right, in light of my Wolfenden relatives! 🙂 JK!
I just ordered Divine Providence, and am very thankful for your ministry, and for the community that has formed here! I believe I will receive answers and more needed freedom from visiting here, and that in turn will prepare me better for my purpose in the Body of Christ and on this earth.
Again, thanks and God bless you!!
Nice to have you here, and thanks for your delightful comment!
As family lore has it, our name was once Wolfenden, or perhaps Woolfenden, but was changed somewhere along the way generations ago when the male family lineage still resided in England. My father’s mother was a Yeomans fresh out of England, where his father was stationed during WWI. Yes, she was a war bride! 😉 My father visited her relatives in England several times when he was still alive on this earth. You may also be tickled to know that my best friend in elementary school was named Jim Wolfington, which caused no end of confusion and mis-delivered mail!
I’m glad you’re enjoying the articles here, and do hope you’ll find them helpful in your walk with Christ. If you have any questions along the way, please don’t hesitate to ask.
Hi, Mr. Woofenden!
I’m very, very glad I found your blog today, as it’s been a hard day. Your posts about the afterlife and hell have given me a lot of comfort. I am a Byzantine Catholic, but even being from a perspective outside of Catholicism, your posts still resonate with me and have helped me stop crying for the time being. Thank you for your wonderful insights. Much love to you and your wife.
Hi young catholic,
Thanks so much for stopping by, and for your good and kind words. I’m glad our articles here have given you some solace and comfort! Annette and I wish you fewer tears and increased strength as you face your pain and your struggles and move forward on your spiritual journey.
I am grateful that i was guided to your blog today while searching for an increased understanding of my Faith journey.
Thanks for stopping by, and for your comment. Annette and I wish you godspeed on your spiritual journey!
Mr Lee, you need to revisit your conclusion about “works”. A saved believer’s works are not the cause of salvation, they evidence of it. Humans have absolutely zero participation in their spiritual birth the same exact way humans have zero participation in their natural birth. Salvation is wholly the work of God, including the decision of who is saved. Any other consideration or conclusion removes God from being in control and give it to man. A very bad idea indeed.
Thanks for stopping by, and for your comment.
However, what you are saying here consists of half-truths that are contrary to the plain teachings of the entire Bible. The Bible commands us to do many things regarding our salvation, including, at the most basic level, believing in God, repenting from our sins, and obeying God’s commandments. And the Bible explicitly says that we have a choice about whether we will live or die:
If we have zero participation in our spiritual birth, then God is lying to us in this passage when God says that we have a choice between life and death.
And if we don’t have a choice whether or not to let God into our life, but God makes that choice for us as you say, then God is also lying to us in this passage:
You are very much mistaken, my friend, because you have not paid attention to the plain teachings of the Bible. As Jesus said, “You abandon the commandment of God and hold to human tradition” (Mark 7:8)—a tradition passed down to you from Martin Luther and John Calvin, who invented the beliefs that you hold to, ignoring the Bible’s plain teachings. Their false teachings utterly destroy the entire message of the Bible.
However, our About page is not the place to engage in a doctrinal debate. For starters, please read this article:
Faith Alone Does Not Save . . . No Matter How Many Times Protestants Say It Does
And I recommend that you also read the follow-up article:
Faith Alone Is Not Faith
If you want to discuss these issues further, feel free to do so in the comment section of one of these articles. But please read the articles first. I don’t want to have to repeat everything I already wrote there. Meanwhile, I will delete any further responses on this subject that you put here on the About page—which is more for general greetings.
My father passed away a week ago and this blog has brought me so much comfort before I lay my head to rest at night. I’m glad I found it.
Thanks so much fot these incredible writings and glorious truths. 🙏
God bless your work.
I’m sorry to hear about your father’s death, but glad our blog has brought you some help and comfort. Thank you for your kind words.
Lee and Annette, I came across your site tonight and I was taken away. All the questions that I have have been battling with for so long just sprang from the page at me. I believe in “One” God, but the guilt I felt questioning why “My” religion is right, and not “Theirs”, was consuming me. Thank you, thank you, thank you, for giving a voice to my questions and a confirmation of my beliefs.
Thanks for stopping by, and for your comment. I’m glad you’ve found the articles here so helpful to your faith. If you have any questions or further thoughts along the way, please feel free to comment again. Meanwhile, Godspeed on your spiritual journey!
Mr. & Mrs: Was your relation William Ross Woofenden? Thanks for your important work on the New Century Editions. They somewhat left us old timers in the dust with the new terminology but terrific for those of the next generations. I share your desire for easy-to-read text. That is my whole mission in life. When I was born Doctors said I would need to be placed in an institution because of mental retardation. My mother refused. Although agnostic she placed me in a church. I met Jesus at 7. He gave me illumination to learn although not without a struggle. So I want to give the same opportunity to the new adherents to the New Jerusalem of folks from the highways and byways. Thanks for answering the question that I had never really found.
Thanks for stopping by, and for your good thoughts.
William Ross Woofenden was my father. It was his vision for an annotated edition of Swedenborg that is finally bearing fruit with the New Century Edition. As you say, the old-timers often prefer the old language of the Standard Edition of Swedenborg’s works, but new and more contemporary translations are necessary for the upcoming generations of people who are not raised with the old-fashioned language of the older translations.
Am adding a page to uscrash.net titled Science proves God, would like to use some of your stuff and a link back to you?
Thanks for stopping by, and for your request.
In response, I mostly avoid politics here in order to reach people of all political persuasions with a spiritual message. For that reason, I prefer not to be linked to particular political stances on other websites, including religious beliefs applying biblical prophecies to political entities such as the United States. My belief is that those prophecies are about spiritual events, not worldly ones. See, for example, “Is the World Coming to an End? What about the Second Coming?”
You are welcome to link to articles here if you think your readers will find them helpful. But I ask you not to reproduce any articles or large segments of articles from here on your website. Thank you.
Hi Lee and Annette. Thanks for visiting my blog and reading a few posts, I do appreciate the annotated edition of Swedenborg, and your work on it. Keep up the good work in good health and prosperity.
Good to hear from you, and thanks for your kind words. We wish you every blessing on your spiritual journey.
Hi Lee, Jeremy here. We had a conversation a little over a year ago on here. I respect your work greatly, as it aligns with my own thought better than any other I’ve came a cross. Just wondering what you think of the uncertainty in these times with all the civil unrest. Thank you
Good to hear from you again. Really, there’s been disruption and civil unrest in every century and nearly every decade since time immemorial. Today is no different, except that the social and spiritual changes that are often associated with civil unrest have accelerated in recent times. Change is messy, but entirely necessary if humanity is not to sink into stagnation and degeneration.
However, rather than discussing it here, please give this article a read, and we can continue the conversation in the comments section there if you wish:
The Evangelicals are Right: The World IS Coming to an End!
Came across your articles just after losing my precious husband about six months ago. Thank you so much for your insight. It actually gave me a reason to live after being so heartbroken. All I can say about John Piper who seems to have built a cruel doctrine around no marriage in heaven is that he has never met his soul mate. Neither has he taken five minutes to research that verse. One could never accept that doctrine if they had ever known true love. Incidentally Mr. Piper endorses Olive Tree commentaries, etc. Their blog on that verse gives the literal translation. “Neither marry in heaven” refers to Levirate marriages and “neither are given in marriage” refers to contractual marriages. John 14 refers to God preparing homes in heaven for us and our spouses and families according to literal translations. Lee and Annette, thank you so much. I wept when I read your words that death can not separate what God has joined together. God bless you.
Thanks for stopping by, and for your good words. I am sorry to hear about your husband’s death. But also glad that our blog has helped you to find some peace, and hope for your future reunion with your beloved.
Unfortunately, traditional Christian preachers such as John Piper have been steeped in the belief that there is no marriage in heaven based on centuries of their churches misreading Jesus’ words, and based on a generally physical-minded and earthly view of marriage. Though I do not have God’s vision to assess their marriages, like you, I do wonder whether they could possibly say such things if they had experienced real, deep spiritual marriage with their wives (or husbands). Meanwhile, they must come up with arguments as to why their church’s beliefs on this subject are good and true. But those beliefs are just as wrong, cruel, and painful as ever, even if these preachers may be well-intentioned.
About the two words for “marry” and “be given in marriage,” for those reading in, I covered their meaning in the article “Marriage in Heaven: A Response to Tom Wenig,” under the heading “What, exactly, does Jesus say?” As explained there, one word refers to a man getting married, and the other refers to a woman being given to a man in marriage, according to the cultural marriage customs of the day. Though I agree that neither levirate marriages nor contractual marriages exist in heaven (all marriages there are spiritual marriages, which are a union of two minds into one), I don’t see any basis for assigning those meanings to these two Greek words.
Also for those reading in, I deal with John Piper’s views on marriage in heaven in this article: “Marriage in Heaven: A Response to Randy Alcorn and John Piper.”
Once again, I’m glad the articles here have helped you so much. Our thoughts and prayers are with you, and we wish you a good and fruitful 2023. As much as you would rather spend it with your husband, at least you can know that he is still with you in spirit, and that you will rejoin him when your time on this earth is over.