“I take a two hour nap from one o’clock to four.” - Yogi Berra
“You can observe a lot just by watching.” - Ibid
“It was impossible to get a conversation going; everybody was talking too much.” - Ibid
“You better cut the pizza in four pieces, because I’m not hungry enough to eat six.” - Ibid
“You guys line up alphabetically by height.” - Bill Peterson, Florida State football coach
“When a man succeeds, he does so by climbing a ladder steadied by a woman who believes in him.” - Anon
After my Dad (Erik Sandstrom Sr.) was ordained and married to my Mom in the middle 1930’s, they settled down in Jonkoping, Sweden. Dad, being a Swedish national at the time, was a natural for a pastorate in that country except that the principal society then was in Stockholm, the nation’s capital, presided over by their pastor Gustaf Baeckstrom.
There was, however, an active New Church group in the southern Swedish town of Jonkoping and there my parents settled, in abject poverty, but nevertheless began to produce a family, including me!
There it did not take long however for my Dad to discover a rather sinister aspect of his adopted society. There were some Nazis there! Remember the times! Here was an Aryan religious personality, Swedenborg, who happened to be rather critical of the Jews! (And the Catholics, and Muslims and….) One family in particular was enthralled by the possibilities.
Dad worked with the heavenly doctrines and with the strong support of other society members, to settle the small society into a more stable philosophy and most of the members of that society became staunch members of the General Church. One family, in particular, the Fornanders, remained lifelong friends of my parents.
A few months ago I suggested in one of my editorial opinions that a certain unnamed local person had done harm to the realm in which he worked. And I did not reveal his name nor will I ever reveal the name of the person I critiqued. But apparently the man I analyzed did not agree with my views. I suspect that he was and is very, very angry at me.
The reason I say this is because l was able to observe him at my favorite restaurant last August. So there Dorothy and I were, eating our lunch. The man I had criticized in Sunshine caught sight of me. Then his head and body bent forward taking on the appearance, I imagined, of some kind of angry wolf with ferocious eyes. He recognized me yet he just walked past me and stood with his back to me at a distance of about 2 to 3 feet from where I was sitting. Well I didn’t appreciate his putting his backside toward me which he did for about 5 minutes. Also he was flexing the muscles in his forearms which seemed to me to be in a very threatening manner. I sensed his rage and even his desire to smash my face. (Let me ask him now if this is anything other than the truth, is it?)
Anyway I have wondered if I was observing the permanent and not just a temporary inner state of this man. If I glimpsed his true ruling love, I might say that maybe my original speculations about him were much too mild. I could have revealed the factual basis of my criticisms. I would like him to know that I do understand the almost uncontrollable feelings of rage at being retired and then being criticized. Moreover I am concerned about his eternal welfare and hope that he has or will repent of his anger toward me. Maybe he is angry at the truths which I revealed about him, namely that he harmed the church financially and otherwise. My criticism is intended to help him see truth about himself.
I guess that it was about seven years ago when I heard about plans for developing the Academy College. The primary reason for doing so, I was given to understand, was to serve the use of evangelization. That never made much sense to me. My thought was confirmed when some of the first group of college students from outside of the New Church entered the Swedenborg Library about two years ago. (I believe that about 65% of the Academy College students are not members of the General Church.) Anyway I happened to be in the library also when ten of them walked by me. Well, they seemed to me to be a bunch of giggly self-absorbed teenagers – hardly suitable ground for evangelization. I thought about what my mind was like when I was 18 years – oh boy, what a natural but unregenerate mess it was.<'p>
How much money has been spent on the new college buildings? Maybe more than 80 million dollars. Now, I ask, what could such a large amount of money have been better used for in other projects to support the great use of evangelization? Here are some ideas for its use: 1. Develop follow-up programs for those persons contacted by the internet. 2. Open Swedenborgian Book Rooms in locations around the world. 3. Encourage our own youth to stay in the church. Evangelize them. 4. Pay for ministers, trained in Bryn Athyn, to enter various places around the world and tell people about the new revelation. Remember Luke, chapter 8, verse 1, “And it came to pass, afterwards, that He went throughout every city and village, preaching and announcing the gospel of the kingdom of God, and the twelve were with Him.” Do today’s New Church ministers feel inclined to follow His example? Be creative in evangelizing the world, my friends.
When I drive by the new ANC Girl’s High School dorm, all I can say is, “Well done.” I understand that it was privately paid for - good use of money. Also I believe that the new Dining Hall is well-designed to serve the students. That is truly wonderful. And the Mitchell Performing Arts Center is a place to have fun and be happy in the School and in BA. And now a few more thoughts about the irrational enthusiasm for building the new college campus, spearheaded spiritually by the man I criticized in a previous editorial in Sunshine. After it became apparent that there had been massive, unsupervised spending resulting in a debt of about 50 million dollars, there were strong and necessary cutbacks. First, many part-time teachers lost their jobs and then other personal were fired. Also health benefits were taken away. You know, with prudent control of funds, the Academy could have at least paid for part of the health costs of its employees if not pay for all of them. Also after the financial cutbacks, a depression settled over Academy teachers. I have talked with some of them and am aware of their discouragement.
All I can say is that I would never have used precious Academy financial reserves for the expansion of the Academy College campus because its evangelical value is unclear. There are other, better fields to cultivate.
Maybe the college will survive as it educates mostly non-members of the New Church. (I wonder how many of them will ever join the church. And I understand that not many of our own students join the General Church.) Anyway building up the college has been useful, I suppose, but of minimal value to the great use of evangelization of all peoples of the world. Let’s try to reach the adults of the world and not just a handful of adolescents.
“For every action,” said the science teacher to his class, “there is a reaction. For example, what happens when you step into the bathtub?” “The telephone rings,” answered a student.
Teenage means perpetual motion and emotion.
Teens are folks in jeans, full of beans and low in means.
Do not open your mouth until your brain is in gear.
I’ll never forget what’s-his-name.
Anyone who sees a psychiatrist should have his head examined.
A white man said to a black man, “You used to be called Negro then you switched to Afro-American then Black. Now what do you want to be called?” “Mister,” replied the black man.
“To be happy, drop the words, ‘if only’ and substitute the words, ‘next time.’” - Smily Blanton M.D.
“Nothing at all will be attempted if all possible objections must first be overcome. - Samuel Johnson
Find ways to forget the things that are cluttering your mind.
No one should tell you what to think. You decide.
A lie moves around and often runs away until it is overtaken by truth.
“Every mother has the breathtaking privilege of sharing with God in the creation of a new life. She helps bring into existence a soul that will endure for all eternity.” - James Keller
“As a mother, my job is to take care of the possible and trust God with the impossible.” - Ruth Bell Graham
“We need to be patient with our children in the same way God is patient with us.”- Renee Jordan
“Children have more need of models than of critics.” - Joseph Joubert
“She [Annie Keary] did not try to set others right; she only listened to and loved and understood her fellow-creatures.” - Eliza Keary
“An American writer, seeking a quiet and inspiring setting for his work, built a home in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. Nestled against the mountainside, it overlooked a glorious valley. One day while on a hike the writer met an old woman, a native of the region. With shy courtesy, but surprising directness, she asked: ‘Be them y’er lights that shine across the valley? Ye ain’t a’goin’ to let’em get shrouded up, ‘er ye?’ Over the world there are millions of people who, looking across the dark valleys, are saying to the Church: ‘You aren’t going to let the lights be shrouded up, are you?’” Everett W. Palmer
In the August issue of Sunshine I wrote: “I believe that less than 100 persons per week attend the adult service. If I say that it is 100 persons out of a congregation of about 1500, then what percentage is attending? That would be about 7%. So then approximately 93% of the congregation chooses not to attend.”
On my computer I can actually see how many people attend the adult service at the Bryn Athyn Cathedral. Often it is about 70 people. Anyway last September I received a BRYN ATHYN CHURCH ANNUAL REPORT. There I saw that the average attendance at the adult service was listed as being 166. I know that that number is calculated from numbers of people who attended special adult services such as the Christmas Tableaux, Christmas Eve, Easter, etc. These numbers were added to the normal adult services to get the 166 number.
The report states that there are 722 members of the BA Church and additional members of the General Church are 380, which makes a total of 1102 and not 1500. Now it is interesting that there is another category of Friends age 20 and older, who are not members of the General Church , but are still considered to be part of the Bryn Athyn Congregation and that number is 1,497. So not counting young people ages 15 to 19, the total of the above three categories of adults considered members of the “Total Congregation”, is 2599. Therefore 166 people attending adult services is still 6% to 7% of the 2599.
Yes, about 6% to 7% of the congregation does attend Sunday adult services at the Cathedral and about 93% of the congregation does not attend the Cathedral’s adult service on Sundays.
These are the same percentages I calculated when I believed that the congregation was about 1500 adult people. So either way one makes calculations, the percentage of parishioners who attend Sunday Adult Services at the Cathedral is disheartening. There is lots of room for improvement. And I am happy to note that the Annual Report included this encouraging statement from the pastor, Rev. Eric Carswell, “I’m grateful for all of you who, in spite of other things, regularly attend Sunday Church.” May the number of attendees increase dramatically and may we then hear kind words from the pastor about increases in church attendance.
What happens if you do not pay your exorcist? You get repossessed.
What did the surgeon say to the patient who complained about his operation? “Next time you have an operation do it your own way. Suture yourself.”
Small boy: “If I’m noisy they give me a spanking and if I’m quiet they take my temperature.”
BOOK: HOW TO LIVE IN A SWAMP by Tad Pohl