March Madness: Religion Above the Rim

I have been alive on earth long enough to see the game of basketball become totally transformed.

Today’s basketball players (high school, college and pros) have elevated the game and their athleticism to such new heights that they are now literally playing “above the rim.” The increased leaping ability of today’s athletes also allows them to prolong their “hang-time” so that they can be more creative with their shots and transcend orthodoxy.

I have also been lucky enough in my life to have personally witnessed religion and worship also being elevated to new heights. The Divine strategy behind the Second Coming is to elevate human minds to think spiritually rather than sensuously about the Holy Word and matters of faith.

As our Heavenly Coach, the Lord wants to train us to make greater mental leaps in our quality of worship. The reason for this is that the real life and potency of the Holy Word lies concealed within its literal and worldly sense. To reach these higher meanings, we must elevate our minds and attempt to take our worship “above the rim.”

This elevated connection with God is the secret behind why He asked his disciples, while in the world, to find a place for the Last Supper that offered an “upper room.” Translated to its higher, spiritual meaning, an upper room represents a higher region of the mind and its superior cognitive function. The Lord sought to share his teachings from a higher level.

The Lord’s walking on water has a similar message. Water corresponds to knowledge because the human mind thirsts for knowledge in the same way the body thirsts for water. Without water, the body becomes parched. Without knowledge, the mind becomes parched. Therefore, when the Lord walks on water he is communicating to his followers that His teachings rise above that of ordinary human knowledge and the habitual mind.

Similarly, the miracle of turning water into wine was not simply a stunt to show off and wow us. Its deeper, spiritual lesson was to illustrate that the Lord’s real miraculous power of salvation rests on turning the literal stories of Scripture into a message with more “kick.”

Thanks to the theological writings of Emanuel Swedenborg, every person can be a witness to the miracle of the Lord turning water into wine. Swedenborg’s great work, the Arcana Coelestia (Heavenly Secrets) is a manual and guide for training the mind to study Scripture from “above the rim.” The future of religion is tied to giving all of us access to a higher level of revelation – where Christian orthodoxy does not reach.

In the same way basketball players experience the game more intensely and make it more interesting by increasing their hang time, God’s faithful have the opportunity to experience worship more intensely as well, with mental leaps and the enjoyment of greater periods of doctrinal levity.

Go vertical!

About thegodguy

EDWARD F. SYLVIA, M.T.S. Philosopher/Theologian Edward F. Sylvia attended the School of Visual Arts in New York and received his Master of Theological Studies at the Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, CA and a Certificate of Swedenborgian Studies from the Swedenborgian House of Studies. He is a member of the Center for Theology and the Natural Sciences (C.T.N.S.) and the Swedenborg Scientific Association (S.S.A.). Award-winning author of "Sermon From the Compost Pile: Seven Steps Toward Creating An Inner Garden" and "Proving God," which fulfills a continuing vision that God’s fingerprints of love can be found everywhere in the manifest universe. His most recent book, "Swedenborg & Gurdjieff: The Missing Links" is an edgy collection of anti-intuitive essays for personal transformation that challenges and inspires. He has been a student of the ideas of both Emanuel Swedenborg and George I. Gurdjieff for over thirty years. Read more about TheGodGuy, his books and his ideas at
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