Sam, just recently ordained as a new minister in the Swedenborgian Church, was meditating on his upcoming job responsibilities. He seemed a bit perplexed because as he poured through the pages of Emanuel Swedenborg’s vast theological writings he could find no list of ministerial duties—from a New Jerusalem perspective.
Suddenly, a ghostlike figure appeared in Sam’s room. Sam recognized the image as that of famous scientist/theologian Emanuel Swedenborg.
“Why are you here in my room?” asked the young minister.
Swedenborg took the book right out of Sam’s hands, turned to a particular page, and pointed to a phrase. “What does this passage say?” grilled the spiritual philosopher.
“It says that my chief duty is to assist the Lord in the work of human salvation,” returned Sam.
“Correct,” nodded Swedenborg. “However, you are not yet trained to carry out such an undertaking. You are a glorified hand-holder.”
“You’ve got me confused. I have been trained to promote spiritual love. Isn’t that how humans become angels of God?” questioned Sam.
“Nope. First, one must be cleansed and regenerated. I don’t know why everyone misses this point. Furthermore, the only real guidance for such a challenging transformative process comes not from obtaining academic degrees or state certification, it comes to those who have been ‘taken around the block’ a couple of times, themselves. I am here to take you around the block,” said Swedenborg in a most serious tone.
“Why have you picked me?” asked the novice minister.
“I want to complete your New Church education so that you can set up an Academy of Regeneration. This new Academy will ensure that some handpicked ordained ministers get the valuable extra experience they need in what genuine spiritual growth demands, after they leave seminary. Then, they can teach others.”
“Time’s a wasting! Let’s begin the lessons right now and get this show on the road.” said Swedenborg as he rubbed his hands in anticipation.