Curtis Childs- Swedenborg and Your Life

Curtis Childs is the director and host of Off The Left Eye, a Swedenborg Foundation. Emmanuel Swedenborg was an 18th century Renaissance man, who late in life began having spiritual experiences and wrote about them in a series of books that are as relevant today as they were then. Swedenborg was ahead of his time when it comes to science and medicine and his in-depth knowledge of those fields helped him understand when angels and spirits revealed to him what the “Spirit World” is like.

You might wonder how an 18th-century scientist, politician, philosopher, and theologian you’ve never heard of can help you today. I wondered the same thing until I discovered the program. I have been fascinated by the insights I’ve picked up there and how so many relate to what people who have had Near Death Experiences tell us.

Curtis helps others understand how Swedenborg can help us understand things in the Bible and about the Spirit World that are often beyond our grasp. In his program, and in this interview, he makes these difficult concepts easier. I’ve been a fan for over five years. I was a little starstruck sitting down with Curtis and getting to pick his brain on Swedenborg.

for more about Curtis:

ℹ️ is the Off The Left Eye YouTube channel




Announcer 0:00
Close your eyes and imagine what if the things in life to cause us the greatest pain, the things that bring us grief, or challenges, challenges designed to help us grow to ultimately become what we were always meant to be. We feel like we’ve been buried. But what if, like a seed had been planted, and having been planted, who grow to become a mighty tree. Now, open your eyes, open your eyes to this way of viewing life. Come with me as we explore your true, infinite, eternal nature. This is grief to growth. And I am your host, Brian Smith.

Brian Smith 0:45
Hey everybody, this is Brian Smith back with another episode of grief to growth. And today I’ve got with me, they’re all special guests, but some are very special guests. And I would say Curtis childs is a very special guest, I have to admit I’m a little bit nervous is that every day you get to interview one of your one of your internet idols. But Curtis is the only read his bio. Curse it current. There’s a director of the host of the off the left eye program I told you I was nervous. The off the left eye program which is a YouTube program. Also it’s a podcast. While Curtis was obtaining his degree in communications from Oakland University experience an internal battle with depression that led him to question God and his lifelong interest in swedenborg. In theology, it’s a big word swedenborg in after a period of intense suffering, he recovered from his depression with the help of modern medicine, therapy and a return to spiritual out to the spiritual uplifting messages he found in swedenborg writings. So Curtis is now doing, he’s applying his education and his desire to help others finding peace. Through swedenborg insight by producing and hosting the weekly webcast. As I said, it’s called off the left eye. And Curtis is happiest when you can use swedenborg concepts to help someone solve something that they used to think was unsolvable. So with that, I want to introduce Curtis childs.

Curtis Childs 2:00
Hey, Brian, good to see you again. Thanks so much for having me on the program.

Brian Smith 2:04
Yeah, I guess that I’m really excited, a little bit nervous about having you here. As I was telling you, before we got started, I know your channels been around for a long time in internet years, you said it started in 2010

Curtis Childs 2:15
2010 is when we uploaded the very first

video to it. Yeah,

Brian Smith 2:18
I discovered it in 2015. And even that internet years, it’s like forever, the internet years are kind of like dog ears. You know. So it’s like seven years for every year. So the channels been around for a long time. I don’t even remember how I discovered I was just it’s one of those synchronous synchronistic things. But the channel is all about a guy named Emanuel swedenborg. So what I want to do is I want to give some people first of all, some idea who Curtis childs is and then we’ll talk about who may know swedenborg is right,

Curtis Childs 2:46
cool. Yeah, so that that bio right was written by somebody, you know, after I talked to them for a little while, and it places some of my origin story and my struggles with depression. Which there that’s one point of it, but there’s a lot I’m thinking about here on the grief, degrowth podcast, you know, I when I was six, my sister was killed in a car accident, actually, my whole family was in the car accident. And so, you know, grief and and sort of the the searching for you to do the people that you love? Are they still there? What do you think about to the mind of a six year old? It’s just that like, this doesn’t make sense. So this was part of, you know, what’s spurring me to look for what, how do you find a picture of life that that connects, or allows you to make sense of something like that. So I had had access to swedenborg spiritual tools my whole life. I mean, my parents went to a swedenborgian church, which is there’s not that many of them, but I was around one of them. And so I’ve always known that that was something I think the reason why we talked about the depression in that bio, was that was when and that was around 18 1920. Just about when I was starting college, when I really started to have trouble grappling with my mind, and what it’s like to deal with just an over overrun of anxious thoughts and depressing feelings. And it was really strange when it first came on, like what I couldn’t, I couldn’t put my finger on I would never thought to call it depression but it’s just as every everything negative got the dial got turned up and turned up. And so I started looking for what do I do to combat this? I mean, what what’s out there is a resource and there’s a lot of great resources, but the one that became the most potent for me was was this swedenborg message and originally Yeah, it was too much it was too technical, too theological. I got too wrapped up in it, I just need to back off. And that was when I really started to read a lot of near death experiences. And that was just as easy access to love and and hope. But then I started to to be able to peer into swedenborg message and find not just oh, here’s some sentences on a page, but this is talking about how am I works. And this has given me the tools and the leverage to move things and get out from things that I couldn’t before. And that had an impact on me. And led me to say, Well, if I found something that’s helpful, I better share it with everybody. So we started off the left eye to try to make accessible stuff that people might just walk right by, and not know that there might be something in there not for everyone, maybe but but for whoever needs it, we want them it to be an option. So that’s a little bit of me, and what sort of what drives the work that I’m involved with?

Brian Smith 5:34
Hmm, yeah, I gotta say, you do make swedenborg accessible. And I downloaded the swedenborg books, and I haven’t read them yet. Because swedenborg is hard to read. And so I why I put it as you guys, you guys read swedenborg. So we don’t have to. And the great thing about off the left is is you make it accessible, you make it relatable, and you make it current because swedenborg lived in the 18th century. Yep. So tell us a little bit about Emanuel swedenborg, who he is because I, I’m almost 60 years old, I had never heard of him until I found out about your channel. And now I assume everybody knows who he is. But not everybody does. Know, I

Curtis Childs 6:15
think I think people should. And it’s interesting, you say like, swedenborg is hard to read. So we’ll do it. So you don’t have to. And I don’t think everyone’s got to read swedenborg it’s just like you can you can be really good at basketball without knowing physics. But you’re using physics all the time in basketball. So swedenborg is is describing something that I think is just true. It’s just how reality works. And so he’s he’s got this really comprehensive description to something that nobody else I think is really describing. But doesn’t mean that everybody’s got to end up getting into those books. What we’re trying to do is show you this is where it shows up everywhere in life. So Exactly. Yeah. So that that said, So swedenborg is a fascinating story. And super obscure not many people at all know about him. And I think the quick answer to why is he started to do all this weird spiritual stuff. But he was a scientist who was the scientist and inventor and back in the back in the 18th century. So 1700s, it was a lot easier to do science than it is now. I mean, now you get really smart people who study really hard and can only really master one little bit of a field because the fields have gotten so complex, and the things that people are doing is so technical, so hard to do. Back in swedenborg day, one person could really sort of master all of the disciplines. And that’s I guess, you get this idea of the Renaissance person. And swedenborg was one of those. Yeah, he was. He was in the Swedish government. He was part part of that mechanism. He was inventing things of all kinds. He was studying things, he had published books on every subject from like anatomy, to mining to everything in between, and was getting to be pretty well known in Sweden, and then across Europe, got to hang out with with royalty and important people, and was doing well, but then started, you know, through through this whole series of experiences. And that’s actually very well documented. But I’ll say, he started to change course, he had this event where the spiritual side of reality was made abundantly clear to him. And he suddenly realized that this is where all my training and learning how the physical world works, has been setting me up for because this is the final piece, he was always throughout his life, really interested in the human soul, and where where it is, we would now call consciousness reside, and how does that work, and trying to and he was definitely immersed in Christianity in particular, but religion of his father was a bishop in the Lutheran Church. And swedenborg was, was a practicing Christian and was very interested in reconciling faith and science. Because at the time when he was, this is when you really in earnest had people saying, look, science is debunking religion, that you’ve got these religious claims. But here we are, in this intellectual Renaissance, and we know all this stuff. Now we can explain how things work, we can develop technology, and religious explanations for the world are falling apart under scrutiny. So swedenborg and in the Bible, in particular, people were credit critiquing it as early any value in this document. And what swedenborg was finding is this way that the the tenants of religion, and what science was finding out about the world actually are pointing to a common reality. And so to him, this became his quest, and he’s changed course he started all the publishing he was doing and all the other kind of science stuff now he was just publishing about the Bible and its spiritual meaning Look what it’s actually about. He was publishing about heaven and hell and the life after death. He was and he was a lot of weird stuff. He was talking about how he could talk to angels talk to spirits. Go actually, you know, what we now call an out of body experience and go see what it’s like in the in the afterlife. So obviously, a lot of people thought he’s crazy. And he took his reputation took a hit in the scientific community, and because what, but it also took a hit in a religious community, because while there was a lot of stuff that he was validating of it from a religious viewpoint, a lot of it clashed with the Protestant doctrine of his time, there was there were teachings out there like faith, faith alone, the All you need is faith. And he was adamant that that was toxic, that that was leading people away from the loving life that Jesus Christ was trying to point people towards. He had a he had this audacious claim that, that

there could be multiple religious paths to heaven, that actually what your motivations, are you trying to do what’s right and good, that matters more than what doctrine you have. Not that there isn’t some doctrines that are more accurate than others. But that doesn’t, it doesn’t matter how accurate your ideas are, if you’re doing everything for selfish reasons. That’s what is in your spirit. So this was stuff that made the church manager churches mad at him, sciences laughing at him. And you know, he kind of evaporates. There was some people who, who saw value in what he was doing. But even even beyond that, what you just mentioned, stuff is hard to read. It’s technical, it’s, it’s wild. It’s out there. It’s a really, it takes a very specific kind of person to be willing to give it a chance. Yeah. And so it’s I and the people I work with did. And but once you get in there past, the confusing this past, the strangeness past that, wait, who is this? What you find in there, it’s like, it’s like you found this little weird door in the side of an old building. It’s just kind of an abandoned lot. And you opened it up, and well, this is interesting. And you start going down some musty stairs, and you get to the basement, and it’s just gold everywhere. They just if you imagine like in DuckTales, Scrooge McDuck, like this huge pile of this is like, wow, this is a treasure that should be in museums all over the world. This is, this is huge. But it’s in such a weird little place. That that’s kind of the feeling I get with swedenborg like, wait, don’t walk by this door, there’s more down there or get up there will be a better correspondence. But there’s more in there than you know. So we’re trying to just show people how to get past the initial barriers and into this. And the goal. What I mean by gold, is it stuff that is going to make your life better this stuff is going to answer questions, it’s going to clarify how to be a human being, it’s going to connect you to God. All that stuff, though, you just go look at the comments on our channel. It does these amazing things in people’s lives that I wouldn’t have ever even dreamed it could do. So we’re just gonna we’re just gonna make sure that there’s public access. Yeah, though. So there’s a couple answers to a couple other questions at once. Yeah, no,

Brian Smith 13:00
I appreciate that. And the thing is, you know, I was thinking about this before we started, you know, one thing about swedenborg, when you listen to the channel, he talks over and over again, about correspondences, kind of As above, so below, and science actually started the scientific method with the belief that there was a worldly creator that made an orderly creation. And we could we could understand the creator by understanding the creation, that was the driving force behind the scientific method. And I guess it was around swedenborg time, we started to fall away from that, and and started this idea of science and religion going to different directions. And you know, swedenborg, I think about this, as you said, he was kind of fighting with the scientists, and fighting with the church and think about, like, Jesus was fighting with the church and fighting with the government, you know, so that’s what happens when people are like, revolutionaries, when they get too far out ahead. And that’s the way I’ve used swedenborg is like, way, way, way ahead of his time. And then this other thing, but he was about he was almost 60, when he started having these experiences, is that right? Yeah,

Curtis Childs 14:02
mid mid 50s. Yeah, so it was definitely the second half of life. And, and so the life expectancy in Sweden in his time was like in your 30s. And so he was already ancient. By the time he started, he lived to be somewhere in his 80s. So it was definitely this. This he had had a whole life and career before this even started.

Brian Smith 14:23
Yeah. So today, I know you said you attended a swedenborgian. Church. I know there are a few. There’s actually I think even one in Cincinnati where I live, but they’re very few would you call swedenborg carnism. Is it a religion or philosophy? Or is it What?

Curtis Childs 14:40
Yeah, it’s it’s not a religion. Because those churches that they’re great, but swedenborg didn’t start a church, right? All what he did was he published these books and sent them to influencers. So he was trying to Send them to the leaders of the Lutheran Church. And he thought his hope was in there. Certainly some of his later works are really sort of Christian apologetics and reformation. He was trying to reform the church. And he was hoping he was hoping that his works would have an impact on that. But he also would write homeworks that were aimed at philosophers and try to get those out, he would try to get them to the universities. He was trying to get people to absorb a worldview, I think people have, it’s certainly a worldview that is full of all kinds of religious stuff. It talks about things like why didn’t churches do baptism? Why do they do communion or holy supper, it’s got sort of, it’s got a lot of commentary on what how a church should function and what it’s doing. So it’s, it lends itself to church stuff. But overall, it’s a philosophy because you’ll get, and you’ll have some parts of it that are, you know, I have his book, The Lord, for example, which is, I think it’s like 60%, Bible quotes. I just spent all his time in the Bible trying to show people look this, the Bible is pointing to what I’m saying, I’m not just making this is not something new or a departure. This is actually the Bible is saying, what my books are saying more than it’s saying what Luther stuff is saying right now. So but then you’ll have like, divine love and wisdom, his book appears with maybe quotes it once or twice in an entire, like, multi 100 page volume. So it’s really it was never meant to be a religious system. Primarily, it’s a philosophy that he was hoping would be adopted by existing religious systems. So I think there’s there’s been throughout the history of since swedenborg, died. You had early followers of his started reading groups and things. And then at some point after that, there was I think there was and I don’t I’m not an expert on this, this history of, of swedenborg influence. But there, I think there was a group who was saying, okay, should we start our own church based on this stuff, and some people wanted to some people didn’t. So they did. And there’s been mild success for those churches there. Yeah. There’s they’ve always had small numbers. There’s also been a second track of people who have been influenced by swedenborg, and gone on to influence the world but weren’t within a church system. The most famous one is probably Helen Keller. She was a devout lit reader of swedenborg, he wrote books, one called how I would help the world, which is about how swedenborg opened her mind, and made and actually was part of her drive to do what she did in the world. There have been actually a ton of other ones that we’ve done programs on this, you could go throughout history, a lot of artists and things would have been directly influenced by swedenborg, sometimes by people in those churches, but they’ve all existed outside the swedenborgian church world. So it’s a little of both, it’s still, it’s still all been relatively small compared to what I think it could do for the world. So we’re still trying to find out ways. And now the internet is obviously really helpful in getting an idea ideas like this out there. But also, it’s just people are people think for themselves these days, more than I think they used to, yeah, than it used to be. What’s this, something new couldn’t be right, unless my religious leaders or somebody are telling me it’s true. But now it’s more, what people will do is they’ll see something, and they’ll think about it, and they’ll make decisions. And that’s actually where swedenborg material thrives. Because he was always telling his readers, like, you’ve got to use your own rationality. And once you get into the ideas, there’s an order to them, and an ability to them and an effectiveness. And it just light bulb goes off. And you say, Oh, this is this is something. So I mean, that that’s how it has been for me and a lot of others.

Brian Smith 18:49
Yeah, I will put myself in that category of someone who’s been greatly influenced by swedenborg. And I talked to people about him all the time. And I and I refer people to your programs, you know, all the time. I’ll say this program this friggin up, I’ll post on my Facebook page, because it’s so enlightening. It’s so you don’t have to. This is my opinion. Anyway, we don’t have to accept everything as a system anymore. We can we can take what makes sense to us. And there’s so much in swedenborg. That makes sense. And I asked you earlier before we get started, you know, because I told you I consider myself a former Christian, I was raised as a fundamentalist. I was raised to read the Bible, literally. And none of that stuff makes sense to me anymore. And so I kept getting farther and farther away from what the Church teaches. And finally, at some point, I just say, I don’t consider myself Christian anymore, because I don’t believe in, for example, substitutionary atonement, and I believe Jesus died for the sins of the world. And I believe in eternal Heaven and Hell, I don’t believe in an angry God that punishes us, which is what a lot of what the Church teaches. And so at some point, I just okay, I’m not a Christian anymore. Um, would you classifies swedenborg as a Christian, or? I don’t know, you know, I’m asking you to say what he would say, but I think it’s interesting that he got it. You know, kind of thrown out of the church almost.

Curtis Childs 20:02
Yeah, his works were and I don’t know, all the details of it was works were put on trial in Sweden for heresy. And he was fine. He was pretty well connected. So he wasn’t in too much of a imminent threat. But at the time, the church and the government were the same thing. So right, you, you cross one, you cross the other. And he certainly made all kinds of statements that were illegal in that way. He did a lot of his publishing in London, and in Amsterdam, because those places had more freedom of the press at the time. To answer your question, though, according to the criteria that you just gave, you’re not a Christian, because you don’t believe in vicarious atonement, and all those principles you just listed? No, swedenborg wasn’t a Christian, because he didn’t believe in those things that you’re talking about. But according to his own definition, he was a Christian, his last book that he published was called true Christianity. Yeah. And in there, there’s been a lot of people saying, Who are you you’re not even a member of the clergy, or you’re not your ideas are heretical. And in the title page of that he wrote a manual swedenborg servant of the Lord Jesus Christ, right, right. Because what are you gonna say to that, and, and so clean board would say, might say you are a Christian,

Brian Smith 21:21

Curtis Childs 21:22
because to him that you listed ideas, right with sweet, sweet Montez are two things that make us human, our will, right our feelings, and then our intellect, or our beliefs.

What, Matt, what makes you who you are is your will, what you love what you care about what you’re trying to do. your beliefs are a key part of that, but they aren’t the if the will want something, it will bend the mind to get justification for whatever it wants. So and really what for him, the church, whether or not you’re a Christian, whether or not you’re in the church, the church, and its smallest unit is inside an individual. So you could have any Sunday, a bunch of people sitting in pews next to each other. Some people may have the church in them, and some people might not. And the church is primarily driven by your heart and what you love. And this is why Jesus is always preaching repentance and the Pharisees. They were nailing the doctrinal stuff, weren’t they? Yeah, they had crossed every t they dotted every I, they were observing Every Witch, well, they did everything. And that was the only people Jesus ever really got mad at was them. And why is that? It’s because they, they had, they didn’t have love, they didn’t have the love that he was talking about. But that is what Jesus Christ is you. That’s what God is his love for the whole human race. And so if you it doesn’t matter what your religious ideas are, if they’re not founded on that love, every one of them is corrupt. Because if you’re, if you’re a real super religious person, meaning you have all these, all the concepts that you said that, you know, you’re not believing that, okay, so somebody believes him, they have the whole Bible in their mind. But what they love is their own eminence, and having power and getting to tell people how to live their lives. And that’s what they’re getting their thrills and their joy from and the reason they like the religion thing is because it puts them in a position of power, and they kind of imagine an afterlife, or they rule over everybody else, and everyone that they hate goes to hell, that is the opposite of Jesus Christ. And so if that’s what’s driving, you it doesn’t matter. You put put all the swedenborg even says that in the afterlife. All the ideas you have that don’t agree with your Will you just lose them, they eventually go away, because you you go to what you love. That is what what defines you. So I would say that what would swedenborg define himself as a Christian? And what he would say makes you a Christian? Is not that not that it doesn’t, that there isn’t an important role that the right beliefs can play. Otherwise, he wouldn’t have taken all this time to carefully parse out this theology, and explain like, for example, the vicarious atonement that you’re talking about that Jesus took on? He said, No, that’s not what he’s talking about. But here is what it’s talking about what Jesus Christ did do, which week that’s that’s a whole talk in itself, right? But it’s something here’s, there’s not, oh, the angry God that punishes us. No, that’s not true. But here’s why you read about an angry God in the Bible and what it’s talking about. So yes, he was he was trying to plant a flag and say that stuff that you guys are peddling right now that allows for you to commit all these atrocities and creates this loveless world. And it’s just really this hierarchy of power and money. That’s not Christianity. This that’s actually following Jesus and the message that He gave His Christianity but what Jesus was doing with the Pharisees were they come and say, hey, it’s the Sabbath. Don’t you help That person. And he’s saying, He’s saying, like, it’s not about the rules. It’s about the people. I mean, I’m paraphrasing, but in the story was a man made for Sabbath or was that was made for men. And then there’s a woman caught in adultery and they’re saying, you know you better you better kill her. That’s the law. And he and he says, I’m getting goosebumps just talking about it, because it’s so obviously this story about what’s important and about love. And he’s he, they’re all saying, well, you’re not following the rules. And he Jesus Christ, God is saying, I’m gonna tell you something about the rules. Right now. What’s Come on what’s reasonable? Okay, she made a mistake, has any of any of you not made a mistake? That’s what it’s the love that should have the truth at its disposal rather than the other way around? Yeah, it shouldn’t be that the ideas are putting us into this fundamentalist fanaticism. That is really a smokescreen that lacks our desire to control and attack each other really have the reins and that was swedenborg. His primary enemies were what he called, he calls them love of self and love of the world. I know that love of self people get antsy when I say that because it sounds like I know people talk a lot about like self love like because you beat yourself up in your head about I’m no good but you are good. It’s not that love of self is like love of your own superiority to other people’s love of dominating other people. Basically, I am more important than anyone else that’s that’s like the core of love of self and and love of the world is not like, Oh, I love to go visit Paris. But it’s not materialistic gratification that either of those two are driving you, they will corrupt every religious principle. Yeah, doesn’t matter. You can fill your head with every every verse of the Bible, every bit of every sacred texts in the world, that stuff is in charge, you’re in trouble. So to be a Christian? Well, you got to look at what’s what’s Jesus Christ really about? And when when somebody says, What do all the law and all the profits hang off of love God, love thy neighbor, go learn what those things do. Otherwise, you got all this stuff and nowhere to hang it? Yeah,

Brian Smith 27:03
I would I and when I say that, it’s it’s really, and it’s something that a lot of lot of people struggle with. Because we still consider ourselves to be followers of Jesus, I still consider myself to be a disciple of Jesus. But when people hear the word Christian in today’s modern times, and they think of the church, I am not a part of that church. And I like the way swedenborg uses the word church. And this is something you learn when you start to get into swedenborg. There’s different terminology, you have to learn. And the church is actually within people. The church is not the building. It’s not the organization. The church is within us. That’s it. So he uses the word differently. Now, swedenborg also uses the word, the Lord a lot. And he talks about Jesus says the Lord. So explain to people what swedenborg view of Jesus is.

Curtis Childs 27:45
It can be confusing for people, sometimes we’ll get people coming at our channel, and saying, Well, why if swedenborg is is so great, why didn’t you ever talk about Jesus? Why didn’t ever talk about Jesus? Why did he say Jesus? And he does sometimes, but what what you need to know the rights early and one of his earliest works is, and this I think this was a common practice in his day is, and again, everything he wrote was in Latin, so it’s about the translation, everything, but he says, When I’m when I’m talking about Jesus, I’m going to say the Lord. So whenever you hear the Lord, in swedenborg, works, that’s Jesus. And for swedenborg, there’s there was this Christian idea that there are these separate persons of God, right, there’s a father and a son and a Holy Spirit. And they’re one but they’re sort of different. And I, there’s a lot of interpretations of that. To swedenborg. There’s one God, and God is one in the same way that we are one. So we have a spirit, and a body, and then our actions. So if you want to break it down like that, so you have the father being the spirit, so the father is the, the God that you the entirety of God. So this is more than that I’m gonna be able to understand and you’re gonna be able to understand, Jesus is like the is the body of God. So if, like, if I’m thinking about really trying to know who you are, Brian, I could do a lot of stuff. I can go talk to people who knew you when you were a kid, I can I can interview you, you talk to you for a while. There’s a lot of stuff I can try to do, to I can study things you’ve made to try to understand you. If I really wanted to interact with you, I go to where you are, where’s your body? And we will talk are those zoom makes it so now I just got to be pointed at the right camera. Yeah. But what I’m trying to say is tell me if this is making sense. What I’m trying to say is there’s you and then there’s your body where you are and we know that we’re we’re more than our body but the body is important, right? So Jesus is, in essence, the way that we can connect with the infinite God.

Announcer 29:55
We’ll get back to grief to growth in just a few seconds. Did you know that Brian? As an author and a life coach, if you’re grieving or know someone who is grieving his book, grief to growth is a best selling easy to read book that might help you or someone you know, people work with Brian as a life coach to break through barriers and live their best lives. You can find out more about Brian and what he offers at www grief to www dot g ri e f, the number two, gr o w th comm or text growth gr o w th 231996. If you’d like to support this podcast, visit slash grief to growth t ar e yo slash g ri e f, the number two gr o w th to make a financial contribution. And now back to grief to growth.

Curtis Childs 30:56
So Jesus is this point that somehow God did this amazing trick of Hey, I’m going to be able to present myself to you in a way that you can interact with. So that’s Jesus and and the Holy Spirit is the activity coming out of God. So once we were called divine providence, how God affects the world around us to lead us and teach us and do everything like that. So Jesus is to swedenborg Jesus’s god this is and and the incarnation of Jesus on earth wasn’t the start of Jesus like the divine human, which was already a thing. But Jesus was this particular way in which God had to, again, the human race was in danger of those two loves that I talked about love of self love of the world, taking over everything, like we had been so gone, we had gotten so enamored with this warlike, greedy way of life that that really, there was this whole, there’s real danger that that human beings would all destroy ourselves and that we would, we would lose our ability to love and understand what’s true. So Jesus had to come and rebalance everything. Yeah, praise and rescue us really redeem us all that stuff you hear about it, just the the sort of what’s under the hood, how did it happen is much different than there was God and God was so angry at us that he couldn’t help himself, and was going to just kill us all. And Jesus like it, there’s so many holes in that I don’t have to worry because I here I am Curtis, and I need if I get mad at my daughter, that’s that’s on me. Like I shouldn’t be doing that. Right? And the more that I if I lost my The more I lose my temper, the more people are like, well, you you know, you’ve got some anger issues, you got to get that sorted out. And and you know, you can’t, especially at a kid, but at any point, it’s not a good luck to lose your temper if you’re saying God lost his temper so much that he’s going to kill all these humans that, like don’t know what they’re doing. That makes sense, doesn’t make sense to me.

Brian Smith 32:53
Yeah, it doesn’t. And that brings me to a couple things I want to talk about is because that causes a lot of people to walk away from God, from the church, from the Bible, from Jesus from everything, because this this, this presentation of God is angry, out of control father, that is you know, yelling at is not only yelling at a toddler is going to tie her up and torture her forever. Right. And I remember when I was walking out of that I’m like, this doesn’t make any sense. And I hear swedenborg talk about God. And there’s this description in one of your shows where he says something like God could never even look at you with the cross look or something that that affects.

Curtis Childs 33:29
Yeah, that’s in his book, true Christianity. 56. I just know that because that’s such a great quote. He says, in reality, it’s impossible for God to even look at us with a frown. Because to do that would be against his own nature. Because God is love. So yeah, go ahead.

Brian Smith 33:45
No, that’s that’s fantastic. And I was reading something last night in another book, and they were describing this, this idea of God is like being the ultimate, loving, caring parent, that no matter what you do is always like, you’re always welcome to come back. You’re always, you know, quote, forgiven. That that and that. And that’s this idea I get from God from swedenborg, which is the exact opposite of what a lot of us are taught by the church.

Curtis Childs 34:11

what what do we admire, and human beings, like when we watch if you’re watching a movie, and you see a parent who, even if or anybody who there’s a character who’s doing something wrong, and the character seems unlovable, but someone’s able to love them anyway, and express goodness to them anyway? Don’t we admire that? Isn’t that something that makes you say, Wow, that is that person is a bigger person than I am? Yeah. Is God not gonna be better at that than there’s something that we admire in people that God can’t pull off? But also, whose fault is it that we all exist in the first place? Right? Like, why are we here? And if you think about God, you just think about your own kid and if you think about the heartbeat When you’ve got a parent who their little kid grows up, and you have them as like a one and two year old, and they’ve got all this innocence, and it’s just like joy, and you just are feeling like, they’ve got a, they got to do great, let’s say that they, they, they some hard things happen or something and they go down the wrong path and start to get into all kinds of criminal activity and released and they cut off contact with you. And it’s you still you really want him to come back, you know, you you would be you’re going to be devastated. And you think about God have it where do we get our love for our own kids for from, you know, as God, we are going to we’re going to love more than God is where where we get our love from? So I guess what I’m trying to say is God is can’t just, oh, you’re gonna go get tortured in hell, if they’re if somebody is getting tortured God’s there, and it’s hurting him more than than anybody. Yeah, so anything else wouldn’t, wouldn’t make sense. Or it would be that God wasn’t responsible, like I think about I haven’t had an aquarium, right. And when you’re going to get an aquarium, well, you got to follow some rules if you’re going to make life okay for these fish, because remember, they were just like swimming in a stream somewhere, and or in a breeders tank or whatever. And if you get an aquarium, first of all, you got to know there’s only a certain number of fish you can have in there per gallon, right? An ancient fish per gallon, otherwise, you’re risking the water quality and overcrowding, that’s going to lead to stress. If you if you have a fish tank, you better make sure that you’ve got enough time and energy to take care of it. And don’t get more fish than you can handle. Well, if if people just kind of get lost by the wayside, and God just oh, well, you didn’t follow the rules. So I’m kicking you off. And it’s like God put too many fish in the tank. And he can’t give us all because Wouldn’t it have been better if he never made a lot of us and just made enough that he could really make sure everybody did what was right. So obviously, God’s kind of has to have a plan to care for everyone. And can’t.

it all falls apart?

Brian Smith 37:03
If he does. And I tell you when I was a kid, as you were saying, given that analogy I was I was five years I was less than five years old. They were taking me to Sunday school and I’m hearing this stuff and I’m like, why did you even make me? You know why? Why would you put me in this risk of going into eternal torment. I regret it being born. It was, it was a terrible thing, I think to say to someone. And so when I read someone like swedenborg that describes what I believe is the true guide, the guide, the guide of love and a creator who cares for us. And he would never turn an angry itis. It’s just that’s why that episode is always stood out to me because I just I was like, this makes sense to me. Yeah. But it brings us back to the Bible, which a lot of us are caught up on because this God in the Bible, you know, he makes Adam and Eve, he puts the apple in the garden and he says don’t eat it and they eat it. And so they kicked him out. And then you know, mankind’s evil and he destroys all of them in the flood. And this drives a lot of people away from the church as well. I know, I know, people that have said, I have a good friend that said I was reading Noah’s Ark one day to serve Noah’s Ark, and he was an evangelical Christian works for the church. And just as an adult, when your mind reads that, it’s like no, and he rejects it. So he just rejects the whole thing. But as I’m listening to swedenborg, one of the things I love is there’s an internal and an external reading of the Bible, the word and you guys break down some of these stories, and totally redeemed them. By the creation story, Noah’s Ark, I was talking before we got on Ethan baylands ass, you know, and we let in Sunday school, we’d love to talk about biomes ask us, we could say the word ass. But even that story of the talking donkey, which makes no sense, you know, from from a literal point of view, you guys break that down? So talk about that internal external reading?

Curtis Childs 38:51
Yeah, actually, you know, reading the Bible, literally, as I understand it is a relatively new phenomenon. This is not how people used to read it. And I think the antidote to reading the Bible literally is just open it and start reading it, you’re gonna find so many things that make a literal reading impossible. And it just seems really obvious that it’s not even meant for you just opens to the creation story, you get these two creation stories back to back, you have stuff that doesn’t make sense. And it sequence very quickly. You can tell this is this is not what I was meant for. And if it was, if it was literal, if it was just supposed to be I’m telling you exactly what’s going on. The order doesn’t make any sense. What Why are we following the story of these few people in there? Why isn’t God saying this? do this right now. This is this is what you should do when you’re 13. This is what you should do when you’re 14. It’s just the whole thing is not set up like that. And even Jesus goes and talks about the inner meaning of scriptures when he’s on the road to a mass. And he says he opened up to the disciples everything about him in the law, the prophet Well, there’s no Jesus in the Old Testament, but here he is saying look, this is about me. So there is there is precedent there’s it is a book that is written in the language of God, which is what swedenborg calls correspondences. It’s the same language that you dream in. And it is the the language by which spiritual things and physical things can communicate. It’s and it’s actually a language that is written into everything. And that nature is a correspondence, just like the Bible is this is why you have all these religions around the world, where things like worshiping in a grove of trees or worshiping on a mountain, that these are sacred things to them, because there’s not just the Bible, is this. This in index of it is this bringing together of it, but it’s describing something that’s there and everything. So, correspondences is by the way, the the main undertaking that swedenborg went through. And when he published his first book, secrets of heaven, Volume One, he was going through the first chapter of Genesis, the first chapters of Genesis explaining what they mean. And this was something he continued on most of his work is explaining these parts of the Bible. And really quickly what I love about the internal sense, what makes me say, like, Oh, this is it, this has got to be it, because not only does it give you something that is intellectually and emotionally satisfying and insightful, but it also solves the frame of reference problem. So we’re here going through life. And it’s hard. And we struggle through all these things, and we need help from God, we’re feeling like God, where are you? Like, why aren’t you helping me right now? So God gives us this book, the Bible. So much of it is irrelevant to me. What? What do I need to know about Cain and Abel? Right? I get that it’s a I need to know about me. Okay, I’m well, and if we’re all God’s children, and this is God’s message, the whole human race? Why do some people get all these chapters I’m not in there. There’s so many people that aren’t in there, what’s, how is this and so much, we’re going to tell us all about how they built this one tabernacle, and why they should follow that. And you’re going to go these genealogies and do line by line by line and not mention any of the women and then with all this stuff, what you’re wasting time Well, this is your gift. To me. The Christian story is about you, that God does not talk about finite things, God is infinite. When God opens his mouth, he speaks infinite things. So everything in that book applies infinitely to everything. So the creation story is not the story, even if it was an accurate story about how the universe was made. Why do I care how the universe was made?

You know, there’s a long time ago. And it’s, it’s, that’s interesting. But it does, it’s not going to help me here as I’m in the depths of despair. And then I don’t care. And that’s not useful. But what the creation story is, is this is if you’re you’ve ever wondered what’s happening in your life, it’s the creation story. In those days, when when we are dark and void, when we are living initially, you start out you know, in your teenage years, or whatever we are in this ego driven, self centered, materialistic way of life. That’s where we are. And the whole point of God’s effort is I’m going to wake you up and bring you into the light. That’s what God is doing. Every day. Every struggle that we have is part of this difficult process, all those struggles and battles that you’re hearing about in the Bible, that that the Holy Land that we’re trying to get to, that’s in you, just like the churches in you there, there are there are these there are these battles that are happening there inside of you, there are these journeys, you were in the wilderness, there are these temptations, the whole story is about the absolutely complex world of God, rescuing us from all this stuff that that that’s trying to get us and so it’s in this language that is hard to understand initially. But as you start to get how it goes and as you start to understand that it speaks really to your heart ever have you ever read a part of the Bible in the Bible? It’s really a lot of it can be really difficult to stomach there’s times when I’m opening it up and I just feel frustrated at how it seems violent and seems nonsensical. It seems so dry and it just not what any but there’s other times when I’ll just read these verses, and it’s not even really about what they’re about but they just make like a bring me to tears. Something about him. I think about the one where the thief that’s getting hanged with Jesus says, Lord remember me when you come into your kingdom. Something about that like okay goosebumps and and of Revelation. When talking about the clear river or the water of life, I’ll just get these feelings around them. And that’s because there’s a part of us that understands what’s really talking about everything in there is the thief, the river, that’s the New Jerusalem. This is all stuff. That’s that’s written into the your story.

Brian Smith 45:00

Curtis Childs 45:01
the Bible is your story.

Brian Smith 45:02
Yeah, it’s written in the language of metaphor, which might the modern mind has trouble understanding, I think the people at the time understood it. And it was beautiful. That made sense. And then we come along. And as you said, it’s a relatively new development where people started reading literally. But again, you grew up in the church the way I did, we were told, that’s the way it was always. So I love about your show and your channel, is you take these stories, and when I read the story of Sodom and Gomorrah, he, we, when I read it, just on the surface, I’m like, Who are these people? But when you guys break it down, it’s like, every, every character in every story is an element of ourselves. So the story and so when you talked earlier, at the very beginning, we talked about your journey. And swedenborg tells us how our mind works. When he tells us these stories over again and says, here’s the correspondence that Adam is represented, and Eve is representing this, and the serpent is representing this, these are all elements of what’s going on with us. And then it’s like, oh, and so I get so excited when I hear when I guess I have to share it with everybody. And I’m like, I hope somebody listens to them. Because it’s just, it’s beautiful, that that it it does tell us our story, who we are individually, you know, what’s going on within us and this journey that we’re all on from the ego driven thing. back to where we originally came from.

Curtis Childs 46:21
Yeah, it’s, it’s really, it goes from being a burden to a joy. And, and it’s, it’s a way that when it says like Jesus comes in the clouds. swedenborg says that the clouds are talking about the literal meaning of Scripture. And that in there is the potential for us that you can meet God in the book, like when you’re saying, Oh, actually, this does make sense. This is suddenly like, I understand how I’m being cared for. And that’s like, a, we’re reaching Jesus through the book, because it’s giving us this window into how God operates and what God is doing.

Brian Smith 46:57
I guess that’s a swedenborg talk is like a decoder ring for the Bible. You know, when we read it, we read it, it’s like, this doesn’t make any sense. And then I watched your episodes I don’t like I said, I don’t read swedenborg so don’t think I’m the smart guy that read swedenborg but I watch off the left eye. But when you watch the episodes, you’re like, yeah, this this makes you know, this makes sense to me. And you know, a couple of concepts like second coming, you know, that we heard as kids no judgment, you know, all that kind of stuff. But let’s talk about let’s talk about like the concept of heaven and hell. Because again, that’s that’s a pretty important thing, right? And growing up binary, you’re you’re good, you’re in you’re bad. You’re out, you worship Jesus, you’re and you don’t worship Jesus out, what would what is swedenborg his concept of this idea of heaven? And Hell,

Curtis Childs 47:44
yeah, it was a great one to touch on it. He’s most none of his books were that popular, but his most popular one was called heaven and hell. So it’s a good place to start. I want to be right before I jump into that, I want to say, if you’re looking for an easy way to start seeing that the literal sense of the Bible lends itself to some kind of internal sense. Do you remember before how I talked about you have the your your will or your emotion and and your understanding of that there’s these two primary parts of being a human being, look at the didactic nature of the Bible, how there’s always these pairings that go start reading the Psalms, they’ll say, your your justice is on the hills and your judgment on the valleys, like there’s always these two pairs. And we’ve looked at each of those because it has reference to the two parts of us. This is what’s going on in your heart. This is what’s going on in your mind. So just start to read the Bible that you’ll see it’s always this, this pairing of things. So that’s that’s just a little like, little cute. Yeah, have heaven in hell. When, when the pleasure of evil is felt as good, that is hell. That’s a quote from swedenborg. So you can be in hell. Today, when when I’m in the hell is made up of a series of feelings that are all related to this love of self love of the world that I talked about. Heaven is related to the two great commandments love of the Lord in love with the neighbor. So we we can be heaven and hell are are primarily just like the church is a state of heart and mind, Heaven and Hell are states of heart and mind. The couple of important things to clear up around that so first of all, Hell is not a God is punishing you thing that the hell that we talked about is when you haven’t heard defined by what you what you make the center of your life. And if you make hellish stuff, which is everything that you think of like being being mean to people, harming people, exploiting people, whatever it is, if your joy in either being empathetic to people or actually joy in harming them, you make that the center of your life when you make that a center of your life by willingly and intentionally doing it and justifying it That’s that it’d be that is hell, like you’re in hell there. And that kind of life attracts misery to it. And you might have times when you’re feeling good, but then there’s just there’s always this, that this negativity follows that stuff, right. And the more you think of, the more ego driven you are, the less at peace you are. Because even if you’re doing well, as soon as somebody doesn’t give you the praise that you want, or as soon as somebody crosses you in some way, you just swedenborg says, What is more easily upset than this than this low of self. So you have this stuff, and you can make hell or you can make heaven in that state of Heaven is.

It’s driven by love of serving people, that is the core of heaven that you there are different kinds of, I’m just trying to think of where you’d start because there’s such a complex concept, but it is about this. There’s different kinds of joy in life, Heaven and Hell are both centered around different kinds of joy. So Hell is centered around the joy in evil. Like there’s, there’s a reason why everyone does terrible things all the time. There’s a pleasure in revenge, right? There is a pleasure in exploiting people, there’s a pleasure in dominating people this, this, those are the pleasures of insanity, as swedenborg calls them that that makes up hell. There are other kinds of pleasures, though, if you think about the joy, knowing you made a difference for somebody, we’ve all experienced that at some time. You know, I know I did that. And it may be it sometimes it’s really vivid. Sometimes it’s kind of mute. That is, that’s having their the joy in doing something good for somebody is having. So the more you cultivate that, and the more you work on that, the more that what follows that is peace, because you grow to lose your desire to really worry about where you end up in the hierarchy of human beings. You lose your desire to control everything, you start to trust God, you find joy and doing good things that are inherently healthy. It allows you to have relationships where you’re loved and love and return and brings you into this state that’s called heaven. And the more that you following the other stuff, it brings you into the state of it’s called hell and so then if we get into that so the in this world we can vacillate between heaven and hell, and you you can have two people right in a church pew or in a room and one is deeply immersed in hell and the other is deeply immersed in heaven in the spiritual world, like I said, what you love makes you who you are. So in the spiritual world what you love the spiritual world is made by an ordered god it just like the physical world is so spiritual world, which is the afterlife or whatever you wanna call it swedenborg calls it the spiritual worlds and that’s what I was calling which will be like the the spiritual dimension just like here you have the physical dimension, which is not just the earth but it’s the entire universe. So the spiritual dimension has its own set of laws just like we have laws here and in there and now they correspond this language of correspondence right so in correspond means what what something does in the spiritual world its correspondence does in the physical world, for example, what gravity does here love does in the spiritual world, so gravity as I understand it, I know we’re evolving on that gravity is what why am I where I am is because of gravity. Basically, guy gravity is keeping me on the center of the earth am I pushing against gravity locomotion, that kind of stuff is moving me so that’s it’s also gravity is what pulls masses of things together. It’s why there was a planet right? gravity pulls it together. Love is like spiritual gravity. So there, what you love pulls you into community with other people who love the same thing as you. So if you have a bunch of people together, who all love serving other people and being useful and the joy in them and aren’t all hung up on themselves that sounds like heaven to me.

Brian Smith 53:50

Curtis Childs 53:50
You think about your knowing your neighbor cares about you. Just like you know, you can pull off the road on any stop on the highway and people there are going to care about you and be nice. And if you’re completely self centered, and you don’t care about anyone, you’ll do anything you can to get ahead you like making fun of people all that and you’re around a bunch of other people that are like you that’s that’s how hell right? That’s not gonna. So that is the basic principle behind heaven and hell and hell naturally. God is God is love of other people like Jesus, we talked about this Jesus is love, right? So when you’re in this state of heaven, it’s it’s not even your love that’s going through it’s God’s love so that that state naturally draws you to god this is this is you form a partnership because you you love you have the same interests. You get the same hobbies, right? You get along hell that I don’t care about other people. It rejects God. Like it doesn’t it doesn’t like that. You know that the light shine in the darkness and the darkness could not comprehend it. Because you’re every evil has its corresponding falsity. Right. So if I want to harm people, I have to justify it to myself and Some way not to say, well, it’s not that bad or they deserved it or I can get away with it, whatever it is, the people love darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil. So in hell when God approaches God being love and truth, You don’t like it? Because the truth, for example, that everybody is just as conscious as you are. Everybody just as a human being that deserves the same amount of love and respect that you do. If you have built your life, around harming other people and exploiting them and believing you’re better than them. Do you like that truth when it comes? How does it feel? Yeah, I feel like heaven doesn’t feel like hell. Yeah. But if you if you care about the happiness of your, your neighbor, as much as you care about your own happiness, when that truth approaches that everyone, how do you love it? You welcome it. It’s like the sun coming out of the clouds. And you love it, and you soak it up. So that is I’ll stop there for now. But that is to give you sort of what’s what’s the building blocks of this? What? What is happening? What is hell? That’s it? Right? Yeah, it doesn’t matter how deep you are into hell, God is still loving you and trying to make your life as happy as it can be. But there are limits on how happy you can be when you made hell. The thing you love, because loving that stuff inherently limits your joy, it causes problems. Yeah, so So anyway, that’s a little bit of a mini crash course on what heaven and hell are so

Brian Smith 56:29
my understanding is that after when we die, when we pass, we go to like, kind of a middle ground, right? And then we kind of we kind of migrate to where we naturally fit in, whether that’s to us up or down, you know, just for simplicity sake, whether it’s upward towards heaven, or downward toward toward hell, is that correct? And God pretty much tries to make us as happy as he can. Wherever we end up.

Curtis Childs 56:55
Yeah, so no, even God cannot force you to love anything. Right? Human beings have this you’ve probably heard about free choice freewill. There is an essential component of being a conscious human being that is freedom and God does not violate that cannot or else Or else we wouldn’t be people you that that is essential. So even even though God can really want us not to love certain things, he can’t stop us. So, yes, wherever if you love a certain thing, right? God can’t stop you from loving it. God will. Hell is actually right. It’s a mechanism, the spiritual world place of hell that swedenborg saw. It’s a area designed to make the people in it as happy as you can be while you love evil things. Which is not which is to them even have there’s at the end of I think it’s divine love and wisdom. No, I think it’s divine providence. swedenborg says, has this funny encounter with a couple of people who are in hell. And he says, at the top of he says, forgive me for writing the rest this to fill out the rest of the page. Because there you had to have like your pages filled out for the printer. And he says there’s a couple of spirits from hell, so spirits being people who have died, right bodies and spirits. So metal people from hell came to swedenborg. And he wanted to talk to him. And he said, Okay, well, what do you want to say? And he says, Well, you the spirits from hell are saying, well, you’re writing a lot about heaven, and how great it is. Well write write something about hell to and swedenborg says, Okay, what do you want me to write? And they say, Well, everybody gets to live in whatever pleasures they really want. Even even if these pleasures are filthy, there’s just problems. There’s certain limits, you can’t go past. And we can’t really help it. So we get punished but and they’re basically like plugging the hellish way of life. They’re saying, like, Don’t Don’t be square, come down here. You know, and it’s, it’s a striking example of, even though even it actually during that encounter, swedenborg says, Well, if you if you can’t help hurting people, when you see them, like you’re just like an animal, and they get really mad and try to attack it, right. There’s no ego driven, right? But it shows two things. One, it shows like how destructive that kind of Hell is. But the other one shows that those people are not you think if there was a couple of spirits from hell coming up, but they would say, Please, we’re sorry, save us from this torment that we’re in your own. Nobody’s in hell unless you you’re there because you love it. Right. And it might well who would ever love getting tormented because it’s not if you love but a lot of people love evil. A lot of people love harming people. You hear like the stuff about the worst serial killers. There’s a lot of them that are like, they don’t do it because they have to they do it because they love to. Yeah. And if you’re going to do that, there are certain restrictions, you first of all, you can’t be around people because you’re going to hurt, you’re going to hurt them and we don’t want to get hurt. And also that stuff is so toxic, it’s going to attract all the other worst people around you. So God is like managing and trying to make the happiest existence you can have given the fact that you’ve made this terrible thing that’s the center of your life.

Brian Smith 59:56
Now does swedenborg ever talk about second chances, people I mean, I know people don’t want to get out of hell necessarily because it’s what they love. But it’s God’s still drawing them. And I know he doesn’t talk much about reincarnation, I don’t think so. Let’s turn to questions together.

Curtis Childs 1:00:12
Well, the whole the whole I, and this is his puzzle a lot of people because, well, so first of all the the whole of what God is doing through our entire life here is dissuading us from loving evil, you think about well, isn’t my house, isn’t my life supposed to be organized so that I’m happy? why are all these negative things happening? Who knows why particular events are going on? There’s a huge complex mechanism there. But in general, one, one thing that’s happening is, God is making it so that our life gives us a distaste for evil in to the extent that we can. So God is always trying there. And then in the world of spirits that you’re talking about, that is sort of like a centrifuge. So they’re just like in a centrifuge, heavy stuff, falls, light stuff goes to the top, there, there’s, there’s this whole period where it’s like, okay, in the afterlife, we’re here, we’re all kind of a mix of good, good and evil stuff, right? That that’s a problem in the spiritual world. Because that if you have both of them, they kind of start to pull you apart. So you’ve got to commit to one or the other. So there’s this whole process in the world of spirits to try to get everyone to commit to what’s good and true. And then if, then, so So there’s all these chances to try to end but then if somebody’s still choosing Hell, I don’t know. Like he doesn’t he at some points, he says, You can’t. You can’t, you won’t change or not, you can’t, but you won’t, you will. But then there’s also a lot of other places where he’ll talk about, you know, people who even their everything negative that nothing, that hurts can be allowed, unless some good is coming out of it. So even in hell, people are through these negative experiences they’re bringing on themselves are being purged of their desire for a particular kind of evil. So he does talk about people even there and even being brought up to where they can do some more menial, but useful things so they can get some of the joy of usefulness, because Heaven is all doing useful things with them. Everybody’s always improving their I don’t know is whether like, I would think, you know, if you think about what we’re talking about before with God and made each one of us and it’s like, going to think about the grief of God. We’re talking about grief, the grief of God of losing anybody to this right. Totally limited life. When is God gonna stop wanting to bring them into heaven? That’s, that’s all that the universe exists to provide a heaven for the human race. That’s, that’s what Providence is doing. So when, when is God gonna say well, okay, I give up on you. Right? That’s the whole point of anything. Yeah. So I would think, eventually, and we’ve got a problem to solve. But right now the human race is trying to solve the Coronavirus and figure out how to do so we’ve got the best minds on it, and they’re trying to solve it. Right? And you know, the smarter people are in the better technology they have, the better they can solve it. So God’s got a problem. All these people are loving, he think he’s not working on a solution. Like, what else? What’s he doing that? Like? What, what’s he spending his time? Yeah,

Brian Smith 1:03:09
there’s a guy that a philosopher the same as Thomas Talbot wrote a book called The inescapable love of God. And this is a concept that I love. Because what he says basically, you know, God never gives up on us, you know, this, this is one lifetime, but you know, we got never gives up on us. And if, if you are loving evil, you are diluted, no one who has a full picture of who or what God is, could resist guy. That’s why the books called the inescapable love of God. So there’s some sort of a shadow, there’s some sort of a veil, that we don’t really understand what who or what God is because we, we’d have to be attracted to God, if we really understood it. So here’s his thing is God’s always working to tear that delusion down that illusion down so they can be? And once we fully understand that, you know, how could you not? I mean, that’s because that’s who we are guides our Creator.

Unknown Speaker 1:03:58
Yeah, well,

Curtis Childs 1:04:00
isn’t it true that the more you learn about people, the more you understand that love, right, then they say like, if people have prejudices, that solution is getting more in contact with people that they don’t usually get in contact with. If it just the more you like, the more you think you have a person in your life who you’re like, maybe like, in business with you and or you have some kind of contentious relationship, but the more you understand their life and their story, and what the more you know, the more love fills it. So I think this is exactly like what you’re talking about.

Brian Smith 1:04:32
What people reject is this false image of God, this guy, this angry guy that we were taught about this judgemental guy. I think that’s what people reject. Oh,

Curtis Childs 1:04:40
yeah, for sure. And why wouldn’t you? Yeah, is that not fair? It’s not good. Like, but I also isn’t it fascinating that God is, if I was that lovable. I would not be hiding it. What I mean is Curtis, if I was just if anybody really knew They just couldn’t help but just totally loved me. I’d be like walking around like everyone look how good I am. But here’s God, who is that inescapable, but his his back and way off? In swedenborg says that’s because God doesn’t want a love that was forced on us, right? Because that’s not really love. You think about short Love is a great thing. But but so is freedom. So is a lot, the greatest thing is love that is freely chosen without any threat behind it. Exactly. And without any compulsion behind it, there’s a certain elegance to that, it just like in a, you know, if people are gonna get married, like, it’s got to be this, like, we both want to do it. And it’s just like with God, if God just overwhelmed us with his charisma, then of course we do it. But this is the why do we navigate this weird life instead is because we are through these little interactions, learning what God is like, and that every little bit of love, that you interact, share with somebody every time you understand a person because God is we are human, because God is you start to see a little more of God. And so in this theater here, where you get to see love versus not love, and you get to see the right way to treat people and dignity and all that versus the wrong way to treat people in this free free world to choose their to love the qualities that make God who, who God is, then we can have a real relationship. You know that then we can so and then God can can Okay, yeah, I’m gonna give you everything. But I you needed to learn? Yeah, I don’t know how to phrase it. But no,

Brian Smith 1:06:43
I think you phrased it really well. I mean, I think we do. This is a place of choices. This is a place of light, and dark and good and evil. And we can we can choose and kind of test each test each out. Try it on, see how it feels, see what we love. But, you know, God is always drawing us, you know, always, always calling us always there for us always, on our side always rooting for us. And my personal belief is God doesn’t lose, God gets what he wants. Because, you know, one of the things I was taught in Christianity was, Well, God wants everyone to be saved. But Calvinism says that he doesn’t choose everyone to be saved. And arminianism says, Well, he can’t choose everyone to save. And I say God loves everybody in guy gets what he wants. So I think eventually, God will draw us all back to him. But we can choose whether that’s going to be an easy path or a hard path.

Curtis Childs 1:07:32
Right? And we’ll look at, look at all the going back to the Bible, the biblical narrative, and all of its violence and all of its confused, confusion. Isn’t it like life that we have? This story of isn’t like Jesus’s life. He showed up and you think, Okay, he’s God, things are gonna go great. We’re gonna go, right, yeah, it’s this total. All I’m saying is the chaos and the, in a confusing this of the Bible, remind me of life, that it’s it’s chaotic and confusing. And it’s that there’s this hidden Providence inside of it. That even though you’re you look at your life, and like, what if I was sitting down and designing my life, I wouldn’t know. I’m taking this part out, I’m putting this new part in am, I actually going to catch that bus when I’ve missed that. But but it is, like, I just can’t understand the decision making. But there’s a spiritual sense to our lives where all this stuff, we’re talking about this, this in ways you can’t understand God prepping you to receive heaven. It’s happening. It’s just like, it’s a correspondence. So it’s everywhere. It’s just like the body. You know, you’ve got we’ve got these bodies, and we sort of know how they work. But we all the stuff that’s going on inside there. Like I think of how if I was going to try to stay healthy, okay, what do I do? Well, I should eat healthy, put, put healthy food on my plate and eat it. And I’ll run for 15 minutes this morning. You think about that, versus what’s going on inside the body. Like how that food is broken down how those nutrients are distributed. There’s all kinds of problems and emergencies and things in my body that are getting fixed without even knowing it. Right, right. This is like what God is doing with us that we don’t really understand even what the point it’s like, what why go through all this? Well, it’s about our love and our and our will and that there’s, there’s this whole formation just like in the womb, all these conditions have to go just right for us to get formed. Yeah, so it is right now our spirit is getting formed in the same way. And each, each moment. swedenborg says every moment holds a series of consequences that extend to eternity. So like everything ripples out like the butterfly, if it ripples out forever, and you think about the processing power that’s needed to line that up. So that is he talks about like, you know, if you’re shooting an arrow, and you’re a mile away from the target, even the tiniest little deviation you get way out the target. It’s that’s how it is with the trajectory of our life. If God isn’t making these little micro adjustments all the time, they’re they’re that much care. But it’s confusing, because we can’t see, you know, like with life after death, 1000 years down the road and how this is going to help that. And, you know, it’s it’s I’m not trying to say life isn’t confusing and hard, but you can get some real peace at times out of this idea that okay, the reason it’s confusing, as hard as it is really complicated things going on. And the more that we start to understand is why the Bible is good internal sense, you got to understand what God is actually doing. Then it starts to make more sense, though, if we don’t understand the objective, we’re not gonna understand the day to day, but if we can start to look for it. swedenborg says, with divine providence, like the God’s guidance of our lives, you really, even don’t matter how spiritual you are, you’re probably not gonna understand what’s going on in the moment. Yeah, but you can start to look back at your life and see things and see, oh, I’m starting to see how good things came out of that.

Brian Smith 1:10:55
Yeah, let’s, let’s end, let’s end on on divine providence. Because I that’s, I think, a very important concept. And I’m gonna just tee this up by saying, I was talking with a client yesterday. And we were talking about my life, my daughter passed away, like five years ago, my 15 year old daughter, and that’s her. My daughter behind me, Shana. And, you know, we’re talking about, you know, bee bee bee being born a black man. And there was a time early in my life, I was like, why would anybody choose to be born black, I mean, that would be a silly decision to make. But if I hadn’t been born a black man, if I hadn’t had my daughter passed away, I wouldn’t be sitting here doing what I’m doing with you right now. It’s this experience that made me who I am. And my point is, that when these things happen, you know, earlier in life, you’re like, this doesn’t make any sense. But at some point in our life, we can start to see this come together. So talk about what divine providence is, and what was swedenborg his point of view on divine providence.

Curtis Childs 1:11:50
So divine providence is what is God working in our lives? It’s like this short version of it. And it is it divine providence has like specific goals and its goals all revolve around what lasts forever. So you know that weeping may last for the night. But joy comes in the morning. And I’m not saying swedenborg is adamant, even if it’s hard to picture this intellectually, he’s adamant that God doesn’t make bad things happen. But that there are certain things he can’t prevent, for the sake of the goal. So evil makes bad things happen. I’m not talking about like, if something bad happens in my life is because I was doing something evil, but you just think about, like, think about it like pollution. Because Because we’ve been polluting all the world for so long. I can’t go and drink from the river near my house used to be you could go to any stream and just drink from it. Right. That’s how you got your water, you just just drink it up. But because there’s we’ve been put because of all this, like pollution we’ve done for so long. That’s awful. We got to do a whole new thing. Now you got to filter your water and all that. So because there’s been so much love of self love the world, in the human race, there’s all kinds of negative stuff going on. In ways we can’t comprehend it. Bad things are unavoidable. Right? This is just part of what it is. So what Providence is doing, though, is is making it so that good is brought out of everything bad. And like you talked about, and I appreciate you being willing to share your story about Shayna and thinking about Yeah, so I there’s no way that with my sister with her like that God is saying like, well, this is I’m going to I’m going to take this person out of your life to teach you something, right? Like, I think that would be, that would be terrible. But for whatever reason, it can’t be prevented. And, you know, I’m going to I’m going to see my sister again. And she’s there right now. And who but who I am now because I’ve had to deal with that grief and that all that. I’ve learned some things. It’s been a hard a hard learning, but it’s like a same thing with me. Look where I am now.

Brian Smith 1:13:55
Oh, yes.

Curtis Childs 1:13:56
Yeah. And I wouldn’t be where I am without the hard stuff. So in the end, when I get to the other side, and there’s my sister and she and there’s Shana, and she’s happy and beautiful. And and you’re there and you’re having you’re reunited. But you’ve gained something, right. And now you you are somebody and then so then 100 years into the afterlife, 500 years into the afterlife, that stuff that God is putting in us now is still going to be bearing fruit. It’s like we’re putting some investment in but because of the way he’s opening your heart up. And because of the wisdom that you’re gaining, you think about if you’re if you’re an alcoholic, do you want someone who’s never had a drinking problem to try to help you out?

Brian Smith 1:14:38
Right, right now? No, absolutely all,

Curtis Childs 1:14:41
all the potent teachers that you know, all the stuff that I’ve the people who’ve developed the stuff that I’ve used with the help with depression. You know, they were struggling with depression, when the world goes through terrible things. You know, everyone always talks about like, Hitler and Nazi Germany, like Don’t Don’t be like that Don’t be like that. It was a, it was this like, terrible thing that happened. And you’d never say that was good. But look at what it’s done after that. Now we know what that is, we can say like, we’ve identified a kind of evil. No. And we and it’s almost like, like with, like with a disease once you’ve caught it once your immune system now knows, look at that. That’s it. We know how to fight that now, right? Without whenever something sort of veers toward that you can say, No, we know what that is. So. So there’s the, this is the way that human race can confront evil in in our individual lives, we can confront problems and like, Here you are, yeah, now making this huge difference in all these people’s lives, helping them deal with their own grief and everything. So divine providence, is looking first and foremost at how does that change what you love and what you care about, because that is who you are, and that is going to go that that is part of your eternal spirit. And And likewise, I didn’t have in the joy of heaven as being useful other people. So you don’t just think oh, in the world in on Earth, here, I’m going to help people deal with with grief or whatever. And then I’m going to who knows just sit around in heaven and be happy, right? Heaven is the joy of having a so so the stuff that you’re learning here, you’re going to be even better at it. And you’re going to be helping somehow in the afterlife. People with some and or you’re helping people here through who knows what it was, but that that work that that we’re putting in getting you to be able to do what you can do now, that’s going to pay dividends to the human race to eternity, right? Because you’re going to be held. So every day, you think about how much help you’re going to be given. So in the end, I you know, just think it’s just it’s in the end. Providence brings just unlimited good out of temporary, bad. And that that’s that’s what the equation. That’s how the equation balances. Yeah,

Brian Smith 1:16:55
I love that. I think that’s a great way to end. Curtis, thank you so much for doing this. It’s been it’s been I can’t even tell how much of a pleasure it is to sit down and talk with you. And I want to tell everybody that the channel is off the left eye on YouTube. That’s the name of the podcast as well. I believe I listened to the podcast because I listened to it while I’m walking. But everybody check it out. Curtis, any final thoughts?

Curtis Childs 1:17:17
Oh, well, this was fun. And I really enjoy you inviting me into this conversation. And I get excited. Whenever I’m talking about stuff like this. We think like we Yeah, definitely. Suffering leads to this joy in the idea of being able to end suffering. So there’s one part of Sweden Norway says you can’t really know what good is unless you know, it’s opposite. And one thing I can look back on everything negative I’ve gone through and see is it has Stoke this fire in me this enthusiasm for nobody should have to go through this stuff that we’re going through, and how can we how can we solve these problems? And how can we bring joy to people? And that that’s, I think, I wouldn’t care about that as much if everything was gone, right for me, I would have just been more interested in. Okay, well, how can I get the next thing on my agenda to continue to be obsessed with myself? Right? So, you know, I’m, there’s definitely times when I would have been upset to say this, but things I can see where we’re going, even though that I’ve had tons of times in my life, that I’m not saying it’s okay, God, I’m saying this is not okay. And I don’t think we’re supposed to get to the point where we’re saying this stuff is okay. I think you think about a kid who goes through something hard. You know, just because that’s the best metaphor. It’s like, No, of course, they’re gonna cry and be sad and, and God is not expecting us to not be being sad and be upset and be mad at him. And I’m mad at God all the time. But because you can’t help it, because it was so hard, right? But but in moments like this, I can look and say like, I think this is gonna be okay. I think we’re going to be okay. I think that in the end, it’s going to be just like the near death experience. People say like, once you see the full picture, like you’re saying, once that shadow is gone. I want to shake God’s hand and say like, you know, you know what, you did it the right way. And I’m just so excited for what we’re gonna do next.

Brian Smith 1:19:13
Well, thanks. Wow, that gave me goosebumps. Thanks, Curtis. Thank you. Have a good rest of your day. That’s it for another episode of grief to growth. I sure hope you got something out of it. Please stay in contact with me by reaching out at www dot grief to that’s grief the number two or you can text the word growth to 31996. That’s simply text growth gr o w th 231996. So if you’re watching this on YouTube, please make sure you subscribe. So hit the subscribe button and then hit the little bell here and it’ll notify you when I have new content. Always please share the information if you enjoy it. That helps me to get more views and then get the message out to more people. Thanks a lot and have a wonderful day.

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