Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Still Hearing Laestadius' Sermons

I thought I'd highlight this comment made by an Anonymous poster. The branch of Laestadianism I grew up in didn't read his sermons from the pulpit, so I found this quite fascinating. Also, it represents a critique of Laestadius from the right, versus the typical critique from the left.

Anonymous said...
Why oh why do we still have to listen to Laestadius! I still go to the OALC and I just have such an issue with this. Sure, I know his sermons were powerful for that time, and effected many awakenings. And ok, maybe there is still some bit of pertinence to our lives today. But why read one every single sunday before the sermon? Why not just say, `here are some books that may be strengthening` and let people keep them in their home libraries? Why read and re-read them for decades ad-nauseum? And I do mean `nauseum`.. most are graphic and often (imo) downright inappropriate for reading in front of a mixed age/sex audience. There are many sexually-loaded statements (i.e. `sucking their own breasts`, etc) that only serve to put lascivious images in the minds of the listeners, at a time when there should be piety, grace and hopefulness (sitting in God`s house.) I spoke of this with only a few others (OALC too) and they agreed. You cannot tell me that that particular statement I quoted does not bring up an inappropriate, lustful image in the mind of any post-pubescent male present! So it offends me. In fact I clearly recall actually blushing as a young girl sitting under some of the sermons. And I`m not even a male, how much worse must it be for them! Also, LLL steeped his sermons in obscure, multi-layered metaphor and simile.. I would guess with some confidence that the majority do not `get` them. You need to be quite savvy and attentive to follow along, and if you miss the initial metaphor, good luck trying to follow the winding thread. Too, the readers that are pressed into service often read in a low, sing-song monotone, which lulls the listener and causes sleepiness (literally, I mean) =) So the earlier poster should not feel so guilty for falling asleep! =)

Also, another thing that is a bee in my bonnet is when the preacher says (of the LLL sermon) "we have already heard the best sermon of the day." This is their way of saying LLL was a much better or more gifted clergy than they are. And ok, that may or may not be? BUT- I`d always heard & believed as the others do, that nothing of the preacher`s sermons are `their own`... meaning they do not prepare a sermon... but all comes from God- that they go up there and God opens their mouth and speaks through them.. He uses them to speak through to us. So...??? What are they saying by that, then?? That LLL is better than God himself?? It just doesn`t fly. So... then it must be false humility. Or self-righteousness. I don`t know. I have no problem with the doctrine or the KJV we use: oh all of that is so pure and true. I know Jesus loves me, and died for my sins. I just fail to see really where LLL fits into this. I presume it`s just custom... and that bothers me, too. Just because it`s `always been done`. Arg. Thanks for listening! Apologies for the rant. ;)

Friday, May 07, 2010

Purity Unrealized

I ran across this quote this morning; while the author is not writing about Laestadianism, I thought the sentiment fit quite well.

Puritan movements are doomed to fail because people are not pure. Such coteries inevitably turn in upon themselves: having fondly imagined they can set themselves up as a society of the perfect, at the first sign of weakness the mob will turn on the one perceived as guilty and drive the offender out. Ultimately such a gathering is the antithesis of the Gospel, for it is based on judgment rather than forgiveness. It is also the antithesis of history, for it lives in a fantasy of realized eschatology rather than in the hope of a cooperative pilgrimage.

Because they are based on a goal incapable of realization -- a pure society with unrealizable standards, or a perverse double standard that acknowledges but cannot tolerate human imperfection -- they never cease from irascible critique, a toxic attitude by which they close themselves off from the wider world and then turn in upon, and digest, themselves.

Tobias Stanislas Haller BSG