Monday, March 25, 2013

Taking Time Off

This is a guest post by "24," who is sharing her journey with us:

Today is Sunday—my first Sunday in which I chose to not attend church. I publicly left the OALC on March 13, 2013. Having worked every-other weekend for many years now, it is understood that--due to my job—I'm not able to attend as diligently as most (meaning every Sunday, without fail). This being the first Sunday in which I CHOSE to not attend was a different matter entirely, and I heard about it from my mom via text message. Always the warmest, most kind-hearted person I know, her inner "mama bear" came out and I saw a side of her that I do not at all like. Directed towards me was guilt, guilt, guilt, but she also threw in some choice words regarding my school, work, teachers, and the devil. That was rough. It has been surprisingly smooth sailing up to today, and though I knew that the waters would be troubled at some point, it is still not an easy thing hearing these things from my mom. Even though I am certain that my beliefs are correct and true to me, being confronted (attacked) brings out weakness in each of us. Through my tears I composed a loong reply, which I then deleted. The response I gave was a simple reminder that I could have taken the easy way out and left without a backwards glance (which I did consider for some time), but that it was love for my family that impacted the way in which I was carrying out my decison, truthfully and openly. I received no response.

Today has opened my eyes in new ways. I realized that I need to start making plans on my Sundays, as that is typically a day surrounded by family. I also think I will be taking some time off from family until they cool their engines and learn to accept who I am. Some of the activities I'm going to start looking into are: find a great restaurant that sells crepes (I've just been craving), visit art galleries and museums, go shopping, meet friends for coffee, find 'walks for causes', some type of fundraiser, find somewhere to volunteer. Any input, advice, or ideas will be greatly appreciated, as well as similar stories. I know that I am not alone, and it has been greatly beneficial to hear from others who have walked in similar shoes.

Strong, brave, and just getting started—

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Question About the OALC

There is a new private support group on Facebook for those from the Old Apostolic Lutheran Church (OALC). If you would like to join, send me an email at extoots with a note about why you're interested.

I just ran across this "Voice of the Elders" blog and wonder if anyone knows what sect it is affiliated with.

A recent observation that the OALC is "getting more conservative" made me ponder this comment by "Hibernatus" from a few years back:

The OALC elders of the Swedish Lapland split into two groups in the middle of the 1960s: August Isaksson, Levi Älvgren and Sten Johansson on one side and Gunnar Jönsson, William Eriksson, Hugo Gustavsson, Evald Larsson and others on the other side. The vast majority of the OALC chose to follow the latter group. However, there were a few hundred in Finland, and some dozens in the US, Norway and Sweden, each, who chose to follow the first mentioned group of elders. 
This group later split into two, and its membership has decreased over the years. In Norway I think they ended up getting reconciled with the mainstream group, but there are still a couple of hundred left in Finland (in two or three separate groups), and small remnants in the US and Sweden. 
It's a common opinion among the supporters of the liberal "party" in the Finnish OALC now that the elders of the Swedish Lapland, since the 1980s, have moved more towards the opinions held by August Isaksson, Levi Älvgren and Sten Johansson, abandoning the reform tendencies of Gunnar Jönsson & Co. Their theory is that although most of the OALCers chose to follow Gunnar Jönsson in the 1960s split, many of them still secretly resented Gunnar Jönsson's reform tendencies and clung to the ideas held by his opponents (August Isaksson, Levi Älvgren and Sten Johansson). According to them, the death of Gunnar Jönsson in early 1980s opened the way for his secret opponents to take the power in the OALC. (Actually August Isaksson died before the split was complete, but he played an important role in the events that led to the split and he was clearly on the side of the opponents of Gunnar Jönsson).
Any thoughts?

Saturday, March 02, 2013

More Musings by Oven Mitt

Oven Mitt emailed me this response to Freethinker, concerned that it was too long for the comment section. I am publishing it here as its own post. (Readers, please consider submitting a guest post on any topic. Challenge our thinking!)
Left to Right: Frank Zappa, Oven Mitt

Dear "Freethinker,"
Thank you for your very thoughtful reply. You say "The vast majority are placing their faith in the 'confirmed reality' of the Bible." On one level, I would concede your point. In a way, if you were to poll people, statistically speaking, what you say about the majority is perhaps true. But only in a way.

One consideration is that in every faith tradition there are people (who are not the majority) who are deeply spiritual, for whom every element of their lives is informed by religious meaning and who are better people for it. But there are also, in every faith tradition, I think, individuals who relate to their tradition as a way to stay out of trouble and solicit good luck. Often, this takes on the flavor of a transaction, of something like commerce:

If you, the worshiper, do this (where "this" could be pray, offer sacrifices on an altar, give to the poor), then I (the fabric of the universe, or the god of my profession, or the unique and all-powerful god) will make your flocks flourish, or get you a raise, or save your soul.

Several years ago, on the bus I rode to work, there was a fellow rider who was an immigrant to the United States, who didn't speak English well but loved to talk. As I got to know this rider better, I found her to be kind, considerate of other people's ideas, and possessed of a prodigious desire to work. A good person. She was telling me one morning about New Year’s rituals in the her family, rituals that came out of a religious tradition. These rituals were for luck and prosperity. "Only for luck?" I asked. She gave me a look that said, "What? What other reason would you have for a ritual?"  My question was apparently uunnerving, even absurd. And yet she had been formed in this tradition and was a good person, perhaps even an excellent person.