Saturday, December 18, 2010

Celebrating Love and Light: Tips for the Post-Religious

The holidays can be difficult for everyone, not just former Laestadians. While intended for the non-religious, this article has useful tips for everyone. I particularly liked this one:

Find common ground with visiting relatives. All relationships (teacher-student, work colleagues, friends, partners, children, cousins) require that we come together around things we have in common: shared interests, respect for each other's good qualities, overlapping values, the appreciation of a good meal or a football game. Your family may not share your skepticism, curiosity or desire for personal growth. If not, don't go there, and don't let them draw the conversations into your areas of disagreement. Take deep breaths, exercise self control, and change topics. Save deep, painful conversations for another time. Trust yourself. Schedule coffee with sympathetic friends. It may be sad, but it is ok for you to grow emotionally and spiritually even if people you love don't come along.

This year, we are scaling back on gifts, giving Kiva gift gift certificates and home-made treats (lemon curd and spicy pecans), writing letters, making and listening to music, playing board games, and just spending time together, always the best gift.

What are your tips for celebrating the holidays?

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Is Laestadianism really Lutheran?

FinnForge got me thinking about this question. While FinnForge seems very certain that true Laestadianism is Lutheran, I'm not so sure.

When I was looking to leave Laestadianism, the first places I checked out were the LCMS, WELS, ELCA, and other branches of Lutheranism. They seemed very strange and alien, having little in common with my childhood church.

The biggest difference that was most immediately apparent was liturgy. Lutheran churches had it, and Laestadian churches didn't have it. As far as style of worship was concerned, I always felt much more comfortable in Baptist churches than Lutheran ones.

Differences in worship style often reflect different theological convictions. I think a liturgical style underscores the communal aspects of faith. Churches that don't have liturgy often emphasize a more individualistic approach. Both Baptists and Laestadians (at least back in the beginnings of the movement) emphasize a very individualistic "new birth" as essential.

Maybe that's why Laestadians don't have liturgy, and seem so ambivalent about infant baptism (gotta do it, but don't ever say that it actually accomplishes anything.) I personally think that it's hard to understand what infant baptism is supposed to accomplish without an appreciation for liturgy. In the liturgy, the church corporately acts out the story of Christian faith; in baptism the participants are bearing witness to and making manifest what God has already done.

Another way that Laestadianism seems really different from Lutheranism is the emphasis on the total depravity of human beings. Maybe this comes from all the amped-up rhetoric in Laestadius' sermons --he needed to get people to the breaking point by any means possible so that they would experience "the awakened state" or "new birth." Whereas more Catholic, Anglican, or Lutheran notions of humanity would see them as created good by God but fallen and in need of redemption. A Laestadian view of human nature seems more similiar to Calvinism or the Baptists than Lutheranism.

What are some other things about Laestadianism that make it very different than other branches of Lutheranism?

See also: Pietism, Baptism, and Laestadianism

Tomte's thoughts on Baptism

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

More on FinnForge

I've had a chance to read a little bit more on FinnForge lately, and it's been intriguing. It seems to me like the author is trying to do the following things:

1) Place Laestadianism squarely within the Reformation tradition. In other words, FinnForge doesn't believe that Laestadius innovated doctrinally in any way, but rather hearkened back to Luther and especially the Augsburg Confession.

from A Brief Expose of Errors. . .

Laestadius was an ordained minister in the Lutheran Church of Sweden, who held firmly and taught boldly the Lutheran doctrine, applying it to the heart, and citing the Lutheran Confessions as right doctrine.

2) To the extent that the Apostolic Lutheran Church of America deviates from the unaltered Augsburg Confession it has fallen away from what FinnForge's author considers the truth. Even to the extent that if the ALC's doctrinal statement Principles of the Doctrine of Christ (particularly the 1996 revision) conflicts with the Lutheran confessions, then the Principles are wrong!

3) FinnForge is a right-wing critique of the present day state of the ALC. Its author seems to find the ALC's tendency to become more evangelical in its doctrine and worship disturbing. He wants to return to what he considers an earlier, purer form.

I see now the fruit of division after division, many young leaving our fellowship for other churches altogether, and worldliness coming into the church. I see new music, with guitars and drums, making a noise nothing like the song of a redeemed soul who has tasted of grace.

and

Their changes have moved us far from the truth, and have made the Apostolic Lutheran Church into another church altogether

I must say that I see no small amount of irony here. It seems classic Laestadianism to me for someone to try to hearken back to an earlier age and circle the wagons around some notion of spiritual/ideological purity. To my mind, this is why there are the variants on Laestadianism in the first place. Everyone who splits off and starts a new group thinks they are "right" or "hearkening back to what the founders originally intended."

At this point in time it doesn't look like FinnForge is trying to split off and start a new variant. I'll give him credit for that. On the other hand, I think he's fighting a losing battle. As I've written elsewhere, I think the current trends in the ALC are moving in the opposite direction of where he wants to go.

I can understand why FinnForge wants to reform his own denomination instead of leaving for a different one. As we "exes" are acutely aware, there is a downside to leaving Laestadianism --even if the benefits outweigh the drawbacks.

If FinnForge eventually decides to quit the ALC, fortunately there are versions of Lutheranism that purport to follow the Lutheran confessional documents very closely. I'd point him to either WELS or LCMS for starters.

See also: Change in the ALC

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

FinnForge

As of last month there is a new blog called FinnForge that purports to be "Working to reclaim the Apostolic Reformation doctrines taught by Martin Luther and Lars Levi Laestadius."

Apparently authored by Steven E. Anderson with just eight posts so far, it will be interesting to see if this site has staying power.

I plan to post about this site in more detail in the future, but for now I'll say that I find it interesting (although admittedly longwinded) because it is, among other things, a critique of the present state of the Apostolic Lutheran Church of America (ALC) from within, and from the right. That alone seems rare enough to be worth watching.

If any of our regular readers can put this site into context, I'd much appreciate it. :-)

Monday, December 06, 2010

"Satan misled them"

HELSINGIN SANOMAT has this story about a Laestadian sex abuse case that happened back in the 1970s and 80s, but just recently came to light:

Incest victim of Laestadian preacher tries to piece his childhood together

This story seems especially tragic given that the victim's family knew about the abuse and chose to do nothing:

. . .at least some of the parents of the boys were aware of the preacher’s doings. Yet they did nothing to help their own children. Saving the congregation’s face was more important than protecting the children from their predatory grandfather.

One aspect of Laestadian theology that is only hinted at in the article is the whole idea of "the Devil made me do it." When we'd do something good growing up, we weren't supposed to take credit for it. Instead we'd "give God the glory." Conversely, if we did something bad, Satan was at work. It only now occurs to me that this is a very convenient way to avoid taking any sort of personal responsiblity.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Leaving LLC Made Me Who I Am

I've been reading a new (at least to me!) blog by a former LLCer, Freepathways. I enjoyed this post in particular, so I'm passing it on:

Leaving LLC made me who I am

It is interesting to notice how alike experiences people seem to meet in their leaving processes related to any branch of Laestadian revival movement, or any other fundamentalist and strict group. It is nearly unbelievable that even the details e.g. the inequality of social interplay and structures in the local congre-gation, experiences of shunning and being intimidated are precisely similar in Finland and in the US. Also aloof parent-child relationships and tendency to leave home very young in early adulthood in the Laestadian families are identified on both sides of the Atlantic.

Enjoy!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Why Laestadianism Never Apologizes

If you're waiting for any official branch of Laestadianism (either in Finland or in the United States) to apologize for the sex abuse and the subsequent cover ups, their exclusionary theology, or the way in which dissent is quelled and dissenters expelled, you may have to wait a very very long time.

At least such is the preliminary finding of new research by Dr. Mikko Ketola of the University of Helsinki in his new paper entitled "Apologising for Past Errors: Two Finnish Religious Revival Movements and Their Different Strategies." (Click here for a link to the paper as a PDF file)

Dr. Ketola compares and contrasts two different conservative Finnish revival movements, the Finnish Lutheran Mission and SRK Laestadianism. Both have engaged in past behaviour that reasonably could prompt an official apology. The Finnish Lutheran Mission made such an apology, but to date SRK Laestadianism has not apologized. According to Ketola, Laestadianism's exclusionary "congregational doctrine" is primarily to blame. When you believe that your congregation is the true kingdom of God and all other Christians are on the road to hell, it doesn't lend itself to humility, accurate self-assessment, or apology.

Dr. Ketola's research paper is in English, only 13 pages and well worth the read. In addition to the topic of official apologies, Ketola also touches on the role of the internet in giving current adherents and ex-members a chance to express their dissent anonymously. A quote:

In cases like the SRK-Laestadianism where the community itself does
not encourage or tolerate criticism, an outside forum where criticism can be practised anonymously is almost the only viable channel through which to pursue change.


In addition to Dr. Ketola's research paper, there is also an in-depth blog post at Freepathways that provides an excellent summary of the research along with a photograph of Mikko Ketola.

Links: Apologising for Past Errors: Two Finnish Religious Revival Movements and Their Different Strategies, (PDF) by Dr. Mikko Ketola of the University of Helsinki, Department of Church History and current (2010-2015) president of the CIHEC (Commission Internationale d’Histoire et d’Etudes du Christianisme)

No Apologising for Past Violence of SRK-Laestadians Healing Meetings, by Freepathways

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Current OALC attitudes about Birth Control

A recent anonymous commenter had the following question:

I was wondering if members of the OALC believe in birth control? I know that there is no sex before marriage but i am wondering any birth control during marriage?
I would love to know anything! Thanks


I know that in the ALC it used to be frowned upon, but I think now practices vary widely. Can anyone answer for the OALC? And I'm also curious about whether the answer differs for Laestadians in Finland and Sweden versus the United States.

See also: Healthcare and the OALC

Monday, October 25, 2010

Finnish Lutheran Sex Discrimination Case

This interesting article popped up in my feed reader this morning:

from HELSINGIN SANOMAT: Woman pastor wins sex discrimination case

Pohjanraitio had been scheduled to serve at the altar, handing out communion. However, before the service, she was told by the visiting pastor that his apostolic beliefs prevented him from working with a woman pastor at the altar.

Does the phrase "apostolic beliefs" mean that the visiting pastor was Laestadian? Does anyone know if the pastor in question was definitely Laestadian?

This article raises lots of interesting questions for me regarding the relationship between religion and the state. Because the Lutheran church is government supported in Finland, does that give the state the authority to enforce civil rights?

If this had happened in the United States I think the courts would never had gotten involved, due to the separation of church and state. In the United States Laestadians are not part of a state church --they control who gets ordained and women are not allowed to be ordained in any Laestadian denomination, so that's another reason this never could have happened in the U.S.

On the one hand, I very strongly support freedom for religions to practice and ordain as they see fit without government interference. But on the other hand if any tax dollars are supporting an institution I very strongly believe that then the public has a valid interest in regulating what goes on in said institution.

Finally, I think that churches that choose not to ordain women are really missing out. My current priest is a woman, and she is the most talented and capable clergyperson I have ever had, bar none.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Minnesota Laestadian Sex Abuse Case

Apparently sex abuse is still happening in Laestadian circles in the United States as well, as attested to in this article regarding a case that hit the news last July involving a volunteer at the Old Apostolic Lutheran Church on Rowland Road in Minnetonka, Minnesota.

Minnetonka church volunteer gets a year in jail for having sex with teen

As the parents grew increasingly suspicious, they contacted authorities. Foley told a sheriff's deputy that he was acting as a "counselor" to the girl and other members of the church, Old Apostolic Lutheran Church on Rowland Road.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

The Downside of Leaving

Anonymous posted this comment today, which I thought merited a page of its own:

I read through this blog when I was in the process of making my decision to leave. Now that I am gone I feel there is a side to the story of leaving that is slightly overlooked or at least not directly adressed.
I am just hoping to open the doors to discussion on this and hopefully this will also help enlighten those still in the midst of the religion as to how drastically leaving affects us as well.
In my jouney to freedom I have been extremely depressed and have developed anxiety to the point that my entire life is begining to suffer.
I am curious how many others suffered from depression and any other effects of depression; self-harm, suicidal thoughts, anxiety,ect.


Thoughts?

Friday, October 01, 2010

Laestadian Sex Abuse Scandal Update

The following short article appeared the Helsinki Times a few days ago:

Leading Laestadian figure arrested on suspicion of abuse

Apparently an unnamed person holding a "position of trust" within the SRK has been detained on suspicions of sexually abusing a child.

There isn't much in English on this news story as of late, but if I find anything else I'll post it here.

Hat tip to the Laestadian-ism blog for this story. See their site for additional links in Finnish.

See also: Laestadian Sex Abuse Scandal

Happy Birthday Lars Levi Laestadius

1800 – Lars Levi Laestadius, Swedish-born botanist and founder of Laestadianism (d. 1861)

210 years old today.

Friday, September 24, 2010

The Kautokeino Rebellion

Matt Perkins has a new blog post out this morning reviewing the movie Kautokeino Opprøret (The Kautokeino Rebellion). The movie and the review are both worth a look:

The Kautokeino Rebellion

It's been a couple of years since I've seen this film, but I will always be struck by how I felt sitting in the movie theater, coming face to face with Lars Levi Laestadius on the big screen. Even though he only makes a short appearance, I felt goosebumps seeing and hearing him thunder from the pulpit.

The film also reminded me of something that it's very easy to forget as an ex-Laestadian: that the movement in its early years spoke to real issues and real needs among its adherents. Temperance might seem like much ado about nothing to me today, but for the Sami in Lapland it was a real issue, and Laestadianism provided not only spiritual renewal but the justification to take on the established Lutheran church and other "powers that be."

At the same time, I couldn't help but wonder what the film says about the danger of populist movements getting out of hand. Luther had the Peasant's War, and Laestadius had Kautokeino.

SEE ALSO: Laestadian Films on Extoots

The Kautokeino Rebellion on Wikipedia

Other posts about Laestadianism by Matt Perkins

Laestadian Leaks?

Can any of our Finnish speakers enlighten me on what this site is all about?

http://laestadianleaks.blogspot.com/

Google Translate from Finnish to English is not helping me much, although the title and some of the content seems tantalizing....

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

ALC Foreign Mission Sites

This may be news only to me, but I thought I'd post some relatively new links to the ALC Foreign Mission.

As far as I know the ALC (Apostolic Lutheran Church of America "Federation") is the only Laestadian group in the U.S. that does missionary work.

http://www.themissionsite.com/ This is the offical web site for The Foreign Mission of the Apostolic Lutheran Church

http://www.foreignmissionnewsblog.blogspot.com/ This blog appears to reprint the monthly newsletter and other breaking news and letters regarding ALC foreign missions. Maintained by John Ruotsala

http://foreignmission.blogspot.com/ This blog is also maintained by John Ruotsala, but has different content then the one above. This blog appears to be reprints of devotional material.

http://foreignmissionstore.blogspot.com/ The Foreign Mission Store. As far as I can tell all products are created by Apostolic Lutherans, including a memoir by an ALC pastor, handcrafted wooden pens made by another pastor, and (my favorite based on title alone) "Naomi in Nigeria" --a collection of correspondence surrounding early ALC mission attempts in Africa.

I thought the store in particular was most interesting. Aside from the kitschiness of some of the items, I never knew there where that many ALC-themed products in existence!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Summer Reading

I hope everyone had a nice summer. I got a lot of reading done, and it occurred to me that it might make an interesting topic here.

What books did you read this summer, and what did you find interesting about them?

Among others, I read two contrasting religious books --both "didactic" Christian novels from opposite ends of the theological spectrum:

Putting Away Childish Things, by Marcus Borg. Written from a liberal/progressive Christian perspective, this novel follows a young female religious studies professor through a major career dilemma, showing how she draws upon her faith to guide her through a difficult decision.

Edge of Apocalypse, by Tim LaHaye and Craig Parshall. Written from a conservative/dispensationalist Christian perspective, this novel follows the exploits of a military-hero turned entrepreneur and defense contractor as he battles the evil forces advocating one-world government both within the U.S. presidency and overseas. Features a nuclear explosion.

Both links above go to more in-depth reviews I wrote for each book.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Heaven and Earth

Click here for a larger version of the image

I ran across this picture recently, which depicts the universe as it was understood to be by the ancient biblical writers. The basis for the image is drawn from passages in Genesis, Job, the Psalms and other portions of the Old Testament.



What I find especially fascinating is that even the most literalist Christians would no longer accept this cosmology as accurate, yet there is not a lot of discussion about this seismic shift in worldview --at least not in the Laestadian circles of my youth.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Change in the ALC?

Il Coro's recent comments got me thinking about the ALC (Apostolic Lutheran Church of America, a.k.a. "the Federation") again, and how it has changed since I was a kid. So I thought I'd start this thread to give my pet theory on why this is the case, and invite everyone to post their views as well.

Back when I was growing up, it seemed like the ALC was a lot more like the OALC and other branches of Laestadianism. No TV, no sports, no make-up, no jewelry, no drinking, a lot of exclusiveness (thinking we're the only true Christianity), Finnish songs and preaching in the worship service, etc. Nowadays, however, you can find many ALC congregations that aren't much different than any other conservative evangelical denomination out there. People have TVs and even Internet connected computers. Women may dress conservatively, but wear makeup, jewelry, and clothing that are within the mainstream of the populace.

The first lens through which I see the change is that of the immigrant experience. First generation Laestadian Finnish immigrants, many of whom arrived in the late 19th and early 20th century didn't speak English, were uneducated with few opportunities other than farming, mining, and other manual labor. They built the churches as a touchstone and enclave where they could remember the best of what they left "back home," preserving the traditions and even setting them in stone over and against all the strangeness and harshness of a new land.

The second generation had a foot in both America and Finland. Fluent in both Finnish and English and educated in the American public school system, this generation felt the most conflict between the old ways and the new ways. While they were still sheltered from much of mainstream America through long hours helping out on the farm, raising siblings in large families, and not watching TV, English was their primary language and they were immersed in the mainstream culture through school and listening to the radio (often evangelical Christian radio). As this generation reached adulthood English started to become the primary language used in ALC churches, with Finnish songs and sermons becoming secondary.

The third generation and beyond (this generation) is fully acculturated to America. For the most part they have not learned the Finnish language, and speak only English fluently (or maybe some other language they learned in school.) They do not have any special ties to Finnish culture or heritage except for what might be preserved through church, or some foods eaten primarily during the holidays. Many of them have achieved higher education, even advanced degrees in engineering and humanities. Many of this generation feel no particular allegiance to the ALC as part of their cultural heritage and leave for other types of churches or no church at all, in keeping with whatever their worldview may reflect as a mainstream American living in a pluralistic society. Those that stay may stay for the sense of community and extended family, or may stay because by this time the church itself also largely reflects the mainstream of conservative evangelicalism with which they agree. There is now little or no singing or preaching in Finnish, instead largely traditional hymns or in some cases "praise music" drawn directly from the conservative evangelical subculture of "Christian radio" and books.

The other lens through which I see the change is that of factions within the ALC. At least since the 1960s and 1970s, there have been at least two and maybe three factions in the ALC. There is the "Laestadian faction," largely older but some younger members, often in smaller congregations in rural areas. These are most like the OALC and others in their implementation and view of the faith. There is also the "evangelical faction." Often larger congregations near larger cities, these ALCers would listen to James Dobson on the radio, attend Billy Graham crusades, and enjoy contemporary Christian music as well as "praise music." They seek to implement these types of changes within their own ALC congregation. A third and perhaps overlapping faction are those ALCers that support formal clergy training via the Inter-Lutheran (ALC) Theological Seminary. This non-accredited conservative seminary trained many pastors that went on to be ALC pastors, but the more "Laestadian" faction still eschewed formal theological training, so there is a landscape within the ALC of congregations where the leadership has some formal theological training, and others where the pastor has none at all. Still other split the difference, with a head pastor from the seminary but an assortment of assistant pastors without any formal education.

It seems to me that the momentum within the denomination lies with the evangelical faction. As time passes the Finnish heritage becomes less and less relevant, giving the Laestadian faction major headwinds. Conversely, the wind is to the back of the evangelicals, as adherents are looking for a form of ALC that accommodates itself better to the larger American culture with which they increasingly identify -- at least the conservative evangelical subculture. It's still not a perfect fit, because to the extent that Apostolic Lutheranism is actually Lutheran there will be major theological differences with the evangelicals --especially on baptism and eschatology. On the other hand, both Laestadianism and evangelicalism share an anti-intellectualism, populism, and suspicion of institutions, as well as Biblical literalism. To most rank and file modern day ALCers, theological distinctions between Laestadianism and evangelicalism may matter a lot less than the general "tone" and "mood" of the worship experience, and preaching that emotes "the Word."

My big unanswered question: Since the immigrant experience and the evangelical resurgence of the 60s and 70s potentially affects all branches of Laestadianism in the United States, why does it seem like some branches have changed more rapidly than others? Why does the ALC seem more accommodated to mainstream conservative evangelical culture than all of the rest?

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. ;)
Blessings!

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

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Another brief story of shunning

Ran across this short article today, and thought I'd pass it on.

Thank goodness the comment feed is working again!

How Does Sweetie Become Shunned, by Leanne Waldal

Monday, April 12, 2010

Technical Difficulties

The comment feed doesn't appear to be working right now. Per post comments do work, but the sidebar seems to be having a problem.

Feed for all posts (currently working):
http://extoots.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default

Feed for all comments (currently not working):
http://extoots.blogspot.com/feeds/comments/default

Feed for this page only comments (working):
http://extoots.blogspot.com/feeds/6414656615805966577/comments/default

Feed per label (in this case, Laestadian, working):
http://extoots.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default/-/Laestadian

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Films from Finland

One of the films at the upcoming international film festival in Minneapolis is "Forbidden Fruit," which was discussed on this blog awhile back. There are three other films from Finland. If you see any of the movies, please let us know what you think!

Monday, March 08, 2010

Under Construction

Everyone now and then, things need a spring cleaning, including this site. Please be patient as Tomte looks under the hood and reconnects the wires. It will all come back soon.

Meanwhile, here is an interesting article on Scientology and the cost to those who leave it. Makes me sad and tired just thinking about it.

How about you, readers? Do you find yourself more, or less, sympathetic to others who "stepped in some dogma" (so to speak).

Or does it vary, depending on the person and the dogma?

Thursday, February 25, 2010

WARNING: Contagious Peace


Be on the lookout for symptoms of inner peace. The hearts of a great many have already been exposed to inner peace and it is possible that people everywhere could come down with it in epidemic proportions. This could pose a serious threat to what has, up to now, been a fairly stable condition of conflict in the world.

Some signs and symptoms of inner peace:

A tendency to think and act spontaneously rather than on fears based on past experiences.
An unmistakable ability to enjoy each moment.
A loss of interest in judging other people.
A loss of interest in judging self.
A loss of interest in interpreting the actions of others.
A loss of interest in conflict.
A loss of the ability to worry. (This is a very serious symptom.)
Frequent, overwhelming episodes of appreciation.
Contented feelings of connectedness with others and nature.
Frequent attacks of smiling.
An increasing tendency to let things happen rather than make them happen.
An increased susceptibility to the love extended by others as well as the uncontrollable urge to extend it.


WARNING:

If you have some or all of the above symptoms, please be advised that your condition of inner peace may be so far advanced as to not be curable. If you are exposed to anyone exhibiting any of these symptoms, remain exposed only at your own risk.


--Saksia Davis

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Happy Sami Day

 
Happy Sami Day. Thanks to "Stranger in a Strange Land" for piquing my interest in my family's Sami roots.  Laestadianism's history is inseparable from the history of the Sami people. Someday when I have more time, I would like to investigate how ancient Sami culture is still expressed (and repressed) among its descendants.

This is my daughter last year at her elementary school's Cultural Festival. She chose a colorful outfit to go with the flag and was very proud to carry it.  

How about you? What is your connection to Sami history or culture?

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Sami Hymn Singing

Someone sent me a link to this video, along with the following caption. The video won't embed, but here's the link. Enjoy!

http://www1.nrk.no/nett-tv/klipp/484409

These are a couple of Sami ladies from Kautokeino, Norway, singing a hymn I think we all recognize. However, I don't remember the name of this in English. They are singing in the Sami language. Apparently both women are well-known joikers in their community. Joiking and singing are very different and joikers often sing deeper in the throat. This way of singing influences Laestadians today. I can hear they sing much Laestadians from congregations that continue to sing their hymns a cappella in the USA, typically IALC and OALC. These women are part of the Lyngen branch of Laestadians known only in Norway. However, the Lyngen branch have many different splits, often along ethnic lines: Sami, Kven (Finnish-speaking) and Norwegian-speaking (though these congregants are a ethnic mix of Kven, Sami, and Norwegians).

A Fresh Look

Big thanks to Tomte for keeping this site ticking and for the new coat of paint. Write a comment below if you would like to see something added, of if anything isn't working for you.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Lastadian Sex Abuse Scandal

"A Pedophilia scandal with more than ten victims is now being rolled up in a revivalist movement within the state church in Pietarsaari in Finnish Ostrobothnia. Years of covering-up keeps the total number of victims unknown."

This headline made my stomach turn. As longtime readers of this blog may remember, several of us wrote to a Finnish elder about our concerns over sexual abuse in the OALC congregation. The parallels are chilling. Children are told to forgive the abuser, who repeatedly repents, and continues to abuse.

I can't read Finnish or Swedish, and the online translations are clumsy. Bilingual readers, please help.

How did this come to light? What sect is involved? What is the response from the sect? What is the response from their American counterparts?

Go here or here for the story.

UPDATE: I found an English version here.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Neanderthals Wore Jewelry & Makeup?

An archaeologist has found evidence at a Spanish excavation that Neanderthals (of the jutting jaws and low brows) used shell ornaments and glitter makeup.

Those cave-dwelling hussies!

See this Time article or NPR story for the full story. Warning: this story includes references to evolution AND cosmetics.

Monday, January 04, 2010

Help a Reader

I'm posting this as a topic so it doesn't get lost. A reader writes:

I'm looking for a little help. I'm currently with a man whom I love and adore. I recently found out his family are members of this church and am not sure how to handle it. I am told his church is more of the laid back version of it but it still terrifies me a bit. I was raised Lutheran, ELCA. The type of church where you come as you are and listen to his word and you will be saved. Not the strict guidelines I've found online from OALC. Can anyone clue me in on what I'm getting into? How can I talk to him rationally about it? He gets defensive and ignores the topic and it scares me even more. I'm not going to force him to leave his church- but it's not something I'm currently comfortable joining, especially not after reading some of this. Can I ask him to leave? Does his whole family think I'm damned to hell since I don't attend their church? Sorry these are loaded questions but....I'm looking for any sort of insight....please....

Mirror Neurons

This is a fascinating video. Enjoy!