"laestadian, apostolic, gay, lgbtq, ex-oalc, ex-llc, llc, oalc, bunner" LEARNING TO LIVE FREE: Responding to An Addict

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Responding to An Addict

My otherwise eloquent husband has an inelegant expression for bores. He says "Man, he tires my butt."

Laestadianism does that to me. For a school project last week, our daughter needed a heavy book in which to press some colorful leaves. I gave her a Postilla and smiled to think it was actually being put to a good use. Laestadius the botanist might have approved.

But Laestadius the preacher? Who cares? He tires my butt. If I never read another word of his, hallelujah.

Which is not to say that Laestadians themselves are butt-tiring. Not all. For example, I just heard third-hand about an OALCer of advanced years who called his "worldly" daughter and asked her to forgive him for not greeting her with God's peace (euphemism for more general shunning). She did. He cried in gratitude.

He is not the guy, I'm sure, who keeps visiting this site and voting for "The One True Christianity" on my silly poll. No, that person is, shall we say, butt-tiring.

But beloved all the same, of course.

Recently I came upon this website and found it apropos. Here is an excerpt:

"The real issue with these people (fundamentalists) is not their specific faiths. It's their addiction to thinking they are right. It's an addiction to believing they have a corner on the market of truth. In other words, it's an addiction to a "made-truth," that is, to a belief that the truths they've created in their minds are indeed absolute truths and that everyone else must be made to believe in the same truths lest they perish.

They are addicts. And like other addicts, they do not respond to logic or sound arguments. Like other addicts, in order to feel good, they must believe that their made-truth is the only reality, and they must, therefore, defend that truth against any outside influence. Like other addicts, anyone who threatens to keep them from believing their made-truths is seen as a threat to their own good feelings - or in other words, to be opposed to their brand of made-truth is to be a threat to their personal value as humans, and thus they will attack with ferocity anyone who even questions their veracity. If you don't believe as they do, you are considered "lost." If you oppose their political positions, you are considered "blinded by the Devil." And if you have the gall to argue against their made-truths, you will be called nothing short of "demon possessed" or a "tool of Satan."

But, as with any other addict, you should not take their attacks personally. These people are not to be feared; they are to be rebuffed. They are not to be taken seriously; they are to be pitied. They are not to be counter-attacked with anger; they are to be helped out of their addiction by replacing their need for made-truth with the healing touch of human love and kindness."

Anyone want to comment on what that "healing touch" looks like? Is it possible on a blog?


  1. wow, I have never thought of it that way. I think I resonded more because I felt I needed to, or had to, or else I was backing down or conceding...or something? I like realizing that I dont 'have to' and can let it go, and Im glad Im not the only one who gets really tired of the dead end 'debates' (they seem to focus more on convincing than getting to know each other) and Im not implying Im completely innocent either. Its easier than I care to admit to fall into.... btw I like your husbands wordology :)

    I will have to think more on this angle. Thanks for being ever thought provoking!

  2. To me the healing touch looks like my cousin who gave me some tapes and books and said "keep them as long as you like". See, I was still in the FALC and she had already found her way out. She didn't keep pointing out my faulty arguments. She just kept letting me know there was Christ and Christianity outside of the FALC. And she kept loving me and standing by me until I conqured my fear and broke free. I will be forever thankful. It also looks like my friend who was still in (FALC) with me and our shared doubts. We discussed radio ministers who we were getting fed by and even went and saw some of them at their churches. So if someone cares to ask me questions etc, or wrongly states things to me, I will debate them in love. Because I think they are lost and are searching for answers. This does not include the ones who look at me with fake sadness and say that they miss me. HELLO! I'm still here just not in their church. Yes, they make me butt tired too.

  3. Free, your link to Elroy made me smile.. when I discovered his writing a few years ago it opened my eyes. It was part of a process of dismantling that was going on at the time and still continues.. that is.. undoing the years of my own false beliefs, even about parenting. It was painful. But it has brought me a new freedom of enjoyment and love for my children.

    Is it possible on a blog?.. I think so, when we begin to see others through God's eyes, and not our own dim visions. I know I don't always accomplish this very well in words, but this is what I believe in my heart...

  4. I pray for all of you who are so lost in the world. It seems that each of you is trying so hard to find all the faults in the churches that you have left. Wow is that the heart of Christ? I think each one of you should do some hard soul searching and pray to God to guide you to the truth.

  5. I am a member of one of the Laestadian churches and I don't think it up to us as individuals to judge how someone else believes. I don't think the people here are only trying to find fault in the Laestadian churches, they are relating experiences that are real to them. The truth is, if you really believe the Laestadian way, you can feel real at peace with it. But if you don't, and especially if you've grown up that way, it can cause an extraordinary amount of turmoil within your heart. It is not easy to leave. I don't think people try to be rude, but they feel sadness over those who have left because they really feel this is the only way. But it's very traumatic for the one leaving. I really believe that. Think about it, you have your whole family, all your friends, your whole support system that you've known your whole life. To say making the break is traumatizing is probably an understatement.

  6. My friends, you have got to be kidding in making reference to the website: (How to Fight the Religious Right A guide to defending yourself against Fundamentalist Christians
    By Brian Elroy McKinley)

    If you are in agreement with most of these responses to the posed questions, I then have nothing in common with those of you that agree with Elroy - Ouch! A total distortion of Scripture, and lack of comprehension of salvation and the way of salvation!

    Call me what you wish, but I cannot agree with such twisted justification.

    I am disheartened.....

  7. Anonymous, first of all thanks for your prayers. I appreciate all prayers on my behalf, and I am confident God answers those prayers correctly.

    I suppose some of the things discussed here do smack of finding fault with the OALC, LLC, FALC, or wherever we've come from. I would like to think that that's really not the case, but more correctly is an explanation of why we have chosen to walk a different path. Of course, in discussing that, if I say I left the OALC because I do not believe it to be true teaching then surely it could be misinterpreted as an attack, but it is really just me trying to articulate a reason for my actions.

    What does get discussed here on this and other blogs is the experiences we who have left the Laestadian faith have had -- some good, but unfortunately mostly bad, in the form of shunning, ostracism, and out and out prejudicial action. Most of us ackowledge that we do want to maintain good relationships with family and friends, but in every case that I can know of, it has been the Laestadian community that has gone on the attack rather than the person leaving.

    I would caution you about suggesting that our perceived attacks are hardly representative of a Christian heart. I am now a Roman Catholic and believe me I have heard that church attacked not only in conversation but also from behind the altar by one of the so called "preachers" -- who more often than not know nothing of which they profess (which should be the Bible) but only rely on their own prejudicial opinions and those of their similarly thinking cohorts. I have also heard other non-OALC folks who attend OALC services with their spouses -- people who step up every time there is a need for time, talent, or treasure -- attacked in similar fashion for their "worldly" beliefs. Make sure you're not living in a glass house when you start throwing those stones!

    Wouldn't it be wonderful if we could all live together and love one another and respect each other's views and beliefs. I still have very good and close relationships with many of my old OALC friends, and fortunately my family has always been open minded and loving. I ignore the rest of the people who think they have the knowledge, power, and ability to condemn me.

  8. To disheartened.. I am politically conservative, but that does not save me. That's my main point. Elroy says some extreme things, but overlook some of the more extreme statements, and think about it for a bit. I do believe there is a danger in becoming linked, affiliated, 'addicted'? - to a CAUSE, rather than CHRIST.

    Cal Thomas wrote a book a few years ago which was soundly discredited by the Christian right, because he said politics is not the way for Christians to effect change on the culture. Yes, Christians should be involved, but when religion is being legislated.. hmmm, it gives me pause. Prayer in schools, for example -- whose prayer will it be? As conservative Christians, are we going to be happy with a "New-Agey" prayer or moment of silence in the schools, with a few candles lit to evoke spirituality? I think not.

    I followed Dr. Dobson for years, bought all his books, subscribed to his magazines, etc.. But his 'Citizen" magazine got to me, big time. It gave me so much anxiety and just plain scared me to death. There was no Christian peace or joy, thinking on things above, when there is so much focus on these earthly battles. So the process had already started when I came across Elroy when I first got a computer back in 1998 or so. I was towing the party line with my kids, too. And realized they did not know Jesus of the Bible, only the 'correct' beliefs about current politics, etc. ALTHOUGH I AM A CONSERVATIVE through and through..

    And you know what? Our preachers were preaching against following teachers like Dr. Dobson. Could it be that they were right?

    wow, this opens up a whole new can of worms, but I hope you understand where I'm coming from. As you can see, I hardly fit in anywhere LOL.. Not in the world and not in Christianity as popularized today.

  9. Me again, Disheartened..

    "A total distortion of Scripture, and lack of comprehension of salvation and the way of salvation!"

    Tell me, what is the correct comprehension of salvation, and the way of salvation.. ? Would it not be Christ and Christ alone..? Tell me your thoughts okay?

  10. Free,
    Are you sure you want your blog site to be associated with Elroy's left wing rantings?
    I believe you will lose many Christian readers/posters if you pursue this line.
    Of course, this is your blog and you have every right to do so.

  11. To Norah,

    Thanks for your explaination, and in my opinion you are absolutely correct in confessing that the way of salvation lies in the shed blood of Jesus alone.

    But not to refute Elroy, a self described athetist, is truly a shame and leads people away from the gospel, because it gives merit to the perversion of the gospel. One must stand on the Word. Because of our sinful nature, we are always willing to negotiate the truth of the scripture with the lies of false logic to justify our stances, which leads us away from the promise of God.

    I chastise with love, that we be aware and compare spiritual things with spiritual things and fleshly things with things of the flesh, and not be led by fables, going about and establishing our own rightousness. Though much of Elroy is interesting reading, it must be addressed as the antiscriptural spew it is!

    God and his Word show us the way!

    Disheartened but alive by Grace

  12. Well, gee willickers (as my mom would say). I have no idea who Elroy was/is or what he stands for, beyond the bit I put on this thread, which I found by Googling "How to respond to a fundamentalist."

    I just thought the excerpted words were helpful. Addiction runs in my family, and I've often mused on how many forms it takes.

    Now I am motivated to research Elroy . . . knowing I can do so WITHOUT FEAR.

    Perhaps one of the biggest hurdles we exers must overcome is fear of opposing ideas. How can we remain open to the Spirit if we close our eyes and ears and minds.

    By the way, this blog also provides a link to the LLC -- and I don't think many would say I was promoting their theories! I am confident that those who seek shall find.

    Thanks to all of you for continuing the dialogue. For me, your words (even when I disagree) are the "healing touch" after all those years of fearful silence.

  13. Interesting. I agree that we who have left harmful religions should reach out in love to those still trapped in them in order to form or strengthen human bonds across that religious divide. Doing that will be much more likely to help than debating and presenting logical reasons for why we are right, or even worse, trading rhetorical blows in anger.

    Once a former member gains some distance from an abusive church, it is often easier to lay down the anger toward the people in it and to start seeing the members as people who need help. It seems to me that most members of abusive churches haven't made a choice to belong and contribute to that abusive system. They honestly believe in the system. When we hear them try to spread fear, we should remember that the fear is real to them.

    Responding to the comments calling us lost, I would ask why you are on this site. Do you perhaps feel doubts about the religion you're in? Do you feel threatened by this site? Thank you for your concern for our being lost, but if you have real concern for us, realize that at one point, most of us lived devoutly Laestadian lives. We know where we come from, we found that place lacking, and we have moved on to a better place. You also can move on from systems based on fear and isolationism.

  14. Hi disheartened, sorry to keep using that name but it's easier to keep straight lol,

    You are right about not refuting someone like Elroy.. I absolutely do not agree with everything he writes. It's actually painful to spend too much time there, and he has more on there than he did several years ago.. But what it did for me was to open the lid on my nice, comfy world and possibly help to see it for what it was. It's awful to look at, but I believe this is the direction we are seeing the Church at large heading in: Are we only interested in what's in it for "me".. my prosperity, my happiness, my fulfillment, my purpose? Look at Hebrews 11. Did those people of faith see any of that? "these all died in faith, not having received the promises.. and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.... But now they seek a better country, that is, a heavenly.. for he hath prepared for them a city." Elroy made a point on his site, I don't know if it's still there.. but when Jesus died, he died for the sins of ALL. He became sin for us. He was tempted in all points just as we are. So when we see someone who is repulsive to us because of their sin, we need to remember that Christ died for that person also. How can we feel anything but tenderness toward those people then, when we see others the way Jesus did?

    I hope I'm not veering off here and away from the point.. but after many years of searching, this process of studying brought me back to the simplicity of faith that I grew up with. (Well, absent the list of do's and don'ts) Pilgrim's Progress comes to mind. And the words of 'Amazing Grace' - "Through many dangers, toils and snares I have already come. 'Tis grace hath led me safe thus far, and grace will lead me home'.

  15. Many Trails Home10/28/2006 03:22:00 PM

    This is a response to Anonymous Oct 27 at 10:59: "I pray for all of you who are so lost in the world." Do not pray for me. You have no right without my express request. You do not know my heart (or my "soul condition") and I do not know yours. I respect you and would not pray for you to be "enlightened out of your man-made religious beliefs and judgments," and I request that you so respect me as well. (The fact that I believe your "prayers" come from a mis-guided place of self-righteousness is even beside the point.) The condition of my heart and soul is a matter between me and my Creator; I know Him and He knows me. You do not. Do not pray for me. MTH

  16. Many trails home...let 'em pray!
    It may do anon from Oct. 27th some good to pray!

    We should all pray to love one, another as Jesus instructed us to.

    They will know that we are Christians by our love.

  17. Many Trails Home10/28/2006 07:33:00 PM

    You are right, of course, S.O. My response to anon sounds harsh, I know, but I stand by it. But perhaps I should ask anon some questions: HOW do you pray? What exactly are you praying for? If you are praying FOR ME, I think I have the right to ask.
    I have specific reasons for taking this position. Praying is powerful; so powerful, in fact, that we should pray for guidance to pray in the right way. I can give you an example of very wrong praying: I had a housekeeper G. who also worked for Mrs. Gallo, of the Gallo wine family (who is now dead, and so I do not mind using her name). My employee had a boyfriend (an older man) to whom she was engaged for a short time, and Mrs. Gallo thought that he was wrong for G. So she commissioned the nuns at the local monastery to pray with her that G. would not marry her boyfriend. None of her business, I would say, and maybe a transparently inappropriate use of prayer but it does serve as a real-life example. We will see if anon responds to my questions.
    And yes, may we all pray to love one another, and our Creator with all our hearts. Many blessings to you, S.O. MTH

  18. LLLreader sez: I want to thank anonymous Fri. 11:41. I appreciate your comments. You have recognized that it is difficult to leave, but staying (for a person who can't accept or believe the teachings) would be even more difficult. I know there are LLL followers who really do grieve when their children leave. I know that. I wish there was a way for these issues to become easier--I get real ticked off sometimes, but then a reasonable posting like yours calms me down--thank you again, and I hope you come back.

  19. do you ever wonder if the people in the OALC or any other of the like, truly believe what they are taught? Or do you think they may have doubt??

  20. "healing touch" is intangible.

  21. Anon Saturday 10:04, of course there's doubts -- I think many of us who post on this site can remember when we started having doubts and subsequently left. I am sure there are many others who also doubt to varying degrees and temper their beliefs to respond to those doubts. I think that's why we saw great disparity in how members of a church -- any church -- choose to interpret and live to their own convictions and conscience.

    MTH, I hear and appreciate what you're saying, but I have a different view of prayer. If someone -- in this case an OALCer -- says they are praying for me, then I would assume their prayer is that I would be saved, or shwon the right path, or however they word it. I'm convinced God will answer that prayer, perhaps not in the way they envisioned, but in the right way. I don't think God answers prayers in a way that is detrimental to any of his followers. For example, I think I could pray until I was blue in the face that you would move over to the right a little more and while I am sure it would be answered, I doubt that it would be in the way I'd envision. Although, come to think of it, now I'm wondering about what you and Free and Sisu might be up to "on my behalf" since I've been thinking I kind of like parts of Barak Obama's message! :-)

    In the example you gave, I have no idea how God would choose to answer the prayer about the marriage, but I'll bet he figured out the right response!

    More prayer! Lay it all out there and trust God to know how to handle it! I can use all the help I can get, so I thank any of you that remember me on occasion.

  22. You know, I read more and more of Elroys blog, and I found it strange that I could agree with much of his thoughts and ponderings, yet I still consider myself a follower of Christ and he has chosen not to. Not sure how we can follow similar paths yet reach different ends??

    I can definately see the validity of his points of concern and discrepancies.

    I guess I can only "fall back on" the Holy Spirit and that I trust what is right will be revealed if I seek it in ernest prayer. I think I can also seperate his dissillution with the "church" and "people who call themselves Christians" from "Christianity" as I find it coming directly from the bible. Thats the only explanation I can come up with in short dwelling time....

    And yes free: I agree so much with your statement about listening to other points of view with out fear. wow that hit home for me.

    Its fascinating to me that there have been studies done on this type of thinking and believing and there are 'methods' of approaching and talking to people who are like that. Yet they are so set in thier world, they cant see past it and dont even know. amazing. even more amazing that I was once there.

    to the anon who wonders if the oalc members truly believe what they are taught; if you are truly seeking some information about this, read through some of the past blog entries and look up some of the other blogs. this subject has been covered many, many times, in great depth and with much conversation and debate, and you should find more than enough to suit your curiosity.

    Yesterday my brother told me about a conversation he had with a current member of the oalc: my brother told the current member that he believed that from every religion in the world, that every day, there were people who prayed to a God, sincerely desired to go to heaven and lived thier life according to what they had been taught and in general tried thier very best to be better people and make the world a better place; so how could just one church claim theirs was the only right way and the only ones God listened to?

    well that oalc man thought about this for about 30 seconds, then became hysterical. He started crying and screaming 'stop making me doubt my faith!' and accusing my brother of being evil and out to steal his soul (as he had been taught doubts will do)

    And my brother also told me "sis, I know you disagree with me, but I dont want to go to church every Sunday or read my bible regularly, and I dont like every thing about the oalc and I will never make it my church, but if once a year I feel like I need preaching at, Iknow where to go for a good dose of what is right and wrong."

    Well you can imagine that led into an extensive conversaion!!! However it was amazing to talk with him while I had new knowledge about where he was at, where I had come from and WHY. we actually got somewhere this time :) as I told him I was not trying to encourage him away from what he believed in, nor tell him that church was evil; it works for some; but he has to get his guidance from the direct source, not blindly trust someone he says he doesnt trust. but trying to unwind his circle would have done no good. So I tried some of the other tactices suggested in my many readings... I also felt differently, better, being able to recognize his fear and dedication to what he knew because of fear. More like I wanted to reach out and comfort him, instead of shake him. I can only hope and pray that I am extending a healing touch to him as I love him so much.

  23. well you know cvow, if you are praying till your blue that God moves someone to the left, He may answer that prayer by moving you to the right :)

  24. have I ever mentioned that Im dyslexic? :p

  25. ok Ive read more of Elry, and I need to clarify my previous statement: I can still understand his points and see the discrepencies he finds, however I do not agree with the conclusions he draws. I think that each one has to be careful of chosing or selecting scriptures just to prove our point, yet disregard the other scriptures that may contradict our point. I think many churches and people do that. If the scriptures are taken as a whole piece, it can be shown how they actually fullfill each other rather than contradict. I guess we will find what we are looking for, regardless of what that is. I will continue to pray that I will find what God will reveal to me, not just what I think I want to know.

  26. Hi Hp, this has been an interesting conversation.. I've enjoyed reading everyone's thoughts here! I agree with what you and others have written .. fearlessly :-).. have a good evening..

  27. hp3- I agree with you about elroy's blog, I've only read parts of it but like you; 'I can still understand his points and see the discrepencies he finds, however I do not agree with the conclusions he draws.'
    I felt an immense sadness as I read it, though I cannot yet express the exact reason. It's partially because of the amount of truth in what he says. And how it's mixed with lies. Maybe it all goes back to the way Satan has of deceiving, as he did Eve: "did God really say?"
    Do you know what I mean?

  28. Good point, Joy!

    Was thinking of the Laodicean church and what is said about it in Revelation. Many people think this applies to the church today as well.. would this be the healing that we need?

    "14And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God;

    15I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.

    16So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.

    17Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:

    18I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.

    19As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent."

  29. hp3, I hope it was your dyslexia causing the misunderstanding because my GOP card is still one of my prized possessions -- I'm just not sure who stole my Repoublican party and where they put it. Fiscal responsibility and small government used to be my party's tenets. Since that's no longer the case, I'm thinking Dubya is not conservative enough.

  30. To Norah and all,

    Norah, your last posting of the Words from Revelation comforted me greatly! The Grace of God by His Word always heals, and directs us to see that His ways are not our ways, and that we love Him, because He first loved us.

    And yes, we do not exactly fit anywhere on this earthly pilgrimage. But that is where we should be! Certainly not with the ever-present multiple schemes of evil, that the Spirit battles in our flesh and the world, and certainly not with the self righteous - who who do not need to be healed and insist that by do's and don'ts they might make themselves acceptable.

    We must stand fast on the liberty that sets us free from the bondage of the law and the evil that so easily besets us. Let us rely by faith on Him and His Word to be reconciled to God by Grace!

    Four-Forty (alias disheartened)

  31. faith: I apologize if I caused any hard feelings or confusion with my comments about finding biblical verses for reference. I was referring to exclusively referring to a verse while ignoring the before and after, or misusing a verse in that manner, such as using the verse to support a specific view with disregard to other interpretaions or other areas in the bible that mention the same topic, but dont support a specific view so they're left out. And im not thinking of anyone here in particular, it was one of my thoughts after trying to process elroys site...

    cvow: I apologize but I have no idea what your post means?

  32. No hard feelings here! Your free to express your opinions! I can see where your coming from, yes. We do not want to pick and choose verses to prove our point, and leave out the rest of the bible. Its just that salvation is so important to me and getting to heaven, I needed to find reassurance that I am saved, especially when your family is telling you your not. I know I am saved and I just hoped that those passages may have been read by someone else that may have been seeking the answers that I once did. A healing touch per say...

  33. hp3, you said "well you know cvow, if you are praying till your blue that God moves someone to the left, He may answer that prayer by moving you to the right :)"

    I would never pray for someone to move to the left, and someone praying for me to move to the right would be dangerous, since I'm already out there on the very far tip of the right branch of the tree! Hence, I thought your dyslexia comment was an indication of why you had those reversed...

  34. I thought I was quoting you above regarding the praying someone would move to the left... I took it literally, and that literal thought amused me with regards to your comment that God may answer our prayers as he sees fitting, which may have an outcome completely different than we were expecting; so I was just teasing you.

    are you perhaps speaking in terms of politics maybe? I didnt mean to mess up a joke :p

  35. and in my teasing you I dyslexically mixed up my left and right :) literally :)

  36. Four-forty and all,

    reading about Ted Haggard this morning and came across this blog http://reformedgadfly.blogspot.com/2006/11/ted-haggard-symptom.html and quote:

    "I'm sick and tired of being associated with a "Christianity" that does not seem to care one whit about holiness or obedience to God's Word. Let me say this as perfectly clear as I can: I believe that "Christianity" in America is nearly totally apostate. Why? We have abandoned the vision of the Holiness and Fear of God."

    Elsewhere I read a comment which stated Colorado Springs has over 150 ministries located there, and yet feels very spiritually dead. I thought of our conversation here on this thread.

    We live in very interesting times. There is opportunity amidst the ruins of our culture, both Christian and secular. Bringing it all to God in prayer is the place to start, I believe.

    thoughts, anyone?

  37. Scanned the site... the guy is a fruitcake and entirely missed the point on the Ted Haggard issue.

    I think it is extremely sad that so many Christian leaders who genuinely want to do something big for God have such unresolved emotional issues that they are unable to live authentic lives. It's not about the law and apostasy in the church.

  38. :-) That's my point. Wanting to do something big for God is not the same as being saved. But it also points out our human frailties.. and potential for hypocrisy. Again I say, interesting times. Know what you believe and why you believe it. Don't just be sheeple.

  39. I am a member of the LLC and I would like to make a few comments.

    Ephesians 4:4,5
    "There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism..."

    This passage makes it clear that there truly is only one correct faith, not several, or even all, as we would like to believe. My faith is different from a Methodist's. Both can't be correct.

    To cvow: You say you are now a Roman Catholic. How do you respond to:

    a)1 Peter 2:9
    "But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people"

    b)Matthew 7:14
    "Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it."

    c)Philippians 1:27
    "...that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel..."

    The Catholic church has over a billion members (which can hardly be called "few") most of whom have an extremely diverse set of values, with opinions on opposite ends of the spectrum on issues from abortion to ity. Philippians says the saints in Jesus Christ should be of one mind and spirit. The Catholic church is obviously not in stride with this teaching. The Bible also says the way to heaven is a narrow path, with only a few gaining victory. Clearly, the Catholic church is not being described. If it were, the Bible would say something like, "there are many, many believers and getting to heaven is quite a simple thing to do. Simply attend mass and do rituals and you're set."

    And to "faith," I would like to ask if you have any form of confession you utilize. The bible says "...let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us..." (Hebrews 12:1) and also, "And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven." (Matthew 16:19). I pray that you will someday God will grant you the grace of repentance, and your conscience will be reawakened and you will want to have your sins forgiven in Jesus' name and blood. Nobody leaves God's kingdom without sin on their conscience, and it sounds like your heart became slowly hardened as sins built up. Don't you recall the feeling from your childhood when sin was bothering your conscience and you had it forgiven? I am so thankful I am able to believe correctly. A who recently repented said when she had her sins forgiven, it felt like an enormous weight was literally lifted from her shoulders. I wish everyone on this site could experience the freedom that comes with true faith in Christ. And also, be careful not to blaspheme because someday your heart may be ed and you would want to own this forgiveness again and blasphemy is unforgivable.

    Merely professing a belief that God is real and that Jesus died for the sake of mankind is not how salvation is gained. The devil believes this to be true, yet he is eternally banished from heaven.

    "O Jerusalem, wash thine heart from wickedness, that thou mayest be saved. How long shall thy vain thoughts lodge within thee?" (Jeremiah 4:14)

    Also, the very fact that the Laestadian Lutheran Church is criticized and ridiculed by the world is something the Bible says is inevitable for believers - "Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution" (2 Timothy 3:12).

    May God awaken all of your consciences and lead you to true faith.

  40. Thanks for your concern for us and your willingness to participate in our conversations. I feel the persecution the bible speaks about is persecution executed by the non believers in Christ unto the Christians, not differences of opinions of Christians amongst each other. For example, I am not sure what this was called, but in Russia there was a time when people there could not have bibles, the government wouldn't let them, so others snuck them in to them. This is persecution.
    How do you know that my faith in God is incorrect? Do you know my heart? Do you know the joy and peace and overwhelming love that I feel from the Holy Spirit? Do you have a right to judge my heart when you do not see it, only God does? Just because the bible says few are chosen it gives you assurance that you are believing the "correct" way. You have to look at that in the context of the whole world population. Forgiveness of sin is very beautiful, that is something that my church preaches as well! It is a teaching Christ gave authority for man to preach unto each other. Do the words save us? No, for we must believe. Believing is the only sure way to heaven. Believing in Christ. When you have Christ in your heart you desire to be like him, you desire to love one another, you desire to reach out to others. Because it is him, not us. He is a great great comfort to me, I could not make it in this life without him. The Holy Spirit is something you feel in your heart, he is something that you just know is there. You should know what the fruits of the Holy Spirit are. Just because someone is not a Laestadian doesn't mean they don't have the Holy Spirit. No one has the right to claim this. No one has the right to judge hearts. I pray to God that he will open your heart up unto others and you can see what we all see here. God Bless!

  41. Oh the verse about Ephesians about one faith. I believe that to mean one faith in God, not one denomination of Church. Not faith in something else besides God. I believe people can disagree on minor issues and still be in unity of the Spirit. Its when we seclude ourselves from others and have the thinking that only we are correct is what can get us into hot water.

  42. Romans 10: 1 Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved. 2 For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. 3 For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God. 4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth. 5 For Moses describeth the righteousness which is of the law, That the man which doeth those things shall live by them. 6 But the righteousness which is of faith speaketh on this wise, Say not in thine heart, Who shall ascend into heaven? (that is, to bring Christ down from above:) 7 Or, Who shall descend into the deep? (that is, to bring up Christ again from the dead.) 8 But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach; 9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. 10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 11 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.

    12 For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. 13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. 14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? 15 And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things! 16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report F39? 17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. 18 But I say, Have they not heard? Yes verily, their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world. 19 But I say, Did not Israel know? First Moses saith, I will provoke you to jealousy by them that are no people, and by a foolish nation I will anger you. 20 But Esaias is very bold, and saith, I was found of them that sought me not; I was made manifest unto them that asked not after me. 21 But to Israel he saith, All day long I have stretched forth my hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying people.

  43. Oops, anonymous came up. That scripture was put in by me.

  44. Oh llc_believer, where to begin...

    Do you believe in Jesus Christ? Do you believe he died for your sins? Do you believe that because of that you have a chance of attaining heaven?

    By golly, I think the Methodists think the same thing, and I know the Catholics do. Sounds like the foundation is laid, with Christ as the cornerstone. Beyond that, we have manmade details. Do you agree with absolutely every single thing your fellow parishioners believe? Do you interpret the tenets of faith exactly the same way? How do you know? Now I cannot speak for the llc, having been oalc myself, but I can guarantee you that there was a good deal of disparity amongst the believers in that church as well.

    Old joke...man gets to heaven and upon entering sees this wall that stretches to the sky and is longer than he can see. He asks St Peter what's on the other side. St Peter relied "Oh the (insert whatever denomination you think is being the most foolish) -- they think they're the only ones up here."

    faith, that was a great response! Thanks!

  45. Another example of the Bible showing that not all churches are correct:

    1 Corinthians 11
    18For first of all, when ye come together in the church, I hear that there be divisions among you; and I partly believe it.

    19For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you.

  46. Martin Luther said it well:

    "...Make use of God’s grace and word while it is there! For you should know that God’s word and grace is like a passing shower of rain which does not return where it has once been. It has been with the Jews, but when it’s gone it’s gone, and now they have nothing. Paul brought it to the Greeks; but again when it’s gone it’s gone, and now they have the Turk. Rome and the Latins also had it; but when it’s gone it’s gone, and now they have the pope."

  47. Martin Luther was wrong. All spiritual leaders and thinkers, including the writers of the verses you cite, were thoroughly human, and it is preposterous to claim that God talked to them exclusively. In this blog's archives you can find some posts on the stages of spiritual maturity. I recommend you think about them for a few minutes. Until you can move beyond "belief" divisions to the unifying love exemplified by Christ, you are missing the entire point. Meanwhile, if you want to believe in the LLC, or fairies and unicorns or the Rapture, you are most welcome to do so. Just don't expect it to ring true for others.

  48. No, free2bme, it is you that is missing the entire point.

    a) The quotes I used were from the Bible, which you seem to be attempting to discredit by saying that the Bible was written by people. The Bible itself was of course physically written by man, but like it says, the content was by inspiration of God. If you don't believe in the Bible and hold everything in it to be true, what do you have? Belief in what man says and man's laws? That is nothing.

    b) I do not wish to become "spiritually mature," nor should anyone who wishes to make it to heaven. I wish to remain childlike in faith as it instructs in the Bible (of course I don't expect you to agree with this because you don't believe in the Bible's authority). Jesus points to children as the ultimate example of living faith. Are children spiritually mature? Hmmm... I think not.

    Also, faith cannot be rationalized:

    Galatians 5:17
    For the flesh lsuteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.

    c) You must not have seen any of the verses I put down - they discuss, as you said, "belief divisons" with clarity.

  49. Well-said, Free, but to each his own path. This person believes he/she has it right because it serves him to do so. Anything else would be terrifying. I'm glad we have this blog to share ideas. You will never know when/where you say something that will light a spark in someone's thought stream.

    I'll say it again: you are providing an invaluable service and all your experiences lead to this point.

    Keep the Faith.

  50. “Spiritual path” is the hilarious popular term for those night-blind mesas and flayed hills in which people grope, for decades on end, with the goal of knowing the absolute. They discover others spread under the stars and encamped here and there by watch fires, in groups or alone, in the open landscape; they stop for a sleep, or for several years, and move along without knowing toward what or why. They leave whatever they find, picking up each stone, carrying it for awhile, and dropping it gratefully and without regret, for it is not the absolute, though they cannot say what is. Their life’s fine, impossible goal justifies the term “spiritual.” Nothing, however, can justify the term “path” for this bewildered and empty stumbling, this blackened vagabondage – except one thing: They don’t quit. They stick with it. Year after year they put one foot in front of the other, though they fare nowhere. Year after year they find themselves still feeling with their fingers for lumps in the dark.
    The planet turns under their steps like a water wheel rolling; constellations shift without anyone’s gaining ground. They are presenting themselves to the unseen gaze of emptiness. Why do they want to do this? They hope to learn how to be useful.
    Their feet catch in nets; they untangle them when they notice, and keep moving. They hope to learn where they came from. “The soul teaches incessantly,” said Rabbi Pinhas, “but it never repeats.” Decade after decade they see no progress. But they do notice, if they look, that they have left doubt behind. Decades ago, they left behind doubt about this or that doctrine, abandoning the issues as unimportant. Now, I mean, they have left behind the early doubt that this feckless prospecting in the dark for the unseen is a reasonable way to pass one’s life.

  51. llc-believer is right when (s)he says that the Holy Ghost cannot say one thing to one person and something else to another person. There's only one truth, several different truths is an impossibility. However, (s)he fails to see that no-one is influenced only by the divine, not even a person that has the Holy Ghost. Also the human flesh and evil demons are giving revelations, which people misinterpret as revelations of the Holy Ghost although they are not. So, even if two persons have different opinions it doesn't mean that just one of them has the Holy Ghost or that just one of them will be saved. Besides, some wrong understandings are more dangerous than some others. All wrong doctrine does not automatically mean that the person holding that doctrine will not have any chances to be saved.

    llc-believer is also right when (s)he says that the people in the LLC/SRK tend to have quite similar opinions, but I'm afraid the correct explanation is to be find in their emphasis on the uniformity and the fact that they tend to disown/excommunicate you once you state that you are of a different opinion (=management by fear). If you disagree from the common norm in that group you risk losing your status as a reliable believer and risk being stamped as a heretic and unbeliever. As a result, it is difficult to find people who will openly admit having opinions that differ from the mainstream LLC/SRK line. Most of them just vent their thoughts on anonymous discussion boards on the web.

    I agree with llc-believer about all churches not being right. I believe the Orthodox church is the church Christ founded and all the other churches have broken away from her and should be reunited with the original church. However, this doesn't mean I have the right to say no-one without a visible tie to the Orthodox church will be saved. For the first, God is allmighty and can save anyone he wants, even heretics and unbelievers if he so wishes. And for the second, even a person who is visibly outside of the Church can have an invisible tie to the church through faith. God is the only righteous and infallible. If someone tries to take over that position from God, and makes himself to a judge, he is sinning against the 1st commandment.

  52. A word was missing above, it should be: "God is the only righteous and infallible judge".

  53. I totally agree. Sometimes we think God is speaking to us and he really isn't. How do you know if its God or not? Does the message have peace, love, joy, etc in it? If not, then maybe its not God speaking. Would God say, only one small group of Finnish people will be saved? All others who believe so strongly and have entrusted me with their lives are doomed to hell? I don't believe it. Thats my personal opinion. I believe the gate is narrow to heaven because Jesus is standing at the gate like a shepherd, looking over each sheep before he can enter. One sheep at a time. I believe he judges us individually. Its impossible for ALL humans to think exactly alike. Why, because we are human! I think we need to work together instead of seperating ourselves from the rest of Christians and claiming our ideologies are the only correct ideologies. Work together in the love of Christ! Also people interpret passages in the bible differently. So who's interpretation is correct? We do the best we can! I don't believe anyone can claim their interpretation is correct over anothers and then claim, oh, its because I have the Holy Spirit, you don't. I don't believe anyone can contain the Holy Spirit. He goes where he wishes. I don't believe anyone can make claims that they have it and someone else doesn't. I know I have Christ in my heart, I feel his presence!! He is absolutely beautiful. My whole heart changed when he came in. So llc_believer, you have rights to claim what you want to believe, but I do not feel you have rights to judge our hearts. Only God does. As far as sins go, I don't believe anyone has the right to tell me how my appearance ought to be, which objects/things I need to avoid, or which behaviors are acceptable. Those are my personal decisions. I don't believe I have to conform to a group identity. I have feelings, a heart too! It takes great courage for us to follow our hearts.

  54. As far as false prophets and false spirits go. I believe those to be teachers and spirits that wish to pull us away from God. Not to believe in him. And I'm sure there are many out there in this day and age!
    Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thorns, or figs from thistles? In the same way, every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus you will know them by their fruits.

    Matthew 7:15-20

    But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive opinions. They will even deny the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction on themselves. Even so, many will follow their licentious ways, and because of these teachers the way of truth will be maligned. And in their greed they will exploit you with deceptive words. Their condemnation, pronounced against them long ago, has not been idle, and their destruction is not asleep.

    For if God did not spare the angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to chains of deepest darkness to be kept until the judgment; and if he did not spare the ancient world, even though he saved Noah, a herald of righteousness, with seven others, when he brought a flood on a world of the ungodly; and if by turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to ashes he condemned them to extinction and made them an example of what is coming to the ungodly; and if he rescued Lot, a righteous man greatly distressed by the licentiousness of the lawless (for that righteous man, living among them day after day, was tormented in his righteous soul by their lawless deeds that he saw and heard), then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trial, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment, especially those who indulge their flesh in depraved lust, and who despise authority.

    2 Peter 2:1-6

    Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God; for many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. And this is the spirit of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming; and now it is already in the world. Little children, you are from God, and have conquered them; for the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. They are from the world; therefore what they say is from the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God. Whoever knows God listens to us, and whoever is not from God does not listen to us. From this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.

    1 John 4:1-6

    You see, you know them by their fruits, the fruits of the Holy Spirit!
    The fruits of the Spirit are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness and self control (Galatians 5:22).*

  55. Well I think any discussion beyond this point will mostly be bickering... as we are all obviously set in our beliefs. I can say this though, that tonight I was given the strength to have a matter forgiven that was bothering me greatly, and I know that this forgiveness could not have been found anywhere but from another who believes the same as I, and I am so happy and so blessed to be able to confess my sins and know from the bottom of my heart they are forgiven. It is such a huge relief and such immeasurable joy follows that I hope I am never enticed out of God's kingdom. May God bless you all and help you reach this same fountain of grace.

  56. Thats great! Much happiness for you! I also feel that grace knowing my sins are forgiven.

  57. llc_believer, its nice to read Your comments. And Theo, I did also like Your last comments about Holy Ghost.

    Merry Christmas, see You in Detroit or Gällivare!

    H. Finn

  58. llc_believer
    I may not agree with your belief but I understand your statement that anything else would just be bickering. Something brings both of us to this site and that alone is worth thinking and praying about. Christianity needs defending right now. We are under attack by a very evil adversary and should be in this together, not divided by doctrine.
    I hope everyone had a peaceful and blessed thanksgiving today.

  59. Hi free2be.
    Seriously, if you have no interest in the Postillas, I would like to buy them from you at a fair price. I've never had a Postilla, but am interested in reading them, and so am in the market to buy.

  60. Many Trails Home11/24/2006 05:16:00 PM

    To "Annie Dillard": I have to respond to you, since no one else did. Where did that come from? And why did you expend so much time and space beating up on people who think of themselves as on a "Spiritual Path?" That's me you're beating up on, and I hear you oozing sarcasm and judgment against something I suspect you have absolutely no experience with, except perhaps what you read in rags like the "National Enquirer."

    Who do you think guides my path? Who do you think holds my hand, besides Jesus the Christ? What "Spirit" do you think shines its light on my "Spiritual Path?" I'd call it the Holy Ghost, myself. I think you've got a problem, sweetheart, and I'd call it judgmentalism (we are all well familiar with that disease). Many blessings to you, just the same. MTH

  61. MTH, that was a pretty literary (pronounced littry) post . . . could there be a Dillard fan among us? I haven't read any of her works, but I hear she is quite religious. Anyone know more?

  62. LLLreader sez: I read the Dillard post with a completely different interpretation then MTH. I thought she was saying by "leaving doubt behind" the seeker comes to understand the search "is a resonable way to pass one's life". We do THIS, then we do THAT, but we keep going--we keep trying- and that is the beauty of a questful life. We pick up a rock there, lay it down here, get tangled in net there--but keep slogging along. My God, she uses beautiful imagery.

  63. I hope my comments didn't come across that I just wanted to bicker. I tried to say things without pointing fingers, just saying how I see things. As long as they are willing to communicate, whats the harm? How will they know any different? Maybe I'm wrong, is it better to just ignore them? My concern is for the people that will continue to leave. For me, I was turned off by God, why was he so picky? I wanted nothing to do with him or church. I pray for those that leave that they continue to have God in their hearts, that God will continue to guide them during the difficult road. Its not easy. Thankfully I found my relationship with God.

  64. Faith
    I'm glad you came to the understanding that it was man that turned you off and not God. I agree if they are willing to discuss, but sometimes they (or we) will have a spirit of one-up-manship on proving. Just trying to prove the other is in error. That is when it gets harmful to even our own peace of mind and happiness. I'm not saying it is a mean spirit, just not a healthy one. When it has all been stated, it may be time to sit back, reflect and let each party absorb. The sad thing is, as right as we feel, that is how they feel. I do think that people that come off as mean and extremely unloving are sometimes in strong doubt about their belief and are actually trying to prove it to themselves.

  65. I think its easy to feel like you need to defend yourself when under attack. But I don't have to, I am at peace with my beliefs. Very much so! So whats a good response when someone does attack your beliefs?

  66. LLLreader sez: Was I on the right track with my interpretation of the Dillard post? Was I way off? Am I invisable? Talk to me Someone! I hadn't heard of Annie Dillard--checked on her at Amazon today. One comment about her writing was that you either "get her" or you don't and those that get her really, really get her. I think I might be one of the really, really ones. Ordered one of her books--so we shall see if I understand her at all!

  67. Hi folks. Hope your Thanksgiving was rewarding. We're enjoying snow and board games and good books. I'm rediscovering the Sufi poet Rumi, and can recommend him wholeheartedly. His poem "Guest House" is phenomenal.

    To the anon interested in my Postillas, I am happy to share but not to sell (someday our kids may need them to make sense of their mother's hangups/cultural heritage.

    As for Annie Dillard, I'm not sure I get her, quite, but that sample is small. I saw on Wiki that she is a Catholic, that she refuses to say what she believes, and that she considers faith a practice, not a set of beliefs.

    MTH, I appreciate your appreciation of your mind. Recently on NPR I heard a biologist talking about his study of meditation under a Zen monk. At some point he was told to consider the mind an elephant that needed to be tied to a tree lest it run wild. He didn't like this image, preferring to imagine riding the wild elephant, delighting in the places it took him. No doubt there is wisdom in both metaphors, and both are preferable to shooting the elephant.

    Ghandi said something like "I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ."

  68. I'm not very familiar with your former fellowship; is it Old Laestadian, Esikoinen, Heideman, or something else? I don't know all the names, I guess.

    There is a spiritual reality, tasted and realized by Believers, found in the few sermons of Laestadius I have read. Those of Northern Europe were truely awakened spiritually, and became joyful members of the Kingdom of God. I thank God there are still some among their descendants who know and experience the same spiritual life. It is not fitting to judge those outside this Kingdom, for it is only by God's grace that he gives a dead and blind sinner, spiritual life and sight by which to comprehend and appreciate these things.
    You may call the faith of your grandmother strange, peculiar and a hang-up, for so it is to all the world. However, it is a wonderful, narrow way traveled by those who by grace have been pressed through the strait gate.

  69. I think this a little harsh.