"laestadian, apostolic, gay, lgbtq, ex-oalc, ex-llc, llc, oalc, bunner" LEARNING TO LIVE FREE: Seek First to Understand

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Seek First to Understand

Cvow, thank you for your last post (below), which brought tears to my eyes. May your words go far and deep:

"If someone is finding what they need in their life in any church -- whether it is OALC, Baptist, Methodist, Catholic, in the stillness of their own heart, or wherever, then that is the right thing for them to follow. We do not know what is in any other person's heart, and to use the broad brush of accusation against any group is simply wrong. God does know what is in the heart, and I fervently believe that if a person is striving toward salvation, believing in the redemption of Christ, then that person will not be lost. Christ will not allow even one sheep to be lost!

In no way do I condemn the OALC or the people in it. I personally have issues with some of the teachings and chose to leave to walk a different path. I am happy that most of my old friends in the OALC are still my old friends, and I value their companionship. Those that judge me ill were never my friends anyway, so I forgive them their misunderstanding and dismiss them.

To take the personal path a step further, while I personally am a firmly believing Christian and Roman Catholic, I doubt that a person of Jewish faith, or Hindu faith, or any other non-Christian body is not just fine and acceptable in the eyes of God. I have a collection of writings in the Bible that I believe in; they have other books and words that define their laws and beliefs. After all, Jesus was not a Christian -- he was a Jew, whether people like it or not. His law was the Torah, and while the New Testament he gave us adds to it, we have not abandoned the Old Testament.

None of us are perfect, nor can we ever be perfect. I was certainly not perfect while in the OALC, and I certainly am not perfect now as a Roman Catholic. What I am and always have been is a seeker of truth. We are all pilgrims on a journey, seeking truth and salvation in the way that is granted us by our Father in heaven. If God deems to make some understand in a different way than others, who are we to doubt that he knows not what he does?

Having participated in this and other forums for quite some time now, I come to realize that those of us who have left the OALC or one of the other Laestadian churches often did so under difficult circumstances -- conditions that did not bespeak of Christian love and forebearance, but rather of hurt and shame and ill feelings that manifest as strongly as hate in some cases. I also come to realize that many who have stayed in the mother churches often have viewed those partings with as much or more anguish as we sojourners. We are people, and as such there times when the emotion is overwhelming and hurtful words and actions happen. Would that we could always and forever eschew that sort of bad behavior, but we cannot -- and ultimately it can be through those honest explosions of sentiment that healing takes place, as long as we recognize what is happening and seek to make something good out of it.

If we chastise without thought, if we speak without care, if we even deem to discuss issues as critical as these without prayer, then surely we are foolish and irresponsible children and rightfully deserve nothing. If we on the other hand seek to understand, seek to comfort, seek to love, seek to aid, seek to help each other in every way and in every day that we can, then surely we are doing God's work.

The walk is not meant to be easy, Friends, but I am blessed and thank God I have all of you with me on the way. Peace be with you all."


  1. Many Trails Home1/09/2007 04:51:00 PM

    Thank you, cvow. We are blessed to have you among us. MTH

  2. "those of us who have left the OALC or one of the other Laestadian churches often did so under difficult circumstances -- conditions that did not bespeak of Christian love and forebearance, but rather of hurt and shame and ill feelings that manifest as strongly as hate in some cases. I also come to realize that many who have stayed in the mother churches often have viewed those partings with as much or more anguish as we sojourners. We are people, and as such there times when the emotion is overwhelming and hurtful words and actions happen. Would that we could always and forever eschew that sort of bad behavior, but we cannot -- and ultimately it can be through those honest explosions of sentiment that healing takes place, as long as we recognize what is happening and seek to make something good out of it."

    And there's nothing like an emotionally charged event such as a funeral to cause such explosions.

  3. I shall continue here:

    “A human being is part of a whole that we call the universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings, as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical illusion of his consciousness. This illusion is a prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for only the few people nearest us.


  4. Is it okay to teach people that their hearts do not matter? That what God has shown them in their heart, is not God but rather the devil. I realize people do not sincerely hurt or cause pain and thats why I forgive them for it.

  5. God promises, Seek and you will find. That is first and foremost, most important, to seek Gods kingdom. Then all righteousness will be added unto you, the bible tells us. When I was searching, I laid all my selfish desires aside and prayed, and prayed for understanding. If the LLC was the correct way, so be it, if not, then what is it. I told God I just wanted to be with him and I wanted him in my life, I didn't care where I had to go or what I had to do. I loved him and he was most important. I told him I do not trust man, ONLY him. So you show me. I had a supernatural experience and the truth came in an instant. True faith is in ones heart, it is ones own personal faith in Christ, thats it. Its personal. Not one church can teach that the truth is only in their church. There is no perfect church, what is perfect and true is God. Only him. Now I am seeking a church to attend, and it won't be the LLC, i realize the errors in teaching. I am letting God guide me to where HE wants me. He will guide and lead you if only you trust and love him first, with all your heart.

  6. People cannot be conformed, they need to be transformed.

  7. Faith, that is so true. Conformity is not the answer.

  8. Regarding CVOWS' statement "To take the personal path a step further, while I personally am a firmly believing Christian and Roman Catholic, I doubt that a person of Jewish faith, or Hindu faith, or any other non-Christian body is not just fine and acceptable in the eyes of God"
    Your article was well expressed and thought provoking. I appreciated it much. The above specific statement relates to what I puzzle over at times, and I have to say "What am I to believe"? If you are to take the Holy Bible literally, Jesus Christ is the only way, which would exclude other religions. Denominational beliefs are all over the board on this. What constitutes salvation after this life? For everyone who recognizes there is a higher being? For eveyone, period? For all who believe upon and follow Jesus Christ? For all who follow a "true" doctrine where man cannot be forgiven sins except by having the proclamation made through another believer? (Martin Luther believed this, didn't he?) More food for thought, or more to add to a new fire.

  9. Many Trails Home1/10/2007 11:27:00 AM

    Well said, Faith. I have become absolutely and immovably convinced that the Biblical promise "Ask and you shall receive" is a law - we always get our answer. I have also had my supernatural and very personal spiritual experiences and they have me convinced be beyond any possibility of doubt. This is available to every single one of us unless we are afraid to ask, and the oalc, in my experience, teaches us to be afraid to ask. When I was "stupid" enough to mention this to my mother, she told me in absolute righteousness that it was the devil responding to me and my "asking." That was and still is hard to take.

    To the last Anonymous-re-Hindus etc: This is what I know and believe: What was Jesus one and only commandment to us? "Love your neighbor and love God." To anyone who lives this commandment, whether or not they even KNOW OF Jesus, they are going through him (through his way, his commandment, through love) to the Father. "I AM the Way, the Truth" etc. is the way of a loving Christ. Is that not simple, as it should be?
    Many blessings to all seekers after truth. We "will be filled." MTH

  10. MTH, I also had that response from my father that you had from your mother. I was so overjoyed from my experience I had to share it with him, he is in the LLC. He told me it was a false spirit. Well, sorry, but once you experience something that strong and powerful, peaceful and joyful, I am also convinced beyond a doubt that it was God, and nothing else. Nothing else can be this beautiful. Its a beauty you see in your own heart, undescribable really, but moving, and often brings me to tears of joy. It is God, not a false spirit. I became a new person. My heart turned soft.

  11. The Comments counter doesn't update for me anymore. For example, says 0 of 8 messages when in fact there are 11 messages posted. Wonder if it's just my computer, or ???

  12. Sometimes you need to refresh the page, since it will store an old photo of the page on your computer for quicker loading.
    Push the refresh button in your browser bar, and it should come up current.

  13. You are a true genius. Thank you.

  14. LLLreader sez: My goodness! After reading these last posts, I can only add--Amen and amen

  15. Many Trails Home1/10/2007 02:49:00 PM

    Faith, here is a truth that I wish I could share with some of the fearful ones in the OALC, but of course that is not possible: Yes, it is true that the "devil" (the "flesh" or whatever metaphor we want to use) can present us with temptations. BUT when we cry out TO GOD or Jesus in suffering and/or prayer and/or a zeal for knowledge, there is NO WAY that the "devil" is permitted to respond. If we ask for light, we are not given darkness; if we ask for "bread" we are not given a "stone," etc. We can rest in absolute assurance and faith that we can go directly to God and Jesus and we will be rewarded with the truth. It was their promise and it was not a hollow one. Thank you, Lord. Amen. MTH

  16. Thank you MTH, encouraging words. When my father told me that, I had alot of doubts, could that be true? I got scared. Then I had to back up and say, hey wait a minute, why in the world would God show me something false when I am praying directly to him, and begging him for understanding. I don't think he would. I have to stand firm in my faith. It would be so great to be accepted by my family as a Christian, and so easy to go back to their church so that would happen. But I cannot take the easy road just to be accepted by people. I must follow what God is telling me in my heart. I think maybe the reason they have so many doubts is because God is trying to tell them something, and they perceive it as the devil. I have so much more acceptance of people now than I did before. My seed is finally growing, and I am excited to see where God is going to take me. I will always be a little child unto him and trust him solely above any man. I look forward to becoming more spiritually mature in my faith.

  17. The LLC seems to be different from the ALC, OALC, FALC in some ways: bible reading is encouraged, internet somehow slipped in as okay (with "dangers" of course and TV is still a no-no) and just seems a little more "free" in some ways from what I'm reading. But I wonder if they're all just basically the same with variations? I know the LLC confirmants were taught they were the right ones and that ALC left for leniency/docrinal error, but now reading about the others, it seems they are more strict?

  18. The internet is a big concern right now in the LLC. I think they have gotten less strict over the years on certain things, but still remain adament that they are Gods chosen few. I also think it depends on which congregation you belong to. Some are more lenient than others from what I have heard recently. Just heresay though, so not sure?

  19. I've had some meandering thinking go on as I've read up on the latest posts. I recall being with a group of FALC folks. One imparted a tale of a "nonbelieving" neighbor that asked the FALC person to pray for some serious financial and home issues they (the unbelievers)were having. As the FALC person relayed this with humor that Christians don't bother God with such things! That was one of the moments in my journey that I heard the mallot hit the wedge that was slowly peeling me away from my FALC thinking. MY bible taught me that we are to pray for ALL things and unceasingly. Sadly, I stood mute and didn't relay my own feelings and ask for the person's name so at least I could pray for them. I had been so programmed to not speak my mind when it was in contrast to the "group". Even now, it is sometimes so much easier to just stay silent. But now the silences eat at me. What price is this peace in my family costing me? They know of my decision to leave and know that I have found a new church home. Yet I don't feel comfortable discussing it with them. Because when I do, I'm met with the silence or subject changing approach. Yet they can discuss this or that issue that is happening in the FALC or this or that person who was converted or whatever. Faith, you know that your experience was truly from God. Yet your family negates it. I long for the day when their disbelief, belittling and negating will no longer cause us pain. Not sure if it was on this string or a previous one where the writer questioned how the family of the OALC person would have reacted if the funeral for the husband happened to be first and conducted in a Baptist church. I pray that it was thought provoking and caused some insite where it needed to be.
    And oh the majesty of the shores of the big lake! Blessed were we that spent the summers of our youth there!
    God Bless all my fellow exers!

  20. “Ethnocentrism is a natural result of the observation that most people are more comfortable with and prefer the company of people who are like themselves, sharing similar values and behaving in similar ways. It is not unusual for a person to consider that what ever they believe is the most appropriate system of belief or that how ever they behave is the most appropriate and natural behavior.
    The ethnocentric person may also adopt a new culture, repudiating their birth culture, considering that the adopted culture is somehow superior to the birth culture.”

  21. “Culture defines our society”… this shoe fit anybody you know?

  22. Okay. Sounds reasonable. But you must be posting that here because you think it applies.

    I don't. You don't have to be "ethnocentric" to repudiate a group's beliefs or practices, or to prefer one's adopted group. Is it ethnocentric to decry female circumcision? Sharia?

    Only a strict materialist / relativist would claim such. Are you that? I don't think so, or you wouldn't be interested in posting here.

    Bhikkhu Bodhi, an American Buddhist monk, wrote:
    “By assigning value and spiritual ideals to private subjectivity, the materialistic world view threatens to undermine any secure objective foundation for morality . . . if morality is to function as an efficient guide to conduct, it cannot be propounded as a self-justifying scheme but must be embedded in a more comprehensive spiritual system which grounds morality in a transpersonal order. Religion must affirm, in the clearest terms, that morality and ethical values are not mere decorative frills of personal opinion, not subjective superstructure, but intrinsic laws of the cosmos built into the heart of reality.”

  23. Wow! my head is spinning

  24. Okay, maybe a little off subject. Just something I have wanted to say. In regards to the original post of cvow. I agree, I think not one of us should condemn others for believing what they do. What I have understood though is that there are many people that blog on here that are in a different path on the journey. Some are still in the church having doubts, some have just left, some are trying to muddle through what is true and what is untrue, some have figured it out but still a little spiritually immature (me), and some are very spiritually mature. Some things get said out of anger, or bitterness, I am guilty of it too. I do get angry and bitter at times because of the way I was treated when I left. My spirit was abused, and thats why I was so hurt. How I saw things were considered very wrong. I was in sin, I needed it forgiven and all would be fine. Not so. That was not the case. I had and still have serious issues with some of the teachings. I could not stay, I had no voice, I didn't matter. I think its a process you go through, anger, hurt, grief and then acceptance. I forgive all who have hurt me. I do not believe they wanted to cause me pain, its just how they honestly feel things should have been handled. While I strongly disagree with some of the teachings, I accept my family and love them unconditionally. I don't think anyone on here wants to condemn anyone. I think people want to be heard, understood. I think we should lend a helping hand to those who are still trying to figure things out. Offer support and love. If people need to vent, let them vent. I for one had to get things off my chest. I buried them inside for too long. I have said things I regret. But you know what. I grew to be a stronger person through it all. I wouldn't change it for a minute. I found Jesus and through him I have found strength. I will fall, I will be wrong. But I can rest in Jesus that he forgives me and lifts me back up. My heart goes out to those who are still very angry, and bitter. That is a normal human reaction. May you find peace, love and joy in the Lord. He will help you, and only he can bring you true peace in your heart.

  25. These latest posts were beautifully stated. I wish I could express in words like that! Specifically regarding flowers, by the way, when I was growing up it wasn't uncommon to see flower at an OALC funeral. I suspect the flower removal incident had something to do with the tension and emotions of the moment. If there are flowers at a funeral, it will often be mentioned in a nice way that although they are beautiful, they fade away unlike the flowers of faith. If it is becoming a hard fast rule to prohibit them inside the church, then I will start feeling more uncomfortable, as I think even I would request some flowers. What's wrong with a few "to complement the box"? Wasn't that awful?

  26. Many Trails Home1/11/2007 08:14:00 AM

    Love you, cvow. And Faith, thanks for sharing your "truth" - I think many of us will be inspired and find strength because of it. We are blessed. MTH

  27. I can only speak what I have experienced and what God has shown me. I think we have an obligation to share our testimony to others. God wants everyone to get to know him in their heart. And others can also have this, and by hearing maybe my experience, hope can live.I have learned that God wants us to have an intimate, personal relationship with him. He wants to be close to us in our hearts. And when you find this, prepared to be blown away!! Its amazing!! Whew! I now know the saying that you would give everything up, your family, your possessions, everything, for your faith. I would in a heartbeat. Its that precious. Faith is trust, trust in God with all your heart. Love him, with all your heart. Through that, healing takes place, love grows. I am not judged by which church I attend or which group of people I agree with. I am judged solely on my heart. Blessings!

  28. Ok, I think I will have to take a break for awhile, maybe I am getting too emotionally overcharged. I realize not everyone will have my experience and it won't be a lightbulb moment. Others will be more gradual. This is just my experience.

  29. Faith, I think you are fine! I've been reading and collecting my thoughts before writing, but I think you've expressed your thoughts and beliefs very well.. As cvow already mentioned, and I agree.. I don't like to throw out Scripture because that can be so overused and your ears can get kind of dull to the same passages and phrases.. however - when people inside the church discredit you, or me, because of what you've been shown and experienced, then I think it's imperitive to show that what you believe is Biblical. For example, your statement "People cannot be conformed, they must be transformed". That is not some New-Agey feel-good expression - that is directly from Scripture: Romans 12:2 "And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God".

    When you've had an experience as you and cvow and others have spoken of here, HOLD ON to that vision and liberty and freedom which is found in Christ. Don't let anything or anyone take it away. My heart was moved by the writing yesterday and today, we have unity in Spirit! It's wonderful!

    When I get heated up is when someone comes along and says it's not enough - you must do, or be, or look a certain way.. and trying to bring me back under some sort of law or rule or whatever. St. Paul speaking to the Galatians warns those Christians not to fall back into that. The preface to Galatians in my Bible says this: "The law declares men guilty and imprisons them; faith sets men free to enjoy liberty in Christ. But liberty is not license. Freedom in Christ means freedom to produce the fruits of righteousness through a Spirit-led life-style."

    To me, this then is that 'precious faith' that we have heard so much about.. it's that gospel of liberty and freedom. The very first words that Jesus spoke in public are recorded in Luke 4:18-19. He reads from Isaiah: "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he that anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, To preach the acceptable year of the Lord." I just LOVE that!

    Need to go but I would write more, but these conversations have taken a wonderful course.. please don't anyone be discouraged. Hold fast!

    God Bless!

  30. Absolutely, Anon 10:29.. if you have a concordance, look up all the references to the word 'mind'.. It's amazing how that is actually a positive, not a negative!

  31. cvow,
    I might tend to have the same compassionate reaction regarding the funeral being for them to surround themselves by friends, if it were not someone I knew had so consistently and adamantly insisted her funeral not be held in the church that persecuted her.

    What would she have said? I already knew, because she told me, and a lot of others including her family, because she told me that, too. What do you guys think? If somebody says, if something happens to me do this but it's okay to blatantly disregard it and use a mantra of how it doesn't matter anymore to the deceased? I don't know, it seems pretty dishonoring and disrespectful to me.
    I feel like good did come out of it all, and I don't mind how it went. I think Marian's daughter did an incredible job planning a very respectful and honoring memorial service. I think she was respected appropriately. But the funeral is one thing I am still shaking my head about... I am incredulous that one of her only requests surrounding her death was promptly and immediately chucked out the window.

  32. Faith,
    Thank you for your kindness concerning those who are very angry or bitter. I think I qualify into that category. Right now I wish I never had to see another apostolic again. I just want to get on with life and follow Jesus how He wants me to not how my family thinks I should. I haven't had the courage to stand up to them and I'm feeling stifled. I find it's easier to pretend (or conform) but it's driving me nuts! It doesn't feel right.
    I've been reading the postings for months now and it seems like everyone is getting on fine without the oalcers but I feel like I've been in limbo for almost a year now.
    Does it ever get better?
    I guess I feel safe to complain and moan here. God has shown me some amazing things since I left but naturally the process of leaving has been very devastating to me. After having such a sheltered life it's been difficult to adjust. Thank you all for your wonderful, wise words! If anyone would like to get together for coffee, I'll buy! :) I really need some normal friends!!

  33. Norah,
    Thanks for affirming my prior thought on the word mind.(I decided to use a blogger name for less confusion) Yes, concordances are wonderful! My favorite is biblegateway.com Phenomenal resource for anything in any version of the bible!!

    To greenhorn: wow! can I ever relate to you!! Is there ever such a thing as true peace between people of a different spirit? You could have wrote for me! I'm waiting to hear if anyone else has some suggestions for us. However, I will request of all to pray for us and all believers on the path of seeking the truth.

  34. Re: the question on the ALC vs. the LLC: the ALC is extremely heterogeneous, with some congregations similar to the OALC and others more similar to WELS or even LCMS churches in strictness.

    Greenhorn, yes, it gets better. The anger I felt upon leaving has cooled, and I am able to see some positive aspects of my experiences. I still would not choose to have been raised Laestadian, but I no longer idealize some hazy "normal" upbringing.

  35. "... one Lord, one faith, one baptism" (Eph.4-5) I would like to hear interpretations on this passage, including from your pastor. When used in 'the church', it will be followed up with the explanation that their is only one faith,not many, more referring to one true church doctrine. I am not a biblical scholar but I seem to think "faith" here refers to the faith in Christ rather than the other dieties at the time.

  36. stranger in a strange land1/11/2007 02:55:00 PM

    I've threatened leaving to my family many and many a time because I could not live with an exclusive doctrine.

    Finally, I told them that I believe in Jesus Christ and Him crucified, that he died on the cross for my sins, and that I intend to focus on my OWN salvation and not spend wasted moments pondering about whether person from church A or B or C will be in heaven with me if I make it there or condemning others to an eternity in hell. I told them I'd continue to go to church until my dying day under one condition.

    That I will NEVER believe that we're the only ones saved, that I never had, and I never would.

    And if I HAD to believe that, I'd have to quit attending my Laestadius-derived church immediately, if not sooner. That if I HAD to condemn others in order to be acceptable, I could not in all conscious attend the church of my birth anymore.

    I also told them I was not willing to have this "who is saved conversation" anymore with anyone, unless I'm told that I'm kicked out, and if that's the case, I'd go.

    I had this conversation with a few of my family members a couple of years ago.

    It was sad to see them all crying for me.

    Funny, but no one brings it up anymore.

    I have many others for staying in, but its too long to list here. I wish I had met Marian. I sense in her a kindred spirit.

  37. You can never solve a problem on the level on which it was created.
    - Albert Einstein

    What level are you on?

    Some High?
    Some Low?

    Try this:

    "Systems thinking is about gaining insights into the whole by understanding the linkages and interactions between the elements that comprise the whole "system", consistent with systems philosophy. It recognizes that all human activity systems are open systems; therefore, they are affected by the environment in which they exist."


  38. exoalc, I understand what you're saying and know you have much more personal insight to this situation that the rest of us. I don't know the right answer, and I see both sides.

    Does it help to think that there was some divine guidance at work and not just human selfishness? I'd like to think that, and perhaps that's the best we can do. Notwithstanding free will, I have always accepted that what is meant to be, will be, even if it is for reasons unknown.

    I'm truly sorry. I wish I could offer some insightful and helpful thing beyond that, but I am at a loss. Peace be with you.

  39. exoalc,
    I thought it was very disrespectful of Marian's family to disregard her last wish. After my husband and I left, we discussed the funeral thing. I knew that when I died, I wouldn't care but the people that know me best and that I care about most do not go to that church. Yes, my family is there but I don't feel close to them. They don't want to know the real me. I want the people I'm closest to, to be able to mourn and "celebrate" however they want. Flowers or no flowers! Marian's memorial was the first "wordly" memorial I've ever been to and I thought it was awesome! By the way exoalc, I met your husband there. You know me.

  40. Exoalc

    I agree with you whole heartedly concerning the family's decision to hold Marians funeral in the OALC after she had adamently made her desires known that she was against it! I know that CVOW is sincere in his post about the family wanting to grieve in their church with their friends, however this could have been done by having a "gathering" at the OALC after the services at the Baptist Church. I think the family going against Marians wishes just goes to show you the arrogance of the exclusive OALC mentality, that all other churches are wordly and are of the devil. They couldn't bring themselves to attend another church, even to honor the wishes of their wife and mother just departed.
    I don't want to seem callous, and I mean no disrespect to Marians family, but I strongly disagree with what they did.

  41. LLLreader sez: Welcome greenhorn, stranger in a strange land, seekinghim, and an anonymous or two. I have been here for over a year, and I am still learning. There are some wonderful,kind, smart people on this blog, and they will prop you up when you need it (and bawl you out when you need that too). This isn't an easy trip we are on, but it has a wonderful outcome. Just keep writing--some of the people here are exceptional thinkers. Often I have had someone say EXACTLY what I felt, but couldn't put the words together to express my thoughts. So, I appreciate them and keep puting my 2 cents worth in. You have friends here and we welcome you.

  42. Hi Seekinghim, you're right about biblegateway, that's the one I always look for when doing a search.. it's very easy to use. I say concordance cuz that's the first word that comes to mind. Cuz I'm so old I remember when that's all there wuz. LOL

  43. Greenhorn,

    How about a cup of cyber coffee? :-).

  44. From what I have understood on the one faith passage it doesn't mean ONE denomination of church. Its faith in Christ, not faith in a church, a preacher, a group of people, an idol or a false god. Faith in Jesus, God, the Holy Spirit, the triune God. It is important to find a healthy church however. Faith IS personal. God does not leave you when you leave a church. He lives in your heart. Some things that have immensely helped me is realizing what it was that I went through. Read Twisted Scriptures, the Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse, Recovering from Churches that abuse,the bible, A Purpose Driven Life. Amazon.com has them pretty cheap. www.batteredsheep.com Research spiritual abuse. I am convinced that is what happened to me. Now you may have had another experience, we all differ, but their are many similarities.

  45. This is good for anyone seeking a healthy church. www.batteredsheep.com
    Click on articles
    Click on "How can I discern whether I am in a healthy or an abusive fellowship".
    And just because there aren't any pastors that are out to control, doesn't make a church unhealthy. Many times they don't even realize what they are doing. They sincerely think they are doing the right thing.
    But, decide for yourself. This is just what helped me.

  46. Also there is a link on this site for Spiritual Abuse recovery resources. And free has some postings about Benefits of Leaving, What its like to leave. Going into old archives helped me, learning about the history of LLL, etc. Also free posted The Reflector link written by Marian Helberg, the woman who passed away recently. Read what she had to say about the OALC, its very similiar to the rest of the Laestadian churches.

    But make decisions wisely. Is it better to stay, speak up or find a different path. Do whats right for you and with Gods help, he will guide you in the right direction.

  47. One faith: Faith in Christ
    One chruch: Christ's church
    One baptism: Baptism of the Holy Spirit
    All believers belong to Christ's church. We are all part of the body of Christ. If we have the faith in Christ, we are set FREE, no matter what church. Some of us were free to leave the OALC and some are free to stay. Wherever God sees us fit to be. Some people can minister in the church in ways that people that left cannot. People that left have the opportunity to minister in ways that people in the church can't. Neither way is easy but regardless, all believers are free. And that is just two of the countless ways God can use us for His glory. I know a lot of oalcers can't see it that way but so what? It doesn't make our path any less important to God.

    norah, when should we have that coffee?

  48. Many Trails Home1/12/2007 03:42:00 PM

    I'd love to have coffee with all you guys! (or gals) I'm hoping to come up to the NW in the spring - I'll treat! MTH

  49. Is anyone going to Beth Moore in Seattle in February?

  50. Spring on up here!

    Maybe you'll see why they call it Mt. Rainier.

  51. ohhh, but I live in Michigan :-( It would be fun to meet you all though!

  52. Jumping on the bandwagon… Jumping off the bandwagon, must be some positive attributes - or maybe the glass is half full? Try some inductive reasoning.

    The duck test:

    “The duck test is a specific form of inductive reasoning whereby one can infer the nature of an unknown based upon its outwardly visible traits. More simply, the duck test can be explained this way: If a bird looks like a duck, swims like a duck and quacks like a duck, then you can infer that it is indeed a duck…
    Monty Python lampooned the "duck test" in their film Monty Python and the Holy Grail in order to show that faulty conclusions can be reached by this type of backwards reasoning. In the film, a woman is accused of being a witch. Since witches are burned at the stake, they must be made of wood, since it burns as well. Wood floats on water, as do ducks. Therefore, if the woman weighs the same as a duck, she must be able to float on water, which means she is made of wood, and consequently must be a witch.”

    No – most of the glass-half-empty author(s) contain a wealth of knowledge on various religions, and consequently it must be a duck.

  53. You lost me, anonymous above!

    TO puzzler, I assumed i was alone (and radical) for a long time in my "christian universalism" until I began encountering others, including a Lutheran pastor (go figure!). Simply put, universalism means trusting that following the way of Jesus is walking in the path of God -- that it is not any creed, confession or label that "saves" us; it is the way of Jesus itself. If we profess Christ but do not actively love and forgive we are christian in name only -- while people who do not profess christianity but who practice THE WAY are indeed filled with the spirit, and saved from a life without God. (Yes, even an atheist -- The Way is not an intellectual exercise). We can use religion (confession and community and ritual) to help us walk the way but must be wary of its power to separate us from others (and our heads from our feet). Hope this is intelligible.

    I'm very busy these days but love reading your posts.

    Is anyone interested in a new topic on planning one's own funeral/memorial service?

  54. I would, I would, I would.

    I would like to see a new topic on planning funerals, etc.

  55. Ha! I get it. Rain-ier. As in, it's rain-ier in the NW than most places.

  56. Hi newbies! Just want to let you know if you ever need to talk to someone you can email me at
    I'll go for coffee too! But unfortunately I live in Iowa. I do have a very good friend in Washington, so when I come that way, I may look some of you up!

  57. And Norah, thanks for your kind words. Yes, I believe we are of the same spirit, its wonderful. I have relatives in Michigan, so if I ever make it that way, I will look you up too! Now to plan my funeral...=) hmmm...

  58. greenhorn:

    yes it does get better, but in my experience, I was the one who had to move on without my family and 'friends' from the oalc. I also felt they didnt know, nor want to know, the real me. Now I dont spend time with them, or when I do, I dont bring up spiritual discussions and neither do they. Many times it feels so shallow, so I only talk to them when I have to. Its strange and often sad when I realize they are my family, but then I realize that they are blood; and my definition of family is different. I no longer believe that "blood is thicker than water" Now my definition of family are people who love me for who I am, unconditionally, who are there for me, unconditionally, who are not afraid to tell me Im wrong, but with love and still loving me after. (more but thats pertaining to the spiritual issues) Its not easy, and I have also moaned and cried online here and in other similar blogs on the sadness and confusion of it all. But it does get better, and there are kindred spirits in Christ to be found.