"laestadian, apostolic, gay, lgbtq, ex-oalc, ex-llc, llc, oalc, bunner" LEARNING TO LIVE FREE: Small World

Friday, March 16, 2007

Small World

I just got my Powerbook back, so please indulge me while I blather and fulminate and make up for lost time. First, huge kiitos to Tomte for the lovely updates to the blog, to Ilmarinen for posting (and deleting as needed), and to all of you for keeping the conversation going. It will take me some time (understatement) to wade through old comments.

Have you heard about "addiction transfer"? It has been in the news recently in reference to gastric bypass patients who become, post-surgery, addicted to alcohol. Get one monkey off your back, another one hops on, so to speak. Stop eating, start drinking. Stop drinking, start clinging to dogma. Right? It would explain why there is no zeal like that of a convert . . . the zeal is steady even when the object isn't. And it could be why Laestadianism attracts some personalities more than others. I suspect that for some folks, if you took the exclusiveness (fear and scorn) out of Laestadianism, it would be like taking the nicotine out of a cigarette.

Somewhat related: Our daughter came home singing "It's a Small World" yesterday, sending me reeling back to 1970 and elementary school.

It's a world of laughter, a world of tears
It's a world of hopes, it's a world of fears
There's so much that we share that it's time we're aware
It's a small world after all

There is just one moon and one golden sun
and a smile means friendship to everyone
Though the mountains divide and the oceans are wide
It's a small, small world.

Well, I learned that song in 4th grade, when Ms. Reese cast me as the American girl in her school play. I wore a red, white and blue costume and long braids, travelled "the world" with my redhead pal Larry, met Santa Lucia, sang "Konichiwa means Good Day in Japan" and learned to toss and catch sticks rythmically while sitting like a chief. The rehearsals were outrageously fun and I overcame my stage fright for our one performance, not missing a line.

Wherever you are, Ms. Reese, thank you. You could not persuade my parents to advance me a grade, but you did better: you inspired me to see strangers as potential friends, not "worldlies." (Now how do I get that dang song out of my head?!)

More or less apropos, I'd like to share an email from a reader:

"We had a big snowstorm last week and my husbands sister and brother in law were on vacation. Me and my husband went over to her house to shovel out their driveway before they got back. As I was shoveling, an African American lady came to help from across the street and asked if we needed some help and offered to let us use her snowblower. She seemed rather friendly, so I struck up a small conversation with her, asking her how long she had lived in Minnesota, etc. I told her that my family is Swedish and Finnish (I was actually born in northern Sweden)...and she told me that her husband is Finn. Out of curiousity, I asked if her husband had any ties to the Apostolic church. Sure enough . . . Marion Hallberg. This lady invited me and my 3 year old daughter in her house and we had lunch and talked about some of the interesting aspects of being around those people. She remarked that I look a lot like the OALC'ers, even though I was from the FALC... I know a lot about the OALC because it was similar to how I grew up and I attended services there a few times, out of curiosity. I was just shocked to meet someone that was so close to Marion (I have never met her, but was touched by what people said about her on this site). I have no connection to the FALC anymore, but still enjoy conversing with others who have left and those from other sects of the church. This is basically my invisible "social network", which still keeps me in touch with my culture and my upbringing."

I'm glad she shared that. Dunnit warm your cockles?

Peace all.


  1. She's not African, she's Carribean-American. Her accent is French and yes she is very friendly. She has a most beautiful brown-skinned talented son... (The "brown-skinned" reference is not written as anything derogatory.) God's peace!

  2. I am wondering how Marion's family is doing, the younger ones must feel so much conflict. God Bless those little souls. I sure do remember them in my prayers.

  3. Anon,
    I almost wrote the exact same thing (about Caribbean, not African). She is my aunt, the wife of Marian's brother. Lovely family.
    It is a small world.

  4. Understandable error, as many Caribbeans are descendants of Africans. But then, we all are, if you go back far enough . . . :-) There is a theory that when early humans ventured beyond the savannah, pale skin evolved to allow maximum vitamin D intake from sunlight, at least for those who didn't get adequate amounts from animal sources (as the Sami did).

  5. As the one who had this surprise encounter, I wanted to say that I highly doubt anyone from the OALC would have received me as warmly as this lady did. Actually, I doubt an OALCer would have even offered to walk over and help shovel in the first place. I am sure their are few that might have, but I know that when I was involved in the FALC, the last thing we thought about was helping others out of our "group". It really made me think about how many wonderful people their are in the world that we may never meet because we are too secluded in our small little circles, fearful of the "world". This encounter taught me a good lesson about not making pre-assumptions about anyone you meet - I would have never thought she had any ties to the OALC. I am so thankful everything happened that day as it did and almost feel as if it was meant to be.

  6. I, too, have been amazed at the RAK shown to me from "outsiders" of the "true living christianity"! I have been shown more Christ love from complete strangers than i have from my social circle of friends that are in the OALC. I had a huge network of "friends" there, but as soon as i became politically incorrect, they closed me off. But the mercy of God is amazing! He has provided me with new friends along the way who have taken me into their lives without judgement and condemnation!

    I think the main reason for the osterizing is to please man. How many times have we heard "friendship with the world is enmity toward God"? And beings the OALC believes they have the corner on God's truth, with them being the ONLY ones with the keys to salvation, anyone else is the world. So, to be friends with me now is enmity toward God. I am betting that there are a lot of OALCers who truly don't feel that by being friends with us, they are showing enmity toward God. But! (the inevitable BUT!!!) they don't want other people to THINK that. Plus, they probably don't really know for sure in their own hearts! How sad that that they have boxed in God's work so tightly! They are missing out on so much of His might! At least, that is how it was for me.

    Being on the other side of the fence sure looks and feels different! How pious i was! How self-righteous i was! How judgemental i was! How intolerant i was! sigh... Thank God for His gift of His Son to me! If anyone needed (and still needs) a Saviour, it was (is) me!

    Praise our Lord! God bless you all!

  7. i just realized that i used the wrong word for "ostracize"!! LOL! "Osterize" isn't even a word! I think i must have been thinking of those blenders or food choppers! Something like choppping to bits, or some such thing??? Guess there isn't a whole lot of difference, is there?

  8. backtothefuturecc3/19/2007 02:01:00 PM

    I've often wondered through the years if there was any thing I could have done to have been accepted.At the time I thought If I was just prettier, skinnier, more confident, more out going.But I don't think it mattered. There were very unattractive girls,very typically finnish looking kids who with the right last name, the right cousins who were well accepted. I would like someone who was part of the right family to explain the reason it was so hard to be accepted by the church kids even though I went there every Sunday since I was born.I realized I was an outsider even though I was stuck inside.

  9. Dear Backtothefuture,

    I know exactly what you mean. I, too, felt like an outcast among outcasts as a teenager. I resented the pretty and popular girls and felt that they were implicitly more accepted by the congregation than I was. After all, I was treated like a second-class citizen, and weren't we told that we were made as God wanted us? So he wanted me a reject, I guess. I didn't fight the system. I went to college instead. That set me on the path to where I am today. I am happy to be away from that very skewed view of acceptance.

    I believe cliques are still a very big thing in the OALC, partly, I think, because in a closed system there is always a sense of limited supply. " Ya gotta fight for what you want but only if you are a chosen one! The rest of you be happy with what you have."

    I am happy to be out of that warped thinking. It took me years to relearn Love and Acceptance. My children suffered because I was in such a state of flux. I have some deep regrets about that.

  10. Backtothefuture,

    Perhaps it was God's gift to you that you never fit in. Perhaps it was His Spirit working in you over many years to lead you out. Perhaps it was His way to bring you into the freedom of the Truth, not found in the ALC...

    Perhaps it is now time to thank and praise Him for these 'roots', however unpleasant the memory is. He makes no mistakes.

    Just my thoughts...

  11. My mom was raised in the church and my dad's mom remarried into the church when he was a teenager. They met and married a few years later. However my dads heart wasnt in it and he "walked" back and forth in and out of the church for many years. Consequently, ( I was told) when I was a teenager my siblings and I were called "half-breeds" and never truly accepted -by many -but not all. It did bother me at first, but then I realized I didnt really want to be like them anyways, so if they did accept me meant I should be more worried. (no one really appreciated my sense of humor about it) I wasnt a "selected-born-into-it-with-a-silver-spoon" to many, yet for some reason I always knew I was special to God and that He loved me and had some plan for me. I'll have to consider where that may have come from?

    With him: I had similar experiences and its interesting (also sad and embarrasing) to have been on both sides.

    As far as the addiction topic: Im sure I have many hangups but I dont believe I have ever had a true addiction. However, Ive done a lot of book and field research on the topic. Ive been told that those who havent experienced it can only understand it so far, but the theory of the addictive personality and transfering addiction is quite common.

    Thats kind of the idea behind a "dry drunk." The alcohol is a symptom (with its own problems) not the core problem. A person can stop drinking but if they havent dealt with the addiction underneath they havent changed or stopped anything, just replaced the alcohol with something else.

    From my experiences within the church I can also wonder if some types of churchs attract certain types of people. (sorry that was generally trying to be polite) Some people have a stronger need to be "in control" either of themselves, others, thier environment, etc. A strict church with many (man made) rules can help fulfill that. Yet if that is threatened or taken away, they are still left with that need and seemingly nothing to fullfill it, so also now a great, core deep fear.

    I believe it was here, sometime last year, there was a link to another blog regarding a discussion along these lines. I remember that a person in one of these types of "fullfilling" churches did indeed need to have thier needs fulfilled some other way, before leaving could be considered. (or for others without an addictive type personality, perhaps the void simply needed to grow bigger than the needs being met)

    Well a few of my rambling thoughts... Now to catch up on reading the other threads :)

  12. On my last note: I wonder if some churches can create addictive personalities? To some degree or another. Or in the least, a greater potential for some type of addiction?

  13. Sure, I think indoctrination in a repressive, dependency-demanding church can lead to addictions. Even the least addictive personality would get some strong self-medicating urges if swamped with messages of shame. Mine did, at any rate, though not for drugs but books and food. Even after all this time, when I hear those ghostly critical whispers in my hippocampus, I find myself wanting to disappear into a book or a brioche or some other tasty dopamine transmitter. (It doesn't help that we live 3 blocks from one of the city's best bakeries.)

    In the category of random thoughts:

    To toot is to blow, blast, snort, binge, or pass wind. To extoot would be to go beyond that, as in exaggerate. or extoll, or extend, right?

    Or is it to remove, as in expropriate or extract?

    I'll leave it to you, readers, to define:

    To extoot is to:

  14. backtothefuturecc3/20/2007 02:25:00 AM

    Thank you for your feedback and support. My life has been full and i am thankful to God for the experiences i have had. i also wanted to add; my mother was baptized in the church, but was the youngest of 10 kids, who were severe alcoholics and/or mentally ill.She married my father (not a church member) on the condition he become a member and give up the world, namely alcohol. She definitly needed the rigidity and the control- i think she was afraid for her own self.

  15. Faith said:
    I have problems signing in, always says my password is incorrect, but I know its not. How can I sign in?

    I was not one of the most popular kids in church. I was more shy and had just a few friends. Had I been popular and had tons of friends all over the country, I am thinking I probably would still be in the church? I praise God that he made me shy back then because I have found a more personal relationship with him. He has a reason for everything! I just embrace it. I wouldn't change my experience for anything. It brought me to where I am today. Deeply in love with Jesus and seeking his will for my life. I don't know if I would have found that in the church, for myself.

  16. Great comments here and I can relate to them. I was always 'half in, half out' because my father was not from the church and didn't attend church. Not quite fitting into either the world or the church places one in flux, as Sisu said (that's a great word). It was also hard on my kids, I think, because I sent so many mixed messages. Praise God I can love them for who they are now - vivacious and full of life though out of the church. Believers who see God working in their lives every day, having faith that He is working out all things for good.

  17. Backto, I didn't fit in either, and while it was painful during my teen years, that fact became a comfort after I left. Gifts like popularity and beauty have their shadow-sides, often preventing folks from doing the real work of maturing.

    Once in an elevator I met a new employee, a young man with a thick scar down one cheek. I asked him how he got it. He said "no one asks me that!" and thanked me for being frank. He told me that after a car accident as a child, his face had required surgery every year to allow for growth, and much of his adolescence was spent in bandages. He had never dated. He hoped to get married and have kids some day, but didn't think he would ever find a woman who could love him. I was a bit stunned at the outpour, but as he walked me to my meeting, I reassured him that some scars are invisible, and there would be plenty of women who could appreciate the lessons his injury had taught him. I told him about my upbringing, and how my husband's was almost opposite but had so many similar outcomes. How we "get" each other.

    He thanked me profusely and sent me a thank you note the next day. He had glimpsed a happy future. I moved offices soon after and never saw him again, but will always remember the encounter.

    Last Sunday we sang "Come Thou Font of Every Blessing," and after church (to my mild embarrassment), my husband asked the pastor what it means to "raise one's Ebekenezer." (Check out the lyrics!). She said it means "stone of help."

    With this site, we raise our Ebekenezers. You fit in here, no matter where your scars.

  18. I think my scars are an "acceptable" covering to hide the ugly wounds underneath. This site makes those wounds fester less frequently and less powerfully.

  19. backtothefuturecc3/20/2007 02:23:00 PM

    Thank you. How many times am I allowed to say that?

  20. Many Trails Home3/20/2007 05:41:00 PM

    backto, there is no such thing as excessive gratitude! I have a lovely saying that I wanted to have calligraphed (if that's a word): "Begin the day with gratitude, End the day with thanksgiving."
    I've enjoyed reading the comments re scars and fitting in - or not fitting in. I never quite belonged with the "church kids" and always felt so rejected when they went off on some outing during June meetings, never asking me along. I didn't have whatever it was they wanted (an older brother would have done it!) and was not considered "cool" by their standards. So how "worldly" is that!!! The competitiveness, gossip, etc is something that I remember acutely to this day, and I can't say I ever remember anybody asking forgiveness for it either! Is that not a sin? It was all so false, so phony, so contrived, just an "invented reality." Bah humbug. I'll take my scars, thank you, and be glad I'm out of it. Many blessings to all you "survivors." MTH
    PS Free, when you upgraded, we lost the ability to see where new comments were posted. Can we get that back? MTH

  21. backtothefuturecc3/20/2007 06:17:00 PM

    I am sooo amazed that so many of us share so many similar experiences over probably several generations,and from several different "separate churches". Though we were supposed to all be better or worse than the other group, we all managed to come out of it with pain and scars.If we had only known what others were thinking when we felt so alone. Yes, but you are right, God gave me the path i took so i could be where i am right now, and i am grateful to our Lord. Maybe if someone who attends one of the apostolic lutheran churches is reading this, they might think of a more christ like approach to others who may look to them like outsiders. Or at least pray about gaining the courage to look beyond their own needs.

  22. Anonymous, no, you are not "here". You are just annoying!

  23. "Did Albert Einstein support the political Zionism that led to the establishment of the State of Israel? Did he later politically support the Zionist state of Israel until his death? Popular answers to these questions might be inaccurate. Indeed the answers make up a common MYTH, or at least, a misperception."

    Einstein, Zionism and Israel:
    Setting the Record Straight

    Dr. Mohammad Omar Farooq
    Associate Professor of Economics and Finance
    Upper Iowa University


  24. "Anonymous, no, you are not "here". You are just annoying!"

    'I do not believe in free will. Schopenhauer's words:'Man can do what he wants, but he cannot will what he wills, 'accompany me in all situations throughout my life and reconcile me with the actions of others, even if they are rather painful to me. This awareness of the lack of free will keeps me from taking myself and my fellow men too seriously as acting and deciding individuals, and from losing my temper.'
    - Einstein, 'My Credo'

  25. anonymous, go away. If you aren't smart enough to have an original thought, it doesn't make you very interesting at all. Anybody can parrot the words of someone else, and just because you seem to like Einstein doesn't make you smart. It just makes you a poser and a charlatan.

  26. Trails et al, I know what you mean about not be included at times. Of course, in my community, that may have been -- at least to some degree -- due to the fact our family was very small and only related to two other relatively small local families.

  27. I can guarantee you that if a current member is reading these last few comments, they will just say, oh they are just bitter because they didn't fit it. I remember in high school people talking about who was "straight". Meaning people who followed the rules and didn't listen to music and such. Those people were looked down upon. Amazing huh. The people that actually followed the church rules were looked down on. How ironic.
    Thank the Lord I didn't fit in there! I'm in a much better place. Great things happen to broken people.

  28. One of my brothers once told me I should come back to church so I could enjoy the great fellowship. Makes me wonder if thats what keeps them intact? The love amongst each other. I am not willing to sacrifice what my heart is telling me for great fellowship in that church. There is also great fellowship in other churches.
    Wheres the evangelism, ministries, outreach and love for those beyond the walls of the church? Last night I had a membership class at the church I am joining and we talked about healthy and unhealthy churches. They said unhealthy churches and inward focused and healthy churches focus also on the community and people beyond the walls of the church. Jesus came for the sinners, to bring them to God. Isn't that our mission too? I think so. And isn't love for people other than ourselves speak volumes. Jesus wasn't so focused on sticking to himself and his disciples because other people might corrupt him. He was too busy to worry about that and focused on people. Understanding and loving them. I think being a true Christian is to be like Jesus was.

  29. proofread faith. Unhealthy churches ARE inward focused.

  30. "anonymous, go away. If you aren't smart enough to have an original thought,"

    "Have you ever had a thought and believed it to be an 'original'? This is not necessarily true. While it may be a light bulb moment for you it is nothing new. It is merely your understanding of the concept that is new to you."

    "Change your Thoughts - Change your Outlook;
    Change your Outlook - Change your World"

  31. backtothefuturecc3/21/2007 02:00:00 PM

    In referance to a comment I read R/T a reason one would leave the church was to live a wild and loose life, I doubt most members have left for that reason, but, I can tell you that age 20 when I left, I felt very alone, vulnerable, having no experience in the world and no legitimate support and I did get wild, in a mild sort of way, did some regretable things, made some bad choices, but I think it was more a consequece of the leaving rather than the reason.

  32. MTH, the "new comments" feature provides a link to relevant topic. Let me know if this isn't working for you.
    "I am here," giveth us a break. What do YOU think of the price of tea in China? If you dare get personal.

  33. Breakaway

    This may not be the right topic but needed to ask for advice on how to handle former family members still in the OALC.
    My wife and I with our kids have recently left the OALC. We were born and raised in the church. I expected the cliché phrases to be said to us but my wife is taking it the hardest from her side of the family. I know that you have to blame the system for the way they are but the stones still hurt. Her mother has said that we will have to answer on judgement day for taking our children out of the Christianity and we are now going to a dead faith church. We are told that we are bitter because we disagree with the OALC teachings; I say we are trying to follow the Bible and not LLL or what a preacher thinks. My wife and I want to attend a church that follows the Bible and has love for one another (not just in the church) and who wants to learn about Jesus. Following the man made rules in the OALC is not the way to be saved. Where is the love thy neighbor in the OALC? It is very frustrating talking to former OALCers as they do not want to hear that the way they believe might be wrong. They blame everything on the devil or say that we want to take part of the pleasures of this world. That is not why we left but they cannot comprehend anything else. Just my thoughts….

  34. backtothefuturecc3/21/2007 06:23:00 PM

    It's still difficult for me going to funerals and just going up north and seeing people at the store who continue to give you funny looks and edgy comments.My best advise is seek supportive people who can give you reality.Also set limits and boundaries in the amount of time you spend with them. Years ago when there wasn't anything like this site, I went to a psychiatrist and he encouraged me with emotional distance which is more important than physical distance. Its been 32 years now and my mom still reminds me my sins are not forgiven and I am not living in grace. But I feel closer to Christ than I ever have and and I can now see the big picture of Gods big world. I somehow taught my children, now grown the love of Christ and they have faith.

  35. I have to comment on the fitting in thing.

    I was one of the cool kids, I went everywhere and to every get together, I went out with girls from church until I was 15, then I discovered Catholic girls (that was a joke), I actually just met girls that had not made out with every other guy I knew. It was a weird experience when I was 18 years old the first time I did not go to hang out with my friends from church, I was hanging out with my buddy from school and his girlfriend and having a good time, I called my friends at 10:30 PM and told them that I was going to arrive and they were crushed. I had known in my heart for years that I did not agree with the churches stance on many things, and knew that it was wrong in its exclusivism. That night was the start of the long slow pulling away process, till I moved permanently when I was 24, and completed my journey. My friends felt very betrayed, it was tough. I have written about it before. I just talked to my mother tonight and got the update on there lives.

    So, fitting in and being popular does always change your outcome in life, most of us follow our hearts (eventually), no matter how easy the other path is.

    I moved 1000 miles away to a college (at age 20) where I knew nobody and started my social life, and life, anew.

  36. Backtothefuture,

    This is true..limits, boundaries, finding people who are supportive. This applies to all of our relationships with people, not just within the church.. Doesn't it seem as though so many of us are people-pleasers at heart, and that's why it's so hard to do something different, something that WE want, or are called, to do rather than what other people want us to do? That is so crippling, and you get just plain ole' worn out from running around trying to please everybody! Of course it's a good thing to think of others, and Christ calls us to serve others, but there's a limit... ? (I have more questions than answers these days lol)

  37. Breakaway: This is the devotion from catchoftheday@fischtank.com. I thought it was appropriate for what your going through.

    When the line in the sand is where your knees go down
    by John Fischer

    Pray for those who persecute you. (Matthew 5:44)

    We've all been hurt. We've all been wronged. We have all experienced injustice. Life is unfair. Shall I go on? Already you should have a situation in mind and someone to blame for your current or distant memory of the above.

    Think of when life has been unfair to you. Now think of that person or persons who dealt you the blow. Notice all those vengeful feelings that rise up in you at the mere mention of a person's name. What are you going to do with those feelings?

    Often we are tempted to justify ourselves - restate our case over and over in our minds, tear down the person who is responsible for hurting us, draw our line in the sand and don't let anyone any closer. That is one way to deal with it. "I am a rock; I am an island/and a rock feels no pain; and an island never cries."

    Or you can draw your line in the sand and make that the place where your knees go down. Just start praying. Pray for the person or persons who wronged you. Pray for the boss who treated you like dirt. Pray for the spouse who walked out of your life and left you with all the responsibility. Pray for God's will to be done on earth as it is in heaven.

    And then remember that people and institutions are not in charge of your life; God is. If you want to blame anyone, blame Him, except that He has your best interests at heart. He sees way beyond your immediate situation. Even those who mean things for evil (Joseph's brothers sold him into slavery in Egypt) God means for good (Joseph became second only to the Pharaoh in power, and thus was able to save his whole family as a result). (Genesis 50:20)

    There are much bigger things going on than merely the factors that play with our emotions. When you pray, you link up with the bigger purpose. You may not see it at the time, but at least you are reminded that it is there, and, most importantly, that God is there.

    So go ahead, draw that line in the sand, and then get down our your knees and pray.

  38. And just remember that God loves you! He sent his son to die for your sins. Believe that, believe and trust in God. Strengthen your relationship with him. I agree, get support from healthy Christians, mature Christians. They will open their arms to you. God will not leave you just because you leave the OALC. He lives in YOUR heart. You and your wife are following your heart. Thats very important. Trust it! Trust what he's telling you. It will be very difficult for awhile, but you will get through it. We all have bumps in the road. Having faith in God through those bumps is what will get you through! God bless you. Hugs to you. Tissues and a shoulder to cry on. Your families will not understand because they haven't experienced what you have. The beliefs are ingrained in their heads and they are not willing to accept that they might have been fooled. Try to understand where they are coming from. I'm sure they do sincerely want what is best for you. They truly think the OALC is the only place you can be saved. They are victims of the system too. They just don't realize it. They do love you I'm sure, they just don't know how to express it the way we would like them to. I wish you well. Do lots of praying! Forgiving them is important too. Lots of love and Gods Peace.

  39. "Religion in China has varied widely since the beginning of Chinese history. Temples of many different religions dot China's landscape, including Taoism, Buddhism, and Chinese folk religion. Mahayana Buddhism remains the largest organized religion in China since its introduction in the 1st century AD.

    The study of religion in China is complicated by several factors. Because many Chinese belief systems have concepts of a sacred and sometimes spiritual world yet do not invoke a concept of God, classifying a Chinese belief system as either a religion or a philosophy can be problematic. Although Taoism clearly developed a religious organization with priests, monks and temples, Confucianism remained chiefly an intellectual pursuit, with some influence on the Chinese Heaven Worship practices.

    Moreover, the Chinese religions, unlike many Western religions, are not organizations that demand the exclusive adherence of members. Chinese people may visit Buddhist temples while living according to Taoist principles and participating in local ancestor veneration rituals.

    Major forms of religion that developed within China include ancestor veneration, Chinese folk religion, shamanism, Taoism and the veneration of localized deities. Most Chinese have a conception of heaven and yin and yang. Many Chinese have also believed in such practices as astrology, Feng Shui, geomancy, and numerology.

    Historically, the emperor was regarded as the Son of Heaven, and he typically led the imperial court in performing elaborate annual rituals. He was not believed to be a deity, but rather someone who mediated between the forces of heaven and earth. A central idea of the dynastic cycle was that an unjust imperial dynasty that had lapsed into corruption could lose the Mandate of Heaven and be overthrown by a rebellion.

    Minority faiths introduced from abroad include Zoroastrianism, Manichaeism, Islam, Judaism, and Christianity."

  40. Anonymous.. is it true that Christianity is the only religion that has a living deity, while all of the other religions (while they may believe in a diety different from our concept of God), primarily worship a prophet or leader who is not alive, such as Mohammed? I heard that recently and wondered if that was true.

    Faith, that is really well expressed, very encouraging and heartfelt and well thought out.. Amen!

  41. This is off topic.. I'm involved with a community project in the central UP of Michigan. Our women's group has an artist market in an old two-room school and we're looking for UP artists, crafters, musicians to become members of the market. If you know of anyone who might be interested you/they could email me at argine234@yahoo.com.

    Hope this doesn't sounds like an advertisement, if so, it's okay to remove, Free...


  42. Thanks to everyone above for their kind words and blessings. I know that we will have to trust in God. Time will help to hear those wounds.

  43. These Kelly Clarkson's lyrics remind me of some of the discussions we've been having:

    Breakaway Lyrics

    Grew up in a small town
    And when the rain would fall down
    I'd just stare out my window
    Dreaming of what could be
    And if I'd end up happy
    I would pray (I would pray)

    Trying hard to reach out
    But when I tried to speak out
    Felt like no one could hear me
    Wanted to belong here
    But something felt so wrong here
    So I prayed I could break away

    I'll spread my wings and I'll learn how to fly
    I'll do what it takes til' I touch the sky
    And I'll make a wish
    Take a chance
    Make a change
    And breakaway
    Out of the darkness and into the sun
    But I won't forget all the ones that I love
    I'll take a risk
    Take a chance
    Make a change
    And breakaway

    Wanna feel the warm breeze
    Sleep under a palm tree
    Feel the rush of the ocean
    Get onboard a fast train
    Travel on a jet plane, far away (I will)
    And breakaway


    Buildings with a hundred floors
    Swinging around revolving doors
    Maybe I don't know where they'll take me but
    Gotta keep moving on, moving on
    Fly away, breakaway

    I'll spread my wings
    And I'll learn how to fly
    Though it's not easy to tell you goodbye
    I gotta take a risk
    Take a chance
    Make a change
    And breakaway
    Out of the darkness and into the sun
    But I won't forget the place I come from
    I gotta take a risk
    Take a chance
    Make a change
    And breakaway, breakaway, breakaway

  44. I realized that I did not proof my last comment well, and by error of omission I changed the meaning. Corrections in CAPS.

    1) ...I called my CHURCH friends at 10:30 PM and told them that I was NOT going to arrive...

    2)So, fitting in and being popular does NOT always change your outcome in life OR MAKE THE UNBARABLE BARABLE, most of us follow our hearts (eventually), no matter how MUCH easier the other path APPEARS TO BE.

    Sorry about that.

  45. As for me being an falc member i am sad to find so much contempt towards me. Like Jesus said as they have persecuted me , thay shall persecute you.

  46. Sorry if i made youre eyes roll . Just trying to express myself.

  47. There is no persecution of any ALC here neither is there any contempt for any ALC being expressed here, hence the eye rolling. Ask yourself what is persecution? Then honestly reread what you read here, persecution is NOT when someone disagrees with you.

  48. Maybe I was overreacting and said it all wrong.
    It seems that when you talk about the lastadian churches you group them all into one catagorey. The reason they split up for the most part is docternal and because no more love between the members. Since there have been so many splits wouldnt you think out of all those at least one is teaching correctly?

  49. People here speak to their experiences only. I grew up in the OALC (where I learned some Biblical teaching, but overall, it was not Biblical teaching and what I saw then, and observe now, is not Biblical behavior, for the most part). I do not speak to any of the other ALC's, as a matter of fact the exclusiveism in the OALC is so much that I know nothing of these other factions. What I'm hearing here is all new to me after many decades of life. Is one ALC correct in it's doctrine? I have no idea. I believe we should work out our salvation by using God's Word in the Bible as a measuring tool to see what teaching is doctrinally correct wherever we go (ALC or not ALC). May the peace of God be with you.

  50. ept1
    I am a former member of the FALC which you seem to think is different from the other splits of the LLL movement. I used to sit in your seat and stand in your shoes. What I have learned since the Holy Spirit removed the scales from my eyes is that they are all the same in their judging. Are you familiar with the term "uns"? Do you judge the deadness of other churches without ever having stepped foot in them for a service? Do you support Peter Torola and his "persection" of Roland Nelson? Have you read the letter that has explained what happened in Texas and at the board meeting in Calumet? Do you believe that the Phoenix church contains no Christians? If you believe that claim to be false, why have you allowed your Mission Board to ex-communicate them? Do you think that your neighbors that go to a Baptist church are "unchristian" even though they believe that Jesus Christ died for them and they are saved by grace alone? As we are taught from Holy Scriptures by the way? It is true that as a practice FALC don't "usually" shun their own family when they leave the church, but there are some that do. Please admit that. Also,is it true that Peter Torola said while in Cokato "There have never been two Christian churches in one town" referring to Grace Apostles AKA The Shed. Holy Cow! What a broad statement! To judge every other Christian church in every other city without ever stepping in and asking what they believe! I think your Mission board is out of line and wolves in sheeps clothing. At some point one must step back and admit that this is no longer what Christ intended for his people. Would you greet me on the street with God's Peace if I put my name to this post and you knew I was no longer FALC? I don't know who you are ept1, you could be someone I grew up with, a former friend, a relative. I do know that when I think of you I will pray that you will be enlightenend by the Holy Spirit. I think you are already being pricked which is why you are here. But I must warn you, with eye-opening comes some heartache and pain. But Jesus sends comfort for that too. This blog is one of my "comfort pills". I believe it is sent from Jesus. So ept1 prayerfully consider the questions I posed to you.

  51. With passion comes typos. Please change "persection" to persecution or even prosocution for that matter! Disection may even fit here.

  52. ept1, you said under the 'benefits of leaving' that there is only one Body of Christ. Of course that's true. But there is NOT only one church or church building or sect that contains members of His body. When Christ comes back for His bride there will be members of many sects. I will be there and I'm Presbyterian. I have a friend who will be there and she is a member of the Catholic Church. There will be many members of many churches. How do I know? I've been to those churches, I know many of the members, they are my sisters and brothers in Christ. Blessings on you and those you love!

  53. One other thing, ept1, having a conversatiopn and arguing are two different things. It seems in the OALC that you can have a conversation with those who agree with you but when speaking to those who disagree it is an 'argument'. I find that to be weird, just plain weird.

  54. In the case of disagreement and arguement, I was only trying to calm the situation. ( I have been misunderstod) Maybe I did not use rite words I also am human.

  55. To I jumped in

    Sorry if i have caused you to be pricked. As far as ptorola I do not necasarily belive that he handled the situation in the best fashon. But i do have great respect for him. But i do not consider him to be the head of the church as is the pope is the head of the Catholic church. I hope you would not leave because of one person.

  56. I would also like to add that ron peterson stated that what we belive in the falc is false doctrine. how can we have unity if a preacher considers us basically as heretics (don't take this the wrong way)

  57. Here is a portion of an email conversation I had with Peter Torola several years ago after the problems in the church began. These are his exact words, copied directly out of that email. I grew up in the Cokato church.

    "hi, i'm glad that you went to church. especially to cokato church. i'm sorry you didn't find what you needed. i will tell you of an incident that took place in fulton church years ago. i was preaching and feeling so completely empty so i said i'm sorry that you all came to church and i am so lacking words to speak. but i at least can tell you, "believe all of your sins forgiven in the blood of jesus". an old christian gramma from her seat remarked, " that is all we need and that is what we came again this evening to hear".
    when we grow in grace and faith we become smaller and weaker and poorer in ourselves. knowledge means nothing, only the love of god in our hearts means anything. faith, hope and love, these three, but the greatest is love. if we could not experience the love of god in our hearts thru the forgiveness of sins in the blood of jesus we would have nothing. may god awaken your conscience to come away from that mountain of selfrighteousness and find yourself as a grace beggar. then you like all of god's children will be more than satisfied with the best that the gospel has to offer, namely the forgiveness of all sins in the blood of christ. i'm not interested in anything that bounce writes nor am i interested in anything which is from outside of the kingdom of god. my only prayer is that all who have left would be awakened and come back through the door of repentance and the forgiveness of sins in the blood of jesus."

    So, ept1, this is the man that you have great respect for?? I would be interested in viewpoints from you and others on this site regarding the above email. Peter Torola was a preacher in this church for many years and basically still leads the FALC with his ideas on doctrine and has considerable influence. Do you think his ideas on faith are healthy or do you think they are hurtful/misleading to many?

  58. This is not an issue of he said/she said/they said. I left the FALC for doctrinal issues because I actually opened up my bible and started reading and realized the stuff being preached did not add up right to whats in the bible. Have you actually compared what is preached in the FALC to what is in the bible? or do you acknowledge that the doctrine is wrong and just attend the FALC for social reasons? I have/had many friends who never listen/ed to the sermons and went to church every sunday to see their friends. By the way, I didn't make this up - they actually admitted that to me. Its hard to see a problem when you're not paying attention...lol

  59. "Its hard to see a problem when you're not paying attention"

    ....or when you sit in the basement so you can let your kids run about during church.
    I to didn't know until I listened and then compared the preaching to the Holy Book. Even then, it took me so long to build up the strength to leave. I was sure I was misunderstanding what I was reading because it was in conflict of what was being taught in the church!
    Sorry Free, that we have commandeered your blog here! But thank you for the outlet! You have given us all a rock in the tempest to cling to. The more of us that climb upon this rock, by the magic and grace of God, the bigger it gets! Has anyone else noticed this?
    May the Peace of God settled on all of us!

  60. From where I sit, Ron Peterson is right. Having never been to the Grace church, I don't know what they preach. I don't even think RP is even a preacher anymore. I couldn't say. But if the FALC is still preaching that they are the only congregation that can offer salvation, then Ron's statement is right. However, if it is being taught that you must now be Grace Apostle(which I have no knowlege of one way or the other) then they would be wrong too. ANY church that THROWS other churches into heresy for preaching that "our salvation comes from Jesus alone, not from the acts of man", is wrong. Period.

  61. Why do you have great respect for Peter Torola?

  62. I had an interesting conversation tonight with some old friends, all of whom were raised in the FALC church in Gackle, North Dakota. These were all folks born in the 1920s, and they didn't know why the split between the FALC and the OALC had happened. They also told me that their FALC church didn't use the Laestadius at all when they were attending.

    Not surprisingly, they all said they remembered growing up in the Finnish community there and how some of the OALC people would have nothing to do with them, especially the OALC preachers. We talked about how I remembered going to the FALC church for meetings as a child when they had them, and how some of the FALC folks would come and attend meetings in the OALC.

    One of them really shocked me when she said when her father in law was in the hospital dying, one of the OALC preachers had stopped in to see another patient. When he was asked to say a prayer for this person's father in law, the preacher had refused, saying "En minä perusta siitä" -- that he didn't care about that man. Now this was a small community, and these men had known each other all of their lives. Somehow I cannot comprehend that kind of coldness and cruelty. I cannot envision refusing anyone that asked me to say a prayer on their behalf. To me, that seems almost a mortal sin to turn away from someone in that kind of need. Am I being too harsh?

    Our family always visited and socialized with all of the FALC families as well as the OALC where we belonged, and probably pretty much any Finn, church associated or not. Funny how some of those things were well shielded from me by my folks. However, considering my folks also had a lot of friends outside of the Finnish community entirely that we socialized with, I was raised to understand that there was nothing wrong with that. Some days I still marvel -- and am truly humbled -- at how fortunate I was and what a great set of parents I had! Thank you Lord for that great gift!

  63. To anonymous

    you asked why i have respect for ptorala? Simply because he is an elder in the Kingdom of God

  64. In responce to i jumped
    I guess that we have differant spirets,Yes i belive that only the church of God can forgive sins. I would like to find out who you are. I would hope that we could have a conversation that is not so heated. As for greeting and saying Gods peace, I my self have not been greeted by some who have left recently and yes it hurts.

  65. I am so encouraged and moved by what you've written here, Ijumped and cvow and others.. You have such a depth of understanding of how faith and the Gospel applies in all of these situations. And as to people born in the 1920's not knowing why the splits occured - all I can say is that some of them inherited the enmity of their parents, then! Not even knowing why! Oh, that our hearts would warm to ALL people, to see them as Jesus sees them - in need of a Saviour and the Good News that He has come and fulfilled all things - we are free!

    I am so encouraged for all of us LLL descendants. We have a common heritage, an ethnicity, a tribe, a people, which has been dispersed for over one hundred years and is finally starting to discover and talk to each other again. Like other cultures who are on the path to discovering and preserving their heritage. Am I overstating it?

    And when I see this Finnish words written here, it warms my heart too!


  66. Can someone please tell me where the closest FALC or IALC church is to Battle Ground? I am just dying to visit there to see how similar it is to the OALC. THANKS!

  67. Norah
    You are so right about inheriting the enmity of parents and family. That is how I was raised FALC. I am of the Torola Clan. In this discussion I'm having with EPT1, when people didn't vote to retain John Tulkki as a minister, more than one young married person was known to say, "Well I don't have anything personal against John, my (insert family member here) told me not to vote for him."
    As sad and as heartwrenching as that period in my life was; it was also the final straw for me at the FALC. I had been quesioning for so long. I had been reading the Bible and coming away just horrified when I would hold the preachers sermons up to the test of what the text was saying to me. So for that occasion I will forever be grateful and in total and complete awe of the workings of the Holy Spirit. I was so clearly told to leave that day. And as awful as the ensuing months, even years were, I am free! I finally get it! It does make me sad to endure knowing that my family thinks I will fry, but I could never go back and pretend. It is hard to be a small fraction of a very large family and believe different. But I'm not alone. I have a few cousins who get it too. So there I do have comraderie. And HERE, I am excepted. Even understood. Thanks friends!

  68. My guess is in the Battle ground area, the FALC would meet in homes.
    There are so few members there. The closest actual congregation (church building) to you would probably be in Minnesota! Maybe ept1 could let you know for sure if ept1 truly wants to do what Christians were called to do and spread his faith. I no longer get the Greetings of Peace! So I don't know.

  69. ept1
    Does the FALC have a congregation near Battle Ground? If so am I invited? I would be happy to give my e-mail here thanks.

  70. Ijumped, I met an FALC woman online a few years ago and, along with a group, corresponded at length about these issues. I wonder if she reads here. She has a long history of FALC preachers in the family. She's involved with the Grace Apostles churches now. Much of what you write she has expressed strongly also. She got into her Bible, knows her Luther (especially his commentary on the Galatians), and is very well read and has a good solid understanding of grace - and law. In fact you could be her, but I don't believe she is of the Torola family.. but your writing is so similar.

    This is so interesting! wow.

    I love listening to Yahoo music, and just now Aaron Neville singing Amazing Grace came on. It just gives me goosebumps :-). Life is good.

  71. Norah
    I had to smile at your description of who this person is. I may have been at her wedding. Or I may have grown up with her. I'm pretty sure which family she would be from since there are only a few that have a history of pastors. I realized that I assumed ept1 was male. I wonder why this is?
    You don't know how badly I want to shout from the rooftops who I am. But then, I would no longer feel so free, protected and safe here.

  72. Backtothefuturecc3/25/2007 02:50:00 PM

    John Tulkki was my Sunday school teacher,he was a young man, maybe not even married, I'm not sure, 1967, and to this day he is the one man who stands out to me as a true christian teacher. He made a big impression on me and I always looked up to him.Where is he now? He was so gentle and kind.

  73. First things first. I meant to say accepted, not excepted!

    John lives in CA, where he retired.

    This link is for you. Enjoy.


  74. anomynous I would like to invite you to services in longview washington. May 11-13 they will have special services. You are talking about Battle ground Washington?

  75. Isn't it ironic that the FALC calls their monthly periodical "greetings of peace"? if you read how twisted and unbiblically based many of the writings are (many written by p torola), you might wonder how it can put people at peace...lol

  76. Male Mpls congregation In case you were wondering
    I also would like to note that it is not rite to ridicule or call someones faith foolish such as the comment of our beloved greetings of peace. Jesus said whosever calls someone a fool is in danger of judgement or of that meaning. I do not recall exact words, I am not a Public preacher. The invitation is still open to any one desireing to show up at servicies

  77. EPT1, here we go on the "persecution" track again. Isn't it ironic that you belong to a church that condemns every other church on the planet to hell although most of the people in the FALC have no idea what those other churches are like. I consider that much more foolish than making a comment about the greetings of peace, which is an opinion I have developed from reading the greetings of peace and comparing it to the bible. I have been to the FALC, I have read the greetings of peace, and I have attended other churches since I left the FALC. Just as you have the right to revere P. torola as a saint, I have the right to my opinion. Thats one of the best things that have happened to me since leaving the FALC - I am able to be myself, have my own opinions, and make my own decisions. Anyone who thinks any different than P. torola is ostracized from the group. I would be interested to hear if you have your own opinion on faith that you got straight from the bible, or if your opinion on faith is what p. torola and others wrote in the greetings of peace (mans interpretation). If so, you better not tell anyone in the FALC you are reading the bible, because they will consider it "works"

  78. Ijumped, that's a beautiful video, I love that song. A good example of faith and art working together...!

  79. I see that we just will have to agree to disagree, Johns father ray Tulkki has written many articals in the Greetings of peace and they are all based on our rock Jesus christ.

    The falc does not consider those that are in other religions fools. We want them to come to the light thru Gods word.We would want to share the same bread of life with them on earth, as well as be with them on heavens shore. We are not a fellowship without any faults. We have made our mistakes but we would always want to have fellowship with each other and would welcome.As Ray Tulkki said in 1973 " If you are looking for a perfect fellowship here on earth'you will not find it." He also said " when we come to that common ground that we are all sinners....." we cant say we our better than anyone else"

    we can fall into selfrightousness and we can also fall into sins of ungodlyness butt we should always want to care for one another. And when we don't have love for one another we will fall into a dead faith . I would hope that all of the lost sheep would be carried back home, Wether thay have left Physically from the church or are still attending but not being led by Spiret.

  80. Actually I grew up in a FALC home. We were not discouraged from reading the Bible. The problem is, the accepted Bible to read was the King James. For me personally, it was too much of a chore. I think it is an antiquated language and the NIV is available in the English language of today. Much easier to read and understand! I do know that some (note some, not all) FALC members feel discouraged from reading the Bible or discourage others. Never the case in my family. I think each congregation maybe has its own little quirks.
    I am impressed that you truly seem caring and trying to defend your faith. My only plea to you is to look to your Bible. Don't let ANY MAN tell you that you are not knowledgable enough to truly understand. If everything you believe can stand up to the test of the Holiest of books, then stick by it. Always ask the Holy Spirit to guide you as you study. I respect you for defending your faith. I hope you will give me the same respect. I truly am your sister in Christ. I just don't think you can see that.

  81. Ray's words are very important. But I think the FALC has lost that humility and humbleness since 1973. W Torola had that same quality of humility and humbleness. To realize that we are all sinners is very important. So to is to realize that salvation comes from above, not from man. That ept1, is where I can never agree with you. You believe that one must hear the words or ask for forgiveness directly from a member of the FALC. I say I can go right to the throne of grace and tell God I am sorry for my sins, and beg forgiveness in the name of the Son whom He sent for that very purpose. And it is done. Why do you feel the need to add that extra step?

  82. We don't believe it is an extra step thru Gods Holy word we understand it to be the command of Christ.
    Well I need to go to bed, This has really worn me out.

  83. ept1
    I would love to come to your special services in longview. Where are you meeting and what are the service times? I appreciate your invite.

  84. i'm just curious.... why is it, that people who are still in the LLL churches, come on this site? when i was still in the church, i was 'taught' that reading on these sites was a horrible sin! so... it leads me to think that maybe they don't quite believe all that they THINK they do.

  85. anomynous I'm not sure Where they will be held, I only found out yesterday when they would. Do you have any ties with people fromthe copper country? Maybe you could ask one of them, Some people from the oalc are friends with some the falc members. If not I will try to figure something out.

  86. ept1,

    You and I have something in common because I still belong to an LLL church - the ALC. I've always been a defender of the church - not from other LLL churches, but from people from other denominations who accuse us of being exclusionary and legalistic, and preaching about the laying on of hands.

    I think it was Mr. Smith who said that when/if we leave the church, to be careful where we decide to go, if anywhere. That is true, and I'll give an example of why I say that:

    Not too long ago I attended a wedding at a fundamentalist type of church (not LLL, not Lutheran), but otherwise very Bible based. I have many sincere Christian friends and acquaintances there. They have a new young pastor, full of energy and very friendly, with a quite large family. He spoke warmly and gently to the new couple in his wedding sermon. He spoke to them about the role of the husband and the wife. He emphasized the role of the husband as head of the family, to the wife to be submissive to her husband. If they had children they would be raised in the 'nurture and admonition of the Lord' and spoke to both the bride and groom as to their responsibilities. But not once did he mention that marriage is not made up of two people, but three - with Christ as the head of the family, with Christ over the husband. Instead he placed the burden squarely on the couple.

    Now, this might not seem like a big thing and maybe it was an oversight - but to me it was a red flag. To me it placed a 'Law" - a heavy burden - upon both of them. To me it spelled trouble.

    The LLL churches are not perfect and this site has helped me in my own "doublemindedness" about our churches. Your words are very familiar to me, I hear them in the ALC also. You're right, the main thing is that our sins are forgiven when we turn to Christ in repentance. This truly is a precious faith, that we have Christ as the mediator, the propitiation for our sins, our Redeemer. We look to Him and Him alone, without Him we are lost and forever under the Law. Without keeping our eyes on Christ we begin to look elsewhere for answers. If we depend on a man's word instead of what God tells us in the Bible it's trouble brewing with a capital T.

    How subtle that Law is! And that's the caution I have about our own LLL churches, the current fads and trends, and other denominations out there.. that we would be able to discern where the Law will show itself, even in very, very, very unexpected places. This is that precious Word that we must cling to. We are free through the shed blood of Christ and let's not ever put ourselves back under the Law.

  87. norah,

    I was raised in the FALC and have been to church at ALL of the LLL denominations. It is my opinion that some of the ALC churches are probably the most healthiest of all LLL churches out there. Yes, I know that several of them still have problems, but as for the several ALC churches that I attended, the preaching was "right on". I think the ALC has a lot of variation in their churches because they don't have the control issues like the FALC mission board does. Therefore, each individual church in the ALC has more freedom to conduct services in a way they see fit for their specific congregation. I was also impressed to see that the ALC has made attempts to train some of its ministers in seminary schools and has done missionary work in other places out of their congregation. Once again, I know the church has/had problems in some of its congregations, but it seems, in general, to be the healthiest of all LLL groups.

  88. ept1
    I dont know who to ask about the Longview services. If it wouldnt be too much trouble for you to find out where they are held, I would appreciate it. Does the Longview area have a large falc community? Will there be alot of visitors from out of town for the services like in the oalc? I dont know much about the falc but would I would like to.

  89. Anomynous It is not a large congregation thay might rent a building orhave it in someones home. Could you please email me at ept1@mac.com

  90. backtothefuture, I believe ray did go to seminary school , If i recall right from what i heard. I personally find nothing wrong with it if you want to learn facts in the bible. But I would not say that it is a requirement to be a minister. As far as what he said about you , It was probally not the correct thing to say. He could of used a little more tact. I hope you have since forgivin his misfortunate error.

    free2beme ,

    You mentioned about the other blog site , are you hinting that we end this conversation ?
    Maybe we dwelled on to long in our discussion. Still waiting to get that email from anomomous

    any one who wants to email me with a concern or possibly a phone number to one of our churches are welcome to contact me.

  91. Hi Anonymous,

    From what I've read here it seems as though what you are saying about the ALC churches may be true, although there is plenty of discord going on in some congregations. I do seem to sense a different tone, though.. different from the way I was raised in the church. There really is a genuine effort by a lot of people to break away from the 'closed' and exclusiveness of former days. Young couples want healthy environments in which to raise their children.. to be well rounded and emotionally healthy, and to learn the positive messages of a life lived for God.

    Ept1, if I had to guess, I'd say Free was directing you to just one of a couple of sites where you'll find a whole lot of different opinions, heated debate, even some plain ole' nastiness going on. It's not for me at this point in life even though I can be pretty cranky myself lol.. But it has helped to inform me about what's going on out there.

    I've been trying to think of the word that might express how I feel these days.. hmmmm.. maybe the word would be "integrated". Dunno. I feel more at peace about being who I am, being an ALCer (and LLLer) and contented with that and ready to move on. Being involved with sites such as this has been a very big help, as painful as it is sometimes... It's good to keep the dialogue going. Ept1, you have a sweet spirit in that you are willing and open to talk to people who have different ideas, even if it's just to 'agree to disagree'. It's a good thing.

    Bless you guys!

  92. Backtothefuturecc3/27/2007 05:15:00 PM

    The problem is, it was not about tact, it was about being judgemental,small, narrow minded and definitly not how Jesus was as he walked on this earth. Jesus was friends with the poor, the prostitutes, the weak. I feel it was more of a general way of dealing with people to keep them in their control and to feel weak, bad about themselves, not to build them up as christians or even as people.

  93. Backtothefuturecc,

    I know exactly what you mean.. statements like that, and especially in public (although I don't know if a preacher should even take it upon himself to do that!) have driven quite a few people out of the church and it just makes me so mad sometimes.. it's very hurtful and something you never forget. The LLL churches (that I know of) are not the kind of places where you get much, if any, praise, recognition, or encouragement. I've never told this to anyone and it seems self-serving to say it now.. but I served the church for many years starting as a teenager and nobody ever said I was a good person. Not that I expected them to, you understand, but you just get that feeling that you should just 'do', and whatever you do does not quite measure up. But one night I played the organ for a Finnish service at a nearby ELCA church.. I was around 30 years old so that's 25 years ago lol. And I spoke to the regular pastor and the Finnish pastor for a little bit before I left, and as I stepped outside I heard the Finnish pastor (whom I did not know at all) say to the other one "She is a good person". Wow, that kinda blew me away! I'll always remember that.

    It's such a good reminder that even the little things we say, whether good or bad, affect people. I used to be very shy, but now I tend to blurt out things that can be hurtful. It's a daily challenge to bite my tongue, to have self-control.. because words have such power to hurt or to encourage. Life is rough, we all have problems, why should we tear each other down instead of building each other up?

    ok, off the soapbox now ;-)

  94. I do not know how short the skirt was. But women should understand that we men have sinfull lusts. In the sermon on the mount Jesus says to look on a woman with lust is as bad as commiting adultary. Thank goodness we are under grace and not subject to the law. although we have the law written in our hearts we as sinfull beings fall time and again I would hope that I would always be able to be fed with the blood of jesus.

  95. backtothefuturecc3/27/2007 05:43:00 PM

    You're right and if I wasn't chatting on this blog I probably would never have told any one any of the things I have been saying. But you know when memories come they tend to flood you. I think during adolescense you are vulnerable, impressionable and I was stunned at his coldness and his lack of empathy. I personally think that night I realized there had to be a more loving God than what was being displayed to me.

  96. backtothefuturecc3/27/2007 05:52:00 PM

    Ept1, I can not believe you said that. Your lust problem is your issue. I have always believed that people who are all focused on legalism, others sins, are usually projecting their own weaknesss. Think about that recent media event with the minister who was known to bash homosexuality and it turns out he was on the side visiting a homosexual prostitute.

  97. I was just stating that women and men should lookout for each other and not intentionally put a stumbling block in the way. I probally shouldnt of mentioned it. LETS CLEAR THE AIR

  98. Therfore seeing we have this ministry , as we have recieved mercy ,we faint not:

    2 But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty , not walking in craftiness , nor handeling the word of God decietfully; but by manifistation of the truth commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God .

  99. Well, you cannot judge the heart of anyone, and adolescense is a tough time in many people's lives, as they try to figure out who they are (at least it was for me). I think ministers, especially, have to be very careful how they address issues towards teens. I believe that placing blame on teens for dressing the way they do (saying it creates a stumbling block for others) will only encourage that behavior to continue because many teens like to rebel against authority. In other words, if you tell them something is not appropriate, it will not keep them from doing it. Sometimes, we have to learn for ourselves instead of being constantly protected from everything. I felt that I grew the most spiritually after I left the FALC because I had to figure out for myself who I was and I guess not having to meet the standards of the church, I was able to pursue my own dreams and aspirations, which made me into a well rounded person. Part of the reason I rebelled as a teen was because I felt trapped within the church system and felt like I was living to impress people in that church, which took my focus away from learning about Christ, and his real message of love and forgiveness.

  100. I fogot that she was an adolescent. I'm not saying that the church should make it a rule. Just do what is in youre heart. If you don't think it will have that effect which i was talking about dress the way you want..

  101. This brings to mind an incident a friend had. She was approached by her employer whom she worked with in the same office every day and he told her very nicely that because of his weakness he was having thoughts he shouldn't have because she was an attractive female and something about her clothes being tight or shirts low-cut (you catch my drift) and that for his sake could she were more conservative clothes. Put that way it is hard to offend. Both men and women should work to not be a stumbling block to each other and not just in lust. Often we do things to incite anger (instigate arguments) or jealously, small things we do each day that we may not even notice. Another person (male) once told me that it is a weakness in men not in the woman. It seems that the blame or sin is placed entirely on the woman for lust sometimes. Just my little thoughts.

  102. anonymous ,

    Nicely said I agree with you 100% . It is nice to be able to talk about important isues . It is good that on this blog we are able to express our beliefs. and even if it gets interpeted wrong the first time we are given the opportunity to give a better explaination.

    Thank You

  103. backtothefuturecc3/28/2007 07:45:00 AM

    Personally I don't think the way a person dresses esp. a teen is a very important issue. I think more importantly the issues of bigotry, racism, sexism stereotyping all of which I viewed in the church were of much bigger value. I think the biggest problem with fundamentalists is their inability to see the big picture, the big world. I mean things like being totally "pro life", but then being pro war, pro death penality. I just don't get the way they think.

  104. backtothefuturecc3/28/2007 07:56:00 AM

    Years ago when I was breaking away, my psychiatrist, recommended a book, "Your God Is Too Small", J.B. Phillips. It was meaningful and expanding for me.

  105. LLLreader sez: Speaking of lust, I have heard tell that some old Finn ladies have been know to admire the muscular builds on certain young men. Not that I myself would indulge in that sort of foolishness--------:)
    To backtothefuturecc--I like what you said about some fundamentalists not being able to see the big picture, exactly my feelings, and that hypocracy goes way beyond the walls of the OALC.

  106. RE: Lust. Isn't it curious how it's always the woman who needs to cover up? Instead of requiring women to cover up, here's a solution that nobody mentions: make the men wear blindfolds.

    Modesty is relative to the culture, and there is no level of being covered up that will make people stop fantasizing.

  107. ModestProposal3/28/2007 01:53:00 PM

    Test all males ages over 11 for dangerous hormonal levels and impulsivity, then neuter the dawgs.

  108. I have always hated the double standa.rd, too, and wondered why the shrugged shoulders for men's inability to control their impulses (notice that this almost always occurs in relation to women, not booze, stealing, etc.). Then today, while lunching at the mall, I saw a young woman, probably 20 or so, whose jeans were so low-cut that if they were trimmed any lower it would have been just two legs. Now, I ask you, who exactly is she trying to influence?

  109. I guess i'm out numbered here. Hope to end this particular conversation. I just quoted a part of scripture , Did not mean to offend anyone.

  110. I guess i'm out numbered here. Hope to end this particular conversation. I just quoted a part of scripture , Did not mean to offend anyone.

  111. I guess i'm out numbered here. Hope to end this particular conversation. I just quoted a part of scripture , Did not mean to offend anyone.

  112. ept1, you didn't offend me. Actually, I am impressed that you are taking the time to consider/understand different viewpoints on these issues. Often, being involved in healthy conversations with others of similar upbringings/backgrounds can help us grow in our faith, and as people. From reading many of the stories and comments on this site over the last year, I have found that some of the ideas I had grown up with were completely influenced from the culture I grew up in and were in some ways unhealthy. As I have grown apart from that culture, I have learned to take the good and leave the bad. I have also learned how important it is to go into a conversation with an open mind and an open heart. This can be hard to do if you come from a church that believes its way is the only way. I am glad you are continuing to write.

  113. ilmarinen, you're right about the level of cover up. I guess men used to fantasize about a well turned ankle when dresses went to the floor.

    sisu, I chuckled about your observation of the young lady with the low cut jeans. I think it's also pretty amusing when some of the gals wear clothes like that and then pretend to get offended if a guy gives them a looking over.

    Good grief. We are all animals even if we are human. Whether it's a lady admiring a muscled hunk or a guy admiring an attractive lady, that's just natural and I don't see a lot wrong with it. If it becomes leering or escalates to more offensive behavior, then the fault lies with the "buyer", not the "advertiser". I have never bought into the argument by any guy who says it was the girl's fault for dressing provocatively. If a guy doesn't know how to behave appropriately, he's an idiot and a jerk and needs to be knocked around until he understands respect, responsibility, and accountability. The same goes for the ladies, although I have not been personally accosted recently, somewhat to my dismay...

  114. Thank you anomious,

    backto the futurecc,

    Maybe i'm reading in too much when i read the bible?
    Not many people agree with me, When it says that women should dress in modest aparrel with shamefacidness and sobriety. I just took that to mean the way to dress. I have know way to judge and say what modest aparrel is. Or maybe the words have some kind of spiretual meaning. It just has not opened up to me. what do you think it means.

  115. "If a man have a stubborn and rebellious son... bring him unto the elders of his city... and stone him with stones, that he die so shalt thou put evil away from among you!"
    -Deuteronomy 21:18-21

    Yeah, the bible says lots of stuff, who lives my a Levitican code anymore? Jesus supposedly freed us from that kind of life.

    Oh, and if you want New Testament:
    "Suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man but to be in silence." - 1 Timothy 2:12

    Lets not even begin to discuss what this verse means - Ezekiel 23:20

    Mr. Smith says "Donkey what...?"

  116. My opinion is that that issues of modesty must be taken into context of the society of today. Or we all would be running around with robes like in the time Jesus walked. Males and females both.

    Furthermore, I have never looked at plumber's crack with anything other then eyerolls and threats to drop a quarter. No lust here.

    That is as lofty as my thinking is getting today folks!

  117. This conversation is not really apropriate . When we think about Gods holy word . We should consider the only true standard where we can consider our salvation. All scripture is given to us thru the Holy Spiret. The wise of this world Will always consider our faith foolish. I know that you do not think the bible is foolish but consider it Holy. " all scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 2 timothy3:16

  118. I have been doing some reading about the early origins of Laestadius and early founders and how the movement helped the Sami control their alchohol use and stealing.
    Concerning this addiction transfer idea; do others out there think there is a higher than average alcoholism or drug use among former laestadians? ie. a kind of reversion to addictive behaviors that may have inspired the strict ideology.

  119. Favorite Things, LLL Version

    Brimstone on harlots and pitchforks in drinkers
    Bright scorching sulfur and coals on their blinkers
    Blasted out state church and barbecued kings
    These are a few of my favorite things

    God-wasted pagans and crisp whiskey merchants
    Fried opera singers and lovers of folkdance
    All the great travesties damnation brings
    These are a few of my favorite things

    Rich people burning with cash in their pockets
    Catholic eyeballs that bake in their sockets
    Wicked old worldlies without any wings
    These are a few of my favorite things

    When they snub me
    When they won't turn
    When they make me mad
    I simply remember they're all gonna burn
    And then I don't feel so bad

  120. LLLreader sez: to the author of Favorite Things--write on!

  121. 15 But as he which hath called you is holy , so be ye holy in all manner of conversation;

    16 Because it is written , BE YE HOLY ; FOR I AM HOLY .

    1 Peter 1: 15-16

  122. LLLreader sez: Yes ept1, but you know, as humans with with a brain that provides us with the ability to laugh and joke--I think the Lord knows we will kid around sometimes and I don't think he takes offense. I know someone who has brain damage that has affected the part of the brain that controls emotions and reactions--and the personality of that man has become flat--no laughter or jokes--the brain isn't fully functional. I have a functional brain (and a somewhat strange sense of humor). I don't think God is mad at me about it.

  123. Just responding to "back-to-the future's" comment on laestadians and how they don't often see the "big picture" and finds it a bit hypocritical that they can be "pro-life" and "pro-war" at the same time.

    I do know a number of present church members in the IALC at least who do NOT think that way. My parents, for example, live in Wisconsin. They are one of the few church people who I have discussed politics with, in most cases politics were avoided. In the case of my parents' political views they are:

    (1) Pro-Choice. They would be devastated, if they thought any of their children or grandchildren, for example, had had an abortion. They are like the words of Mario Cuomo, "personally opposed, but deeply committed to a woman's right to choose for herself."

    (2) Anti-War, most of the time, but especially in this case, this Iraq War. They believe Bush and Chaney should be locked up and the key thrown away. Don't even start them on this.

    (3) AGAINST lawful prohibitation of gay marriage. Again, they would personally be devastated if any of their grandchildren or children were gay, but they'd never disown one of us either. They would definitely be against performing marriages of same-sex couples in the church, however. They do not believe government should decide on what constitutes a legal marriage based on religion. They recently voted AGAINST prohibiting legal marriage to gay couples in Wisconsin in a recent referendum.

    I think that their views show compassion for others and are indicative of deep thought, despite their LLL church membership and heritage.

  124. backtothefuturecc3/29/2007 10:23:00 AM

    Anon., that sounds to me like spiritual growth - meaning an ability to have your own views, yet not condeming those who don't share your personal values. That is allowing God to be the guide and judge. I think it would also bring people back to the Lord knowing their God is a forgiving God and able to understand things we may not.

  125. Just a comment on modest apparel for women. I have a few female acquaintences who have lived in the Middle East where women are legally obligated to dress in shapeless black robes, sometimes with only one eye uncovered, and where its actually DANGEROUS for women to walk around unescorted without risk of molestation. In this culture, it is both explicitly and implicitly implied that men are lustful creatures who have no control over themselves. In many cases, women who are raped forceably can be convicted of adultery or fornication, just for the sin of being a woman. They are taught men have no control over their own raging hormones so it must be the woman's fault if she is attacked.

    Compare this with Germany and the Nordic countries, where the message is a bit different. In many cases, public or semi-public nudity is not considered offensive for women or for men. Women (gasp) breastfeed openly. The incidence of rape is lowest in these countries than anywhere else in the world! Men are both told they MUST control their impulses and that its possible for them to do so.

    Let's bridge this topic, with, say, drinking problems among former LLL'ers. They are raised in a culture that tells them that they, too, have no control over alcohol, and if they once begin to drink, they will likely become alcoholics. This message is repeated over and over again throughout their whole lives. Think of how long it has taken many of us to disengage from the various messages we have become enculturated with and to begin thinking for ourselves. I don't know if anyone is ever completely FREE from the culture in which we were raised. So, the former LLL'er quits the church. He or she may have never seen responsible alcohol use modeled to them. They've been told all their lives if they once begin to drink, they have a high probability of abusing it. Genetic predisposition aside, I think the incidence of alcohol problems amongst former LLL'ers stems from a variety of sources, but our enculturation and the self-fulfilling prophesy in all likelihood has a lot to do with it.

    That being said, there is nothing in the Bible against using alcohol in moderation, and I don't fear (as much) as most other LLL'ers, but I don't use it either. I don't care for it and I can use all the brain cells I have all the time, as I have ADHD. My way to relax is with a good book and a hot sauna or a warm bath in the tub. My significant other, whose parents came from Finland, drinks a bit in front of me on occassion, and at first I really hated it. True to my culture, I worried he was an alcoholic, but time has shwon that he surely is not. He laughs at me and says that like a "true Finnish wife" I FEAR the bottle. I pondered a bit when he said that, because I'm the first "laestadian" he has ever known as he had not grown up around the LLL faith. So again, the fear of alcohol must have some wider influence amongst Finlanders than just amongst our LLL circles.

    I'll quit my rambling, for today at least.

  126. Thanks for the ramble concerning alcohol; it is in keeping with what I have observed. It is almost like there is a self destruct clause built into those who leave that is really hard to get rid of, though in the case of alcohol it is also an issue in larger Nordic culture. Before finding this site I played with the notion of starting one. Thank you, whoever did.

  127. Methinks we need a new topic!

    I wish I could think of one!

    Where is oalc anon when you need him? :-)

  128. I find it interesting how abstinence from alcohol was such a big deal and everything else seemed less important. I think it takes away from the idea that anything could be used in excess. Perhaps a better approach for LLL churches would be EVERYTHING in moderation, and less stress on only abstinence from alcohol. I can think of a lot of other things that can destroy a persons life or self esteem, such as malicious gossip, which I can recall ran rampant among the FALC church ladies.

  129. About the term spiritual abuse.
    I talked to my minister today (in a non-laestadian protestant church) and she said that the term was loaded and had to many meanings. Sometimes the intent is good, and the result negative. A good example of this would be the Missionary movement to both christianize and incorporate indian youth into mainstream anglo society. The intent may have been 'noble', the result far less.

  130. Come to think of it, LLL is credited with christianizing the Sami and helping them control the alcoholism rampant among their men. I think the Sami Laestadianized to this day have lower rates of alcoholism. Their native culture, however, was largely destroyed.

  131. ept1
    When you are in your car, flip the radio to FM 98.5 (KTIS) or AM 900 or AM 980.
    Go ahead... you don't have to tell anyone that you listened to a Christian radio station.

  132. anonymous ,
    I have listened to some of those stations , I have also been to other churches. I have been to weddings, funerals , etc. I have also gone to visit and listen at the llc. I have been to a catholic church. All i can say is that many are called but few are chosen. I have also been thru a diversity class thru work. So i guess i can say that i have a pretty good idea of what is offered out there.

  133. ept1,
    I do not think that you have a good idea as to "what is out there"
    Do you profuse that Jesus is your Lord and Savior? Do your co-workers know that you are a christian? One thing is see in the falc is people who go to church, then to work on Monday and no at work knows that they go to church at all. Basically they live a "worldy" life outside of the building.
    I heard a story about a falc preacher, who had a secular job and they people that he worked with did not know that he was leading a church on Sunday morning.

  134. I would have to say that i do profess my faith at work. For most of us we find that we fall into sin like the apostle Peter and sometimes deny our faith before unbelievers being afraid of ridicule or whatever. We are ever attached to our old adam. Of course we should speak to anyone concerning our faith , But in ourselves we our weak and frail. The Spiret is indeed willing but the flesh is weak.

  135. backtothefuturecc
    I truly feel for you for the words from ray about your clothes.
    however... when I think back on my own life and the stupid things that I have said and done(and don't remember), I hope that the people I have offended are not holding ill against me.

  136. It is interesting that many of you talk about social norms within all LLL churches. That is what they are social norms and they exist everywhere in the world. No matter where you go, wherever you grew up you can always be worrying about what others think of me. I come from FALC and still attend and intend to continue to do so. I do follow the norms for the most part. I don't wear makeup and I honestly would have no clue how to put it on. I'm sure I would look like a clown. Makeup doesn't interest me. I dress modestly because that's what I grew up in. I would feel uncomfortable wearing skimpy clothing. I do watch TV though but I don't think it is a sin.

    Here's an important lesson I think everyone should learn,"Don't worry about what others think of you." It is a hard lesson to learn. Especially hard for young ones. If a person treats you badly do not pay much attention to it, they are not a friend. A true friend will except you for you.

    P.S. I do not feel one bit controlled.