"laestadian, apostolic, gay, lgbtq, ex-oalc, ex-llc, llc, oalc, bunner" LEARNING TO LIVE FREE: Coping with Laestadian social situations

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Coping with Laestadian social situations

bunless writes:
Question I have been dying to ask the team. Not sure where to post it so I'll stick it here for lack of a better location. Now that you have left your LLL community how do you handle the customs - the secret handshake, asking forgiveness and all that. I just find it so darn awkward. I don't want to convey that I am still a participant in their religion. Yet what's the harm in wishing someone Gods peace? And what the heck, if someone wants me to forgive them, sure, I can be forgiving. And should I teach my kids the Gspeece greeting? My spouse? So that they fit in? So that they don't appear to be rude? What the heck! Please tell me the best way to deal with this. I have done so well creating a new life for myself and accepting my OALC history and family but I just can't nail this one down.

How do you deal with things like this once you've left Laestadianism? If you're in a social situation with Laestadians, how do you handle those awkward moments?



  1. I tell my non-OALC family what is being said to them (God's Peace) and tell them they are free to respond in kind or not whatever they wish. When I have someone do the handshake and Gspeece to me I say, "The peace of god be with you too!" I say this sincerely not sarcastically and attempt to make eye contact. that is after all my prayer for them.

  2. When I have someone come to shake my hand and say Gspeace I just shake their hand, but don't say anything...or I'll say "hi" or "bye". I think that if I were to say "God's Peace" back, they would think that I've "repented" because they only say "their greeting" to people in their church. This way, they don't get any false hope that I'm back in their church.

  3. In the 30 years since I left, I have used a variety of responses, from a smile to a simple echo to a short "and to you" to a carefully-enunciated "may the peace of god be with you also."

    Now I just go with the flow.

    I consider gspeacing a cultural gesture,
    like a yoga class "namaste," or cheek kissing from an Italian friend, or "Lutheran side hugs."

    If there is awkwardness, I let it pass. Awkwardness is normal between people of different cultures. :-)

    My husband does in Rome as the Romans do. Our kids prefer silence. That's okay with me, as long as they say please and thank you. :-)

    Put yourself on a cloud for a moment, looking down at the 6.6 billion people on earth, many of them greeting each other right now, in at least 2,796 languages and a bewildering variety of gestures (bows, shakes, nods, stomps, hugs, blinks, pats, fingersnaps).

    Kinda puts gspeace in context.

    Here's an earlier post on the same topic: http://extoots.blogspot.com/2005/06/kiss-tap-shake-nod.html

  4. Yeah from that perspective the Gspeece is a minor thing. My husband has tended to convert it into the standard American "How's it goin'" or "Nice to meet you" handshake. So far my kids just act confused and then move on.

    But how do you handle the asking of forgivness or asking for prayers or those other moments where it is customary to engage highly emotional interactions. Those can be tough to dodge. To engage would be an act of repentance, but refraining - is awkward, if not rude. This is challenging.

    Looking over those earlier posts - OALCers do typically withold the greeting from who they assume to be "worldly" - if based on nothing more than being a woman with short hair. How seriously messed up is that? Talk about judging by appearance. And here I am putting all this mental energy into worrying that I might be the rude one.

  5. If anyone asks me to pray for them or someone else, I say yes I will. And I do. Prayer isn't only for one sect, one people, or only for the saved. That completely misses what prayer is supposed to be. We are asked to pray for everything. Why not for our neighbors needs too?
    As for forgiveness, you could just say to them that with their repenting, God has already forgiven them because they believe in the Son. Leave it at that. If they know you are not "one of them" and they are asking you to forgive them, they may be searching themselves.

  6. As for forgiveness, it depends on what is being repented and by whom and how, in word or deed or both.

    As we've discussed on this blog before, there is a spiritual-growth-inhibiting naivete to the Laestadian repentance ritual that requires nothing of the wrongdoer beyond a few words.

    Certainly "making it right" with someone requires more than crying on your victim's shoulder and repeating a mantra.

    Atonement is not talked about in the OALC, no doubt because it would be considered a "work." Atonement requires action that helps heal the wound in a relationship.

    In the OALC, victims -- I kid you not -- are actually urged to repent to their abusers, so the abuser will "have the opportunity" to repent. Get the logic?

    Twisted, to say the least.

    After leaving, it took me a long time (and counseling) to realize that words of contrition don't carry any weight unless they are followed by actions, by acts of compassion, over time.

    I have said "I forgive you," "I'm working on forgiving you," "thank you for apologizing" and simply "there, there" -- depending. But actions (mine and theirs) are what matter.

  7. Very good answers.

    How many times have I walked into a room of OALC and was met with blank (disapproving) stares with no one even getting up to offer a "normal" handshake much less the "secret" handshake. I am normally a pretty confident person but I am now thinking my feeling so self-conscious about my actions is pretty normal given that kind of treatment.

  8. There was a secret handshake??? Maybe this explains why I never fit in. ;-)

    Seriously though, how do you do the secret handshake?

  9. OK, I'm gonna do a little gentle spanking here. I have always continued to return the greeting "God's Peace" to anyone who offers it to me. What more beautiful thing can you wish to someone else? I think that deliberately changing the wording to "the Peace of Christ be with you also" or something else is -- why? -- just because you are no longer Laestadian and are keeping yourself deliberately set apart in some way? -- and the subliminal message is pretty clear. What can possibly be offensive about saying "God's Peace" to someone? Wishing the peace of God to someone is not exclusively Laestadian, although yes, they practice it as the norm -- one of the better parts of those faiths, even if it gets slurred into "Speace". I seem to recall young boys doing that sort of deliberately, probably to indicate how cool they were! I think it's a young folks thing, just like referring to themselves as "Toots". No harm, no foul. I remember as a kid having old Finns come up to me who definitely were not OALC but I don't know what they might have been, saying "Jumalan Terve". I would never have thought of not returning that blessing just because they went to a different church, nor would I have changed it just because "I'm not one of THEM."

    I told my wife what the greeting was when we got married, and when our kids came along, I told them as well -- and if they wanted to return the greeting, that would be fine. They never were uncomfortable with that.

    If someone came up to me today and asked for forgiveness, I would certainly assure them to believe their sins are forgiven -- because I believe Jesus paid their bill as well as mine and yours. In fact, that used to be the old standard
    canned" wording of the response, both in Finnish and English, that "Believe your sins have been washed away in Jesus' name and precious blood" -- "Usko Velje (eli Sisko) eta teijan synnit on otettu pois, Herran Jesukseen nimessa ja totinen veressa." I never said or heard anyone say in the "altar call" that "I forgive you..." I can certainly testify to anyone that they should believe their sins are forgiven and they should be free, without it compromising my beliefs at all.

    ...and a request to be remembered in prayer? How wonderful to be asked, and you're darned right I will try to do that. We all need to pray for each other!


  10. Well, Cvow, I really don't get why you are critical of saying (in response to Gspeace), "The peace of God be with you also". It isn't changing anything, just acknowledging what they said and perhaps letting them know that those of us who have left Laestadianism have not left God. After living the idea of superiority BECAUSE of being Laestadian (it is an idea that IS perpetrated by the exclusive doctines) why would you attribute that reason for choosing those words? Peace to you also.

  11. I suppose we all think about these things from our own knothole to at least a certain degree. In my case, every single one of my old OALC friends knows that I am no longer OALC. The vast majority of them are aware that I am Catholic. My close relatives certainly know all of the details. Almost invariably, when they see me, they will greet me with "God's Peace". For me to respond with something else would really seem to me to be deliberately demonstrating something to the tune of "I'm different, I'm no longer one of you (even though I know you know that), I have a new and superior way of greeting you." Note that I am definitely not saying there is anything wrong with using a different greeting. What I have a problem with is someone not being willing to use "God's Peace" for some unknown reason when you know it is the traditional greeting among friends -- and certainly is as valid and good a greeting as anything else you came up with. To not respond in some similar fashion is an entirely different thing. I think if someone came up to me and greeted me with "God's Peace" and I mumbled something along the lines of "Howdy, how y'all doin'" would be denying that I am a Christian and unwilling to extend that Peace to a fellow Christian -- albeit with different stripes.

    Of course, I know that I am extremely lucky in having OALC friends that are a lot more tolerant and understanding than many of you. As I'ver said elsewhere, the OALCer's that do not greet me never were my real friends anyway, so I don't concern myself with them.

  12. Cvow,I see your point about saying "the peace of God be with you" when greeted with "G'speace". And after growing up hearing what they say about others who have left their church (how we wear makeup to set ourselves apart..and so on..)I can just imagine what they would say about that. I think it's different for all of us because we're all in different situations. All of my relatives/friends from the LLC know that I'm not in their church anymore, and they don't try greet me. The only time I would be in that situation would be if one of my young cousins who doesn't know who I am would come to say "God'speace", and in the past I've shook their little hand and said "bye". (usually they're so young that they don't know how to say the greeting themselves yet..). That way the people around me don't think that I've rejoined the church. Maybe it's different in the OALC than the LLC...In the LLC they don't give the greeting to anyone but the others in their church, and they'll even apologize for saying "God's Peace" to someone who is not in their church....I've had that before. I was 16 and at their summer services standing by my mom and one of her old friends came up to say hi. She went to greet me and I shook her hand but didn't say anything, and she looked a little confused, then realized that I wasn't "beleiving", then said "sorry".
    So, do OALCers use the greeting exclusively among themselves, or is it shared with outsiders? just curious...

  13. CVOW brings up a good distinction. Your actions and interactions with OALC (or whichever LLL community) are influenced by where you are at in the departure process and the tolerance level of the OALC subcommunity you are dealing with. To put it bluntly, some OALC groups are nicer than others.

    That said, I now TOTALLY agree with CVOW. If I don't respond with the "God's Peace" greeting, it's like saying I am not a Christian. And that would totally give fuel to their claim of Christian exclusivity. Which is the LAST thing I want to promote.

    So for the record, I now plan to fully engage in the exchange of God's Peace and encourage my spouse and children to do the same.

  14. Cvow, I was not referring to an altar call (or movement), as this is something that I have not encountered since for 30 years. But I have been asked to forgive specific stuff. I respond as I would to my children apologizing for e.g, playing with a Sharpie on the brand new sofa. There is a context that comes into play. One hopes.

    Next time you are offered the "secret handshake," take note of the position of the offered palm. Social scientists have had hey-days with dominance/equality/submission signals (facing down/sideways/up) and so can you!

  15. I guess never too old to learn new things. I spent 35 years or so in the OALC and never knew anything about any secret handshake!

    Free, thanks for clarifying the forgiveness thing. That makes perfect sense! (See, I do agree with you once in awhile. Tha tmight be it for this year though...:-))

  16. I also just go with the flow, as long as I can still be truthful.

    I'll return God's Peace, but rarely initiate it.

    When I've gone to services with my family and it's communion Sunday, I'll just observe from the pew because I don't feel I can partake in anything other than a cultural adventure, and I don't think that shows respect for them as people.

    When being asked for forgiveness, I treat it just like any other apology.

    Like it was said above, interaction between cultures can make some awkward situations, but a good-faith effort at connecting usually is enough to smooth over the awkwardness.

    I heard that some groups clasp wrists instead of hands (they overshoot the hand and grab the wrist instead). Anyone heard of doing that?

  17. th, the OALC is different from the LLC in that regard. In the OALC it's totally ok to greet "non-believers" with God's peace. In fact, I've even heard it encouraged. They don't see it as a recognition of someone's faith but it is seen simply as a greeting. They say that if the peace doesn't belong to the person greeted with God's peace, the peace will return to the sender. I think it says something similar even in the Bible, could it be when Jesus is sending the apostles as missionaries?


    Free2beme, I never heard about the "secret handshake" either. I'll keep an eye on it in the future. :)


    Cvow, I totally agree with your approach about greeting with God's peace as well as forgiveness. I can't see any reason why I shouldn't wish God's peace to people. But I do feel more comfortable with testifying in the Orthodox way: "God forgives you, and I forgive you, too." or "May God forgive you, and I forgive you, too". Well, I guess the Orthodox way of kissing on both cheeks as a sign of forgiveness would be a bit too much for some... ;)

  18. I've heard that about greeting with God's peace returning to the sender if not received. My husband is a former IALCer and became an ALCer when we married, and we are both active ALC members today. The greeting is not a big deal to me either way, but it is a nice gesture especially in church on Sunday morning, or when seeing someone you have not seen for a very long time - always vigorously with a big smile, eye contact, and usually a hug for good measure! We are quite obviously passed over at IALC family gatherings since we do not belong to that church, and that's okay too.. I understand where it comes from. Years ago it was quite disconcerting though, to be considered an unbeliever even though belonging to a Laestadian church where we have/had such a reputation for being so hyperreligious and stoic. Kinda makes you feel like a sinner or something? It's a weird feeling at first!

  19. Asking forgiveness is not routinely practiced except as part of communion or between two people saying they are sorry to each other. That's how it is at least in my experience.

  20. In the LLC, it it taught that it is wrong to greet "God's Peace" to anyone but a fellow LLC member.
    I am currently in the LLC and have been in situations where everyone in a room is an LLC member except one or two, and I have accidentally one of them with "God's Peace" as I was leaving. I felt guilty, like I had sinned, for greeting them when I clearly knew that they were not of the LLC. Now, I look back at those few incidences that I did that and ask myself why I should have felt guilty like I'd sinned. Why does the LLC teach it is wrong to greet an "unbeliever" with God's Peace? Shouldn't the LLC wish God's Peace on all mankind LLC or not? I wonder if excluding non LLC members is actually just another way of subtly letting the "unbeliever" that they are wrong and not one of God's chosen people ie. the LLC?

  21. Growing up in the ALC, there were some that believed "God's Peace" was reserved for only other ALCers. However, I think many of them would say it to anyone associated with the tradition, even if loosely. I know that the few times I've been back over the years I've been greeted with "God's Peace" even though it's pretty obvious I don't attend an ALC church anymore. If someone greets me that way I'll reciprocate. However I won't intiate it. I usually prefer "Good Morning."

    I suppose some folks might take that the wrong way, as if I'm implying that they aren't Christian because I didn't greet them with the "Christian" greeting. Well, that's their problem and not mine. Having few ties, I can afford not to care though.

    In my own church, we pass the peace as part of the liturgy, and I'll use "God's Peace" there, interchanging it with "Peace be with you" or just plain "Peace" to add some variety to what I say to my pew-mates. "The Peace of the Lord Be with You" seems a bit cumbersome sometimes. "God's Peace" is better than "Piece of the Lord" (that doesn't some until later, in communion. ;-) I like to think that I'm taking the old exclusive greeting and giving it to everybody, no strings attached.

    I'll keep on the lookout for that handshake next time I'm among ALCers. I had never noticed a possible dominance/submission play before, but I'll keep an eye out!

  22. Well perhaps the OALC is a bit different than some other branches. What I refer to as the "secret handshake" is their God's Peace greeting. Every time they encounter or depart from each other, inside church or out, they shake hands with everyone and say "Gspeece." So for example if a family was coming over for dinner, upon arriving each visiting family member would shake hands with every resident and say "Gspeece" to each one of them. Upon leaving at the end of dinner, the same thing happens. Everyone goes and says "Bye Gspeece" to each other and shakes hands. Even young children participate. The same happens in Church, or if you bump into each other in a public place, such as a mall or airport. So if you are at the grocery store and you see folks exchanging "Gspeece" - you know they are OALC. This is the distinguishing factor of OALC that I call the "secret handshake" that publicly acknolwedges that they are an exclusive group - they don't exchange the Gspeece with the store clerk, for example. Or anyone not appearing to be OALC. Yes, they have a certain distingushing appearance... and can usually tell each other apart quite readily. They claim to sense Christianity but really the hairstyles and lack of makeup are the primary indicators. There's a reason they are referred to as "bunheads." And thus you can derive how I choose my blog identity.
    The unique thing that Free brought up is the weak and passive nature of the secret handshake. It's not like the hearty businessman's handshake. It is more of a weak hand grasp, if nothing more than a soft hesitant tap of fingers. When my husband first encountered the weak handshake he thought it truly bizarre. I mean if you are going to wish someone God's Peace, why do it half assed and effeminately. But occasionally the male OALC will put a bit more "umph" into it.
    So this is the secret handshake. Perhaps other branches only do this during church or not at all.

  23. Hi Ilmarinen, welcome back. I've not heard of the wrist clapping gesture. Perhaps someone in the Laestadian Hip Hop or wrestling communities can comment? :-)

    Here is a quote from a blog explaining the results of a handshake study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

    As to how "firm handshake" corresponded to the measured personality factors, what they found is that it does correlate with factors such as "openness to new experience" and extraversion. Those who did not have a "firm handshake" were found to score higher on measures of "neuroticism" (which means that they tend to be more prone to anxiety) and to display more "shyness." In other words, from your handshake, people can learn whether or not you are shy and anxious, and whether you are "open" and outgoing.

  24. Anon 3:49

    I'm in the LLC and I've thought the exact same thing. What's wrong with wishing anyone, LLC or not, God's Peace? It's a greating of love. Can't we love all those we associate with, LLC or not?

    Who wouldn't want to wish the Peace of God on the whole world? We tend to be a bit self righteous I think. I know the greeting of unbelievers was a big issue at the time of the heresy. Maybe being stingy with God's Peace is a cultural reaction to those times.

    I'm sure Jesus had no qualms wishing the Peace of God on some of the whores, thieves, etc. that he preached to.

  25. I do not like those weak handshakes. It's too bad that these outward things became so important. As Free has mentioned, we need context, and it's so easy to forget where we are in context to other faiths and in humanity. Otherwise there can be a seriously wrong-leaning tilt which leads to going through the motions and nothing more.

    This hymn says it well: My faith has found a resting place, not in a manmade creed; I trust the ever living One, That He for me will plead. I need no other evidence, I need no other plea; It is enough that Jesus died and rose again for me.

  26. Bunless,
    What you described as the "secret handshake" is the exact same in the LLC church I grew up in. They greet only other members of the church (no outsiders) with a handshake and "gspeace". They do this in church, in their homes, or wherever they happen to see eachother. I've seen in public where they don't shake eachothers hand, but still say the greeting very quietly so no "outsiders" can hear, like they're ashamed of it or something.
    At "haps" when everyone was going around saying "gspeace" I used to pay attention to how everyone shook. (out of boredom) Some people would barely touch your hand, or they'd keep their hand stiff, and others would give it a good, hard shake. I would say it depends on the person..

  27. In my experience in the OALC, we only greeted church members with Gods Peace. I have seen oalcers visiting from other localities hesitate to greet local church members with the greeting if they had short hair or didn't know them. Church members greeted each other with Gods peace when entering each others house and with good-by and Gods Peace when leaving. If a "non-believer" was present, he or she would have been greeted with "Hello/good-by only.

    As for the wrist handshake, I have seen this many times. It was not something that was taught but was done on an individual basis, usually between teenage boys.

    The term "secret handshake" was coined because the Gods Peace and handshake greeting was reserved for oalc church members only, hence the term "Secret".

    If I attend an oalc funeral and am greeted with Gods Peace, I respond with Gods Peace also. Why should I do anything else? After all, I was one who argued that all people in church should be greeted the same when I was there.
    I remember attending a church gathering at Elders time and the question that went around the room for an hour was: Should we greet un-believers with Gods Peace when they visit our church. The final answer fron a missionary preacher was yes. However, in practice, this was rarely done!
    Funny, even after being away from the oalc for a long time, when writing about my experiences there, the old terminology comes right back!

    Speace, 4eyes

  28. My husband says "Gusandiet" (spelling?) like a sneeze. I find it very amusing!

    Personally I want to acknowledge they wish that for me, and wish it back, but with enough sincerity, enthusiasm, eye contact, articulation and different choice of words, so that its not thier "gspeese-speak" and its still known Im not "repented and converted back to thier ways"

    Perhaps something like "Thank you! May the peace of God be with you too!" said with a big, sincere smile and eye contact.

  29. I can remember at the young kids gatherings- the question of how to handle "worldlies" and whether or not one should or should not say "gspeese" to worldlies was brought up quite often; and with different resonses. I believe there is a sincere desire to not offend "worldlies" either by excluding them, or by including them and there seemed to be just as much confusion on thier side as the "worldlies"

  30. I was in the LLC, and since I've left, no one from there has greeted me with God's Peace. I think it was explained to me that if an outsider was greeted with God's Peace, it was the same as saying that even though the outsider was an "unbeliever" that they were still acceptable. This person telling me said that it would be considered a sin to do so.

    On a little more peculiar note, at my mom's funeral (she was LLC, but my brother and I no longer were), an older woman approached my brother's wife and asked her if she could say God's Peace to her. My SIL said that she could, but that it wouldn't be meant the same as they meant it because she didn't believe the same way.

    The woman encouraged her to say it, and after she did, the woman said, "Well I certainly can't say it back to you because you aren't a believer." And she turned around and marched away.

    I was just scratching my head in total astonishment. I have no idea what that was supposed to achieve. Go figure.

    Since they do feel so strongly about that, I simply say Hello or Goodbye when that happens, for example when someone doesn't know who I am and simply assumes that I am one of them.

  31. What I can't beleive is that someone would treat the family of the deceased that way at a funeral. Wow!

  32. OALC members are not discouraged from saluting people on the outside...to think of it in the right way I would not say I can judge who is on the outside...so if the opportunity arises that I salute a mixed group of OALC members and non-OALC members I greet everyone and especially make sure to clearly anunciate the salutation to non-members. It's not always such a easy thing...I don't want to make anyone uncomfortable or feel left out. If there is a sure way of turning someone away it would be to exclude someone. I think the carelessness or lack of clearly anunciating the greeting of Gods Peace comes from the fact that it is so frequently done. This is not the way it should be, but as it goes with humans things are never perfect. I don't believe this salutation to be a "secret handshake" and if you are paying attention to exactly how the handshake is done then you are reading into it way to much. It is just a simple, honest greeting of Gods Peace....the highest greeting you can give to someone I believe. As with anything, if you go looking to find fault with the OALC you will find it...we are not perfect people or anywhere near it. In many ways we make mistakes and set poor examples. Much of this website is dedicated to finding fault with people. Again, we are not perfect people...we only strive to follow that perfect doctrine of Christ on this narrow road to Heaven. I only know for myself that I have that inner peace and would hope and pray that each of you could have that Gods Peace also.

  33. I have read that secret or exclusive handshakes or code words only amongst members is a cult characteristic. Its a way of determining who's in the group and who is not. Not saying the LLL churches are that, but they have alot of characteristics of one. I believe their reasoning for saying Gods Peace only amongst members of the church is because of a verse in the bible. Can't remember what it is, its says something like don't greet unbelievers with Gods speed. So with them thinking they are the only Christians, I guess thats where they get it from. Anyone outside of their church is unbelievers, so therefore not suitable to greet Gods Peace with.

  34. Anon 8:12, your understanding is exactly the same as mine -- (and thank you for participating here). I know that when I was still in the OALC, I never knew it to be forbidden to wish anyone "God's Peace" as it is a beautiful sentiment.

    When I go to funeral or other function at an OALC church (that's about the only time I attend anymore), I often initiate saying "God's Peace", especially when I see old friends, of whom I still have many. I've never seen it as anything secret, handshake or otherwise. They know I am no longer OALC, but we are still old friends, and what nicer thing could we say to someone else -- especially someone with whom you share a heritage -- than to use an old comfortable blessing.

    This is in no way an exclusive thing to the Laestadian churches either. I have exchanged "Jumalan Terve" with other Finns who did not belong to the church, many of the mainstream American churches have a "sign of peace" within their service, and even in the Middle East, where I have had the good fortune to do a bit of traveling, my Arab friends greet me with "Aasalaam, Alaikum" -- "Peace be with you".

  35. I find this discussion of saluting VERY interesting. I am still uncomfortable with it after all these years. In our local congregation, it was required to go around to everyone in church and salute. I felt it was a ritual, not heartfelt, and the implication was it was a sin NOT to salute. I hated it.

    I love your explanation, Cvow, and will use your approach next time I am visiting family.

    My mother still reprimands me when I am in her community and fail to perform the necessary Gspeace to everyone in the vicinity. Still a ritual, still a sin not to...


  36. Speaking as an outsider who married an ex ALOC who is, with the exception of her mother, the only that has left the church. I use to try to respect the customs and do the "salute" and show that I respect their choice of religion, but since I don't get the same respect back in my family’s choice of being real Christians I have chosen not to continue down that path. I can tell in the last year that my in-laws speak to me less and shoot daggers at me when I come into the house not do the silly Gspeece, or what ever they are trying to say. My real problem will be daughters who are starting to get old enough to ask questions about this hand shake that people keep on trying to get them to say. How I am suppose to explain to my daughters that that is something we don't do and won't do? Don’t get me going, I have whole other issue with them going to school with the local ALOC both their cousins and others.

  37. My husband always responds to 'Gods Peace' with a cheerful, "Thank you"! They always seem confused when he does it, as if they do not even understand what they are saying.

  38. Anon 8:12 - I really appreciated your post. I know my sense of humor on this blog probably seems terribly inappropriate at times. I'll admit my description of the "secret handshake" was perhaps a bit more condescending that it needed to be. I have always appreciated the sincere God's Peace greetings - ESPECIALLY when I received the greeting in a heartfelt way from an OALC who knew beyond a doubt that I was no longer a member yet still extended me the greeting. Like CVOW I have old friends that go way back, that I still interact with in the OALC. And while the general OALC population tends to throw the departed members under the rug... there are many kind souls who don't.

  39. The Bible verse the LLC uses as a support for their belief that one should not greet "non-believers" with God's peace is 2 John 1:10, which KJV translates "don't wish him God speed". The Greek wording is "mi ... khairein", which means simply "don't greet". Actually some Bible translations translate it "don't wish welcome".

    In any case, the interpretation that one is not allowed to say "God's peace" to a "non-believer" contradicts Luke 10, in which Jesus tell the apostles to greet with peace when they enter a house, and if the son of peace is not in the house, the peace will return to the apostles.

  40. You know free, I can relate to your post regarding words needing to be supported by actions. I never thought of it as exoalc related, but I have always made sure that when someone asks apologizes I say "thank you" and NEVER "its ok" I have taught my kids that from a very early age also - if it was "ok" there would be no need to apologize and we never want to send that message when someone is rightfully apologizing.

    Its still so amazing to me that each of us has had such a different experiene within so many different branches of laestadiasm. You would think there is a whole world of churches out there :p And its so nice to feel more at peace with current oalc members I "left behind" and less anger and resentment; the leaving process is proceeding quite well.