"laestadian, apostolic, gay, lgbtq, ex-oalc, ex-llc, llc, oalc, bunner" LEARNING TO LIVE FREE: What is Christian

Sunday, October 05, 2008

What is Christian

Today, Norway's largest newspaper published a story about a simple act of charity by a Christian whose faith many Christians, 20 years later, would not only question but deny, even claiming -- via nasty emails distorting the Book of Revelation -- that he represents the antiChrist.

The polygots among you may read the original here.

A Google-translated English version is below.

(Conservative blogger Andrew Sullivan responds to the article by saying "Christianity, unlike Christianism, doesn't mean controlling others, policing their lives and removing their rights. It can also mean just helping someone you don't know when you can.")

ÅSGÅRDSTRAND (VG): Mary was a newlywed and ready to move to Norway, but was stopped at the airport because she didn’t have enough money for the trip. Then a stranger turned up and paid for her.

Mary Menth Andersen was 31 years old at the time and had just married Norwegian Dag Andersen. She was looking forward to starting a new life in Åsgårdstrand in Vestfold with him. But first she had to get all of her belongings across to Norway. The date was November 2nd, 1988.

At the airport in Miami things were hectic as usual, with long lines at the check-in counters. When it was finally Mary’s turn and she had placed her luggage on the baggage line, she got the message that would crush her bubbling feeling of happiness.
-You’ll have to pay a 103 dollar surcharge if you want to bring both those suitcases to Norway, the man behind the counter said.

Mary had no money. Her new husband had travelled ahead of her to Norway, and she had no one else to call.

-I was completely desperate and tried to think which of my things I could manage without. But I had already made such a careful selection of my most prized possessions, says Mary.

Although she explained the situation to the man behind the counter, he showed no signs of mercy.

-I started to cry, tears were pouring down my face and I had no idea what to do. Then I heard a gentle and friendly voice behind me saying, That’s OK, I’ll pay for her.

Mary turned around to see a tall man whom she had never seen before.

-He had a gentle and kind voice that was still firm and decisive. The first thing I thought was, Who is this man?

Although this happened 20 years ago, Mary still remembers the authority that radiated from the man.

-He was nicely dressed, fashionably dressed with brown leather shoes, a cotton shirt open at the throat and khaki pants, says Mary.

She was thrilled to be able to bring both her suitcases to Norway and assured the stranger that he would get his money back. The man wrote his name and address on a piece of paper that he gave to Mary. She thanked him repeatedly. When she finally walked off towards the security checkpoint, he waved goodbye to her.

The piece of paper said ‘Barack Obama’ and his address in Kansas, which is the state where his mother comes from. Mary carried the slip of paper around in her wallet for years, before it was thrown out.

-He was my knight in shining armor, says Mary, smiling.

She paid the 103 dollars back to Obama the day after she arrived in Norway. At that time he had just finished his job as a poorly paid community worker* in Chicago, and had started his law studies at prestigious Harvard university.

In the spring of 2006 Mary’s parents had heard that Obama was considering a run for president, but that he had still not decided. They chose to write a letter in which they told him that he would receive their votes. At the same time, they thanked Obama for helping their daughter 18 years earlier.

In a letter to Mary’s parents dated May 4th, 2006 and stamped ‘United States Senate, Washington DC’, Barack Obama writes:

‘I want to thank you for the lovely things you wrote about me and for reminding me of what happened at Miami airport. I’m happy I could help back then, and I’m delighted to hear that your daughter is happy in Norway. Please send her my best wishes. Sincerely, Barack Obama, United States senator’.

The parents sent the letter on to Mary.

This week VG met her and her husband in the café that she runs with her friend Lisbeth Tollefsrud in Åsgårdstrand.

-It’s amazing to think that the man who helped me 20 years ago may now become the next US president, says Mary delightedly.

She has already voted for Obama. She recently donated 100 dollars to his campaign.
She often tells the story from Miami airport, both when race issues are raised and when the conversation turns to the presidential elections.

-I sincerely hope the Americans will see reason and understand that Obama means change, says Mary.


  1. Well then, he couldn't be the anti-Christ, could he. After reading this heart-wrenching story, I think he's the best thing since sliced bread :-).

    Don't you love those Obama videos that have children chanting his name? That warms my heart too.

    Yikes, looks like I'm not having a good Monday morning! Better have another cup of coffee.

  2. Children chanting Obama's name? Doesn't do anything for me. Neither does "drill, baby, drill."

    You might be interested in this article in Time magazine that explores the McCain camp's manipulation of evangelical fears:

    "A new TIME poll finds that the most conservative Evangelicals are the least enthusiastic about McCain's candidacy. Convincing them that Obama does have two horns and a tail might be the best way of getting them to vote."


  3. The anti-Christ is someone whom many religious folks are very familiar with. Many figures in history have been thought to be the anti-Christ, but we don't know who this person is, or if there will be one. I think the anti-Christ is a belief system which has been with us since Christ was born, (re: King Herod) and which will gain prominence in the 'last days'. Are we in the last days? We can't know for sure. Many of the things we see happening are nothing new - it's just that we, as Americans, have been protected and sheltered from many of the evils which have been perpetrated in many countries around the world..where evil is everywhere, and where death and destruction is used by the state against its own inhabitants.

    McCain is not the ideal candidate, but he's the candidate we have. Obama is not the ideal candidate either, but he's the one the Democrats have. More important, to me, are the ideals and values of the political party, neither of which are perfect. All we can do is see which party reflects our worldview more closely. The Republican party does that for me, even though it's far from perfect, as I said.

    I am very disillusioned with government right now, as much of the country seems to be. They passed that bailout bill and yet this morning the Dow is diving. It was not a fix. I'm angry that the Republicans are not pointing out that the Democrats in the Congress resisted any attempts to reform and regulate Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. Greed and corruption is bringing our country down. And the Democrats blame the 'last eight years', as if they had no part in it. I know, because I've written to my congresspeople and senators, and this was the response.

    Maybe it will be for the better. Maybe this will cause us to refocus, to reflect on what's important. I will give Barack Obama credit for what he did for this woman so many years ago. Those are the good things that we Republicans can learn from the ideals of the Democrat party - To help those less fortunate. This is commendable, no matter where it's found.

    As far as evangelicals or anyone else being manipulated - this idea is another thing that irritates me. The media and Washington assume that people are so easily swayed. I just don't think it's true. The electorate is underestimated. We are the people, hear us roar. We will, one of these days, and throw out all those bums in Washington :-)

    end of sermon for today. laundry awaits. :-)

  4. Troll here.

    So what else is new ?

    "A power has risen up in the
    government greater than the
    people themselves,consisting
    of many and various and powerful
    interests,combined into one
    mass,and held together by the
    cohesive power of the vast
    surplus in the banks."

    John C. Calhoun
    Speech (May 27,1836)

  5. I remember my grandmother, one of the best people I ever met, a staunch Laestadian, who feared when George W. Bush was first elected that HE was the anti-Christ. She and grandpa tended to vote Democrat.

    --Stranger in a Strange Land

  6. ...and Ijumped says hmmmm.
    If the anti-Christ will lead us into self-destruction and ruination, I'd have to say that Grandma was one smart cookie!

    But don't worry, the fundamentals of the economy are sound! Maybe I can now retire when I'm 80! That would be better for the country anyhow. Uncle Sam would get lots more tax dollars out of my hide that way.

    I guess I have nothing left for this election but flippancy, because I am so tired! But, on a serious note, I believe this current mess is the result of poor policy, deregulation, ignorance and greed on BOTH sides of that "aisle" they keep talking about. Remember, there are no tests, lie detectors, integrety or morality meters, or any other magic machines of accountability that one must be subjected to before one is elected to higher office in this country. And even when there is "proof in the pudding" (think Barry) and someone has been caught red-handed, they can still get elected!
    And another thing, who among us knows for certain that we would not be tempted to get our brother-in-law fired when he was making our sister's life hell? Did she go to far? Absolutely! Do I get why she alledgedly did it? Absolutely! Am I voted for the Mccain/Palin ticket? Absolutely not! I think that Obama/Biden will be better for the country as a whole.