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

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


One of my favorite quotes is by Lao Tzu: "He who knows enough is enough will always have enough." Here is author Bill McKibben on the subject:

Last evening, on the longest day of the year, I took a walk in a meadow near my home.

At the edge of the meadow a path opened into the woods, and I followed it perhaps a hundred yards to the bank of a small stream where I rested on a rock and watched the brook flow. Then I walked back.

Nothing spectacular happened. No large animal jumped out to demonstrate its majesty. The flora was beautiful, but unremarkable: buttercups, Queen Anne's lace, daisies, lupines. The sky didn't crackle with summer lightning; the sunset was only streaks of purple, some rosy glow on the underbellies of the clouds. A few mosquitoes made their presence known. It was simply a lovely night.

And simply the sort of scene that we have evolved with for hundreds of thousands of years, that has made us who we are, that we can't be fully human, or at least fully sane, without. The sort of scene whose absence in our lives is now making us slowly crazy. If there is a pertinent modern question, it is “how much is enough?” The consumer societies we have created posit that the only possible answer is “More.” And so in pursuit of more we have turned ourselves into tubby folk, raised the temperature of the planet one degree with a further five degrees in prospect, countenanced the ever deeper gulfs between rich and poor, and so on. And in process made ourselves . . . happy?

But say you're in a meadow, surrounded by wildflowers. Do you find yourself thinking, “They could do with some more wildflowers over there”? Do you glance up at the mountains on the horizon and think, “Some more mountains would be nice”? Do you lie on the rock by the brook thinking, “This brook needs more rocks”? Does the robin in the tree chide herself for not tripling the size of her nest? I think not. Nature schools us in sufficiency–its aesthetic and its economy demonstrate “enoughness” at every turn. Time moves circularly through the natural world–next spring there will be wildflowers again. Not more wildflowers: second quarter output for 2005 will show no year-on-year gain. Growth only replaces, since the planet is already accomplishing all the photosythesis that is possible. It offers the great lesson of being simultaneously abundant and finite.

Interdependent, too. The emergent science of ecology is easily summed up: everything's connected. Field biologists using sensitive detectors have discovered that the needles of trees near Alaskan rivers owe their nitrogen to the carcasses of salmon that die along the banks, the same salmon that feed the bears whose pawing aerates the soil that . . .

We know now that this is true, but interconnection is anathema to a consumer notion of the world, where each of us is useful precisely to the degree that we consider ourselves the center of everything. We believe that pleasure comes from being big, outsized, immortal; now our zealots imagine genetically engineering us for greater greatness. But the testimony of the rest of creation is that there is something to be said for fitting in.

And because of that, the natural world offers us a way to think about dying, the chief craziness for the only species that can anticipate its own demise. If one is a small part of something large, if that something goes on forever, and if it is full of beauty and meaning, then dying seems less shocking. Which undermines about half the reason for being a dutiful consumer, for holding aging forever at bay. Six months from now, on the shortest night of the year, this field will be under two feet of snow. Most of what I can see will be dead or dormant. And six months after that if will be here again as it is tonight.

Advertising, hyper-consumerism, ultra-individualism – these are designed to make you crazy. Nature, like close-knit human community, is designed to help you stay sane. You needn't be in the wilderness to feel in balm: a park, a container garden on the patio, a pet dog, a night sky, a rainstorm will do. For free.

– Bill McKibbon, originally published in Resurgence, March/April 2005


  1. Very nice, true, and timely. I've been trying to get off the "more stuff" merry-go-round for a little while, now. I'm successful in most arenas, but my downfall is scrapbooking. LOL

    But even going digital can save some "stuff" there. Conservation. It's a good thing. Thanks for the great post.

  2. This is off topic but of interest to many of us. The film, "The Kautokeino Rebellion" (dealing with the 1852 Sami uprising in Norwegian Lapland) will be shown on May 26 and 28, 7:30 p.m. at the Oak Street Theater, 309 Oak Street, S.E., Minneapolis, MN. The film was recently featured at the Minneapolis/St. Paul International Film Festival where it won the Fest "audience prize", beating 146 other titles. Also being shown this week is another Finnish film, "Border 1918", May 27 at 7:30 p.m. at the same theater. For further details call 612-331-7563.

  3. Here is a related question for OALC'ers:

    Do people who belong to the OALC in the USA based on family or heriditary roots identify as Finnish, or do you know of congregations/individuals who identify as Swedish, Sami, or Norwegian? If you were to assign a percentage what would it look like?

    On the basis of what I know of most Laestadian groups in the USA, my experience is that most identify as Finnish (with the exception of those who have converted). I heard recently there are congregations in the USA who identify as Norwegian--not sure if that is true.

  4. Daisy, like my grandmother, I am a bonafide packrat (or "collector" as my daughter prefers, the poor girl inherited the gene).

    Living simply is a daily challenge. My downfall is books! (You know it's bad when you buy another copy of a book because you can't find the first one.)

    FinninMinn, I wish I could be there for the Kautokeino Rebellion film. Please post your review here! I'll start a new thread about it after May 27.

  5. Anon 9:25, I have not heard of any congregations in the OALC referring to themselves as any other group other than Finnish, but even that has largely fallen away over the past 50 years.

    When I was growing up back in the 50s and 60s, the OALC's official name on the charter documents was the Old Finnish Apostolic Lutheran Church of America. At that time, the dominant although not exclusive nationality of the members was Finnish. Sermons were often bilingual in many of the churches. I hated it, because since I was bilingual, I always felt I had to unfairly endure a double dose of the evangelization -- and on hard benches to boot! :-)We actually sang and understood those Finnish hymns. Back in those days, a "mixed" marriage was a Finn and a German -- and neither family was pleased about it!

    Gradually, as people of other nationalities joined the church either through marriage or other means, the use of "Finnish" was dropped from the name. I don't know, but assume it has been dropped from the official designation as well -- it certainly has from the common vernacular.

    I remember getting into a rather heated argument with someone at church when I mentioned I was a Finn. He told me that I was an American, not a Finn! After I ripped off a few pieces of his hide reminding him that my military service and loyalty to the US far exceeded his own, I informed him that I did understand and sympathized with his own inability to identify his own heritage out of his mongrel background. I don't think the converstion ended particularily well...:-) Of course, that happened back when I was still opinionated about things.

  6. You know, sort of back on the track of this topic, I was reminded of a time a few years ago when one of our sons was going to go deer hunting back around my old stomping grounds and asked if I'd like to go with him. I had sort of -- although not officially -- given up hunting deer many years ago, but agreed to go along just to show him around the old ranch -- which he only vaguely remembered -- and spend some quality time with him.

    One evening, a couple hours before sundown, we found ourselves on top of a pretty good sized hill with a great view. It was those quiet couple of hours before nightfall when the activity of the day is winding down, it was dead calm, warm, and very pleasant. We sat down with a boulder at our backs and were watching for any deer that might venture out to disturb our "sit".

    It was one of those midwest evenings when sound was carrying perfectly, and after awhile we heard a sound of tires on pavement and realized it was coming from a truck on a highway more than three miles away -- and that was the only traffic sounds we had heard in quite awhile. Suddenly a coyote started to "sing" just over a little knoll -- perhaps a hundred yards from us, and in a few minutes he was answered by another one perhaps a mile away...and then another...and then another. Along with some bird sounds, we had a real concert going on! Today I think of the Peter, Paul, and Mary song -- "All God's creatures got a voice in the choir, some sing high and some sing lower..."

    That evening we needed no more. It was more than enough, and a real blessing that the Lord let us share in part of that banquet that is always laid for us, if only we come and take part.

  7. Sami Stranger in a Strange Land5/26/2009 01:44:00 PM

    I am a member of the North American Sami Siida organization. In the organization, there is one ex-Laestadian and two practicing Laestadians, including myself. I was looking for information on American Sami heritage when I found my way to this blog several years ago. I was curious about some of the other content so I've stuck around. It is very interesting to compare and contrast the seven branches of the Laestadian movement. I was nearly 30 years old before I found out I was a "Laestadian" and that the movement got its name from a Swedish-Sami pastor named Lars Levi Laestadius. The church in which I was raised, the IALC, never spoke about Laestadius at all.

    On April 25-26 the Kautokeino Rebellion film was shown at the Minneapolis International Film fest. This film was the top producing film in Norwegian history, and the director was none other than the Oscar-nominated director Nils Gaup. There were many Sami-Americans and even Laestadian-Americans in attendance at this film. (Even some of the ones who are not supposed to see film--wonder if they got permission from the elders first).

    Nils Gaup's current project will be a film on the life of Lars Levi Laestadius, in the style of film Amadeus--showing the genius and perhaps the "madness" too. Nils' mother is a Laestadian and he has grown up in the movement. However, the branch of Laestadianism his mother practices is confined to Norway. Nils was not aware of so many Sami in America. The next day he set off in a cab looking for Laestadian churches. I don't think he found any in the Twin Cities, though I do believe there are at least 8. It is a big city, and most are in very outlying areas from what I understand.

    Nils wants to do a documentary about the Sami in America. I was trying to explain a little bit what transpired here, although its only a theory, and I take full credit for its invalidity. The Sami know that they have relatives who went to America. The dominant religion in Sapmi (Lapland) is Laestadianism. Yet where are the Laestadians who identify as Sami in the USA?

    You will find very few, if any, and some Sami in America who do are former Laestadians. Perhaps they've studied the movement more intellectually upon leaving the church? The Sami organization has found Finn Fest to be a great place to recruit new members!

    My theory is that during the heavy immigration period of Sami Laestadians they settled amongst other Finns, and since the Finns were greater in number than the Sami, and much intermarriage occured between the two groups, knowledge of our Sami roots has been lost. It exists--but more like in side-comments. Someone might call another a "Lapp" but no one ever wanted to claim that lower status, so "Finn" we all became. And it makes sense. Finnish was the dominant language spoken in the movement because Finnish was the language of trade and commerce in Lapland (Sapmi) for hundreds of years. There were at the time as many as fourteen dialects of Sami, not all were mutually interstandable, but nearly all Sami could speak Finnish. How else would they have preached in America?

    There are geneticists today decoding DNA from people from Northern Finland. What they are finding is astonishing to me. Some say that Ostrobothnians, the most dominant group of Laestadians who came to America, are as much as 50% Sami; some say as much as 75%! When you get up to the Lappi (Lapland) province, they cannot even USE this DNA to compare and contrast between the Finnish and Sami populations because of the extreme admixture.

    Yet if you ask any Apostolic Lutherans if they have any Sami or "Lapp" in their background, they can look nearly horrified.

    I for one, am proud to be Sami and I am also proud to be Finn. (I am also a bit German, not particularly proud of that!).

  8. My step-grandfather was a Lapp Laestadian, I believe he was Norwegian but I'm not sure. He spoke 5 languages, worked on whaling ships, lived on the west coast before meeting my grandmother at an ALC convention around 1950 and moving to Michigan. It was his first marriage and he was in his 60's. He wrote the music to many of the songs (laulut) that did not have notes, I have the manuscripts.

    cvow, your story reminded me of Sandra Day O'Connor's interview on tv a couple of weeks ago.. she talked about growing up on a ranch in Arizona. There was no sound except for the cattle and the occasional windmill they used for water, I believe. But if the cattle were quiet and there was no wind, it was silent... neat word pictures, both.

  9. Sami-Stranger-

    what is the I stand for in IALC? I was from the ALC. I am about half Norwegian (my grandparents were immigrants)and Finnish as well. I have always been told we have Lap in us as well. Therefore our family consists of tow head blonds and very foreign looking olive skin/dark hair. When they say they are Finn, people find it hard to believe. I was told it was because the Laplanders married eskimos.

    I am o.k. with being "Finn" but can't say I am proud of it. I think it might be because of the legalist connotation.

    LLL wasn't really taught in our church either, we did use Luther's Chatechism and practiced legalism as our M.O.

  10. PS, "I" stands for independent. I am sure that some people would say we are also legalistic, and others not.

    Was your "Norwegian" side of the family also ALC? Did they describe themselves as Norwegian?

  11. Yes. Both sides are AP (or alc)

    They very much descibe themselves as Norwegian and proud of it.(me to! not so much the ALC thing) Lefsa and krumkaka (sp?) and spritz are a staple at family gatherings. There was a town in North Dakota named after my dad's family- after they immigrated. my great grandfather was a AP preacher as well as a uncle and a cousin who currently serves as a preacher in one of the larger congregations.

    It is my mom's side that is finnish- very much so.

    We also had to sit thru long finnish translations at services. Hated it. Made church at least twice as long.

    Growing up, everything was a sin. Make up, girls cutting their hair, movies, dance, "unbelievers" christmas trees, music...you know the rap. We looked like the yearning for zion people. My spirit at a young age did not connect with the teaching. Things have changed on a small scale there. I left "the church" about 7 years ago.

    I remember whenever people flew somewhere (1979 or so..) many would go to the airport and gather by the gate and sing "Till we Meet". Then there would be alot of asking forgiveness: "Believe all your sins forgiven in Jesus name and precious shed blood:

    I remember cringing with embarassment! Did your church practice the "poem thing" as my kids now call it?

    Worse yet, we were taught if wee died with sins "on our conscience" we would go to hell. So we had to ask forgiveness every night. Good grief.

    Hope this isn't to long. Sorry Free.

  12. Except for the girls cutting hair and the christmas tree restriction, you could be describing the LLC.

  13. First of all, I don't want to claim that things are "perfect" for everyone in the IALC, because some people leave, some with hard feelings. I get the feeling that most people who leave, however, tend to retain good relations with their families, but not all. We do not believe that if we go to bed without asking forgiveness for things on our conscience that we would go to hell; that's because we can sin without the realization we have sinned! No compulsory confession---we believe in grace. We have Christmas trees, yes. We go to films and have TVs, listen to and play music and sports, and pretty much look like anyone else. (In my opinion, I think some young girls could tone things down a bit in the make-up and clothing selection, but perhaps that is just my personal preference). There is not that big list of things we cannot do. That being said, we generally refrain from drinking and going to bars & dancing and we do not believe in living together before marriage or premarital sexual relations. However, we do not excommunicate people who do these things, either. I have never heard of any kind of excommunication, ever. Things like divorce and remarriage and using birth control seems to be an individual choice. Married couples tend to have 2-4 children per family, but there are families as big as 8 or 11 kids--but they are the exception.

    We tend to practice in a very plain fashion without large crosses, choirs, musical accompaniment so in that fashion we are quite conservative. We don't do any missionary work, although I know many people who volunteer their time and donate money to philanthropic and humanitarian causes in the secular sense.

    All of our ministers are chosen among the congregation and none have had seminary training.

    Someone told me that years ago the ALC approached us and wanted us to merge with their congregation but we didn't want to. I have no way of knowing if this is true.

    Politically, I'd say we're pretty much divided between Democrats and Republicans, but I know this only anicdotically. I sense a preference toward liberalism, but I could be wrong, since I don't like discussing politics in general. I have my opinions.

  14. Ps- sounds pretty much exactly like the LLC, apart from a few minor things-we had christmas trees,and could cut our hair..hm. Thats about it lol. We didn't do that airport thing, but I can imagine how embaressing that would be!! We sang that song after weddings when the couple was leaving the church. I was also scared to go to bed without having my "sins forgiven". They said "believe all of your sins forgiven in Jesus' name and precious blood"..sounds very similar to yours, maybe 1 word off. When I got older I started wondering "how do they only have the power to forgive sins?". And my parents were scared for me because I wouldn't ask anymore. geez, I didn't feel like a few words could change where I'd go if I died that night.

    There's got to be some sami in the laestadians where I live, too, but I've never heard of it. My ancestors are finnish on both sides, my great grandparents immigrated. I don't call myself a "finn" because around here "finn" means "laestadian", and I do not want to be grouped with them.

    Interesting stuff sami-stranger. I would be interested in watching that when it comes out.

  15. Where is it that you live where "Finn" is synonymous with "Laestadian?" I never heard of that--perhaps New Hampshire? I know there are some places where Finn is synonymous with some hard drinkin' hell-raising folks. I am in fact, a non-drinker, and sometimes when people hear I am Finn they want to go out and party wtih me. Then I say, "No, I don't drink." Sometimes they then get that, "Oh, you're that kind" statement, sometimes not.


  16. Stranger:

    As it were, I am married to someone from New Hampshire. While you will find partiers and hell raisers every where- NH is SO small town (45 min. to anywhere) at least where my husband is from, that the kids are boored.

    I live in Battle Ground WA.-surrounded by one of the largest OALC congregations and they are definatly 'FINNS' They consider those from the AP church heritics-where they are also considered "finns"

    Known in these parts as bunners- holy rollers...

    I never have understood why the OALC is so focused on LLL when their name is Lutheran.

  17. I would rather not say the area I live in. I live in a small town where everyone knows everyone, and there are alot of laestadians around here. The laestadians don't have a good reputation in this area. Most people ("outsiders") have problems with the laestadian kids picking on others in school, and poor work ethic. I know this is not true for most of the laestadians, well, most of the llc kids pick on others in school-but for the most part, the work ethic isn't poor. There are a few that give them all a bad name. Just so you all know, this is not my opinion of them, but it is what most people around here think of them. I do not know why people call laestadians "finns" because there are alot of other people around here, who are not laestadian, but come from a finnish background. It doesn't make alot of sense.

  18. Just venturing a guess here, but I've heard "Finns" being categorized in some areas where they are relative newcomers (South Carolina, for example).. they are actually Laestadian background and have moved there because of construction jobs. But where I live, being Finnish means you mostly likely watch "Finland Calling" (Suomi Kutsu) on Sunday morning on TV, go to Suomi Kutsu dances, and love the Finnish polkas.

    Years and years ago during the lumbering days, Finns had a reputation for being knife fighters when they got drunk (which was often). They loved to rumble 'round these parts, after a hard week in the lumber camps. And even later, Finns had a reputation as wild and wooly drinkers.

    I really think that Laestadian fundamentalism was a reaction to how the unbelieving Finns lived.. Growing up, I had a choice as well. I saw both sides, but chose the church. The other side didn't look too attractive to me!

  19. I think the following is kinda funny:

    In our parts if a Lutheran marries a "outsider" some call their kids

  20. YM-

    I ment to comment on your post re: asking forgivness. We were always taught that you couldn't ask God for forgiveness, you had ask a person. Not just any person but a AP member.

    Wonder how they figure they have the power to do what Christ already did?

  21. Hi!

    I have a link here, it is in Finnish but perhaps you are interested in it...


  22. Thanks, Anon, for the video. Love the music! I'm going to try and slow it down and see if I can understand some of the Finnish. I take it those are SRK services?

  23. Most Laestadian groups believe that the office of the keys gives the congregation the authority to forgive sins:

    Matthew 16.19: I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. (NRSV)

    There are other passages in scripture that point to Jesus' followers being able to forgive sins as well.

    Where the Laestadians go off the rails is when they seem to claim that the congregation has the monopoly on forgiving sins.

    I think that in the original context Matthew's words would have been heard as a liberating message. No longer do you have to perform sacrifices or go to the temple to get your sins forgiven. This good news undermines the power of the religious authorities.

    In the Laestadian context, however, they've taken this piece of good news and gone back to square one, because they set themselves up as the new authorities.

  24. PS- we were taught the same thing, that one could only recieve forgiveness from another LLC member, or "believer" as they say, not from God. I find it kind of funny now that alot of the different branches teach that only they have the power to forgive sins, and then call eachother heretics. So which one is "the right" one? hehe

    My relatives still tell me that I should have my sins forgiven, and I'm sure they'll never realize that I do. That's just the way it'll always be. I wish they could see...

  25. YM, I think that's one of the good things a greater awareness of religious pluralism has brought us --when one is aware of all these different but similiar religous groups each claiming to be the only one with the whole truth, it puts those claims into a different context.

    While I suppose it is theoretically possible that one little group really does have a corner on things, it seems increasingly unlikely the more one becomes of aware of all the competing claims among all the competing groups.

    I find such claims very hard to take seriously now, but back when I was a kid and really didn't know about all the other groups, it was harder to dismiss.

    It's like that John Berger quote: "Never again will a story be told as if it were the only one."

  26. That was an interesting video. :) The church pictures are mostly from the ALC, I think there was one from the OALC. The pictures from the services are from the ALC and the LLC (I'm using the American names, they are of course called something else in Finland). Judging from the language and the emphasis in the contents, my guess is that the video was made by someone belonging to the Swedish speaking ALC equivalent in Finland (LFF).

  27. Hibernatus, the graphics went by so fast.. wonder if there's a way to translate it? I could probably figure out a word here and there, but not all of it. The opening ceremonies of the LLC feature the big artistic gateway, so to speak.. that would be the same as the SRK, right? I had an LLC friend who showed me pictures of the convention once.. it is probably the biggest one in Finland, right? Tens of thousands of people.

  28. San Diego to require permit for home bible study.


  29. Yes, SRK is the same as LLC. And yes, their summer meetings are the biggest one in Finland. I checked the statistics, and last year there were 67 000 people present on the day when there were most people there. The OALC summer meetings in Finland only have a maximum of 4 000 - 5 000 people present simultaneously, and the biggest ALC summer meetings reportedly have 6 000 - 7 000 visitors. The data indicates that the summer meetings are in relative terms more important for the LLC and the ALC people than for the OALC people because a higher percentage of them attend the summer meetings.

    It would be easier to translate the text if it was available in text format instead of having to watch the video and type simultaneously. In brief, the video tells how Laestadianism got started, how it was split into numerous factions, after which the three major groups (LLC, ALC and OALC) are described. The video concludes with the author wondering why the groups don't cooperate if they are so similar.

  30. Tomte- so true! I find it hard to take those kind of claims seriously now, too.

    Growing up believing a lie has made me very cautious of what others tell me, I don't "just believe", as the llcs would say. According to my llc family, there is no hope for me, as my conscience is completely darkened, and the "light has completely gone out". What a nice thing for family to say, eh? Thats another thing that gets to me- that they think they know who is going to heaven and who is not. How can they judge? God is the judge, not them, or anyone else, so why do they think they have that power?

  31. YM, I hear ya.

    Your comment about folks claiming to know who is going to heaven and who isn't reminded me of this line in the Episcopal Church's Book of Common Prayer (1979). I've bolded the part I like:

    Let us commit ourselves to our God, and pray for the grace of a holy life, that, with all who have departed this world and have died in the peace of Christ, and those whose faith is known to God alone, we may be accounted worthy to enter into the fullness of the joy of our Lord, and receive the crown of life in the day of resurrection.

  32. I like that. That's what I think too, and wish everyone (meaning my relatives) could think like that.

  33. Thanks, Hibernatus. Good prayer, Tomte.

  34. My parent's just returned from Isreal on Wednesday. Sure is facinating to hear about it and see the pictures and video!They went with the Jay Sekulo tour group. The group was escorted into the gaza strip where the met the Palistinians to hear "their side." (they don't have a legitimate side) because there were several attorneys on the trip and it was some kind of study/lesson.

    They visited all the places you would expect, and then some. They stood with the Isreal Military and looked down on Syria and Lebanon.

    What really struck me though was the Isrealie's appreciation and respect for America. When the group boarded a boat to go out on the sea of Galilee, The US flag was raised beneath the Isreal flag and the US national anthem was played in their honor.

    It is amazing how God has empowered Isreal, a country as small as a state, to defend themselves against those rogue countries. We have always been staunch allies with Isreal and the underlying reason, I believe, is biblical.

  35. LLLreader asks: Is Jay S. the same attorney who used to work for the televangelist Paul Crouch?

  36. Jay S. is another dominionist, this time affiliated with Pat Robertson's ACLJ (the right-wing answer to the ACLU.)

    Here's a nice article that goes into some of his financial and other misdealings.

  37. It must be so easy for you to think in black and white, P.S. You must sleep very well at night. To me, it is amazing you left the ALC at all--I'm thinking it was not a very far leap from the ALC to the right-wing Christian coalition.

    How can you SAY that the Palestinians have no "legitimate" side? It was their land at one time. You only have to look at the troubles in Northern Ireland in the past to see that terrorism and human conflict are not just Muslim issues.

    Sigh. There is a lot more I can say about that, but something tells me you're a hopeless case.

    But perhaps not. I used to think you were a near-elderly spinster lady, but your last post leads me to believe you might be younger than I thought.

    Perhaps some bumps in the road of life will cause your eyes to see further.

    I wish you well.

  38. ...not to stir the pot :-).. but..

    From what I've gathered over the years on the net, some of the problems that people have had with the ALC is that they feel the church should be more relevant and involved with right wing issues. They see the church as out of touch by primarily focusing on salvation (as most of the Laestadian-rooted churches have historically been). My opinion is that Reformed/Calvinist/Baptist denominations dominate Christian media and those who left for the above reasons see our Lutheran sensibilities as lacking political and countercultural muscle. My 2 cents.

  39. It's funny that you'd mention that, Norah, because as bad as I think Laestadianism is, I've often thought that its introversion has as least kept it from spreading, and its Lutheran roots have kept it away from dominionism and pre-millenial dispensationalism.

    This has changed in the last twenty years, at least in the ALC. I attribute it, like you, to the growing popularity of fundamentalist/evangelical media, especially radio. Those stations are dominated by the dispensationalist outlook, and now most of the Laestadians I know amongst my relatives are dispensational pre-millenialists (i.e., "Left Behind" and "Israel can do no wrong") and a few are dominionists.

    While I find both of these theologies to be incorrect and dangerous, I think that dominionism is the more dangerous of the two because the focus is more directed in the domestic U.S., as opposed to foreign policy/Israel policy.

    PS, at the risk of starting something up again, you might want to double-check your spelling for the name of the Jewish state that you support. :-)

  40. :-) Agreed, Tomte. If not for the internet I would never have been able to understand what these terms really meant, and ultimately reject them. Many good and well-meaning people believe that we must "occupy until he comes". I don't personally believe that.

    As far as Israel goes, God is not going to allow it to be destroyed. While I believe that it is important for the US to support Israel, I'm not so sure that people like Sekulow are very helpful. Sooo, I'm not sure where I fit in... Probably like a lot of hermits I have known lol.

  41. anon 9:46

    Say what you will about "right wing" coalitions. Jay Sekulo has made it his mission to defend our christian rights, Thank God, someone does. To say I might be a spinster is hilarious. Or very young. Hmmmm, I am a 40 year old female very much in love with my husband and kids. Does that help?

    I find grey in alot of things in life, just not where it concerns decisive scripture.

    When I left the ALC, I abandoned their twisted belief system- I did not abandon my relationship with Christ. It just became refined. I stand with all the other "right Wing" christians who do not embrace everything and anything- as o.k. I think people who speak as you do, have never really freed themselves from their ALC(or other)past and live in bondage to trying to be radically different.

    It would take just a second to surf the net a find contradictory stuff on the people and groups you represent. Don't believe everything you read.

    To quote Norah:
    "As far as Israel goes, God is not going to allow it to be destroyed"

    Anyone wanna attack her? That is my believe to. Thus my post.

    I don't understand the defence of the Palestinians when they embrace terrosim and repression. Birds of a feather or radicalism?

    My confidence is not tied to my spelling. Funny when someone can't legitimatly refute something...They act as spell check. Besides, this person already shared they use firefox to correct their own spelling. Yet they refuse to say whether they have a degree in anything but criticism and anti-anything christian. hmmm.

  42. P.S.

    There are OTHER Christian politicians who I believe reflect true insightful Christianity and who are not blind right-wingers in bed with corrupt corporations. I'm sorry, but I don't believe the right-wing agenda reflects what I believe as a Christian. The Bible clearly says "do onto others as you'd have others do onto you." I don't think waterboarding fits into that category. I just don't. You say you left the ALC to escape legalism, and yet when I think of legalism being practiced, the individual I see actually resembles...YOU. You're far more legalistic than any Laestadian I've ever known. Really. That's why I made the comment that I did--in leaving the ALC you didn't seem to get very far, at least it seems to me. You are still practicing legalism.

    Furthermore, this country was run on the premise of separation of church and state. I and many other people would like to keep it way, despite our individual beliefs which are traditional and Christian.

    As far as why you don't see people attacking Norah, it may because although she has her own beliefs, she is a bit more respectful than you. You seem to have a particular agenda and specific solutions to every problem, and anyone who opposes them you cast as "anti-Christian" and even "anti-American." I've never seen Norah do that in all the years I've been here. You also seem to try to goad and incite people, which is pretty darn annoying.

    A Christian politician who will forever have my respect is Jimmy Carter. Unfortunately, the Reagan folks were dealing behind his back to free the hostages as soon as he was defeated in exchange to massive arms shipments. Dirty politics at its very worst. At his best, he forged a lasting peace between Israel and Egypt. He believed in fiscal responsibility and living humbly, even staying with ordinary citizens when he travelled throughout the United States. And since he left office, he has created a legacy for himself with all of his humanitarian work including Habitat for Humanity. Yet a more traditional Christian and Bible-believing individual you'd have a difficult time finding in this world. I myself am a traditional Christian, and do not believe that "anything goes" for my own life and for that of my family. However, I do not believe we can or should try to legislate morality.

    -Stranger in a Strange Land

  43. mia from the llc5/31/2009 12:04:00 AM


    You expressed what I was thinking much better than I could have. I'm with you, both on the right-wing ideology, and about our former President Carter as well.

    I check back in here every so often, but it gets a bit tiresome to keep reading postings by those who are convinced that they already have all the answers and who think that their mission is to convince everyone else that they are right. I got enough of that when I was growing up.

    I'm much happier knowing that I don't have all the answers, because it's just not possible. I was glad to leave the pat-answer mindset at the door when I checked out. It's so much more fun hearing about both sides without already having my mind made up.

  44. Stranger:

    Can't you see that your opinions are every bit as strong, if not more so then mine? Seriously? I left a little post on Israel and got called all sorts of names. I didn't see that in my post. It may be childish, but they threw the first punch. Lets see, spinister, legalist....hopless

    If you define a legalist as someone who defends God and country, I guess I am.

    It is a shame that morality has to be legistlated. It has become such a free for all-there is no standard for anything. If you aren't PC, you are a legalist.

    Not a fan of Carter as far as his policy- fiscal, foreign or otherwise. Does he support and work for humanitarian causes? Yes, and I can appreciate that.

    I think Reagan was one of the best Presidents we have ever had. If that makes you all call me names and throw hate speach around-so be it.

    I support water boarding, but we already went into that on another thread.

  45. PS, I think you are wrong. I can take people with differing opinions than I. I am a current, practicing member of an AL church. My husband is an agnostic. We exist together every day, respectfully. Furthermore, I've had exchanges both on and off this blog with two of its most conservative contributors, and for the most part, we can agree to disagree, respectfully. This is the real difficulty I have with you. You state an opinion, and when people disagree with you, you're the one who gets inflammatory, and it cycles down from there. What do you expect when you call people "anti-Christian" and "anti-American?" You say these things like you have the sole right to define a Christian and to define how an American is supposed to believe and be. You don't, and neither does Michelle Bachman or Sarah Palin. You left the ALC because you didn't think that they had the right to define what a Christian was, and you believe that they don't. Except now you think YOU know the answers. You are not applying this lesson to your everyday life, to here and now. Look at Norah...she is still ALC, and she states her opinion, and she is human in that sometimes she says she just doesn't know. There is humility there. You seem to be sure about everything...and there is little you don't claim to have the answer for. Well, right now you are 40, happily married, and perhaps the recession hasn't hit you and you and your husband still have your good jobs. Perhaps you're still living the good life. So far none of your children hasn't come out as gay yet or died fighting an unjust war. Your daughter's husband hasn't left her unsupported with small children and you haven't been faced with deciding whether you should dig into your retirement account to pay her grocery bill or tell her its okay to apply for welfare benefits. Enough real life hasn't happened to you yet. When it does, that's when your real faith will be challenged, when you can clearly say, "I don't know the answers God but please help me through this." There may be someday be hard questions that a talking head from the right-wing Christian coalition won't have a talking-point for you to parrot. Someday.

    God help you if that someday comes for you and hopefully He will carry you through.


  46. Stranger-

    I left the ALC because they indeed defined christian in terms of a bunch of mans rules. You know the run down: hair, make up, etc.

    I have come to know the Lord as loving and merciful. I accept HIS commandments. When people attack HIS word- yes I defend. When people make anti-american comments, I react.

    It seems you are pretty presumtious about my life.

    A couple of years ago my son ws in a car accident that left him in a coma for several months and he now lives with a brain Injury. My Daughter is seperated from her husband due to their drug use and We have permante custody of their 23 month grandson. I have family members that think it is no wonder because we enjoy a glass of wine, go to movies and attend another church. I have had untold number of surgerys that I won't detail here. We have suffered thru financial problems that would make anyone turn grey. Two uncles and one Aunt are suffering with cancer. It is a constant battle to make ends meet-both finacially and ya know what? I could care less if every word I type is mis-spelled.

    How is that for bumps in the road? And that is just the beggining. So next time you dare presume I am a princess with no problems or life experience, think again.

    It is my faith in God that has gotten me through. He is my calm in the storm and I will continue to defend his word. I will continue to defend my great country for whom my son serves in the air force. God forbid he dies serving as you suggest.

  47. Yes, it really doesn't feel good when people are PRESUMPTIOUS does it? (Like when you presume that because people want to fix things they see wrong about our government, you see it as ANTI-AMERICAN. No, I really didn't think your life was a rose garden--I was sort of goading you like you've been goading others. There isn't a cookie-cutter model of an American or a Christian. A problem can have multiple solutions. I defend God's word too, but the path I choose will always be the one of peace. At least that is my ardent prayer.


  48. PS, would it make you happy if I claimed to have 100 degrees, or 0? The real answer lies somewhere in between, but of course my point being that I can claim anything I like on that score (as can you) and it's meaningless because one can say anything when posting anonymously on a blog.

    People will read our posts and make their own judgements about our respective education levels. While ultimately spelling "Israel" incorrectly multiple times in a row while pronouncing on the subject proves nothing, it does make your posts seem more ignorant than necessary.

    Regarding Israel and the Palestinians and peace in the region, it's a tough nut to crack. I think there are challenges and valid concerns on both sides. I'm not sure our interventions there are helpful or not.

    While I'm not going to try to predict what God will or will not do regarding Israel's existance, it's worth pointing out that the biblical Israel of King David's lineage and the modern democractic state of Israel are not the same thing.

    Biblical Israel was destroyed by the Romans in the first century.

    The modern state of Israel did not exist until 1947-1948 when it was created by a UN resolution. (So the next time someone says the UN is worthless, you can remind them that they created the modern state of Israel. :-)

    We should all care what happens to Israel, the Palestinians, and the Middle East. There is much suffering there. But I fear that some people only care about Israel because of the role that it plays in their interpretations regarding the end of the world, the "rapture" and expected divine retribution.

  49. okay now, you guys are going to make me cry! Stranger, don't be sayin' nice things about me like that! :-)

    PS: my heart goes out to you. Your troubles have nothing to do with having a glass of wine or going out to the movies or going to another church. Troubles happen to everyone...and over time I have begun to see that the troubles and weariness can be ways that God sorta tills or plows the soil of my heart. When this happens, I have two options - one is to accept it, the other is to become bitter. You are still in the middle of it, you can't see the end of it. Neither can I see it in my own life. All I know is that grace carries me from day to day. I don't have to know all the answers, fix all the problems, do all the work.

    But one thing to keep in mind, I think, is that politics and religion are two seperate things. Politics is neither here nor there. It is "wood, hay and stubble". Christians have lived in all kinds of circumstances, and faith actually grows and deepens when it is challenged. There's the old saying "let go and let God". The world was turning long before we got here, and will be doing so long after we are gone.

    It is wonderful to be involved politically, but we need to watch and see how we are handling the involvement. Sometimes God is calling us to something else.. at least for me, it's not something I can think about too much. There are other things that demand my attention, even though they might not seem very important.

    just some thoughts.. I am not telling you what to do, or how to think.. Just know that grace is in operation in all things and in all circumstances....

  50. LLLreader to Stranger in a Strange Land: I want to echo mia's comment about your post. In the years that I have been reading and writing here, I have seldom come across any post that has more clearly defined my feelings. Carter has remained true to his beliefs, and I am one of his admirers too. The right wing preachers who are so intent on furthering their own agendas are not doing our country any favors. They HAVE to see it as a battle between good and evil--and it doesn't have to be that way. Norah, you are a Dear. tomte, maybe you aren't a "dear" but I agree with most of what you say. I wonder ps, if the trials you have faced have made it necessary to believe in a God that is so fixed in black and white terms. I do know that he is here for both of us--no matter how we view him. I am a lot older then you, and too have faced some hardships. However, I haven't dealt with a child going to war, Praise God. I'll pray for your son.

  51. Stranger in a strange land-

    I should have your name. it definatly defines who I am here. you admit to goading, that is not my intent. I would call you a bully. You say you will always choose the path of peace, somehow that seems like a false claim after your posts that "goad."


    Thanks. I actually have peace because it is God who is control of my life as well as my children. The storm sometimes swirls around but He is faithful. I do not feel bitter, but free.

    I will remind someone that it was THEY who claimed David Barton had no validity because he had no degree. Not I. I will remind him as often as he acts as spell check-which I could use if I was as concerned as him.


    I see much of the scritpture as black and white. I don't look to find loop holes for what God clearly condsiders sin. Would I choose differently regarding some of the trials in my life? You bet. But if I take a look around-there are many far worse off. So I can thank God in the midst.

    I have yet to see a positive post about our country- just a million reasons about what needs to change and why we should be haters of our leaders who have kept us safe- and feel sorry for the terroists "who get their face wet." It does seem anti-American to me.

  52. I love the United States of America. I wouldn't want to live anywhere else. We enjoy such breathtaking freedom here, including the freedom to speak our mind and organize for change in the system when we think it unjust.

    Now PS has seen a positive post about the US, so hopefully we can move on. :-)

    David Barton is a crackpot, with or without a history degree. If he wasn't a crackpot I wouldn't care so much about the history degree. But since he is a crackpot, the lack of a degree in the field in question becomes a more glaring problem.

    Especially since the kinds of methodological mistakes he makes are the kinds of thing his professors would never let him get away with were he actually part of a graduate level history program at an accredited research university.

  53. LLLreader to pms: My Dear, why are you so mad? In my comment to you I was recognizing we have a different view of scripture. I'm not a wild and crazy person out there causing problems. I'm a grandma raising her grandchild, gardening, and doing some volunteer work. I have a simple and satisfying life. I love this country, as I have said in numerous posts. I love the Lord. I'm not looking for loopholes. You know many here have a stand against torture. Why drag it up again? Just quit looking for fights. We agree on some things and disagree on others--it's all good.

  54. Thank you LLL for your kind words. It's not a bad thing for people who believe differently to try and discuss issues in a civil manner..there are many similarities also. Have a good evening everyone!

  55. LLL

    my apologies. Sometimes when I post I don't specify when I move from one comment to the next and for whom it is addressed. The loop-holes comment was intended as a general comment to many posts, not yours in particular. Sorry, I no longer have PMS, had a hysterectomy. AND take hormones so it's not menopause.

    I didn't bring up torture (or waterboarding) another blogger did! I simply said that I already responded to it on another thread. Take your blinders off, read a bit more carefully, and be careful who you accuse!

    I have not been angry yet. Just matter of fact. I guess we share one thing in common, we are both raising our grandchild.

    To quote our host:

    " Let our conversation be spirited, gracious and full of questions. However, any nasty comments with a personal attack, or diatribes with no
    intention but to hurt? They're not getting published"

  56. PS:

    That being said, P.S., I still wish you would examine your own behavior. I apologize for insinuating you might be a very myopic old spinster or a pampered middle-age princess. I had to think of some way to justify views and behavior I just couldn't identify with. And I did try to goad you a little bit to see how you liked it, I admit that too. However, in all the years I've been on this blog, as a PRACTICING "Laestadian" (never mind that my church never even talked about Laestadius, but this is a topic for another post) I've never experienced what you have experienced on here. People here have been kind and gracious to me, even though I've said again that I still belong to my AL church and that I have no desire to leave in the future. You'd think that the presence of a Laestadian on an ex-Laestadian blog, especially at times when I am defending certain aspects of my church, would incite all kinds of put-downs and flames. Yet the closest I've come to being flamed was yesterday, and by you. There are times that my posts have been questioned, and even disagreed with, but no one has jumped all over me. Hmmmmm....why could that be? Do you think it might have something to do with style, tone, and tact? Sometimes it is not what you say, its how you say it.

    P.S., I'm sure if you met me somewhere like parent-teacher conferences or in the grocery store line, we'd probably be very cordial to one another (unless you went up to me and told me you supported torture, then I might look at you a little cross-eyed). You sound like you married young and have had a few bumps on the road, as have I. Life ain't easy. I do hope your son remains safe and that things go better for your daughter that she might someday reunite with your little grandchild.


  57. I discovered a neat little blog. I want to share part of the most recent post.

    The Blog is ADVENTURES IN MERCY, The thread is titled: The way of Love, thoughts from a former pharisee.

    "Love is a way. Love is the Way we are on, the Christ we are in, the Truth and the Life of this journey we are on. A friend and I were just talking about this, how Love is so much harder than anything else, even though it’s so much simpler than all the rest.

    It’s easier to go through a legal transaction, it’s easier to find a tidy little world where Republicans are right and Democrats are wrong. It’s easier to follow a leader as if he were the mouthpiece of God. It’s easier to fight for one’s favorite social justice issue, or follow the latest revival trail. I swear, it’s easier to write a one-thousand page systematic theology book than it is to walk down the dirty unkempt path of Love.

    He is the real narrow road, the one that is almost hard to see because it’s so little, so unassuming. It’s the humble little dirt path the follows a small gurgling stream, and it is the Way we are called to walk. This is the stuff of following Christ. Simple. Very very simple. We grow in love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, gentleness and self-control. We grow because the God in us grows us in those things and we don’t fight Him, or, at least, we try not to."

    I also love their comment policy:

    "Say what you want to say, and don’t be afraid to passionately disagree, either.* We all know that group think is boring. The only caveat is that you remember this one rule: beating up ideas is acceptable, but beating up people is not."

  58. LLLreader here: I was thinking about how strong traditions are in my life. I have gone every year to my Mom's grave, bringing flowers from the yard. Usually I would have rhodys and calla lilies. I would always put them in a coffee can wrapped in foil. That's the way my Mom and Grandma did it. This is the first year I haven't been able to go and it has been very uncomfortable. I find I have been really missing her right now, even though she has been gone many years. I will be able to go there in a couple of weeks--then maybe all will be right in the world again. Anyone else have things that are absolutely necessary to do?

  59. Thought you might be interested in this forgotten bit of information..........

    It was 1987! At a lecture the other day they were playing an old news video of Lt.Col. Oliver North testifying at the Iran-Contra hearings during the Reagan Administration.

    There was Ollie in front of God and country getting the third degree, but what he said was stunning!

    He was being drilled by a senator; 'Did you not recently spend close to $60,000 for a home security system?'

    Ollie replied, 'Yes, I did, Sir.'

    The senator continued, trying to get a laugh out of the audience, 'Isn't that just a little excessive?'

    'No, sir,' continued Ollie.

    'No? And why not?' the senator asked.

    'Because the lives of my family and I were threatened, sir.'

    'Threatened? By whom?' the senator questioned.

    'By a terrorist, sir' Ollie answered.

    'Terrorist? What terrorist could possibly scare you that much?'

    'His name is Osama bin Laden, sir' Ollie replied.

    At this point the senator tried to repeat the name, but couldn't pronounce it, which most people back then probably couldn't. A couple of people laughed at the attempt. Then the senator continued. Why are you so afraid of this man?' the senator asked.

    'Because, sir, he is the most evil person alive that I know of', Ollie answered. 'And what do you recommend we do about him?' asked the senator.

    'Well, sir, if it was up to me, I would recommend that an assassin team be formed to eliminate him and his men from the face of the earth.'

    The senator disagreed with this approach, and that was all that was shown of the clip.

    By the way, that senator was Al Gore!


    Terrorist pilot Mohammad Atta blew up a bus in Israel in 1986.. The Israelis captured, tried and imprisoned him. As part of the Oslo agreement with the Palestinians in 1993, Israel had to agree to release so-called 'political prisoners.'

    However, the Israelis
    would not release any with blood on their hands, The American President at the time, Bill Clinton, and his Secretary of State, Warren Christopher, 'insisted' that all prisoners be released.

    Thus Mohammad Atta was freed and eventually thanked the US by flying an airplane into Tower One of the World Trade Center . This was reported by many of the American TV networks at the time that the terrorists were first identified.

    It was censored in the US from all later reports.

  60. PS, that is a very neat blog and good thoughts. But, I am sorry you posted it because I was going to really, really try and get something done today! lol.. I was thinking about something similar after I posted to you last, about this process, that this sometimes painful process is like a stripping away of non-important things so that we can get to the simplest things. I need a lot of stripping away. Too often I am angry, frustrated, and feel sorry for myself. But God doesn't semm to feel sorry for me. He seems to say "you're angry? okay, take THIS!" lol.. and finally I just have to give up and say "okay, I didn't need it, my heart is hard and needs to be softened, I didn't appreciate what I had until it was gone...."

    LLLreader, I can't think of anything exactly like that at the moment, but I love the idea of the foil-wrapped coffee can holding fresh flowers. I hope you'll be able to visit her grave soon, it's a lovely tradition!

  61. P.S.

    You might want to start watching a bit more "balanced" media outlets and perhaps you might not want to read all the silly e-mail your friends send you. Yes, I have a friend who sends me silly e-mail to, until I told her that I no longer wanted political e-mail. And yes, she is one of my two best girlfriends and she is--gasp--a Republican! I was suspicious and checked out snopes.com and found out that the Mohammed Atta is patently false. See for yourself:


    --Stranger in a Strange Land

    P.S. to P.S. Fox TV is not balanced and neither is the 700 show. I have started reading BBC and Swedish news; I don't trust hardly ANY American news outlets for telling me the truth. They've all been paid and bought for by one side or another.

  62. Sorry to be redundent, P.S.

    Seems the Ollie North story is also FALSE. Here you go:



  63. Looks like Stranger beat me to the punch! :)

  64. PS, you really ought to check into these things before re posting them as if they were actually true:

    Oliver North Hoax

  65. ...and, the second one isn't true either. We never had Atta in custody.

    Atta wasn't in custody, and other problems

  66. LLLreader sez: Oh, here's an idea-why not drop the conservative/liberal stuff for awhile? Although it is interesting to realize how different our journeys have become, the subject can roll on forever. I don't have anything on my mind right now to use as a topic. tomte what have you got? One thing, in thinking about traditions I know growing up OAL, has colored my way of doing things in many ways. I have a real strong work ethic for one thing. I think of Finns as being industrious, not limiting that trait to OALC members. Somebody think of something to talk about besides Limbaugh vs. Obama.

  67. I soooooooooooooo agree with LLL reader. I would just love that!


  68. I agree, a new topic would be wonderful!

  69. Okay. I can actually admit when I am wrong. That story was a pile of crap! And yes, I fell for it hook, line and sinker. groan.