"laestadian, apostolic, gay, lgbtq, ex-oalc, ex-llc, llc, oalc, bunner" LEARNING TO LIVE FREE: Boundaries, and those who cross them

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Boundaries, and those who cross them

I read an interesting article this morning by Carl McColman about boundaries which reflected upon a couple of mutually paradoxical points.

On the one hand every community, religious or otherwise, has boundaries that determine who is in and who is out of the community, define norms for acceptable behavior, etc. Sometimes boundaries are helpful, but other times (and here I'm thinking about my own Laestadian upbringing and the stories many others have shared on this site) boundaries can be very damaging, promoting fear of "the other," conformity, and stifling creativity.

On the other hand, Christians have the example of Jesus, who constantly got in trouble with the religious and secular authorities of his day for crossing boundaries. Looking at the theology and the stories the church tells about Jesus this theme is even more pronounced. Jesus violates the boundaries between human and Divine, between body and spirit, between heaven and earth, between death and life.

from That which is different by Carl McColman

[W]hile there may be boundaries that separate believer from non-believer, love -- true love, the love that comes from God -- knows no boundaries. So we who live inside the boundaries have to learn how to love through the boundaries. I’m not sure what that looks like, because it sounds like something that could easily be condescending or "second rate." But I don't think love operates according to a caste system. Jesus didn't say, "Love your Christian neighbors as yourself," nor did he say "love your neighbors as yourself, and of course this means different things depending on whether your neighbor is a believer or not." So here's the paradox: the boundaries of Christianity remind us who we are: a people who have given our lives over to love. Remove the boundaries, and our identity is in jeopardy. But it is that very identity that calls us to cross the boundaries with the lavish, prodigal love of God.

As ex-Laestadians, we've all crossed a pretty large boundary. What has it meant for you to be a boundary crosser? Has it changed the way you think about boundaries in general? What boundaries, if any, are still meaningful?


  1. Thats a really good point, Jesus didn't say "love your neighbour as yourself, if he is a believer". I'll have to remember that one. I had a hard time setting boundaries for myself after leaving the LLC. I felt like I'd been taught a lie all my life, so what was REALLY sin? For awhile I just ignored all of it and did what I wanted. In time, I slowly started establishing new boundaries. I still struggle with some things..knowing wether they are in or out of the boundaries, but I just try be a good person. I find it hard to think of the boundaries on my own after being told where they were all my life, you know? But I'm learning :) Anyways...I can't really think of any boundaries that are still meaningful..I'm sure there are some but I just can't think right now. I'd really enjoy hearing everyones opinion on this topic!

  2. Laestadian upbringings often involve no respect of normal personal boundaries which under normal circumstances are conducive to normal mental health. Hence the children brought up in those homes have their personal boundaries violated on a regular basis. There is actually a personality disorder called 'Borderline' where the person does not understand normal 'boundaries' in personal relationships. The Laestadian religious upbringing often has at its core the violation of personal boundaries with respect to the religious and cultural indoctrination process. Thus when people 'leave' the movement their own sense of personal boundaries has been so violated that it often takes time to totally discover or rediscover themselves and what they really believe as this was not permitted during their upbringing. If this has happened to you do not fret as it has happened to many or most who leave. Of course the 'club' will be wagging their tongues and pointing you out as an 'example' of what happens to those who leave the fold. However, things get much better with time once you throw off the yoke and realize that you have been fed a line of pure malarkey and then you go on to discover who you really are and what Jesus has planned for your life.

  3. I've been thinking about anonymous's post for two days now, off and on. He/she is dead spot on about MY Laestadian upbringing and how personal boundaries were always crossed. In my family, verbal abuse was rampant. One of my earliest memories was how my mother, pregnant with her 5th child in 7 years, screamed and ranted on and on for hours while cleaning the kitchen about how hard her life was and how "worthless", "lazy" and how "no-good" we children were for not helping her enough. I remember how torn I felt and how worthless I felt for not helping her enough. I cried and cried plugged my ears. I was only five years old! Then I plugged in the vacuum cleaner and started to try to vacuum the floor but some small pieces of toys plugged up the vacuum cleaner and my mother, further angry, ripped the vacuum cleaner out of my hand and proceeded to slap me. My siblings sat playing with their toys while plugging their ears or escaped outside. That kind of scene played on and on in our home. When I neared 8 or 9 I started arguing back to my mother, which set her and I intro a combative relationship in which I had no chance in winning. She would then switch from verbal tantrums to hymn singing, by association making me feel like a corrupt heathen for questioning her. My siblings, even the little ones, turned on me too. I became the scapegoat in my family. Even in everyday life I was made to feel unworthy. I remember once my sister and I singing a pop song we heard on the school bus and when she sang a lyric wrong and I corrected her, and spat out, "See, you know ALL the words to the devil's music, but you need the hymnbook to sing a church song." Later, although I had not even tried drinking, I had my siblings smelling my breath for alcohol after returning from a sleepover with a couple of "worldly" friends, even though I had never tried alcohol. (Although I did a few times after that).

    Now finally, at 41, I have made the decision to finally leave the church. It is still very painful for me. I have talked about this before, but the roots of my household dysfunction was that my father was living a double life and it stressed my mother out, and it was easier on everyone to have someone else to blame. I was the person who was trying to call out the elephant in the room, even though at the time, I didn't realize it was an elephant and didn't until I was about 30.

    The tipping point for me was that I have started having panic attacks every time I go to church. Even though I don't have panic attacks anywhere else, be it a crowded mall or giving a presentation at work.

    I guess for me, giving up means I am also giving up being accepted by my family. If I couldn't as a believer, I never will as an unbeliever. I am not leaving so I can drink, dance or be accepted by the "world." For me, it is a matter of being able to survive. I am not giving up my faith. God is still with me.

    So now, all of you who have left before, I need advice. I need to develop those boundaries, and fast. I am scared and discouraged. I am scared for my son, and what he will now hear about his mother. He is in his mid-teens, and he wants to continue to go to church.

    --Stranger in a Strange Land

  4. "So now, all of you who have left before, I need advice."

    I am perhaps not the best one to give advice, but consider some of the following:

    1. You don’t have to be scared. That the first thing to remember. I think people overdramatize the consequences of leaving laestadian churches (at least here in Europe). I did it when I left in my youth, but found out everyone liked me even thought I don’t wanted to be a laestadian. (This may perhaps be different in US, and ALC is more tolerant than LLC or OALC).

    Even though you cut relations with your former friends, I don’t think there is anything to be very worried about. Nothing will happen you!

    2. Try to find some other communities where you can build new relations. This may be some other Church, but it doesn’t have to be. Become active in a political party and start to do volunteer work. This may give you some new good friends (but on other side maybe also some enemies ;)

    3. Discuss eventual problems on this forum. Many have experience and can give better advice than I.

  5. Before you leave make sure this is what you really want as it is very difficult to go back as you would be viewed with deep suspicion an ridicule. With regards to your mother.....far too many Laestadian mothers are strung out as they are essentially '(emotionally) children who are themselves having children.' There is more than one 'witch mother' within the groups. If you read Judith Miller MD's book 'Trauma and Recovery' you will see how key the role of the primary caregiver for a child and how this person sets the 'tone' for that person's life. An unstable or and abusive mother can cause deep psychological wounds. The deepest wounds caused in children are by mothers who are sexually abusive-another unmentionable. I strongly suggest you buy this book and read it before you decide to leave. Also you will need to find another church. I did quite a bit of 'church shopping' as I did not really trust any church any more. However, I finally found some independent 'Bible Churches' that had at their core the belief that the most important thing was that a person is personally converted to faith in Jesus and that they are born again in Christ. All else is secondary. You might say I then realized that I had 'known about Jesus' within Laestadianism but that I did not 'know Jesus' until I found a real Bible believing church.

  6. Correction the book name is 'Trauma an Recovery' by Judith Herman MD not Miller. There is a psychological disorder between two parents called 'Biparental Failure' where one parent who is 'normal' does not control the neurotic, child abusing spouse. In other words the normal parent becomes an 'enabler' of the abusive sposue. From all I have seen a major problem within Laestadian upbringings is what might be termed obsessive compulsiveness. What this entails is that the young child is never allowed to develop their own sense of self and never really allowed to develop a sense of making good healthy choices that are good for that individual. Instead neurotic parents jam their understandings down the child's throat using coercision such as fear of hell, physical and emotional abuse so that the child chooses what the parent's want....this seems to especially hold true with the neurotic mothers. This not only involves spiritual decisions but is all life encompassing including careers and occuptions as well as potential spouses etc.... Thus the Laestaian child never really develops a well grounded sense of self as this is all stymied from say the age of 2 or so. They horrid part of this all is that if the child had been allowed to develop a sense of self and if they had recieved Biblical encouragement they could have developed into a person who would have been spiritually filled and one whom the Lord could truly use. Instead the children are pounded down into and made into a neurotic child with poor self esteem an with stunted emotional growth.

  7. SiaSL,

    That sounds tough. Before you leave, make sure your finances and such are in order so that you will be able to live independently. It is much easier to break free if you don't depend on someone still inside for your food, housing, and basic necessities.

    If you are experiencing panic attacks, it might not hurt to see a psychologist. Being raised LLL and then leaving can be challenging, and a psychologist might be able to help you navigate it easier. My preference would be a psychologist who practices cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). Check out this Psychology Today site.

    If you don't want to see a psychologist, at a minimum, I would get a copy of the book "The Feeling Good Handbook" by David Burns.

    Stay in touch on here and let us know how it's going.

    Best wishes!

  8. Big hug to you, Stranger.. I am so sorry to read what you have gone through in your life. You're right, boundaries are something non-existent in so many families and churches. I'll be thinking of you...

    Bless you!

  9. LLLreader sez: Oh Stranger--I am giving you a hug (in my mind anyway). It sounds like your sibs learned how to behave from your Mom, in their treatment of you. They aren't right in their behavior and thinking. The fact that you are going to be true to yourself, at this stage of your life, is a tribute to your strength. Maybe you don't have to make an statement that you are leaving, just don't go to church anymore. You have a job, so you can support yourself. If you can get counceling--I would sure support that move. I went through a long period of counceling--the time my councelor asked me "What did your family believe?", I couldn't tell him. I knew we believed that it was important that other people thought we were living up to what they thought we should do--but that was it! Don't rush yourself, you don't have to change everything today. I would just continue to make sure your son knows you love him and accept his decisions, just like you expect him to love you and respect your decisions. Your mean siblings are gonna' use him for sure to get to you. Don't accept it!!!!! Knowing it's going to happen is going to make you stronger. Shame on them anyway! God is with you. Make sure you let your son know God loves both of you, I hope you have an answering machine--you may want to screen your calls--don't listen to the tirades--not once more!!!!! NOT ONCE!!!! It won't help you to listen to the same old theme and it's not good for them either--God is not going to be happy about the way they are treating one of his beloved children (YOU). You will gradually make a new life--do you have a partner? I wish I knew how to get hold of you. Free2be knows how to contact me--if you want to talk on the phone contact her and she can contact me. You are such a precious person and I can't type fast enough to get my words out--just know you DON'T have to listen to those words anymore. We here want to know how you are doing--God loves you and we love you.

  10. Thanks, everyone for your support. I've tried on this blog to add a balanced view of Laestadiansim and I had always planned on staying in this system, even though I had my own doubts and fears. I probably would have continued on, despite my family-of-origin issues, if the panic attacks hadn't started. A wise friend of mine advised me to "listen to my body" and what it was telling me. Then I started thinking of how many Sunday migraines have also come on, or a cold or flu before a big-gathering, etc. I know many people thought I was making it up, and it didn't occur to be before it was my body's response to stress until now. Whether it was stress reaction to seeing my family and particularly a sister who has been particularly hateful to me, the fear of being judged, or discomfort with what was being preached at times, I don't know. I also know that there were some very nice sermons, too; I have extended family who have been good to me; and I have non-judgmental friends there as well. When its not all bad, it takes time to sort out. Even an abused child often has loyalty toward their abuser. I have the aforementioned book on trauma on order and it might be my weekend read. Thanks for all the love!


  11. Many illnesses have their origins in long term 'stress' or intrapersonal conflict, instead the Laestadian concept of illness is that one gets sick because God's 'punishing you' or 'God's trying to teach you a spiritual lesson' or 'every person is given a cross to bear' or 'what sin did you commit to cause this' etc.... If you have migraines, ulcers, high blood pressure and a host of other illnesses, the chances are they had their origins in long term stress (unless it was genetic)......of the type that is engendered by the conflicted and damaging roots of a Laestadian/Apostolic Lutheran-type upbringing filled with guilt, heaped-on feelings of obligations to others and sin. Ulcers are not caused by what you eat but by what is eating you. You might want to consider your decision to leave before your son gets too old and he in turn gets caught up in all this crap. One of your big mental obstacles may be the fear that by leaving or going contrary to the flow is the teaching that by doing so you will be 'blaspheming against the Holy Spirit.' This is the same old bunko line that is used against anyone going contrary to the AP 'party line' as in 'if you leave the church God will kill you.' Do not worry about this as in truth God is really trying to lead you out of all the crap you have had to put up with over the years. The easiest thing based on my experience is to pull a 'geographical' as in move to a new location provided one has a good skill and can find employment somewhere else and find a new Bible believing church not filled with all the leftover superstition from 1800's in Finland. When it comes right down to it the old superstitions from Finland are one of the major sources of the sin/guilt/hell understandings of the LLL/APL/OALC. Interestingly enough, Lars Levi Laestadius as well as Martin Luther were extremely educated and founded the movements we came from yet the same present day members are anti-education as most are descended from the serf class of day laborers in old Finland prior to the revolution in 1917.

  12. I feel for you! Part of the reason I left was because I was suffering anxiety attacks at the church, at communion, working in the kitchen, etc. I finally decided it wasn't worth it anymore, plus I didn't believe the crap, and never really fit in. If you don't have many "close" friends in the church, you won't have alot of people bothering you after you leave. I didn't have any close friends left, so mostly people just left me alone. It will take alot of time to mend things with your family, if you want to. Things may never be the same. My husband always says "it's better to be hated for who you are than loved for who you're not." So true! Just remember that God loves you because you're YOU, not because you're a laestadian! Don't you wish you could make them all see that? It would make things so much easier!! Good luck! We're here for you if you need!

  13. YM, I remember a number of AP children having nightmares in my town based on what they were 'taught' (terrorized with) in Sunday school in the local AP Church. Hence having anxiety attacks as an adult would not be a surprising reaction. Any real Laestadian friends you have will still be friends once you leave. There are many non-Laestadians out there whom you might find that you have far more in common with than those who remain in the Laestadian clubhouse. In fact you might find out that quietly those who remain will agree with you but they will give you some line about having to stay for their family's sake or to maintain peaceful relations with the kinfolks. I have heard that some Laestadian families have made some spiritual progress as they have come in contact with other conservative, non-Laestadian Christian famlies through the home school movement. When and if you leave you will find out that ultimately you will retain the best parts of what you were brought up with but you will have have rejected the worst. We are here for all who are struggling. We know what it was like for those trying to leave and/or those who for those who are trying to reform their particular group(s).

  14. YM. The normal progression in a healthy Christian upbringing would start with faith in Jesus so that we would know what unconditional love is. Because we would know what love is we would know to nurture ourselves and others. Because we knew how to nurture we would then have the fruits of the spirit. In short faith in Jesus leads to love which leads to nurturing which leads to fruits of the spirit. (See 1 Corinthians 13) With an Apostolic Lutheran type upbringing it is just the opposite; first is demanded fruits (fruits of legalism and bondage, obedience to rules and church norms) then if you 'obey' you will be given some nurturing in 'church matters and expected behavior.' If you meet that standard you are given a little love and then if you meet the group norms then you are told you are a Christian and that all other groups are going to hell. No wonder normal boundaries get so screwed up in many Laestadian upbringings. Everything is the exact opposite from what it should be.

  15. "first is demanded fruits (fruits of legalism and bondage, obedience to rules and church norms)"

    Matthew 7:21 "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven."

    Yes, laestadianism is the opposite modern charismatic movements which promises you will have earthly benefits of being a believer and that you all the time can be happy and blessed.

    Being an laestadian means you have to know you are sinner, however a forgiven one, and usually that life is a long troublesome path where you mostly suffer and long to heaven.

    Some may think this focus on sin, suffering, Jesus death and resurrection makes people unhappy, but the exact opposite seems to be true.

    A major newspaper in Finland made an investigation a few months ago between municipalities in Finland to determine where people are most happy. They combined all kind of statistics they could get, like health, divorce rate, crime, jobless rate etc.

    Guess in which municipality in Finland people was most happy? It was Larsmo where 50% are laestadians (ALC branch).

    Perhaps life is like Isaac was to Abraham? You have to be ready to scarify your happiness in order to find it.

    Thats just a perspective..

  16. Reply to LLinfo. Luther said the hardest thing to do is preach faith in Jesus and have fruits flow from that faith. I think some Laestadian homes have the right perspective on things and others do not. What is commonly viewed as legalism is just the opposite when it is a personal choice done to strengthen and help preserve one's faith. Most contemporary churches pretty much look the other way on anything as long as you are a member. Sort of like Laestadianism except to the other extreme. The 'focus on sin, suffering, Jesus' death and resurrection makes people unhappy' might actually be because individuality and personal faith in Jesus is squashed so as to make sure that one has personal faith in OALC/ALC/LLC church doctrines, expectations and norms. Over the years I have met a number of ex-Laestadians. I noticed that they all had the 3 same common themes: first they did not meet the AP church cultural and religious 'norms', all were academically inclined and all were turned off by 'only church to be saved' mentality. As far as 'scarifying' people. I do not see it that way. I see a lot of old Ostrobothnian Finnish superstitions intertwined with common Laestadian interpretations. Do not get me wrong, despite having left all of it many years ago I still see myself as a Laestadian. Maybe I should all move to Larsmo!

  17. "Maybe I should all move to Larsmo!"

    Why hesitate? Pack your bags and come over here! :)

    Finland is not a bad country to live in. In fact I believe it's better than US for many reasons.

    Some people say US is the land of opportunities, where everyone can become anything. My personal opinion is that this saying fits better on Finland.

    In Finland everyone are on the same line when they are born. Income and social situation makes almost no difference.

    The state will pay your studies all up to the university. The fees are just symbolic in the cases they exists.

    This mean talented youth will get the education they are intellectually suited for, regardless of parents situation.

    One reason Nokia has succeeded so well, is because of our education system. There is no way a country with 5 million people would have been able to build this multinational company if the education system were the same as in US.

    Larsmo is either not a bad place to live in. There are two big cities a few miles away. The times is little tough here in Finland too, but I don't doubt you can get a job here.

    There are several companies owned by laestadians. For example Snellman with a turnover of about 180 million dollar. The CEO is a well known preacher.

    I don't think they will hire you only because you say you has been a laestadian, some other merit may also be useful. :)

    For an american knowledge in English may be an enough merit. Our former CEO for the company I work for had as an principle that there should always be some English speaking in the company (mostly from UK), just to force us to use English in the internal communication.

  18. Get ready, because here we come! Can we all stay with you? :-)

    Finland has a right to be proud, that's for sure. Your country has come through a lot, you have a lot of SISU, and you strive for excellence in many ways.

    The US does have a lot of problems, but it still is the land of opportunity. There are lots of good people who work hard every day, and that includes lots of good teachers in our educational systems. We mostly hear about the negatives though..that's what makes the news, unfortunately.

  19. In Finland you pay a lot of taxes but get a lot of things free. In America we get paid more but you end up shelling it all out in living expenses since nothing is for free. I read a report how Finland has the lowest level of corruption amongst their elected officials. In the US the corruption with our politicians is beyond comprehension. In Finland it seems you can walk down most any street at night and feel safe. In contrast the US has more people in prison or on probation than the entire population of Finland. I wonder if Finland has ever considered opening up its doors to let all of us 2nd, 3rd and 4th generation Laestadian Finnish-Americans move back? We can solve their low birth rate problem.

  20. "The US does have a lot of problems, but it still is the land of opportunity."

    Yes. I think that it's better to live in US if you are successful, than in Finland. Some successful finns has indeed moved to US. For example Linus Torvalds, the creator of the Linux operating system.

    I also have an old friend who moved to US. He lives in Wilmington, NC now. I use to met him and his family when he are over here in Finland. He has told a lot about life in US. He says the best with moving to US was that, when you are an average finn here, you are well above average in US.

    Regarding Anonymous comment. That's true. We pay higher taxes here than in US, but we also get a lot for these taxes. For example our health care costs only about half of that in US (counted in BNP), and on a average level it's much better than the one in US.

    Of course if you have a lot of money you can get better health care in US.

    The reason state produced health care is better and cheaper is because of large volumes which both improves efficiency and professionalism of those who works in the system.

    This health care is also free for all finns, so we have 0% bankruptcy because of health care costs.

    I don't think there are many other obstacles for an american to move to Finland than paying the flight ticket. I don't know the details but The Finnish Immigration Service home pages are here:


  21. ..and maybe some day you might consider moving to the US? It's actually a great place, lots of wide open spaces with a 'can-do' attitude among most people. I have always been treated professionally by people in the medical profession. I hope you don't think that we have substandard care here, we don't. The media portrays those who have difficulties, who fall through the cracks, and yes, reforms are needed. But in our local small hospital I recently noticed a sign that said you cannot be turned away in an emergency regardless of your ability to pay. There are a lot of caring people here, LInfo.. If you ever wanted to move here, you'd make it..

  22. Regarding criminality the rate is low in Finland, but homicides are higher than in surrounding countries. Mostly a homicide in Finland is a drunk person killing his best friend in anger as drunk, so "outsiders" are not affected as in US. One reason may be that hand guns are not allowed to be own by private persons without real good reason. Self defense is for example not a reason you can buy a gun.

    Otherwise criminality is low. It's low in whole Europe. I just read they had to close some jails in Holland because they couldn't get enough interns. They first tried to import prisoners from surrounding countries, but had finally to close the prisons and fire the guards.

    I think it's an question of the intent of the justice system. The purpose of the justice system can be 1) to punish criminals, 2) deter criminality.

    If the second system is chosen it means the penalties are often ridiculously low.

    If you put a person in prison he often loses his work, ability to function in the society and his family, so the probability he does a new crime is higher than if he wasn't imprisoned at all.

    That's why the Finnish system give no punishment at all for most crimes. The judge just says: "ok, you have done a crime. If you do another crime within a year we will put you in jail."

    Most sentences are like that.

    It's not funny when your car has been stolen, and you next day can see the thief on the street. On other hand this kind of penalties makes the probability for you to run into the situation much less than if the thief was put in jail.

  23. Okay L Info. You've finally crossed the line.

    This is a blog about Laestadianism. I recommend you live in the U.S. before you start to much generalizing. Your assertions about health care are way off. I lived in Finland twice, for a total of 3.5 years. I lived for many years without health insurance in the U.S., many years under a very good government health plan (yes we do have them), and many years with private insurance. All three were better than Finnish health care because of one thing. The power to choose.

    Health care in the U.S. is bloated and expensive, but it is not because its not run by the government.

    Education: L Info, I grew up a poor Laestadian. The government paid for ALL of my university education for the first four years. I bet you didn't know this could happen either.

    One drawback of U.S. culture is violence. We are violent people. I can tell I am much more violent than my dear Finnish friends and I haven't hit anyone since I was 17. Even then I only did it a few times then. Shorter prison sentences will never solve a cultural problem. That problem starts the day we are born and is passed along thru generations. By the time prison enters the picture, it is to late for most people to change. Those that change do after sitting in prison for a loooong time. I've worked with many rough folks who are law abiding because of their fear of going back to prison. And that was the ONLY reason why they behaved. L Info, you will not understand this because you are not an American. Violence is part of our culture and has been since day one. Sad, but true. Its why we run to war at the drop of a hat.

    That being said, I admire your pride in your country. But never fall into the trap that you have it all figured out, then you'll never find room for improvement.


  24. And this, I believe, brings the discussion back to the original topic: boundaries.

    Anon 3:16 had a good response to some posts that I believe crossed boundaries by making faulty assumptions and judgements. Anon was assertive in his/her response, and backed up it up with examples of practical experience and knowledge. Good post.

  25. "This is a blog about Laestadianism. I recommend you live in the U.S. before you start to much generalizing."

    Sorry, but I write exactly about what I want here! The moderator can take care of moderating the forum.

    People who want to avoid have issues debated are often those who are without arguments (just losers). In a debate it's the arguments which makes up what is truth, not the person telling the argument (or where he/she lives).

    You don't actually have to stay on the place to tell something about it. Statistics and analysis can tell a lot more than living in a country. I have realized many people (particularly) Christians in US are quite ignorant and prefer to believe in what they think would be nice if it were true, rather than truth.

    That's why I Am a little sorry why so few Americans has watched my video about creationism. (The statistics shows the video is viewed mostly be people outside US.)

    (You can see the video by clicking on my Nick)

    (I will return to your arguments about prison sentences later)

  26. I will also return to your argument about health care later today. I think you are just wrong. I believe I can show you US health care is about one of the worst in the world. There are plenty of material proving this.

  27. I'm waiting to hear your arguments. If you are planning on using life expectancy or infant mortality support your arguments on health care, please don't. They are strawman arguments.


  28. First of all. I am always happy to be wrong, since that mean I have learnt something.

    I never watch TV. I spend the time other watch TV to read blogs. This blog is one of my favorites since I have learnt a lot about mainly laestadianism in US by reading this blog, and Hibenatus has pointed out many things I have realized I have been wrong about.

    But first regarding the prison sentences in US. Your country has the highest incarceration level in the whole world. As of year-end 2007, a record 7.2 million people were behind bars, on probation or on parole. More than 1 in 100 American adults were incarcerated at the start of 2008.

    The United States has 5% of the world's population and 23.6% of the world's prison population.

    Already this shows that there must be something terrible wrong with both the society and the justice system.

    By comparison, the incarceration rate in England and Wales was 148 persons imprisoned per 100,000 residents; the rate for Norway was 66 inmates per 100,000. US has 1000 per 100,000.

    Perhaps one reason is that the US justice system seems to be focused on retaliation, rather than deterring crime.

    In Europe prison sentences are a sort of last resort. As I wrote you get away with almost no punishment for most crimes if you can behave.

    I don't have any numbers, but mostly when I read newspapers around 80% of the jail sentences are such that the convicted does not have to go to jail at all. They go though the justice process and are judged to a let say 6 moth jail time, but they don't have to sit off the time if they don't do another crime within the period. If they do another crime, they usually has to sit off both the previous sentence and the new. If they behave well in the prison they don't have to sit off the whole sentence anyway, so few people sit in prisons in Finand, and those who are there are those who belong there.

    I have hard to believe people become better in prison. Prisons are mostly a school for criminals, so avoiding putting people in prison must be avoided.

    If you are a crime victim it's natural to require punishments, but the Bible teach us to forgive rather than revenge. I think thats a reason to why the European system with roots in Christianity is so mild. Non Christian countries tend to have harsher punishments.

    I have been a crime victim a few times (for example had my car vandalized when someone tried to steal it), so I know how it feels.

    However most people agree the system should be such that the crime rate is as low as possible. In some cases this means a criminal get away without punishment (in practice). We also have to member the criminals are someones children too, and minimizing suffering for criminals serves also an purpose. Mostly those who become criminals has had a hard upbringing and childhood, and thy has themselves been victims to much wrong.

    Crimes which are against a person. Rape etc are in my opinion a little different. In such cases some degree of punishment has to be weighted in, not just the aspect how to minimize crime.

  29. The American medical care system is probably the most expensive in the world. The total health expenditures as a share of GDP, U.S is someting between 15 and 16 %. The same number for Finland is 7.4%, Sweeden 9.3%, Japan 8% and United Kingdom 7.8 %.

    According to U.S. Census Bureau, International Database, year 2004, U.S. is #20 in health care compared to other nations. In life expectancy, the U.S. is behind Japan, Swedan, Australia, Finland, Switzerland, Norway, Canada, Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Israel, Austria, Greece, New Zeeland, United Kingdom and Cyprus. The U.S. in life expectancy is tied with Ireland and Denmark and actually ahead of the Czech Republic.

    The life expected at birth is 78 years for US, while it's 80 for UK and 83 for Japan, which uses only 8% of GDP for health care compared to 16% for US.

    We can also look at what US get for this money compared to other countries. The amount of doctors, nurses and hospital beds per 10000 is 26, 94 and 31, while the same number for for example UK is 23, 128 and 80. The fact that United Kingdom pays only about half for it's healt care shows how incredible expensive the US system is.

    Studies released in 2007 by the Commonwealth Fund found that the United States, which has the most expensive health system in the world, underperforms consistently relative to other countries and differs most notably in the fact that Americans have no universal health insurance coverage.

    The US ranked last in most areas, including access to health care, patient safety, timeliness of care, efficiency and equity. Americans were also last in terms of whether they had a regular physician.

    The study also shows the United States is also far behind in adopting modern health information technology, which translates into spiralling costs and poor care.

    Some old numbers from 2005 shows that illness and medical bills caused half of the 1,458,000 personal bankruptcies in 2001, according to a study published by the journal Health Affairs. The study estimates that medical bankruptcies affect about 2 million Americans annually -- counting debtors and their dependents, including about 700,000 children.

    Most of those bankrupted by illness had health insurance. More than three-quarters were insured at the start of the bankrupting illness. However, 38 percent had lost coverage at least temporarily by the time they filed for bankruptcy.

    In other industrialized countries this number is 0%, beckause taking care of people's health is government's job just like picking up the trash or putting out fires or running the public library. When you need the service, you get it, and you don't pay there. You pay for it in taxes. It's a government service.

    About 90 percent of the people in Britain and Spain, Italy, New Zealand practicaly never get a doctor bill in their life. They go their whole life and never get a hospital bill. Beckause it's government's job to keep people healthy.

    About 10 percent of the people in Britain have private insurance, but it only accounts for about three percent of the money spent on health care. When anything serious has to happen people go to the public hospital.

    That was something to begin with..

  30. ok, enough!! This thread is about boundaries.....

  31. random thoughts in the middle of the night: Having no boundaries is as bad as poor boundaries. Healthy boundaries should be the goal, as the earlier anon in this thread wrote about, and did it very well.

    Consider this, if you will.. Jesus did not cross boundaries so much as He broke down walls. The 'good people' of his day famously erected boundaries of those who were 'in' versus those who were 'out'. I can't think of any instance where Jesus used coercion of any kind as He went about speaking, preaching and healing. (He was blunt with those who lifted themselves up and looked down at others, however.) People with poor boundaries are those who seek to control, are authoritatarian, and use shame, threats, force and other tactics to diminish those around them, rather than reaching out in unconditional, agape love. Poor boundaries also cause people to take this horrible treatment because they feel guilty, coerced, afraid, or have an unhealthy need to rescue or please others. Healthy boundaries help us understand when to stay and when it's time to leave a situation or relationship.

    I think we need to learn to trust our instincts. If we encounter bullies and thugs, it's time to head in the other direction. There are many good books out there about this subject of boundaries, toxic people, and how to be safe and healthy physically, mentally, spiritually and emotionally. The clues are there, we just need to be wise enough to read them and take them seriously, and not make excuses for poor behaviour.

    We are in the middle of dealing with one of the most toxic people I've ever encountered. There doesn't seem to be answer to it right now, except to learn from it, gain wisdom, and hopefully never find ourselves in this position again. It can be tricky, because these people are master manipulators and can be quite subtle and charming. But sooner or later their true colors come out. And they will never change, no matter how you try. It is their personality.

    wow, that got gloomy. Time to go back to bed lol.

  32. "Anonymous said...
    ok, enough!! This thread is about boundaries....."

    So you hadn't any arguments? All the facts I listed are well known and from reliable sources. If you don't agree with them, you could show how they are wrong.

    I don't mind if you don't want to discuss the topics, but a debate is always healthy in all questions.

    By debating you can learn to be sure about your own opinions, since you can examine counter arguments.

  33. Anon 2:12 says:

    L-info, to be honest I couldn't be bothered reading both your loonng posts. Could you maybe try shorten your posts a bit? (Sorry, I'm not trying to be rude, it's just that your posts get too long sometimes) And by the way, I'm not from the US. I don't know the facts, I'd havet to look them up for myself. But anyways, I was just reminding you that this thread is about boundaries, not the differences between the US and Finland.

    Norah, good post! I know I sometimes cross boundaries, lose my temper, things like that. I guess that makes us human. I think its when we don't realize we've crossed a boundary that we're in trouble.

  34. "Could you maybe try shorten your posts a bit?"

    I will try! Sometimes making a long answer short isn't possible.

    "I don't know the facts, I'd havet to look them up for myself."

    I am glad if you want to discuss! Please look up the facts so we can verify them.

    Anonymous initially said the US system is better that the finish based on his experience. If we were comparing coffee shops, this would be an argument, but when we are discussing crime and health care we can actually look at the hard facts.

    I Am not bragging about the Finnish system. In my opinion Finland isn't the best country on earth. I just want to point out the problems with the US system since this blog is supposedly read mostly in US?

  35. If you don't want to discuss crime and health care under this posting, I wouldn't mind if Tomte made an own posting about the topic, so we can copy the discussion to that thread.

    Mostly when people complain about wrong topics being discussed, the reason is that they don't like the facts rather than the topic..

  36. Anon 2:12, you're right..we're human and it's impossible to be perfect. And when boundary-crossing is acceptable and even expected (we are to be helpful and obedient, be good examples, point out the 'right' way, try and get along with everyone, etc), then it's hard for us to understand when and why there is a problem. But if we can see this in ourselves then I think we're probably okay and teachable lol. It's interesting though, that many people with poor boundaries will rarely see a problem with it, even when it's pointed out or talked about right in front of them.

    At the extreme end of this are the sociopaths, who never see themselves as crossing boundaries but instead see themselves as victims. Nothing is ever their fault and they feel justified in treating others the way they do. And according to what I've read, about 1 in 25 people have variations of personality disorder. That's a lot!

  37. FWIW, a book that has been highly recommended is "The Gift of Fear" by Gavin De Becker. I'm going to order it today.

  38. Anon 2:12, that's a good point about not always knowing when we cross boundaries. Most of us here have made conscious decisions to cross boundaries by leaving the Laestadians behind. It was difficult for most of us, I think, but it was our choice. Crossing unknown boundaries is another thing -- we not only are not doing it intentionally, but then we can wonder why we got ourselves into trouble by doing so!

    Norah, I also liked your comment about sociopaths that try to portray themselves as victims rather than at fault. I assume if it a true disorder, then they don't even realize when they do this -- and cannot understand why a lot of people just don't have patience for them and are "against" them.

  39. cvow, I think the shootings of the last couple of days are examples of the sociopath. These two guys had a lot of problems and there were signs that they could be capable of violence by their own words and actions over several years. People like this can't take no for an answer. And you're right, they don't even realize that they themselves are the problem, and the reason why people are "against" them.

    I have never really thought much about this until the last year when we got a tenant who started displaying a lot of these patterns after coming across as Mr. Wonderful in the beginning. Now it's to the point where we are one step away from a restraining order. So far he's backed off, he's been diverted to other things for now. But we just wonder what the future holds for him, he's still relatively young.

    Respecting boundaries means that you respect other people's right to have different opinions from you, that you conform to normal neighborly activities and mind your own business most of the time. Not getting into everyone's face all the time. It means that no means no, no matter how persuasive you try to be, it's still no if the other person doesn't want to participate.

    I've gone on too long about this as usual, but my SP radar is high right now.

  40. Norah. Ref your comment, "We are in the middle of dealing with one of the most toxic people I've ever encountered...
    Glad for your post. I was once one of those 'toxic persons' filled with the spirit of the New Awakenist/Laestadian legalists. Little did I know that I had been led down the 'garden path' by the old master manipulators who looked for 'victims'-usually the young and energetic who are looking for answers. Later on when I figured out what was going on I was told by one speaker who opposed them, that the old sly wolf manipulators were always just trolling waiting to find a victim. They then subtly indoctrinate you with their 'legalistic truth' and then send you out to do their dirty work. I saw how they had totally screwed up a number of younger people's lives. One younger guy who they had destroyed even divorced his wife and their 6 kids and left her for a floozy. Another guy was so stressed out by them that he keeled over with a heart attack. My dad knew the same bunch 50 years ago. He told me that in all his travels around the world, this same bunch was the most miserable group of people he had ever met anywhere. What is interesting though is that most everyone is too scared to call them out onto the carpet or confront them for what they really are. If you ask this same bunch if they will be saved they often hedge their answers and they will say 'I don't know' or they have many doubts because when it comes right down to it they have no faith in Jesus. If the light is shined on roaches notice how they all scatter.

  41. Anon, your post kinda gives me the chills. I know what you're talking about. The interesting thing is that it has a name - they are sociopaths. They're found everywhere in society. But it's hard to say that when they've set themselves up on a pedestal, and like you said, people are afraid to call them out. Well, I've called a couple of them out over the last few years (thanks to the internet where it's easier to put out a reasoned argument without all the emotion of face-to-face confrontation). It's sick. My husband has always known this about these kinds of people, and now after all these years I realize he was right.

    It just goes back to what I wrote earlier - trust your instincts. If something doesn't seem right, it probably isn't. Don't give 'em the time of day. Grrr, just thinking about some of them makes my blood boil. Thank you so much for writing, it makes it more clear how this all ties together.

  42. Hi Norah 'anon' previous 'anon' here. Maybe I should add a tag like ZAnon so people know it is the same. Sociopath sounds like a pretty accurate description. It also seems to some extent that they are the psychotic leading the neurotic. I call them a bunch of spiritual quacks. Yes it is hard to even debate them as they have their narrow set of Bible versus seemingly memorized to back their claims plus a bushel full of Laestadian sermons and Luther's writings which they seem to try to distort and bring a 19th century northern Finland mentality into 21st century America. I saw this bunch reduce good decent Christians into weeping messes begging for forgiveness on Sunday morning. One day it struck me that something was drastically wrong. I realized the common folk were innocent and that the Pharisees were dumping grievous burdens on people's shoulders. I even heard them saying that 'all Christians are given burdens to carry.' Notice the sour looks on their faces-blank, emotionalless or harsh and spitefull......yes sociopaths hidden within the ALC churches. Like I said in an earlier post, the only way they get away with this is by keeping the women 'dumbed down.' Zanon

  43. Zanon, it's so weird now that I go back and read what I wrote about boundaries yesterday..I wasn't talking about anyone in the church, and yet it is a good description. I think that the true sociopaths are in the minority, but they can bring down a whole lot of other people. I don't have an issue with 19th century Laestadianism, but I do have an issue with how it's been used and changed over the last 150 years. Revivals have universal similarities..they have happened all over the world. But it's what happens when certain people use this as power and control over others, and this is universal too.. it's the same thing whether it's in a church or a neighborhood or a family or at work. They are everywhere.

    Maybe sociopath isn't the right medical or psychological term, but it fits that minority of people who try to convince you that you need to be something other than what you are, or do something you do not want to do.

    It's good to be on guard. Con men are an age-old story, and maybe that's what many of them are, in the end.

  44. (I clicked twice and it posted twice, so I deleted the duplicate).

  45. Norah you are right about knowing deep inside what is best for you as a person and who you REALLY are. 'It just goes back to what I wrote earlier - trust your instincts. If something doesn't seem right, it probably isn't. Don't give 'em the time of day.' The problem I saw is that in many homes the 'self' is squashed down at an early age so as to ensure that a person has the 'right' Laestadian 'church beliefs.' This type of activity is called 'Borderline' personality disorder where a person does not understand boundaries because none were given to them by their parents and siblings. The problem I saw is that when people began to try to assert and discover 'self' they were told by the Pharisees, spiritual ogres and trolls, that that was the voice of the devil and that the person would 'blaspheme against the Spirit and never be forgiven' if they questioned any of the teachings. Or how about the line that 'if your conscience tells you something you have to do it'...sure recipe for developing an Obsessive-Compulsive personality disorder. I also heard them telling others that they would be 'killed' by God for questioning any of the garbage they had been told. For example, I saw this one old hag stating that God was going to 'take away' i.e. kill, one of her daughter's children because her daughter and husband left the church. This kind of mentality seemed to permeate most of their minds. Glad I was able to 'escape' when I did and go on to lead a fulfilling life only wishing I had left sooner-when I first had 'inklings' and the 'instinct' inside. Yes, I've been there and experienced it first hand. One of many.

  46. Anon 8:04, I think you are the one who wrote the posts at the beginning of this thread. I agree with you. As I read this post of yours I thought of creation, and the infinite variety and how lavish God was as he created all living things. (okay, that's another subject that some might not agree with, but that's how I see it). Anyway, look at the exuberant, abundant, colorful and indescribable beauty and variety that is there.. It's like God just let loose and creativity flowed over all of His creation, from the highest mountain top to the very depths of the sea. In the same way, our hearts and spirits should not be bound, but free. As we listen to God's leading and not man's leading, I think He will lead us to true creativity and beauty, to love and compassion and all good things. It is God who is the giver of life and light, it is the devil who wants to tear down, he is the father of darkness.

    Maybe I'm overstating this, I am just an amateur..but that's how I see it. Again, trust your own unique instincts. You never know how God is using you for His good, even though it might not seem acceptable or might go against the grain. He uses all of us in different ways, just as there is a purpose for everything in creation.

    I didn't mean for this to get preachy, but you probably know what I mean.. you've experienced this in your own life. And it's good to have that reinforced, that you are okay. We sure don't hear that enough anywhere these days, do we!

  47. Nora. One time in a very advanced biology course I saw that there were certain things that could not just be explained away as coincidence or some evolutionary process. Things do not just evolve as the inside of the cell is too different than the outside and the inside of a cell must be protected from the outside. The cell nucleus and its function are an incredible piece of micro-crafted machinery. In science they are obtaining a better and better understanding of the 'what' of life but not the 'why.' I realized that all the scientific principles I saw revealed that all physical laws were specifically 'designed' with the ultimate intent for the creation and sustainment of human life. That is why all of creation almost cries out to the glory of God as all life is merely a reflection of who God is. The highest form of reflecting God's nature in humans is through love. Zanon

  48. "That is why all of creation almost cries out to the glory of God as all life is merely a reflection of who God is. The highest form of reflecting God's nature in humans is through love."

    That is so true and so beautiful, I do believe I have at last been rendered speechless.

    Thank you!

  49. One day it dawned in my thick Finnish skull that by nature we are disobedient from God's intent. Paul writes of the wild branches (the Gentiles) who have been engrafted into the olive tree so that we then take on the nature of God himself as seen through his son Jesus. In other words-God's intent for us is that our very nature as a person should change so that we reflect the loving kindness of God himself. When I was a kid none of that made sense to me as I thought that I would have to be a namby pamby, a sissy or a wimp as we were not taught 'wisdom' as children but mostly legalism. Godly wisdom triumphs legalism.

  50. Zanon,
    I agree with Norah -- that was a very profound and beautiful thing you said about creation crying out to the glory of God!

    Of course, I also really liked your earlier mention of shining the light on the cockroaches! That had me ROTFL! Well done!

  51. Anon 10:39, you hit on something when you said you weren't taught wisdom. If you do a search for how many times 'wisdom' appears in the Bible, you'll find it is a very high priority. It's fine to be meek, mild and humble.. but it also says to be wise as serpents. It issues a very masculine-like challenge to be wise and discerning and to use that information and wisdom in a positive way in defense of the faith. Pushovers need not apply! lol

    Anon 8:04 and others who have written about this.. These people like to use..hmmm..maybe you could call it a 'secret language', as if they are privy to things that the rest of us mere mortals could not possibly understand. They change the rules at will, varying their arguments..so that it finally becomes clear that it's really about power, and not about Biblical Christianity at all. You are on sinking sand in any discussions with them, not on a solid rock.. You will never win, and they love thinking they have this power over you. As I said earlier, these people are in the minority, but from my experience they often have the loudest voices. One bad apple can spoil the whole lot, a little yeast leavens the whole batch. They should be confronted with truth at every turn, looking at them squarely in the eye. And if they will not hear then just turn off the ole' hearing aid. I can't hearrrrr youuuuu! Good-byeeeee! lol

  52. Norah. Having the 'keys' to understanding a 'secret languages' or a special knowledge that only a core group of insiders have is and always has been a mark of a cult. Yes here we go with that 'cult' word again. The Laestadians vary in degree on this point: some groups/congregations are open and almost interdenominational while on the other extreme are the cult like groups-those with a secretive inner 'core' of people who claim they have some special knowledge about salvation that others do not have because they have not had some type of special experience. This is all a bunch of malarkey. They go off in these tangents because they have never been born of the Spirit themselves as that is one subject that can not be 'learned.' Being born again as a believer in Christ is indeed supernatural but when some one is Biblically been born again they start talking a lot about Jesus and what he has done versus talking about church dogma, rules and others. I do not mind talking to the insider Laestadian clique but I have found that it usually worth the time as they seem paralyzed by a very deep internalized fear that they might be wrong.....thus they have to heep on even more of their doctrinal crap. I am very comfortable discussing things because I was born again AND I have the Word of God backing me up so I so I am not worried when I talk to a phoney. You know what Norah, you better believe a lot of the 'insiders' and Pharisees are secretly reading these posts every day. They are of all men/women the most miserable. One gal I know of sneeks to her computer ever day and she has to hide it from her husband out of fear. Althought it is not at first apparant, the American Laestadian lifestyle and mindset is so different and complex from the mainstream that almost any outsider would have a very difficult time really grasping what the issues are. I hope that some who struggle are helped by what is posted here.

  53. Anon, I hope that some who struggle are helped here, too. The interesting thing is that just this morning I was part of a discusssion and heard a sermon that addressed this very thing. Our faith is based on the Bible and nothing else. The speaker said that there have been some in Laestadianism who thought it was wrong to read the Bible, who believed that the truth only existed in one church building (as we've heard before), and that true faith originated with Laestadius! He also said that if you talk to the average parishioner in various congregations you'll find that most of them don't agree with these extreme positions. The Bible is easy to understand, not difficult or too deep for the average person (or even below average person!) to comprehend. It doesn't take exceptional intelligence or extended periods of study to understand. Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God. That should be our foundation, and that is a very good thing. It is available to all.

    I don't do well discussing these things in person, it's good that you do. But if people are reading here, that's fine.. I hope good comes from it.

  54. lastadia info, why are you always ripping on the U.S.A?!!! i notice in so many of your blogs you are comparing the us to finland. maybe you should start your own website where you can debat this?

  55. WHOA. Don't make me come back here! I feel the need to step in and defend our Finnish friend, who has calmly provided facts to support his statements, and is perfectly free to talk about anything he'd like on this blog, which is not limited to any one topic.

    Seems to me that all of us can stand to learn more about other other perspectives and other solutions to the problems we face. It is foolish arrogance to think that any person or any country is above criticism.

    I'll start another thread for discussions of health care.

    (Oh, hello everybody! Missed ya.)

  56. ..and I'll repeat what I posted about earlier in the thread:

    "People with poor boundaries are those who seek to control, are authoritatarian, and use shame, threats, force and other tactics to diminish those around them, rather than reaching out in unconditional, agape love. Poor boundaries also cause people to take this horrible treatment because they feel guilty, coerced, afraid, or have an unhealthy need to rescue or please others. Healthy boundaries help us understand when to stay and when it's time to leave a situation or relationship."

  57. I really don't believe that Laestadian Info has poor boundaries. He's using facts to support his statements. Some of you know that my other half is from the country next-door to Laestadian-Info. Even though I tend to be liberal, sometimes I don't even like hearing the facts, and there have been times I have crossed over some appropropriate boundaries and have told him to shut up. I find it annoying, after a while, to hear about how wrong we are. America is still our mother, even though she is bloated, fat and unhealthy, we don't appreciate other people constantly pointing it out. We hear about people over there who have been denied lifesaving medical intervention because of their age, etc., and I pointed that out to him. He says he does not know anyone who has been refused said treatment.

    Then he points out, later, that 1 out of 100 Americans are incarcerated. I reply, "Really? I don't know ANYONE who has ever been to prison." (Jail, maybe, for a brief time, but not prison).

    --Stranger in a Strange Land

  58. Norah said, "Healthy boundaries help us understand when to stay and when it's time to leave a situation or relationship." I found that most Americans would have a very difficult time comprehending the complex life/religious structure and precepts of the Laestadian home and upbringing. It is not 5 or 6 simple concepts that define a Laestadian upbringing but rather a 1000 points. Many of these Laestadidian multi faceted points is boundary violations. Boundaries are routinely violated because within the Laestadian mindset there are no boundaries. Very little sense of 'self' with regards to another person or even oneself. Zanon.

  59. Yes, thats good l-info uses facts to support himself, but the boundary is knowing when to stop. No need for name-calling though. Everyone thinks their home country is the best, they see the good more than the bad. Other countries see the bad in foreign countries first, its just how it goes. Why can't we all just get along? lol

  60. The westerm based global economy will continue to decline over the coming decade and Christianity will face ever growing assaults. I have thought that as things get worse all the Laestadian splinter groups might wake up and end up finding that they have far more in common with each other than not. I suspect a growing movement towards reconciliation and burying the hatchet. Sort of like when the Hatfields and McCoy's finally settled with each other after 100 years of blood feuding. Interestingly enough, the real origins of the Hatfield/McCoy feud have been lost to history even amongst the family members. Only hearsay and what so and so said........sort of like the current walls dividing the Laestadian groups. The real Laestadian unifier will eventually be Biblical faith coupled with love-love that has no 'boundaries.' Zanon

  61. I always dislike when people go to personalities in discussions. There has what-so-ever no difference who writes an argument. It's just the argument and the facts which make any difference.

    This blog is perhaps not the best to debate on. I have found some interesting US forums for more though debates. I will however write some lines here now and then.

    Regarding Strangers comment:

    "Then he points out, later, that 1 out of 100 Americans are incarcerated. I reply, "Really? I don't know ANYONE who has ever been to prison." (Jail, maybe, for a brief time, but not prison)."

    This was an mistake from my side. Both jail and prison was included in the numbers. Here is an cite from Washington Post (Friday, February 29, 2008; Page A01):

    "More than one in 100 adults in the United States is in jail or prison, an all-time high that is costing state governments nearly $50 billion a year and the federal government $5 billion more, according to a report released yesterday."

    Regarding Norahs comment "Our faith is based on the Bible and nothing else."

    I don't think this is true if you are an Lutheran. The lutheran interpretations are based on church tradition and how the Bible has been interpreted in the Church. I think you will end up in an quite different Christianity if you start with only the Bible.

    Some laestadians (LLC) think they have the only right interpretation. I don't think so, but I think there is an difference between traditional and (Bible only) Christianity.

  62. I actually am not referring to Laestadianism when I think about boundaries. Nearly all of my daily contacts in life have been with non-Laestadians. And it's not the specific arguments or points that are made (such as the difference between Finland and the US), but the WAY in which these points are presented. There are overbearing people everywhere, and lots of them have a hard time minding their own business. Remember, I live in a very small town lol..and there are very few Laestadians here. Everyone has an opinion on how you should do things, and what you should or should not do. It's something I fight against myself. I need to learn to mind my own business, I think a person is happier that way.

    L Info, it's personal when you call people losers and ignorant. Maybe you don't realize that you've done that.

    Zanon, I hope that a reconciliation among Laestadians is possible. It seems to me that it's mostly petty stuff that has seperated the groups, and all it seems to have taken is a person with the charisma and powers of persuasion to break people away from a group and split away.

    One day I was thinking it's like the security settings on the computer. You can have them set to high, medium, or low. If you set them high, then you are most secure from attacks and viruses. But it also means that you aren't going to be able to access or use a lot of programs and websites that are perfectly safe and harmless. It seems as though many of the old time Laestadians had their security settings on 'super-high', and were afraid of so many things.. they even thought seperating and causing divisions among families was preferable to lowering their security settings.

    Respecting boundaries means that you are willing to accept the fact that when people say no, I don't agree with you, they mean it. They don't want to be persuaded or called names because they don't agree with you. It seems common sense would tell us that this is out of line.

    Having boundaries also means that if I don't agree with you, I'm willing to say so, politely if at all possible. I set a boundary which tells another person that their behavior is not acceptable to me, and I will not tolerate it. In my work world, I've compromised most of my life. When you're in sales you learn not to have an opinion. I'm not going to compromise any more, I don't have anything to sell, I don't have a need to be marketable or liked. I can just say it as it is. But I will not try to sell you on anything either. I simply don't care one way or the other.

    That doesn't mean that the message of the Gospel doesn't need to be spread and lived every day...but that is another topic altogether. Just know that even though this is what I believe, I am not going to compel anyone to believe as I do. But I do have a right to my opinion, and I will not compromise and say I agree with something that I do not agree with.

    L Info, the Bible is God's Word. That's my opinion. You are perfectly entitled to believe otherwise.

    Stranger, facts are curious things. They can be manipulated. But I understand what you're saying. ;-)

  63. Norah, I have not written any particular person here is ignorant or stupid. I wrote "Christians in US are quite ignorant" once. I stand with that. I don't think you can find people anywhere else in the world who believes the world is 6000 year old. Still this seems to be a quite common belief among Christians in US, based on what I have read on other forums (and polls).

    I don't disagree the Bible is God's Word, but that statement can be interpreted in many ways. The difference between my and your opinion is perhaps that I see tradition as an part of Christianity, and that the right type of Christianity interprets the Bible traditionally.

    I don't either try to sell anything. Everyone has the full right to believe and think as they want (and no-one can change a persons opinion, except the person himself).

    I however believe it's better for the common if people strive to truth, instead of what they think would be nice if it were true.

    I enjoy debating, and debate all from human rights to economics. Usually when I start debating a new topic I find I am often wrong to start with, but after reading arguments and counterarguments I usually know more than before.

    I am really not interested in changing your opinion (in whatever we have differing opinions about).

    I however hope my participating here is to useful, and that I have made the discussion about laestadianism here more balanced by also telling about the other side of the coin.

  64. L Info, you are certainly entitled to your opinions and your enjoyment of debating. You've probably found that often people change their minds, but many times they do not.

    One thing I'd like to say about Europe compared to the US is that we are very young in comparison to you. We've absorbed, and continue to absorb, people from all over the world. Many of these people have had a difficult time here due to discrimination, racism and other things. These problems often take many, many generations to resolve, if they ever do. I hope that some day every child born in the US, and everywhere, will know and experience what our Constitution says..that all people are equal under the law and in the eyes of God, and that nobody ever feels that living a successful life (whatever that word means to them) is not possible for them.

    And maybe when we're as old as Europe we'll get there. After all, you all have these problems solved, right? :-)

  65. Just a reminder to use nicknames so we can follow your comments.

  66. "And maybe when we're as old as Europe we'll get there. After all, you all have these problems solved, right? :-)"

    At that time I believe we are muslims. Muslims are already an considerable minority in some European countries.

  67. From Alcoholics Anonymous recovery materials:

    I have the right to...

    Say "NO".
    Be competent and proud of my accomplishments.
    Feel and express anger.
    Be treated as a capable human being.
    Make mistakes and be responsible for them.
    Change a situation.
    Say "I don't know, I don't agree, and I don't understand".
    Be treated with respect.
    Express my needs, opinions, thoughts, ideas, and feelings.
    Judge my own behavior and be responsible for it.
    Take pride in my body and define attractiveness in my own terms.
    Have a support system.
    Be myself and have a separate identity.
    Structure my own time priorities.
    Request help and receive information from others.
    Ask and not assume.
    Have privacy.
    Say "I'm not willing to accept that responsibility".
    Be imperfect.
    Grow, learn, change, and to value my age and experience.
    Recognize MY needs as important.

    I found this material among the papers of an elderly relative who got sober in the last 6 years of his life. Interesting how it can apply to other situations as well!

  68. Very good Norah!

    I found this on a page that deals with scapegoating in families, but also applies to those of us who leave the fold and are scapegoated by our families as a result:


    I must give myself the right to be me ­ to function as I see fit. It is impossible to have a sound self-concept until I am true to myself and accept full responsibility for my own individual life, my own need fulfillment. At any instant I can start a new life.


    To recognize myself as the most important and interesting person in the world ­ a unique and precious part of life.

    To feel warm and happy, kind and living toward myself.

    To realize that at my divine center I am no better or worse, or more or less important, than anyone else in the entire world.

    To be different, to make mistakes, to be "wrong," to be inadequate.

    To take the time and effort to fulfill my own needs.

    To be happy and free ­ to be harmonious and effective ­ to succeed.

    To be open and kind, loving and lovable ­ compassionate and helpful.

    To be keenly sensitive and aware ­ radiantly healthy and energetic.

    To do less than perfect ­ to be inefficient, to procrastinate, to "goof off," to kill time.

    To perceive myself as an absolute "nothing" ­ unworthy and unneeded.

    To have "unacceptable" thoughts, images, desire and experiences.

    To allow others to make mistakes, to be "wrong" ­ to be ignorant, to be "screwed-up."

    To act spontaneously, to resist, to change my mind, to be stubborn.

    To be emotional ­ to love, to cry, to be angry, to be selfish and uncaring.

    To drop all masks and images ­ to not fulfill other's expectations and images of me.

    To be criticized condemned, disapproved, disliked and unwanted.

    To fail and to learn from it.

    To be loyal, courageous, and exceptional ­ in both my person and my work.

    To accept my own authority ­ to follow my own "knowing."

    I allow myself complete freedom and I recognize that I am inescapably responsible for all my decisions and actions. For I must inevitably pay the price incurred. I profit or suffer, learn and grow according to the "nature and consequences" of my act. I realize that "good and evil," right and wrong," are but intellectual concepts, for there is only wisdom and unwisdom, only wise and unwise acts.

    Therefore, prior to serious decisions I ask myself, "Is this act wise? (i.e., will it injure myself or others ­ will it contribute to my basic needs ­ is it in alignment with the laws and forces of life?) What is the total price involved? Can I afford to pay it? And, am I willing to accept the consequences?"

    I know that in the final analysis I need answer only to myself and that I have all the time there is for my total unfoldment ­ that at worst I can only postpone my ultimate reunion with the Infinite. However, wisdom and love, freedom and joy beckon me onward and I choose to proceed as rapidly as my prevailing perception and wisdom allow."

  69. That is very good also. It takes into consideration the full range of what it means to be human, not just the positives but also the negatives..even to the point of perceiving myself as unworthy, or having unacceptable thoughts!

    Some may question the focus on self in both of these posts, but if you think it through I don't see where they would contradict what the Bible says. God does not compel us and we are not robots, we do have choices in life..and maturity tells us that we ourselves are responsible for those choices...

    We talk a lot about this kind of stuff in this house..my husband was questioning the part about being free to feel and express anger. My thought is that we acknowledge anger and not 'stifle' it. Anger is normal, but it's how we handle it that's often the problem.. Any thoughts?

  70. You're right Norah, anger is completely normal, and it's how we handle it that can be the problem. Everyone gets mad, its human. Instead of flipping out when we're mad and going off on the person who's made us angry, we can leave the situation to calm down first and then come back and deal with it calmly! I was just thinking about how this ties into crossing boundaries...crossing a boundary would be getting angry and hurting someone physically or emotionally.

  71. Count to ten, walk away. Good point! Flip side, finding an outlet.. if you continually hold it in, all kinds of health problems can result. There's a balance there.

  72. ShartEnamorado. When in Rome do as the Romans do. Please write in English to edify us all instead of writing in tongues. 'No hablo Japano'