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

Friday, May 07, 2010

Purity Unrealized

I ran across this quote this morning; while the author is not writing about Laestadianism, I thought the sentiment fit quite well.

Puritan movements are doomed to fail because people are not pure. Such coteries inevitably turn in upon themselves: having fondly imagined they can set themselves up as a society of the perfect, at the first sign of weakness the mob will turn on the one perceived as guilty and drive the offender out. Ultimately such a gathering is the antithesis of the Gospel, for it is based on judgment rather than forgiveness. It is also the antithesis of history, for it lives in a fantasy of realized eschatology rather than in the hope of a cooperative pilgrimage.

Because they are based on a goal incapable of realization -- a pure society with unrealizable standards, or a perverse double standard that acknowledges but cannot tolerate human imperfection -- they never cease from irascible critique, a toxic attitude by which they close themselves off from the wider world and then turn in upon, and digest, themselves.

Tobias Stanislas Haller BSG


  1. Anybody got a funereal planned for the blog?

  2. ex falc says-

    Anonymous 8:13, its a free world, nobody is forcing you to read this blog.

    As for the quote posted by Tomte about purity unrealized, right on!! Sounds like my family, and my husband's family, since we have religious fanatics on both sides.

  3. LLLreader chimes in: The blog is not dying. Seems that the new format stopped some of us in our tracks--hating change ya' know. There have been other periods of inactivity in this blog's history. I have gone back and reread the Contagious Peace post several times, and am struck with how my thinking was shaped by the teachings of the OALC. Peace in my mind took years to achieve after leaving. Turmoil, fear, indecision, worried always about what people thought--that was my reality. I notice it now in the way I have avoided getting involved in political discussions with my conservative friends. They tend to be very loud in their views and I am learning to stick up for mine just as loudly. It's a process--this growing up business. Hope some of our other posters check in--how ya' all doin'?

  4. Blogs don't need funerals. They never die...they linger on in cyberspace well after everyone has lost interest. ;-)

    This site is maintained using free tools on free servers by people with varying amounts of free time. It's read mainly by people in the northern hemisphere, where it is spring! So there will be ebb and flow in interest and participation, especially when it is so nice outside. :-)

    On the other hand, this blog is a means to an end. Perhaps the truest measure of being able to "live free" is to no longer take an interest in the things that used to hold one back. I've been reading a book on Buddhism recently, where much is made of not confusing the map with the actual terrain. If people don't need to talk about this subject anymore because they have healed and moved on, I'd count it as success if no one posted or commented anymore.

    Our extended outage with the comments feature didn't help things though.... :-)

  5. Hello...
    I see that this blog has had light traffic lately. I`m sorry if my comments here are misplaced, yet I couldn`t seem to find a recent, relevant blog/topic thread that was appropriate. Please excuse me and bear with me, thanks. =)

    I still go to the OALC. I recently posted a reply under the LLL thread on this blog, also. But I do have a little more I wanted to say, & didn`t want to put it there. So if you read that post, you`ll see that I I do have a problem with LLL, at least the oral reading of him each & every Sunday. I do not have issue with the KJV we use, or the doctrine. The basic, lovely tenets of Christianity (belief in Christ, not just OALC) are such a wonderful peace and strength to me. I sense an underlying truth that is incorruptible... but I feel custom and man have bent some of the understandings there. Right now I am speaking to the issue of women being strongly urged/advised to wear skirts and/or dresses, at all times, especially out & about, so as to provide a `good example` of `the Christians`, and to make sure `the World` can always tell who we are.

    I feel such a strong aversion to this.

    It doesn`t seem to come from the Holy Spirit. It is works, it is putting on a `show`, such an outward manifestation, so misguided and yes, silly (imo).
    When I have asked about it, I was told it is because it mentions in the bible that a woman should not wear men`s clothing. I looked and looked for it but could not find the place, (I don`t yet have a complete concordance), can anyone help? Anyhow also it was said to me that all the women used to wear dresses but had slowly gotten out of it, so they wanted to speak about it again, to bring women back into `obedience`. Ok let me speak to both of these `reasons`:
    Until I find the place in the bible that states that, I can only assume the elders and preachers feel that pants/slacks/jeans etc. are `men`s clothes`. That was true, back in 1900 or so. But now it is not considered cross-dressing if you throw on a nice pair of slacks! Pants are completely a part of the American woman`s wardrobe. Why choose that one particular item to `keep the same`?? Why stop there? If it were so much better back then, why not give over into full-fledged Amish-ness? Pants are just not a sin. Yes, skin-tight shiny leopard-skin pants would be, I think, but so would a similar skirt! It`s all about the spirit, people. The Holy Spirit will guide you. I don`t need a `skirts only` rule.

    Secondly, the REASON `all` the OALC women wore dresses before was because in the 50`s and early 60`s (the time period these `elders` are remembering and nostalgically reaching for) everyone wore them! It was the world-wide custom! The schools had dress- codes! That is why. And yes times have changed! So? We don`t seem to have any issue with time`s other changes? Just pants on women?? Its.. just silly.

    Christianity, or a right-minded, gentle spirit infused with love for and from our Saviour, is not something you can put on. It`s not so easy as that: `pull on your skirt and presto! You`re a Christian! You`re a good example!` That is works. We cannot DO anything to merit Grace. And I`m tired of the eyes of my fellow OALC`ers noticing my "disobedience" in stores, Dr. offices, etc. And I`m tired of being expected, as an OALC woman, to be some kind of walking example of our whole church system for every stinking body I encounter! I`m nothing special. I`m as weak & sinful as the next gal. Christ`s rainment- His robe of righteousness- is all I need. It even covers my dark denim capris.

    Thank you!
    ~ Blessings

  6. Hear, Hear!!!

    Wonderful post. All the same happens in the LLC regarding tradition and man's law.

    What's in the heart is what matters. This freedom is hard for man because its undefined. So man creates law and calls it a manifestation of the Spirit, but its really fear of the freedom of the Spirit.

    Embracing that freedom is hard for some because it relies on trusting conscience, and conscience alone, to guide a person.

    Safety and comfort can be found in the law, as long as one is with others who follow the same law. But peace is only found in the Spirit.

    A person who has the peace of the Spirit can be comfortable amongst all people and call them friends, whereas a person who has the security of the law but not the peace of the Spirit cannot stand to be without other law-minded folks.

    The last post really lifted me up. I hope you post more.

  7. Great posts! Keep posting people!

    Yep, it is like that in the LLC too. I have heard it said that women must not wear makeup or dye hair as to be a light onto the world. My belief is that our "light" is not shown by how we dress or look but rather by how we behave and a "quiet spirit". And...how are men a light to the world when they look like every other man? Shouldn't they be wearing garbs or something to look different? I believe the judgementalness in the LLC (and the other LLL churches) is wrong, as the bible speaks to the fact that it is only God that knows our hearts. They say the fruits will show, and I ask, are these actually fruits when the bible does not speak to them?

    Another thing that bothers me about the LLC church is that "freedom" is constantly being preached from the pulpit, yet its members are not actually free at all. From sin (because of forgiveness) maybe they are, but they are not free in other ways. They are not free to be friends with whom they please, they teach to leave school and work friends at school and work and that only fellow LLC'ers are true friend. People are looked down on and their faith is suspected if they move to a place that has no other LLC'ers, so they don't have real freedom to move whereever they would like. They are not free to make their own choices as to whether or not to wear makeup, whether or not to dye hair, whether to play competitive sports or put thier kids in them. They are not free to choose what types of music to listen to or choose if or what types of movies are appropriate. Basically, although someone is an adult, they are still treated as though they are a child not able to make their own decisions. When a person is confronted with a decision, it is not "what does the Bible teach on this subject and what does my conscience say?", it is "what do other people think", and they are often paralyzed with indecision. Usually a person will go with whatever the group thinks regardless of what the person personally thinks. The bible is rarely taken into consideration. It is all personal opinion. The prevalent belief is that a persons own consciense is probably hardened, so better ask other people what they think (like for some reason that person will have a better conscience). I ask, why should someone use somebody else's conscience when they have thier own?
    Is that freedom?


  8. You LLCers here my heart cries out to reach you! i think this blog can actually be helpfull to people on the inside not just people who have left. How else can someone relate to others who are troubled. Its hard to talk about doubts and things that bother you without becoming someone to be avoided at least in LLC...

  9. Yes, it is much the same at OALC... encouraged not to speak of doubts, especially so as not to `infect` others with them. Well what I have are not doubts, per se, for myself... I see them as `truths` that have blessedly been shown to me, that I can cling to within, that strengthen me, and all through His Love and His Grace. I am a tad embarrassed that my initial post above was so filled with rancor. I wanted to discuss the topic fair-handedly, but obviously could not. Apologies if it was at all offensive to anyone; (my manner of bringing it forth, I mean.)

    Since I honestly feel I would only experience the same issue in another house of worship (human failings/misguided parameters), for myself I choose to stay attending OALC. I employ a filter... I can still be uplifted and strengthened, while ignoring the silly bits. I obviously resent being `strongly advised` (told) to wear skirts/dresses. I need to pray for peace with my descision to stay, to wear what I feel is appropriate, and for peace in my sensation of being watched/judged. I know He will help me in that. He has promised never to leave us or forsake us.

    If I am completely honest, another large influence in my descision to stay is my family. Born & raised OALC... entire immediate family, entire in-law family, children`s cousins, friends, grandparents, aunts/uncles, classmates, etc etc... all OALC. So you see my dilemma... I so don`t want to open that can of worms. I find I just cannot do that to my children. It would wreck me if they were shunned. And readers of this blog do know what it would do to my spouse, family, etc. Since I am not convicted that staying=lost/perished, thus I choose to maintain status quo.

    Many, many thanks for the replies! I feel not quite so alone in these truths. =)

    with love~

  10. Blessings, always speak your truth. (Are you aware of the Four Agreements? Look into it.) You sound like someone I would want for a friend, loving, compassionate, nonjudgmental. I am so happy you can find peace and comfort in the OALc. I could not. It has been a long haul out of that dark tunnel, and I would not wish it on you.
    God Bless,

  11. Ok, so I have a question for others who have left and found Christ. Do you ever speak of this to your family still there?
    I am concerned for my families salvation. I am not the judge so I cannot say for sure if they are saved or not, but I am feeling like they don't quite get it. That Jesus is in the head and not in the heart and that is a big difference.
    Do I say something to them,do I keep quiet? They know I go to church elsewhere now, but we do not talk about faith. I know that they would probably turn a blind eye to what I would say, but what haunts me is when they stand before the Lord and he may say, "I never knew you". Then they will know the full truth and think, why didn't my sister/daughter say anything to me?

    Do I say anything about my concerns, or just keep living my life for the Lord in hopes that maybe someday they will see through that?

    I a lot of times wish they would initiate conversation with me so that would open the door, but they do not now that I have told them I go to church elsewhere. I used to get a lot of "we're praying for you", "come back to Gods kingdom", etc. But haven't in a long time and I'm wondering if its because I have told them I have found my faith.

    It is so very frustrating to SEE and then see how blinded my family is by the lies. Its so very sad to me. SO very sad. But all I can do is pray that someday God will open their eyes to the truth and they will see that Gods children are in other churches as well.

  12. I look at it this way: it's all in God's hands. It's not for us to correct someone else's "false beliefs". I know I hated it when someone from the OALC (mainly my mother) would point out my wrong path.

    We each have our own path to follow. They have theirs. I have mine. God sees it all. I don't really know why I'm on this path and they stayed on the OALC path. And that's OK (finally! It took awhile for me to get to this place!).
    So, O2, just let it be and let God.
    Blessings to you,

  13. LLLreader here: It does take awhile SISU to get to the point of acknowledging that paths will be different, and what is right for one may not be right for another. Once I understood that, I have remained firm that, for some, the Apostolic Church works real well. One thing I have not ever understood is the unwillingness of the OALC members to pray away from church. To me, occasions like family dinners are a wonderful time to tell God we appreciate his blessings and whatever else needs to be said. I have taught my Grandson to have a conversational type of prayer. He has chats with God that I think strengthen his belief. Whenever I host anything at my house I offer a short prayer. I have been told that it makes some family members uncomfortable, but it has become a natural way for me to act--so I do it because I believe that the Lord wants us to acknowledge him in whatever we are doing, and being with those we love is a fine time to bring His name forward. When others observe how we live I believe that has more meaning then telling someone they need to believe differently. "Different paths" is right.

  14. LLLreader responds to Blessings: Just a thought about your comment that you would find the same kind of human failings/misguided parameters in other churches. I haven't found that to be true. I changed churches not long ago, just because of locality. People from my old church are not wringing their hands and telling me I'm going to hell. People in my new church welcome me, even though during Bible Study some of my interpretations differ from some of the old timers there. Loving the Lord gets me accepted, no matter where I am. There is going to be jerks wherever you go, but that heavy duty judgmental attitude isn't there. There are some religions that expect you to only go to their churches, but I don't go to those.

  15. LLLreader to Blessings: You are doing a lot of work, trying to balance your understanding of the Lord that lives in your heart with the Lord that you are told about in your church. They are quite a distance apart aren't they? Bless your heart. Here's what I think--you don't have to leave, and you don't have to stay. God is going to be with you no matter where you are. Just the toll of losing all that family--the whole shebang--especially if your spouse is a strong believer--would make anyone hesitate about leaving. I bet there are other women there with all the outward appearance of being serious Apostolics who harbor some of the same feeling--I know there are. If you are fairly young, with young children, it makes it harder. It's people like you that makes this blog important. We understand your situation and hope you will keep in touch.

  16. Blessings, to LLL reader, SISU and others... thank you so much for your kind words, your thoughts and concern. I enjoy this blog, it has a mature and calm air to it: even while we discuss matters that are dear and paramount to our hearts and souls. I appreciate that so much! =)

    It`s wonderful to have a safe place to put these thoughts. Yes, my position is constrained, to say the least- hence my frequent prayers and searching/learning. I am convinced my ideas/position is shared by others at church; with almost 10,000 members how could it not? And certainly not only women. Yet their soul`s journey is between them and God. It`s all I can do to have found peace in the Lord when He told me (in the quiet of my heart, through prayer and bible study) that He knows my struggle, He knows why I stay, He knows all... and He still loves me. Oh the comfort of that! =) I may find myself in another pew somewhere years down the line-? But for now, for now... here I stay. And clean out my purse during the LLL sermon! LOL

    love~ Blessings

  17. Blessings to SISU: Thanks for refrencing `The Four Agreements`... I`m reading up on it now, very fascinating! I find my weakest part is the 4th agreement, unfortunately... the `always do your best` part, I know I tend toward laziness. =( So enlightening to learn how these changes can also effect inner peace. I am motivated to a greater effort... not to obtain Grace (of course, which is already mine through Him) but to simply bring about a (hopefully) happier existance here on Earth. To try, anyhow! =)

  18. It is a tough spot to be in, to be a part of something you don't entirely believe in or agree with. And I'm convinced there are others in the same boat, but bringing it up is a sure way to get put on the spot. Someone will call you on it, and tell you that if you don't make that commitment to their beliefs that you are not one of them. It makes it difficult to find a good sounding board. The only thing people seem to want to hear if you say you have doubts is that you want them forgiven, not that you want to have a discussion about them.

  19. So true Daisy!