"laestadian, apostolic, gay, lgbtq, ex-oalc, ex-llc, llc, oalc, bunner" LEARNING TO LIVE FREE: Celebrating Love and Light: Tips for the Post-Religious

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Celebrating Love and Light: Tips for the Post-Religious

The holidays can be difficult for everyone, not just former Laestadians. While intended for the non-religious, this article has useful tips for everyone. I particularly liked this one:

Find common ground with visiting relatives. All relationships (teacher-student, work colleagues, friends, partners, children, cousins) require that we come together around things we have in common: shared interests, respect for each other's good qualities, overlapping values, the appreciation of a good meal or a football game. Your family may not share your skepticism, curiosity or desire for personal growth. If not, don't go there, and don't let them draw the conversations into your areas of disagreement. Take deep breaths, exercise self control, and change topics. Save deep, painful conversations for another time. Trust yourself. Schedule coffee with sympathetic friends. It may be sad, but it is ok for you to grow emotionally and spiritually even if people you love don't come along.

This year, we are scaling back on gifts, giving Kiva gift gift certificates and home-made treats (lemon curd and spicy pecans), writing letters, making and listening to music, playing board games, and just spending time together, always the best gift.

What are your tips for celebrating the holidays?


  1. By the grace of God the following words that I spoke have come upon my conscience, I feel my actions are wrong to blame these two individuals for me to have falling into the paths of sin. God has placed his heavy hand on me and by his grace he has extended his love to me. With this I would like to ask those who have read this post to please forgive me and remind those who are on this site that that the Devil wants to plant those seeds of doubt and unbelief. It was wrong for me to post the following message and encourage those in doubt to seek counsel.
    Tue Feb 10, 06:56:00 AM PST
    Anonymous Anonymous said...
    So nice to know when you dont go anymore that you lose all your friends and the preachers tell everyone that your too worldly now Dead faith! Wish i was dead! I have nothing now. Thankyou J.K. and R. kysar!!!!!

  2. Anon. Your catharsis might make you feel better but the truth be told, a lot of steam is 'blown off' on this web site. Everything you have written today may not be how you will really feel 6 months later. Running around with a guilty conscience seems to be a very unhealthy Laestadian emotional trend and guilt is used to get people back into the fold and conform to the norms. This site just helps people share, clarify and think-and not necessarily in that order. I might point out that it is very easy to run back to one's respective AP group at the first road block an ex-member runs into. That is why various writers have suggested that people seriously consider their options prior to leaving. For some of those who count the cost it is worth it and for others it is not. Good luck to you. Old AP

  3. People have the tendency to villanize people who have left the church, and at the very least, minimize or mock their reasons for leaving. Some people get angry. If they see you in the store, they'll put their heads down and avoid eye contact. Sometimes I let it go, and sometimes I call out their name and wave and give them the biggest smile I can muster. It depends on my prior relationship with them.

    I left the church a little over a year ago. I have a huge family, and usually I would have received at least 80 Christmas cards by now. This year I got 6.

    None of them say God's Peace. I got downgraded amongst my closer relatives and now only get wallet-sized photos of my nieces and nephews instead of the slightly larger size.

    I felt down, and decided I was going to send a card out to everyone from the church who'd sent me a card in the last 10 years, even if they hadn't for a while. And I wrote God's Peace on them.

    After all, I would wish that everyone had God's Peace.

  4. Anon, you said, "I felt down, and decided I was going to send a card out to everyone from the church who'd sent me a card in the last 10 years, even if they hadn't for a while. And I wrote God's Peace on them. After all, I would wish that everyone had God's Peace."
    Your perceptions of God's Peace are very different than the average Laestadians. From what I remember the greeting was only given to those who physically attended the group-not those who spiritually had God's Peace. Old AP

  5. In Europe, at least in Finland, some OALC people make a point of greeting everyone with God's peace without distinction. And even if normally most people don't greet people who are not familiar with OALC with God's peace, it's not common to stop greeting someone with God's peace if they leave the OALC. I think most people continue greeting with God's peace. I can't remember a single occasion a Finnish oalcer would not have greeted me with God's peace, and I have no problem greeting them with God's peace because I wish everyone had God's peace in their hearts. I even sometimes have greeted other ex-oalcs with God's peace either out of an old habit or because there are oalcers around.

  6. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to everyone!

    We will gather with one side of the family on Christmas Eve day and the other side of the family on Chrismas Day. My tips for celebrating the holidays would be to find joy in wherever life finds you, whether you are alone or in a crowd or whether you have little or plenty. It's a good time to reach out to those around you, especially those who truly are alone around the holidays. Maybe it's time to call up that ancient SISU that we all have, because life can be very trying at times. We are stronger than we think!

    God bless you all with much happiness, peace and joy this Christmas an in the New Year! And maybe some silliness too. Laughter is good for the soul :-).

  7. To Hibernatus: The only thing I really miss about being OAL-is being greeted with the saying "God Peace." I still say it at church-while everyone else says "Peace be with you." I was happy to see that in Europe, the OALC member will greet all people with this saying. I am not greeted by even family with this saying, here in America. God's Peace to You.

  8. Happy New Year to you all (including the spammers).