"laestadian, apostolic, gay, lgbtq, ex-oalc, ex-llc, llc, oalc, bunner" LEARNING TO LIVE FREE: 2019

Friday, November 29, 2019

Notable Extoots: Johanna Hurtig

Johanna Hurtig

(Google Translation to English)

11/29/2018 1:40 PM - Meri Toivanen | Homeland
Johanna Hurtig

Last Sunday the inauguration of the priesthood and diaconia took place at Tampere Cathedral. Among the initiates was the familiar name of many who followed ecclesiastical and religious debate.

Dr. Johanna Hurtig, Doctor of Social Sciences, is known for her research in raising early childhood sexual abuse in the Laestadianism..

Hurtig received a priestly ordination as a temporary expert in social ethics and human rights at the Church Council. Her employment will last until the end of 2020.

The Church Board is located in Helsinki, but Hurtig participated in the inauguration in Tampere based on his home town of Hollola. The area will move to the Diocese of Mikkeli early next year. However, as Hurtig does not hold a parish office, she remains a priest in Tampere.

- The ordination was significant, Hurtig says a few days after the inauguration by telephone from her home in Kärkölä.

- Particularly at the fair was how people queued up for us when we shared a communion with another ordained priest in the hallway of the cathedral.

But how did this come about?

Johanna Hurtig says.

Master of Social Ethics in Moral Activity of Conservative Lestadian Adults

Some years ago, Hurtig began to feel more and more called to be called. She noticed that the priesthood seemed an interesting idea.

Could I go on a new one at this point? Hurtig asked herself. Born in 1960, she felt she had gained a lot in the academic world. Most recently, Hurtig worked as an Assistant Professor of Social Work at the University of Lapland. In 2014, she received the State Information Disclosure Award for her research on abuse.

On the other hand, the fire for academic work had become fragile. The university world started to feel like a stranger.

In 2017, Hurtig applied for a postgraduate program at the University of Helsinki, based on her previous studies. The studies have been rated for two years, but Hurtig completed them in one and a half years. After graduation, she applied for a year's job and during that time returned to her former job at the university.

Hurtig's Master of Social Ethics was based on material she had collected during her earlier research. In Graduate, she looked at the moral authority of adults in the Conservative Lestadian revival movement and the importance of the religious community to it.

Hurtig stated in her thesis that the Conservative-Laestadian movement as a community does not seem to recognize the ethical potential of its membership. Unused or underutilized individuals' moral capital cannot grow or develop.

The encounter of dishonesty led to the priesthood

Johanna Hurtig says she has repeatedly asked herself why? Why did she still want to be a priest at this age and at this stage in his life?

There are many reasons, Hurtig says.

- But somehow they connect with my research years 2009-2013.

For Hurtig, investigating sexual abuse in her own revival movement was not just an academic process. It affected her spiritually. She says she understands that something she encountered in those years deeply upset her.

According to Hurtig, it was not so much about people doing bad things to each other, nor about how ugly things can be.

- It wasn't new. I wasn't young then.

Hurtig says she was shocked by the dishonesty she faced during her research years.

- Those who believe in themselves did not recognize dishonesty in themselves, in one another or in the community, even though the signs were clear and easily visible.

People are mistaken, weak, and make mistakes, Hurtig says.

- Then the conscience tells you that that was not true, that act was wrong. There must be responsibility, repentance. It was somehow terribly sad to watch for so long that truth, light, compassion, and honesty disappeared, and hid somewhere in the community I was researching.

Hurtig disassociates herself from the Conservative Lestadism and approaches "Church Faith"

After the investigation, the sadness deepened. According to Hurtig, it aroused a kind of longing, the expectation of counterattack.

- I missed goodness, love and honesty. I felt that nothing else was strong enough to counteract the darkness I encountered except God.

Hurtig says she has come closer to "believing in the church." She attended the fair and became a steward in her home church. She had already exited the Conservative Laestadian movement.

- I value knowledge and research, but now I am delighted to be able to serve God as a priest, to share His miracles, love, and goodness. Only He has the power to turn evil into good and darkness into light.

"The movement has begun to understand that criticism cannot be completely superseded"

Johanna Hurtig calls Conservative Laestadianism a breeding ground. She now sees her relationship with the movement as straightforward. In recent years, she has repeatedly attended a summer event for the Conservative Laestadians in the Summer Clubs.

- I wouldn't be here without that background. Spiritually, I have moved to the common church. I'm not in the sect, but there are a lot of people I love there.

Other women consecrated to the priesthood from a conservative Laestadian background are close friends with Hurtig.

In recent years, Hurtig has followed the development of the Conservative Laestadian movement as a whole. She notes that the crises of the movement have been a big issue for many for whom the movement is a refuge.

Within a short period of time, a number of issues that were difficult for the revival movement were addressed in public: the role of women and their relationship to pregnancy prevention, women's priesthood, abuse scandals.

Johanna Hurtig says she can't say how far the business has gone or whether everything is behind her.

- But it seems like something has happened. The revival movement has begun to realize that the criticism of those who left it cannot be completely ignored.

Photo: Diocese of Tampere / Jussi Valkeajoki

Read also archived stories:

Saturday, August 10, 2019

Notable Extoots: Mari Boine (Get Your Tickets Now!)

"Free, you still there?" 

Yup, still here! 

Just busy with life. While I always have time for email chats (and meeting up in person), when it comes to composing blog posts, other priorities keep winning. But today, I am ignoring my Saturday chores to tell you, you must get tickets to Mari Boine.YES. That Mari Boine.

She is coming in October, on a rare tour of North America and her first of the West Coast. Mari was my first introduction to joik, the traditional Sámi music forbidden by Christian missionaries. Raised by Laestadian parents in Karasjok, she defied the ban on music to use her gifts, and has been a courage-giver, wayfinder, and mentor for several decades and to hundreds of musicians and other artists. Her latest album, See the Woman, is in English. 

The tour:

10/2/2019 - Scandinavia Haus / NYC
10/3/2019 - The Cedar / Minneapolis

10/5/2019 - Chan Centre / Vancouver
Tickets: https://tickets.ubc.ca/online/mapSelect.asp...

10/82019 - Nordic Museum / Seattle

10/10/2019 - Old Church / Portland
Tickets: https://www.eventbrite.com/.../mari-boine-of-norway...

10/15/2019 - Lensic - Santa Fe
Tickets: https://tickets.ticketssantafe.org/6114

10/172019 - Red Rocks - Denver 
Tickets: https://www.axs.com/events/370532/wardruna-tickets?q=Freaky

I will be attending in Seattle and Portland, and would love to meet up. Who knows, maybe Mari could be persuaded to say hello to some fellow extoots?

Here's a link to NRK's documentary. If you don't understand Norwegian, take the time to add Google Translate extension to your Chrome browser, and when you open the video, click on the "translate" icon in your toolbar. Tell it to "translate this page" and you will get English subtitles (imperfect but intelligible).

AFTENLANDET (the Evening Land) by Erik Poppe. (1994) Music by Jan Garbarek and Mari Boine. from Erik Poppe on Vimeo.

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Notable Extoots: Sara Ranta-Rönnlund

Sara Ranta-Rönnlund ©Norrbottens-Kuriren. Fotograf okänd.
I'm fairly certain that when the first crop of Laestadian babies reached marrying age, they looked around, had a think, and all the nonconformers voted with their feet. They emigrated, if not to a new country, to a new community. They left for school and neglected to return. They took temporary jobs that turned permanent, vacations that lasted years and then forever. They left in anger, in joy, in pain, in doubt, in love, in pieces, intact. They waited, procrastinated, debated, heeded bad advice. They took a spouse, a child, a parent, a heresy, a harem. They left shame behind or brought it along, vanished, made the news, made mistakes, made bail, made good.

A few made history.

I'll call them Notable Extoots. Encountering them in my reading, I felt compelled to share a few with you. I think you'll relate, even to those who lived generations and continents apart.

Sara Ranta-Rönnlund, Swedish Sámi Author, 1903 - 1979

Born to a wealthy Talma Sámi reindeer herding family near Jukkasjärvi, Sweden, Sara Ranta-Rönnlund (shortened to Ranta for this profile) had only sporadic schooling, partly because of the Swedish policy restricting Sámi education, and partly because her mother wanted her home, to help with sewing. Ranta's family spoke Sámi, and she taught herself to read and write Swedish. She also knew Tornedalen Finnish (Meankieli), the majority language of the area and of Laestadian services.

Ranta's parents were devout Western (Firstborn/OALC) Laestadians, and her grandfather often hosted Laestadian meetings. In spite of this, and her godparents being "three great Laestadian preachers," she reported that even at a young age, she found the religion intolerant and restrictive. Ranta was critical of the double standards of the preachers and their power over people.

Saturday, February 23, 2019

Liv & The Little Boy in the Red Sweater

Two new books are available, both about child sex abuse in Laestadian families. One is in from Norway: Den mørke hemmeligheten i Tysfjord (The Dark Secret in Tysford) by Anne-Britt Harsem. If you can read Norwegian (or know how to turn on translation), read today's compelling news story and interview with "Liv," the book's subject.

In English is a book by Carl Huhta, familiar to many readers for his gentle wisdom at the Messy Guru blog. Carl's book is called The Little Boy in the Red Sweater and is available at Amazon in paperback and Kindle. He writes:

My intention is to help others that have been traumatized by sexual abuse and other life-changing experiences. It is raw, honest, and it demonstrates that the pathways to healing can come from unexpected traditions like yoga and meditation.

Bravo, Carl. May your words give healing and courage wherever they are read.

(Whether or not his topic is relevant to our circumstances, let's all give homeboy some love and buy a copy, share the link, and leave a review. It's the least we can do.)

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Whitney's Story

This was submitted by a thoughtful, expressive young reader. I'm so impressed with this latest generation and their ability to see past all the arbitrary divisions defended by their elders, to celebrate in one another those universal human values that transcend culture. If you'd like to share your story, send me an email at extoots@gmail.org. Thanks! --Free

I left the FALC when I was sixteen, almost three years ago. This is my story.

As a child, Sunday evenings made me nervous. The mornings were pleasant enough—Mom baked desserts while my siblings and I finished our homework at the table, counting down the minutes before a pie was pulled from the oven. If it was warm outside, dad pumped our bicycle tires with air and sent us down the driveway with a wave. 

An hour and a half before church started, we started getting ready. That’s when my stomach started feeling queasy. What would I wear? Who would I sit by? What if my only friend wasn’t going?

Often, we arrived at church an hour early to visit with the elderly folks. I usually spent that time camping out in the bathroom, biting my nails in anticipation.

Because I attended a school with no classmates from church, I had no friends at church. I was ignored by the girls at Sunday School. It didn’t help that my parents forbade us to wear necklaces, bracelets, or rings, the only jewelry allowed in church. We also weren’t allowed to curl or straighten our hair. Trust me, this did not help with my middle school desire to be popular.

If I was considered peculiar by my Sunday School counterparts, I was an alien to my schoolmates. At least I could relate somewhat with those from church; at school, I was the only one in my grade who’d never seen "Lion King," let alone never watched TV. For this reason, I went out of my way to make friends with the foreign exchange students who seemed as lonely as I. This would be one of the best things that ever happened to me. I met Inka, an excitable and trustworthy girl from Finland who taught me my first swear word—and it was in Finnish! Another friend, Sofia, warmly shared her culture over bowls of Ecuadorian potato soup. 

I believe it was because of these friends that I am now out of the church, and for that I am grateful. At first, I was shocked at what they told me—movies and nail polish seemed like off-limit conversation topics, but later I welcomed their information with quiet satisfaction, ticking off the movies I’d seen at their homes, say, or knowing what a condom was, or learning how to make the sign of the cross over my head and chest. We talked about world poverty and fate, of divorces and religion.

Two years after my last foreign exchange friend returned to her motherland, I began paying attention to the sermons in church. I mean, seriously paying attention. It was a sort of revelation that may only come once—you know, when you’re looking around, thinking, “does everyone actually believe all this?” The minister, as usual, talked about how we were the one true faith, but this time I couldn’t stop thinking about my friends—one a nearly devout Catholic who was thousands of miles away in Ecuador, who literally didn’t know the name of my church. Granted, I’d heard those lines hundreds of times, but somehow the “world,” as it was talked about, seemed a dear friend, and the stakes appeared much higher for my “worldly” friends. Something wasn’t right. 

I’ll spare the details of my leaving—it was a brutal affair, and I’m not quite ready to talk about it. I will instead remark that I’ve repaired the relationships with most of my family members. Life isn’t such a chore as it once was. The church was my whole life, and I walked away from it. There’s still a scar, and I suppose there always will be, but hey—I’m okay with that. I had a great childhood and wonderful parents, truly. I wouldn’t trade my experience for anything. It’s beautiful, haunting, and I’m drawn to it. Makes for a great writing topic, too.

I feel I’m a much more spiritually inclined person than I ever was in the church. I no longer have the propensity to shy away from a stranger who’s overtly Jewish or Muslim. At the moment I’m into authors and theologians like Sarah Bessey and Rachel Held Evans, who argue that the Bible isn’t too big that we needn’t talk about the parts which trouble us.

I once broke fast with Muslim friends who never once looked at me the way I used to look at them.