Tuesday, March 22, 2005

But Enough About Me . . .

I wonder how many of you I'm related to. It turns out Theoforos and I are connected through marriage (at last, a relative who will talk to me!). No doubt I'm related to many of you as well. I find myself envying those of you who remain close to your OALC relatives. How do you do it?

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Not Everything Has Been Said

Quoted below is a new post from Anonymous. Let me say how sorry I am about your mom. How is your dad doing now?

No, no--not everything has been said. I was able to leave the church, and not look back (it only took a few years of therapy). Only now, reading these messages am I able to realize what I am really mad about--and that's my Mom's life. She was a lovely women, died way to early. She was an outsider and told me once that her mother-in-law said it wasn't a true marraige because she hadn't been born into the church, but came in when she married Dad. I think that was a comment that hurt her deeply. She tried her whole life to measure up. I believe Dad's family did love her--she was a very giving, kind women. But, I know that struggle was always there. She really wanted me to have piano lessons, but couldn't. There was the ongoing struggle to keep her family appeased, Dad's family appeased--and raise us kids to toe the line enough to keep from being critized by the church. We figured it out early--who you could talk to about TV and such--and who you had to hide things from. She could have had such a happier life. I'm so sad for her. The remarkable thing is--Dad left the church after she died.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Rescued Essay from a Bygone Blog

Sadly, "godspeace.blogspot.com" has disappeared. Who can blame the blogger for moving on? Certainly there are happier mountains to mine for a writer. I've been tempted to pull the plug on this one, too, but something tells me that somewhere, someone is finding it helpful. Before the following essay (by blogger LarsLevi) dissolves into ether (I found it in Google's cache), I'll repost it here:


Are your sins forgiven? A study in paranoia

I recently ran across this short six page pamphlet on the Apostolic Lutheran site called, Are Your Sins Forgiven? As I read through it, I asked myself two questions. One, would anyone want to convert to Christianity based on what they read in this document? Two, what does this document say about the document writers?

For the answer to the second question, one has to look no further than the first couple of paragraphs in the pamphlet:

For there shall arise
false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great
signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible,
they shall deceive the very elect.
This prophecy is being fulfilled in our day. (p.2)

If you read between the lines, you can see that the biblical text from Matthew is used to implicitly support a very Apostolic Lutheran notion, namely, Be very afraid of the world, because it is filled with 'false Christs.' We, the Apostolic Lutherans have the full truth, so you'd better cast your lot in with us.

The same idea is reinforced further on page 4:

A person that has not had new birth cannot understand
the spiritual in the parables, such as in Luke
15:18, the case of the prodigal son. This is the decision
everyone must make!

If you have not had the 'new birth,' you cannot possibly understand anything 'spiritual,' according to the Apostolic Lutherans. Since Apostolic Lutherans consider themselves to have 'new birth,' this is a very convenient way of discounting anyone elses opinion. This is where paranoia of other groups reaches it's height.

To be fair, the document does try to answer my first question --although the answer is quite insidious. This document isn't really trying to win new converts to Christianity. Instead it is setting up a dichotomy between those Christians that have had the 'Father's kiss' versus those who realize that the 'father's kiss is not enough.' (p. 4) This is where paranoia about one's own spiritual state reaches it's height. Instead of resting in God and believing that one's sins are forgiven, the Apostolic Lutheran is actually constantly questioning whether his or her own sins are forgiven, leading to extreme asceticism, judgementalism, and weird behaviors that, in my opinion, are functions of the need for the Apostolic Lutheran to reassure himself or herself of their favored status.

Just Plain Weird

Two stories I've heard recently:

An OALC churchmember saw two people in church who sprouted horns.
An OALC nurse related that she was told by a dying patient that she was going to heaven, and his relatives to hell.

And one that I read in "Fragments":

When LLL was giving a sermon one day, he personally witnessed a blackbird on the saloonkeeper's shoulders, picking out the words of the sermon.

There's a lot I could say about the above, but time is short, so how about "that's just plain weird."