Wednesday, June 07, 2006

From Taboo to Wahoo!

What is your favorite LLL no-no? Reading scripture on your own? Reading People, or Jung? Wearing earrings? Going to the movies? Enjoying a nicely-aged cabernet? Hanging out in an art museum? Volunteering at a foodbank? Joining a political protest? Exploring other religions?

I know some OALC think people leave to seek "worldly" pleasures. That's (1) hogwash and (b) a cop-out. It protects them from confronting their own doubts about the church. The truth is that we leave for a wide variety of reasons, and "worldly pleasures" are the least of them. (If that's what we were after, we'd stay put and repent every seventh day, like so many others.)

That said, it seems to me that strict churches (and parents) actually promote compulsive/extreme behavior, simply because they do not foster moderation and ethical self-reliance. I've known a few who left the OALC and went off the deep end. Sometimes, it seems, the pendulum swings far enough away in order to find its rest in a reasonable middle.

That was not my experience. Nonetheless, it took me years to learn moderation. Exposed to TV, music, movies, art, theater, parties, travel, and other religious and cultural traditions for the first time, I had a good time exploring them. I loved daytime talk shows (such a wide variety of heretofore unseen humanity!). My college roomies found this odd but endearing. They took me to movies and out dancing, exposing me to many kinds of music. (Finnish at the core, I found myself drawn to the blues, the sadder the better!)

Oddly, I did not like theater at first, because I was embarrassed for the performers for their physical and emotional exposure. But later, I fell hard for Shakespeare and never recovered. There is a kind of truth that can only be shown on stage.

Because my first few years of experience in the world were full of loving, wonderful people, I remained naive about danger. I dismissed normal, instinctual fears as OALC-induced paranoia, and took risks I would not take now. For example, one of my jobs during college was waitressing at a Chinese restaurant near the airport. The lounge was pockmarked with bullet holes from gangfights. Years later I would learn -- with a shiver -- that the route I bicycled or walked home each night was where a serial killer found many of his victims.

What else did I explore? Movies. A movie-loving friend (who found it appalling that I had not seen the classics) introduced me to old movies, mostly on VHS, which I liked for the ability to control the volume. Even now, I feel physically sick if a movie is too loud, or there is any threat of violence. Later I became a huge fan of indie movies, especially quirky stuff from other countries. One of my favorites is "Man Without a Past" by the Finnish director Aki Kourasmaki Kaurismäki. I like to think that my late exposure to cinema makes me less inured to its delights. I weep, I cackle. Certainly there is a kind of truth that can only be expressed in film.

There used to be a billboard on Hwy. 99 entering Seattle. It showed a musical staff without any notes on it, and asked "What would life be without art?" Laestadian, perhaps? was my silent answer.

But enough about me. Tell me about you.

71 comments:

  1. My favorite no-no? Being able to follow my conscience where it leads. Adhering to the Laestadian dogma forced me into holding positions I thought were inethical, but I didn't know how to reconcile the dogma with my conscience.

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  2. Reading scripture on your own? Hanging out in an art museum? Volunteering at a foodbank?

    Never heard these would be no´s! (In Finland)

    btw; Akis family name is Kaurismäki.

    H. Finn

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  3. Re. Anonymous above: As an OALCer, I have not found these 3 things to be no-no's either, and I am in America. Perhaps you were made to feel guilty if you had wanted to do these? I don't think this is standard for the church

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  4. Many Trails Home6/13/2006 01:01:00 PM

    Free, I love these threads of personal stuff. Story-telling so enriches our lives.
    RE the above comments: Art of all forms was and as far as I know is considered taboo. There are no artists in the community. I have a very talented cousin in Lapland (Free, my Lummi Is. cousin told this story) who was told by the preachers that he must stop painting. To this day his hand "itches" when he thinks about holding a paintbrush. So it follows that visiting art museums would not be considered appropriate for a "Christian."
    Of course, humans being humans, the boundary is always tested and stretched where people can get away with it. So even though paintings are considered "sin," homemakers will decorate their walls with fabric hangings, calendars (about all we had as kids), fancy plates, clocks, and what-not. No photographs. They were considered more or less sin when we were growing up but reluctantly tolerated, and we NEVER had a camera.

    I never got the idea we should not read scripture; in fact, from my dad's example, I thought we were supposed to. And volunteering would not be encouraged - I don't think anybody mainstream would even think of it - but not wrong per se.

    I intend to look for Man Without a Past. There is a Saami movie called The Pathfinder (the ONLY Saami movie, apparently) that I ordered but got a movie about the Iroquois instead. Has anyone seen it? Did you ever see One Day on Earth? Fabulous. One of the vignettes is set in Helsinki. SOOO funny. And of course, there is Tango Finlandia. I laughed myself silly on that one.
    Here's to ART!!! in its myriad forms. MTH

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  5. My favorite LLL no-no would have to be trusting my own mind.

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  6. My posts keep disappearing! I don't know what I'm doing wrong. I'll try again.
    This topic triggered a memory. I was at a young folks gathering when the question was raised, "What is the worst sin?" I remember the response was, "Denying your faith." The following discussion included comments such as:
    If you denied your faith under torture, that's OK because it's a human response.
    If you deny your faith in your heart, that can't be forgiven.
    If you leave the church, your name in heaven grows dimmer and dimmer until it is gone forever.

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  7. There is one more Saami movie, its called The Cuckoo and its Russian, but the languages spoken in the film are Saami, Finnish, and Russian, and it comes in English subtitles.

    I can hardly believe an OALC painter was told he couldn't paint anymore! That's ridiculous.

    When I was younger I had wanted to be a lawyer, but I was told a believer could not be a lawyer. After knowing a few lawyers, I am thinking it was not bad advice after all.

    There are very few things I have ever wanted to do that I was told I couldn't do, I guess truth be told. But there are probably a few things I do or have done that would not be generally approved of. I go with my own conscious on those things.

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  8. I am AP, not Old AP, but i dont consider myself completely different. I have been born and raised in the BG area, so i have seen my fair share of this culture and have learned much from it. Again, it's not too different from the OALC in many aspects. Our church is quite conservative as well, im sure it is number 2 in clark county, thats fine with me. There's too much picking apart going on, not real issues. I could go on all day about people i know who have some pretty different ideas, and many of them have been directed at me in hopes that i would change whatever i was doing. When i was younger i really wondered about this, because my parents had raised me well, and i didnt see a problem with what i was doing. The older i got, i realized my parents had raised me well, and i was not outside of God's will, and by God's grace i have been able to respect their opinions, and have become closer friends with them as well. In regards to what "many trails home" wrote, i agree that is absurd, but does that mean they all feel the same way. What i'm trying to say is much of this just creates animosity where there should be an attempt at cohesion.

    I hope i didnt ramble too much, my brain works in mysterious ways, unknown even to me;)

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  9. Many Trails Home6/13/2006 05:12:00 PM

    Anonymous Ap, I have to respond to your ending comments. I think they (OLAC) all feel the same way about artists. It seemed to me that anybody who does pursue creative endeavors (besides building houses etc) does it on the fringe. Why else is there no ornamentation in church, on their persons, in their houses (except for the aforementioned calendars etc)? No musical instruments, no jewelry, certainly no sculpture, no attending plays etc, and very few books, for that matter.
    I don't think I am trying to "create animosity" but rather to reflect on some of the reasons that I could not stay, beyond the fact that it would have been impossible to force myself to "believe."
    Perhaps I should focus less on the "hard-liners" (the people I grew up with) and more on the "soft-liners" - they exist in any community, for sure, and I had plenty of fringy relatives like that as well, and more loving ones in general. Cohesion? I don't know about cohesion. Any thoughts? MTH

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    Replies
    1. that is SO NOT TRUE!
      creativity is my big thing in life, i'm sewing, drawing, baking, writing, knitting, building and so on, both for fun and i. e. sewing clothes that i need. i have drawings in my apartment that i've made myself and many others have too if they have someone that can draw or paint.

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    2. and very few books? i LOVE books and have at the age of 21 a bookcase from roof to floor full of books!

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  10. Would it hurt less to leave the LLL faiths if our relatives continued to treat us the same as they did before we left?

    I've been following this site almost from its inception.

    And I came to the conclusion, is this what this all boils down to?

    If we left, and our relatives just said, "We're sorry to see you go, loved one", and then continued to show us the same love and compassion they showed us before, when we were one of the fold, would we even be here on this site?

    Is this the real reason people who don't take the LLL faith at 100% face value stay in, because of the real or perceived shunning that goes on thereafter?

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  11. Trails
    All OALCers do NOT feel exactly the same way. And "very few books"??? I've need heard of such thing. Our house is full of books.

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  12. To anon 7:54 p.m.,

    Yes, yes, yes, yes!

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  13. Ap'er back here. I've been to Norway, Sweden and Finland twice and it was very helpful in seeing what our/my heritage is like, and why we are the way we are. Christians over there are plain. They are just as easy to pick out there as they are here. Houses are plain, the people, while well dressed, are quite modest. They live more simple lives, and frankly, wouldnt that be nice? Now with the music and what not, i play a couple instruments and love to sing, its something God has given me, and i can use it for his glory. The teaching that we are to leave Zion's instruments at the foot of the cross is unbiblical. But there is a flip side, as with everything. Can music be used by the Devil? What about art? Most modern art in my opinion is a disgrace. Theatre? Theatre has become an outlet for immorality. I have been to a few plays, and while the old classics are just that, classic, so many of the stuff acted is the polar opposite of what a christian is or should be seeing. In, and of itself, the OALC's cautious position on these things is not all that wrong. But.....there is a middle ground, and used to God's glory they can be beautiful.

    I would like a discussion on the meat and potatoes if you will. The Doctrine and true belief of those here. As the OALC teaches, there is only one "true christianity", and that's true, there is only one way to get to heaven.

    Revelation 22:14
    Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.

    There is only one way to enter into Glory. Do I believe one church holds this key? No. We are saved by grace through faith alone, not by works, lest any of us should boast. We are not saved by confession, though it is good and necessary for a clear concience. Christ died once for all, as the song says. I do not need to crucify Christ everyday for my sin, it has been paid in full. This gives me cause to rejoice in love for my redeemer. It does not give me the right to sin, but it frees me from the bondage of sin. My faith is not like sitting on a fence, wondering if i'm going to fall this way or that, I am his, and he is mine. I do not believe in the doctrine of "once saved always saved", we can stray, but God is faithful and he will call us, and if we are given grace to repent, praise be to God. Maybe it sounds like i think that there is no action on the part of a christian, i hope not.

    James 2:20
    But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?

    The fruit of a true faith are works. Not works alone, but through faith they are evident in a Christians life. We shouldnt need to have a name tag or carry a sign for someone to see that you are a christian, "you" should show it. People think there is a battle between Paul and his emphasis on faith, and vise versa with James and works, but it's not so. They coincide beautifully, and they work together for the good of the kingdom.

    Now other than the Elders, I think I touched on my beliefs about the basics of the OALC, am i correct? This has probably been discussed before, but i'd like to go into it again. I would like to know, where the differences in doctrine are. Please feel free to dispute, inquire, agree, whatever you want.

    God's Peace and love to you all.

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  14. What I believe. (I feel like I'm on NPR) There is one true church. That church is made up of the followers of Jesus Christ. It is not one building or denomination. It is all of the soldiers for Christ who make up the one true church. It is a physical church because it is made up of physical beings (and spiritual ones too). It just has no walls. To enter this church we must confess we are sinners and ask for our sins to be forgiven in Jesus name. Here is the catch...I can confess and ask directly of God. I don't need a 'nen, 'la, 'ki, 'son ending last named person to be my intermediary. God's Peace, God Bless and Happy Flag Day!

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  15. AP'er--I have nothing to reply to that, because i agree with you. Grace can be given in solitude and a person can become a true christian without another to "help". But arent you a little gunshy of the canned "repeat after me to get saved" prayers that so many churches have. Where you just say the same words and you're saved. Kinda sounds like a numbers thing rather than true conviction for who they are. That is the beauty of confession with another christian. Ephesians 4:32 "And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you." So there is a redeeming aspect in the confession with a person. Does it save? No.

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  16. Feel free to check out alc-discussion.blogspot.com Not to advertise or anything, but i hope the material there can be beneficial to those here and others as well.

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  17. Couldn't get onto the site. Could you make it easier?

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  18. Hmmm...good thoughts here on salvation that seem pretty sound to me. I like that concept of a church without walls -- that a denomination does not save anyone. I need to think on that awhile! At first blush, I would add however, that the flip side of the coin is just as true -- a denomination does not damn anyone either!

    Maybe I didn't understand the comment about the "canned prayers". I don't have a problem with repetitive prayers, as I find them to be comforting and soothing in their age old form. The OALC says the same opening prayers each time. As a Catholic, we have a lot of those "canned" prayers. I think a lot of thought went into those prayers, and I have no problem with them. Do you have to know them in order to be a better Christian? No. Can you pray from your heart and in your own words if you wish? Of course. I just happen to love tradition, and the things that those old words or actions bring back to memory. In a sort of related issue, I genuflect and kneel in church as well as repeat the prayers. Do you have to? Of course not! It helps me to focus my wandering mind and helps put me in the right place.

    So let's consider another twist. I've heard many here say things to the effect that belief in Jesus Christ and his saving grace is the path to heaven -- and I certainly believe that. However, what about other faiths -- Jews, Muslims, Hindus...or those that are unsure and agnostic at best? I kinda think that God has a plan for all of them as well, and I sure hope to see some of my friends from those camps in the hereafter as well! I think they are pretty good folks that also believe their faith, which might be a lot different from a Christian's. I dunno, but the one I answer to does, and I'll let him sort it out. He doesn't need my help -- that's for sure!

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  19. I just checked the alc discussion site and I think there is a big difference between that branch of the Laestadian church and the OALC.

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  20. And there is. But so many people instantly lump every laestadian faction into the ultra conservative/legalistic group, and it's not that way. There is such a negative view in our area about "apostolic lutherans" and it shouldnt be that way. The laestadian faith is not the problem, it's everything that's been tacked onto it as a means of salvation.

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  21. anon 10:49...
    You are so right about that. It's sad though... for those who add things and think that they are being a "light" to the world, when in reality, they are only identifying themselves as Apostolics(or whatever term is used for a particular area).
    It definately shouldn't be that way, as in all of the factions being identified as the same. BUT it will only change, when those who don't hold man's traditions/ideas as part of salvation, start to SPEAK up, whether in church, or in public.

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  22. Many Trails Home6/15/2006 05:27:00 PM

    Back to the original topic: I guess my favorite taboo is seeing an occasional fabulous movie. Has anyone seen "Under a Shipwrecked Moon" by Antero Alli, a Finn currently living in SF? I have not been able to find it; apparently it is not on DVD / video. And if you have not seen "Babette's Feast", a Danish film, I could not recommend it more highly. It finds hope in the bleakest circumstances.
    I am planning to see "An Inconvenient Truth" this weekend as soon as it comes to town. MTH

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  23. heavenisaplaceonearth6/15/2006 10:41:00 PM

    talking to anyone about anything

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  24. I'm eager to see "Prairie Home Companion" although I'm hoping it doesn't ruin the radio show for me -- not sure I want to see what all those familiar voices look like! (I've been listening to PHC for 26 years.) Speaking of movies, don't miss "Word Play" if it comes to your town. It is a documentary about crosswords, an OALC-approved activity that I enjoy to this day. This sweet, comic movie features Will Shortz as well as Jon Stewart, the Indigo Girls, Bob Dole, Bill Clinton and other avid puzzlers.

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  25. I have been away for many days-traveling to the worldly pursuits of art museums,musicals,history museums, etc. I enjoyed catching up with this site and reading "from taboo to wahoo".

    I laughed out loud when I read anonymous "I don't need a 'inen,'la, 'ki, 'son ending last name person to be my intermediary.'
    But, let's be fair, the Catholics feel that they need to go to a priest. Many religions try to
    control their congregations with rules that are man made.

    The OALC in my area does discourage being an artist. It is okay to create crafts and sell them, but not paintings. This being an interpetation of the first commandment regarding creating "no replicas."
    Worldly music is also very discouraged and playing musical instruments. I hope that changes.
    It is also my biggest regret in life that I did not learn how to play an instrument young.

    I think that the playing music issue comes from Laestadius peaching against it. However, through my research, Laestadius was preaching to the Sami people. The Sami people were not allowed to play their music by a government ruling against it. Their music was considered pagan, as through their music-playing their drums-they worshiped other gods. This is at least why I think Laestadius banned music in his preaching. I have recently heard that an OAL church member said that Cain played music and he killed his brother, so that is why musical instruments are banned.

    Does anyone else have any other explanations?

    If a school group in this area, goes to a musical or a movie for a school function, the OAL children are usually not allowed to go.

    I do remember as a young child hearing a minister rant and rave over school pictures. He actually criticized his children because they were exchanging school pictures, at school, from the pulpit. I don't think this is discouraged any longer because I get many pictures from my OAL relatives.

    And "faith without works..." This has been by biggest struggle. I have always believed that we are to love our neighbor. When I was being confirmed, the minister said that we are to do this, but we are not allowed to associate with our Catholic neighbor because they gamble in their churches." I was old enough to question this, which led to me leaving the OALC. If we are to love and to do good works, then that means we have to give our love to even the hardest people on earth to love. That means we have to even love those who do not have names with "'inen...'la...'ki...'son...

    God's Peace

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  26. LLLreader: On the topic of the difference between the Hockinson church and the Brush Prairie church, I remember asking a OALC relative years ago about what the difference between the churches actually was--"acceptance of sin" was the answer--so there you have it. The best "wahoo" I remember is going to a Lutheran church, being warmly received, and no one caring about what I was wearing. Isn't that strange when you really think about it--clothing, hair, and makeup being such a big deal?

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  27. I had a nice wahoo last week in the sanctuary of a Scandahoovian Lutheran church, listening to a klezmer band, loudly singing Hava Nagila, and dancing the hora with a joyous (if somewhat arthritic) line of ladies, up and down the aisles until we collapsed in the pews, breathless.

    Hava nagila, hava nagila
    Hava nagila venis'mecha
    Hava neranena, hava neranena
    Hava neranena venis'mecha
    Uru, uru achim
    Uru achim belev same'ach

    (Let us rejoice and be glad, Let us sing, Awaken brethren, With a cheerful heart.)

    You can listen here: http://www.hebrewsongs.com/song-havanagila.htm

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  28. Allowing my children to participate in organized sports, band, and wearing pants to church, and ladies Bible Study.

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  29. I finally got my ears peirced!

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  30. I got a good laugh out of the ALC site. Nice spin and damage control attempt there, but I think the cat is already out of the bag on that one. That link to the Hockinson congregation put me right over the edge. (Let's just say it is not a hotbed of progressive values. :)

    What do I like best about being shut of the ALC? Finally being able to worship in a place where I can experience God in word, liturgy and sacrament.

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  31. I got my ears pierced at 19. Still take them out around my family darn near 30 years later. I think it falls into "if you don't keep trying to convert me back I wont flaunt my earrings and makeup in front of you" catagory. One of my Wahoos is being able to freely discuss religion with co-workers etc and be completely open and comfortable to invite them to worship at my church. No matter what their background or race is!
    And as eminem says...the music, the music, the music! Uplifting joyful hymns mixed in with the somber reverent ones! I love Christian music! I like the old stuff and it is dear to my heart when sung properly. But there are so many beautiful new songs that we can enjoy. I love being able to talk salvation with my Christian neighbors and know that we will all be in Heaven. And they are Baptist. I could go on here but I will just say that when my eyes were opened to the wrongs of the FALC, such joy has filled my heart. I am so grateful and thankful that the Holy Spirit has allowed me to really SEE this beautiful planet we have been made caretakers of and shown me that Heaven's many mansions will be filled with diversity.

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  32. I forgot prayer. I never said any but my canned prayers and was given the impression that we didn't pray for "things". How against the Bible is that? We are supposed to pray for all things and incessently. Now I utilize prayer chains and am often asked to pray for others. And I do! I will never be comfortable being a prayer leader but I can quietly go to God anytime, anywhere! If I wasn't worried about exposing myself I could relate some miracles here. I don't want to expose myself because then I wouldn't feel so free to comment on anything. I have been firsthand witness to amazing recoveries. Prayer works!

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  33. My favourite OALC no-no activity would probably be movies and music. But on the other hand, already St. John Chrysostom (AD 345-407), one of the early church fathers, warned for theaters (no movies at his time). So I guess it's wise to be careful with that kind of things. Movies (probably also theater plays) can open up new views and make you understand other people better and maybe even see yourself in a new light. Often after a movie I actually feel very thankful because the movie has made me realize that many people are living much tougher lives than me. But movies often contain also elements that are detrimental to your spiritual wellbeing. The same applies of course also to music.

    ------

    As for "canned" prayers, my church says that the ancient prayers inherited from the fathers, and written based on their experience on the road of salvation, are important and useful because they lead our own prayers in the right direction, their prayers show us an example how we should pray. I've become to love the prayers in Orthodox prayer books (I won't go anywhere without them), and I've also "discovered" the book of Psalms, which is used a lot in the services of the Orthodox church, and also in private prayers. Very strong contents, may be recommended!

    -----

    I know "oalc" artists in Finland, but I also know some of the more conservative ones are a bit sceptical about them....

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  34. I was reading through some of the old posts and saw that some people wonder why this site is here.

    One of the reasons it is here is because many of the people in the laestadian churches are very nice and friendly. Us exlaestadians, while we disagree with their religion, miss the friendship of these people and, at the same time, remain as friendly as the laestadians. So this site provides us exlaestadians a means to connect with each other.

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  35. Laestadians are nice and friendly under these two circumstances:

    1) You're one of the fold, and by that, in their particular fold

    2) You are seen as convertable

    Under these circumstances, their hostility or fear really show themselves, and they are not so nice:

    1) You were part of them, but you've quit them

    2) You're currently part of them but question any of their main tenets

    3) You've married their son or daughter and have no plans to convert

    4) You belong to a "rival" laestadian sect

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  36. MTH, I hope you cousins got into some sort of mischief, if only too much Haagen Daz.

    Was there a reason provided by this nay-saying preacher? Was it possibly the potential liberating influence of women such as yourself?!

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  37. MTH and Free, pretty funny! When my wife gets together with her friends, let's see -- yes 40 to 60 year old is about right -- I can't even comprehend what they are up to but I am quite sure it is mischief of some kind, usually to the detriment of men...

    On a more serious note, MTH, I had not heard of a rift between Ericsson and Jonsson. Has anyone else? I had the impression that Jonsson was quite well educated, but don't know why as I have no proof of that. I also remember liking him better because he didn't preach as long Ericsson. I remember one night when Ericsson started at 7:15 and didn't stop preaching until 10:45. Good grief those benches were hard! Afterward he had laughed that the people must have thought the evangelization would never stop that night. Unfortunately, bilingual folks like myself got to enjoy a double dose of the faith that night...

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  38. Many Trails Home6/20/2006 05:43:00 PM

    CVOW, well, certainly, Jonsson was much the more charismatic of the two. And apparently he had quite a standing in the community as well, serving on civic committees (school committees?) or whatever. I don't know about his own education, however. I really felt the strong sense of community, of belonging, hearing Gunnar speak in the evening, the lights in the old Calumet church a mellow yellow, and singing "Blessed Be the Tie That Binds." The memories are by no means all bad! MTH

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  39. Reposted!
    Many Trails Home said...
    To "cvow": I heard that Ericcson lost out to Gunnar Johnson (or perhaps a contingent of elders) over some details because he was too lenient. I wonder if anyone else heard that as well. There are power plays in every congregation, it seems.
    To Anon who insists that not all OALCers feel the same way: of course not, but what I reflect upon is the "rules" as I was taught them, and I mean from the pulpit as well as from my parents. So because some OALCers are casual about life-style rules (especially in the huge congregation of Battle Ground, where people can be more anonymous if they choose) does not mean that that is what is preached.
    In fact, in some communities it now appears that people will hardly make a move without consulting the preachers - for instance, one fellow asked about accepting a new job, was told to stay where he is, and was very unhapy about being denied this opportunity. Seems ridiculous to me, but there it is.
    Well, for heaven's sake, there was a family reunion, all middle-aged female first cousins getting together for a weekend. When the preachers got wind of it, they told us we had to cancel the reunion!!! They backed down after much crying and (presumably) pleading when they were told that many of us had non-refundable airline tickets. But believe me, there will never be another one! I mean, what mischief can a bunch of 40-60-year-old women get into? It was too much. MTH

    11:45 AM

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  40. A funny note. Gunnar was somewhat of a musician and had an organ in his home. When an American preacher was asked why it's wrong here, he responded "we don't believe that way in America". So, is it a sin or not?

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  41. Many Trails Home6/21/2006 11:28:00 AM

    RE musical instruments: The daughters of a very conservative preacher had a kantele when we were young (a Finnish stringed instrument) and they were practicing playing it - nobody ever mastered the thing, as far as I knew, and I only remember seeing it once or twice. Of course, there were no teachers either, so NOBODY knew how to play it. I have no idea where they got it (perhaps on a trip to Finland). Apparently because it was a FINNISH instrument it was OK. Wierd, huh? MTH

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  42. MTH, you really hit a chord with your comment about evenings at church! For me it was Gackle, and my Grandfather as one of the song leaders always picking "There's a land that is fairer than day" on the last night of meetings! I loved those old lights in the church there as well. It would be a quiet, drowsy time, after the heat of the day, and the old slow hymns sounded good (and they knew how to draaaaaagggg them out! You are absolutely right -- some of those old memories are really to be cherished. It has always seemed to me that we belonged to a different church then -- a church where judgement took a back seat to Christian love. I started getting disillusioned with the church when the next generations began to preach because the message seemed to turn uglier all of the time. I can not recall being upset with the teachings of the old preachers -- Bill Homola, Nester Lindberg, Bingo Burris, Reazo Redinger, Ralph Stewart, Gordon Rosenlund, Walfred and Eino Simonson, Hjalmer Wanttaja, Wilbur Koistinen, Walter Ek, and many others, most of whom are long gone. Does anyone else shre the feeling that the church evolved with their passing, and the evolution was not for the best?

    Switching gears, if anyone wants to hear the kantele played the way it's supposed to be played, come to Finn Fest in Naselle and Astoria this July. Wilho Saari of Naselle is a master of the kantele, and he'll be playing there. Wilho teaches kantele to the local school students and others, and was recently given some kind of honor as an artist by the State of Washington. I've got one of his CDs and it's very soothing music.

    Lastly, Free, you mentioned wanting to see Prairie Home Companion. We did, and it's worth going to. We wished he had done a bit on Lake Wobegon (he didn't), but all in all it's a fun movie for us diehard fans.

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  43. Many Trails Home6/22/2006 12:21:00 AM

    cvow, I can't believe you remember all those names - I had forgotten most of them, except the three who were my uncles! As for Christian love vs judgment, then and now: I would have to say that my personal experience was much more of judgment than love. I don't even recall love being preached that much, on a weekly basis. Does anyone else? I am wondering if perhaps you missed out on a lot of the judgment experience due to the fact that you did not live intimately in the OALC community. But it went beyond judgment. Never since I left have I witnessed (although not personally suffered from) such competitiveness, gossip, social-climbing, snobbishness, and downright meanness - and that from a preacher's family. Yet another preacher's family (cousins all) consists of a bunch of "saints" - sweet as can be, not a vicious bone in them. But the "saints," being less well off, had no status and so had less impact than the meanies. It was grim, let me tell you. Small town all the way, and not noticeably buffered by "Christian love." MTH

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    1. it doesn't mean it's right when people do wrong things, no matter who they are. the most important thing is the forgiveness and we are all just human. that's sad that you don't recall love, to me it's the only thing. we need to here about what's wrong to realize what we've done wrong, but we always get to hear the testimony of love and forgiveness in the end.

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  44. OK, MTH, now I am sure we are related, which I suspected before! I am also related to three of those preachers (actually four, but the 4th is from the other side of the family) and I'm pretty sure they are the only three who are connected! You call them uncles, but am I correct there is two uncles and one "uncle in law"? If you're interested in getting in touch, let me know and we'll figure it out.

    I was actually intimately involved in the OALC community. Perhaps the judgement thing varied community to community. Gackle always was sort of an anomaly. It seemed there always was a lot of forbearance and common sense in use. Of course, even as a teenager, I heard that the youth from Gackle and Minneapolis were going straight to hell because of our wordly ways! (Some of us actually took a little pride in the "outlaw" reputation we had! Go figure.) We had several non-OALC spouses who, while not belonging to the church, threw their hearts, hands, and pursestrings open to help in every way. Maybe that was why the judgement was not too loud -- or maybe it was because I slept through a lot of sermons.

    Can any of you remember when June meetings were in Gackle and Calumet? They switched to Spearfish sometime in the late 60s, when Gackle's congregation had shrunk to where they couldn't handle the crowds anymore. I didn't mind seeing it go actually, because I also have memories of peeling hundreds of pounds of spuds for those meals -- and those aren't necessarily good memories!

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  45. Many Trails Home6/22/2006 12:33:00 PM

    Right-o, cvow. We spent many a dreary sweaty week at June meetings in Gackle when I was a kid. No trees; stinky sloughs; out-houses (with Sears-Roebuck catalogs) and one family had a bomb shelter!! The only appealing spot was the community pool (which we didn't frequent, of course). As a teen, I used to think that the worst fate that could befall me was to fall in love with some guy from Gackle and get stuck there for the rest of my life!!
    Your last name is probably my grandmother's maiden name, altho I would have no idea which of the brothers you sprang from. You would also be a bit older than me. You say Gackle was a bit of an anomaly, but the Calumet community probably was as well, from what I am hearing. In Gackle, of course, everyone was a lot more spread out - an obstacle to nosiness.
    One last memory: washing dishes in that heat, with a gas fire under the dishwater and rinsewater to keep it hot. In Calumet, at least we had an automatic potato peeler (a rotating drum-like affair reminiscent of a cement mixer) and all we had to do was cut out the eyes before adding the potatoes to the "moyakka" (I have no idea how to spell that).
    Would be fascinating to get in touch. I am off on vacation for 2 weeks this very night, so cheeri-o until I get back. MTH

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  46. Gackle... When I hear that name I think of the time I was there for the June Meetings. We stayed at a house with a nice panorama of a butte in the distance. Before services one morning another guy and I took off walking toward the hill and literally climbed up to the top. Of course this created an apoplectic response and we ended up arriving late for the beginning of church... with our priorities readjusted.

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  47. Spot on, MTH! My grandfather only had one grandson -- me -- so figure it out. If I am correct about your folks -- last brother living? -- I think your family usually stayed with the other brother's descendants.

    I used to love it when your grandmother would come to our house -- and I remember going to her house in Hancock. I thought she was just the nicest lady -- and I always called her "täti", which is Finnish for aunt.

    I've done a lot of family history research, so I suspect I could give you lots of tidbits if you're interested in that sort of thing.

    I suppose this conversation -- of little interest to anyone else -- could take place off line. Perhaps Free could help us get in touch.

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  48. My favorite no-no? Feeling like a rebel (and liking it) when I listen to pop songs with lyrics like "Old Fashion Rock and
    roll, that kind of music just soothes the soul..." What a sinfulstatement! (lol).

    My personal favorite for a long time was Billy Joel's "My Life" ()I think I've mellowed a bit since


    Got a call from an old friend
    We used to be real close
    Said he couldn't go on the American way
    Closed the shop, sold the house
    Bought a ticket to the West Coast
    Now he gives them a stand-up routine in L.A.

    I don't need you to worry for me cause I'm alright
    I don't want you to tell me it's time to come home
    I don't care what you say anymore, this is my life
    Go ahead with your own life, and leave me alone

    I never said you had to offer me a second chance
    (I never said you had to)
    I never said I was a victim of circumstance
    (I never said)
    I still belong, don't get me wrong
    And you can speak your mind
    But not on my time

    They will tell you, you can't sleep alone in a strange place
    Then they'll tell you, you can't sleep with somebody else
    Ah, but sooner or later you sleep in your own space
    Either way it's okay, you wake up with yourself

    I don't need you to worry for me cause I'm alright
    I don't want you to tell me it's time to come home
    I don't care what you say anymore, this is my life
    Go ahead with your own life, and leave me alone

    I never said you had to offer me a second chance
    (I never said you had to)
    I never said I was a victim of circumstance
    (Of cirumstance)
    I still belong, don't get me wrong
    And you can speak your mind
    But not on my time

    I don't care what you say anymore, this is my life
    Go ahead with your own life, and leave me alone

    (Keep it to yourself, it's my life.)
    (Keep it to yourself, it's my life.)
    (Keep it to yourself, it's my life.)
    (Keep it to yourself, it's my life.)

    But, honestly, my most favorite no-no is probably wearing makeup, since I'm an artist at heart, and it takes some skillful blending not to look like a clown!

    Art in the LLC - there are definitelhy artists in the LLC, but they only do realistic paintings (at least during my time); no one did anything abstract or expressionistic or anything like that. They would have been seen as strange, at the least.

    The way the LLC tends to decorate their houses is like this: A dried wreath of flowers, etc.; a wildlife print or maybe a mountain scene print; lots of Christmas photos from families exchanging them; and lots and lots of white or off-white walls.....aggh!

    I still love my immediate family who is still in the the church, though, even though we can't be very close, because I'm now an unbeliever, having given up my faith.

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  49. "even though we can't be very close, because I'm now an unbeliever, having given up my faith."

    I sure hope you made that last statement tongue in cheek!
    I say I've given up "their faith" and found true faith. Because my faith is in the Son of God, not man.

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  50. A comment I would like to make: It seems that many current apostolics/laestadians consider us giving up our faith because we have left. Not the case for me. I left because I was sick and tired of the people. Current members: think about it...how many people does your church really draw in from the outside, excluding marriage? Hmm...don't mean to be sarcastic...but maybe that will tell you something about how you "love" other people.

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  51. In my own congregation, there are three married couples in which neither spouse was from the church. In all these cases, one of them had gone to church with friends as young people, and then later brought others who were also from the outside.

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  52. And furthermore, none of these 6 people are Finnish.

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  53. Yes, but how many people join the church without having any association with others from the congregation? Example: a family with children that moves to the community and tries out different churches to find one that they like. Can you think of a situation like this where someone joined an apostolic/laestadian based church? I just wanted to give everyone still in those churches something to think about.

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  54. I do know of one guy who did show up at the church one Sunday and kept coming and then converted, and he ended up staying.

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  55. what church was this? I hope is wasn't the OALC or the FALC

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  56. That is a far cry from the numbers
    I see joining the churches that are
    Missouri Synod or ELCA. New people are joining regularly.

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  57. You have had a good discussion here.

    By the way, what's IALC?

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  58. "Man without past" is a highly recommended movie. It's in a totally different class than a typical recent Hollywood production. However, it loses a lot in translation because a great deal of the movie's greatness is in the dialog.

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  59. Wow..this is so true to all aspects of the Lutheran and or Laestadian churches....i understand that it was a BAD thing back in the day...but times are changing...they can't expect us to stay away from all of this great stuff when it surrounds us.

    -Carisa - i'd love to talk with u more about it...email me sometime...mxpxchik03@hotmail.com

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  60. The IALC is the independent or pollarite branch of the apostolic lutheran/laestadian religion. There are two groups in this branch. One is small, maybe 400 or so members, and seems to be dying out. Its been refered to as the "auneslaiset." The other, the riitimattilaiset" has probably 4-5,000 members. The smallest branch of the two is probably the LEAST restrictive of all LLL faiths in terms of lifestyle, and is also not a very shaming church at all. They preach that their God is a loving God. They do, however, seem to be in rapid decline as far as their population goes, and there are few young families in their church. The larger IALC group seems to be growing and has a tolerance for wearing modern clothes, televisions, secular music, smaller families, college educations, etc. but tends toward a more exclusivist doctrine. Both groups are known to still practice outward emotional manifestations in their religious services, so in that way, they resemble the OALC. Both groups also shun musical accompaniment (except for weddings) in their services like the OALC. However, you would not be able to pick out an IALC member on the street as they look pretty much like anyone else.

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  61. why did i leave the church. the main reason was the blatant hypocrisy i encountered. free hit the nail on the head with the statement about commiting sin and then getting it forgiven on the seventh day. i also had trust issues, can't trust a laestadian if you cant see them.
    favorite no-no's
    movies
    drinking
    parties
    premarital sex
    not going to church at all
    having reliable friends
    etc. etc.

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  62. In what way did you find the laestadian friends you used to have unreliable?

    Sometimes I have found it a factor in my relationships with my family with church people. For example, as a single mom, I have found my friends and neighbors in my own community more helpful and understanding with my children and emergencies than I have found my own laestadian family and friends from the church. Maybe they just don't have the time, or they are so self-reliant they don't see the help that others might somehow need.

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  63. The methods used by the laestadian church are very simple and effective. These same strategies have been utilized by dictatorships throughout history, the most obvious of which would be hitler, kim jong il, and the current chinese regime. By limiting and restricting the works, people, news, and resources your people can associate with you effectively "brainwash" them and can control the way they think. By telling them they will burn in hell if they watch a movie, you terrorize them into believing their eternal life is endangered by participating in such acts. If god is a compassionate god, is this really what he would want?

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  64. amen. pdeanwi you got it dead on......

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  65. You all are going to hell. Levi Laestadius would be ashamed. You have taken his and the word of god and blasphemed. Save yourselves before it is too late.

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  66. Savior107, you have obviously sampled too much communion wine. You are wrong in so many ways. Plus Laestadius was a renowned pedophile and the basis of the faith was the deprivation of basic human rights. It is you of the false faith that is going to burn in eternal fiery hell.

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