Friday, September 29, 2006

Let Me Keep My Mind On What Matters

Messenger
by Mary Oliver

My work is loving the world.
Here the sunflowers, there the hummingbird—
equal seekers of sweetness.
Here the quickening yeast; there the blue plums.
Here the clam deep in the speckled sand.

Are my boots old? Is my coat torn?
Am I no longer young, and still not half-perfect? Let me
keep my mind on what matters,
which is my work,

which is mostly standing still and learning to be
astonished.
The phoebe, the delphinium.
The sheep in the pasture, and the pasture.
Which is mostly rejoicing, since all the ingredients are here,

which is gratitude, to be given a mind and a heart
and these body-clothes,
a mouth with which to give shouts of joy
to the moth and the wren, to the sleepy dug-up clam,
telling them all, over and over, how it is
that we live forever.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Favorite Movies?

From a friend in Finland:
I was asked to start a thread about favorite movies, so let's talk about favorite movies then! :) I like the Spanish director Pedro Almodóvar. In fact I happened to see his latest movie "Volver" last Saturday. I maybe don't agree with all of his opinions, he seems to have an axe to grind with the Catholic church, which I don't have, and he seems to have a rather negative view on men (although he's male himself), but he takes up difficult themes in his movies and opens a view to the life of people you don't normally meet. For example, I can't remember one single movie of him that didn't have any prostitutes in it.
In general, I tend to like historical movies, especially WWII movies, or any movies that handle about human tragedies. I'm not interested in war as such, but rather on its impact on human lives and human fates.
When talking about movies on this site, it maybe should be mentioned that the world's first movie made by Laestadians was released in 2005 when a group of young people from the Finnish OALC equivalent decided to make a movie with a medieval setting and a Christian message. In my opinion, it turned out pretty well, considering it was done by amateur forces. The reactions among the Laestadians varied a lot, some condemned it and demanded repentance from those involved while other were very positive. It was shown on a few occasions in some small movie theaters and later a dvd was released (with Swedish and English subtitles). The movie has its own site (in Finnish): http://www.kaksivaltakuntaa.fi

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Death – the Unbidden Guest – a Friend or an Enemy?

Death is rarely talked about in the modern western society, but it’s still something we all have in common. This makes one wonder what it is that has made people so alienated from it… What do you think? Cemeteries and dead people are considered something scary. However, if I compare Laestadians and other people, it seems to me like Laestadians typically have a healthier attitude. In this part of the world many people don’t even want to open the coffin of their loved ones, while Laestadians typically do that before the funeral (but they shut it again for the funeral, here it is only the Orthodox that keep the coffin open throughout the funeral). Well, actually I wasn’t going to start a thread about funeral customs. I was more interested to hear your thoughts about death as such. Do you think about it, and what do you feel about it? Has your attitude changed over time? Any difference OALC vs. ex-OALC?

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Scripture Favorites

What's your favorite scripture passage, and why?

I'll start with a couple of passages from the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible.

Philippians 2:5-12, because the idea of working out ones own salvation resonates with me, as does the idea of kenosis:

Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus,
who, though he was in the form of God,
did not regard equality with God
as something to be exploited,
but emptied himself,
taking the form of a slave,
being born in human likeness.
And being found in human form,
he humbled himself
and became obedient to the point of death—
even death on a cross.

Therefore God also highly exalted him
and gave him the name
that is above every name,
so that at the name of Jesus
every knee should bend,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue should confess
that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.

Therefore, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed me, not only in my presence, but much more now in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling;


Another favorite is Colossians 1.15-20, which speaks to me about the connectedness between Christ, us, and the cosmos:

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation; for in him all things in heaven and on earth were created, things visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or powers—all things have been created through him and for him. He himself is before all things, and in him all things hold together. He is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that he might come to have first place in everything. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him God was pleased to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, by making peace through the blood of his cross.



-ttg