Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Fencesitters

The following request for advice arrived in my inbox over the holiday. 
I have recently met two people who became very important in my life, who are both apart of this church. Both of whom have expressed either a desire to leave, not agreeing with all of the "rules", a confusion of what is right and wrong, and generally how they are to live their life. It seems like they are torn between what they are told to do and what is truly right for them, what they personally feel and believe vs how they were raised, etc, and frankly it has been very painful to watch. 
I am just wondering what is the best way I can help this person who is "stuck on the fence"? They are obviously in a very difficult spot that I will never fully understand, not sure if they are staying or leaving, risking losing the love of their family and church friends, basically all they know, etc. 
I'm not sure the best way to go about this other than to offer my friendship and support.
Readers, what say you?

2 comments:

  1. You are probably doing your best by just, "offering your friendship and support." There are many people within the various Laestadian groups who chafe under some of the rules and/or who have thought of leaving. Some leave but most do not. So living with mixed feelings about the Laestadian movement is a very common characteristic of members. Most of those who grow up within the church eventually learn to resign themselves to the status quo and accept the various contradictions versus leaving the church and thereby lose the close fellowship which the group offers. So personally I would not try to push them either way. You would probably help them the most by being a good listener and let your friends reach their own conclusions. Old AP

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  2. The idea that one can live a life that is contrary to ones true self is a recipe for significant emotional turmoil. That being said, leaving the church is also a recipe for emotional turmoil, especially if one does not understand that you are literally leaving on culture and entering another. It is very important to think about what it is one is leaving, and what one wants, otherwise the transition is that much more painful. Being true to yourself, to that inner core,having congruence between your life choices and your core values and beliefs is the only way to do it. If you jump ship and rebel against everything, without thought of what you do believe is right and wrong...you are creating an even bigger mess
    unbeliever

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