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

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?

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. 


Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Breaking Silence

Photo credit: Carolyn Tiry/Flickr | Remix by Dell Cameron
From Rebecca Solnit, The Mother of All Questions:

"Being unable to tell your story is a living death and sometimes a literal one. If no one listens when you say your ex-husband is trying to kill you, if no one believes you when you say you have a pain in your body, if no one hears you when you say help, if you don’t dare say help, if you have been trained not to bother people by saying help. If you are considered to be out of line when you speak up in a meeting, are not admitted into an institution of power, are subject to irrelevant criticism whose subtext is that women should not be here, or heard. 
Liberation is always in part a storytelling process, breaking stories, breaking silences, making new stories. A free person tells her own story.
Violence against women is often against our voices and our stories. It is a refusal of our voices, and of what a voice means: the right to self-determination, to participation, to consent or dissent, to live and participate, to interpret and narrate. A husband hits his wife to silence her; a date rapist or acquaintance rapist refuses to let the “no” of his victim mean what it should, that she alone has jurisdiction over her body; rape culture asserts that women’s testimony is worthless, untrustworthy; anti-abortion activists also seek to silence the self-determination of women; a murderer silences forever. These are assertions that the victim has no rights, no value, is not an equal. They have their equivalent in smaller ways in language: the people harassed and badgered into silence online, talked over and cut out in conversation, belittled, humiliated, dismissed. Having a voice is crucial. 
It’s not all there is to human rights, but it’s central to them, and so you can consider the history of women’s rights and lack of rights as a history of silence and breaking silence.
We are not where we were in 1991. And where we were in 1961, when I was born--I think it's hard for people who aren't historically-minded and weren't there to comprehend how deeply misogyny, exclusion, and the suppression of women's rights, powers, and voices were not an imposition on the rules but the unquestioned rule.
There is no inevitability that we will continue to win; it requires as it always did passionate participation and some vision that it can be different. It is already different from 1991, 1961, because we are winning --and they are furious about it. As Michelle Alexander pointed out this weekend, we are not the resistance; they are; we are part of the revolutionary river of change they are trying to resist.
We have a long way to go to a world where women live without fear and in equality, but we have come so far already. Don't stop now."