Friday, August 19, 2005

Forgiveness

Here you go, MTH.

And thanks for the suggestion.

On a personal note, I barked at my son today over some egregious error on his part (I think he was slow in getting his seat belt on). The sound of my own voice appalled me. I apologized to him and kissed him and he looked up at me with his beautiful brown eyes and said, "Oh, Mom, even when you don't say you're sorry, I forgive you." This set me to musing about all the ways we say we are sorry that go beyond words. Overemphasing the words can mean that contrite behavior gets short shrift.

Hello, all you deep thinkers. I think the subject of forgiveness of sins deserves a heading of its own, it being the "KEY" on which the entire exclusivity of the OALC (and apparently other Laestadian churches) is based. I had an epiphany on this subject some time ago, namely: We were taught that "Christians" held the keys, and "whosoever sins ye remit, they are remitted, and whosoever sins ye retain, they are retained." So therefore, in order to be forgiven and have a shot at "eternal life," we had to have our sins forgiven by another "Christian." Period. But this forgiveness is hollow, if the forgiver does not also have the right to refuse to forgive. By this reasoning, mere humans have the right and power to consign other humans to everlasting hell and damnation. Poppycock, I say. That cannot possibly be the correct interpretation. God forgives. We ONLY need God to forgive us. And we can ask him directly, as you say. Of course, if we wrong someone, we should ask their forgiveness AND ATTEMPT TO RIGHT THE WRONG (not part of the OALC teaching, and an error, in my opinion). But this wailing and carrying on on the necks of other "Christians" about "being such a poor example, hardness of heart" and whatever are the "generic sins du jour" is, well, mostly a contrived attempt to guarantee entrance into heaven. In my opinion, there is very little true remorse, even less real sin, perhaps some self-indulgent purging, plenty of mis-placed guilt, an escape from consequences, and a diversion of our attention away from LOVING EACH OTHER. It may sound extreme, but I think OALC has elevated the forgiveness of sins into a false god. Repentance uber alles. What about loving our neighbor, visiting the sick, alms to the poor, inviting your local prostitute to lunch? Do we REALLY do what Jesus enjoined us to do? Not by a long shot, but we think wailing and carrying on gets us off the hook. (As a classic Laestadianism, my sister-in-law said that God knew we could not actually carry out the injunction to LOVE EACH OTHER and so he gave us forgiveness of sins as an alternative way to get into heaven).
I could go on and on. I would be curious to know your thoughts on this most central subject.
May we be blessed with great wisdom and forgiving hearts. MTH

18 comments:

  1. See anon2 under "fences"

    ReplyDelete
  2. Many Trails Home8/20/2005 02:16:00 PM

    Hi Free, I can't help but wonder if the "removed" comments are spam or some outraged blog-reader accusing me of being a heretic! Here are my short definitions of "heresy" and "orthodoxy":
    Orthodoxy: What I believe.
    Heresy: What you believe, that's different from what I believe.

    I personally think only the Catholic church has a "right" to the term "orthodoxy" as they essentially defined it anyway. Here's a Catholic factoid that may be news to you: There is still an office of the Inquisition active under the Dominicans in Peru today, called "The Office of the Extirpation of Idolatries," whose purpose is to stomp out the Incan shamans, whom they apparently perceive as a threat. Interesting, no? MTH

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hi MTH. So far, just spam is being removed. I figure my readers are not interested in enlarging any of their private parts.

    ReplyDelete
  4. How do you know?
    :)
    How are you feeling?

    ReplyDelete
  5. So much better that I have agreed to coordinate crafts for church camp next week. What was I thinking? I'm knee deep in construction paper and pipe cleaners and glue sticks. (If anyone wants the template for a table-grace cootie catcher, let me know.)

    ReplyDelete
  6. Regarding forgiveness in the OALC: Though forgiveness is central in a Christian's life, I too don't get it in that church. I used to overhear people asking forgiveness on a regular basis, for example listening to the radio. If a person really believed that it was a sin they wouldn't listen to it. Tear the knobs out of the car or don't have one in your home. What sense does it make to listen to the radio and attend church every Sunday and then ask forgiveness for it.

    Forgiveness is more than the act of doing so. There must be acknowledgement of wrongdoing, remorse, repair, and resolve to not repeat the behavior.

    These are big questions for which you will get no answers in the OALC.

    ReplyDelete
  7. So i was showing some of my writings about Laustadienism to my friend(who knows Jesus, but doesn't have a connection to an LLL church.) She said, ---you know what would be cool, maby you could get your hands on a telephone directory and mail a letter like this one to everyone in your church.--- hmmmmm....

    Suppose someone prints a few thousand copies of a letter that is similar to my first post under "fences"(please read it to know what kind of letter i'm talking about), then snail-mails them to the thousands of addresses listed in the church phone book. What would be the result?

    At the very least it would stimulate some thinking and have people doing some research in their Bibles. But lets say that the Holy Spirit works through the letter and touches a bunch of people, including preachers who are in a position to influence others, and they decide to abandon the “we are the only church” silliness. Based on my experiences they would not be considered believers by those who would retain the exclusiveness. And based on the history of Laustadienism, they would not go to the same church. It would be viewed by the exclusives as a heresy.

    I have always thought- God doesn't want a devision in the church. Now i'm reconsidering what that means. One way to look at it would be the author of the letter would be attempting to divide the kingdom of God. Another way to look at it would be Lars Levi Laustaudies created a devision in the kingdom of God and the author of the letter is attempting to re-unite the devision.

    Did Martin Luther create a devision in the church? or was the teachings in the Roman Catholic Church to blame for the devision, and the acts of Martin Luther re-united the Kingdom of God?

    This is what the Bible said about devisions.



    Romans 16,17-19 I Urge you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them. For such people are not serving our Lord Christ, but their own appetites. By smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds of naive people. Everyone has heard about your obedience, so I am full of joy over you: but i want you to be wise about what is good, and innocent about what is evil.


    1 Corinthians 1.10 I Appeal to you, brother, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought.

    2 peter 2.1-3, But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bout them- bringing swift destruction on themselves. Many will follow their shameful ways and will bring the way of truth into dispute. In their greed these teachers will exploit you with stories they have made up. Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping.

    Proverbs 6.16-19 There are six things the Lord hates, seven that are detestable to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies and a man who stirs up dissension among brothers.

    If someone wrote a letter, would he/she be a false profit, trying to bring a heresy, or was Laustadaus and friends false profits causing a heresy? Would writing a letter be good or evil?

    Hey, maby Christmas cards too!

    Let the Lord's will be done, not mine
    God's Peace be with all believers.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Writing the letter would not work. The OALC believes WE are the ones that broke away and caused the divisions.
    Romans 16,17-19 I Urge you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them. For such people are not serving our Lord Christ, but their own appetites. By smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds of naive people. Everyone has heard about your obedience, so I am full of joy over you: but i want you to be wise about what is good, and innocent about what is evil.
    1 Corinthians 1.10 I Appeal to you, brother, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought.

    ReplyDelete
  9. to exllc ~ Obviously you would have to make the final decision as to whether or not you would write a letter, but here are my 2 cents worth..... You can back your beliefs with the Bible. I know there is nothing in the Bible about the LLL or any of the other branches being the only one so....my opinion is that you wouldn't be dividing, only bringing the truth.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Sending a letter certainly would not be evil, but realize that you will be called an "evil worker"--at least that's what would happen in the OALC. Bringing a bible into the church is highly suspect--that right there is enough to make anyone who hasn't been brainwashed by this group realize how far off track they have gotten. They worship their church, not God. I say send the letter--!!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  11. I found this poem and although the topic probably belongs under the discussion on summer, lest it get lost, I will post it here:

    apostolic

    kids didn't have to
    be in church during
    services until confirmation
    at fourteen so church
    was fun.

    we'd dig big holes in the
    sand outside trying to
    catch cars when we were
    little or throw snowballs
    at the outhouse.

    echoes of song would
    reach our football game
    in the field and
    we'd rush inside for a communion
    of kool-aid and flatbread.

    --Will Lahti

    ReplyDelete
  12. Many Trails Home8/23/2005 12:21:00 PM

    I wonder which "Apostolic" this referred to. We were certainly never allowed to play during OALC services, but had to sit still and quiet lest we earn a surreptious pinch from our mother. It probably was useful training at self-discipline, but I quite frankly can't sit still for more than an hour to this day.
    Many Trails Home

    ReplyDelete
  13. OK, I think I get it, though the quotes are a bit convoluted for me.
    On a lighter note, I enjoyed the BC comic strip from last week. The two characters in this one are a rock and a flower. The rock says to the flower, "I envy you, kid." The flower replies, "Why would you envy me?" Rock: "Because you have roots." Flower: "I DO?" Rock: "Yes!" Flower: "Thank goodness! I thought my toenails had gone berserk!"
    I chuckled when I read it because sometimes my OALC Roots feel like toenails gone berserk.

    ReplyDelete
  14. I have been enjoying the comments.
    As a former OALC member, I struggle with finding a church, but I know that I cannot belong to a church that preaches that "shunning others" is okay with Christ. I left because the name "Laestadius" is said more in church than "Christ". However,after much research about Laestadius, his actual intent to preach Christianity to the Sami people was good. However, I believe in Jesus as my Lord and savior-not the OALC. I have personally experienced being "shunned" because I have left the "sect". I was blown away to see that others feel the same way and that there is now a place to express our feelings. I am so glad that you are offering this site to people who need the support. We are afraid in our small communities to speak out. Our children are being told that they are going to ****, because they are of the world. Our schools are begining to be controlled because of the huge numbers of Apostolics (Old and New). It is hard, especially when a good healthy debate about your faith is not about to happen when the apostolic churches discourage it.
    I do have one question to those who still belong to the OALC. Why is it okay to to have a ton of babies when you can not afford to do so. Is it okay to recieve government help-Medicade, Welfare,
    etc.? The majority of the tax money to give you this benefit is provided by us the
    "Worldly" people... When I was a member-receiving government help was frowned upon.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Funny how all of those churches preach forgiveness of sins nonstop. But, it doesn't seem like they really mean it. Anyone can say you are forgiven for doing something wrong but mending wrongdoings has to come from the heart. The FALC preaches "all you need is the forgiveness of sins". I guess they decided the rest of the message doesn't matter.

    ReplyDelete
  16. To exllc--I read the letter in Fences and I can hear your honesty and emotion in the words you write. I think the topics of the Laestadians thinking they are the only Christans, and the forgivness of sins, are the main points you want to get across. You have some "good Bible" to back it up. I like the way you say the bickering over church rules is not the main point. I would keep the letter as short and as to the point as you can. You have truth in that letter--you aren't trying to cause division. If a person finds a better, healthier, and more truthful way of knowing God, then it's only right to bring that information to those that are stuck in a religion that has it's eyes closed. Bles your heart.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Amen to the above.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Thanks for your input. Perhaps one-day, someone will send a letter to the members of their Laustain Church.

    It makes me a bit nervous knowing that this site is being monitered by the LLC elders. And they know who i am, including my address. Especially when i start talking about a letter that could cause a devision in the Laustadien church.

    For the record, i never said i was considering writing a letter.

    Letter or not, i think a division will happen soon in the LLC church. Laustadien churches have only been around for about 120 years, and there has been 3 splits. Each split was about 40 years apart from each other, the most recent was in 1973. I think it's almost due for another one.

    The beleifs and customs of the youth are very different from those of the adults. Very soon the people in my youth group will be the bulk of the LLC, and there will be disagreements. History proves that whenever there is a desagreement in a Laustadien church, it's result is a so-called herisy.

    Many of the elder LLCer's are also expecting this. Two speakers that i've talked to within the last month mentioned a future split in the LLC. And just by paying attention to what is being taught lately, alot more focus is being directed to the issues of the youth. Almost like they're trying to get them in line.

    If a split does happen,i'll be praying that the other side wont be exclusive.

    ReplyDelete