Laestadianism and charismatic christianity?

At the end of my interesting and increasingly useful excursion to The United States I had a privilege of meeting an English pastor with whom I got a chance to speak (among other things) laestadianism. My friend was interested in charismatic Christianity and was on related trip to the US, visiting a church in Redding, CA.

Laestadianism has its roots firmly in the charismatic tradition, based as it is in the powerful person and preaching of Lars Levi Laestadius in 19th century Lapland. I am no expert in church history, but I do have some doubts about identifying the contemporary movement as charismatic. There are charismatic Christian sects in Finland, like the Nokia Revival, but in the practice of the laestadian religion there is little or no emphasis on spiritual gifts or godly manifestations.

Disagree? Let me know in the comments.


Two brothers, one atheist and the other Christian

Christopher Hitchens is currently one of the major "evangelists" of (the so-called) new atheism. His brother Peter, another British journalist, used to be an atheist not unlike his brother, but converted to Christianity. The Daily Mail interviews Peter Hitchens in a must-read piece titled How I found God and peace with my atheist brother.

P. Hitchens makes an argument worth thinking about:

Why is there such a fury against religion now? Because religion is the one reliable force that stands in the way of the power of the strong over the weak. The one reliable force that forms the foundation of the concept of the rule of law.
The one reliable force that restrains the hand of the man of power. In an age of powerworship, the Christian religion has become the principal obstacle to the desire of earthly utopians for absolute power.

I need to check out his new book The Rage Against God.

(Via Gene Veith.)


Päivämies day

Wednesday is the day when the Conservative Laestadian newspaper Päivämies comes out. Most of the topics dealt with aren’t very current; however, the editorial refers to some more topical issues and often gives me something to write about. This week the editorial referred to the service that has been a part of the opening to the parliamentary spring session.

Several times I have come across the metaphor of a nestling and an egg which has two shells; one of them representing the authority on earth and the other one the authority in heaven, both making sure that the egg is a safe place to grow. According to the editorial the earthly authority i.e. the state, has to take care that the children of God will make it safely to the kingdom of heaven. The editorial emphasizes that the state should be Christian and follow Christian values.

Seppo Lohi -- a visible person in the movement -- has once said that when proportioned to the size of the movement it has significant religious and social importance. No need to say, that these kinds of statements just underpin our research -- the relationship between the state and the Laestadian movement is quite an explicit one.

Another thing that I noticed whilst reading the paper, which I have come across several times lately is a statement which Conservative Laestadians tend to use when some issues are open to interpretation. In these cases it is common to use the part of the bible where the snake lures Eve to eat the apple – this is an example where too much thinking and pondering didn’t lead to a happy ending. I think that probably quite many people would say that this is just a way to “cover up” the statements or rules which don’t have any ground in the bible -- or at least not explicitly.

So these were the thoughts that I wanted to share with you.
I hope you all have a nice week!