Tag Archives: Svd

Vårdnadsbidrag; conviction, trap or reaction?

The daily Christian paper Dagen and other media (here and here) write about how many parents use the special financial support of 3000 kronor which they can receive during a three year period if they take responsibility and care for their children instead of enrolling them in a pre-school.

There are big differences between the different districts in the greater Stockholm area. As my wife and I raised our children we wanted to remain at home as long as possible with them because of conviction; we wanted to give personal input and time for our children. This time we would never be able to give again in the same way in the latter stages of their lives. Svenska Dagbladet describes the Jenemark family which has a similar approach as ours. In the Stockholm area 7% of the parents have chosen for this opportunity.

vårdnadsbidrag

The findings also show that in the inner-city area of Stockholm many parents have decided to use this chance, I have to add though that for many people “living in the inner-city implies having a good income”. Many of the inner-city dwellers are high-educated, well paid professionals. They have the possibility and extra resources to make ends meet based on one (higher) salary and the 3000 kronor extra. Many others, middle class families, who might want to use this possibility, will not be able to make ends meet since they might have lower salaries.

The same research shows however that in the (poorer) suburbs many parents take the opportunity which is offered. As I spoke the other day with a person responsible in one of the mentioned suburbs this issue came up.

  • After out talk I considered this issue and realized that many especially Muslim families use this as an opportunity to maintain their traditional / cultural lifestyle where the mother remains home with the children. I find this also to be true among (conscious) Christian families who want to spend more time with their children. However, there is more to it than the eye can see… among the immigrant (Muslim) families it is not the traditional women-trap (as different political parties might call it), there is the segregation trap where women are kept away from society and thus from culture and language learning which enhances the element of isolation.
  • Another element that I consider is that of the strongly secularized (anti-belief) attitude which we find in our schooling system which is a threat to traditional values that many of our immigrants carry with them out of conviction or cultural background. Thus leading them to react against “the way of doing things in Sweden”, pushing them in a fundamental role and position.
  • This is one of the elements that influence the growth of- and return to fundamentalism; the threat of secularism pushes them into the opposite direction further than they have ever experienced before!

That’s the Way I see it!

John van Dinther

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A manifesto from the “Christian left” – have they “left” the Christian perspective?

Representatives from a so-called Christian wing in the Social Democratic Party called Broderskapsrörelse (the brotherhood movement) have come out of their closet presenting a manifesto which really offers nothing new under the sun, they endorse the viewpoints of their party comrades rather than any self-respecting Christian. The title of their manifesto states that greed should not rule a society… a rather important issue nowadays which I addressed in my blog many times. However their focus in not on this issue, they join in with the large majority of the Swedish population which endorses a politically correct view on condemning all these horrible right wing Christians who still believe in the exclusive claims of the Bible and God of the Bible.

The debaters in Brännpunkt address the importance of freedom, equality and solidarity; which are the main slogans of a socialistic perspective. However, these are also the principles deeply rooted in the word of God; the Bible and the Christian Church. The other day I was talking to one of the former leading social democrats in our city. For a while we have built up a relationship which grows more in depth and where we share about our lives. A statement he made keeps ringing in my ears…”We, in the Democratic Party, have been very good in writing down principles and making laws… but you in the Free Church do the things we write and decide about!”

I think that statement is overdone quite a bit; there is so much we have to learn and we in the Christian Church have to repent from an egoistic life-style where greed rules in many of our decisions and ambitions. However, I do believe he touched on a glimpse of truth… freedom, equality and solidarity costs… because LOVE costs… “All love is good love” the debaters wrote… The Bible would be the first to refute that statement because the love which the Bible speaks about is the agape kind of love which Jesus addresses when they asked what the greatest commandment was, Jesus said, “‘Love (agapao) the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love (agapao) your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” (Matthew 22:37-41)

The word agape refers to the self-sacrificing love of God for humanity, which they were committed to reciprocating and practicing towards God and among one another. This love has implications where truth and non-truth diverse their ways and where not anything is accepted and endorsed. Actually true love might affirm, comfort, direct, guide, disagree, but also confront and refute! The real essence of love is not to be able to accept everything, anything at any time… it is the ability to discern and act based upon a reality outside oneself based on an objective truth that is found in the Bible.

I do not agree with much that is identified as Christian right wing politics as exemplified in American politics… (more of that another time)… But the fact that I am identified with what the debaters call the Christian right wing in Sweden together with the Clapham institute is an honorable identification. And if we are the only ones in this society believing in certain of our convictions and viewpoints in regards to values, norms and praxis… so be it… I remember a man who in most of His views was against the norms and praxis of His society. Thinking of that fact I feel in great company!

That’s the Way I see it!

John

Is Olle Carlsson a real reformer?

In the article “Reformator retar – och ratas?” in Brännpunkt of SVD today, members and politically chosen representatives of the left fraction within the leadership of Katarina Church (Swedish Church) in Stockholm are questioning the fact that the Ole was not endorsed to become the vicar of the church. ”Was the reformer (Olle) teased and rejected was their question?”

The authors tell us in the article that Olle Carlsson had become one of the most influential spiritual leaders of the Swedish Church (former State Church), his ministry, according to them, reached thousands of people in the city and beyond. His message touched modern people and him life experience made him trustworthy. They continue to say that one has to judge leadership by considering results and in regard to this Allahelgona church had few contestants. Over and over again the authors use the words revival, renewal and reformation to describe the so called spiritual phenomenon which is going on in Allahelgonakyrkan through the ministry of Olle.

My question is: Is Olle Carlsson a real reformer? Well, the answer has everything to do with the way you describe the term reformation. Did Olle use unusual ways, methods and messages to get his viewpoints across? Certainly! In many ways he was so much different from the more liturgical and traditional approaches in the Swedish Church. His ability to see people as individuals and their needs is a refreshing approach in a rather stale form of Christianity that we exercise in Sweden. His ability to identify with people’s hurts, hardships and brokenness brought a mind-blowing dimension to the life of church goers. He was a man who dared to break out of the box.

BUT…Is he a reformer in the Biblical sense? That’s the question!

When we go back into the history of the church and the Reformation (I use this because the authors use the concept as a building stone), we find that real Reformation in our history had to do with strong fundamental Biblical issues calling people back to God and the authority of His Word.

The four questions or doctrines addressed were: How is a person saved? Where does religious authority lie? What is the church? And what is the essence of Christian living?

In answering these questions, Protestant Reformers such as Martin Luther, Ulrich Zwingli, John Calvin, and John Knox established what would be known as the “Five Solas” of the Reformation (sola being the Latin word for “alone”). These five points of doctrine were at the heart of the Protestant Reformation.

1. “Sola Scriptura,” or Scripture Alone: This affirms the Biblical doctrine that the Bible alone is the sole authority for all matters of faith and practice. Scripture and Scripture alone is the standard by which all teachings and doctrines of the church must be measured. As Martin Luther so movingly stated when asked to renounce his teachings, “Unless I am convinced by Scripture and plain reason -….- my conscience is captive to the Word of God. I cannot and I will not recant anything for to go against conscience is neither right nor safe. God help me. Amen.”

2. “Sola Gratia,” Salvation by Grace Alone: This affirms the Biblical doctrine that salvation is by God’s grace alone and that we are rescued from His wrath by His grace alone. God’s grace in Christ is not merely necessary, but is the sole efficient cause of salvation. This grace is the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit that brings us to Christ by releasing us from our bondage to sin and raising us from spiritual death to spiritual life.

3. “Sola Fide,” Salvation by Faith Alone: This affirms the Biblical doctrine that justification is by grace alone through faith alone because of Christ alone. It is by faith in Christ that His righteousness is given to us as the only possible satisfaction of God’s perfect justice.

4. “Solus Christus,” In Christ Alone: This affirms the Biblical doctrine that salvation is found in Christ alone and that His sinless life and substitutionary atonement alone are sufficient for our justification and reconciliation to God the Father. The gospel has not been preached if Christ’s substitutionary work is not declared, and if faith in Christ and His work is not solicited.

5. “Soli Deo Gloria”, For the Glory of God Alone: This affirms the Biblical doctrine that salvation is of God and has been accomplished by God for His glory alone. It affirms that as Christians we must glorify Him always, and must live our entire lives before the face of God, under the authority of God, and for His glory alone.

These five important and fundamental doctrines were the reason for the Protestant Reformation. They were a call back to the heart of Christianity, Christ, His work, death on the cross and resurrection, and also a revival to the authority of the Word of God.

Is Olle Carlsson a reformer in the Biblical sense? I do not believe so. I believe that the call for repentance, the call to Biblical Christianity and followership of Christ is not heard, nor taught under his ministry. The sheer presence of crowds is no confirmation of God’s presence. It might be the opposite at times. If we bring and preach what people want to hear we become crowd pleasers and politically correct but spiritually oh, so wrong. The message of the Cross, the need for repentance is not a message the Modern Swede wants to hear and seems to be old fashioned, reeking fundamentalism. However, the call from Jesus to follow Him must imply or willingness “to leave”, leave our past, leave our ways, leave our comfort or whatever needs to be left behind to be able to follow Him.

My prayer and hope is that a real reformation would hit the Swedish Church and our other churches as well… In many ways, much of Protestant Christianity needs to be challenged to return to these fundamental doctrines of faith, only then there will be a new hope for our nation!

That’s the Way I see it!

John

Is freedom of speech in Sweden, a farce?

This morning on Monday, June 2, I woke up at “6-something” on my free morning (many pastors’ day off is on Mondays, and so is mine)… I came downstairs to say “hello” and “goodbye” to my wife who usually leaves our home at 6.30 am for work. Went down to get the paper and wondered what was up… With large white letters in a big black box across the whole paper (SvD) I read “This newspaper is not approved by the State”… I wondered what that meant. As I turned the pages more and more small ads addressed the same issue… This morning too many things demanded my attention (first gym at 7.00 am and then the renovation of our living room… – finally after having lived here for 13-14 years!).

Anyway it was not until this evening that I finally was able to draw some conclusions as I read my “Bloglines”…

The idea of SvD and a number of other newspapers is to emphasize the importance of freedom of speech and press. They wanted to let us know that if it was not for this freedom we would not be able to receive the information found in these, other papers (and other media). Censorship or outright threats on ones life could be the likely consequences if this above mentioned freedom was not part of our core values in a nation.

After having thought about that for some time I realized how great this sounds to us here in Sweden. In the article (which I recommend you to read because it was really good) some scaring examples were given of people who had become victims of political and other systems which exercised censorship and in many cases persecuted people who tried to address injustices, problems and other issues which might have spoken against those in power.

At the same time I am aware of the almost unnoticeable (at times) and yet very present demands to conformity which rule and reign in our so-called “free” country Sweden. The rights of freedom of speech and press are practiced as long as we conform to that which is the norm, as long as we are politically correct, our voices will be heard through the spoken and written word. If we don’t conform we are silenced, ignored or attacked.

In our nation we can persecute people through silence… we kill through attitudes, we quench lives through unspoken opinions and celebrate our so called victories when we have been able to remove yet another individual or group to the fringes of society!

Tough words? Maybe so! You might not agree, not at all, or just partly, but do you understand what I mean…? I am looking forward to your response (write in Swedish that’s totally ok!)

This is the Way I see it (until now)

John

Trust in Lust – the new approach to relationships! Sex sells, sell sex, xxx

Apoteket AB (drugstore, or pharmacy) has since 1970 a national monopoly position in Sweden. Until now, rubbers (condoms) and chewing gum (some kind of rubber) can be found located on the same shelf (NO! There is logic behind it!).

Soon however, to be precise on June 23, our national health store will with the help of RFSU present the “Trust in Lust” line of design of sex toys and change their image to a kind of kinky Afrodites pharmacy. The Afrodites pharmacy under leadership of erotic educationalist Ylva Franzén has continued to evolve and might have become the role model in the transformation of our national pride as they already offer products like: orgasm classes, orgasm coaching and designer dildos.

Whether this initiative is a strategic effort to raise the stocks of our nationally renowned pharmacy as it will be put up for sale latest by January 1, 2009 or, if this is yet another tasteless and un-thoughtful Big Brother State attempt trying to educate and support its citizens sex lives beyond the threshold of privacy – we might never know! Honestly I don’t want to know!

According to different articles and press releases, on many sites and publications it has become time —-“to welcome sex toys out in the open into the daylight”! “The Trust in Lust” product line has been developed through much research and evaluation by the RFSU and all the personnel of Apoteket has been trained by RFSU! “OH MY G…!” (Read how much I trust the RFSU in “Guidelines for teenagers who want sex – RFSU hands off”).

Let’s be honest, the catchy product line “Trust in Lust” says it all, trust your animal like instincts and uncontrolled lingering volcano-like lust boiling within your limbs: that will set you free! Right!

How different is the approach by God as He through Jesus and the apostle John addresses the deeper motives and pitfalls of humankind leading to distortion and de-humanized approaches of the same and/or opposite sex through lust. (Some might call this yet another “underlivs” (genital area) theology… I don’t care what you think, I do care what God thinks of this:

Matthew 5: 27-28 ”You have heard that it was said, ‘Do not commit adultery.” 28 But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart”.

1 John 2: 16 “For everything in the world—the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does—comes not from the Father but from the world”.

We don’t need yet another effort to make overtly public that which belongs to the privacy of people. Big Brother hands off! (I totally agree with Per Gudmunsson ” Sell Apoteket fast so that we won’t have to explain these (awkward) matters for our international guests!)

That’s the Way I see it!

John

PS. How does this approach and unwanted public product placement in the stores affect our multi-cultural (orthodoxmuslimcatholicjewishchristianbuddhistshintoistetc) citizens as this is shoved down their throats?! Culturally sensitive BS? DS (I mean)