Tag Archives: Svenska Dagbladet

Fight Spiritual and Social Poverty in Sweden!

Research released by World Values Survey (WVS) confirm Göran Skytte’s thesis about the real state of the Swedish citizen in regards to spiritual (and I may add, social) poverty. The results of the research as measured by WVS by grading on axes in the picture below show that we are the most secular and most individualized nation in the world. For some that might be considered a great exploit and shows how we are in control, for me it only shows how far we have fallen from our intended life.  (For more information on World Values click here and here).

We are social and spiritual beings with a need for true community and with a need for purpose and destiny. The assumption that we don’t need anybody and the exalted view on the celebration of independency as if it was a merit only shows our true poverty as we stick our heads into the sand ignoring the reality of life.

The sticking of heads into the sand can be a great way to conceal the tears we are crying as no one knows what is happening down under the surface in the sand. However, it takes a strong person to shed those same tears publically and to admit the need for others and God in ones life.

That’s the Way I see it!

John

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About some things you just don’t talk – the Swedish sin

Per Gudmundson in today’s leader in Svenska Dagbladet stated it clearly: “About some things you just don’t talk” with as sub title: “the Swedish sin”.

In his column he addresses the Swedish view on money, earning and riches. He quotes a couple of people working within the “entertainment industry” who have made “becoming rich” one of their major goals in life. One of them actually says that he throughout his career never has paid taxes and lived on “black money” (non-taxed). (Hello Skattekontoret where are you?!)

The Swedish taboo!

Anyway, the fact is that talking about money and income is literally a taboo in Sweden, even yesterday as I was meeting with a group of sixteen people (from 9 nations, including 5 Swedes) who are considering to become members of our church we spoke about their right as members to ask any questions about the economy in our church. They have the right to know exactly how much I earn and, for that sake, also about the other employees in the church.

The fact is that I have never ever heard a member ask that question to our board… Why? Because it is a taboo! I believe deeply in accountability and believe therefore also that if we are serious about our responsibility that we need to practice accountability in this area as well. How can members in a church take responsibility without knowing (asking)?

I believe in openness and transparency also in those matters and I believe that we as Christians have an even greater responsibility to live lives in transparency, not only for the sake of our legal and tax system. I believe that we are to fight the spirit of Mammon and consumerism to be able to be a Church which is trust-worthy!

Do I condemn everyone who has something? NO! The fact is that my wife and I own a house ourselves… the question goes much deeper that that. It was Pope John II who said: “It is not wrong to want to live better; what is wrong is a style of life which is presumed to be better when it is directed toward ‘having’ rather than ‘being,’ and which wants to have more, not in order to be more but in order to spend life in enjoyment as an end in itself.”

The problem so well articulated in the article which I mentioned comes down to: It’s never enough!

The problem of consumerism as a lifestyle means that we must keep raising the stakes and the investments. Enough is never enough, and soon we are possessed by our possessions. Shopping is the number one cultural activity in our country.

Accumulation of unnecessary goods has become a habit, even an addiction, as we wring our hands over lack of storage space. What we once considered luxuries we come to regard as necessities, and eventually we become dependent upon the things we acquire. Consumerism as a way of life demands competition, workaholism, and individualism.

What to say more about these things? You know, I came together with my wife as missionaries to this nation and were being financially supported by our friends to be able to do our work here. I remember the day that I, from having worked as a volunteer (no employement), to becoming employed by the church which my wife and I and fifteen others had started. My first salary was an reason of thanksgiving. Why did I thank God? Believe it or not, I thanked Him that from then on I was able to pay taxes and start supporting this society which I had learned to love and appreciate so much also financially! (To avoid any misunderstandings; I was NOT impressed by our social welfare system, but by you, the Swedish citizens! – and therefore I wanted to be part by paying taxes).

Maybe this is another approach to the matter… what do YOU think? How do you look at life, lifestyle, money and spending?

John

Blogging; it’s all about stress, self-esteem, mammon and identity.

Svenska Dagbladet caught quickly the latest news in the technological blog world about how blogging leads to stress and can end up in death. The New York Times technology edition addressed blogging, and the blogging lifestyle as a potential dangerous activity. A couple of people died most probably as a direct result from their intensive lifestyle. Svenskan conclude their analysis with some clear pointers addressing how the world of blogging is actually a high risk phenomenon.

The constant flow of information, the need to always be on top of things and the sheer (financial) value of being first out on the internet with the latest issues creates an inhuman environment which deteriorate life quality to the max.

The blog world and people’s response to it is in a way attractive; some makes the big bucks (maybe tens of thousands of blogger make their living this way) – they are driven by the money. One minute can make the difference between a so-so pay of a coupe of dollars or fixing your rent for the month.

The most famous Swedish blogger is found in Stockholm (where I am located) her blog is called Blondinbella, She is a 17 year old girl describing her life in the city of Stockholm. I am happy that she has experienced a breakthrough in the world of blogging. However, I wonder how her life will develop under the pressure of having to deliver and produce thoughts, ideas, experiences, articles and somehow function as a role model for other young girls whom devour her blogs. The media is on top of things and does everything possible to market this young woman.

My hope (and prayer) is that she won’t be appeased by the attention she is getting and that she will not loose herself in the midst of it. Because that’s another side to the story; let’s be honest; it is also about self-esteem and identity!

Too many of us “out there” look for confirmation, affirmation, and identity. (By the way, I am only a beginner and do not have the ambition to become “a someone” in the blog-.world, although I hope that my thoughts and ideas might somehow create spin-offs leading people to think about the purpose of life).

Just imagine how wonderful it must be to be acknowledged, seen, quoted and admired for all those who might have inner struggles with questions about their purpose of life, their identity and self-esteem. I am afraid that for many it will become yet another disappointment and illusion of yet other scatted dreams. It might become the drug and create co-dependency in a world where many are looking for thrills in their lives to find some satisfaction.

So, as I finish my blogging today, I remind you to be careful out there… don’t let a world of illusion rob you from your peace, rest and true identity. You’re loved for who you are… not for what you produce!

Hope to hear from you!

John