Finnish Lutheran pastors ready to bless gay partnerships

Earlier this winter, I answered some questions from Suomen Lehtiyhtymä, a Finnish news conglomerate, and the results of this gallup were published just after Christmas. Apparently, we were 106 pastors from the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland who answered the questions, and over half of us are ready to bless homosexual partnerships. In the greater Helsinki area, the ratio is two out of three. This is, of course, encouraging.
The national broadcasting company YLE published the news on its website, and one of the comments there merits a countercomment. At the dateline 2008-12-27 16:02, the alias man o kvinna = barn (i.e. "man & woman = children") claims that homosexuality only occurs among human beings, not animals. I'd like to refer to my post Gayness is natural from two years ago, where I quoted an article in the Times, stating:
[...] homosexuality had been observed in no fewer than 1,500 species, and well documented in 500 of them. [...] “There are things that are more contrary to nature than homosexuality, things humans alone do — such as having religion or sleeping in pyjamas.”
The same piece of news was also published and discussed in e.g. Helsingin Sanomat and Vasabladet.

Christmas break!

God jul!

Hyvää joulua!

Merry Christmas!

Joyeux Noël!

Fröhliche Weihnachten!

Head Jõulu!

Thanks to MadPriest!

Schoolboy Howlers 11

We had a longer holiday than usual this year because the school was closed for altercations.

Bonhoeffer on the Reconciliation of Christ

This love of God for the world does not withdraw from a reality into noble souls detached from the world, but experiences and suffers the reality of the world in the harshest possible fashion. The world takes out its rage on the body of Jesus Christ. But he, tormented, forgives the world its sins. Thus does reconciliation come about.
- Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Meditations on the Cross
as quoted on God's Politics

Norwegian bankrupt bishop resigns

Bishop Ernst Baasland of the Diocese of Stavanger in the (Lutheran) Church of Norway has announced his resignation from June 2009. He and his wife were made bankrupt by their 34-year-old son's extensive Internet gambling activity. He said the situation would affect his work as a bishop.
"Becoming aware of the numerous loans and witnessing the pain inflicted upon the lenders has been very hard," bishop Baasland said in a press release issued by the Church of Norway. "On top of this came the bankruptcy petition, which is difficult to live with as a bishop."
In total, the bishop's son has debts of NOK 50M (5.4 M€), the bishop's wife NOK 33.7M (3.6 M€) and the bishop himself NOK 16.6M (1.8 M€). Most of the money is owed to friends of the family, which naturally makes the situation even harder for all concerned.
There are many addictions that can ruin a family. Most known are addictions to alcohol or different drugs, but these have a psychological side, too, in addition to the physical addiction.
Someone who is addicted to gambling (ludomania) doesn't have any obvious physical craving, but on a psychological level, the situation is similar to substance abuse. The addict can't stop, and just has to have more and more until the situation is totally out of hand, as with the Baasland family. And the addicts don't hurt themselves only, but everyone around them is affected. As in this tragic case.
Please pray for the Baaslands and others in similar dire straits.
Bishop Baasland is at the moment in Stellenbosch, South Africa, where he teaches New Testament exegetics at the university. He will return to Stavanger on March 15, 2009, and his resignation will be effective June 15.
Baasland velger å søke avskjed sommeren 2009 ( 10.12.08)
– Vanskelig å være biskop under konkursbehandling (Vårt Land 10.12.08)
Norwegian bishop bankrupted by son's Internet gambling debt (ENI 11.12.08)
– Er ikke du rik og berømt? (Aftenbladet 11.12.08)
Spelskulder tvingar norsk biskop avgå (Kyrkans Tidning 12.12.08)

Whose side of the family?

A little girl asked her mother, "How did the human race come about?"
The mother answered, "God made Adam and Eve and they had children; and so all mankind was made."
Two days later she asked her father the same question. Her father answered, "Many years ago there were monkeys and we developed from them."
The confused girl returns to her mother and says: "Mom, how is it possible that you told me that the human race was created by God, and Papa says we developed from monkeys?"
The mother answers, "Well dear, it is very simple. I told you about the origin of my side of the family, and your father told you about his side."
Thanks to MadPriest!

About dogs and people 8

Don’t accept your dog’s admiration as conclusive evidence that you are wonderful.
- Ann Landers
as quoted by the Episcopal padre


Discipleship is rooted in the experience of an encounter with Jesus Christ.
- Gustavo Gutierrez
Catholic theologian in Lima, Peru
as quoted on God's Politics

Worst one, ever 2

Did you hear about the guy whose whole left side was cut off? He's all right now.

"A safe pair of hands"

My bearded face was published by MadPriest, who comments:
I must say that he looks like a safe pair of hands and that the faith in the Northern Lands is secure as long as K is around to keep the inhabitants in order.
Thank you, that is heartwarming - especially as my hands don't even appear in the photo!
Apparently my neighbours agree with you. The photo in question happens to be my candidate photo from the recent municipal elections - and it can't have been too bad, since I was elected to the City Council here in the city of Porvoo (in Finnish; "Borgå" in Swedish)...
And just for the record, I'm not from Sweden, but belong to the Swedish-speaking minority of Finland. Which, as you noted, MP, is outside of Newcastle Upon Tyne.

Voltaire on doubt and certainty

Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd.
- Voltaire

Norwegian pro-gay pastor boycotted

In Norway, a pastor is being boycotted because of his pro-homosexual views. Sindre Stabell Kulø, 29, holds opinions that are shared by a sizable fraction of pastors and members of the (Lutheran) Church of Norway. Another, more conservative, faction is against homosexual marriage and so forth. No surprises so far.
However, the parish that Stabell Kulø works for arranges confirmation camps at a nearby camp site owned by an interior mission organisation, that belongs to the aforementioned conservative faction. They have informed the parish that they will not rent their camp site to the parish as long as Stabell Kulø is involved in the camps. Because, you see, they don't want to have heresies preached in their hallow halls. In effect, they have declared a boycott on Stabell Kulø.
The parishioners back their pastor up. So do even many conservatives, who don't agree with Stabell Kulø, but see boycotting him as tremendeous overkill.
I was surprised to hear this piece of news. I myself hold similar views to Stabell Kulø (as my readers well know), and I've been boycotted in some quarters, called names and even recieved death threats - but then I live in conservative Finland, not in easy-going Norway.
But I suppose there are all kinds of people everywhere.
Boikotter prest for homosyn (Romsdals Budstikke 28.11.08)
Oppfordrer til boikott av presten i Bud (Stavanger Aftenblad 28.11.08)
Kirkeboikott etter homobråk (VG 28.11.08)
Homo-ja gir misjon-nei (NRK 28.11.08)
Boikottes for homosyn (Adresseavisen 28.11.08)
Vil boikotte prest (Vårt Land 28.11.08)
Präst bojkottas på grund av homosyn (Vasabladet 28.11.08)
Präst bojkottas - är för positiv till homosexuella (Dagen 28.11.08)
Religionsfrihet vs. Yttrandefrihet (Grovarbetare Rosenqvist 28.11.08)
- Glade for å ha ham her (Romsdals Budstikke 29.11.08)
Støtter preste-boikott (Romsdals Budstikke 1.12.08)
Konservativ, men støtter Sindre (Romsdals Budstikke 1.12.08)
Slo ring rundt presten (Romsdals Budstikke 1.12.08)
Homo-engasjement fylte kyrkjene (NRK 1.12.08)

Name That Animal

A first-grade class is having a game of Name That Animal.
The teacher held up a picture of a cat.
"What animal is this?" she asked.
"A cat!" said Eddie.
"Good job! Now, what is this animal?"
"A dog!" said Eddie.
"Good! Now what animal is this?" she asked, holding up a picture of a deer. The class fell silent. After a couple of minutes, the teacher said, "It's what your mom calls your dad."
"A horny bastard," called out Eddie.
Thanks to Tuija & Tom!

King on justice

It is not possible to be in favor of justice for some people and not be in favor of justice for all people.
- Martin Luther King Jr.

Update: Sandell, Phelps, Haggard

Last summer, pastor Halvar Sandell showed a video of an authentic abortion to his confirmation class. In September, bishop Gustav Björkstrand gave him a warning for this unsuitable action, and criminal charges were subsequently filed against Sandell.
Now, the district attorney in charge of the investigation has dropped the case. Since the video is available on the Internet, it is available to all, until the motion pictures board has given it a rating. It has not done so in this case; that the video would be restricted for viewers under the age of 18 if the board were asked for a rating is immaterial.
Consequently, Sandell has committed no crime. The bishop's warning stands, however.
Sandell i farten igen (Kalle kyrkliga kommentarer 19.6.08)
Pastor gets warning for abortion video (Karl's comments 5.9.08)
Charges filed against Sandell (Karl's comments 10.9.08)
Sandell åtalas ej för abortvideo (YLE 10.11.08)
Förundersökningen läggs ner (Kyrkpressen 10.11.08)
Inget brott visa abortfilm (STT/FNB through Vasabladet 10.11.08)
Sandell åtalas inte för abortvideo (Hufvudstadsbladet 10.11.08)
Aborttivideon näyttämisestä ei nosteta syytettä (Kotimaa 10.11.08)
The sectarian leader Fred Phelps and his Westboro Baptist Church from Topeka, Kansas are renowned for their hatred of homosexuals and for the demonstrations they arrange at the oddest places. On November 10, 2008, they picketed the Swedish embassy in Washington, D.C. The excuse was, of course, that Sweden does not actively discriminate against gays (click to enlarge the image).
The Swedish bloggers that I've seen commenting on this have been amused or annoyed or something in between - except one that agreed with the WBC so wholeheartedly, that he must have been ironic...
Arga demonstranter häcklade Sverige (TT through Aftonbladet, Dagens Nyheter and Sydsvenskan 10.11.08)
The former pastor Ted Haggard, who was caught doing men and drugs two years ago, entered three weeks of reparative therapy and claimed to have been cured of his homosexual leanings. Very efficient therapy, apparently. He now works as an insurance salesman, but is back in Colorado Springs. In November, he preached a sermon in a church in Illinois, so the pulpit still has its lure, apparently.
Haggard has claimed that he was sexually abused at the age of seven. This is terrible (if true), but doesn't really have too much bearing on his homosexual behaviour.
Nyhet: Antihomopastor anklagas för homosex (Kalles kyrkliga kommentarer 3.11.06)
Haggard fick sparken (Kalles kyrkliga kommentarer 5.11.06)
Haggard kommenteras (Kalles kyrkliga kommentarer 5.11.06)
Haggard i JT (Kalles kyrkliga kommentarer 27.11.06)
Haggards "pojkvän" i polisförhör (Kalles kyrkliga kommentarer 28.11.06)
Uppdateringar: Rohadi, Vammala, Haggard (Kalles kyrkliga kommentarer 1.8.08)
Disgraced pastor Ted Haggard claims he was abused as a child (PinkNews 13.11.08)
Ted Haggard: "Jag blev sexuellt utnyttjad som barn" (Dagen 13.11.08)
Haggard bounces back after gay hustler scandal (AP through 365gay 24.11.08)

The old man and President Bush

One sunny day in January, 2009 an old man approached the White House from across Pennsylvania Avenue, where he'd been sitting on a park bench. He spoke to the U.S. Marine standing guard and said, "I would like to go in and meet with President Bush."
The Marine looked at the man and said, "Sir, Mr. Bush is no longer president and no longer resides here."
The old man said, "Okay", and walked away.
The following day, the same man approached the White House and said to the same Marine, "I would like to go in and meet with President Bush."
The Marine again told the man, "Sir, as I said yesterday, Mr. Bush is no longer president and no longer resides here."
The man thanked him and, again, just walked away.
The third day, the same man approached the White House and spoke to the very same U.S. Marine, saying "I would like to go in and meet with President Bush."
The Marine, understandably agitated at this point, looked at the man and said, "Sir, this is the third day in a row you have been here asking to speak to Mr. Bush. I've told you already that Mr. Bush is no longer the president and no longer resides here. Don't you understand?"
The old man looked at the Marine and said, "Oh, I understand. I just love hearing it."
The Marine snapped to attention, saluted, and said, "See you tomorrow, Sir."
Thanks to MadPriest!