New member and observers in the Porvoo Communion

The Church of Denmark has ended years of separation from Anglican Churches in northern Europe by signing the Porvoo Agreement. The Agreement underscores the Porvoo Communion of Evangelical-Lutheran Churches in northern Europe and Anglican Churches in Britain and Ireland.
Although the Church of Denmark participated in the discussions that in 1996 led up to the Porvoo Agreement, it never signed the document because of differences over the status of women. With women now being accepted into the priesthood by the Anglican Churches in the Porvoo Communion, the Church of Denmark announced in 2009 that there was no longer any barrier to becoming a full member.
The Agreement was signed on 3 October 2010 at a service in Copenhagen Cathedral by Hanna Broadbridge, chairman of the Council of International Relations of the Danish Church, and Bishop of Viborg, Karsten Nissen.

The Church of Denmark has thus far had observer status within the Communion, together with the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Latvia. In 2010, the Communion received two new observers: the Latvian Evangelical Lutheran Church Abroad (LELCA) and the Lutheran Church in Great Britain (LCiGB; not to be confused with the Evangelical Lutheran Church of England, ELCE, that I've had occasion to comment on earlier, and which decidedly is not a Porvoo church).

Since I myself serve and live in the city (Porvoo in Finnish, Borgå in Swedish) that has given the Porvoo Agreement and the Porvoo Communion their names, they are, of course, of special interest to me. I cordially welcome the new member and the new observers!

The Church of Denmark signs Porvoo (The Porvoo Communion 3.10.10)
Danmark med i Borgågemenskapen (Kyrkpressen 5.10.10)
Church of Denmark signs Porvoo Agreement (Christian Today 5.10.10)
The LELCA a new observer in Porvoo (The Porvoo Communion 6.10.10)
New observer in the Porvoo Communion (The Porvoo Communion 6.10.10)
Porvoon kirkkoyhteisö sai kaksi uutta tarkkailijakirkkoa (Kirkon tiedotuskeskus 13.10.10)
The Scottish Episcopal Church in full communion with the Church of Denmark (The Scottish Episcopal Church 20.10.10)

Three Men In Hell

Three men died and went to Hell. The devil said to them, "You have come to Hell, and you must now choose whether to spend eternity in room 1, 2 or 3."
He then opened the doors to the three rooms.
Room 1 was filled with men standing on their heads on a hard wooden floor.
Room 2 was filled with men standing on the heads on a cement floor.
Finally, room 3 had just a few men, standing in poop up to their knees and drinking coffee.
The men thought for a while, and decided to go with room 3, as it was less crowded and they could drink coffee. They entered the door to room 3 and just as it was closing behind them, the devil said, "OK men, coffee break's over. Back on your heads."

Twain on siding with the majority

Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.
- Mark Twain

Finland: "Christian" anti-gay campaign

Last fall, a TV debate about homosexuality led to a massive wave of resignations from the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland (ELCF). I blogged about that PR catastrophe at the time.
Now, a Christian campaign against homosexuality has caused a new rise in the number of resignations from the Lutheran Church. Some 500 people resigned on Tuesday, March 22, compared to the usual average of 50 for this time of year, according to the online church-resignation service In a week, some 2,000 people have resigned.
The reason for the rise is clear, according to the press officer Johanna Sauna-aho. "We’ve received a lot of feedback, which gives the reason for people’s resignation as this campaign," she said.

Christian organisations publicised the Älä alistu! ('don't submit') campaign, which warns young people against homosexuality. The campaign included 'Anni's story', a video detailing one young women's story of how her faith helped her to stop being bisexual. In one video she compares her situation to that of a reformed murderer.

The campaign was not organised by the ELCF, but it is supported by several organizations that receive funds from the Church’s tax revenues. Members of the church pay tax to support its activities, and according to Sauna-aho, this was one reason many people gave for their resignation.
The Finnish Lutheran Evangelical Association and the Finnish Lutheran Mission, who receive money from the church’s tax revenue, helped fund the campaign. Other organizers included the Finnish branch of the International Fellowship of Evangelical Students, the Finnish Bible Studies youth division, the Missionary and humanitarian aid fund, and the Finnish Luther fund.

Archbishop Kari Mäkinen and several other bishops have in no uncertain terms distanced themselves from the campaign. The archbishop stated that it will have repercussions on the funding of the organizations involved. And the conservatives, of course, screamed that they are being persecuted.

The political scientist Sari Roman-Lagerspetz speculated that the campaign could be a conscious revenge from the conservatives. By publicising their views, they wished to spark a reaction among liberal Church members and get them to resign, and so leave the conservatives in charge.
The researcher Virpi Mäkinen sees evidences of the collision of two different ecclesiologies. The Lutheran ecclesiology (view of the Church) is that the Church is a corpus mixtum, a mixed body of Christ to which belong all kinds of people. The fundamentalists have an exclusive ecclesiology, according to which only people who interpret the Bible in a certain way can be members of the true Church.
Arkkipiispa: Homoseksuaalisuus ei ole minkäänlainen synti ( 20.10.10)
Kristittyjen homovastainen kampanja ihmetyttää Suomessa (Uusi Suomi 21.3.11)
Kampanj vill bota unga homosexuella ( 22.3.11)ä kuhinaa – tässä syy (Uusi Suomi 22.3.11)
Ärkebiskopen kritiserar kampanjen (Hufvudstadsbladet 22.3.11)
Tutkija homovastaisesta kampanjasta: Ei minkäänlaista logiikkaa (Iltalehti 22.3.11)
Ärkebiskop Mäkinen deltog i webbdiskussion om homosexualitet (Kyrklig tidningstjänst 22.3.11)
Arkkipiispa Mäkinen osallistui verkkokeskusteluun Älä alistu -kampanjasta (Kirkon tiedotuskeskus 22.3.11)
Askola: Homoseksuaalien identiteettiä kunnioitettava (Kotimaa 22.3.11)
Motkampanjen raderades från Facebook (Hufvudstadsbladet 22.3.11)
Många lämnade kyrkan i går (Hufvudstadsbladet 23.3.11)
Anti-Gay Campaign Causes Church Resignations ( 23.3.11)
Kohu homovastaisesta kampanjasta - Kristilliset nuoret kaipaavat suvaitsevaisuutta (Aamulehti 23.3.11)
Homojen eheyttämiskohu - vain vihreät heräsi (Aamulehti 23.3.11)
Ärkebiskop Mäkinen: du är värdefull som du är (Kyrkpressen 23.3.11)
Eheytymiskampanja politisoitui (Kotimaa 23.3.11)
Professori: Eheytyskeskustelussa palataan maailmaan, jota ei ole koskaan ollutkaan (Kotimaa 23.3.11)
Heikka: Eheytymisvideo saattaa vaikuttaa järjestöjen talouteen (Kotimaa 23.3.11)
Kampanj ledde till utträden ur Finska kyrkan (Kyrkans Tidning 23.3.11)
Kirkon eroluvut nousseet lähes Homoilta-kohun tahtia (Helsingin Sanomat 24.3.11)
Tutkija: Heterokampanja ehkä kosto kirkon liberalisoitumiselle (Helsingin Sanomat 24.3.11)
Arkkipiispa Mäkinen haluaa Älä alistu -kampanjan loppuvan (Kirkon tiedotuskeskus 24.3.11)
Ärkebiskop Mäkinen vill att kampanjen Älä alistu (Stå på dig) avslutas (Kyrklig tidningstjänst 24.3.11)
Arkkipiispa Mäkinen haluaa Älä alistu! -kampanjan loppuvan (Kotimaa 24.3.11)
Älä alistu! -kampanjan jatkoa pohditaan (Kotimaa 24.3.11)
Eheytymistä edistävällä Aslanilla yhteistyötä vain harvan seurakunnan kanssa (Kotimaa 24.3.11)
"Emme ole eheytymisristiretkellä" (Kotimaa 24.3.11)
”De borde ha vetat bättre” (Kyrkpressen 24.3.11)
Älä alistu! -kampanja päättymässä (Kotimaa 24.3.11)
Finska väckelserörelser i kampanj: Homosexuella kan bli botade (Dagen 25.3.11)
KD nuoret huolissaan Älä alistu -kampanjan vastareaktioista (Savon Sanomat 25.3.11)
Kohua herättänyt heterokampanja lopetettiin (Iltalehti 25.3.11)
Piispa Riekkinen pitää homokampanjaa puoskarointina (Savon Sanomat 25.3.11)
Heterokampanjan järjestäjät surevat joukkopakoa (Savon Sanomat 25.3.11)

It Doesn't Look Good

Two straight guys, a gay guy and their spouses were on a cruise. A tidal wave came up and swamped the ship. They all drowned, and next thing you know, they're standing before St. Peter.
First came one of the straight guys and his wife. St. Peter shook his head sadly. "I can't let you in. You loved money too much. You loved it so much, you even married a woman named Penny."
Then came the second straight guy. "Sorry. I can't let you in, either. You loved food too much. You loved to eat so much, you even married a woman named Candy!"
The gay guy turned to his husband and whispered nervously, "It doesn't look good, Dick."

Tutu on justified sinners

We are always justified and we are always sinners. We depend not on our goodness, but on the gracious mercy of God.
- Desmond Tutu
as quoted on God's Politics

Twain on health books

Be careful about reading health books. You may die of a misprint.
- Mark Twain

The nun at the golf court

A nun walked into Mother Superior’s office and plunked down into a chair. She let out a sigh heavy with frustration.
‘What troubles you, Sister?’ asked the Mother Superior. ‘I thought this was the day you spent with your family.’
‘It was,’ sighed the Sister. ‘And I went to play golf with my brother. We try to play golf as often as we can. You know I was quite a talented golfer before I devoted my life to Christ.’
‘I seem to recall that,’ the Mother Superior agreed. ‘So I take it your day of recreation was not relaxing?’
‘Far from it,’ snorted the Sister. ‘In fact, I even took the Lord’s name in vain today!’
‘Goodness, Sister!’ gasped the Mother Superior, astonished. ‘You must tell me all about it!’
‘Well, we were on the fifth tee … and this hole is a monster, Mother - 540 yard Par 5, with a nasty dogleg right and a hidden green … and I hit the drive of my life. I creamed it. The sweetest swing I ever made. And it’s flying straight and true, right along the line I wanted … and it hits a bird in mid-flight!’
‘Oh my!’ commiserated the Mother. ‘How unfortunate! But surely that didn’t make you blaspheme, Sister!
”No, that wasn’t it,’ admitted Sister. ‘While I was still trying to fathom what had happened, this squirrel runs out of the woods, grabs my ball and runs off down the fairway!’
‘Oh, that would have made me blaspheme!’ sympathized the Mother.
‘But I didn’t, Mother!’ sobbed the Sister. ‘And I was so proud of myself! And while I was pondering whether this was a sign from God, this hawk swoops out of the sky and grabs the squirrel and flies off, with my ball still clutched in his paws!’
‘So that’s when you cursed,’ said the Mother with a knowing smile.
‘Nope, that wasn’t it either,’ cried the Sister, anguished, ‘because as the hawk started to fly out of sight, the squirrel started struggling, and the hawk dropped him right there on the green, and the ball popped out of his paws and rolled to about 18 inches from the cup!’
Mother Superior sat back in her chair, folded her arms across her chest, fixed the Sister with a baleful stare and said … ‘You missed the fecking putt, didn’t you?’
Thanks to MadPriest!

Patriotism vs. nationalism

Patriotism is proud of a country's virtues and eager to correct its deficiencies; it also acknowledges the legitimate patriotism of other countries, with their own specific virtues.
The pride of nationalism, however, trumpets its country's virtues and denies its deficiencies, while it is contemptuous toward the virtues of other countries. It wants to be, and proclaims itself to be, "the greatest", but greatness is not required of a country; only goodness is.
- Sydney J. Harris (1917-1986)
as quoted on Child of Illusion
and on my political blog

Wilde on cynicism

What is a cynic? A man who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing.
Oscar Wilde

MadPriest on teleology

Of course the universe makes sense without God. What would be the use of a God-created universe that didn't make any sense?

Update: Lesbian pastor recieves an apology

In January, I blogged about a pastor in Sweden who was refused a job since she is a lesbian.
Now, the parish has reached an agreement with the pastor in question. She has recieved an apology and a remuneration of 30.000 crowns (3.445€, 4.762 US$ at today's rate). In addition, the parish will educate its staff in questions of discrimination. Presumably, in order to avoid discrimination in future, not to discriminate more effectively.

Betalar diskriminerad präst (Sveriges Radio Örebro 2.3.11)
Diskriminerades för sin läggning - nu ersätts prästen ekonomiskt (Nerikes Allehanda 2.3.11)
Homosexuell präst får ursäkt (Dagen 2.3.11)

That's bad!

When you work here, you can name your own salary.
I named mine, "Fred".
Thanks to Wounded Bird!

Camara on selfishness

Selfishness ... feeds an insatiable hunger that first eats up everything belonging to others and then causes a creature to devour itself.
- Dom Helder Camara
Brazilian archbishop
as quoted on God's Politics