Monday, 6 April 2020

Forest Altar and Prayer Basket

“Preach the Gospel at all times. When necessary, use words.” 
St. Francis of Assisi

Forest Altars

Since churches have been close for several weeks now, I have been forced to find other ways to worship God. Services are, of course, live streamed, but it is not the same thing as actually going to church, and I find it very difficult to quieten my mind and find peace. 

Luckily I live in Finland, where we have a-plenty of forests and old, wise saying: "Let the forest be my church." To us finns, finding God in nature has always been easy. So, when I most eagerly missed going to church and receiving God's grace, I built I tiny little altar in the woods and said my prayers there. It made me feel so much better, so I have continued the habit.

I just take some sticks and form a cross of them, clean an area on ground from fallen leaves and put my cross there. Then I frame it with pine cones or lichen or moss. Flowers would be nice, too, but we do not have too much flowers this early and to be honest I do not like picking wild flowers; I feel pity for them.

I love making these little altars: especially because they are all-natural and very short-living: I know animals, or even stong wind, will demolish them within days. "Like the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire." (Luke 12:28.) 

I also like the idea that maybe someone else will find my altar in the woods, realize what it means and maybe find some comfort to his soul. I always say a little prayer for that person, when I make my altar. That if someone was to find it, he would find peace. I even like to think that maybe someone could even start thinking about religion when he sees my altars. This is why I quoted St. Francis of Assisi in the beginning: you do not need to talk to people, or even see them, to preach gospel! 

I also say a little prayer for the woods I place my altar on: all the animals and plants. They need God's grace, too. 

I have also made little stick crosses on graveyard and hidden them under bushes. 

I am like some guerilla-evangelizing-altar-fairy, who makes little oases of God's grace here and there, in secrecy. 

If you want to do something similar, but cannot go to woods, city park will do: you can find sticks everywhere. Or you can draw something in the sand on children playground. Fish, perhaps, and the code for some Bible verse.

Our church teaches everybody has their own ministry, however tiny it might be. I feel that in this point of my life, this is the best ministry I could have. 

Prayer Basket 

I also had a problem to find peace needed for prayer in the privacy of my own home. We moved couple of months ago to a smaller flat and things haven't found their places yet (and never will, since we only live here while "hunting" for house of our own.) Anyway, everything is cluttered and covered with dog hair. This does not call you to pray. 

So I took a pretty little basket. I put my Bible there, my rosary and my journal and pen. There is some spruce resin in small soapstone box and some birchbark - I like to have nature around me in some form and something I can smell and touch. Orthodox travel icon would also be lovely, but I do not possess one. I have always thought they are very expensive but now when I googled I noticed that is not the case, so maybe I am getting one. 

Then I added my favourite silk kerchief. I like to cover my head when praying, it helps me concentrate. One might also add headphones or a speaker, if one wants to listen to music; I prefer silence and made the decision my phone is not allowed in my "silent space". Silencing headphones could be a great idea if you cannot find a silent place in your home.

When the need arises, I just grab my basket and retire to our sauna. It is the most silent room in our flat, dusky (if I cover the window) and there are no distractions. No clutter, no dog hair, no nothing. Just small silent and dusky space, surrounded by wood panels. Perfect for silent contemplation, meditation and prayer. 

Since everybody seems to be getting on their family member's nerves during quarantine, I suggest you create own prayer baskets to everybody. Grabbing that basket would tell other family members that "this one needs some silent time".  I am sure in most homes it is possible to isolate some space for this purpose: even kids play tent would do. That does require some silencing method, earplugs or silencing headphones.

If you could name one room as "silent room", it would be great: I am sure that if one family members was to grab his basket and go there, others would soon follow. How beautiful it would be, whole family praying together in silence? Like a little retreat. 

Tuesday, 17 March 2020

COVID-19 Is Good For Us

1. Europe finally realized closing borders is a real life -option. This could be done without officially chancing immigration politics and without loosing too man faces.

2. People are forced to see how un-prepared they are. I must say I am quite surprised about the sad state of peoples preparedness levels. Apparently a month -or even a week- without an income will drive people to bankruptcy. People with children have no savings, entrepreneurs live hand to mouth and apparently nobody (me, my mother and survivalists excluded) has food in their pantry.

All this stupidness will have to stop, when people finally realize anything can happen to anybody. Any given time. COVID-19 is so much easier way to find out the level of your preparedness than a war...

3. People are forced to stay at home. Hence they are forced to interact with their family members. Since one cannot "Netflix and chill" forever, some might even grab a book. Some even might start thinking and improving their spiritual life, when they once have time.

4. People in general are forced to think and re-evaluate their lives, their values, their whole existence. Is the rat-race reaaally worth it, when death is so near? (it has always been, but apparently most people do not realize it. It takes a pandemic to make people think of dying and their immortal souls.)

5. Since some sort of recession is unevidable, people will finally have to question their concumerism. They will have to practice it when everything is closed, and when the recession hits, put that practice to action.

6. We will very likely see huge upswing after that recession. It happens always after war, so why not after this?

This is not the end of the world, folks. This is merely a wake-up call. Gentle one. I hope you will be more prepared when something truly serious happens.

Monday, 16 March 2020

Tribute To Forgotten Words

When did you last time hear these words: Dignity. Grace. Self-respect. Seld-discipline. Modesty. Class. Chastity. Chivalry.

I mean really heard them, not read from some TradCon blog like this one?

I only hear these and similar words when they come from my own mouth.

People do not talk about these things anymore. It is weird. Back in the old days, those were things expected from a civilized person. It was a sign of class to control yourself, be put together (when it comes to ones appearances), act in calm and controlled manner etc.

Nowadays anything goes. Nobody expects nothing from you anymore. If you expect something from yourself, people do not see it as a form of self-respect and -discipline, but just weird. I have been reading about Opus Dei and it seems to me they get mocked because they still expect people to have certain control over themselves, their actions, appearances and such. Controlling your lust in maiorem Dei gloriam, or just for your own good, is unimaginable. Whipping yourself for religous reasons is concidered utter madness: letting someone whip you for fetishist reasons is "way to go, grrrlll! You can do anything!

I think it is all intentional. It all comes back to control. People who have self-discipline are so much harder to lead and control. Mindless crowd with no intention but to satisfy their desires and whimses -it is so easy to make money with them. Make them vote what you want them to vote, buy what you want them to buy.

All those old-fashioned TradCon ideals require awareness and control. All those words I listed above: one cannot achieve those elements without awareness of self and seld-control.

People who can control their thoughts and deeds are dangerous. That is why people are driven to unconcious mob. That is why old values have been destroyed. It is not to benefit you: it is to destroy you. That is why people are so afraid of Opus Dei.

All civilized cultures have had the same ideals, men are to be brave and chivalrious, women are to be chaste and graceful. Everybody is to have self-control and discipline. And yet people have been stupid enough to buy this very new paradigm of "anything goes, just focus on maximum amount of pleasures".

People think they have been exempt from old prejudices. In reality, they have been made slaves. Slaves of concumerism, slaves of porn, slaves of easy cheap pleasure. Slaves of their own lower instincts.

Tuesday, 25 February 2020

Christianity Is Almost Too Good To Be True, or My Mid-Term Testimony

I have been TradCon for years, and proud of it. I have really, truly believed traditional lifestyle ande concervative and christian values are the key to happy and fulfilling life. And yet, deep inside, I felt guilty for being a housewife, letting my husband be my provider and leader etc. Other forms of guilt existed, too, and there was this emptiness, this loneliness, this "something missingness" that would never go away.

Something was missing. Badly. Faith. I did not believe on God. I had been babtised as a baby, like almost all finns, and got my first communion at age of 15, like people here do. Couple of years after that I lost my Faith, resigned from Church and avoided religion the best I could for 20 years. Then I started reading TradCon blogs and books and it all felt so true and right -I just skipped the religious parts. But secretly, and thankfully, it all worked inside me.

Fast forward to last autumn. We had just moved and I noticed we live very close to most beautiful 18th century church. I attended service just out of curiosity. Ended up weeping the whole time -and going back. And weeping. And getting my Faith back.

Freedom from Guilt

When I go to church, I feel all my worries are lifted from my shoulders. When I get absolution, I feel all my guilt is lifted from me. Due to my obsessive-compulsive personality type, I have a tendency to feel guilty a lot. I have always felt that everything bad -or remotely stupid thing- I have ever done is like a rock, thrown to a lake. It makes a splash and some waves. After a while, the waves are gone and the lake is still. But the stone is there, in the bottom of the lake. Forever.  I felt there is nothing I could do to remove those rocks from my soul-lake, and it made me feel unpure and unworthy. Little did I know God's Grace, when I get absolution, will remove all rocks from my lake for good! And I do not need to earn it any way: just confess and surrender.

No Need to Prove Anything

Lutheran Church teaches very clearly that we are saved only by Grace, only Through Faith and only because Jesus Christ. There is absolutely nothing we can do to achieve salvation. There is no way we can make ourselves believe. God will give as Faith, he will give as Grace. We can only open our hearts and surrender.

That is such a relief for a person who has always believed she has to earn everything and nothing is ever enough.

Our priest even explained that we do not need to do good deeds to prove we are good christians, or to be saved. We are christians if we believe Jesus is the son of God, and that Faith is given to us by God's Grace. He said good deeds are a consequence of being saved, not the cause for it.

Woman's Biblical Role

Since I live in Finland and Lutheran church is what it is, there is very little  absolutely no discussion on biblical gender roles and such. Luckily there is internet -and Helen Andelin. By studying myself I have come to the conclusion that if I want to be a true christian TradCon woman, I just need to un-do all the feminists teachings I have been brainwashed with. I can just be me. Modest, meek, withdrawing. I am allowed to stay at home and submit to my husband. Actually, it is what is expected from me. I can have total faith on my husband and let him lead and protect me -something I have always longed to do, but eveybody and their cats keeps telling me "it is not reasonable." (you know, even people who know my husband, who is the best and most reliable man in the world.)

At the moment I feel that every time I read Bible, or go to Church, I hear exactly what I need to. What I WANT to hear. It almost makes me feel I must be cherry-picking somehow: can it really be so easy? Can answers to all my problems be found in Bible and Church? Shouldn't it be at least a little bit inconvenient? Where is the sacrifice? Where is the misery we are told religious life is?

I literally feel that Christianity is giving me everything I have ever wanted in so many levels. Freedom from fear, feeling of safety. Connection. I feel I am taken care of, and never alone, there is always someone who will listen and help. I have the comfort of being able to pray for everybody and everything. My marriage has been very happy always, but now it is absolutely blossoming and my husband (who was a very good man to begin with), is growing so fast I am filled with admiration.

Makes me want to laugh when I think about all the years I wasted studying Zen Buddhism.

As I said, it is almost too good to be true.

P.S. Please pray I'll stay on the right track and my husband will find his Faith, too.

Monday, 18 November 2019

We Need Organized Religion Because People Are Stupid.

Those of us who are in social media have seen a-plenty of memes like: "I am spiritual, not religious", "If you cannot tell right and wrong, it empathy you lack, not religion" or "Religion is for those who try to avoid Hell. Spirituality is for those who have been there."

It seems obvious unique snowflakes do not want organized religion. They want their own special form of spirituality, because they are so very special and different.

Apparently they also DO lack that famou empathy (not to mention common sense), concidering the state of people's morals nowadays. It seems to me Cardinal Sins are going strong and most people do not even seem to realize how much they feed them every day. Lady posting her bikini pictures in Instagram is guilty of Pride, and lady envying her is obviously guilty for Envy and sometimes even Wrath. Man wathcing them will Lust after her  and they all are driven by Greed and Gluttony, while their asses get fatter and fatter because of Sloth.

Everybody hopefully understands that kids wont learn morals if nobody teaches them. What they do not understand is this: many adults are like children with low impulse control: only the fear of punishment (social or other) will make them behave themlseves.  And everybody, everybody needs guidance and support. That is why women nowadays have doulas when they give birth. For guidance and support.

Man (or a woman) cannot be the measure for everything. We need something that is bigger than us, greater than us, older than us. Something that has always been and always will and will never change. Stability. That is why we need organized religion that has survived for millenias. We need solid ground to stand on, a dipstick that is vast and stable enough for measuring everything.

Church can offer all that. Personal pick-what-you-like -spirituality wont. We need time-tested values and methods. Of course churches change with times, some more than others. But the key teachings stay the same, the essence.

I have been in my own personal Hell and I have been "spiritual". And let me tell you this: spirituality without religions is empty. It is lonely. Because there is nothing greater than you are. You have to be everything for yourself. But when you go to church -well, it is like being a loose feather on a very windy day. And the church is the vast solid rock that protects you from that wind, letting you land on sunny ground.

Wednesday, 23 October 2019

Are You A Victim? Congratulations!

In modern western society, you can be proud of everything. Homosexual? Be proud. Indigenous person, native american, samí or such? Be proud of your origin, cherish it and remember to get offended if someone wants to wear feathers or possess reindeers. Fat and ugly? Be proud in the name of body positivity. Feminist? Be proud. If you are male feminist, even prouder. Transgender? Be proud for mutilating your healthy body. Handicapped? Be proud and remember to demand more and more.

Housewife and proud of it? No, no, you got it all wrong, you wallet parasite. Mother of 10 and proud of it? What sort of a tradwife are you? Never heard of overpopulation? Strong and healthy and fit and proud of it? You, you smug and arrogant and shallow bitch cannot even begin to understand the amount of priviledges you have! It has nothing to do with your own effort, nothing! It is just mere priviledge!

White and heterosexual male and proud of it and his country? DIE, you filthy racist. You, you alt right. You must be for white supremacy. You must be Satan itself.

That is, if people still believed in Satan.

We are living in most peculiar times, when you are allowed to be proud of things only if it somehow brings you a victim status. But there is no way you are allowed to be proud of things people used to be proud of: their good family name, their well-doing country, their race (this is only forbidden from white people), their culture(unless it is somewhat undeveloped), their christian religion (others are fine), and so on.

Please, good people of Blogistan, let's stop this nonsense. Let us start being proud of those things that actually count. Men, be proud of your masculine nature! Women, be proud of your feminine traits! Be proud of your achievements, your parents achievements, your family tree, your town, your country, your origins. Your culture and religion and -gulp- even your skin colour.

And remember: if you make yourself a victim, there is nothing to be proud of.  So keep your head high and your upper lip stiff.

Wednesday, 9 October 2019

Unique Snowflakes Wont Save The World

Greta Thunberg is an icon for everything that is wrong with modern society.

Someone with absolutely no substance or expertice gets emotional. Someone else sees a change to profit with it and machines a campaign and media fuss. People react emotionally, MSM reacts emotionally. Demonstrations, lots of emotional reacting even on the highest possible steps of society.

People feel that now we are acting, something is happening, I am part of something bigger. World is SOOO going to change! Those with some common sense left, are afraid to open their mouths. They will be silenced and called with names.

In reality, nothing has happened. Nothing. World is not a better place it was before, people are not more educated.

Or, even more likely, something happened. Sometimes it is very convenient to create a fuss. Camouflage what is actually happening.

So what happened when everybody was so exited about school-skipping, mentally unstable little aspergirl?

Kids, if you really want to change things, stay in the school, become an engineer and invent something that actually will make a difference.