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Vieraskieliset / In-english

Blog: Amid storms

Vieraskieliset / In-english
3.7.2020 12.49

Juttua muokattu:

3.7. 13:49
2020070313495920200703124900

Few to­pics rai­se such strong emo­ti­ons in the Con­ser­va­ti­ve La­es­ta­di­an com­mu­ni­ty as do the ca­re­ta­king mee­tings. All those who grew up wit­hin this com­mu­ni­ty have he­ard the word – and I dare to say that most have he­ard it in a ne­ga­ti­ve sen­se. How many of them, ho­we­ver, re­al­ly know what this exp­res­si­on me­ans? Do you know, for ins­tan­ce, why the ca­re­ta­king prac­ti­ce star­ted? I did not know be­fo­re the sum­mer of 2017, when I was ab­le to dis­cuss this to­pic with pe­op­le who had per­so­nal ex­pe­rien­ce of them.

These dis­cus­si­ons were part of my very spe­ci­al sum­mer job. I had the ho­nor of par­ti­ci­pa­ting in the col­lec­ti­on of ma­te­ri­al for the re­cent­ly comp­le­ted his­to­ry book of SRK. My job con­sis­ted of in­ter­vie­wing pe­op­le who had been wor­king for SRK in the 1960s and 1970s or had been ot­her­wi­se in­vol­ved. The his­to­ry book pub­lis­hed in Oc­to­ber 2019 de­als with this pe­ri­od and is apt­ly tit­led Myrs­ky­jen kes­kel­lä – Suo­men Rau­ha­nyh­dis­tys­ten Kes­ku­syh­dis­tyk­sen his­to­ria 3 (Amid storms – his­to­ry of Suo­men Rau­ha­nyh­dis­tys­ten Kes­ku­syh­dis­tys 3). The word storm ref­lects well both the in­ter­nal con­di­ti­on of the Con­ser­va­ti­ve La­es­ta­di­an mo­ve­ment at that time and Fin­nish so­cie­ty more ge­ne­ral­ly.

Du­ring that pe­ri­od, Fin­land chan­ged in ir­re­ver­sib­le ways. The old ag­ra­ri­an so­cie­ty gave way to ur­ba­ni­za­ti­on. Mas­ses of pe­op­le mo­ved to towns and to Swe­den. Hou­ses and farms were left emp­ty and fields lying fal­low. We speak about a ma­jor struc­tu­ral chan­ge. The va­lu­es of so­cie­ty al­so chan­ged. Left-wing ide­as be­ca­me pre­va­lent. A new po­pu­list par­ty was foun­ded. Along with the se­cu­la­ri­za­ti­on of so­cie­ty, Chris­ti­an va­lu­es lost their sig­ni­fi­can­ce. Fa­mi­ly plan­ning was mar­ke­ted by ma­ter­ni­ty cli­nics, and low-al­co­hol beer was int­ro­du­ced in­to gro­ce­ry sto­res. Po­pu­lar cul­tu­re was spread by te­le­vi­si­on, films and light mu­sic for pe­op­le who be­gan to have more mo­ney and more free time. Fin­land has ne­ver chan­ged so tho­rough­ly in such a short time.

These big chan­ges were ine­vi­tab­ly al­so vi­sib­le in Con­ser­va­ti­ve La­es­ta­di­a­nism. There was a need to de­fi­ne the at­ti­tu­des of be­lie­vers to­ward the new phe­no­me­na. There was si­mul­ta­ne­ous­ly al­so con­cern for the se­cu­lar li­fes­ty­le and va­lu­es that many pe­op­le adop­ted along with the rest of so­cie­ty. I was told by many in­ter­vie­wees that mem­bers of lo­cal rau­ha­nyh­dis­tys as­so­ci­a­ti­ons in dif­fe­rent parts of Fin­land had a real need to dis­cuss these chan­ges.

Cong­re­ga­ti­on eve­nings that fo­cu­sed on ge­ne­ral dis­cus­si­on be­ca­me more and more com­mon. Dis­cus­si­ons were found ne­ces­sa­ry, but es­pe­ci­al­ly du­ring the lat­ter half of the 1970s, many er­rors and over­re­ac­ti­ons were made. Many pe­op­le were jud­ged wrong­ly. The his­to­ry book dis­cus­ses these events qui­te ex­ten­si­ve­ly, so I will not com­ment on them here.

But I will com­ment on my job as an in­ter­vie­wer, which was ext­re­me­ly inst­ruc­ti­ve. It was not ea­sy to go in­to pe­op­le’s ho­mes and ask them qu­es­ti­ons about such to­pics and the 1970s ca­re­ta­king mee­tings. Many of the dis­cus­si­ons touc­hed on ext­re­me­ly sen­si­ti­ve ma­te­ri­al. I vi­si­ted some of my in­for­mants se­ve­ral ti­mes. I as­ked qu­es­ti­ons and I lis­te­ned. Hours upon hours of con­ver­sa­ti­on were re­cor­ded. We took a cof­fee break and then con­ti­nu­ed. Af­ter­wards I transc­ri­bed the re­cor­dings and stu­died the his­to­ry. I del­ved dee­per, pon­de­red, and in­ter­vie­wed.

It was chal­len­ging work, but ext­re­me­ly in­te­res­ting. I did not un­ders­tand eve­ryt­hing, and some things see­med in­comp­re­hen­sib­le, some even cont­ra­dic­to­ry. It did not help that I knew this is ty­pi­cal of me­mo­ri­zed in­for­ma­ti­on, and that each in­ter­vie­wee in­terp­rets past events through his or her own backg­round ex­pe­rien­ce. The things that I he­ard so­me­ti­mes dist­res­sed me.

This work made me test the foun­da­ti­on of my per­so­nal faith. I un­ders­tood that even while doing re­se­arch, I must be clear about what I be­lie­ve and how. Yet I had to keep my own views se­pa­ra­te from the events dis­cus­sed du­ring the in­ter­views. I un­ders­tood that it would be qui­te use­less for me to feel dist­ress about things that had hap­pe­ned de­ca­des ear­lier. I thought that the fal­li­bi­li­ty of pe­op­le and the stor­my ti­mes in the past should not be an obs­tac­le to faith to­day. When I had fi­gu­red out this in my mind, I was ab­le to con­ti­nue my work free­ly.

I al­so found that it is ext­re­me­ly use­ful to get to know about the dif­fi­cul­ties en­coun­te­red in our Chris­ti­a­ni­ty. We le­arn a lot about them. We need not pon­der and won­der if we know. It al­so helps us to talk about dif­fi­cult to­pics. And at the same time we can exa­mi­ne the foun­da­ti­on of our own faith and the re­a­sons for why we be­lie­ve.

Text: Sau­li Ter­va­nie­mi

Trans­la­ti­on: Sirk­ka-Lii­sa Lei­no­nen

You will find the ori­gi­nal blog post here.

11.8.2020

Joka heik­koa sor­taa, her­jaa hä­nen Luo­jaan­sa, joka Luo­jaa kun­ni­oit­taa, ar­mah­taa köy­hää. Sa­nanl. 14:31

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