"Obeying God rather than man" (Acts 5:29): Christian faith in confrontation with political correctness in Sweden

Lewis, Katarina: "Obeying God rather than man" (Acts 5:29): Christian faith in confrontation with political correctness in Sweden. In: Politics and folk religion, (6). pp. 61-63. (2001)

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At present Sweden is, like other industrialized countries, a highly secularized society. The Church of Sweden, divorced from the state in the year 2000, has lost most of its influence and has become more or less a service institution to lend solemnity to the rites-de-passage of life: baptism, weddings and funerals. Since the 1930s there has been a politically oriented change in the view of the family. The core family as the foundation of society has gradually been dissolved. The system in which the housewife takes care of her family and home with the husband as the sole provider has changed. Both husband and wife pay tax on their own incomes, rather than each paying tax on half of the family’s total income. This has made it virtually impossible to manage with only one provider. The political ideal for women was to become independent economically. With the social “revolution” of 1968, everybody was led to believe that the only way of “realizing oneself’ was to get a job outside the home. The children should be taken care of in public day centers. With both man and wife fully occupied outside the home little time was left for family life. Within this completely secularized society there exist small, struggling groups whose lives are dominated by Christian ideals. I have studied one such group consisting of pietistic believers within the Church of Sweden: a remnant of the great revival that swept the west coast of Sweden in the last century and the beginning of the 1900s. They maintain a different way of life in confrontation with what is today considered as politically correct. Until the first decades of 20th century their way of life and their ideals were in great part in keeping with what was accepted in society. Now their way of life is very different. Beside their economical hardship due to the tax system, they suffer ideologically. They do not believe in priesthood for women. Recent political decisions declare that only men who fully accept female priesthood are to be ordained in the Church of Sweden, so they might soon find themselves lacking ordained male preachers. They might be faced with the idea hateful to them of forming a free church. A comparable group with comparable ideas are the very Orthodox Jews in Jerusalem and in Brooklyn or even the Amish people in Pennsylvania. While the Orthodox Jews in Jerusalem take political action to change their secular society, the west Swedish pietists in no way act to convince others to adapt to their life style. Their only way of influencing others is by their way of living “in the world” as Christian examples. Although they are now fully conscious that they stand out from their background and that their persistence in keeping to their faith means hardships, they do not plan to adapt themselves to the surrounding society. Instead they work so that the surrounding society will gradually adapt to their ideals of life. My question is: will they leave the Church of Sweden or will they persist in finding unobtrusive ways tofind “a right sermon” within the church they love?

Item Type: Book Section
Journal or Publication Title: Politics and folk religion
Date: 2001
Volume: 6
ISSN: 1419-1288
ISBN: 963 482 400 5
Page Range: pp. 61-63
Series Name: Szegedi vallási néprajzi könyvtár
Event Title: Symposium of SIEF Commission of folk religion (3.) (1999) (Szeged)
Related URLs: http://acta.bibl.u-szeged.hu/69832/
Uncontrolled Keywords: Vallásosság - 20. sz., Valláspolitika - Svédország - 20. sz., Népi vallásosság
Additional Information: Bibliogr.: 63. p. ; összefoglalás angol nyelven
Subjects: 06. Humanities
06. Humanities > 06.03. Philosophy, ethics and religion
06. Humanities > 06.03. Philosophy, ethics and religion > 06.03.04. Religious studies
Date Deposited: 2020. Sep. 11. 10:43
Last Modified: 2020. Sep. 11. 10:43
URI: http://acta.bibl.u-szeged.hu/id/eprint/69997

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