Entry 29 / Italian food and The Secret Service

Following the service we went out to the car where poor Gerson found a lovely parking citation waiting for him. Nothing is cheap in Norway. I asked, “How much was it?” Gerson replied, “Seven hundred Norwegian Krone,” or approximately fifty Euros or 75 American dollars. Oh, the high cost of serving the Lord. Someone on Facebook once wrote, “The Lord provides,” to which I responded, “I have learned that He provides a whole lot better if one is willing to settle for a whole lot less.”

Maitie, Gerson, Fosca and Andreas

We took the long ride of about eighty kilometers from downtown Oslo to the countryside in the north where “The Go Center.” is situated. You can find out more about it at,  http://www.liveschool.org/cur.html

I was taken to my room overlooking the ten or so buildings that makes up the campus. After a short rest I was invited to the Celeti’s for supper. This was the first fried meat I had eaten in a week. Norwegians generally eat boiled and roasted foods so here in front of me was this crispy veal, beef or chicken or whatever. Maitie had also made some pasta and apologized afterward saying that I was probably tired of pasta after weeks in Italy. Silly girl, I am never tired of pasta. At the table were the Celeti’s son, Andreas and his Venetian friend Fosca. Fosca is the only other Christian I have ever met from Venice.

The Secret Service

The Secret Service

I was asked if I would like to go over to another Christian school where there was going to be a “Secret Service” presentation. The forty or so of us drove about ten kilometers to a beautiful and historical setting –  a marvellous mansion now used for post high school students who want to take one year of transition, to do art, ride horses, travel and so forth at state expense. Most of these finishing schools are secular but here was one for “Christians.” I couldn’t believe it. Where else in the world can young people take a year off and indulge in their personal passions before moving on to careers? Thankfully, Norway has lots of oil reserves which provides for such luxuries. It will be a sad day for everyone if this should ever play out as it did in Texas and Oklahoma where there was once a similar opulence. God forbid that anyone stumble upon another source of inexpensive energy. Norway seems to have everything but God.

The idea was to assemble us all in one room and then police burst into the room taking the leader (Ed Brown) captive. The Christians would all have to go out in the dark and then following special signs to a dark place in the basement of the mansion and there have a service simply by offering prayers, songs and scriptures without the aid of a Pastor. The idea is to show the students what this might be like for more than half of the world. So we found our way there and huddled in the dark cellar while stories of martyrs were read. In actual fact, the event might have turned out more anti-climatic than Ed had hoped for as few had much to offer. This is actually very Norwegian as they have adopted a Danish author Sandemoses’ idea regarding social behavior where people should not take initiative since no one should think themselves superior to any other person.

Here are the apparent rules for social interaction as put forth in Wikipedia

“Jante Law”

Generally used colloquially as a sociological term to negatively describe an attitude towards individuality and success claimed to be common in Scandinavia, the term refers to a snide, jealous and narrow mentality which refuses to acknowledge individual effort and places all emphasis on the collective, while punishing those who stand out as achievers.

There are ten different rules in the law as defined by Sandemose, but they all express variations on a single theme and are usually referred to as a homogeneous unit: Don’t think you’re anyone special or that you’re better than us.

The ten rules state:

1. Don’t think you’re anything special.
2. Don’t think you’re as much as us.
3. Don’t think you’re wiser than us.
4. Don’t convince yourself that you’re better than us.
5. Don’t think you know more than us.
6. Don’t think you are more than us.
7. Don’t think you are good at anything.
8. Don’t laugh at us.
9. Don’t think anyone cares about you.
10. Don’t think you can teach us anything.

An eleventh rule recognized in the novel is: Don’t think there’s anything we don’t know about you.

For me, this proves to make the culture, though highly predictable, very uninteresting. The resulting danger can be a leaderless society where no one wants to draw attention to themselves, especially among the Christians. Almost everyone is reluctant to step forward or be self assertive in any respect.

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