The Curiosity Index: Swedish Edition

There are a few pieces here that should reveal a lot about some of the best and less than best features of Swedish culture. I’ll let you decide which is which.

Swedish priest defrocked

A priest in the Svenska Kyrkan (Church of Sweden) had their orders revoked just before Christmas for, earlier in the year, telling a confirmation group that homosexual relationships go against the Bible.

As Daniel Ringdahl (in Swedish) points out in the Church of Sweden you can be an archbishop even if you question the Virgin Birth and you won’t be reprimanded if you question the need for a reconciling sacrifice but questioning LGBT gets you the sack.

It wasn’t always like that with Sweden experiencing something of a revival in the late 19th (Swedish) and early 20th century (English).

Here’s a long-ish and very niche piece: The Scandinavian Christian Music Industry and Transatlantic Pentecostalism.

The Jantelagen is real

The law of Jante isn’t a real law but it’s one of those unspoken ones that explain how things work. In Sweden, standing out and being special is not always something to be celebrated. Evidence A: Lunch lady slammed for food that is ‘too good’. And the key sentence:

“The municipality has ordered Eriksson to bring it down a notch since other schools do not receive the same calibre of food – and that is “unfair”.”

At it’s best it’s meant to promote equality but at it’s worst it pulls everyone down to the level of general mediocrity. Individualism is highly prized in Sweden but everyone dresses the same. This has some implications for education…

Sweden isn’t socialist

It really isn’t. It’s a very capitalist place. I was once told the national sport is played between the government and the people. The government does it’s best to tax you of all your money and the people do their best to avoid paying most of it.

It does have a problem with criminal gangs

And that is leading to a rise in violent crime and in what seems a peculiarly Swedish thing: hand grenades.

Immigration & integration are real challenges

“…in 1990 non-European immigrants accounted for only 3% of the population and any problems could be isolated and managed within the bigger framework of society. That figure has increased to some 13-14% now, and is growing at perhaps 1-2 percentage points from last year, with persistent gaps in income, unemployment and education.”

You don’t change the demographic makeup of a country by 10% points in a generation and not experience some bumps.

And integration is a challenge: “Research shows that the tipping point for [white] flight to occur is very low: after 4% of non-European immigrants the native Swedes start to move out.”

Yet Sweden remains a great place to live

“Sweden has the best re-employment rates in the developed world – about 90% of laid-off workers are back in work within a year, according to the OECD.”

The cities are very liveable and Sweden is a Leader in Classical Liberalism and if you happen to get into trouble in North Korea you should ask the Swedes for help.

“The Scandinavian nation of Sweden has a long history of acting as diplomatic intermediary in the isolated dictatorship – a so-called “protecting power” for several Western nations.”

It also has some interesting history.

1 Comment

I only visited once, Stockholm in 2009. It was with my uni choir, we sang in St Clara’s cathedral.

Regarding the church of Sweden, I’m reminded of some graffiti I saw on a church in Copenhagen (different country I know) which said “God was here”.

I also think of the name Ichabod- the glory had departed.

It’s sad to hear of the current state of the professing church in Sweden after past revivals.

Your post has spurred me on to pray for the Swedish church, so thank you 🙂

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