Friday, May 31, 2013

The Norway Report!

The Fjord Coast in Solvorn
So in case you were wondering I went to Norway this past week and a half. It was crazy getting the blog posts to come through! Nevertheless I was faithful to my mission to teach you all that there is to been seen there. At the moment I am uploading Facebook photos. That's what one must do in these moments right?

Detail from the Urnes Stave Church
Norway Is a special place, and I was deeply fortunate enough to make contact with bona fide Norwegians. The culture there is remarkable, which is a grave understatement. I was simply blown away by their graciousness, helpfulness, and general awareness for charity on the common man. IF I wasn't a socialist then, I am now, but I resign in despair that American culture will never be mature enough to do what the Norwegians have done, and continue to do in their country. They actively offer asylum to oppressed people groups, integrate them through a rigorous program that guarantees them equal footing with other immigrants, ensuring them that they understand the language and parent culture of their adoptive nation. And they PAY them to do this. It's incredible. When I asked a young Norwegian man about how the citizens of the country feel about socialism he said in essence, "The people of Norway give a little into the pot understanding that people can take out of it what they need in times of struggle, but not too much to cheat the system. Some are wary of giving to the immigrants because they fear that they will abuse the system, but even young people are at risk for that."

Mount Molden
I took time to ask them about their reaction to the tragic attacks on their country back in July of 2011 to see what their emotions were in light of something that happened to us on the scale of the 2001 September 11th attacks. I was told that the immediate reaction was fear, then encouragement, followed ultimately by a stance of forgiveness and reconciliation. There was no cry for blood, but for justice. Apparently a debate has broken out over the use of funds to keep Anders Breivik alive (for if they put him in a real jail he would immediately be murdered by fellow inmates). The concern is legitimate, but no action has been taken on whether or not he will be executed or released after his 21 year prison sentence is up. I was astonished by the response though. I can't say that I would have been able to articulate that reaction had I been hurt personally by the attacks, but I can say that I admire the Norwegian people for their tenacity to try.  

Apple Orchards Are Common Here
When I personally visited the country I was on a mission to understand the quality of the christian church of Norway. Even though the church has officially renounced it's state status in Norway, the church there is still strong. Even if you aren't religious, one has to admire the clarity and commitment of these people. Sectarian rivalry is nonexistent there, or at least so marginal that it was hardly salient. Because Christianity is not valued there as a symbol of status or hierarchy, there is no need to lord it over people who share dissimilar worldviews. They simply just are Christian. Their state socialist system reflects that in that they give to their fellow brothers and sisters in nationality with the expectation of the money going to help them, with the understanding that there are always people willing to take advantage of the system. But it doesn't bother them, mostly.
The Best Day We Had in Solvorn

People are willing to share the land, even though popular movies (Troll Hunter) and television shows (Lilyhammer) point out some of the glaring inconsistencies that occasionally arise. There's no such thing as a perfect country, but one that is willing to afford any citizen the right of free passage anywhere in the country for backpacking purposes dramatically contrasts with the abject selfishness of American culture and the propensity to grab a hold of the land and declare, "It's mine." I could write so much about this, but there is not enough time or energy on my part to convey it.  

All and all the trip was informative. I enjoyed myself very much, and pray for an opportunity to someday return and see more of this extraordinarily expensive, though rewarding, country. Until then all I can say is that I miss the North already.

We shall meet again.


Urnes From Afar

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