Deus semper maior!

Näytetään bloggaukset marraskuulta 2008.

Nyhetsanka om kyrkoskatten

I onsdagens (26.11.08) nummer av Borgåbladet fanns en intressant nyhet med rubriken Dyrare kyrkoskatt i Borgå? Signaturen MB (som torde betyda Marit Björkbacka) skrev om det möte som gemensamma kyrkorådet i Borgå kyrkliga samfällighet hade haft veckan innan. Och det är ju trevligt att lokaltidningen bevakar också kyrkliga nyheter. Trevligt vore väl också om fakta skulle bli korrekta.

I nyheten koncentrerade MB sig på ekonomin och nämnde bl.a. om finansiering, lån, personalutgifter, investeringar och kyrkoskatt. Hon skrev:
"Kyrkoskatten beräknas stiga med cirka 1,5 procent."

Nu började varningsklockor ringa. Kyrkoskattesatsen har hittills legat på 1,45%. 1,5 procent av detta är 0,02175 procentenheter, så skatten skulle i så fall ligga på 1,47175% (fast så många decimaler används inte, så det skulle väl bli 1,47 eller 1,50).

Detta är alltså nyheten för den som kan skilja mellan procent och procentenhet. Problemet är förstås att många trasslar in sig i detta och tror att om skatten stiger från 1,45% med 1,5%, så blir slutsumman 2,95%, alltså mer än en fördubbling. Men i så fall hade det ju stått att höjningen vore 1,5 procentenheter.

Men oberoende av om det gäller procent eller procentenheter, är nyheten en anka. *Kyrkoskatten höjs inte i Borgå för år 2009!* Det finns kanske ett litet tryck på att höja den, men den förblir ändå vid 1,45%.

Detta konstaterade också Bbl följande dag (27.11.08). Som vanligt skedde dementin ändå inte på samma plats eller i samma storlek som nyheten, utan på några spaltmillimeter på familjesidan. Undrar hur många som såg den.

Jag kan bara hoppas att ingen får för sig att skriva ut sig ur kyrkan p.g.a. denna falska nyhet i hopp om att spara några euro...

Bonhoeffer on overcoming the world

The world is overcome not through destruction, but through reconciliation. Not ideals, nor programs, nor conscience, nor duty, nor responsibility, nor virtue, but only God's perfect love can encounter reality and overcome it. Nor is it some universal idea of love, but rather the love of God in Jesus Christ, a love genuinely lived, that does this.

- Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Meditations on the Cross

as quoted on God's Politics

Sermon competition?

From ENI (

* Stellenbosch, South Africa (ENI). A South African student has won top honours in a competition run by a Netherlands newspaper for a sermon, written in Dutch, on doubt. Almatine Leene, a 24-year-old doctoral student in the Faculty of Theology at Stellenbosch University, whose mother tongue is Afrikaans, entered the competition hosted by the Dutch newspaper, Nederlands Dagblad. The other two finalists were Maarten Trimp, aged 22, from Utrecht, and Hanna Blom-Yoo, who is 26, from Amsterdam. The final leg of the competition took place on 12 November in Utrecht's historic Jacobi church, when the finalists preached their sermons. Leene said the Book of Judges from the Bible had inspired her winning sermon. *

It's good that people give good sermons, of course - but to compete? Why not a competition to see who is best at celebrating the Lord's Supper, while they're at it?

It all seems a bit strange to me. But maybe it is I that am strange...

The Good Husband of Zebra Drive

Alexander McCall Smith: The Good Husband of Zebra Drive. Edinburgh 2007.

Having heard so many good things about Alexander McCall Smith's books about the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency in Gaborone, Botswana and its proprietor, Mma Ramotswe, I became curious. Finally, I was able to find one book in the series in the local library here in Porvoo. They are available in the local book stores as well, of course, but usually in translations. And out of principle, I always read books in the original language, if possible. Luckily, McCall Smith writes in English and not in Setswana...

The book I found, The Good Husband of Zebra Drive, is the eighth book in this particular series (there is a ninth, and a tenth is due to be published in 2009). Not having read the others (yet!), I cannot compare them, but this was an absolutely charming novel. To my European eyes, the African setting seemed genuine - and McCall Smith was born in 1948 in Rhodesia (present-day Zimbabwe) and has worked in Botswana, so why shouldn't it be?

The characters in the book - Mma Ramotswe herself, her husband, Mr J.L.B. Matekoni, her associate, Mma Makusi, and all the others, are warmly sketched with all the little flaws that people have. They are no sterile superheroes, but real people, that live in Botswana, but could equally well live in Finland or the U.S. Were it not for the African background, however. Their culture, their language, their city and their landscapes are African, of course, and so are these characters, as well. Universal - but African.

Ah, the language! It is clear that the characters actually speak Setswana, but the dialogue is in English, nevertheless. Luckily for me. The form of English used by the author is very colourful and full of Africanisms - technical terms, of course, such as names of animals and plants, but also the titels "Mma" and "Rra" for ladies and gentlemen, respectively, and notably the expression "to become late", meaning "to die". "The boy's mother is late" sounds far warmer than to say that "she is dead" or that "she kicked the bucket". I suppose the background of this novel expression is speaking of "the late Mr. Jones", but this form of it was new to me. And I liked it; not that I intend to use it.

This is, naturally, a detective story. The crimes that Mma Ramotswe investigates are not the high society murders of an Agatha Christie or a Ngaio Marsh, nor the brutal incidents of other more contemporary writers. They are, rather, small scale incidents that can make life miserable for those involved, but do not affect society as a whole - a theft of office supplies here, an unfaithful husband there. And that just makes the book the more charming.

The Good Husband of Zebra Drive is no thriller. If you seek adrenaline and testosterone, seek elsewhere. If you, on the other hand, seek realistic people that you would like to befriend, you'd be well adviced to try the warm embrace of Mma Ramotswe!

Election fraud in Porvoo?

In Finland, we've always been proud of our reputation as an incorruptible nation - whether that's been founded in fact or not... The situation is admittedly good as a whole, but there are always things to be corrected.

Such as the (as yet alleged) case of election fraud that has surfaced in my own town of Borgå (in Finnish, Porvoo).

Apparently election functionaries studied the rolls on the day of the municipal election (October 26) to see which members of their own party hadn't voted yet, and then gave them a phone call to remind them to do so. I do not know, as yet, which party is in question, but that is beside the point. I hope, though, that it doesn't concern my own party, the Swedish People's Party, but somehow it sounds like something that some of us might get the idea of doing.

As election frauds go, this is, of course, on the mild side, internationally speaking, but it is a breach of the functionaries' impartiality, nevertheless. The fraudulent functionaries will be fined, if found guilty.