The Green Lamp – a dialogue project in Dals Långed, Sweden.

Last night, a somewhat unusual little group of people came home to a young woman living in Dals Långed, Sweden. It was a bit like a Christmas story. A 75-year-old priest, a 37-year-old cleaner, a 70-year-old and an 82-year-old teacher, a 53-year-old student and a self-employed woman of 42. Each of them had brought a lamp. And a desire to speak with each other from the heart.

The Green Lamp (3) in Dals Långed, December 20, 2017 (number 1 was in St. Petersburg 1819-1820. The Green Lamp 2 was in Paris in the 1930s)

The Green Lamp was originally a secret society in Russia during the Czar period, where people who wanted to talk openly about important things used to gather. Now as the idea was revived, it was the meeting eye to eye and heart to heart that attracted.

”What gives you light in your life?” This was the first question. It was asked by Tatiana, who, alongside David, initiated this event. The first answer to that question was a new year’s promise to let go of 2017 as a year of waiting. Another participant continued by telling about living with her family in great material simplicity on 200 square feet without water. Another story was told about how curiosity and getting to know new people gives light to gray everydays. In the meeting here between believers and non-believers and with a participating priest and Dostoevsky reader, it became inevitable and tempting to talk about questions about what God, prayer and faith mean for different people. Any answers? ”It was a long time since I had a real conversation like this about what I believe in,” said one of the participants.

The conversation lasted for two hours. ”We wanted to start the Green Lamp here in Bengtsfors municipality,” said Tatiana when it was time to finish. ”Now I’m thankful for having been able to speak confidently and openly with you.”

”We are planning to have Green Lamp Events in different places over the country. We’ll choose places where we know someone who can help us invite and gather people who want to talk over generational boundaries with people they do not know beforehand,” says David and shows up the lamp he received at the meeting. It is very small and he puts it in his keychain.

”In Russia, all people know that culture is important,” explains Tatiana, to the question what the Green Lamp means. The Green Lamp means I want people to take their culture seriously”.

The Green Lamp means openness and an opportunity to get to know something.

The Green Lamp means dialogue and exchange of thoughts.

The Green Lamp is to listen rather than try to convince and persuade.

”We thought so when we planned this meeting,” says David, and he notes that ”it was good to see the willingness to talk and to examine each other’s ideas.”

Someone asks where the Green Lamp appears next. ”Kungälv, if we get a respone from people there” says Tatiana.

”Will there be any continuation here in Bengtsfors then?”

”We’ll check out who’s interested in March, we thought,” replies David.

When the party breaks up, everyone has a new lamp to take home as a memory.