What makes a dialogue life determining?

Thoughts related to the fourth commandment

 

1. In how many ways do NOT we honor our parents? The rebellious phase often takes place between the 3rd and the 5th years of the formation of a young person. It is when he realizes for the first time that he himself exists on his own. At the tween age of 11-14 comes the second phase of emancipation when the detachment from parental behavioral patterns starts. At the end of adolescence we start to determine those parental behavioral patterns that we consider false and we do not want to follow. At the time of mid-life crisis the situation starts to turn over: the former parent becomes the child and the former child becomes the parent. Jesus emphasized love towards God and our neighbors (Matthew 22:37-39) instead of respect, as the big commandment.  Love, that is not a fake self-love, creates respect because it loves the other one for what he is and not for our expectations we would like him to be. Let’s love our parents (and we always have a new opportunity for that even if they are not with us any more!) and we will live long on Earth. (For further details, please read my essay here.)

 

2. Fruits of respect arising from love: how does a determining dialogue develop in our lives? Unconditional love makes us continuously open for the next moment when we can meet a new form of creation. This loving openness is actually not else, but respect. We all can remember one or more such dialogues that have been determining in our lives. Determining dialogues can be absurdly varied. Why is that so? Because in a determining dialogue there are not two but three parties present. The third one is the Holy Spirit, the all-seeing and all-arranging, huge love of our Lord Jesus and the Father. The Father lets us know our lives’ most important messages in the most incredible ways – because He knows well that a significant life-message has to be "presented" to a certain man in a certain moment just in that incredible way in order that he becomes able to receive it. (For further details, please read my essay here.)

 

3. How can we fulfill the fourth commandment? In a determining dialogue it is determining that we have not determined anything at all during the dialogue but God determines everything. That is if we would like to have determining dialogues in our lives, first we have to learn humility. If we are able to accept the purifying mercy of Jesus we may get closer to represent the Face of Jesus in the world less distorted. If all this has started to take shape in us, we begin to feel that we do not desire to have unnecessary words any more. We long only for the Word of God and for passing it to others. That is how ALL dialogues slowly become determining dialogues in us and around us. The dialogues that we have as parents and also the ones we have as children – with anyone. Because these two, parents and children are in their depth the very same: Jesus. In Jesus we got united with our own parents – and with our children, too. By the grace of our Lord that is how we can fulfil and complete God’s fourth commandment: Honor your father and your mother! (For further details, please read my essay here.)

 

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How should we keep holy the name of the Lord and the Lord's day?

Thoughts about the second and the third commandments

 

1. Wrong approaches of honoring God. A lot of people think that it is quite easy to obey the second and the third commandments. "We do not take the name of the Lord in vain, and we go to the church on every Sunday. Okay, on church holidays, too. All right, even on those infrequently visited church holidays, (like Epiphany, Ascension of Jesus, etc.), too, which fall on week days." I must disagree with my brothers and sisters thinking these. Honoring God is not a compliance with rules or a type of behavior. People with divided hearts do not have strength. It is because they do not keep and save Jesus in themselves. They cannot keep Jesus in themselves because it is impossible to accept a half-Jesus. (For further details, please read my essay here.)

 

2. How should we keep holy the Lord's name? God is not the God of denial but the God of affirmation. God does not take anything away but He gives something. That is we always have to find the affirmative content behind the prohibitive words of the commandments because these carry the real message (Hebrews 10:1). The essence of the second commandment is that I bless the name of the Lord. The presence of God is the presence of the most precious gift in our lives. But if we do not listen to what the gift is that God is willing to give us, we will never receive it. (For further details, please read my essay here.)

 

3. How should we keep holy the Lord's day? Holidays are signs. They are such signs that have been given to us, people, by the Holy Trinity as a memory of Its love and indelible union. God’s signs though can be interpreted and can become complete only together with the Word of God. If a Christian is only looking for the signs of God he will become a 'raver-Christian'. For a man living in Jesus, every moment of each day becomes a sign. If we consider every moment a sign, the sign of God will be carved on us. The love of Jesus will shine out of us. (For further details, please read my essay here.)

 

 

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What is Christian identity?

Season opening thoughts about the first commandment

 

1. Our fake Gods, our fake Christianity. A lot of people think that it is quite easy to obey the first commandment. We have been baptized and affirmed our baptism by confirmation. What else is Christian identity, if not this? I have to disagree with the sisters and brothers thinking these. Christian identity is not a set of features. It is not community membership. It cannot be gained. It cannot be possessed. The Lord will only be our sole God if we do not place anything even close to Him that may reach His importance. (For further details, please read my season opening essay here.)

 

2. The roots of Christian identity. The most important source of Christian identity is living in a communion with the Holy Trinity. Looking at the Ten Commandments from the light of the New Testament it is obvious that God’s intention is not to restrict us but to fulfill us. Knowing God’s Totality and experiencing His endless love, we can see that obeying the Ten Commandments becomes a consequence – and not a requirement. The dual communion experienced with God and fellow human beings is not else than the love command of Jesus (Matthew 22:37-39). The specific manifestation of Christian identity’s roots is the prayer, the Sacraments (the baptism and especially the Eucharist) and the Word of God. (For further details, please read my season opening essay here.)

 

3. The trunk and shoots of Christian identity. The first important element of Christian identity’s trunk is the recognition of sin and the fear of God. The most important element of Christian identity’s trunk is the gradual formation of Jesus’ face and His whole self in us. There are a lot of shoots of Christian identity that are individual characteristics of Christian believers. (For further details, please read my season opening essay here.)

 

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How a word becomes a Word of God?

End-of-year thoughts about the power of God’s Word

 

1. In how many ways the words of the Bible can be interpreted? Hermeneutics that examines the interpretations of a text is a quite diverse field of science. All of us carry the imprints of our own previous experiences and interpret everything we come across in this "life experience context". All these are incredibly honorable efforts to reveal the hidden correlations of a text and the billion versions of its interpretations. However if we apply these methods only in a "sterile" way, we would miss the Essence of understanding the Bible. Only our minds have been working, not our hearts. We have not become shaken. Jesus has been missed from the text – thus the conversation with God has also been missed. (For further details, please read my last essay before the summer break here.)

 

2. What helps to recognize the Word of God? We take the Bible either literally or seriously. I prefer old texts because these provide us much more to think about due to their "incomprehensibility" than today’s "ready-made" translations giving obvious interpretations. If we read the Biblical texts in their original languages, in Hebrew and in ancient Greek, we may realize that all these antique languages offer a wide range of possible interpretations. All this pulls us out of that interpretation frame which sticks our understanding to our own "life experience contexts". If we do not read or listen to the Word being open to the surprisingly new Vision of God then our souls remain closed for the truth. (For further details, please read my last essay before the summer break here.)

 

3. How a word becomes a Word of God? If we would like to accept the lines of the Bible not as a text but as a Word of God then we have to get ourselves out of our comfort zones. Most of the time God does not want to take us where we are just going. A word becomes a Word of God only if we are not alone when we accept it. Without the presence of the Holy Spirit and the presence and mercy of Jesus we do not get to recognize the will of the Father during reading the Bible. The act of studying the Bible in a community becomes important here. Preaching is not simply another one of the many interpretations, because the Word of God is not proclaimed by the minister but by the Holy Spirit through the minister. Preaching, songs and prayers of the sermon are the Silence of the Spirit in which the Word of God is revealed. "The Word will do what it states" (Péter Grendorf, my minister has recently said). Yes, the Word will be still working days and years after it was said. This is how the working of the Holy Spirit forms the image of Christ in us and shows us the Kingdom of God already in our lives on earth. (For further details, please read my last essay before the summer break here.)

 

 

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What makes the church attractive today?

Pentecost thoughts about the power of the Gospel

 

1. What makes the church UNattractive today? Pentecost is the birthday of the church. However nowadays many people already start to bury the church here, in Europe. There are centuries old churches which became practically empty, priests make series of funerals instead of baptisms, there are many directionless congregations... I have collected some recently published reports in my essay. (If you would like to read about this more, please, read my Pentecost essay here.)

 

2. What do we, people think can make the church attractive today? A lot of solutions have been created to address the current problems of the European church. I quote some of them in my essay. All these are remarkably respectable points and suggestions. However the Essence of the European Church’s renewal is missing from them. What is this Essence? The third, closing part of my essay will write about this. (If you would like to read about this more, please, read my Pentecost essay here.)

 

3. What does make the church REALLY attractive today? What would like to see the young people in the church to attract them? They would like to see credibility. "Deep relationships are needed between the authentic adult servants and the youth." "Young people would like to have a relationship, an example and such a faith that means not only a Sunday morning program but can serve as a help in their challenging everyday life." (David Kinnaman) Credibility is not arisen from us. Credibility is an undistorted transmission of the Holy Spirit’s power through us. The church of Europe needs depth instead of wideness. (If you would like to read about this more, please, read my Pentecost essay here.)

 

 

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