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What is the essence of sincerity?

Thoughts with regard to the eighth commandment

 

1. Who is my neighbor and what is false testimony? How much easier the eighth commandment ("Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour!") would be if the words "your neighbor" were not there or there were "your friend" there instead. Jesus’ illustration about the Good Samaritan (Lucas 10:25) teaches us that the network of love around us and the acts of mercy recognizing the need determine the idea of "neighbor". God has no respect of persons being not partial (Deuteronomy 10:17; Acts 10:34; Romans 2:11). We should not be either. False speech is harmful by far not only on court. Our nowadays "post-reality" society has made it an awfully common practice that if something is told with a media-magnified voice becomes true – whether or not reality is diametrically the opposite of it. Faithful word is not only right but pure, too. Silence can also be false witness. The real point of the eighth commandment is not prohibition either but persuasion. I should spread the truth and stand for it: I should not be silent when truth is violated. (If you would like to know more about this, please read my essay here.)

 

2. How can we be sincere? A lot of people identify sincerity with truthfulness. The profound content of sincerity is to be honest with God. When somebody speaks sincerely, he speaks about the essence instead of unimportant things. Sincerity does not necessarily mean to be talkative. (In fact real sincerity speaks little because it focuses on the essence.) A Carthusian monk who has taken a vow of silence can also strongly show the essence of his existence through his life, metacommunications and writings. (If you would like to know more about this, please read my essay here.)

 

3. What is real sincerity? The essence of sincerity is our relations to the harmony of the created world of God. If we accept the harmony of the created order of God, we get into the love stream coming from the Holy Trinity. Whether we hear the call of Jesus to love is the only really important decision of our lives. It belongs to real sincerity that we forward the love to others that we have received. It is the essence of our existence to participate in the love chain. (If you would like to know more about this, please read my essay here.)

 

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What is the opposite of theft?

Thoughts with regard to the seventh commandment

 

1. What can we steal? By far it is not only an object, which may become other people’s property to be stolen. According to its original interpretation the seventh commandment referred to kidnapping. God has given people the freedom of choice even at the cost that we turn against Him and kill His only begotten son. We should not expropriate the freedom of any person. Trust can also be stolen. All kinds of manipulation, illicit profit or fraud are thefts. Greediness and prodigality are also theft because they limit other people’s prosperity. As we destroy the Earth now, we steal from our descendants. (If you would like to know more about this, please read my essay here.)

 

2. What is the opposite of theft? The opposite of theft is not the pledge of "I will not steal from now on". We do not steal the opportunity from others only – if we create it for them. As in the case of every commandment, including the seventh about theft, the point is not what I DO NOT do, but what I do. The lazy non-action is day theft. The real opposite of theft is not self-restraint or refraining from the sin of theft but generosity, providing advantages to others and increasing others’ self-confidence and self-esteem. Only a life of dedicated service is free of theft. You do not take away only if you give. (If you would like to know more about this, please read my essay here.)

 

3. When do I not steal from God? Life is a zero-sum game only in case we do not believe that God still goes on creating and He overwhelms us with His love stream in every moment. This inexhaustible source provides the extra love in the world that can be forwarded again and again. Our lives become complete if they are connected to the love network of the Holy Trinity. If we close inside the love falling on us and we do not forward it, we steal from God. One of the criteria of canonization in the Christian Church is that the candidate should radiate joy around him. We are all able to radiate joy around us because this joy comes from the infinite love reaching us. Forwarding God’s love what makes our joy complete, too. (If you would like to know more about this, please read my essay here.)

 

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How can we remain faithful?

Thoughts concerning the sixth commandment

 

1. In how many ways can we commit fornication? When we have to speak about our sins, we very easily switch to a language that we believe washes those sins sin-free. I bring three examples for this "re-contextualization", which is extremely dangerous. I show on the Biblical example of the rape of Tamar that fornication is an unfortunately good example of that the fall in most of the cases happens step by step when stages follow each other very easily. Devil slinks away fast if he encounters a closed door. Though it is getting easier to him if we have already made the first, the second or the umpteenth "careless" step towards sin. (For further details, please read my essay here.)

 

2. How can we remain faithful? Fornication is interpreted by the Bible much more extensively than sexuality. Fornication (in an extended sense) is an opposition to the harmony of the created order of God. The real essence of fornication is not betraying our spouse or our previous date but betraying God. To avoid fornication (sexually or generally) our only chance is if we let the Holy Trinity’s love community spread on us. (For further details, please read my essay here.)

 

3. Purity as a state of life. Purity is cleanness, i.e. it is not the inverse of getting impure but the measure of the closeness to God. Escaping from fornication is not a result of a continuous fight against the evil but accepting the good. Fornication cannot step into the neighborhood of God. The one who already knows the Totality of God’s love will not desire anything better or more. He will realize that Totality is total: there is no bigger totality than Totality. There is no bigger love than God’s love. It is impossible that someone commits fornication who has already been lost in the love of God. (For further details, please read my essay here.)

 

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In how many ways it is prohibited to kill? And when is it a must?

Thoughts regarding the fifth commandment

 

1. In how many ways it is prohibited to kill? A lot of people consider that it is quite clearly understood what the fifth commandment prohibits. You shall not murder! There is not a shorter and clearer commandment existing at all. Though we can start thinking thoroughly what the object of the sentence is. WHAT shall we not murder? Only and exclusively people or animals either? Plants either? And what about those who do not kill anything by their hands specifically but they just consume too much and by this they kill the entire Earth??? Jesus teaches us that the one who is angry with his fellow commits murder, too (Matthew 5:21-22; 1John 3:15). It is possible to kill with words (James 3; Matthew 15:18-19). Rejection of love is such a murder which kills the soul slowly on the long run. Judging other people, excommunication, ignoring, pitying and mocking look all can kill. It is not less evil to kill little by little silently than to commit a bloody deed. (For further details, please read my essay here.)

 

2. Whom do we kill when we are unable to forgive? Rancor and hurt are also murders because they break the love chain that connects the whole creation into the intimate love of the Holy Trinity. We kill the Lamb, the Lamb of God, Jesus Himself when we are unable to accept and forward the love avalanche that is outpoured from Jesus onto us. But with this we kill ourselves, too, because we expel ourselves from Eternal Life. In the presence of Jesus there is no room for lack of forgiveness. Inability to forgive builds such a lump in us that prevents Jesus to heal us deep down in our souls. (For further details, please read my essay here.)

 

3. What do we have to kill? Many people conclude the lesson from the previous section that a good Christian is gentle, placid and unable to hurt even a fly. This is a big mistake. It does exist towards what the Christian man has to be merciless and has to be a murderer. This is his own self without Jesus. "For if you live according to the flesh, you shall die: but if by the Spirit you mortify the deeds of the flesh, you shall live." (Romans 8:13) The soul of Jesus does not tolerate co-tenancy in our hearts. Jesus waking in us expels the remaining part of our former souls that resists Him with the whip. Let’s allow it to happen! Moreover, we should not only let it happen but we should wait for it and help it to happen. That is how the Kingdom of God becomes created in us (Lucas 17:21). (For further details, please read my essay here.)

 

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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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The forms of the Presence of mind

Thoughts about holiness of life

 

 

 

1. When would we need the presence of mind in our everyday lives? The presence of mind is usually interpreted as the capacity of solving difficult situations. In this essay I interpret the presence of mind as the presence of the Holy Spirit. How many of those situations can we recall also from our own lives when one of our good deeds have not been realized because we recognized too late what we should have done? In the first part of my essay I describe a few examples of this. (If you would like to read about this more, please, read my essay here.)

 

2. Forms of the presence of the Holy Spirit. Appearance of the Holy Spirit may happen in a million ways – exemplifying the infinity of God’s creativity. The Holy Spirit may pour out, may sweep everything away, may wash everything clear and may re-create everything. However, the silent everyday work of the Holy Spirit is much more frequent than the pouring out storm of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is as much disciplined as It cannot be controlled. The Holy Spirit lives in a permanent and intensive love relationship with Christ and the Father. It invites us into this love relationship, too. This love relationship has a quite important role in that what way the Holy Spirit is creating and sustaining the power of the believers’ community and the church. We can experience the help, comfort and power of the Holy Spirit in the most amazing and unexpected moments of our lives. (If you would like to read about this more, please, read my essay here.)

 

3. The continuous presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives: the holiness of life. The continuous, strong and realized presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives brings the holiness of life. In this status, our deep and sustained love relationship with the Holy Trinity becomes so strong that our lives settle into their right directions so that this love relationship may remain intact. Pope Francis writes about this in his "Rejoice and Be Glad" exhortation: "Trust-filled prayer is a response of a heart open to encountering God face to face, where all is peaceful and the quiet voice of the Lord can be heard in the midst of silence. In that silence, we can discern, in the light of the Spirit, the paths of holiness to which the Lord is calling us." (If you would like to read about this more, please, read my essay here.)

 

 

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