Journal, 12 June 2015

•12 June 2015 • Leave a Comment

One of the most terrifying moments for the Israelites was when they faced the immense sea and had the Pharaoh’s army behind them. It must have been truly terrifying – knowing that there is no escape, knowing that the inevitable is about to happen and they can do nothing about it. The liberated slaves were about to be taken back by a cruel master.

Well, that’s where I am. In the middle of nothing and with no escape out of that nothing! And it’s terrifying! All my fears rise up like giants and that is everything there is – me with the giants in the middle of a desert with no escape and no chances of survival. The strong hand of a cruel master, fear, is about to reclaim me. Disappointment, discouragement, fear of the future, fear of failing, fear of not being good enough for you to fulfil your plan with me… Those are some of the giants, and the last one is truly a Goliath, a Leviathan who is growing day by day. And I am no David to defeat my giants… On the contrary, I fraternize with them. But not because I really want that, but they are the only companions when you keep silent like a mouse.

Why do you keep silent? Why won’t you say something?

… at least if this Leviathan was to be a fantasy, but it’s not. It is tangible and completely real because it’s based on the certainty that God has called me to do something and I see that it’s not happening. Have I failed? Have you abandoned me? Am I still good for something? Am I still good enough for you to make your plan with me a reality?

And still… in spite of the impossible, you have split the sea for the Israelites to pass, in spite of the improbable David defeated Goliath, and the most fierce creature ever made by you, the Leviathan, is no more than a myth now.

I am in an impossible state, surrounded by many giants who feed daily on my fears, but you are a God of the impossible, and I trust in you. I pray that you do your work through me. I am at your disposal; for life or for death, it doesn’t matter! Let your will be done!

Chris – Nu mă mai satur (versuri)

•17 April 2015 • Leave a Comment

Prea puțin am povestit despre convertirea mea sau perioada imediat următoare ei, poate pentru că mi-e rușine de ce am fost și de păcatele mele, spre deosebire de atâția alții care fac din asta un motiv de laudă și subiecte de predici… iar vorba mea e: ‘Și eu am fost un păcătos ordinar dar nu mă laud cu asta!’ Dar e de-ajuns despre asta.

În perioada imediat următoare convertirii, aproximativ sfârșitul lui 2004 și anul 2005, marcată de botezul în Duhul Sfânt din 27 noiembrie 2004, am găsit un refugiu plăcut în muzica lui Chris, o muzică ce mă ajuta și îmbărbăta în lupta cu păcatele adânc înrădăcinate deja, o muzică ce balansa contemporanul cu stilul clasic al cântărilor învățate în Santa (a se citi Biserica Sfântu Ilie🙂 ). O muzică românească originală, ce lua în același timp și ‘cântece de demult’ și le dădea o notă de creativitate contemporană… Și nu în ultimul rând, ci poate cel mai important, o muzică ce îmi spunea tot timpul prin versurile ei că mai e speranță pentru mine, că și chiar dacă ‘mai trec uneori pe lângă temnița lumii’ asta nu înseamnă că am recidivat ci înseamnă că încă trebuie să lupt, că după cum o limbă nouă nu o vorbești fluent după o lună, tot așa e și cu învățarea comportamentului duhovnicesc, mai dai pe lângă din când în când, dar nu te oprești ci perseverezi, știind că într-o bună zi, în împărăția Sa vei vorbi perfect limba împărăției, vei avea un comportament duhovnicesc perfect, vei fi fără păcat; sfânt; ca El!

Fără să mai lungesc vorba, am plâns de multe ori ascultând muzica lui Chris, nu pentru instrumentație care oricum lăsa de dorit de multe ori, ci pentru că e inspirată! Nu pentru că îmi atingea nu știu ce coardă sensibilă ci pentru că pur și simplu era inspirată. Așa se face că ascultând și reascultând am ajuns să învăț pe dinafară multe din cântecele de pe albumele Prizonier, Corăbier, Cântece de demult, etc. și mă mai surprind și azi uneori cântând acele versuri învățate demult. Mare mi-a fost surpriza când am căutat azi pe net versurile melodiei ‘Nu mă mai satur’, cu toate că o știam, dar voiam să ma asigur de câteva cuvinte ce le mai încurcam, și nu am gasit (poate sunt totuși undeva, dar recunosc, nu am căutat prea mult) așa că m-am decis ca să postez în timpul următor versurile câtorva cântări ce îmi plac foarte mult de la Chris. Așa că, pentru azi avem:

Chris – Nu mă mai satur (versuri)

Album: Corăbier

Eu nu mă mai satur s-ascult glasul tău

Vorbește-mi din zori până-n seară

Sunt vorbele tale mai dulci tot mereu

Ca sunetul lin de vioară

/: Când stau și te-ascult timpul stă parcă-n loc

Și uit câte săgeți ma-nconjoară

Cuvântul tău sfânt ca o undă de foc

Mă arde și mă-nfioară : /

Eu nu mă mai satur să merg către cer

Isuse când ești lângă mine

Chiar dacă în lume-i furtună și ger

E viața mea plină de tine

/: Când te simt aproape toți norii dispar

Și-n jurul meu e iar primăvară

Alături de tine cărările-mi par

Mai drepte și mai ușoare: /

Eu nu mă mai satur Isuse să-ți cânt

Un cântec ce nimeni nu-l știe

O mie de vieți de-aș avea pe pământ

N-ajung să ți-l cânt numai ție

/: Dar darul tău Doamne în fiece zi

O jertfă cântul meu vreau să fie

Și fără-ncetare să-ți cânt îți promit

O viață și-o veșnicie : /

Hrisostom vorbind despre pofta ochilor

•4 September 2014 • Leave a Comment

“Deci de unde isi ia nastere dorinta aceasta? De la frumusetea fetei, zici, cand acea femeie este frumoasa la fata si placuta. Zadarnic spui aceasta si in desert ca daca o fata frumoasa ar putea sa atraga catre sine indragitori, apoi o astfel de femeie pe toti i-ar avea indragitori, iar daca nu-i are pe toti, apoi e invederat ca aceasta nu vine de la fire, nici de la frumusete, ci de la niste ochi neinfranati. […]

Deci care este pricina? Ca daca a dori nu vine de la frumusetea fetei, apoi de unde isi are inceputul si obarsia? Poate ca de la dracul cel viclean? Desigur ca isi are si de acolo, insa nu aceasta este ceea ce se cauta, ci sa vedem de nu cumva si noi suntem pricina. Nu numai de la draci vine cuiva aceasta, ci impreuna cu dansii vine mai intai de la noi.”  Sfantul Ioan Gura de Aur, Talcuiri la Epistola a doua catre Corintheni, (Bucuresti: Sophia, 2007), p 83-84.

 

Morala:

  1. Prin simplul fapt ca nu toti barbatii umbla ca cirezile dupa femei sau dupa o anumita femeie, nu stiu, Miss nush’ care, inseamna simplu ca frumusetea unui persoane sau existenta ei nu e vinovata pentru obsesia ta! Faptul ca eu am o vecina foarte frumoasa in bloc asta nu inseamna ca trebe sa si pacatuiesc cu ea. Faptul ca exista pornografie pe internet si o poate accesa oricine asta nu inseamna ca si trebe sa o faci, etc. Prin simplul fapt ca unul poate face altfel si o face, tu te condamni singur! Ochii tai neinfranti sunt problema pentru ca ochii altora nu o vad ca si tine!
  2. Incetati sa tot dati vina pe draci pentru ispitele voastre! Tu esti vinovat in primul rand. Diavolul poate doar se foloseste de slabiciunile si scaparile tale. Era o povestioara… Cica un calugar tinea post negru si la un moment dupa multe zile de post face rost de un ou crud. Si ce se gandeste el – foamea era mare, mancare in manastire nu se facea – tineau toti post – cum sa faca sa manance si el oul ala sa isi mai stampere foamea. Si ce face? II vine o idee geniala! Ia oul si il pune intr-o lingura; se duce la masa de citit, ia lumanarea si cu ajutorul flacarii ei incepe sa coaca oul din lingura. Ce se mai intampla nu mai stiu dar la un moment dat, calugarul da socoteala in fata lui Dumnezeu si se dezvinovateste zicand: Doamne, dracul m-a ispitit. Si de undeva dracul iese si zice lui Dumnezeu: Nici prin cap nu mi-a trecut idea lui!

De prea multe ori suntem noi singuri vinovati asa ca asuma-ti responsabilitatea!

Klondike – When Hope Weights More Than Gold

•21 June 2014 • Leave a Comment

golden-stairsDiscovery just made a mini-series Klondike based on the gold rush from 1896-1898 in Dawson City and Yukon region. And I just watched it and it was great. It had its flaws of course, but it was great, it was inspiring.

The series follows the story of Bill Haskell, an unusual prospector, highly educated, yet following his friend into this wild adventure. The story is simple – men seek fortune, men seek revenge, men seek death, men defy nature. Where does it all lead? Well, that’s for you to see!

What I loved about it was that even after all the departures from the proper path, the show ends with Bill taking again the right path – “Because the truth is you don’t need anything except maybe hope!” after everything he went through, he realizes that even with his backpack full of gold there is nothing that is more valuable than hope. Hope led him that path, over the devious Chilkoot Pass with its impossible slopes of over 45 degrees, hope kept him going in his search for gold but still hope was that kept him from exercising justice with his own hands and hope was that ultimately led him back home.

Now, there is a thing before the credits where it says that Bill returned in 1901 to Klondike. Why would he do that? I don’t know, maybe for his friend, maybe for more gold. Either way there is one lesson to be learned: “We were richer then, when we had nothing in our pockets, just a head full of hope. That’s what I’ll carry. What we were in that moment in time, worth more than anything any man could ever pull out of the ground.”

So, go on now, don’t just sit there ‘burning the daylight’, do something, give hope!

Worshiping the same God?! Allah vs/and Yahweh

•20 June 2014 • 1 Comment

I can’t give the Qur’an the status of revelation. It is indeed a sacred book because it is revered by many but it is not God-inspired. With us and them (Muslims) understanding that, there might be some place for reform in our understanding of God. That is why I will go near them, telling them about my God and my sacred book and hopefully build together a bridge so that we can build afterwards on what we have in common and on what we are sure that is unmovable – that there is one God who wants humans to love him and love each other.

The purpose of this is not worshiping together or an ecumenism that crosses all the possible barriers. Neither it is about salvation for I believe that there is no salvation for those who are not in Christ. What is this, is a gesture of embrace, of reconciliation, where one tries to truly understand the other and not trying to smoothen the differences but see if they should exist in the first place. Thus, this is a gesture and a try to know my neighbour, to understand him, and hopefully walk alongside in this journey from knowing something about God to knowing God. That would be the greatest achievement!

Now in order to acquire reconciliation we all need to understand that God is not just as we know him but there are certain parts of God that we simply cannot comprehend or even find out in this limited body, with our limited intellect. That is why Apostle Paul speaks about a great time when all we are going to do, will be to explore the unknown parts, attributes and whatever is new to us in God – ‘to know him’…

To acquire reconciliation Muslims need to do a bit more. They need to go before the Qur’an at something that every (Arabian) Muslim holds onto, something much greater than the book, I would say, namely the common ancestor, Abraham and his story. And the story of Abraham in two words goes like this: Abraham worshiped Yahweh, the creator God; Abraham had a son, Ishmael; Ishmael, together with his mother, Hagar, were exiled from the tribe when he was around 14 but not before he learned how to worship Yahweh and not before being marked through circumcision as a worshiper of the Creator. Now, after exile, they went into the desert where Ismael started to grow into a great nation, as promised by God. Logically, he continued to worship the same God he was dedicated to and whom he experienced when he was thirsty in the bushes – the Creator, and he probably taught his sons and daughters to worship this God, just as he learned from his father Abraham. After a while, this God got a specific name, a cultural name, Allah, but he remained the same God, the Creator. Now, no sane Muslim would doubt that Ishmael or his forefathers worshiped another God than the one he worships in the 21 century. So that means they believe that they worshiped and worship the same God known first as Yahweh then culturalized as Allah.

Now, the Qur’an is incapable to make a proper description of God because it is a human writing as inspired or uninspired as any other religious human writing. But that is no problem since we have the common ancestor, Abraham, as common ground. So, if you believe Yahweh and Allah are two distinct gods, you believe that the description that the Qur’an gives to Allah is an accurate one and thus you give authority to the book. Once you say that Yahweh and Allah might be the same God, you make the Muslims take into consideration the fact that their book might not give the most accurate description of God and reorient their attention towards the Bible. And I want that because I believe wholeheartedly that the revelation of God as it is in the Bible is a more complete one. Let me illustrate this: I have a phone and usually I keep my phone in a holster; when it is there you can see only a part of the phone. Let’s say that is the vision a Muslim gets. Now somebody is calling me and I take the phone out of the holster. When I take it out I can see the whole phone with its sleek case. Now let’s say that is the Christian view. But here is the thing that startled and startles me, based on what the Apostle said about knowing God: at the resurrection both Muslims and Christians will have this huge surprise because God will be neither as Muslims imagined him (phone in holster) nor as Christians imagined him (phone outside of the holster). Both will have the surprise to see God in its fullness – not just without the holster, but without the whole case!!

In the end, our human descriptions and definitions of God are not enough to describe the incomprehensible God because currently we have neither the language nor the wisdom to do it. So, I will try and limit my writing by saying this crucial thing: when Christians and Muslims think about God, they think about the same thing; if God were to be a phone, both Christians and Muslims would have in mind the same phone, the same referent, of course understood differently, each one seeing Him through his lenses obstructed either by the holster or by the case itself.

And now for those who say otherwise here comes the series of questions I’ve been waiting to ask!

Because I can’t see the whole image, because I can’t know God comprehensively, I believe that both Muslims and Christians have in their minds when they think about God the same referent, Yahweh, the Creator. So, let me ask you: if I can’t understand God perfectly or in his entirety it means I do not worship him? It means that I worship an idol? Or a demon?

Until I studied the doctrine of the Holy Trinity I couldn’t really explain to myself how God can be three and still one. There was even a time when, struggling to grasp the idea, I was thinking about some kind of dispensations in time of the Father, the Son and respectively of the Spirit, remaining in this way a single God or manifestation of God in that specific dispensation. Of course I was wrong but that means that before studying the doctrine of the Trinity I worshiped a demon? Or not Yahweh? And that can be asked in the case of each one of the characteristics of God!

Or for the fact that the Jews can’t see God as Trinity it means that they are completely ignored by God, that they worship a demon? Or what if our current definition of the Trinity is wrong and actually the inner life inside the Trinity functions in some other mysterious way? What then? It means that we worshiped another God?

And finally, because the Catholics and Orthodox understand God as rather unapproachable compared to the evangelicals (where saints and Virgin Mary don’t need to be used in approaching God), it means that we worship different gods?

To all the questions from above the answer is of course a categorical NO! In the same time, it is more than obvious that there are different interpretations and understandings of God, but that doesn’t change the referent!

What I propose is that in the light of these, let us start walking together the path to knowing God. Let us return to the origins where both Ishmael and Isaac were the sons of Abraham, worshiping the same God, the Creator. Alongside this path expect me to tell you about the only God-inspired book and about Christ as the fulfiller of God’s plan for the salvation of humankind. Expect me to challenge you with my beliefs, expect me to challenge your most precious ones, expect me to tell you that you know God only partially and that it is not enough for your salvation. Expect me to say or do crazy things, but remember that I do it because I love God and I love you, my neighbour.

Dracula and the Feast of the Transfiguration of Christ

•12 May 2014 • Leave a Comment

The Transfiguration of Christ, you know, that glorious change in the appearance of Jesus on Mount Tabor, and its celebration by Christians has a quite interesting story.

Some consider God the Father the author of the miracle, making the event of Transfiguration merely a re-confirmation of Christ as the Messiah, but I think that the event is much more than just that and the author of the miracle may as well be Christ himself. After all, they were all by themselves on that mountain (Matthew 17:1b-2, Mark 9:2b) and only afterwards God the Father appeared in an audible manner. Thus, Jesus was both the subject and the author of the miracle. (It would be interesting to see if the same thing applies to the resurrection or not!). However, when the presence of the Father came in the scene, he said some things pretty similar to what he said at the baptism of Jesus: “This is my Son, whom I love. Listen to him!” Thus, the Transfiguration has also some similarities with the baptism due to the witness of God the Father. But what is that supposed to mean? In the same manner as at the Baptism, when the presence of the Holy Trinity proved that Jesus is God, at the Transfiguration, the presence of God and the transfiguration itself was another proof that was to spread in the world only after Christ’s resurrection, if it can be said, as a reassurance for the disciples and the world.

The symbolism of the event, perpetuated mostly through iconography, is also of great value. Christ was standing on the mountain between Moses and Elijah. Now, Moses is generally understood as representing the Law, while Elijah was representing the prophets; Christ standing between them and speaking to them represents symbolically the fulfilment of both the Law and the prophets. Thus, it remains only Christ, a Christ who fulfilled both the Law and the Prophets bringing forth the good news, the gospel, euaggelion.

Today, the Transfiguration of Christ is celebrated around the world, in the Christian circles, on August the 6th. However, among the early Christians, the Transfiguration event had little importance, so little that it wasn’t even celebrated; only a few churches in Asia Minor observed the feast. It took several hundreds of years and the actions of Dracula to make the feast official.

In 1456, after the Siege of Belgrade, when the Christian armies won over the Muslim Turks, stopping their invasion of Europe, Pope Callixtus III established the Transfiguration as a feast and set in on August 6th. What is interesting is that the (in)famous Dracula or more correct, Vlad the Impaler of Romania was the one to whom the feast partially owes its place in the calendar. Vlad the Impaler (or Vlad Ṭepes) was one of the leaders of the Christian army that defeated the Turks alongside St. John of Capistrano and John Hunyadi (or Iancu de Hunedoara), another Romanian who led the Hungarian army at the time. Only after their victory and the decree of Pope Callixtus, the feast found its place alongside the 12 Great Feasts of the Orthodox Church.

I really wanted to share this with you because I was completely sure that 99% of you had no idea about this and about this side of Vlad, as a historical figure, brave warrior and ruler of a part of today’s Romania. Moreover, the peace and prosperity of many countries in the west was and is due to this brave men that fought for their lands against the Turks while others invented the wheel. Think for yourself, it is hard to invent the wheel in the midst of the battle, isn’t it? So maybe next time when you try and judge the Romanians and even the Bulgarians think a bit – Romania was through the history the first battlefield for the Turks and Tatars in their invasion of Europe. I am not saying that we want something now, maybe just some recognition and we kindly ask for a transfiguration of your mind while thinking about us.

So remember when you go celebrating the Transfiguration of Christ that he was the Son of God, fully human, fully divine, fulfiller of the Law and the Prophets, sole salvation for humanity, and maybe also another thing; that the celebration that you enjoy today carelessly is due to these great people in the history of Romania. May the rays of the mandorla of the transfigured Christ shine on you as they shone on his disciples!

Respecting God makes business prosper!

•5 April 2014 • Leave a Comment

CHICK-FIL-A RESTAURANT KISSIMMEE FLORIDA, Chick-fil-A Fast Food Chicken Sandwich Restaurant Kissimmee FL.I was always fascinated by this idea that obeying God’s day of rest, no matter which one is that, means also not to trade anything, that is to sell or to buy. The idea is first found in the book of Nehemiah, during the reform when they agreed to sign that document as a sign of rededication to the Lord.

“When the neighbouring peoples bring merchandise or grain to sell on the Sabbath, we will not buy from them on the Sabbath or on any holy day.” Nehemiah 10:31

For the reaction of the leaders against the merchants who still wanted to trade during the Sabbath and how the gates of the city were locked in their faces, read Nehemiah 13:15-21.

Now, there are lots of countries where the opening hours on the doors of the shops are like this: Monday to Sunday 9.00 – 22.00, one of those being Romania. When we got to Osijek, during my masters, I already had this bad habit to buy stuff from time to time on Sunday because I didn’t regard what day it was. Now the interesting part, Croatia wasn’t at the time part of the EU so they didn’t have to have that kind of program; they are Catholics so they had a really short program on Sunday, like until 1 PM. I remember me and Beny hurrying on the streets in the Sunday evening to a unique kiosk that was opened like until 11 PM or something only to get a bottle of Coke because our stomach ordered so.

It was a good exercise – not to buy stuff on Sunday. It makes you not to worry for that day, it makes you realize that is something special with that day, it makes you stop from your daily hurrying around and think!

Now there was a guy in our days that took this thing seriously: S. Truett Cathy, a Southern Baptist who founded the Chick-fil-A restaurant and decided that his restaurant will not be open on Sundays. Lately, the food chain, who has only 1775 restaurants in USA compared to KFC, 4491 restaurants, won the race for the best sales in fried chicken.[1] How could a restaurant that has much less units than KFC and it’s closed during Sundays won over the KFC king? Well, there is only one answer: GOD HONOURS THOSE WHO RESPECT HIM!

 

[1] http://www.foxnews.com/leisure/2014/04/01/chick-fil-tops-kfc-as-top-chicken-chain/

 
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