Friday, January 24, 2014

Romania Continued

Introducing the Fulops

It’s been a while since I’ve added to my Journey With Psalms blog. Family trauma last summer resulted in a shared office, a full schedule, and, I must admit, a distracted blogger. But I’m back and invite you to again join me on the journey. 

In retrospect, I can see that when I first visited the Ukraine in 1998, I was becoming aware of trails I had never seen before. Though I still carried the title, "Queen of Bleeding Hearts," at least with my family, I was beginning to question my understanding of how a just society should be achieved. The Romania interviews generated more questions.

Now Meet Denes and Ilona Fulop

We interviewed them in June of 2003. Denes and Ilona met and married after he had been
released from the Danube Delta prison camp. In 1959, he was one of many young Reformed seminary graduates accused of anti-state activities. Later I’d like you to hear parts of that story. Now, however, I’d like you to meet them.

At the very beginning of his interview, he summarized his understanding of the Christian life. That’s what I’d like you to read now. He saw himself as an ever-reforming child of God.

In His Words – Denes Fulop.

“When I was 15, I was overwhelmed when I read Doestevsky’s, Crime and Punishment. Until then, I had not thought deeply about the books and stories that ran through my life and hands. They were simply occasional reading.

Maybe for a year or more after I had first read, Crime and Punishment, I couldn’t read any other book. It contained the whole human condition for me, a world of human characters and emotions, both good and bad. It troubled me that Sonya was forced to register as a prostitute and carry a yellow card, but her spirit was deeply innocent. Raskolnikov killed the old lady, but in the depths of his soul, he was not a bad man. Most important for me was that in spite of all their sins and faults, they could beg for mercy.

The main characters arrive at a point where they can confess and then on the basis of forgiveness, start something new. In this story I could see human kind finding its true path. This is true for individuals, for all humans because we are filled with errors, faults, and mistakes around us and within us, faults from which we should step back and start a new beginning. This new beginning is an important way of life for me. It’s how I solve problems, how I confess sins, and how I beg for mercy. We confess that we have to start again and again each day, accepting the fact that we are not without sin, that we are not perfect.

New beginnings are made possible by Christ’s resurrection at Easter and Pentecost. The healing and forgiveness are rooted in the crucifixion and Easter resurrection. And we are like the disciples at Pentecost, who spread out, hesitant and unsure of the future but with a desire to act based on emotion, rational understanding, and will. There are moments in life when these three come together and there is a change. This is rebirth through the power of the Holy Spirit – everyone may be reborn.

This is the essence of my theological understanding of life. Some years later, though I didn't kill anyone, I followed Raskolnikov’s path to prison and the path of doubt both in prison and after. And then I received the strength of regained faith and hope. I had to begin my life again. I believe this Latin saying, semper reformanda, always reforming. Our confessional ancestors told us that the reformation is not just a historical event, but a continuous act.”

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