Wednesday, 30 July 2008

What I want this blog to be about [Despre ce vreau să fie blogul acesta]

Over half a year ago, this blog was primarily meant (and, as long as the Lord wants, it will remain so) to describe how life in the UK is, through the eyes of an an unworthy son of the Romanian Orthodox Church, who had been given the chance to spend some time in the UK as a Chevening Fellow.

Everything – from cars and traffic, beautiful landscapes, girls with cute smiles, shopping and prices, strange things to be aware of, good and bad examples, to the horror of secularism, and the oases of Orthodox spirituality – was and still remains an issue worth writing about. How long I will be able to keep writing here or when I could come back to the UK – these are aspects of little importance for now.

This MunteanUK is a pretty weird passion of mine, written both as a regular travel blog, and as some kind of unofficial journalistic project. Beyond this descriptive character of my blog, there’s something else that began to matter more and more to me.

Little by little, taking British realities as a pretext, and without setting out any ‘propagandistic’ goal, I began to use this blog for bearing witness to what I’ve become, to the Truth I believe in, and Whom (because He is a Person – Jesus Christ– , not a concept, an ideal, a universal law, a principle, an impersonal force or power etc!) I want to follow, without preaching anything to anyone.

I couldn’t tell which is the actual purpose of stubbornly keeping this blog, apart from the Utopian dream of earning a living as a blogger :-), something that will probably never happen, as long as I’m writing about so many unpopular things (our souls, God, the meaninglessness of life how most of my contemporaries know it, responsibility over our destiny, sins, tough questions like the one in the picture which illustrates this post, and so forth).

I’m trying my best to earn, in spite of my sinfulness and worthlessness, an Orthodox outlook on each and every aspect of life (more about this – here), and what I experienced in the UK offers a tremendous opportunity for reflection.

I AM HAPPY, therefore I don’t need to preach anything to anyone. Only unhappy people need to prove something to others or justify their beliefs, only unsecure people keep accusing me that, by simply stating my absolute belief (which makes me seem so intolerant, so uncomfortable to the relativist world we live in!) I am ‘restraining their freedom.’ I doubt this is really the case.

Everybody gives away their freedom by their own free choice. Faith, love, salvation, happiness, a meaningful or meaningless life, a good day or a bad day – are all a matter of free choice. Life is what anyone choses to make of it, and so is – exclusively during our short life span! – our Maker Himself.

Our choices are obvious, as He has let Himself entirely in our hands throughout our lives, to do what ever we want to Him: 1) to crucify Him all over again, to banish Him from our every thought and our hearts that were designed to long for Him or 2) to love Him, to call Him, and let ourselves taken care of.

The right answer is entirely up to each of us, but what we answer is irrelevant to His unquestionable existence. The answer counts for each of us, and yes – call me intolerant all of you politically correct humanists! – our eternal fate depends on this answer. This is no conversion by threat (as I am not trying to convince anyone of anything!), this is the truth!

Far be it from me the thought that I am doing everything right, that I am behaving perfecly humbly and patiently, and that I don’t have countless things to take the blame for! But I will always affirm that, no matter what is wrong with me as a sinful human being, no matter how many and how bad my mistakes would be, the truth of what I believe in is beyond any doubt!

What I claim here is not just something personal convincing me of the truth of what I believe in after having experienced The Lord firsthand!), but millions of Saints who prove the same things, along with countless people (that I keep meeting) who have turned away from their religiously indifferent (and meaningless!) lives to the happiness of being with Christ.

I myself could go to hell, I am not claiming that ‘I’m already saved’, nor sinless, but it’s just sheer hypocrisy of anyone to use as a scapegoat any of my real or imaginary faults to stay away from the Lord. It’s simply their own choice, which I’m not imposing on any free human being.

Anyone can ask the secular people I’m living among or those that I am gladly working with, and see that, in spite of being relatively weird (as any Orthodox is looked down upon), I’m always trying not to preach anything to anyone. I just want to do things my way (that is His way – a path walked upon by millions of His followers), and let others do things their ways.

I simply don’t want to have anything to do with more and more of these other ways; I don’t have the time or energy for just hanging around, killing my time or having fun. I am taking everything seriously, and this makes me happy.

In the meantime, how many of you, those who simply don’t want to believe (as there is no ‘I can’t’ in matters of faith!) could you say that you are at least partially happy?! You may be feeling good every now and then, but those experiences can’t have anything to do with true happiness...

How many of those whose main purpose in life is a hedonistic one (to ‘enjoy themselves’) are really happy, as long as I so often find the ‘life sucks’ attitude on their blogs or though their personal lamentations? I bet most of them have grown tired of the predictability, and shallowness of their lives.

Undoubtedly, life without God sucks, but so many people would prefer any false explanation for why their lives are so miserable rather than this only true one!

My feelings towards these people embracing other ways have not changed (on the contrary, living in Christ has opened my heart more to love everybody as they are), yet I am honestly living too much of a full life to be able to offer any time to their ways.

Oh, what a boring life (mine) that would be,” many skeptics would decree, hidden between a cloud of cigarette smoke or sipping from a beer bottle, just after having lamented about their being fed-up with their own robotic lives. Sorry to disagree with you all ‘living’ like this – I actually live my life to the fullest, precisely after getting to know Who is He that brought me to life, and I AM REALLY HAPPY.

This is the real happiness that I can only wish to anyone. But it’s the kind of happiness that anyone can take for themselves, by their free choice. If they want to. If they don’t want to, it’s not as though I (who am happy to be with Him, irrespective of darker or brighter times I am going through) or the Lord would lose anything.

I’m not planning my life further away than the next 20 minutes (although this is due to change soon :-), I am not making lists of ‘people to see,’ neither of ‘people not to see.’ I’m just taking everything as it comes, and it’s great to do so, since my life honestly keeps being an action movie.

I don't need films to get away, I don't need games to play, I don’t need any kind of drugs to sedate myself, I don’t need anything from outside of myself, in order to feel good with myself, as long as I know Him, Who can fulfill every wish.

I don’t want to be anywhere else than where He leads me to, and He did take me to some wondeful places (see a list of them here), thus anyplace is alright for me, as He is omnipresent. Therefore, this is my blog: a testimony that I give about the way God has changed my life (for quite some time now), using the UK realities as a background.

What does this have to to with the UK? Well, in the secular UK, these changes in my inner self became even more profound, and my choices have become crystal clear: first and foremost I chose to be with our Lord Jesus Christ (Who can only be experienced through living by His words; other than that, He remains unapproachable by the reason and logic of a proud secular mind!).

I will never be ‘the same old myself again’ (if anyone misses me, since I... don’t miss myself :-), and I don’t miss any ‘good old times’. All I want is never to be without Him. Whatever actually happens with my life, may His will be done!

And the great advantage of being happy with Him is knowing that His wish (even when manifested under the form of an apparently absurd event occuring in our lives) is for my own good.

I was sure of this even in the most dreadful experiences I’ve been put through, whilst I can only feel sorry (but never despise them!) for those who live without Him: even when they (imagine that) have it all, by just not giving credit to Him, by just refusing to admit His existence, they are making themselves unhappy by their own choice.

[For all the posts on this blog go to/Pentru toate postările de pe acest blog mergi la: Contents/Cuprins]


Mihaela Pana said...

Frumoasa marturie! Parca asteptam o asemenea postare inca de cand am intrat prima data pe blogul asta. Domnul sa te binecuvinteze! :-)

Doamne, ajuta-ne!

MunteanUK said...

Thanks for your words of support, dear Mihaela, another reader whom I don't personally know... but this is great, and the Lord deserves all the credit for every soul who clicks on my blog and finds anything good here.

It's a blessing from His part to know, every now and then, that all the things I am spilling over here right from the depths of my soul can mean something to at least a few.

God bless you!

Mihaela Pana said...

Yes, this is the wonder and joy! We meet in a virtual environement and get to know each other through and because of our ideas and precious values.

You are happy your words find an echo in someone's heart, I am satisfied that there still are young people to talk with so much joy (orthodox joy:-) about the life with Him! I am happy for you!:-)
God help us all!

MunteanUK said...

Dear friend from this virtual world,

I really am happy for everything that the Lord is bringing into my life, although this happiness sometimes comes along with a great deal of suffering, which is pointless only from the point of view of the secular world's wisdom.

Yet, I know that nothing is meaningless for our Lord, and I'd rather suffer but be with Him, than 'enjoy myself' but be without Him! Every little tear that flows down our cheek, evey new acquaintance that we make online, every smile we offer to someone, every little sigh and prayer... everything counts... as well as our acts of egoism, indifference, greed and anger count, but in a 'self-destructive' manner.

However, I would be glad to receive your comments on any of my 126 posts (so far) where you may find anything 'constructive' and worth giving your opinion about.

It's wonderful to witness a stranger saying "I am happy for you" as you say to me... maybe it's because, within our Lord's love, none of us are 'strangers'... don't you think so?

Mihaela Pana said...

That was my idea! The love of our Lord is the one that brings us together and makes us feel not strangers, but brothers and sisters!

I realize that this might be considered utopic, and the real feeling of brotherhood is not so easy to feel or maintain (because it is based on a profound knowledge of the other one), but when you meet ideas and values same as yours, you don't feel the "distance" that separates you from the other so big!

Intr-adevar, fiecare gest si actiune conteaza. Si fiecare trebuie sa fie responsabil pentru ceea ce face si pentru consecintele actelor sale. De-abia in ultima vreme am realizat si eu ca orice mic gest are rostul lui. Ne influentam unii pe altii mai mult decat credem!

De exemplu, acum profit sa imi exersez si eu engleza cam "ramolita", dar faptul ca ma grabesc un pic m-a determinat sa imi termin mesajul "pre limba noastra":-)

Doamne, ajuta si spor in tot lucrul cel bun!

MunteanUK said...

Only the Lord knows precisely why certain people meet (even online) in a certain moment, as well as He surely knows why He led me to making special friends in the UK.

Maybe this time you're on my blog to write words of support just because my happiness and my strength of faith are being put through some kind of a nerve-breaking test these very days...

However, happen what may with my life, I'll try my best to hold on to our Lord Jesus Christ, as only He can bring meaningfulness and true happiness to us!

Tavi said...

"unpopular things (our souls, God, the meaninglessness of life how most of my contemporaries know it, responsibility over our destiny, sins, tough questions like the one that in the picture that illustrates this post, and so forth)"

maybe these things are not popular, but there are few that look for them, at a certain moment of their lives.

You are so true about tones of blogs with "life sucks" and I like that you really make a difference in the "blogosphere". By attitude, by posts subjects, by education, etc.

God have mercy on us!

Somebody once told me that to God there's no coincidence.

MunteanUK said...

Dear Tavi,

There's absolutely no doubt - to me at least, and how I wish all human beings had a similar belief!!! - that there is no 'coincidence', 'hazard', 'chance' or 'bad luck' in this world!

Nothing happens 'by mistake' unknown and unguarded by our Lord. He created the Universe, and He takes care of each of us, that's why 'saving the climate' sound so silly to me!

We are not called to 'save the world' but to 'save our souls', something which can categorically have 'positive effects' upon other people and the whole Creation of the Lord. The planet is suffering greatly not because we breathe (and thus eliminate Co2), but because we are pround, greedy, unsenstivive, full of vanity, murderous etc!

Please check this little proof (given on a favourite blog of mine) that nothing happens irrespective of God's will:

...without forgetting that God's providence, doesn't not interefere with our free choice:

Believing strongly that 'everything has a meaning', of course that every little online encounter (like ours in the past days) must also have a meaning. The Lord will reveal it to us one day :-)

Tavi said...

The only meaning I see *now* is that I'm happier that I "met", talked with and read interesting views on today's popular and not so popular :) things I'm interested in also.

MunteanUK said...

@ Tavi

Do you feel 'happier' just for a brief encounter online?! Good for you! This means you're a person who knows how to be happy (and grateful to the Lord, I assume) for 'little things' :-)

And if you are thankful for 'trivial' things like these, I'm sure that God will bless you with great wonders for which to be grateful!

It don't bother to understand the meaning of people & events brought into my life by the Lord, as He always knows better than my 'assumptions', nevertheless, I must confirm to you that since I started (Jan 15, 2008) blogging has been having a significant impact upon my life.

On the one hand, old friends accused me of 'turning cold' to them, when, as a matter of fact, I hoped that my posts (not all related to my faith) could have represented good starting points for interesting discussions :-(

On the other hand, there are countless good things that God brought me through this blog:

- 'earned' me a lot of people to pray for every night;
- opened my eyes to counless interesting blogs;
- revealed to me some of my mistakes and shortcomings;
- helped me make good friends (some very special ones);
- offered me the chance to write about what I like in a time when I less & less like what I'm writing for work;
- served as an online 'CV' in some occasions;
- works as a great tool of keeping in touch with my family, friends & acquaintances all over the world...

...and I could go on, but the main idea is that, over time, the Lord helped me find a 'meaning' for so many hours spent online...

...and this shouldn't be interpreted that I don't need some 'treatment' for my internet addiction! :-)

I'm looking forward to any other comments from you, especially on our debate about the contemporary scientific community!

Tavi said...

Actually, I have a lot to learn from you in matter of happiness :) I have a lot of days wasted and I'm happy when I talk/meet people from whom I have things to learn.
And yes, it doesn't take much to make me happy.

I admit that I didn't had time to read all the links you gave me about the population control, nwo, etc. I made an agreement with my husband that we will spend only one hour a day on the PC (not just the Internet) so.. less time. I sometimes cheat and use it from the workplace, but still not enough.

Currently I'm more worried about the *bright* idea of obligatory vaccination in France.. and maybe in USA.
I didn't heard about the UK, just the nurses and medical personnel.

Still, I wonder again, are the french so alienated to accept this and not go on the streets to protest?

MunteanUK said...

@ Tavi

I'm far from being a 'model' from any point of view. It just happened that the Lord gave me a 'gift of writing'. Because of it some people imagine that my life is as good, well-articulated, full of confidence and faith as my writing appears to be.

In reality, I'm not such a good person as I'd like to be, my life is often chaotic (not organised like my blog), I also have bad moods & moments when I feel low, and my faith is not always very strong.

Maybe it's because I am at least trying to live up to my own expectations, every now and then, people (like you now) find something to learn from me. I also find many things to learn form many people, almost every day...

If we ever become self-complacent and allow ourselves to be swallowed within any kind of 'I-know-it-all' attitude... well, then we're on a road to spiritual disaster. God forbid that!

Taking the above into consideration, I must say that I learned a good 'rule' from you as well, which could be stipulated like this: "spouses shouldn't spend more than one our in front of a computer if they want a happy marriage" :-)

Since the issue of 'forced vaccinations' is completely offtopic here, I gave my answer on that on the post where our conversation began:

Anonymous said...

Foarte clar, frumos, concis. Si , desi scrisa mai demult, uite ca am citit-o exact atunci cand trebuia/era nevoie.
Si Ii multumesc.
Inca o data iti doresc sa te binecuvanteze Dumnezeu si sa te indrume (ce) sa scrii in continuare.
Multumesc, Bogdan.