Man shall not live by “bread alone”. Miroslav Volf, Flourishing

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My main thesis is simple. I can state it in the words that, according to the Hebrew Bible, Moses said to the children of Israel at the end of forty years of wandering in the wilderness and the words that Jesus, weakened after forty days of fasting in the wilderness, hurled at the Tempter in self-defense (Deuteronomy 8:3; Matthew 4:4): “One does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.” The greatest of all temptations isn’t to serve false gods, as monotheists like to think. The greatest of all temptations, equally hard to resist in abundance and in want, is to believe and act as if human beings lived by bread alone, as if their entire lives should revolve around the creation, improvement, and distribution of worldly goods. Serving false gods—or turning the one true God into a mere bread provider, which amounts to the same thing—is the consequence of succumbing to this grand temptation.

When we live by bread alone, there is never enough bread, not enough even when we make so much of it that some of it rots away; when we live by bread alone, someone always goes hungry; when we live by bread alone, every bite we take leaves a bitter aftertaste, and the more we eat the more bitter the taste; when we live by bread alone, we always want more and better bread, as if the bitterness came from the bread itself and not from our living by bread alone. I could continue with the analogy, but you get my point: living by “mundane realities” and for them alone, we remain restless, and that restlessness in turn contributes to competitiveness, social injustice, and the destruction of the environment as well as constitutes a major obstacle to more just, generous, and caring personal practices and social arrangements.

Trying to live by “bread alone” kills both us and our neighbors.33 “Alone” is a key word in the biblical passage and in my thesis: bread alone (or, perhaps, bread above all). For we all live also by bread, and without bread all of us are dead. Still, without the divine Word we shrivel even when we are in overdrive, we fight and destroy, we perish. The Word is the bread of life, and it gives abundant life, as it is suggested in the Torah and written in the Gospels (Deuteronomy 8:1–20; John 6:35, 10:10).

Miroslav Volf, Flourishing : Why we need religion in a globalized world

A story about grace. The story of Jean Valjean

jean valjeanMy first attempt to read a novel was, I guess, at eleven. I haven’t read much in childhood unfortunately. I seriously started to read only after I’ve met God. God filled me spiritually and only then I realized how empty I was intellectually.

So, the first attempt was Les Miserables by Victor Hugo. I don’t think I finished it. I did tried to read it several times and nearly always my mum woke me up. I didn’t understood much because of that. No wonder…

The names were interesting though. Jean Valjean, Cosette, Javert etc. French. And Romania likes French stuff. Travel to Bucharest and you’ll see Little Paris. We copy paste Paris without a licence. They tought it will be a good ideea to copy paste the language and culture. I was taught French from my 2nd grade till I finished high school. Maybe that’s why I started to hate it. Nothing personal or national. I assume it was just my old teacher. Her style was slightly communist. But enough about my petite histoire francais

Talking about Les Miserables, I realized that it’s a sad and beautiful story, but also a story about God’s grace. Max Lucado brilliantly points this out in his book, Grace.

JeanValjeanValjean enters the pages as a vagabond. A just-released prisoner in midlife, wearing threadbare trousers and a tattered jacket. Nineteen years in a French prison have left him rough and fearless. He’s walked for four days in the Alpine chill of nineteenth-century southeastern France, just to find out that no inn will take him, no tavern will feed him. Finally he knocks on the door of a bishop’s house.

Monseigneur Myrel is seventy-five years old. Like Valjean he has lost much. The revolution took all the valuables from his family except some silverware, a soup ladle, and two candlesticks. Valjean tells his story and expects the religious man to turn him away. Butthe Citește în continuare „A story about grace. The story of Jean Valjean”