Arhivă pentru Februarie, 2009

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Posted: Februarie 28, 2009 in Uncategorized
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Un crestin care a suferit intemnitarea pentru credinta lui, in timpul regimului comunist din Romania.

Anunțuri

ZIDUL DE DESPARTIRE DINTRE BISERICA SI STAT
Este traducerea din limba engleza a expresiei „a wall of separation between church and state” care nu este mentionata intr-adevar in Constitutia Statelor Unite dar care apare inainte intr-o scrisoare a presedintelui Thomas Jefferson catre Asociatia Baptista Danbury din Connecticut. La 1 ianuarie 1802 scria”…Am meditat cu adanca reverenta asupra ceea ce a declarat poporul American in intregime, ca „legislativul nu trebuie sa faca nici o lege care sa stabileasca o religie ca fiind oficiala ori sa interzica exercitarea libera a religiei”, aceasta construieste un zid de despartire intre biserica si stat…”
Aceast concept este in acord cu „Primul Amendament” la Constitutie „Congresul nu trebuie sa faca nici o lege care sa stabileasca o religie oficiala de stat sau prin care sa impiedice libertatea religioasa,legi care sa ingradeasca libertatea de exprimare,libertatea presei,legi care sa limiteze dreptul la adunare pasnica si la a trimte petitii catre guvern.”
Aceasta separare dintre biserica si stat este exprimata prin cerinta ca guvernul sa evite de a se implica excesiv in religie, dar care nu promite libertate absoluta pentru religie. Parinti nu pot refuza asistenta medicala copillului lor, bazandu-se numai pe rugaciune, sau alte reglementari privind activitatea religioasa nu trebuie privite ca amestecul statului in treburile religiei. Un set de criterii care pot fi aplicate ca si cerinte pentru guvern privind separarea de religie sunt acestea prin care se spune ca guvernul nu poate: „ sa promoveze o religie sau credinta in detrimentul alteia, sau sa promoveze un stil de viata religios impotriva unui stil de viata secular sau un stil de viata secular in detrimentul unui stil de viata religios”.
Scriu aceste randuri pentru confratii mei evanghelici care ar dori, in naivitatea lor sa faca din religia crestina, religia oficiala a Americii . Ca sa inteleaga ce inseamna pentru altii de alte religii acest lucru si chiar pentru crestini , le cer sa faca un exercitiu de memorie. Amintiti-va ce a insemnat in Romania comunista sa traiesti ca si crestin cand religia oficiala de stat a fost „ateismul”. Politica de partid(unic) era suprapusa cu politica statului. Legile si comportamentul guvernului au emanat din aceasta religie, ateismul. Si ca de obicei, intotdeauna religia oficiala sub pretextul interselor de stat nu se sfiieste sa-si prigonesca oponentii,care nu pot fi altii decati cei care au o religie diferita de cea oficiala. In aceste conditii s-a nascut „ o specie” ciudata „comunistul crestin”, ca o solutie de compromis, dezagreata pana la urma de ambele parti. Din aceleasi motive, printre care ascensiunea sociala sau profesionala sa determine aparitia „ateului crestin”, in conditiile unui stat crestin.
Si daca totusi facem, din religia crestina, religia oficiala recunoscauta de stat adica deciziile politice si administraive sa fie ghidate dupa principiile crestinismului, care dintre variantele crestinismului este cea mai potrivita? Probabil denominatiunea cea mai mare va domina viata politica, sau se vor creia aliante dintre cele mai neasteptate intre diferite credinte crestine, numai pentru a castiga electorat. In loc sa auzi predici din Biblie sa participi la studii biblice sau la alte activitati religioase va trebui sa asculti discursuri politice partizane,sa fi solicitat sa faci contributii financiare pentru campania electorala , si argumente persuasive in favoarea candidatului propus.
In America s-a ajuns la aceasta idee, a separarii dintre religie si stat, inscrisa in Constitutia Uniunii in urma multor exemple de discriminare religioasa stipulate in constitutiile statelor membre . Cerinta ca angajatii guvernului sa creada in Trinitate sau /si in inspiratia divina a Bibliei,cerinta ca cei din legislativ sa fie crestini Protestanti, sau „Religia Protestanta” sa fie instituita ca religie de stat, sunt numai cateva exemple.
Sa ne gandim la unii dintre liderii spirituali ai bisericilor crestin-ortodocse care sustin vehement, ca nu poti fi un bun roman decat daca esti crestin ortodox, si la corespondentul american al unor crestini, potrivit caruia nu poti fi bun american daca esti musulman, sau pentru unii chiar atunci cand nu esti crestin evanghelic. Acestea sunt inca niste exemple ce inseamna ca o religie sa pretinda a fi religie de stat.
Imperiul Roman a practicat separarea dintre religie si stat intr-o oarecare masura pe vremea apostolilor lui Hritsos. Acest lucru este evidentiat de exemplu in relatarea din Faptele Apostolilor (18:12-17)
”Pe cand era Galion carmuitor al Ahaiei , Iudeii s-au ridicat cu un gand impotriva lui Pavel, l-au dus inaintea scaunului de judecata , si i-au zis: „Omul acesta atata pe oameni sa se inchine lui Dumnezeu intr-un fel care este impotriva Legii.”(Iudeii au incercat sa manipuleze statul in fovoarea religiei lor)
Pavel voia sa inceapa vorba , cand Galion a zis Iudeilor: „Daca ar fi vorba de vreo fapta rea sau de vreo blestematie(ticalosie),v-as asculta dupa cuviinta ,Iudeilor.( statul are rolul de a mentine ordinea sociala, siguranta cetatenilor si a statului”). Dar daca este vorba de neintelegeri asupra unui cuvant ,asupra unor nume si asupra Legii voastre , treaba voastra(separarea dintre religie si stat): eu nu vreau sa fiu judecator peste aceste lucruri.” Si i-a alungat de la scaunul de judecata.”
Aceste lucru a fost posibil pana cand s-a descoperit pericolul pe care il constiuia crestinismul pentru imperiu. Refuzul crestinilor de a se inchina imparatului pe motive de constiinta crestina, a atras dupa sine prigoana. Ca apoi cand imperiul a devenit crestin prigona s-a indreaptat celor care se impotriveau politicii de stat care se suprapunea acum cu religia crestina, daca putem sa spunem astfel.
Nu pot sa nu ma gandesc la superficialitatea si modul simplist in care este tratata in Romania separarea dintre biserica si stat de catre unii dintre evanghelici. Pana mai ieri oprimati de comunisti, crestinii de azi par a vedea in implicarea bisericii in poliitica ca o compensare pentru marginalizarea din perioada comunista. Dar poate mai mult decat aceasta compensare psihologica , este o conformare fata de religia oficiala de azi, materialismul. Unii vad ascensiunea candidatului pe care il susutin ca un acces la privilegiile materiale potentiale din punga bugetului statului, sau ca o recompensa pentru favorurile deja obtinute.
Pentru a impaca constiinta celor sceptici se folosec si argumente biblice prin interpretarea „dupa ureche” a unor naratiuni biblice. Dupa cum niste „batrani ai Iudeilor” au intervenit pe langa Isus ca sa-L roage sa vindece pe robul unui sutas roman, in baza acelorasi motive , sustin candidatura unui politician. „Face sa-i faci acest bine;” au spus batranii Iudei „ caci iubeste neamul nostru si el ne-a zidit sinagoga.” Suspectez ca si unii dintre activistii politici evanghelici din America, folosec asa zisele „adevaruri care nu se negociaza” , si pentru a avea acces la banii bugetului chiar daca realizeaza ca aceste „adevaruri” nu au sanse de a fi implementate politic.
Lupta unor lideri crestini din America pentru a anula interdictia de sustine sau a se opune unor candidati pentru functii publice ori sa foloseasca resursele lor in campanii electorale partizane, poate fi in clusa in acest comportament motivat materialiceste . A sustine candidati la functiile publice in cadrul bisericii este posibil, te poti bucura de aceasta libertate ,nu trebuie decat sa renunti la scutirea de taxe , adica sa platesti taxe pentru fondurile primite si esti liber sa te ocupi de politica . Totusi unii care au ambitii politice mai mult decat aspiratii spirituale conforme cu chemarea divina pe care pretind ca o au vor sa beneficieze si de scutirea de taxe si sa faca politica.
„Una dintre primejdiile care a pandit Biserica in toate secolele a fost atractia catre un mod de fiintare in care „veacul care va veni” tinde sa fie inlocuit de „veacul acesta” ,sau, altfel spus,Escatonul este in intregime realizat in istorie.Este adevarat ca modul in care are loc aceasta „substituire” a Escatonului de catre istorie difera de la o perioada istorica la alta, dar, in general, esenta fenomenului a fost aceeasi fie in Imperiul Crestin Bizantin,fie in regatul mesianic moscovit,fie in „escatologia”post-iluminista sau in statul „escatologic” comunist. Cand are loc”substituirea”, rolul Bisericii in societate ori se diminueaza in mod semnificativ, ori Biserica tinde sa isi asume functii istorice in detrimentul dimensiunii ei escatologice”. Sper ca acest fragment din „ Introducere” tiparit pe coperta cartii „Biserica si Statul” scrisa de Paul Negrut sa va provoc sa o cititi, pentru o intelegere mai profunda acestui subiect si o dezbatere argumentata teologic si pragmatic.


Care mi-a fost recomanadata de fiica si sotia mea. Ele stiu ca sunt un romantic si uneori pesimist si ca imi place muzica ruseasca.
M-a incantat vocea lui extraordinara. A fost la Bucuresti zilele acestea si canta si un cantec romanesc „Lie ciocarlie”

perii-albi1 Ne-am obisnuit sa vedem adolescenti si tineri care si-au vopsit parul in diferite culori. Am vazut ieri, pentru a doua oara saptamana asta un tip, tanar tuns numarul „3” si care avea vopsit parul blond cu buline negre!!!. Ceva nou pentru mine!!!!?.
Acum cativa ani surpriza! In biserica, cand eram in Romania un pastor care predica de cand eram eu copil, l-am vazut ca si-a vopsit parul.
Nu stiu ce explicatie au psihologii pentru acest lucru(fenomen) cand barbatii care, cand vad ca le apar fire albe de par, recurg la aceasta imbunatatire a imaginii(„new look”)!? Pana mai ieri nici pentru femei nu era considerat potrivit acest „chip al veacului”!!!.
Desi suntem inclinati sa credem ca podoaba tinerilor este parul(vedem tot felul de coafuri) si punctul forte al batranilor este forta fizica, un proverb de-al lui Solomon ne spune ca lucrurile stau invers. „Slava tinerilor este taria,DAR podoaba batranilor sunt PERII ALBI” (Prov. 20:29).
Iar apostolul Pavel cand se adreseaza diferitelor generatii din biserica le recomanda batranilor ca „Trebuie sa fie treji, vrednici de cinste…”(Tit 2:2a). Un lucru care ma ingrijoreaza cel mai mult acum cand am „perii albi” este cum sa fac sa nu-mi pierd respectul din partea celor tineri prin comportamentul meu si nu pentru cum arat.
Daca cumva voi fi tinta glumelor lor are cine sa ma apere,asa cum l-a aparat Dumnezeu pe Elisei. „De acolo(Elisei) s-a suit la Betel. Si pe cand mergea pe drum, niste baietasi au iesit din cetate, si si-au batut joc de el. Ei ii ziceau: „Suie-te plesuvule! Suie-te plesuvule!”
El s-a intors sa-i priveasca, si i-a blestemat in Numele Domnului. Atunci au iesit doi ursi din padure, si au sfasiat patruzeci si doi din acesti copii.”(2Imp 2:23-24). Cam aspra lectie au primit pentru lipsa lor de respect.
Si totusi : De ce isi vopsesc unii barbati (batrani) parul? Poate ma ajutati sa inteleg.

TEST HERE(ENGLISH VERSION)
Am gasit intr-un articol din New York Times referinta la un test administrat de Universitatea Harvard si Universitatea din Washington si Universitatea din Virginia. Testul ne poate desvalui “apucaturile” aintirasiale ascunse. Am parcurs acest test si cred ca reflecta aproape 100% atitudinea mea.
Autorul articolului a aflat o explicatie cu privire la faptul ca testul descopera unele tendinte antirasiale ascunse. Creierul nostru face asocieri in mod automat pe baza experientelor si informatiilor pe care le primim, chiar daca noi in mod constient suntem de acord sau nu cu aceste asocieri. Chiar insusi profesorul intervievat a facut testul si el insusi a aratat o tendinta pro-albi/si inclinatie anti-negrii.
Asa ca sfatuiesc pe parinti sa nu-i mai ameninte pe copii ca”te dau la tigani daca nu esti cuminte”. Pentru ca atunci cand vor fi mari si vor ajunge ministrii sa nu spuna ca „…sa-i trimitem in Africa”(pe tigani). Prin aceasta un exministru roman contemporan si-a facut publice tendintele antirasiale ascunse.
Pentru a parcurge testul in limba romana apasa pe ” TEST AICI”
TEST AICI

Role of the Audit Committee
The Audit Committee represents the interests of the membership of the church, as well as those of the clergy, the church governing body, and even those of the regional or national church body. The Audit Committee is entrusted to perform a task that none of these individuals or groups can perform, primarily because they do not have access to the financial information and transactions of the church on a daily basis. The members and other interested parties are not in a position to judge the accuracy and fairness of any summarized financial reports which the church produces.
The Audit Committee has the task of attempting to verify the truth and accuracy of the information contained in the church’s financial reports, and by expressing an opinion on such information, make them more believable and acceptable to all interested parties. Such credibility can be achieved only if the Committee itself is believable. It is often said that the cornerstone of any audit is independence, meaning that the auditors must be unbiased and impartial regarding the material which is the subject of their audit. Only then can they offer a fair opinion on what they have examined. Perception can be just as important as reality in meeting this test, for an
individual may be the most honest and objective person alive, but if the membership of the church perceives that person to be biased or to have a vested interest in the subject matter of the audit, any report they might give will not be credible. Thus it is not appropriate for a church’s treasurer or financial secretary to serve on the Audit Committee. Certainly these individuals will play a central role in the audit, and they must be readily available to the Committee. The audit and the audit report, however, must be produced by individuals who are not now, and have not been, involved in the accounting or record keeping for the church during the year under audit.
The church and its leadership have a stewardship responsibility to see that the resources made available are used in the service of Christ and in the manner designated by the church leadership and the membership. This responsibility also extends to managing special gifts which may be restricted by the donor, and thus are available only for a specific purpose. A properly functioning Audit Committee will help the church to fulfill it stewardship responsibility by helping to assure that resources have been used in the proper fashion.
The church Audit Committee has a uniquely challenging task because of the
environment in which it must operate. Churches are typically, and appropriately, characterized by a high degree of trust among the staff and employees. Nonetheless, prudence dictates that the church leadership must remain ever vigilant in order to fulfill the responsibilities given to it. No individual is above temptation. Jesus Himself was tempted by Satan. And yet who among mortals has the strength of Christ to withstand all such assaults? The Audit Committee is sometimes perceived as superfluous or unnecessary because of the trust placed in the church’s treasurer and/or financial secretary. In the vast majority of cases that trust is well deserved. In other cases, the Committee is viewed by those whose work comes under scrutiny as an attempt to
discredit or devalue their work. Indeed, the treasurer or financial secretary should not view the Audit Committee as a vehicle by which the church is expressing distrust or suspicion. On the contrary, the Audit Committee in a church should celebrate the good work of the treasurer and financial secretary and hold it up high for all the membership to see!

The Committee’s Objectives
The objectives of the church Audit Committee are somewhat narrower than those of a
public accountant auditing financial statements of a business. Most businesses must conform to a set of required accounting principles when presenting financial statements to the public, and auditors therefore gear their work toward reporting on whether the business’ statements are in conformity with such acceptable accounting principles. For many churches, especially smaller ones, generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) are usually a non-issue. Compliance with such principles would only become important if the church had a need to publish its financial statements to outside parties, such as a lending institution, and was therefore required to have the statements audited by an independent outside auditing firm. Statements prepared for internal use by the church and its members need not conform to generally accepted accounting principles, although they certainly can be so prepared if the church wishes. It is usually much simpler for the church to prepare just those statements and schedules which it finds most useful, however.
Since most churches find that the information they need most often revolves around cash receipts and cash payments, the reports they have developed focus on these aspects of the church’s operations. Accordingly, the principal objectives of the church Audit Committee will also concentrate on these areas. In general terms, the Committee must be able to satisfy itself that all cash received by the church has been recorded properly and deposited into a bank account where access is limited. Similarly, it should be satisfied that all cash payments have been properly authorized by the appropriate body within the church, properly documented and recorded. Finally, the Committee must be satisfied that all of these receipts and payments are correctly summarized and reported in the annual financial reports of the church, and that the information contained therein agrees with the underlying records of the church.
The Audit Committee’s responsibilities will extend to other areas as well. For example,
if the church has investments in securities such as stocks and bonds, the Committee will seek to assure itself that any purchase or sale transactions during the year have been properly authorized and recorded, and that the list of investments in the year-end financial reports is complete and accurate, properly representing what the church owns at year-end. On the other hand, if the church has any outstanding debts such as mortgages or loans, the Committee will want to assure itself that all required payments have been made during the year, and that the balances reported in
the church’s financial statements are accurate as of the date of the statements.
There are other areas which should get the Committee’s attention too. These include the payroll area where the Committee will want to make sure that all employees and staff are being.

„Used by permission of the Commission for Leadership Development, Massachusetts Conference United Church of Christ”

For „Handbook for Church Audit Committee” click here HANDBOOK

FIRST CHURCH OF “ANYTOWN”
AUDIT COMMITTEE
ACCOUNTING PROCEDURES
CHECKLIST/QUESTIONNAIRE
Date Completed:__________________ Person Completing:__________________
QUESTION YES NO N/A OR COMMENT
1. Does the church have an up-to-
date accounting procedures
manual? _____ _____
2. Does the financial secretary’s or
treasurer’s activities involve only
keeping the records of cash
collections and preparing support
for disbursements? _____ _____
3. Are facilities locked when not in
use? _____ _____
4. Are the accounting records
safeguarded at all times? _____ _____
5. Is an internal Audit Committee
operational? _____ _____
6. Are the accounting records and
underlying internal controls
audited annually? _____ _____
7. Are all employees who have
access to cash bonded? _____ _____
8. Are members encourages to use
offering envelopes? _____ _____
9. Are members encouraged to use
checks in making their offerings
(and other gifts)? _____ _____
10. Is the handling of collections
always controlled by at least two
people?
11. Are collections counted in a
secure area?
12. Do the money counters verify that
the contents of the offering envelopes
are identical to the amounts written
on the envelopes by members?
13. Are all checks received restrictively
endorsed as soon as possible?
14. Is cash deposited as soon as possible
after receipt?
15. Is ALL cash received deposited in the
bank?
16. Is cash safeguarded in a safe, lockbox,
or protective container when at the
church?
17. Are collection reports given to the
financial secretary or treasurer for
entry into the accounting records, and
a copy sent to the audit committee of
finance committee for subsequent
purposes?
18. Are incoming mail and in-office
contributions handled by people who
are not responsible for the accounting
records?
19. Has the bank been instructed in
writing never to cash checks made
payable to the church?
20. Are contributions records maintained
for members?
21. Are members instructed to report
any discrepancies in their notices
of contributions to the Audit
committee?
22. Are the contribution records
reconciled to the total contributions
in the accounting records?
23. Are requisition slips prepared for
cash disbursements that do not have
standing authorization?
24. Are pre-numbered purchase orders
used for all purchases that do not have
standing authorization?
25. Are invoices for goods and services
approved by a person in authority
before payment is made?
26. Are invoices checked for accuracy
before being paid?
27. Are the approval and check for
accuracy documented?
28. Are all disbursements, except for minor
items, made by serially numbered
checks?
29. Is a check protector used?
30. Are at least two signatures required
for all checks?
31. Do all check signers inspect all
supporting documentation before
signing?
32. Are invoices and supporting documents
marked canceled or paid when checks are
issued?
33. Are invoices and supporting
documents marked canceled or
paid when checks are issued?
34. Are all voided checks so marked
and retained?
35. Is preparing a check made payable to
“Cash” prohibited?
36. Are blank unused checks safeguarded
at all times?
37. Is a petty cash fund used for minor
disbursements of cash?
38. Are vouchers prepared for all
disbursements from the petty
cash fund?
39. Are transfers between bank accounts
always properly authorized?
40. Are reconciliations of all bank accounts
prepared monthly by an individual who
is not involved in handling cash or
writing checks?
41. Is the petty cash fund reconciled on a
surprise basis at least once per year?
42. Are the account balances in the books
reconciled with the amounts presented
in the financial reports?
43. Are valuables (securities, important
documents) afforded protection in a
bank safe deposit box?
QUESTION
44. Are two signatures required for access
to the safe deposit box?
45. Is an updated inventory of securities,
valuables, equipment, and other noncash
assets maintained?
46. Are regular reviews made to determine
if insurance coverage is adequate?

The Audit ReportAll of the work of the Audit Committee will yield very limited benefits unless the results
are communicated to the church leadership and membership. This final step is accomplished in
the form of an audit report signed by the members of the Audit Committee and attached to the
annual financial reports of the church. While the exact language of the report may vary from
church to church, it should consider the following: 1) the subject of the audit report, namely the
annual financial reports; 2) what the Committee did, namely audit the records and reports; 3) the
limitations of the Committee’s work, namely that it is not a guarantee of accuracy; and 4) an
opinion on the fairness of the records and reports. The Committee may also wish to include in its
report a word of commendation for the tireless work of the church treasurer and financial
secretary. This would certainly be in the Christian spirit of lifting up the efforts of these
individuals before the congregation they serve. A sample audit report is presented below.
Report of the Audit Committee
Date:
To: The Church Leadership and Membership
We have audited the records and the financial reports of First Church of Anytown
dated xx/xx/xxxx and contained herein. While our audit was limited to testing the
transactions and balances and would not necessarily disclose all errors, we found no
evidence of significant errors or omissions. In our opinion, the financial reports
mentioned above are fairly stated.
We wish to commend the treasurer, financial secretary, and assistant treasurer for
their fine work during the year. On behalf of the congregation, we thank them for the gift
of their time and talent.
John Smith – Auditor Mary Jones – Auditor

Used by permision of the Commission for Leadership Development,Massachusetts Conference,United Church of Christ
PS pentru cine doreste mai multe informatii poate sa scrie la comentarii la acest articol