Re: “The Individual”

“So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new!”

(2 Corinthians 5:17)

“No one serving in the army gets entangled in everyday affairs; the soldier’s aim is to please the enlisting officer.” (2 Timothy 2:4)

Re: “The lifestyle of a Holic-Group member”

We are accused of living a radical lifestyle. “Radical” comes from “Radix” – the root. We don’t just want to play a bit of Christianity, but to live as Christians, to live through Christ who is our root (Col 2:7).

We do not follow any formalised daily programme, we certainly try to spend as much time together as possible, but the specific way we use our time depends on the current tasks. Each one should be given sufficient opportunity to use his own abilities in the life of the community.

We gratefully accept that our time our abilities and our bodies are a gift of God to be used for his glory, that’s why we also want to use all of this thankfully according to his will.

We do not treat our bodies like “brother donkey” (as Francis of Assisi did), which we simply exploit, but as the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor 6:19), in which we should glorify God. Therefore our body should self-evidently be supplied with all its needs, both sleep and food. Because the needs of each individual are different it is not possible to apply one uniform standard for everyone. Our desire to serve God protects us from sleeping excessively as we can also see in the example of Jesus (e.g. Luke 6:12) and of Paul (Acts 20:31 and 2 Cor 6:5).

Whereas the now beatified founder of Opus Dei (the conservative Catholic “Renewal” movement from the 20th century) took a completely different approach to dealing with the body.

“Do the same; fifteen minutes more mortification for the souls in purgatory; five more for your parents; another five for your brothers in the apostolate… Until, in the end, the allotted time is up. Your mortification done in this way… is worth so much!.” (Josemaria Escrivá, The Way, No. 899)

Our body has not been given to us for the purpose of mortification, but for the glory of God!

The way Kluge reproaches us of having an “unhealthy diet” shows how weak his argumentation is. On the one hand he knows very little about our dietary habits, on the other hand we do not have a typical “Christian” diet. Our diet is as varied as our tastes.

We do not make a cult out of food, but neither do we have any food laws or other regulations concerning our diet.

“For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected, provided it is received with thanksgiving.” (1 Tim 4:4)

Kluge’s impression, that our flats and houses (in which he has never set foot) lack “comfort and cosiness”, is his own subjective opinion. It is true, though, that our real home is not here on this earth, but with God. (John 14:2)

“For here we have no lasting city, but we are looking for the city that is to come.” (Heb 13:14)

For this reason we do not try to fill our living spaces with as much decoration as possible. Fine ornamentation, gold, silver and other treasures, which can be found in various religious buildings, cannot be found in any of our homes. “Simple and practical” is the principle, but there are no regulations, no rules (unfortunately we have to repeat this again and again, because Kluge wants to see a law behind everything).

Quite naturally, we let go of the things that we do not need anymore, nor will need in the future. We are not the museum curators of our old life.

As pilgrims we must wander,

free, bare and truly empty;

much gathering, holding, dealing,

only makes our walk heavier.

Your load will be your death;

we leave all behind when we depart.

Content with having less,

We take only what we need.

(G. Tersteegen)

Also in this point each one of us decides for himself what he can discard as unnecessary luxuries from the past.

Concerning the choice of “careers”:

We distinguish between our calling as Christians and our occupation through which we earn our keep and are able to buy the necessary material things. Paul, too, earned his money as a tent maker. His calling, though, was the proclamation of the gospel.

At work we want to fulfil our tasks conscientiously and according to our best knowledge and thus we do not altogether reject taking on responsibility. It is clear though, that the commandments of God are also valid in the work place, and unethical behaviour, (such as lying) is for a Christian just as impossible at work as it is in the community of the brothers and sisters.

We do not reject “church”-related organisations as employers from the outset. Other employers do not share our religious views either. As long as a “church”-related employer does not oblige its employees to take part in any religious practices specific to their particular religious denomination, and as long as the work itself is not unethical, working for a religious employer is not a problem. The problem was sometimes the other way around, namely that a Catholic employer did not want to take on non-Catholic employees.

When a sister of ours considered that the fulfilment of the human desire of vanity in working as a hair dresser was not a sensible activity and thus looked for another job, it was her own decision which was naturally accepted by the other brothers and sisters. Despite this we have no prohibition on working as a hairdresser. Unfortunately it is not always so easy to find a job which also has a more profound aim. As long as a job in itself is not immoral, it is possible for a Christian to do.

In all cases jobs which directly harm people must be rejected, like selling tobacco, or newspapers/magazines with immoral content. The fact that some jobs do not come into question at all for Christians was completely clear for people of former times. Thus, church ordinances from the second and third centuries excluded particular occupations from belonging to the church altogether.

It is not right to say that a Christian can only take the lowest position. Even a supervisory position is not something to be absolutely rejected. A Christian, however, is always conscious that his occupation can never be more important than his calling to follow Jesus. Accordingly, the level of involvement in a particular occupation has its limits. If Paul had initiated a large tent making production he might have gained a market leading position. But then there would have remained no time for him to fulfil his calling.