Real Questions – Real Answers

2018. március 07., szerda

The youngsters are disinterested, not curious about the church – sounds the familiar statement, which is refuted every time by the conversation series for students organized by the University Chaplaincy of the Károli Gáspár Reformed University and the University Chaplaincy Mission in Pest. We asked Tamás András Márkus, the university chaplain, about this program called, Tiszta vizet a pohárba!

“I know that we are not dealing with easy topics, but we need to talk about them. The younger generation is looking for some guidance, and that is exactly what the church’s duty is.” – said Tamás András Márkus. He is the inventor of the series and pastor at the Károli Gáspár University since 2014. He started organizing talks about ethical and theological subjects while he was still doing his theological studies. The high level of interest in the talks encouraged him to keep facilitating these conversations. It was also confirmed when almost one hundred people showed up to one of his very first talks.

Tiszta vizet a pohárba!” literally translates to “let’s pour clean water into a glass,” meaning “let’s straighten things out between us,” or “let’s tell the truth.”

Difficult subjects

Marriage, divorce, sexuality, being part of creation, eschatology and care for creation, are just a few of the topics which were discussed monthly by pastors and experts. College students and older people, Christians and non-Christians are welcomed to these gatherings. The event is mainly host by Café Adna downtown, but in such cases where there is a bigger interest, it is organized at the headquarters of the Ecumenical Council of Hungarian Churches – like once, where almost 500 participants attended.

The Tiszta vizet a pohárba! series has already discussed many subjects, but there are always new subjects to talk about, or old questions to return to. “My aim is to have space for mission-minded and Apologetic conversations. When I was planning everything by myself, I had picked topics for the series, but ever since I began working with Eszter Győrffy, the theoretical theological issues as well as the practical and everyday themes are balanced out.” - said Tamás Márkus.

Simple, clearly

Eszter Győrffy is the pastor of the Reformed University Chaplaincy Mission in Pest and joined the program series two years ago. With her help a greater emphasis is being placed also on community building and pastoral care besides mission. “Eszter suggested the title of the series, which was perfect because we try to give honest answers for sensitive questions” - said the pastor, Tamás Márkus.

Currently, they are preparing for the Conversations this year, which will include topics on the relationship between the Church and Israel, childcare and aspects of family life, and the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Last year in the topic of childcare, there was a huge debate about James Dobson’s book which writes on corporal punishment. “It is important to talk about this. Although I am reluctant to all forms of corporal punishment, the book has some useful parts about conservative Christian education and childcare. For such questions, we must ‘pour clean water into our glasses.”

Give answers

“The youngsters are looking for orientation in many ethical and theological questions.” - adds Tamás Márkus. He says the purpose of the talks is for those who are interested to meet Christianity and for participants who are already believers to find the frames in the answers.

The pastor also says that the Conversations sometimes provoke intense emotions, but the participants respect each other and try to give as many solid answers as they can. “The opinions appear in a moderate form but in the process, we also form each other. Some of the attendees come with a firm belief, and some are curious about every side of the perspective - but there are always questions - and we would like to answer them.” - noted Tamás Márkus.

According to the pastor, people easily can turn to sects, whether they are young or old, if they feel that they can find answers there and belong to a community. “There are a lot of delicate subjects but this is the path of the mission; to take responsibility and give clear answers according to what we know from the Bible” – closes Márkus Tamás.


Interview by Zsuzsanna Farkas 

Translated by Éva Ács

Photo: Vargosz, Tamás Füle /


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