Interview with Paweł Zelwan

Do you consider yourself a patriot?
Most of all, I feel that I am a human being of flesh and blood, placed in a specific social, civilizational and cultural setting. Without this feeling, my address couldn't have happened. Because, however, I have made serious revisions and revaluations in my life, the convictions shaping my patriotism have also undergone changes. Thus, today it has little in common with the things that are usually ascribed to the foundation of nationality in every country - not only Poland.

I generally consider my country destitute, stupefied by its idolatry, arrogance and foolishness, badly ruled and venal. I also think that the characteristics that are the object of the pride of its inhabitants are disgraceful and degrading to human condition. Its soothsayers are mythomaniacs and artsy dreamers, and its rulers are moral and spiritual weaklings - unfeeling, with the breath of murderous tyranny behind their backs and a disgusting sense of humor. I know that I am isolated in my impressions, but I am in no way an absolute exception.

I am worried and angered by the spiritual state of my nation, but I can't act nor speak against the truth - I only have the limited right to defend my own convictions. It is limited because in my own country I don't count among personages who are readily entertained and asked about their opinions. Here, I am only granted the troublesome status of a "persona non grata" and the attentive readers of the Bible know that well.

But in my opinion, the measure of patriotism isn't the attachment to the existing values and traditions, but rather to those supporting the value of human condition regardless of the time and place given to itself. It follows from the insight that was given me that my nation strongly opposes them (and it is in no way an exception in doing so) and that this opposition will be very costly for my compatriots - not because their imagination is poor, but because they play with real fire and real power from the vision and might of which they have been separated since the dawn of Polish history by shavelings' boons and ages of ignorance overconfident in its own strength and reason.

Even as to a patriot, it is only becoming to me to openly give the lie to their vain hopes and illusions - not at all because they're vain, but because mine grew out of them because of a strength unknown to Poles. If I wasn't a patriot, I would have remained silent about them. I am and I feel Polish to the bone - I just don't like Mickiewicz, Piłsudski, Wałęsa, Wojtyła and a couple of other figures that are commonly associated with "Polishness".
The formula of the publication is original - there are no known models for it in the history of writing. What are the main objectives of your working decisions?
The front matter of the book presents them quite briefly and factually. Their priority is the reconstruction of the gospel testimonies concerning vital precepts of spiritual life. It assumes the existence of a need to revalue certain exegetical degenerations, because they distort the image of the Originator of Christian faith - being thus very harmful (worse than a strong poison to the body) not only to spiritual growth, but above all to the soil in which the growth happens.

In most cases it is difficult to question the validity of this assumption, because it is based on the factual incompatibility of the literal gospel record with the propagandistic and doctrinal one. It is thus enough to take a good, attentive look at the facts pointed out by me to hear the grinding of the infernal machinery. Still, to most people it won't be enough, and the book is, in its intent, a point of reference such as a lighthouse to a shipwreck survivor and not such as a McDonald's neon at the side of a busy highway. Thus, the meaning of significant differences in the choice of appropriate means of expression should be obvious here. In a word, it is rather a survival manual than a menu for those who like raw beefsteaks and rather a tuning fork than the echo of Mozart's concerts.

We don't advertise the truth here: we don't offer a prescription for life's troubles or successes, we don't tickle palates nor satisfy exquisite tastes. The focus of the investigation procedures and the conclusions drawn from them is set on the issue - cardinal to faith - of obedience to the will of its Originator: "If you don't know his will, you won't be able to persevere in it. But if you insist on something that openly insults it, you simply don't stand a slightest chance for heavenly discounts and privileges."

Thus, certain linguistic acrobatics in the book serve the "retraining", re-practicing of the Reader's will so that it would be able to voluntarily measure itself against the Lord's yoke, the taking upon of which has been discouraged for centuries by publicators and spiritual scum of various sorts with admirable success.

In the publication, I don't deal with politics, social problems or the evaluation of cultural or civilizational achievements of mankind - I even discourage drawing from riches that don't serve the knowledge of the truth of the sources of knowledge. Instead, I encourage a greater trust in the lie-damaged façade of the biblical testimony, because the goal of the enemies of the truth - especially the enlightened ones - is the weakening of the readers' attention and focusing it on things that don't matter on the narrow path of faith and the undermining of the value of commonsense reflection on subjects not assigned by shavelings or the equally dissolute and depleted media.

The role of the linguistic means and the unsophisticated literary contrivances is the focusing of attention on the main thrust of the gospel message, showing its internal connections, discourse norms and the style and weight of the references of its crown witnesses. The theatricals serve the exposition of the dissonance between those hard norms and the contemporary evangelistic practice - soft, psychologizing, importunate, twisting itself around the neck and only nominally Christian.

It isn't entirely true that libraries lack the models for my speech - it isn't originality anyway that is the strength of this testimony. It draws heavily from the depths of well-known springs - it only drives away disturbers who can't afford to face the truth. One can't learn anything good from me if one doesn't believe me - I have taken care of that, like the Galilean took care of that in his time.
How do you evaluate the perspectives of the reception of this publication?
It will be rejected. Regardless of how many readers it will gain - it is, after all, a quite good ware - its message will be disregarded and deprived of credits given to beasts. That's what this world is like and I won't change it. However, the fate of this book will be like what happens with the cornerstone - some people will at last see for themselves that it's telling the truth and giving glory to God, and they will be thanking Him for the gift of grace bestowed upon them and the chance for themselves which they wouldn't have had if not for it.

It is a very simple scenario - nothing worth the pens of Coelhos, Pratchetts, Rowlings and other widely read wise guys - it has, after all, already been fulfilled many a time. But I won't be present to witness it anymore, because I am too big for the contemporary fancy pants and their impassioned entertainments - as long as I'm alive, they will keep away from me.

It isn't easy to believe that faith in Christ has been well-sold fiction for two thousand years and I am the one who understands it best. Nevertheless, this is the very truth given to consideration in my book. If my Reader rejects this truth, he won't be able to draw salutary conclusions - then it will be to him only a bedtime reading before falling into a sleep that he won't wake from. I made an effort to save the Reader from that fate, but I can't decide for him and I evaluate the risk of a serious mistake on his part as very great - similar to the size of the illusions harbored by me twenty years ago.

It isn't, however, my fault that my lighthouse isn't sufficiently visible - it was, after all, my task only to make it different from the deceptive radiance of the fires of robbers lying in wait for the lives and belongings of shipwreck survivors. I have accomplished my modest task. If someone thinks that I should do a lot more for humanity, let him give me his own assets for revision. I will then come down to earth and show him what the world is standing on.
What is your professional experience and how do you earn your living?
Profession and earnings are two quite different things. It is well when they are connected, but nowadays it is not so common, because the world is changing and one simply doesn't keep up with these changes. My start in life wasn't a success - essentially I have none of the typical, professionally profiled education and that impoverishes my professional experience.

I would hire myself as a physical laborer in handling of general cargo in a port and then in the preparation of shipbuilding products for transport, and then at last I found employment for longer in a foundry in shredding of cast iron scrap (nasty and very hard work). There, I obtained the qualifications of an overhead crane operator and with those I managed to survive the employment in a few big metallurgic plants in Poland and England. I worked with large-scale steel and cast iron smelting operations and sophisticated maneuvers of enormous castings in the biggest British forge. Of course, I also performed various storage and handling tasks.

I was a pure-bred overhead crane operator - that means fast, attentive, watchful and precise. People liked to work with me, because knowing the work down there I took care of their bodies and hands like of my own. I felt good in this small, servient role. Unfortunately, I was paid peanuts and I compromised my health, so after the return from England, where I got back on track in order to pay back debts that I had in Poland, I didn't have much of a choice.

Through connections, I got a job in a small movie studio and was quickly introduced to the basics of movie material editing and creating computer animations. It was, however, creative work, to which I never felt the calling and I haven't found my down-to-earth life perspectives there, especially that I earned less than when operating the overhead crane.

Nevertheless, having become accustomed to the moviemaking toolkit and outlook, I decided to start working in that field on something that I am at least a little acquainted with and that doesn't demand from me some superhuman energy every day. Currently I produce series of cartographic animations that are often needed in the filmmaking work. Their supply doesn't match the demand because they necessitate characteristics that are quite rare among computer graphic designers and animators. My earnings are good so far and I don't have to strain my mind too much, which is to me like a small life miracle, and in any way an unexpectedly happy twist of fate.
Your family relations?
Bad, by and large completely ruined - with the exception of good marital relations with my second wife, Danuta. Unfortunately, we don't have children, so it's hard for me to say anything about my parental predispositions or the fruit thereof. Because I am a divorced man, the Christians have shot at me many a time from their ramparts. But they missed - I retained a clear conscience. My matrimonial decisions never did anyone harm - to the contrary, they saved both sides the risk of clashes in which one loses his head and reason.

Anyway, according to Jesus' words I became an "adulterer" having married my first wife, because she had been divorced - nothing worse could have happened to me in that respect, so willy-nilly I had to consider well whether despite my moral destitution I could count upon the lenience of the Holy One. It turned out that I could, but I won't disclose here why and on what basis - it would be below even my near-beastly dignity.

My mother and stepfather excel at catholic hypocrisy, so I endured it while I had to, benefiting from their costly hospitality for a few years. Right now a total break took place and I am even happy that my mother can afford to openly admit her long-concealed aversion towards me. My younger half-brother is some Buddhist minister, which gives me a complete release from costly brotherly obligations, especially that he turned impudent and presumptuous towards me.

I have always been "a good boy who sometimes turned into a real devil" - whereas now in the eyes of my family I probably seem like a "devil in the flesh with an angelic smile and gaze" - in any case, my personal assets in the family yard certainly pass for strongly suspect. Indeed, it is hard to please one's near and dear ones if one loves the truth - I have experienced this in its fullness.

In a word, my family horizon recently got a lot brighter and I don't see in it anyone but my second wife, faithful and savvy. I only regret that I had to wait for this beautiful view for so many years - but those are quite the courteous laments of a lucky man.

Yes, it's true - I like to call things by their names and it doesn't cost me much.
Do you value your own experience?
Not too much. I rather value the lessons resulting from it, the implications upon which I can base my forecasts and plans. The experience itself isolated from the tests of its norms isn't very valuable in my eyes. I don't consider myself a very experienced man, even though I feel pain acutely and don't shun bliss - but I have always been and I still am a good student - that means, one to whom it isn't hard to see the light of reason nor memorize some concise salutary formula.

There is, of course, a couple of experiences that I value more than others, but it isn't because they happened to me, but because in my life they constituted an encouragement to change my thinking. I would always watch the ruin of my own convictions quite lightheartedly, as if they were never really mine, but borrowed, leased or elaborated - and in any case separated in some mysterious way from the sphere of my innermost sensations and experiences. Apart from the ones described in the book, I could add an example of a less transcendental one here.

As a teenager I was often roughed up. These weren't some tough fights - just the results of the risk, inscribed in the school curriculum, of confrontation with older pupils from the neighboring school for those less willing to learn than to deal blows. Those were plain hooligan provocations - sometimes a kick, sometimes a blow of the fist in the stomach or in the face, some blood and bruises - but nothing very dangerous, even if it awakened fear of pain and humiliation.

The appearance of a grown-up nearby always effectively cooled down the imperial inclinations of those juvenile offenders and usually I easily succeeded at not getting in their way, even though we were sometimes forced to share the schoolyard with them.

I was an adolescent when we moved to a big metropolis. I felt a little uncomfortable there, but safer that in my hometown. One time, however, in a square located in its very center, on a bright and sweltering day, I heard from one of three burly, ugly chaps sitting below the wall: "Hey kid, spare a fag," after which the second of them blocked my way.

I had neither cigarettes nor money, but I had a pretty body. I was an athletic boy, but the three of them easily knocked me down to the pavement with the blows of their fists. I don't know why they were kicking me hard right in the head - maybe because I was protecting it with my hands. I didn't pass out but it was difficult for me to get up and I was incapable of later surprise that this happened almost in a crowd of surprised and confused passers-by.

I didn't complain, because I had nobody to complain to, and I didn't know who had beaten me up - and besides, I didn't like to complain. But this was the first time when I thought that I could die and it doesn't have to hurt a lot - it is enough that a sensitive spot gets hit by accident, a qualified doctor - or another power of good stopping the power of evil - will be missed at the place of the accident.

I started valuing my time then - not yet knowing well how one can enjoy it. Now I know that, but I couldn't have known it without putting a measure to my own experience - regardless of whether it is good or bad to me. My measure was false at that time, but the very desire to measure with it the thing that I had experienced was right and sincere.

Thus, when someone puts their own or someone else's experience on the balance, regardless of whether it's poor or rich, good or bad, I always ask what is on the other side of the balance - what is their measure - because it is the measure that endows it with meaning and value. Without it the sole experience - and along with it life, even richest in experiences - doesn't mean much to me.

Every human judgment serving the knowledge of the truth should be a fair one, well-balanced - for only then it supports itself on God's throne. Unfortunately, most human judgments - even the most equitable ones - don't serve the knowledge of the truth. For that reason it has neither the authority that faith needs nor the power able to implement the decrees of that authority.

I wouldn't be who I am if I didn't find a measure for my experiences but I would be nobody if I didn't search for it.
What measure are you using in your publication - is it the same one that accompanies your life choices?
The criteria of my current life judgments are much richer and more precise than those serving the purely linguistic decisions twenty years ago - it should be fairly obvious to anyone who makes use of their own life experiences and learns from those greater than themselves.

But the identity of those criteria isn't different - like a sprout is identical to the plant that grows out of it or like a foundation is identical to the building that is erected upon it. But identity doesn't mean sameness - Christians have been confusing these two terms, thoughtlessly aping patterns from two thousand years ago and making the powerful apostolic inheritance into a golf course for baboons instead of a garden of the fruit of the powerful Spirit.

The language of the book often errs in some ways by exactly such unintentional cloning of norms of linguistic judgments that are opposed to the truth, because it is the language of someone who didn't yet manage to revise his own inglorious past and doesn't control well the whole of the objectively difficult message that was entrusted to his care.

In the chapter "The authority of truth" I make use of the image of a boy placed at the plow precisely in the intention of illustrating the essence of the author's relationship with the handicraft of his faith. I generalize the pattern there because it concerns every domain and sphere of true spiritual life - not necessarily tied to the need to publish an impetuous volume.

Today, while trying to measure my strength against the matter of the publication, I would use stronger means of expression, simultaneously sparing the readers the expressions of my own feelings, which have no great significance to saints - what I ascertained much later. In many passages I would probably abandon similes, leaving a rough definition and description. I would keep the images in a much smaller part of the book's content, what would make it more transparent and elegant.

Those are not, however - as I already mentioned - my dilemmas. I mention this difference in creative perspective as an example of a distance towards the works of my own hands, which changes and is being shaped with age, and the shape it assumes is a living testimony of norms and faith embodied in human life. A beast will remain a beast - even if it was Dante or Picasso. Worthy human measure isn't distinguished by how much it gives, but by where it directs its beneficiaries - this direction also never changes.

For the sake of busybodies, I would define the criteria of judgment applied by me in the book and in life as "commonsense," but I am doing this contrary to the popular conviction that common sense is shared by the majority of mortals.

When, for example, in some rudimentary investigation the investigating magistrate ascertains misrepresentations on the part of the witnesses that are of key importance to the case, they are immediately denied credibility - it's a dictate of common sense. It is also common sense that suggests that the detective disclosing these misrepresentations deserves a credibility mandate (by no means a medal for dedication and courage!) - even if he himself makes some minor errors in the investigation - because, as it were by definition, ex officio, he operates in the space of non-public intentions and objectives, so it is very stupid to suspect that he only wants to charm the judge and the jury with his revelation - thus never allowing the truth to ever come to light.

Whereas in the domain of the truths of Christian faith, there lingers a complete breach with common sense, and thus there it doesn't matter at all "whether Zelwan (or whoever else) is right or not," but whether his actions meet the spiritual conjuncture, whether they are adjusted to the evangelizational formulas and homiletic fads. "He may measure his own life with his crazy measure, but his madness should by no means infect others."

Therefore, it doesn't really have any social significance (as it did before) whether I myself act in accordance with the truth that I'm preaching, because as a result of homiletic deceptions there are very few who acknowledge the legitimacy of the existence of the need for such accordance at all. Certainly, I am trying to be in accordance with myself and it is becoming increasingly easy to me, but one may obtain the confirmation of the trustworthiness of my declaration only in one place, so if someone really cares to establish "where I came from and who gave me the right to judge," he should guess it by himself and try really hard to get to that place. Contrary to some imposing appearances, it isn't very difficult.
What distinguishes your faith from the faith of the adherents of Christ known to you?
Although I do know that, my knowledge isn’t reliable enough for it to be helpful to the Reader if he becomes acquainted with it. It is always better when differences of convictions are settled by an impartial arbitration body, and I simply compare myself to others very rarely, because I have no need to. Finally, saying that "I have nothing in common with the contemporary adherents of Christ" - even though it is subjectively trustworthy, because it is based on a simple-minded feeling - doesn't serve the truth too well.

It is sensible to talk about differences only with reference to some common ground, and I find it difficult to point to exactly this foundation for an authoritative distinction. Of course, I could sink to the level of some joke that would stir the imagination, but it isn't an appropriate place nor subject for jokes.

However, even though roughly, I am able to direct the Reader's inquisitiveness in that matter, with the reservation that he should verify my directions on his own if he doesn't want to risk a judgment that he won't be able to pay himself out of.

I think that the most significant difference is the attitude towards the Scripture - after all, this is the difference most clearly seen by me. Of course, there are the secondary matters: rites, folklore, liturgy, literature, experiences, needs - everything that gets the more or less passionate signature of most Christians is to me a heap of useless half-truths and garbage. It is, however, difficult for me to express my implacability on a dump - I would turn out to be dumber than Don Quixote tilting at windmills. -

In any case, I see them as the fruit of unbelief and the result of separation from real sources of the power that puts human experience in order. For that reason, I can't uphold the grounds for my own antagonism on that plane - I am too wise for that. It is the fools who think that their outrage at priestly pedophilia and greed sets them among sages, whereas they defile themselves by the very squinting in the direction of others' filthiness, because such is the power of the evil served by idolatry of every kind.

I feel a rather extraordinary respect and genuine admiration for the writings of the apostles and prophets. In my life, I've read some well-written books and I am able to write long-winded epistles myself, but nowhere have I met such compression of content in such an economic form. Nothing verbose, nothing random - I simply feel weak in the knees like a child in front of a giant when I as much as approach the shapes of apostolic speech. Compared to them, greatest world literature is pure, infertile claptrap and sophistry.

It is astonishing to me how people can be so careless and not comply with the instructions of those titans, but it is rather the bewilderment of a convalescent than outrage - after all, I didn't absorb my own perspective with my mother's milk.

However, after what I have experienced myself, I can't look at the contemporary homiletic toil differently than at badly staged, lame and cheap plays, with a worse setting than the performances of puppet theaters for children sometimes have. Of course, in that pseudo-godly racket there is a lot of sumptuous dummies and impressive circus and self-pity accessories, but it can't be compared in any way to the true apostolic neatness, moderation and invigorating element.

"A bunch of conceited, loose-tongued and noisy brats; I would feel healthier and safer in the company of junkies and drunkards," one would like to say - but there's no one to say it to.
Do you intend to continue writing?
No, I have no such intention. As Ecclesiastes wisely put it, "the writing of many books is wearying to the body" and I still feel exhausted after the first one and - I do hope so - the last. I am not a writer and I have never felt like one - I don't want to lose time for that. Of course, I could be having some conversations nowadays, take part in discussions and dialogues (I could even host those myself), but only when I would clearly see their meaning and purpose. And I don't. There is no demand for the things that I am able to serve with, and there is no big incentive for me in the participation in some random confrontations of windbags or scribblers.

People have a distorted approach to verbal reality - sick and degenerate. They open their mouths and grab their pens or keyboards before they manage to understand themselves what they want to convey and to whom. They eagerly and easily pass judgments over matters that seemingly don't concern them, but when the light focuses on their own, they immediately lose their creative inspiration and panache, and an open confrontation with a strength like mine simply terrifies them.

Currently, I don't see any space for a discourse in which there could exist a concession for the hard gospel rules of life and faith. Frothiness and verbal shows have become the norm and calling things by their names in almost every public domain results in a murmur of concern about breaching the rules of political, ethical, grammatical, stylistic or denominational correctness. Actually, wherever one goes, he becomes a potential offender, arousing only some gregarious appeals and mumbling entreaties.

People don't need apostolic directives nowadays - they know everything. Of course, a user manual for a new device will satisfy their curiosity, but they see no need whatsoever of searching for truth about God. They have his promises and warranties on creamy-white paper and liturgy and empty rites replace thinking. Everyone has his god in a smartphone - he is, like the interface of a program: "personalized".

Even the most noble ones misjudge the value of their own assets. Christian scholars bend over backwards to supplement the education of believers in matters pertaining to evolution or other reductionist chicaneries of their peers form the industry, demonstrating their absurdities or the complete lack of will to use reason, but in fact they remain under the influence of lies, because they drain and sterilize human minds instead of teaching people the things that they should know in order to survive.

The Lord knows the thoughts of the sages, that they are vain. Vain, stupid and soulless - for behind them there is death and Google, and not hope, consolation, faith and love. It is easy for the big mouths to show off in front of an undemanding audience, pulling it into the company of scoffers, bountifully serving nutriments for its own vanity and cashing in on their magnanimous gestures. It is harder to do by oneself the things that God commanded and speak like He does, and not like stupid publicators that are overcome by hiccupping, nausea and vertigo at the sound of truly good news.

Therefore, I will remain on standby and I will be watching out for all those who don't keep up with the contemporary guides leading their flocks to the abyss. I don't care a fig for this whole Christian mess and bustle. Nobody has ever paid me for speaking and I have no intention of risking my neck for those who believe paid ostriches, monkeys and clowns in skimpy doublets, because their souls are being seduced by pseudo-godly prattle of these pathetic creatures, surrounded by Christian entourages and ever-smiling Christian bodyguards.

I will show them my foul mug and disappear as it befits a real human - and they won't guess until the end of the world what happened or what was broken that they can't open "some stupid gate" with their own strength.
Published 2016-05-18.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Jesus Wanted
Price: $9.00 USD. Words: 67,810. Language: American English. Published: June 9, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Christian » Contemporary, Essay » Literature
Concentrating in his novelized lectures mainly on the well-known parables of Jesus, the author is trying to expose the absurdity of the concepts behind the generally accepted interpretations of the Galilean’s puzzling statements. It is a book for those who value their convictions, that is to say, for those who seek a solid ground for them.