Tuesday, April 29, 2014

OF CHRISTO-RELIGIOUS RACKETS AND FIRST AMENDMENT

I have not been on this space in a very long time, and iono if I should be apologizing or something but well, I suppose I am sorry. I feel bad about not having been here in almost a year, but all that is about to change. Trust me.

I have been busy with quite a number of things, like, reading my girls’ blog @ williamsoyindamola.blogspot.com and pianese.blogspot.com; these ladies on the surface look like they are on opposite spectrums of my life really, but they contribute a whole lot in defining how I see things sometimes. You guys prolly dunno, but you rock.

I have also been busy getting old, I am 23 now and mhean, I feel so old and scared at the same time and it feels like yesterday when I started this blog @ 19 *sigh*, wow.

Well, here is something I had to get out of my system. Enjoy #LongPostAhead


As they wrapped up their 3-hour “power-packed” crusade; after the closing prayer and the announcement for the big grand finale of their crusade the day after, the voice of the preacher – I suppose, I couldn’t really make out which voice was which from all the din – came over the unduly loud sound system.
“The people you have been listening to since are the people from Daddy and Mummy (Blah Blah) Ministries* … @ (Blah Blah) avenue, we appreciate you for listening to us”. He said in a coarse voice. His larynx apparently tired from all the shouting it’s been doing for the past 3 hours.



But up there in my head. I was wondering if they were supposed to thank us or apologize, and then I wondered, even if they were to thank us, that couldn't be the appropriate manner to word their appreciation.

First, they should have known that a lot of assumption was riding on their assertion that people have been listening, because as far as I knew, no one was listening. I wasn’t, as well as my flatmates.
I wasn’t the only one who shared that sentiment. I believe I am only one of the many residents of this solely residential area who were driving back from work with a throbbing headache hoping for some peace and quiet, only to be confronted with a racket right on their front porch. No, I wasn’t listening. They sure wouldn’t be listening either. Fuming and brimming with anger maybe, but not listening.  

So, when at the end of their performance they took their bow with more clatter and strained voices competing in a screaming match of “allelujah”, I almost about threw my PC to the opposing wall to wait for the joy seeing it clatter to the ground in thousand pieces would bring – I suppose none anyway. But the relief that would have brought.

In the US, they would probably latch tightly to the First Amendment rights, giving them freedom of religion, speech and assembly. I don’t know what that is called in Nigeria, but if anything, it should include a nifty little proviso that preclude such gathering in my living room.

But I digress. What they really should have done is apologize rather than thank us. And second, just in case I have not mentioned it, no one was listening, so, perhaps, the best way to have worded their thanks eventhough at this point I am pretty convinced it should have been an apology, is to thank us for not coming at them with guns and pitchforks to sack them from our street.


Praise God: Let's get 'em

The wordings in the preacher’s strained voice after all should have been; “The people you have been forced to hear for the past 3 hours that seemed like eternity are the people from Daddy and Mummy* (Blah Blah) Ministries … @ (Blah Blah) avenue, we apologize for infringing severely on your privacy and decorum and aggravating your migraines. We thank you for not coming at us with guns, pitchforks, hot water and any other weaponizable  appliance you may have been considering for the past 3 hours. Thank you. ”

That would probably have cut it and at the same time eased our headaches a little by giving us something to laugh about, but pity those were not the words that ballooned out of the oversized speakers, so even as I type this post; transferring all my anger into the best words I could find, I still feel the anger coursing through my veins. This anger is not only because I thought their apology was out of place and badly worded, but also because I am Christian too. That caught you by surprise, didn’t it?

Yes, I am a Christian, I love and cherish Christ and what he did on the cross and continues to do in my life and the life of all every day. And just like some of you right now, I would probably feel sad and judgemental about myself were I not the same person writing this. I would probably say, “tha’ boy just a devil’s helper, he needs intervention”. But, it’s the exact reason I am angered. Because most of us have forgotten what it means to be Christian, we have forgotten how to do simple things like pray, evangelize, serve others and put other people first. These things are cardinal for any Christian. But we have, in a way, understood it too much; educated ourselves about them to the point of imbecilic fanaticism, and we all are now strutting about holier than Pope Francis.   

This is exactly what angers me. That we now know too much about the bible to the point that, in the words of Ravi Zacharias, the foremost Christian apologist, it is gradually dying a death of thousand qualifications.
Of prayer. Christ taught us how to pray in Matthew 6, and clearly he made us realize it’s not by keeping up appearances. Here is an excerpt from Jesus’ Prayer 101 class.
When you come before God, don't turn that into a theatrical production. All these people making a regular show out of their prayers, hoping for stardom! Do you think God sits in a box seat? "Here's what I want you to do: Find a quiet, secluded place so you won't be tempted to role-play before God. Just be there as simply and honestly as you can manage. The focus will shift from you to God, and you will begin to sense his grace. The world is full of so-called prayer warriors who are prayer-ignorant. They're full of formulas and programs and advice, peddling techniques for getting what you want from God.  Don't fall for that nonsense. This is your Father you are dealing with, and he knows better than you what you need.”
Stop the world, I need to hear from you

I apologize for the long insert, but I have realized, if there is anyone worth listening to, it’s Christ, not a preacher trying hard to string fancy to impress tired peons, but Christ himself.

About evangelizing, there was not greater evangelist that John the Baptist and according to Matthew 3:1 and John 1:15, his message was simple and without undue theatricals and, I can assume, unwarranted noise making; “this is Christ, repent and follow him”. That was it. Even the great Apostle Paul who wrote 70% of the New Testament was never recorded to have gathered Timothy, Titus, Barnabas, Apollos and the whole gang to terrorize their neighborhood in the dead of the night with unmelodious melodies and badly worded empty nothings. Maybe it went against the grain of self-preservation in their time, but they also understood the mere Christianity without all our colorless trappings.

Infact, more importantly, the great commission was (I paraphrase); “therefore, go and make disciple of all nation … teach them to obey my commands … and I’ll be with you always” (Matthew 28:19-20), I don’t remember it reading, go and make their lives miserable with emotional blackmails and religious honky-tonks.

Again, the fact that I am an imperfect Christian is vital to reiterate. I am not going to stand here like I know everything and that my way is the best way to do anything. I only believe that Jesus is not impressed by these theatricals, God certainly isn’t. God wants us, even in our freedom, to respect the decorum of other people, read Phil 2:4-5 & Gal. 5:13 so it makes more sense.

My friend Propaganda said once, “trying to prove God is like defending a lion, he doesn’t need your help, just unlock the cage”. In my own words, I’ll say “just play the background and let people hear God over your clamour”. Jesus is the only way to God but we are not the only way to Jesus. Don’t let these tired men in their living rooms say what I am saying in my head right now, that “if this is Christianity, then count me out, I have enough noise in my life already”.

Love and Blessings.