Friday, January 25, 2013

Questions for my christian friends

A colleague of mine expressed a frustration during one of our office chats saying many Christians are happy that churches (the ‘the church is expanding and marching on’) are taking over warehouses scattered all over the country (Lagos in particular). The topic of discussion centered on the unfavoruable environment Nigeria has become to individuals and manufacturing companies – mostly the textile, tyre companies. Many of these companies now find some solace in Ghana’s providence of uninterrupted power supply (no, I don’t mean UPS but power from the transmission grid) amongst other things.

I thought about the parcels of land which have been taken over by these religious bodies as camp (prayer) grounds, yet there is a prediction of famine in the land for 2013 and the years following. Oh I forgot that God sends manna from heaven and we can depend on that.  

For many years, the church has been operating in Nigeria and in the entire continent of Africa. The church uses products such as drum sets, speakers, projectors, computers, generators (the owners of Mikano must be thankful to this God for good business), curtains, energy-saving bulbs, water pumps but her adherents are not curious as to where these products come from. Perhaps Europe is heaven where all these manna dropped and are shipped to Africa whose children have been struck with the disease of religion and consumerism of which the epidemic is fast destroying the beautiful land and her children. Do you really think God is proud of consumers as children? And he would preserve a people who consume without thinking? As a result of our insatiable hunger to consume products, the country is plagued with waste it is incapable of managing so much that the country looks like a vast heap of thrash. Oh, I forgot that there will be a new heaven and a new earth and this earth (this country) as we know it shall pass away and life will begin afresh for those who believe. Can we stop for a moment to think about these issues? Y’know I have always asked this simple question “why would God give us a brain if he didn’t intend for us to use it?” but I haven’t gotten any satisfactory answers yet. I understand that thinking about issues in a questioning mode will open up some whole new insights to the average person. Many church girls and women adorn their heads with weave-ons, attachments, wigs and hair products without thinking for a moment why they use those products and where they come from. Many of the clothing we wear are also brought in from everywhere apart from Africa.

As a minimum, I would have expected the church scientists to have been able to produce microphones which for many decades have been essential parts of a church programme. Meanwhile, the church is ecstatic that the president of the largest black country has come to kneel (for the second time) before a popular pastor. One wonders whether the church has tasked the leader with basic provisions expected of any government. One wonders whether the church is concerned with the empty education that is being served at high costs in Nigeria even in the so-called private universities (owned mostly by church folks and body) and what she is doing about it. Is she bothered about education that churns out Engineers yearly who can’t make motors and scientists who can’t produce tiger batteries? These things don’t add up or maybe it’s just my mind playing tricks on me again.

It concerns me greatly that we have become a country of operators (or technicians). We can  operate any kind of device – we wield the latest designs of Blackberries, Iphones, Ipads and Android phones – We are quite fascinated with the flatness of TV these days  and anyone caught with a box is either old-school or poor. But our God is not a poor God.  Question is which products are being made in Nigeria and particularly by religious people?

I don’t cease to wonder at the skill and knowledge which goes into building of bridges and anytime I ply the third Mainland Bridge I wondered about the two-headed creatures of men who built it. Some (very solid) roads are being constructed in Lagos by Arab Contractors one is forced to ask “where are the civil engineers?” But there is a Ministry of Works in each state? Oh I forgot that they only have oversight and technician functions. And well, let the Arab and German Engineers do the dirty works, we are rich enough to pay them.

I know we will all agree it all boils down to leadership but then again what manner of leadership do we have in these religious organizations which approves of corrupt and incapable men into government? What manner of leadership is there in the church which looks on (and prays on) while the country goes down (literally)? What manner of leadership in the church which doesn’t encourage questioning amongst her folks? What manner of leadership in the church that thrives on the mess the entire country has become? Oh, I’m sorry I forgot those are signs of end-time which I suppose will happen only on the African continent and not the entire world.

These days it seems I attack the church but no that’s not what I am doing. Rather, I am challenging us to truly come up higher knowing we were bequeathed this land to prosper it rather than impoverish it. In my opinion, we are fast becoming the third servant (ha, that word) in the parable of the talents who was given a single talent and who buried the talent in the ground to return it when the master returned. Sadly, we have more talents than the ones which had 5 and 10 respectively and we are not just returning a whole one when the master returns, we are returning -1 (minus one means we have borrowed and are in debt) cause we have consumed the talent than diligently trade (creatively, innovatively, sacrificially) with it. It is highly irresponsible of us to keep looking at the sky for manna to drop or for a saviour to come down and save us. We have been provided with the resources we need, let us be wise and use them. We can start by asking simple questions and not be afraid to ask them or answer them even when they make us uncomfortable. Or we can try to answer some of the questions posed here. We must also realize that in order for us to make any meaningful progress, we must drop individuality and embrace brotherhood.

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