Religion of Saturday, 5 October 2013
Source: Dale-Asiedu, Michael
The word Christian is used three times in the New Testament precisely Acts 11:26, 26:28; 1Peter 4:16).”And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch’’, Acts 11:26. They were called as such primarily because they believed in Christ and followed His examples. However, it must be noted that the word was first used by detractors and critics alike in a derogatory and unsavory dispensation, that notwithstanding proud believers and worshippers of Christ embraced it as a badge of honor and here we are today, a little over two thousand years has gone by, the name is still buoyant and full of unrivalled breadth as ever, with clairvoyance and quintessential rendition of religious dogmas par excellence. Currently, a couple of billion inhabitants of this planet claim to be Christians albeit with different tenets and precepts.
The days of old (first-century) had Christians zealously following the teachings, practices and examples of Christ but since then the name has virtually lost a considerable magnanimity in the adherence and actual responsibilities that the name brings. Chiefly, Christianity does not end when we open our mouths and confess our sins thereby accepting Jesus Christ as our Savior, it transcends far yonder as James posits that faith without works is dead. Suffice me to say that, the onward daily occurrences in many a Christian fraternity begs for clemency and leaves much to be desired. The name wanes and aches in this our modern era making many struggle to distinguish a pagan from a Christ follower.
For certain actions which were mostly associated and embodied in paganism are now grossly streamlined in many Christian sects and are to some extent on the verge of perpetual entrenchment which I solemnly pray our Divine Creator will forbid its manifestation. Beneath are some heartfelt concerns that have assumed rapid ascendancy, their conspicuous nature at times makes you only gloss over and sigh with neutral intent as often one is cautious not to judge, but like an iceberg, majority of its strength are hidden beneath the aquatic surface and its consequences are far reaching if not spotted early.
CORRUPTION AND CHRISTIAN POLITICIANS
Corruption and bribery is rife in our country, our progress rate has been that of the rather familiar “Babangida boogie” as opined by George Ayittey, ‘’one step forward, two steps backwards’ ’I ask, who gives the bribes and who condones corrupt practices coupled with gross maladministration that oversees that certain workers are denied their due salaries for over a year? Are these despicable practices that society frowns upon carried out by only people who are not Christians? Cognizant of the fact that Islam does not vouch for the above I ask who the perpetrators are again.
Yet in our various churches and worship centres we dress resplendently, parade sometimes our chauffeur driven cars, sit in front pews and give unend, the monies accrued through bribery and corrupt practices are used to show-off mostly during harvest ceremonies and fund raising with the usual characteristic add-on, “in aid of church building’’. This qualifies them to at times receive special prayers for their huge donations with the poor and needy always relegated to the background because they are not able to give that much. That God sanctifies everything we do and give in the church does not necessarily mean the source of our monies should be encouraged. Who are we deceiving with our holier than thou attitude in the church and otherwise in our places of work?
Again, the utterances of some of our Christian politicians are nothing to write home about, take for instance, they swearing and invoking the name of God to help them in their endeavors in their respective tenures of office, they take these oaths and proffer to lie to us unend which makes me wonder whether they sought the mercies of God to enable them lie and play mischief forgetting their call to serve. So a minister can tell the whole country that, the government has established disability friendly schools across the country and no name of such a school is mentioned. Why do our local deities invoke so huge a fear but when it comes to the Omnipotent God we take things lightly? What will happen if you go swear to a local deity and you do otherwise? Your guess is as good as mine; we cannot hide under the cover of Christianity forever and sin against our country and posterity with no sense of guilt. A Christian contractor who professes to be a worshipper of Christ takes a contract and executes it anyhow and he praises God for making him win the contract.
Discrimination takes many dimensions in most Christian communities, some latent, others manifest. Some denominations treat you in a very special manner when you belong to their fold, these same people would not want to even interact with you when you belong to a different sect and as such do not profess the same faith as theirs. Some go to the extent of denying their own sons and daughters blood transfusion to survive, thus warranting the deaths of the very lives they claim to be preserving through their teachings. Others also will not partake in certain civic duties such as voting to elect a leader forgetting that non-voters contribute a greater chunk in electing the utmost winner tacitly. They approve of this even when God has tasked us to seek the welfare of our nations. If your sect does not vote, partake in the recitation of national anthem and all that, why do you complain when the government is performing far beyond your expectations? They nonetheless enjoy public schemes such as the National Health Insurance forgetting that these decisions were made by people who were voted into power by others other than them.
For some, being a Christian means you belong to their sect, if they cannot come to terms with people in different sects how much more will they be able to reconcile with a homosexual, knowing very well the bible speaks against it, with the same bible admonishing we should love our neighbors as ourselves. Most often, our daily discourses are actuated by religious hypocrisy, simply put religion backed discrimination, malice and sheer ignorance whether catholic or protestant, gay or straight rendering our moral and political fabric very uncertain.
Barnabas as you may recall, was the one man who welcomed Paul when the other Disciples were too scared to receive him into the fold. When Paul came to Jerusalem, he tried to join the disciples, but they were all afraid of him, not believing that he really was a disciple but Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles. He told them how Saul on his journey had seen the Lord and that the Lord had spoken to him, and how in Damascus he had preached fearlessly in the name of Jesus.
Barnabas’ attitude reflects one of openness, the capacity to impartially consider new evidence, and move beyond established religious and traditional bias. Here was a man who was willing to move beyond the fears and prejudice of his peers.Barnabas expresses that childlike attitude that is so precious to the Holy Spirit. No wonder at the end of the day the Holy Spirit conscripted him and Paul for special mission of reaching the gentile world.
EVANGELISM, BILL-BOARDS AND SIGN POSTS
For some Christians, evangelism means proselytizing, using every way possible to ensure that you become a member of their church or you are lost, rather than projecting the acceptance of Jesus Christ which brings salvation. So a Witness or protestant considers the catholic lost and vice versa. Nowadays, huge bill-boards and sign posts are gorgeously erected all over at vantage points showcasing the beautiful and handsome faces of founders of churches. It makes us aware of our founders and know that we are in the right branches but I fervently believe one can picture Jesus Christ on the Cross and be rejuvenated, fortified and in some cases be saved or repent, for the beautiful and handsome faces of founders who sometimes have their names prefixed with a haulage of titles, I do not know.
MARRIAGE CEREMONIES AND INTER-ETHNIC MARRIAGES
These days many young men cannot take the bold initiative of partaking in one of the glorious institutions God established simply because Christians who are supposed to make the requirements for the marriage ceremonies light and considerate, have made it rather heavy laden with all kinds of specifications which translates into literally selling their daughters out to the highest bidder forgetting that, that particular daughter has a life to live with her would be husband.
How many times have you not come across this saying ‘’Adwoa, we are Christians but please, don’t go and marry a northerner or an ewe and vice versa. Others will put it this way, we don’t want any ewe or northerner or Akan in our family. How sad Christians still carry the heavy laden of ethnocentrism when Christ has given us rest from its pain and anguish long gone for in Christ there is no longer Jew or gentile, we are all one.
ATTITUDE TO LIFE AND MODE OF DRESSING
Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart and you will find rest for your souls, the ostentatious lifestyles of many Christians defies this very calling. What is more, some Christians follow the fashion craze and dress anyhow, now it is rare to see a well-dressed lady, what will happen if cleavages are not displayed for public consumption? What is ‘ottofister” at all? When the bible clearly admonishes that, the hands that do not work should not be fed, what duty have we as Christians? The incessant lateness to our places of work, red-tapism and doing unproductive tasks as far as working hours are concerned does not depict hallmarks of a genuine follower of Christ.
The precarious predicaments our media outlets, be it Radio or Television have brought about are extremely horrendous to say the least. It has plundered countless number of unassuming desperate Christians into very bizarre circumstances. I blame Christians who are media CEO’s and Marketing Directors for the woes and plight of Christian victims. They have traded the ideal and utmost aim of using the media channels as a medium, through which competent preachers can disseminate the word of God, so as to win more souls for Christ for financial gains. They permit all sort of ‘’false preachers’ ‘guided by the verse (you shall know them by their fruits)’ who prey every now and then on people so desperate for a breakthrough be it in the form of healing,childbirth,prosperity and so forth. For these Christian media men, the well-being of their consumers come second to their financial fortunes, otherwise why do they permit such preachers at all?
SCHOLARSHIP SCHEMES AND ENDOWMENT FUNDS
Entry into second cycle and tertiary institutions has stridden into our saddles again.it is very thoughtful and admiring to see numerous religious denominations embarking on scholarship schemes and endowment funds mainly to alleviate the plight of poor and needy but brilliant wards in their fold. However, it will surprise you to come to the sad fact that, beneficiaries of these scholarship schemes are none other than wards of pastors, elders and the church governing body who in most circumstances are endowed with the capability to foot the bills of their wards. Christianity should be a vestige of right order, sad to say that “whom you know (you having to know the pastor or elder before you are able to access such a scheme) prevails there too’’. As Jesus puts it, pagans are even better at that, these poor people struggle to pay their church levies and meet other monetary obligations, simply put, they do not have the financial muscles, yet the church does not spare them or exempt them until their fortunes are turned around. But it is easier for the church to relegate them to the background when it comes to these schemes.
Where is our beacon of hope if Christianity is turning out this way? There are other countless number of developments taking shape in our various churches which make our modern day Christ-worship very questionable if not ill-begotten and a means to meet our parochial intentions, it sometimes even scares would be converts, we should be bold to confront these issues without any trepidation in our respective churches. Jesus said, if you love me, obey my commandments. Christians, let’s be up and doing.