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Current Affairs Analysis Infomation motivational

CLASS DIVISION, SOCIAL STRATIFICATION, AND GOD’S POSITION (part 1)

CULTURE, ETHNOCENTRISM, TRIBALISM, SOCIAL SEGREGATION, AND GOD’S POSITION

“There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man, true nobility is in being superior to your former self.”- Hemingway

As a social scientist I like to study human behavior, as well as the theories that seek to explain them. One of such theories is the conjecture referred to as Social Stratification. 
In sociology, social stratification is a concept involving the “classification of persons into groups based on shared socio-economic conditions … a relational set of inequalities with economic, social, political and ideological dimensions.”
Stratification is the relative social position of persons within a social group, category, geographical location or social unit. It is a system of social classification that unfortunately serves for many as a basis for discrimination.

This theory is premised largely on Socio-economic conditions but the truth of the matter remains that wealth and social status are not the only indices upon which the division of society is made.

There is something intrinsic in human beings that makes us get a false sense of worth by thinking we are superior to others. There is a mentality deeply embedded in the psyche of many human beings that produces discrimination. The default paradigm for most people seems to be the conception that personal value is determined by the number or the type of indices of stratification in which one has an “advantage” over others.
The ensuing consequence is that people are now stratified on the basis of every discernible distinction and variation.
If a sense of superiority is not postulated on the basis of Socio-economic considerations like wealth and social status it will be argued on the basis of gender, or other factors like educational qualifications, race, or some less consequential things like physical features and attributes. 

It is tragic and highly regrettable that even religion is one of such social variables used for discrimination.

There are several others. It would seem that every possible variation in the human race is used to stratify people.
Let me break this down and give some illustrations.

On the average, many people measure their success and value on the basis of how much they earn compared to others. If Mr. A has a higher income than Mr. B, or has a bigger car, or bigger house, or lives in a nicer neighborhood, the tendency will be for Mr. A to feel he is superior to Mr. B. 
If he went to an Ivy League School in a place like the United States he would be “superior” to the one that went to a State College or Community College in the States who naturally would feel he is “superior” to someone educated in Nigeria for instance.
Then even in Nigeria the Private or Federal University graduate would feel in a different class from the product of the State University, who would in turn feel like he is ahead of the person who went to a Polytechnic, who of course would feel he is on a pedestal beyond the reach of the person who went to a College of Education.

Think about stratification and discrimination on the basis of gender. How many times have we seen cultures and communities that deliberately put women under? In many communities and cultures in several countries women are treated as possessions, they are flogged like animals and treated even worse than that in many cases. 
There are still communities in countries in Asia for example where widows are either buried with their dead husbands or killed through immolation or strangling. It is suggested that such women should be killed in order to keep their husbands company, and serve them in the afterlife.

Think about other forms of stratification. 
Unfortunately, there are many people who profess a creed or religion in and through which they believe themselves to be superior to others. The average Jew believes himself to be superior to others, he sets himself apart not as much because he is interested in seeking God or a higher purpose to life as he is in not associating with men of lower stock. The radical Muslim straps a bomb on himself or picks an AK 47 rifle and walks into a restaurant to kill “infidels” he is sure are hell-bound even as he is confident he is going to some kind of paradise.
The Catholic looks derisively at the Protestant and is confident his Block Rosary makes him more of a Christian and that he is more broad minded than the Protestant, who is in turn convinced every Catholic is an idol worshipper. 

Think about the catastrophic consequences of stratification and discrimination on the basis of race.
The evils of racial segregation are well profiled. Slave Trade and ownership in the U.S, the Americas, and Europe was the height of man’s abominable inhumanity to his fellow man. The South of the United States has produced monstrosities like the Ku Klux Klan which made it a project to eliminate minorities, and the African American response to this saw organizations like the Nation of Islam, and characters like Malcolm X with his message on “all white men being devils” step into the limelight.
The white Apartheid government of South Africa committed reprehensible acts against native and indigenous blacks and arrogated to themselves the right to govern the multiplicity of races that eventually made up the multi-ethnic South African society. And govern they did…with brute force and criminal ferocity. 

We have heard about the complex caste system in India, the four different classes that make up the varna classification system and then there are the Dalits that don’t even feature in that system. They are not in any class as it were.  The class at the top of the chain in the Hindu caste system are the Brahmins who are supposedly “priestly people”, then directly under them you would have those that are supposedly predestined to be warriors, rulers, and administrators, these are called Kshatriyas. 
The next class under this would be the Vaishyas  who are artisans, tradesmen and merchants. Then the last on the spectrum are the Shudras, these are those that make up the laboring class and are the last considered on the varna classification list. 

Then there are the Dalits who have no class and no caste. They don’t even make the grade. They are literally outcasts and are off the scale totally.
An example of the Brahmins would be the Bengali people, while an example of the Dalits would be the Sangli people. 
These people don’t mix as Dalit literally means “untouchable”. 

So, people are already defined by others before they are conceived. Defined by others and having their destinies set by others. Set on the basis of their skin color or caste system or some other primordial consideration. 

I see that two major evil consequences of stratification not managed properly are a hindering of potential and an inability to take initiative. The reason for this is quite simple…
Whenever you allow anyone classify you the fact is you have given him a right to cancel you.
If you allow people fix you into a category you would also have ensured they determine the way you think and behave. This is because there are pre-conceived notions of what people in a certain category can think, believe, do, and aspire to.
For instance, if you are just a black man you will likely act in the way people who are merely black men behave. You would live within the framework of the stereotype and the “generally accepted” code of conduct expected of black men.  
If you are just a sexy looking girl, you will likely behave in the way that ladies who are merely sexy looking girls behave. You will most likely give into using your body to gain some sort of significance or relevance because you would have given into the mindset of those who like to objectify women.

There is a very popular religion which has a factor in its belief system that best exemplifies this. This factor is called “kismet”. It simply means “Fate”. Invariably, there are some born to be poor; they are designed to, according to this belief system, remain as the dregs of society and thus their aspirations are already set by society…this is what has produced the Almajiri system in Northern Nigeria. 

The tragedy of the human situation is that there will always be indices for segmentation in human behavior and history. This is inevitable.
And the truth of the matter is segregation in its entirety is not a product of man’s rebellion. Man’s rebellion indubitably exacerbated segregation and stratification, but even without it there still would never have been a classless society.

There is no point in time when there will be an equal system, on earth or in heaven, which gives people equal rewards for various levels of effort.
I believe in God, and I believe in the Heaven He created. I have studied the Bible and everything I see leaves me in no doubt that the Kingdom of God is premised on a reward system. A reward system based on equity.
I make bold to say that even God does not reward or bless on the basis of equality, instead He rewards and blesses on the basis of equity.
The principle is EQUITY not EQUALITY.

There will never be a time when everyone will be rewarded equally. If this ever happens it will make nonsense of incentives. 
Equity is justice and fairness. Not everyone will make equal contributions in life, so not everyone will receive equal results.

This is why communism will always be utopian. 

It never was, and never will be practicable that everyone in a society will be on an equal footing. We see the practical out-workings of this utopia in the satirical masterpiece by George Orwell, “The Animal Farm”. It is a literary composition written to express the prevailing circumstances before, during, and immediately after the Communist Revolution in Russia. If you have read it you will remember all the commandments that were initially given to the animals on the Farm, the first being “All animals are equal.” 
After Napoleon took over at the death of Old Major that commandment was surreptitiously changed, and it became, “All animals are equal…but some are more equal than others.”
This is the contradiction of the Communist ideology and its mode of production.

There is a fundamental part of human existence and the human constitution that ensures not everyone will receive the same output. This is simply because input will never cut across board.

We will continue this series

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Infomation

Westernization, Modernization, Post-Modernism and the Path to Progress I

WESTERNIZATION, MODERNIZATION, POST-MODERNISM & THE PATH TO PROGRESS (part 1)

I want to highlight a very important topic and begin the discussion of it today. 
The world today is divided by such terms as the First world, Second andThird world; there once were only Developed countries and Developing countries, then someone added a third group (Underdeveloped countries) to distinguish between those countries that are making an attempt to progress and those locked in the doldrums.
Then there are people who have mistakenly assumed that the Western countries are emblematic of Christianity and so everything done in them is an expression of this.
Then there are those who have accepted the imperialist thought that a country has to do every single thing like the West is doing it in order to become a progressive country or just to progress as a nation.

I would like to use this article to marginally point out the fallacies inherent in this type of thinking but primarily make a case for why nations that seek to progress and advance must not use the Western model as it is presently constituted as an example for emulation.
We will first begin with a brief definition of terms. I will try to make this as simple as possible so please bear with me.

Westernization is defined as a process in which societies adopt core aspects of western culture which include legislation, politics, economics, lifestyle, diet, clothing, language, philosophy, and values. The process involves western influences and interests joining with parts of society and causing a metamorphosis towards a more westernized character and the attaining of Western life or some aspects of it.
Westernization can also be related to acculturation and enculturation. Acculturation is “the process of cultural and psychological change that takes place as a result of contact between cultural groups and their individual members.” After such contact, changes in cultural patterns are evident within one or both cultures. Specific to westernization and the non-Western culture, foreign societies tend to adopt changes in their own social systems relative to Western ideology, lifestyle, and physical appearance, along with numerous other aspects, and shifts in culture patterns can be seen to take root as a community becomes acculturated to Western customs and characteristics – in other words, westernized. 
So this is evident in the type of music we see around the world through fora like MTV Base and the clothing we see most of our youth wear, mostly patterning themselves after the likes of gangsters, drug addicts, and entertainment based celebrities. 

Modernization refers to a model of progressive transition from a ‘pre-modern’ or ‘traditional’ to a ‘modern’ society. The theory looks at the internal factors of a country while assuming that with assistance, “traditional” countries can be brought to development in the same manner more developed countries have been. Modernization theory both attempts to identify the social variables that contribute to social progress and development of societies and seeks to explain the process of social evolution. It does this by maintaining that traditional societies will develop as they adopt “more modern practices.” Some point to the fact that modern states are wealthier and more powerful and that their citizens enjoy a higher standard of living. 
So, basically this means that those countries that have been classified as “modern” by reason of the attainment of certain standards and measurement by specific indices are used as the model of development, and several of the paths they have followed are held up to be the way to progress.
When not properly applied it will become imperialist thinking and will give the idea that the only path to development is the adoption of the same values (or lack thereof), ideology, culture, and lifestyles that produced it.
When properly applied and taken in context it is seen to be the truth. This is the way it was designed to be, but there are elements of perversion that were injected into the formula, these elements were not originally meant to be in the mix and have been embedded in it to derail the original purpose (I will throw further light on this later).

Post-Modernism describes both an era and a broad movement that developed in the late-20th century across philosophy, the arts, and architecture. While encompassing a broad range of ideas and projects, “postmodernism is typically defined by an attitude of skepticism or distrust toward grand narratives, ideologies, and various tenets of Enlightenment rationality, including the existence of objective reality and absolute truth, as well as notions of rationality, human nature, and progress. Instead, it asserts that knowledge and truth are the product of unique systems of social, historical, and political discourse and interpretation, and are therefore contextual and constructed. Accordingly, postmodern thought is broadly characterized among other things by tendencies to epistemological and moral relativism.”

Let me break this down a bit. Most Western countries have this post-modern ideology. A look at the above shows that this mindset interrogates notions of absolutism, immutable truth and anything that is not subject to empiricism. It embraces relativism and states that nothing can be known or understood completely, God either does not exist or is peripheral in the spectrum of our lives if He does, and truth is contextual.  
We find this thinking prevalent in the sort of education the Western world has since adopted and is bequeathing to Africa and the developing world- the kind of education they refer to as “Liberal Education”
The premise of proper education is that God is the center of the universe and we must “orbit” around Who He is and what He requires. But this Liberal education tells us we are the center, and God (if He exists) is at the periphery. 
Liberal Education has brought:-
(a) Humanism:- this is an ethical philosophy that prioritizes universal human qualities and intellect above all else
(b) Rationalism:- this is an intellectual position that rejects the validity of transcendental justifications, such as dependence on faith, the supernatural or divinely revealed truths
(c) Liberalism:- this is the belief that “freedom” supersedes morality. This “freedom” is essentially freedom from God
(d) Agnosticism:- this is the belief that ultimate reality is unknown and unknowable. So by implication if God exists you cannot know Him.

Having defined these terms I will now speak about how they affect advancement and genuine progress.

I have a Facebook friend who is an atheist; I saw a post he put up on what he noticed while watching a series of shows based on quizzes and mind games like “The Weakest Link”, and “Who wants to be a Millionaire”; he noticed that most of the questions that were asked about references to Scripture and Bible quotations were practically strange to the contestants. These questions on scripture were so basic that even he who had as much knowledge of God as a toddler has about quantum physics knew the answers.
I saw how he responded with incredulity to this and how he interpreted it to mean that the Caucasians sold Africans, and the rest of the world, a dummy. As far as he was concerned the white man took Christianity to Africa to exploit Africa, and having gotten what he wanted he (his descendants) has dropped that “tool” as it is no longer useful to him. The white man had thrown it so far away that he could not even remember the most basic of questions on the subject matter he was the principal purveyor of. 

I thought that was an interesting line of thought because I probably would have had the same thinking if I didn’t know any better. 
It’s perfectly understandable his mindset.
What else would any reasonable person think when he sees a salesman who convinces another person to buy a product he says is good for everyone without using it himself?
Only that the product is really good for everyone and has worked for all those that have ever used it with a full understanding of what it is. 

I have previously asked if there is any explanation as to why practically all the countries that are First World countries today were once known as Christian countries (as we have seen some of them now call themselves Post-Modern); I think the answer does not require very much critical thinking. 
At the risk of sounding biased I will still make this statement, “There is a connection between development and the lifestyle/teachings/ideology of Jesus”
The things Jesus taught were revolutionary and life transforming. There was no single people group that received His ideas and remained the same afterwards.

What we do in Africa and the developing world is copy the behavioral traits of the average, liberal Westerner in the false assumption that Westernization is synonymous with Modernization. It is not. 
Westernization and Liberalism are like the chicken and the egg, one produces the other and the other in turn produces the one that produced it. Modernization is not the same thing. 
The revolutionary teachings of Jesus Christ produced Modernization and what Westernization is doing today is taking us further away from Modernization, not bringing us closer to it.

Now the ideology and pattern of thought that is gaining ground on the prevailing orthodoxy is liberalism, but the people who are advancing this pattern of thought are actually truncating the same process that led to the emergence and development of the West, its countries and various people groups. Any Westerners who have imbibed this pattern of thinking and are spreading it are unwittingly retracing their steps and going back to the point at which their forebears originally were before the advent of the light that followers of Jesus brought.
Now these people criminalize righteousness and reward evil. Government is meant to legislate and enforce uprightness and righteous values but the trend now is to push for the punishment of those that are saying the things that the majority in the West once held as ideals- the things that made them worthy of emulation. 
However, now they have left all of that behind and among other perversions have embraced the very things that characterized the way of life of the heathens they once delivered through Christianity.
Take a look at abortion for instance-

All across primitive, pagan and heathen civilizations there were cases of infanticide in times past and it was people like the missionary Mary Slessor who helped stop the barbaric act of killing twins, now the descendants of those who sent her and once held to the ideal of the primacy of human life in every natural consideration are the ones that have taken the murder of innocent children to another level.
The rate of abortions in the Western world indicates the tragic indifference to human beings that is fast creeping in. The bloodshed that was characteristic of Africa and some other parts of the world has become the hallmark of the West in more subtle ways.
Dr. Gilda Sedgh of the Guttmacher Institute in the United States revealed some data from the latest global abortion study first published online in November 2013. Among much of what data was shared it was shown that any regard for life as a value in the Western world is increasingly rhetoric.
In Europe, around 30 per cent of pregnancies end in abortion. In North America the rate of abortions is 17 in every 1,000 women
Some might decide to start an argument as to whether aborting a foetus is the same as killing a human being, usually I would ask such people when life starts. Does it start inside the womb or does it only start after the child comes out in delivery?

Abortion is Infanticide. It is only permissible for medical reasons or when there is a choice to be made between the life of the child and the life of the mother. 
The gauntlet has been picked by those that once had the light and they are now the ones exporting this vice around the world. 
3,000 abortions take place everyday in the United States of America, that amounts to 1, 095,000 every year. Think about this.
And that’s not the only symptom of the regression of the West. Westernization produced Post-Modernism and this has produced its own vices chief of which is not just the attempted eradication of God from the mainstream but also His complete obliteration. Humanism is on the front burner in Post-Modernism, and the object is making man the center of the universe and the ultimate reason for the existence of everything.

It was about three years ago or so that I heard of a group of Europeans who went to the nation of Togo in West Africa to attend a voodoo festival, they got  involved in Satanic chants and incantations while eating human excreta; after the sordid experience they were asked about it and some of them spoke about how thrilled they were that they were “close to nature.”
They pulled out the heads of chickens and drank their blood, some tore off their clothes while others were barking like dogs. This group who went on “spiritual tourism” went in search of spiritism and ended up adopting the same things their forebears came to deliver Africans from. They came to explore nature and alternative paths and ended up encountering and adopting what they thought was just a product of superstition. 
They embraced the devil like many are unwittingly doing today-
There is no vacuum in life. Light either fills a void or darkness takes it.

 Even a cursory look at those nations that have toed the paths of spiritism, the occult, and shamanism will show how backward nations that reject the light are.
I will make some statements now. They might be offensive to some people but I would suggest that all those given to rational thinking should give them a long and hard thought.
There are countries like Haiti and the aforementioned Togo that institutionalize voodoo and witchcraft; all a rational person has to do is look at all the indices of development to realize that they are making very little progress.
On another note, we have been told that Islam is the “religion of peace”, if this were true the logical thing would be that everyone of us would be heading towards the Muslim world. Even the most basic knowledge of social science shows the correlation between peace and human progress.
 Nobody would be migrating to the West because the maternal mortality rate, literacy levels, Gross Domestic Product/Gross National Product, per capita income, ratio of jobs to people, and many other indices would be much more favorable in Muslim countries than in the West.
Women would not be oppressed, poverty would not be commonplace (over 90% of those that meet the United Nations assessment of living in extreme poverty are in Muslim dominated areas of the world), factional crises would not be the norm, and terrorism would not be over 95% constituted by Muslims.
In Nigeria, the quota system has been applied, among several other sectors, to education because the Muslim dominated North is said to be “educationally disadvantaged”, so cut-off marks into institutions have been dropped to preposterously low levels in order to keep up with the Christian dominated South. 
Despite the fact that out of the almost 56 years since Nigeria’s independence the country has had rulers from the Southern part for just over 15 years while over 40 years have been under administrations led by people of Northern extraction the areas where Islam has been dominant are still the most backward in the country.

This is not meant to be a slight on Muslims because I know many good natured, decent, progressive and anti-violent Muslims, but the fact remains they are not developed because of Islam but in spite of it.

The ancient civilizations and Barbarians that eventually made up Europe were involved in exactly the same type of behavior Africans were involved in before the advent of Christianity. Those who once prided themselves in mythology, idolatry, demon worship as well as extremely brutal acts of savagery received the light that came from following Jesus and the result was development.
The West got ahead of Africa largely because they had a head-start that was more than 18 centuries long.
The teachings of Jesus, His ideology, and the life and community transformation that is the result of these were in Europe centuries before anyone in Africa ever heard of Jesus.
Now it is turning 180 degrees.

We know that when the sun rises in one part on the earth it sets in another. When there is light in one part of the earth there is darkness in another. Darkness is not a phenomenon, it is simply the absence of light.
Now some of the people who were once light bearers have rejected the light and the direct consequence of that is darkness. Since there is no vacuum in life the implication is that “Rejecting one is accepting the other.”
Light and Darkness are mutually exclusive. Anything that is not consistent with light is synonymous with darkness.
The Bible tells us “God is Light” (1 John 1:5), and Jesus called Himself the “Light of the World” (John 8:12)
As several in the West have turned away from the Light they have sunk deep into the mire of darkness. 
There are many of such people that are reverting to tree hugging, ancestor worship, and other forms of idolatry, and the consequences are subtly creeping in on them.
I saw the unwrapping of all these once when I watched a group of “tree huggers” and followers of “Mother Nature” who were the subjects of a documentary shown on BBC once; they engaged in a mass wedding, but this was not just the average wedding, it was a wedding that was meant to reflect through them the “original” condition of man and his attachment to nature. They got buck naked in a bid to remove the “encumbrances” of civilization and civility and walked in the forests in order to maintain their soul tie to nature. 
It dawned on me that they were traveling in the opposite direction from where ancient civilizations came into the path of progress into the Light.

There can be only one result for those that seek to institutionalize and nationalize homosexuality, idolatry/witchcraft, impiety, abortion, and all other such vices, and that result is not progress.
Progress and Advancement will only come as we consistently follow the Light the West initially followed. The light that got them to where they are presently.
In the second segment of this series I will point out in more definite terms how and why nations must follow this Light if they want progress.

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Devotional

ENEMIES OF GOD

ENEMIES OF THE FAITH

“Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.”
James 4:4

One of the things that is likely to strike the reader of this article would be the image of the man being stabbed in the back.
This is an apt description of what we are about to discuss. Enemies of God are usually not in plain sight if you don’t know what to look for. And this makes them all the more dangerous so when they strike it hits one in the place least expected.

I remember speaking in a Bible conference somewhere once where I used the phrase “enemy of God.” I also remember how someone, a preacher at that, took me to task immediately afterwards and asked me how God could have “enemies”. He went all sanctimonious on me and started lecturing me as to how God loves every single human being and how God only had friends and no enemies.
I agreed with him on the first part that had to do with God loving humans but thoroughly disagreed as to the part in which he claimed God had no enemies. 

I mentioned several scriptures to him and showed that the Bible was replete with references to those that God considered enemies. One of such verses is above.
So, the question later became, “what makes a person an enemy of God?”

When we hinder His program and fraternize with those that want to destroy it we have become enemies of God.
There are three different moulds that are relevant today in order to understand who an enemy of God is.

“Now it came to pass, when Sanballat, and Tobiah, and Geshem the Arabian, and the rest of our enemies, heard that I had builded the wall, and that there was no breach left therein; (though at that time I had not set up the doors upon the gates;) That Sanballat and Geshem sent unto me, saying, Come, let us meet together in some one of the villages in the plain of Ono. But they thought to do me mischief…Then sent Sanballat his servant unto me in like manner the fifth time with an open letter in his hand; Wherein was written, It is reported among the heathen, and Gashmu saith it, that thou and the Jews think to rebel: for which cause thou buildest the wall, that thou mayest be their king, according to these words. And thou hast also appointed prophets to preach of thee at Jerusalem, saying, There is a king in Judah: and now shall it be reported to the king according to these words. Come now therefore, and let us take counsel together. Then I sent unto him, saying, There are no such things done as thou sayest, but thou feignest them out of thine own heart. For they all made us afraid, saying, Their hands shall be weakened from the work, that it be not done. Now therefore, O God, strengthen my hands.”

Nehemiah 6:1-2, 5-9 

There were three main sources of opposition that Nehemiah faced while doing the work of God. These are the same three sources of opposition we will face as the Church or as individual believers every time we attempt to do God’s work. 
These sources are symbolized by three men:-

(a) Sanballat the Horonite was a native of Beth-Horon; and his name Sanballat, literally means “Sin the moon god has given life”. The name is worth taking note of, and is highly symbolic as this man represents all satanic opposition to the truth of God’s Word, His Church and His work in our world today.

It is no mystery that the devil has a morbid hatred for Christ, the Church, and individual believers. That is not news.
One of the reasons he attempted to rebel against God is to usurp the Throne of God and claim His glory. This is why he would have the audacity to claim he can give life. 
Satan is real and influences people to act in certain ways for the furtherance of his objective; he is able to give direction to those that give him attention, ….and many do so unwittingly.

Most of us understand that we live in a three dimensional world. 
Almost every tangible thing we see and handle has three dimensions. It has length, breadth, and height. The chair you are sitting on right now, the electronic device you are reading this article on, the bowl from which you would have had breakfast this morning, and practically every other physical thing we use. That is easily seen and easily understood.

What is not as easily understood is the fact that there is a fourth dimension. An invisible, intangible dimension whose major part most people are still oblivious to. The part of the fourth dimension that many of us are conversant with is the intellectual and mental realm, it is in this dimension that we have thoughts and ideas.
For instance, the clothes you are wearing existed somewhere before they showed up in the physical, material realm; the car you drive existed somewhere before it showed up in the physical, material realm. They all existed in the minds of the manufacturers/producers.
That much is understandable.

What many of us do not understand however is that there is more to the fourth dimension than that. Thoughts exist in the mental or intellectual realm, but the intellectual realm is not the only thing that exists in the fourth dimension. There is a spiritual realm that is part of the fourth dimension. There is a sponsor for almost everything we see and do, and that sponsor is either God or the devil. 
As we live our everyday lives we consciously or unconsciously incline towards either of the two pathways. 
Whether we know it or not we are actively living out a script and contributing our quota either to the advancement of the Kingdom of God or the advancement of the cause of the devil…

There is no vacuum in life.
A wise man said it this way-  “Principalities work through Personalities.” 

In Sanballat’s case he was consciously opposing the program of God and knew exactly what he stood for, but he most likely did not understand the consequences.
Today we can readily point to groups like Satanists, New Agers, Occultists, Necromancers, Atheists, and several others, and see that they fall into the mould of Sanballat the Horonite.

Yet the above list is not exhaustive.

There are some ways to pinpoint those that are under this mould even if they fit into any classifications other than the ones listed above.
One way stands out prominently for me. 

Having studied this phenomenon for a while I have come to the conclusion that any person that has an irrational hatred for God, Jesus Christ, the Church, or believers in Christ is a person who is under an influence- a diabolical influence.
I will go a step further and say that the wave of Anti-Semitism all across Europe, the Middle East and North Africa is a product of that same influence. 
The person that sponsors the hatred of Jesus Christ and His Church is the same one that sponsors hatred against Israel. There are many under this influence that are oblivious to the fact that they are. For them their irrational hatred is ordinary.
But we must understand that nothing is ordinary.

(b) The third person who was mentioned was Geshem the Arab; I am putting him second on the list because I would want to end with the second person. 

As I previously mentioned Geshem was an Arab, a descendant of Ishmael, the alternative to faith. 
This man’s name means “Firmness” and he represents all the legalists who with their fleshly strength attempt to do spiritual work. 
He is first and foremost a symbol of Islam and Muslims, especially those who engage in militant Islam. He represents those that actually think they are doing God’s work while all the time they are destroying it. 
The Bible says, “These things have I spoken unto you, that ye should not be offended. They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service.”
(John 16:1-2)

There are these ones that actually believe they are following God but are unconsciously living in opposition to His will. There are some who have embarked on “Jihad” thinking they will gain heaven by killing others.
Watching commentaries on many of the young men drawn to ISIS it becomes more apparent that a majority of those drawn to this warped ideology are petty criminals and wasted youth who try to make some sort of penance in the hope that they can pay for their previous misdemeanors by submitting their lives for a “higher cause.”
Tragic really.

A religion/creed/ideology that is based heavily on works and the deeds one must undertake to secure salvation is one that will breed an air of superiority and arrogance in the mistaken assumption that they will pay their way to heaven through observances.
Thus, they will fight those who believe in concepts like the original sin, and that Jesus Christ is the Son and the Lamb of God who came to take away the sin of the world. 

Geshem is the profile of those who try to use strict religious observances like absolution, praying five times a day, zakat, and all other fleshly practices to gain spiritual and Providential acceptance. 
Tragically, there are also some in the Church who are trying to follow God using the same pattern. The legalistic means they follow is what keeps them bound by the law

(c) The second person in the trio mentioned in the Bible after Sanballat was Tobiah the Ammonite; a descendant of Ammon, the son of Lot. I have placed him last on the list because his profile is the most strategic and tragic of the three and concerns believers the most. He is the most unfortunate character of all three.

We might remember that Lot was Abraham’s nephew and lived with him for many years.
On his own Lot was described as a “righteous man” (2 Peter 2:7); this means that Tobiah had a godly heritage and lineage. 
 Tobiah’s name literally means “The Lord is good.” 
So obviously he understood the language of the Kingdom and if we were to use modern day parlance we could say he was a “church boy”.
Yet he was obstructing the path of the Lord by joining in with Sanballat. 
Tobiah was part of the fifth column.

“A fifth column is any group of people who undermine a larger group—such as a nation or a besieged city—from within, usually in favor of an enemy group or nation. The activities of a fifth column can be overt or clandestine. Forces gathered in secret can mobilize openly to assist an external attack. Clandestine fifth column activities can involve acts of sabotage, disinformation, or espionage executed within defense lines by secret sympathizers with an external force…Emilio Mola, a Nationalist General during the Spanish Civil War, told a journalist in 1936 that as his four columns of troops approached Madrid, a ‘fifth column’ (Spanish: Quinta columna) of supporters inside the city would support him and undermine the Republican government from within.”

Fifth columnists exist everywhere. Even in Church. The contest between the Kingdom of God and the kingdom of the devil is for souls and for the eternal destinies of nations. It is for influence over this world- to purify it and make life worth living, or to corrupt it, deface it, and absolutely destroy it. 

Tobiah represents the 5th columnists, the lip service and carnal “Christians” who cause trouble and hinder God’s program with their fleshly thinking and actions. The name suggests they belong with us, but their words and action prove they are strangers to the covenant of grace. They are in Church but not really of Christ.
Tobiah was more or less a spiritual Uncle Tom.

I have seen people who are supposedly people of God and “insiders” who are the first to blow a whistle on even the smallest indiscretion of their pastors or any other church leaders; they do this even when they are far from perfect and have done even worse than what they broadcast outside. I have seen people who are blessed by a ministry and have had their whole lives turned around only to turn against that same ministry further down the road.
I have seen people who criticize the way their church handles finances even when they have not contributed a dime and have no moral rights to do so. These ones who don’t share in the weight of the vision and contribute absolutely nothing still are the ones that go out to say things they have absolutely no understanding of.
I have seen people who think there are things they should have but the moment their pastor has the same things they are up in arms, even when they have given him nothing. They criticize the pastor, the congregation, the vision, and every other conceivable thing when it does not go their way.
I have seen some church people who are within the church but are not part of it; they use their carnal mindset in decision making and pursue only what they stand to gain from…absolutely not interested in what God wants.
They will readily foist a political candidate on their community or nation for parochial and primordial reasons like race, tribe, or personal financial gain. They would not as much as think about what the Kingdom of God either stands to gain or lose.

When a church person goes out to spread anything that will bring shame to the Church without considering the effect it will have on the unsaved then he fits into the mould of Tobiah. 
When a church person goes out to defame the Church or his pastor because of a personal grievance or for some individual gain he fits into the mould of Tobiah.
When a church person takes it upon himself to openly criticize church leaders especially when there is no contribution of his to the church he fits into the mould of Tobiah.
When a church person does not consider the divine program before selecting who will govern him and millions of others he fits into the mould of Tobiah.

When a church person does not understand he is a representative of the kingdom and puts his selfish interests forward and ends up in partnership with the enemies of the cross and possibly ends up spreading what could cause further damage, whether factual or not, to the cause of God and the Body of Christ he, just like Judas Iscariot, fits into the mould of Tobiah. 

David, the king of Israel and man after God’s heart, was faced with a situation where he learnt about the death of one who had sworn David must first die; he was told of the demise of one who had sought his destruction in a vengeful manner; he was told of the death of Saul. But because David looked beyond the man who intended for him to perish and saw the significance of his death and the shame it would bring to the cause of He whom Saul once represented, he said-

“The beauty of Israel is slain upon thy high places:
how are the mighty fallen!
Tell it not in Gath,
publish it not in the streets of Askelon;
lest the daughters of the Philistines rejoice,
lest the daughters of the uncircumcised triumph.”
2 Samuel 1:19-20

This is how a kingdom minded person would think. 
So, assess yourself and see if you are an enemy of the faith

Categories
Current Affairs Analysis

The Directorate of State Services and the Fulani Herdsmen problem

THE DSS  STATEMENT AND THE FULANI HERDSMEN PROBLEM

This writer knows a reasonable amount of well educated and well intentioned Hausa-Fulani. This article puts to light the same things a hood number of them have commented against.

Throughout history the major premise of violent conflict has always been the contention for resources. People groups, communities, and nations have gone into full scale war over material resources. This is not uncommon.

More than half of the wars Israel has fought with its neighbors for instance are directly traceable to skirmishes over water or land.

Fulani herdsmen and farmers conflict in Nigeria was partly a land resource based conflict predominantly in the North of the country. It was once customary and understandable that herdsmen and local farmers would have some sort of strife as their interests, though complimentary, looked mutually exclusive more often than not. The herdsmen supply much needed beef through the cows they lead around, while the farmers produce food items the beef compliments. This, in theory, is straightforward and facile, the practice of it, on the other hand, is another thing entirely. 

According to a Human Rights Watch report of December 2013 violence between Fulani herdsmen, farmers and local communities had killed 3,000 people since 2010. Fulani herders and farmers are in constant violent conflict over herdsmen’s increased need for access to grazing lands against the expansion of farmland by farmers into corridors traditionally used by the Fulani. Farmers accuse the Fulani herders of allowing their animals to feed on still-growing crops and contamination of community watering-places. The Fulani herders in turn accuse the farmers of denying them access to grazing areas when alternatives cannot be found. 

It is comprehensible that there would be a certain amount of strife between farmers who plow their ancestral farmlands and herdsmen whose livestock intrude on such lands eating the crops and destroying the remnants, however, what is happening with the crises between herdsmen and farmers has seen a profound degeneration, one that portends unimaginable repercussions.  

Previously, the conflicts between the Fulani herdsmen and indigenous farmers was largely in the core north of Nigeria. There were skirmishes in the Middle Belt, but they were few and far between. Now these conflicts have gone beyond mere skirmishes and Fulani herdsmen wielding sophisticated weapons move into entire communities, in a mode of operation that is similar to the terrorist group Boko Haram, and ransack them while killing and raping innocent people.
 However, unlike the Boko Haram menace which is localized these marauders rampage through communities and have now spread their activities to the South of the country.

With the massacres of thousands of innocent people in recent years (incidents like the Dogo Na Hawa massacre of over 500 indigenous people in Plateau State and the recent genocide of multiplied hundreds of Idomas in Agatu, Benue State readily come to mind) there has been the sustained question by well meaning Nigerians as to how best the situation can be handled.

There have been systematic and sustained killings going on for many years in places like Plateau State and in many other places where Fulani take their cows for grazing.
In the past few months there has been an upsurge in sporadic killings and the wanton destruction of communities in many different places across the country. The kidnap of a former Secretary to the Government of the Federation in his country home in Ondo State was traced to the Fulani. So was  the kidnap and murder of a traditional ruler from Delta State. After the murder of a 65 year old farmer in Edo State and the subsequent discovery of his mutilated body by relatives the youth in the community burnt down a Fulani enclave after it was learnt that the perpetrators came from there and every single Fulani had subsequently taken to their heels.

With the situation getting out of hand responsible citizens have looked for succor from the government but recent events have brought out a very ominous pattern. 
Apart from the fact that there have not been any arrests after the pogroms committed by many of these Fulani herdsmen it would seem that the relevant security agencies have taken sides with the criminal elements among them.
After a series of protests by some farmers over the activities of the Fulani herdsmen in Awgu, Enugu State a few weeks ago 75 of these farmers were arrested and detained without charge. 
It is not clear if a single Fulani was invited for questioning.

In the most recent of ambivalences the Directorate of State Services has gone on to make a very callous, irresponsible and inflammatory statement, to the effect that a group of “Biafran activists” murdered and buried five Fulanis in a mass grave.
In a statement signed by its spokesperson, Tony Opuiyo, the DSS said the killing of the Hausa-Fulani residents has triggered tension among different communities in Abia State.
Although Mr. Opuiyo said five men were killed alongside several other unidentified persons, only the names of four individuals were provided.
“The Service has uncovered the heinous role played by members of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB), in the abduction/kidnap of five Hausa-Fulani residents, namely Mohammed Gainako, Ibrahim Mohammed, Idris Yakubu and Isa Mohammed Rago at Isuikwuato LGA in Abia State,” Mr. Opuiyo said.
“The abducted men were later discovered at the Umuanyi forest, Abia State, where they were suspected to have been killed by their abductors and buried in shallow graves, amidst fifty (50) other shallow graves of unidentified persons.
“Arrest and investigation conducted so far, revealed that elements within the IPOB, carried out this dastardly action”, he added.
Mr. Opuiyo said he was alerting Nigerians to the ‘divisive’ and ‘gruesome’ activities of IPOB operatives.
“It is pertinent therefore to alert the general public that IPOB, is gradually showing its true divisive colour and objectives, while steadily embarking on gruesome actions in a bid to ignite ethnic terrorism and mistrust amongst non-indigenes in the South-East region and other parts of the country.
“Following this act, tension is currently rife among communal stakeholders in the State with possibilities of spillover to other parts of country”, Mr. Opuiyo said.

Even if we are to disregard the fact that the aforementioned group is one which has no history of engaging in violence and is simply fighting for self-determination even as its  members have been tortured and killed by security forces while having peaceful demonstrations the DSS statement is still reckless, unconscionable, and morally reprehensible.

In the face of its apparent inability to stop the murderous rampage by the criminal elements within the ranks of Fulani herdsmen, or worse still, it’s complicity, the DSS does not have the moral right to speak about the fanning of mistrust and the igniting of ethnic terrorism in any form.
To then make such a brazen statement in the face of its incompetence in providing adequate security for the citizenry it is meant to protect is taking irresponsibility to previously unimaginable lows. 

Just what is the thinking of the authorities in allowing their spokesman make such unfounded and highly polarizing claims? And even if it is valid is there no better way for such information to be managed in such a tense environment already deeply divided along the fault lines that are so apparent in the Nigerian society?
Why have they not made arrests and intelligent statements concerning the internecions and decimations of entire communities and families by Fulani marauders? Children in diapers are slaughtered like fowls along with their family members and burnt alive in their multiplied hundreds. The loss of lives by these vampires in just the past few months has hit record highs and is numbering in their thousands, and all the security agencies have the nerve to tell us is that the perpetrators are foreigners.

For the avoidance of doubt, I believe in the sanctity of human life, and I believe that it must be respected. Murder in any shape, form or guise is completely unacceptable. For this reason I find some things absolutely befuddling.
One thousand Shiite Muslims were massacred in Zaria and buried in mass graves. Thousands more Nigerians of every other ethnic stock have been brutally raped and murdered by Fulani herdsmen. The International Terror Index has listed the Fulani militia in Nigeria as the “fourth most deadly terror organization in the world”; and the DSS has said absolutely nothing about these.

Why has the DSS only just found its voice? The double standards here are just too acute to be swept under the carpet.
Are the security agencies attempting to serve sectional interests to the detriment of everyone else they swore to protect?

Anyone can readily do the research and see how much an AK 47 rifle costs in financial terms. Havocscope, a global black market information site puts the average cost of AK 47 rifles worldwide at $534 per gun. Other unconfirmed sources put the cost of rounds at between $3 and $5 for a box of 20.
The question then becomes, “how do these mostly indigent nomads afford to buy and use these weapons?”

Anyone that has even a superficial knowledge of the Fulani will know that it is customary for their elite to own heads of cattle. Between the Sultan of Sokoto, the Emir of Kano, the President of Nigeria and all the other members of the Hausa-Fulani elite across Nigeria there is the ownership of multiplied hundreds of thousands of cattle. 
These cattle are not ranched and so are given to Fulani nomads to lead about. 

Following the rapid desertification of the core north  of Nigeria many of these nomads are heading south with their cattle in search of grazing fields…which are fast becoming killing fields. 

Nigeria is a country that is currently a melting pot of a very dangerous brew of things. With the current unemployment situation, the acute fuel scarcity, hunger, desperation, epileptic power supply, corruption, exploitation of ethno-centric and religious leanings, mass illiteracy, inept and arrogant political class/ leaders bereft of both ability and vision, their crass impunity, and culture of mediocrity, the flagrant disregard of due process and court orders, and the continuous violation of the constitutionally backed secularity of state we already have a very full plate.
To now add a divisive and sectional security apparatus intent on further stoking well lit fires will lead to a conflagration.
The questions at this juncture would now be, “Is this what they want, or are they obtuse to the point of not realizing what is bleeding obvious?”

Categories
Devotional Infomation

WHY GOD DOES NOTHING WHEN BAD THINGS HAPPEN

WHY GOD DOES NOT INTERVENE 

WHERE IS GOD WHEN BAD THINGS HAPPEN?

“There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, ‘Thy will be done,’ and those to whom God says, in the end, ‘thy will be done.'”- C.S Lewis

A plane crashes in the Alps instantly killing hundreds of passengers, among whom are about twenty children, at least two of which are infants. 

A young girl who is less than six years old gets sexually molested from that age by an uncle, and then her father over the next twelve years…at least two hundred times.
A four year old girl is given away to a “cousin” by her mom who knows fully well that she would be trafficked and plunged into the underworld of crime and prostitution by the pimp who calls himself a family member. The girl grows up through this sordid maze and sleeps with different breeds of men, in some cases having over 80 different customers in one day, in order to survive.

Adolf Hitler murdered at least 6 million Jews.

Multitudes of black men and other minorities lie in unmarked graves, victims of terrible racist acts perpetrated in the South of the United States. Slave-masters abducting people from their lands in Africa and transporting them like logs of wood for thousands of miles across the Atlantic. White Supremacists lynching innocent blacks through centuries of slave trade, and still doing so today through institutionalized methods even after the abolition of slave trade. 
Like the invaders who snatched lands from the Native Americans and subjugated them to years of oppression the Apartheid government of Boers kept the majority black population in repression, unfathomable humiliation, and untold hardship for years on end.

Hundreds of thousands of people have been killed in Syria since the turn of the Arab Spring, caught in a conflict that is not of their own making, many bombed to smithereens while others are singed by chemical and biological weapons.
A bunch of brigands referred to as ISIS obliterates entire cities and towns, pillaging them and beheading the inhabitants like sheep in an abattoir. As they do this they abduct Yazidi girls and sell them off in their slave market. Their vampire colleagues called Boko Haram storm remote villages with machine guns and machetes hacking down innocent and defenseless people like they were playing a computer game.

Ebola strikes entire communities in West Africa killing multiplied thousands and drastically affecting the economies of the countries in which those communities are. A story I remember vividly was about a victim of Ebola in a Liberian community who died with her 5-7 month old baby in her arms. The medical workers were called in, they got there to find the gory sight of the infant crying and sucking on the breast of the corpse.

There are, no doubt, many more of such cases and examples of the evil with which this world is besieged. Not only is evil ubiquitous, it seems to also be proliferating at an alarming rate.

We live in a world where terrible things happen. Of that there is no doubt. What seems to be in doubt though is a good God who is well intentioned, magnanimous, and benevolent “allowing” such terrible things happen.

I have heard well meaning people ask this question, and I have seen those who seek to support their vacuous claims of the non-existence of God attempt to use this as a rhetorical question in a bid to fortify their arrogant ignorance. 

So, where is God when bad things happen? Where is He in the face of tragedy?

The answer is “He is there”

The next question then becomes, “Why doesn’t He do anything to stop the tragedy from happening?” or “Does He do anything to stop the tragedy from happening?”

There are two answers to these questions. They are what I choose to call “Legality” and “Morality”

LEGALITY: 

“The heaven, even the heavens, are the Lord ‘s:
but the earth hath he given to the children of men.”
Psalm 115:16

In creating this world God handed it over to man; this singular action gave man legality on the earth. It was not ownership of the earth that God gave to man, it was stewardship. This stewardship was a lease, and this lease will expire some day, but up until that time man has legality and will only have what he permits, by commission or omission, in his life.
By way of illustration, if Mr. Williams owned a facility that Mr. Harold chose to lease for his fast food restaurant, for let’s say ten years, that facility although owned by Mr. Williams would be under the administration of Mr. Harold for the duration of time covered in the agreement. Although Mr. Williams still owns the building he would not be at liberty to walk into the offices and kitchen of Mr. Harold’s restaurant because though it is technically his building the business it is being used for is another person’s.

In a similar manner, God gave man the earth to steward on a lease but humanity (through the actions of the progenitor of the human race) lined up with the devil. It is this alliance that has produced the diabolical desolation the world is experiencing today.

This is why redemption became imperative. 

As many as have given their lives to Christ have been legally delivered from the devil’s bondage and are no longer under his authority. And because man has legality whoever he invites into the “facility” (his world) is who comes in.

America drives God out of her schools and gets perturbed when the devil replaces Him? Europe send Him out of her national life and blames Him when things go wrong? He seems to be the one to shoulder the blame for all the tragedy. And that would make sense IF He were the one that ran all the affairs.
It would be fair to blame Him for the tragedy if He were the one that ran the earth. But He is not the one. He handed over power to man and man gave it to the devil…willfully.

This is why the Church is here. To advance the cause of the LORD and expand His kingdom.
This is the reason for redemption. To stand with God for the deliverance and liberation of countless multitudes flung on the path of perdition but for whom the price of freedom has been paid.
If you are saved you are required to help God in this regard; work with Him and help Him as a partner-

Someone might ask, “Does God need help?”

“Curse ye Meroz, said the angel of the Lord,
curse ye bitterly the inhabitants thereof;
because they came not to the help of the Lord,
to the help of the Lord against the mighty.”

(Judges 5:23)

Since leasing the world to humanity He has maintained the legal position of non-interference, not getting involved until He is invited.
This policy is still what applies today, and it will be so until the lease expires and He reclaims the possession which was handed over to man. Until then, He needs someone to help Him intervene in the affairs and issues causing so much pain and decadence in the world today.

In the end, the question will be “Did you live for your will, or did you live for His?”

MORALITY: Force and Freedom make uneasy partners and an emphasis on one always diminishes the other. Coercion does not produce Freedom and this is quite clear in human history. How many times have we seen force produce real freedom?

The U.S invasion of Iraq is a case in point. It was supposed to “free” the Iraqis from the tyrannical grip of the despot Saddam Hussein. That show of force has produced just about as much freedom as a rock in the desert produces orange juice.

The parents among you will undoubtedly understand how it is possible for one to rebuke a recalcitrant child and make him sit down when he wants to stand. Sometimes, even a cursory glance at that child will reveal his thought pattern as the scowl on his face tells you, “I may be sitting on the outside but I’m standing on the inside.” 
This is exactly what God faces if He attempts to force or coerce anyone to do His bidding.

In the Bible records show that Intervention without Invitation does not produce Transformation. The Old Testament nation of Israel had God intervene on their behalf after their cries for deliverance from the affliction of Pharaoh reached His ears. He sent Moses and set them free through mighty signs and wonders, but it would take only a few steps into the Sinai for the people to forget and start showing monumental levels of ingratitude as they complained against Moses and murmured incessantly while yearning earnestly for the lifestyle they were delivered from. The mental conditioning of slavery made it practically impossible to move these people into the Land of Freedom.

The Bible also tells us prophetically about something that will happen when Adam’s lease ends. The Lord Jesus Christ will return again and the devil will be imprisoned for 1,000 years; this millennium would be one of unprecedented increase and bliss for everyone. The shocking thing though, is that after it the devil will be released from His prison and will go to the four corners of the earth seeking support, and will find active supporters from those who would have partaken of the 1,000 years of bliss and abundance. There are those who will still embrace the devil willingly even after all the love God Almighty would have shown them…try and imagine how many would embrace Satan’s deception if God used force on men and turned us all to subservient machines.

It is against the boundaries of a Moral God to coerce or force a person to do anything; even if it is for the good of that person.

It is for these reasons that God will not intervene until He is invited.

Categories
Current Affairs Analysis

HURRICANE TRUMP: STOPPING THIS NATURAL DISASTER

Populism is a doctrine that appeals to the interests and conceptions, especially hopes and fears, of the general population.
Political parties and politicians often use the terms “populist” and “populism” as pejoratives against their opponents. What this means is that populism is merely empathising with the majority of the public, (usually through rhetoric or “unrealistic” proposals) in order to increase appeal across the political spectrum.

This pejorative aptly describes the political operations of one man- Donald Trump.

This abrasive, brash, and arrogant billionaire, reality T.V star, and real estate mogul  is the front runner in the race for the Republican presidential ticket. He is the last of the outsiders (the other two being former Silicon Valley chief executive Carly Fiorina, and world renowned neurosurgeon Ben Carson) standing in a field of professional politicians and Washington insiders. Interestingly, up until Super Tuesday and Super Saturday, with an extremely resurgent Ted Cruz, his rating in percentage terms was more than that of the remaining three…combined.
His astounding success on the campaign trail thus far can be attributed to the fact that he plays on the fears and hopes of the public and has become the personification of populism. 

He was never a career politician but is sweeping in delegates with the ferocity of a hurricane.
This is largely because he is speaking what many Americans are thinking.
What they are thinking but are unable to say because of political correctness.
And it’s not just what he says but how he says it. 
In stating his points and position he releases gaffes like they are going out of fashion. 
Indiscretions about breast-feeding women, women in general, the disabled, minorities, and many other policy statements that range from banning Muslims from entering the U.S, through expelling all illegal immigrants, stopping birthright citizenship, to building a wall separating Mexico from the U.S, and of course getting the Mexicans to pay for it.

With every gaffe Donald Trump seems to have his street credibility and ratings with the American public soar, while those rivals that take him on directly have theirs diametrically opposed to his.
When Rick Perry took him on his ratings dropped and he subsequently dropped out of the race. When Lindsey Graham took him on his ratings dropped and he followed suit out of the race. Jeb Bush who was supposed to be the favorite to clinch the ticket was blown out of the race when he took on Donald Trump; the likes of Louisiana State Governor Bobby Jindal and Rick Santorum froze off the radar just after they tried taking on Trump.

He seems to be unstoppable. 
But just who is largely responsible for the rise of Donald Trump?

Trump initially came to public attention in 1973 when he was accused by the Justice Department of violations of the Fair Housing Act in the operation of 39 buildings, including false “no vacancy” statements, and sham leases presenting higher rents to minority applicants, all to facilitate the denial of housing to racial minorities.
Today, Donald Trump, probably as a result of his Democratic background, takes an economic and ideological position that leans to the left, but he mixes this position with a toxic brew of bigotry that is appealing to a section of the Republican party, and this second part is largely why several people in the mainstream conservative media did not call him out on time for who he is.

 There were conservative radio talk show hosts like Rush Limbaugh and T.V stations like Fox that could have put a spanner in his works but only stopped short of putting the wind in his sails. When he took advantage of his protest over President Obama’s birth certificate to launch his political profile he did so with the tacit approval of several members of the GOP that are today ironically fighting the upsurge in Trumpism. 
Many conservatives turned a blind eye to his verbal attacks on minorities because racial enmity is a big driver of U.S politics and the conservatives were comfortable with Trump playing this card, but now he  has taken it to another level. 

So what can the world expect from a Donald Trump presidency, and can such an unstable personality be trusted with the topmost executive job on the planet? 
This is not just a question of the choice of Americans. The choice of U.S president is bound to have an effect on billions of people around the world.

The second largest economy in the world is the Chinese economy, second behind the U.S. The Chinese economy experienced a mind-boggling GDP accumulated growth of almost 350% between 1990 and 2006, yet the American economy is still at least three times the size of the Chinese.
This is not an economy you would want to be run by such an unpredictable and divisive character.

The U.S has 4,500 nuclear warheads, and the U.S President carries around a briefcase called “the Football”. This briefcase has launch-codes  that can deploy the armed warheads.
I can’t imagine that too many people around the world would be comfortable knowing that that briefcase was under the custody of a President Trump.

Much has been made of how much of a Midas Touch Donald Trump has. Let me rephrase that- Donald Trump has made much of how much of the Midas Touch he has. He has held the world spellbound with fantastic tales of how much astuteness and business acumen he has, and how he turned a one million dollar loan from his dad into his present vast fortune.
Former GOP Presidential candidate Mitt Romney is among those who have questioned Trump’s purported wealth and his unwillingness to release his tax returns, suggesting Trump might be wary of revealing a potential electoral “bombshell” such as a failure to pay expected tax rates, dishonesty about charitable donations, or that “he’s not anywhere near as wealthy as he says he is.

In 2005, The New York Times referred to Trump’s “verbal billions” in a skeptical and highly critical article about Trump’s self-reported wealth. At the time, three individuals with direct knowledge of Trump’s finances told reporter Timothy L. O’Brien that Trump’s actual net worth was between $150 and $250 million, though Trump then publicly claimed a net worth of $5 to $6 billion. Claiming libel, Trump sued the reporter (and his book publisher) for $5 billion, lost the case, and then lost again on appeal; Trump refused to turn over his unredacted tax returns despite his assertion they supported his case. In a sworn deposition, Trump testified that he once borrowed $9.6 million from his father, calling it “a very small amount of money,” but could not recall when he did so; Trump has since told campaign audiences he began his career with “a small loan of one million dollars” from his father.

Estimates of Trump’s net worth have fluctuated along with real estate valuations: in 2015, Forbes pegged it as $4 billion, while the Bloomberg Billionaires Index (which scrutinized Trump’s FEC filings) estimated a net worth of $2.9 billion. On June 16, 2015, just prior to announcing his candidacy for president of the United States, Trump released to the media a one-page prepared financial disclosure statement “from a big accounting firm—one of the most respected” stating a net worth of $8,737,540,000. “I’m really rich,” Trump said.

 Forbes called the nearly $9 billion figure a “100%” exaggeration.

However, while it is indubitable that he has street sense and has made  headway producing a great deal of lemonade with the lemons he started with in life his capriciousness becomes evident when we see how disingenuous he has been with the amount of lemons life handed out to him.
Donald Trump is said to have inherited at least $200 million from his dad, and the fact that he has had a litany of failures in business which include his foray into the airline business, his failed casino business, and several bankruptcies puts a slight dent in his self-appraisal form.

An analysis of Trump’s business career by The Economist in 2016, concludes that his “…performance has been mediocre compared with the stockmarket and property in New York.”

But the controversies in his statements about his investments do not hold a candle to the amount of controversies he strings up in other areas.
One that has been noteworthy of recent has been the type of people that have endorsed him.

David Duke is an American white nationalist, antisemitic conspiracy theorist, far-right politician, and former Grand Wizard of the most racist group in U.S history, the Ku Klux Klan.
An avowed racist and white supremacist, Duke is a former felon and criminal who has been convicted of fraud and traced to many brutal racial hate crimes.

This was the man that gave a stirring endorsement of Donald Trump.

David Duke, a white nationalist and former Klu Klux Klan grand wizard, told his audience Wednesday that voting for anyone besides Donald Trump “is really treason to your heritage…I do support his candidacy, and I support voting for him as a strategic action. I hope he does everything we hope he will do.”

In December, Duke told POLITICO that Trump’s candidacy allows Americans to be more open about their racial animus.
“He’s made it okay to talk about these incredible concerns of European Americans today, because I think European Americans know they are the only group that can’t defend their own essential interests and their point of view,” Duke said. “He’s meant a lot for the human rights of European Americans.”

Trump has since denounced him, but his initial unwillingness to do so has stirred the hornets’ nest, with the House Speaker, Paul Ryan, the Senate Majority leader, Mitch McConnell, and other high profile Republicans trying to disassociate themselves from Trump. 

And it’s not just them. 
There’s a good amount of people who share the same sentiments. 

The situation is so dire that there is a massive number of people who have indicated their interest to migrate if Trump wins the election. A remote town in Nova Scotia, Canada, has had a humongous amount of enquiries on its website by Americans who are anxious to relocate if Donald Trump wins the presidential race to become the Commander-In-Chief of the United States

There are a lot of Republicans who are very uncomfortable with the potential of a Trump nomination, and for good reason too. Being from New York, and having been a Democrat who has allegedly written ten different checks to Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton in the course of her political career, and spent loads of money on a Bill Clinton campaign for the White House, his loyalty to the Republican party is at best checkered and at worst non-existent.
Add to this his numerous unguarded statements and penchant for verbal diarrhea it is perfectly understandable why this man cannot ever be the poster child for the Republican party.
Mitt Romney, a former governor and presidential candidate of the Republican party, recently released a scathing attack on Trump calling him a phony and a fraud. A high point of that speech was when he said Trump’s statements were about as worthless as “a certificate from Trump University”, an “institution” credited as a fraud and which serves as the reason for several legal suits.
Interestingly, several other mainstream Republicans, notably former presidential candidate John McCain, have openly backed Mitt Romney’s position. 
Romney exhorted Republicans to think long and hard about who they would want to represent them in their race for the White House. He stopped short of endorsing one other candidate and encouraged delegates to vote different candidates at each of the caucuses, implicitly suggesting the game plan to stop Trump is a contested convention.

WHAT IS A CONTESTED CONVENTION?
The primaries and caucuses are now on. These are designed for delegates from both the Democratic and the Republican parties to pick the flag-bearers (presumptive nominees) of their respective parties. A Republican candidate needs to win 1,237 of the 2,472 total delegates in order to become the presumptive nominee. 
Most conventions are a bit of a rubber stamp because the presumptive nominee would already have been decided. In most election years, one presidential candidate wins enough delegates during the primary-caucuses process in order for the presumptive nominee to earn a majority of the delegates before the convention begins.
 
In a contested convention, however, no presumptive nominee exists because no candidate garners a majority of the delegates on the first ballot. A contested convention means the meetings actually make a pivotal difference for who the nominee will be. This is because all delegates will cast votes at the convention until a candidate is decided.

This is what Mitt Romney and most conservatives are hoping for. 

His game plan as evidenced by his speech would be for Republicans in Florida to support their senator Marco Rubio when their caucus takes place on March 15th, Republicans in Ohio to support John Kasich, who incidentally is their governor, during their caucus, and Republicans in other states to support Ted Cruz who is the senator representing the state of Texas. This ought to end in a Contested Convention if it goes according to plan. And this would increase the chances of Trump being knocked off on the floor of the Republican convention.
 He might have the sympathy of the grassroots (many of those derisively referred to as “trailer trash” would love him), but for much of the educated, elite and upwardly mobile he is a non-starter.

 So, we have Donald Trump, one of the most polarizing and confusing figures in recent times. For many people around the world he must be stopped. The GOP Establishment sees a potential Trump candidacy as a rollover to the advantage of Hillary Clinton and the Democrats.
They can’t afford to let this happen.

Would their plan work? Would it be enough to stop this potential natural disaster- Hurricane Trump?

Categories
Technology

7 SIMPLE STEPS TO STAYING ALIVE AND AVERTING AN ACCIDENT IN THE EVENT OF A TYRE BLOW OUT

7 SIMPLE STEPS TO STAYING ALIVE AND AVERTING AN ACCIDENT IN CASE OF A TYRE BLOWOUT.

On the 6th of March, the Nigerian people were slapped in the face with the abrupt, tragic, yet totally avoidable demise of a top ranking government official.
After the unfortunate death of Nigeria’s Minister of State for Labour and Productivity, James Ocholi (SAN), due to an accident occasioned by a tyre blowout it has become imperative to share the following simple steps for survival in the event of a tyre blowout. 

* Note that all these should be done within a maximum of 2 minutes after the blow-out

(1) DON’T PANIC:- If you have passengers in the vehicle it is likely that everyone in the car will be in panic mode. You will need to shut out all the people screaming around you and concentrate. 
Your car will develop a mind of its own if a blow-out occurs at top speed, so you must calm yourself down and be in control if you want to take charge. 
If you and your car start misbehaving at the same time either of you will eventually take charge, and the chances of it being you are unlikely.

(2) HOLD FIRMLY TO YOUR STEERING WHEEL:- Hold your steering with both hands. DO NOT TURN VIGOROUSLY. Avoid turning at all if possible and concentrate on the road as well as both your rear view and side mirrors as you simultaneously study and take advantage of the movement pattern of the car. Your car will naturally swerve in the direction of the burst tyre. 

(3) REMOVE YOUR FOOT FROM THE PEDALS:- Take your foot off the gas/accelerator pedal immediately, and DO NOT ATTEMPT TO TOUCH THE BRAKES.
If you hit the brakes there is a 95% chance that the vehicle will somersault.
If you hold the steering firmly and avoid touching the pedals the car will decelerate gradually. As it does so you must concentrate on the road in order to avoid collision with other road users.

(4) DISENGAGE THE GEARS: You do this by shifting your gears to neutral

(5) GRADUALLY APPLY THE BRAKES ONCE THE CAR HITS THE APPROPRIATE SPEED:-  After a while, depending on your initial speed, the vehicle will come to a speed of less than 60km/h. At this point it will become safe to gently apply the brakes and navigate to the side walk.

(6) STOP AND KILL THE ENGINE:- It would be safe at this point to put the car to a complete stop and turn off the engine. You would have just saved yourself and your passengers from certain death.

(7) RUN FLAT TYRES:- The above six points are stated in the event of an immediate blow-out when you are not using the appropriate tyres.
However, before you embark on long-distance, high-speed journeys do what you can to buy run-flat tyres.
If you understand the specifics you will be able to tell your tyre vendor what you ought to buy. 
There are essentially five tire codes designed for top speed; these codes are H, V, Z, W, and Y with speeds of between 210 km (130mi) and 300km (186 mi) an hour
If you pick up high speeds with tyres that have E, F, G, J or K codes written on them you might end up on a lamp-post or street-light somewhere.  
The appropriate speeds between E and K are 70 km (43 mi) – 110km (68 mi).
Codes L, M, N, P, Q, R, S, T, U are designed for speeds between 120km (75mi) and 200km (124mi). 

If you pick the appropriate tyre before a journey it will affect the smoothness of your journey.
A friend of mine was driving his BMW at a speed of 180km/h when his front tyre blew out. His tyres were all run-flat and there was little or no effect after the blow-out. It was actually only after he stopped the vehicle that he told the occupants that his tyre was out. This kind of tyres was specifically designed with safety in mind.

Ultimately, put your life in God’s hands and be attentive to any premonitions you might have while driving.

Drive safely, and live longer.

Categories
Current Affairs Analysis

ON ESE ORURU: A PERSPECTIVE

Adam Johnson is a professional footballer whose career had seen him play for English Premier League clubs like Manchester City F.C, and Sunderland F.C; his contract with Sunderland was recently cancelled on the strength of his sexual involvement with a 15 year old girl.
It has since been discovered that this young lady led him on and even bragged to her friends in the tweets she sent them that she was going to be sexually involved with him. 
Adam Johnson is 23 years old and is now facing a criminal charge. Barring some last act of providential intervention we can safely say his professional career is over.

There are several other cases of people who were sexually involved with minors in countries around the world. Politicians, entertainers, and business people; in most cases they had their careers truncated and were summarily punished.

Having it any other way would be catastrophic…but elements of society in some other countries don’t seem to share that line of thought.

Nigeria has the highest prevalence rate of Vesico Vaginal Fistula (VVF) in the world with an alleged number of between 400,000 and 800,000 women living with this scourge. There are anywhere between 12,000 and 20,000 new cases occurring annually, with 90 per cent remaining untreated.
 The implication of this is that an average of 55 women are infected by VVF on a daily basis and it is conservatively estimated that two million women suffer from obstetric fistula globally. 

Northern Nigeria has a disproportionate amount of VVF cases with over 85 per cent of these figures.

 VVF is an occurrence of an abnormal hole which becomes an unnatural connection between the Bladder or Rectum and the Vagina and is characterized by a continuous and uncontrollable leakage of urine.
 Dr. Ahmed Yola, a VVF surgeon, disclosed that a significant percentage of VVF is caused by prolonged unattended obstructed labour.
It  occurs when the blood supply to the tissues of the vagina and the bladder is restricted during prolonged obstructed labour, the tissues die between these organs, forming holes through which urine can pass uncontrollably.
Other  major causes of it obviously include sex with minors and Female Genital Mutilation.
Sadly, Dr. Yola said, VVF accounts for 75% of loss of babies at birth and is responsible for 55 – 60% of the divorce rate in the country.

In Nigeria, VVF has social, economic, and religious implications. Many women with VVF are regarded as social outcasts and marriages have been dissolved as a result of this. Many girls between the ages of 11 and 15 in the Islamic Northern part of the country become mothers either through early marriage or through unwanted pregnancy. As a result of the less than advanced stage of their reproductive system they experience obstructed labour, and this is further worsened by the ineptitude of some unskilled birth attendants who tend to simply cut through the vagina in a bid to create a passage for the baby.
This can result in VVF, with its major manifestation of leaking urine and faeces through the vagina. 

The odoriferous nature of the condition automatically makes women with VVF outcasts in society.
A visit to any of these VVF centres in Northern Nigeria would reveal a high number of teenage patients who have had their internals lacerated and turned to a mesh by creatures that engage in random acts of sexual intercourse with these young girls who are at various levels of physical development, none of which can be logically referred to as advanced. As they uncontrollably leak urine and fecal matter and give off obnoxious smells these pedophiles that are supposedly their husbands dump them and look for the next child bride. Dropping “damaged goods” and picking the next trophies in a spate of uncontrolled frenzy further complicates the already terrible problem.
When this is done under the garb of religion it becomes all the more unwholesome.

The Northern oligarchs and Islamic elite are complicit in this as they do not only turn a blind eye to this unfortunate and illogical phenomenon but actively engage in such activities. A serving senator, and former governor, from a state in the North-West was in the news for marrying a little Egyptian girl who was between 11 and 13 years of age. The little girl was allegedly the daughter of his chauffeur. 
This should not be a question of religion as this Senator took the girl away from Egypt, an Islamic country where child marriage and pedophilia is not allowed, and brought her down to Northern Nigeria to “marry”  her, a child, under the rituals of a Sharia system he imported into Nigeria when he was a governor.
Rather than ensuring the education level in their region goes on the upswing some of these Neanderthals have buried themselves into defiling little children that are supposed to be their future.
A massive developmental index is education and these people that should know better seem content to keep their people light years behind the rest of the world and have kept them in a condition where they remain appropriate “poster boys” of the concept and perception the Western media is excited to portray of Africa.

The dearth of education in Northern Nigeria is acute when compared to the South, and is abysmal, even alarming, when compared to the developed world. According to Rachel Hatch, a Research Associate, Education Policy and Data Center, in many northern states more than 50% of young women aged 15-24 have no experience with formal education.

The female secondary school net attendance rate in Borno State is only 29% in comparison to a national average of 53%. An additional 18% of secondary school age girls attend formal school in Borno but at the primary level. These girls may benefit from exposure to schooling but they are behind for their age and at greater risk of dropping out. 
A further 7% of secondary school age girls attend non-formal programs. Nearly half (46%) of girls of secondary school age aren’t attending either formal or nonformal education programs and therefore don’t receive any benefits of schooling. 
The Northern Islamic elite are either oblivious to this or couldn’t care less. 
 
Now, rather than solve their retrogression they have decided to go down South, across the Niger to spread it.

The case of 14-year old Ese Oruru, abducted in Bayelsa State and taken to Kano for marriage under Islamic rites has taken over the headlines of national dailies and social media for a considerable amount of time now. 
Ese’s ordeal began on August 12, 2015 in the South-South city of Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital. Mrs Rose Oruru, Ese’s mother, is a food vendor who has several different customers who patronize her. 
One of such customers was a certain Yinusa, a commercial tricycle operator who apparently hypnotized Ese and took her from Bayelsa to Kano on the purported excuse that she had converted to Islam. She was kidnapped and hypnotized or bullied into telling so many lies about her age, desire to be away from her parents, willingness to “convert” to Islam, and several other issues.
Some commentators have attempted to give a very feeble position on her abduction, saying she was not kidnapped but she, a 17 year old girl,  eloped with her lover. It took an interview with her 16 year old elder brother to show this was clear mendacity as Ese was just 13 she was kidnapped.

A very disturbing twist in this case was that this girl was kept in a location that was openly known. She was literally kept in plain sight. And Ese’s  parents are said to have travelled to Kano State on several occasions in the past six months with officers of the Nigeria Police Force to secure her release without a positive result.
Let that sink in for a second.
The Police Force could not secure the release of the girl for 6 months.
The Inspector General of Police is reported to have said he would not be able to act until the Emir of Kano, who was out of the city at the time, returned.

Unbelievable and Astounding. 

The fact that this happened is proof positive that this is not an isolated case. This is obviously a trend that has one theme running through the various portions of a single narrative.
It is very clear that this is not an exception but the rule as local authorities sat down on this and in all likelihood actively connived with the abductors to perpetrate this heinous crime.
Since the unveiling of the matter there has been the unearthing of several other such cases of criminal conspiracy and abduction of Southern girls by some Northern Islamic adherents. 
The pattern manifested shows that this cannot be done without the collusion of the powers that be in these Northern Islamic communities. 

In a tweet, a former Minister of Education, Oby Ezekwesili, quoted the Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi II, as saying that Ese was to be taken to Abuja last Tuesday and handed over to the Commissioner of Police in charge of Bayelsa to reunite her with her parents.
“She is crying and refusing to go home. She does not want to go back but I have insisted she must go,” she quoted the Emir as saying.

It has since been alleged in the girl’s most recent confession that she did not even know how she got to Kano. She was taken to a place she referred to as “Kura” where she was put before a marabout and commanded to repeat whatever incantations he made…and that was how she purportedly “converted” to Islam.
In all of these, there seems to be very little mention of the apprehending and punishment of the criminals that corroborated to carry out this heinous crime.
These people are meant to be arrested, arraigned, and severely punished on several counts- kidnap, inflicting psychological trauma, grievous bodily harm, rape, sleeping with a minor, and intimidation among many other crimes.

Many of such things must have happened on previous occasions and they have not just been swept under the carpet but are still being perpetrated with such gross impunity. There has to be a loud statement in this case that will serve as a deterrent so we can save our future.

Like a friend of mine will say, “It is our problem, we can solve it.”

Categories
Current Affairs Analysis

The Monastic Cycle: After God’s Blessing

THE MONASTIC CYCLE: WHAT USUALLY COMES AFTER PROSPERITY AND SUCCESS

One day a friend of mine called me up from the U.S to ask me a question. He had something that was bothering him, he said, and he needed to discuss this with me. 
He had a friend of his who had lived in Nigeria for a little while before heading off to the United Kingdom. While he was in Nigeria he was reportedly “close to God”, but after staying in the U.K for some years he found himself going down a more “rational” path. He began a series of soul searches and came up with questions he began to ask this mutual friend of ours.
Our mutual friend called me and this was more or less what the questions were about-
“If God exists how come He seems to be doing more for people that don’t know Him than He is for those that do?”
It seemed to Him that those who had no need for God were those that had more prosperity and success than those who did. 

He asked a pertinent question about many members of the Church in the developing world when he said, “Assuming some rich fellow who owned a dating agency walked into a Nigerian church and offered all the people who needed a job automatic employment, and gave brand new houses or cars to those that were in need of them, gave a salary increase to all who wanted it, and hooked every unmarried person to the man or woman of their dreams, what percentage of people would remain in the church? How many people would still serve God after they had their needs met?”

He also said how, going from home to work everyday, he would notice how the social welfare system worked and how the disabled and elderly were treated. He couldn’t help but think there really was no reason for God in a society that worked so seamlessly. His logic essentially was that the British that had continuously tended to an impious and godless position where they referred to themselves as post-modern and post-Christian actually had a valid point.
So he came out with the conclusion that people are only religious because they have needs. God is only relevant because people have needs, so the more needful a person is the greater the tendency is of his being religious.

My friend was perplexed that his friend had adopted this line of thought and wanted some reassurance from me.

I might have shocked him a little more after I immediately said to him- 
“There is a grain of truth in that…
This is because N-E-E-D is a four letter word that keeps man constantly motivated to seek God.”
Then I told him that although his friend’s assessment of “needs” was not incorrect it was incomplete. 
Material needs are the lowest level of human needs according to Abraham Maslow’s “Hierarchy of Human Needs”

            HIERARCHY OF HUMAN NEEDS 

                            /   \ (1) FULFILLMENT
                         /         \  (2) RESPECT          
                      /               \  (3)LOVE & BELONGING  
                   /                     \  (4)SAFETY
                /                           \(5)BASIC NEEDS
             /                                 \
          /___________________\

I said to him, “Even when material needs are met there will still be several others. At what point in time, for instance, would a person ever get to where he can say with all certainty that he can provide all the protection he and his family need?” I continued, “If he had all the guns and skills he needed to stave off armed hoodlums how much exactly would he have to protect himself in the event of an automobile accident, or plane crash?”
“If he had all the money in the world and could hire the best bodyguards, afford to buy the most sophisticated planes and employ the most experienced pilots he still wouldn’t have enough to buy up love and get everyone to like him. If he had everyone like him he would still not have everyone respect him. And even if he had everything in the world he would still not be able to buy fulfillment.”

The reason is quite simple, there are very few things that produce genuine fulfillment, and having lots of material possessions is not one of them.
Nobody can ever be fulfilled without God. 
An unprejudiced look at the situation and a  glance at all the needs stated above would show that nobody has transcended need. If nobody has transcended need then nobody has transcended God.
God does not cause need in order for people to seek Him, no, not necessarily. He is not an egotist.
Instead, think of it this way- He is all sufficient, and all the answers and solutions rest in Him. A disconnection from Him is a connection with the alternative- emptiness, a void, need, and nothingness.

This still doesn’t explain why it would seem that those who have no fear of God and are not inclined to religion appear to fare better than others. This still doesn’t explain why the fastest growth the Church records today is in indigent places like Asia, Africa and Latin America.
Why are there countries today that call themselves “Post-Christian”? 
Why are there countries today that believe they have grown beyond God?

Let me answer this by bringing something to our attention.

Have you ever considered the fact that the countries that call themselves “Post-Modern” or “Post-Christian” are countries that were once called “Christian countries”? 
As an aside, has it ever dawned on you that ALL the countries that fit into the genus “First World” were at one time referred to as “Christian countries”?

We will take a look at the second question at a later date.
Let us look at the first now. 
These countries that believe they have grown beyond God were mostly Christian countries at some time. China is not among them, nor is North Korea as, especially in the case of the latter, they cannot be called “Post-Modern”. China is still on the path of modernization so we will concentrate on the Western nations that were all part of Christian civilization at some time.
Without exception these countries attained national transformation through a familiar path, and true to type fell away afterwards. It is nothing new, and is a pattern ingrained in the process.

Gordon Cosby, the founding pastor of Church of the Savior in Washington D.C, noted a pattern as he studied the evolution of religious orders.
First, an idealist attracts people with a strong sense of devotion. The devotees then form a community. Usually there are certain behavioral traits  that become prevalent in most of such communities. One of such traits is discipline- hence the strict rules of founders of orders like Benedict and Ignatius.
 Disciplined groups tend to prosper, this is because discipline creates industry and industry produces wealth, but that very success ultimately undermines the group’s commitment and leads to self-indulgence, and at this point the movement begins to fall apart. 
All these happen and then someone comes along to revive the spirit of idealism. After this happens the cycle starts over again. 

Cosby has called this the “Monastic Cycle”. 

We see this pattern through history. The movements led by idealists such as Ignatius of Loyola, Francis of Assisi, and Benedict of Nursia, demonstrate this very sequence. 
If we take a look at the early Benedictines we will see that in keeping with their culture of devotion and discipline they worked hard to clear forests and cultivate land, investing their earnings in drainage, livestock, and seed. A few centuries later they were hiring people to do the work while they sat back to enjoy the fruit of their labor, such as Benedictine brandy. At times half the order’s revenue went into maintaining the luxurious lifestyles of the abbots. Every so often a reformer would arise to remind the order of the original Rule of Benedict, and start a revival, only to see the same downward spiral and negative pattern eventually repeat itself. 

Beginning with Adam and Eve’s brief sojourn in the Garden, human beings have shown a remarkable inability to manage prosperity and success.
In Old Testament days, whenever the economy boomed and peace prevailed the Israelites attended less and less to spiritual things and instead looked to military power and  alliances for their security. 
In the prophets’ telling phrase they forgot God. We turn to God out of need, and forget Him when things go well. 
That is customary with human nature.
And so we as individuals also succumb to the Monastic Cycle in the same way that nations can and do.

It is this pattern that most of the people that are part of Western Civilization have subsumed into.

Two centuries ago, John Wesley warned Methodists about material success and it’s effects on faith when it is not put in its place-
“I fear, wherever riches have increased, the essence of religion has decreased in the same proportion. Therefore, I do not see how it is possible, in the nature of things, for any revival of religion (Christianity) to continue long. For religion (Christianity) must necessarily produce both industry and frugality, and these cannot but produce riches. But as riches increase, so will pride, anger, and 
love of the world in all it’s branches.”

Union with God will inevitably produce prosperity and good success. This theme runs not only through the Bible but is consistent with human experience. 
Even before noting the fact that the Bible characters that were the most godly were also the wealthiest (the likes of Abraham, Job, David, and Solomon readily come to mind) a cursory and dispassionate look at several communities in Nigeria, Africa, and the developing world as a whole will show that those that admitted the gospel and the missionaries that brought it usually  end up faring much better than those that hold on to idol worship and deities constructed by their forbears.
In the same community there is usually a considerable distance between families that have accepted even the most  basic precepts of the gospel and those that have cohered to idolatry and diabolism. 

The question usually for us as individuals and nations is, just like with countries who have experienced significant prosperity and success,- “Can we stand to be blessed?”
It’s not a proposition of whether God will bless us or not if we seek Him the right way, it is more an issue of whether we will change when He does.

Will we cave in to the pattern of the Monastic Cycle?

Categories
Current Affairs Analysis

I Remember: Going Down Memory Lane

THE DOWNWARD TREND AND DECLINE IN EVERYTHING THAT MATTERS

I grew up in the 70s and the 80s. I have a lot of memories. I remember how a lot of things used to be back then, and many of those things I remember with nostalgia.
Coming back home from primary school in the early 80s I was always looking forward to watching my favorite T.V programs and shows on the afternoon kiddies belt. 
I still have vivid memories of programs like, “Danger Mouse”, “G-Force: Guardians of Space”,  “Munch Bunch”, “Fraggle Rock”, “The Great Space Coaster”, and the more educative ones like “Telematch”, “Muppet Show”, and “Sesame Street”.
These were programs my siblings and I would eagerly sit around the tube to watch.
Memories, beautiful memories.

I am grateful for genuinely exciting and interesting  animated series like “Tom and Jerry”. They’ve been around for over 50 years and are still bringing good entertainment into a countless number of living rooms around the world. At least my children are watching a bit of what I watched while growing up.

Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for the majority of content on offer today. 

As I look through what is meant to be programming  for children today I can’t help but shudder at the level of witchcraft, violence, lewdness, perversion and impropriety these programs are heavily laced with. The decline in quality is absolutely shocking.
Diabolism, Wizardry and Black Magic are now designed to look appealing to children. The younger ones get entrapped by “Sofia the First”, and the slightly older ones things like “Harry Potter”

We learnt so many things and still have fond memories of the likes of Sesame Street from which we learnt good diction and early analytical skills. The quality of T.V programming then was indubitable.

For the life of me I can’t put my head around what sort of education much of today’s programming is meant to give my children. 

The evening belt on T.V included interesting sitcoms like “The Jeffersons”, “Good Times”, and “Diff’rent Strokes”. These were shows we’d sit with our parents and watch till it was time to go to bed and retire for the night. 
Now, I look for sitcoms and see things like “Modern Family”, which is deliberately designed to put into the subconscious the “option” of homosexuality and the alternative family as a mainstream substitute.

Then there is a proliferation of what they now call reality T.V shows. “Shows” like “Keeping Up with the Kardashians” and different variants of “Big Brother” are the things that many families now refer to as entertainment. 

Jack Cafferty famously spoke about the travesty of having two girls with “the combined IQ of a box of cereal” (Paris Hilton and Kim Kardashian) being role models for young people. 

That’s where we are today.

Seen a number of such “shows” that just made me shake my head. 
Amazing when it’s Snoop Dogg that has to teach us about “Fatherhood.” That’s the quality available to us right now.

I remember when lots of stuff on T.V was good and when it became bad

I also remember the kind of music we would hear coming through my dad’s car stereo, or in the barber’s shop, or the shopping mall. We would go for other children’s birthday parties and it would be the classic Stevie Wonder hit “Happy Birthday” that would be wafting through the air. 
I was recently listening to a radio station whose specialty is classic hits, as they went through each song I felt a wave of nostalgia go over me. Two songs they played were Donna Summers’; there was “Unconditional Love”, the song in which she featured the group called Musical Youth, and the other one they played was “She works hard for the Money.” They brought back lots of memories.
I remembered songs like Madonna’s “La Isla Bonita”, “Like a Prayer”, and “Holiday”.
As the years progressed it dawned on me that there was a point at which the songs considered provocative were songs like Madonna’s “Who’s that Girl?”
Looking at what makes the list of regular tunes today who would ever have thought that?

I was an ardent fan of Hip-Hop, and I remember Kurtis Blow who was the first mainstream rapper. Years later, I remember how Rob Base and D.J EZ Rock came on the scene with their “It Takes Two” album that featured a personal favorite of mine, “Joy and Pain”.
I remember the likes of Run DMC, and  Special Ed who would just rap about their props, their hood and similar trivial stuff. I remember Public Enemy, I also remember lighter yet more melodious rhymesters like  LL Cool J and Heavy D. 

Then I remembered when rap music took a downhill turn with 2 Live Crew that was eventually “Banned in the USA” for their lewd music and objectifying of women.
N.W.A (Niggaz With Attitude) took it off a tangent when they entered a new degree of gangsta rap. They glorified “smoking niggers”, and “f*#%ing bitches”, and all sorts of other lyrics that threw propriety out the window.
The likes of Eazy E, Dr. Dre, and Ice Cube became the springboard for a new and more insidious genre of rap music. A genre that saw a journey through the tarot card and Ouija Board using group named “Bone Thugs N Harmony”, and several others like Snoop Dogg (who reportedly attempted releasing an album he called “DogsiNatas”, which is meant to be a reversible anagram or anadrome for “Satan is God”), and Notorious B.I.G and 2Pac (who incidentally was a very decent rapper when he was with Digital Underground).

Forgive my inexorable incursion down memory lane.

I remember when music was good and when it became bad

I also remember growing up, and how my dad loved cars. He had different Mercedes Benz cars and some other European brands. These cars were made in the 70s, were of top quality and were very rugged, they had very strong metal frames as well.
I used to joke then that if any of those cars ran into a brick wall it would smash through the wall and come out on the other side unscathed.
I love automobiles. So I can tell that they don’t make cars anymore like they used to.
Now, there are lots of brittle looking cars moving around. The plastic components of most of them have been increased considerably, while the steel has reduced. One of the reasons no doubt is to reduce gas consumption and carbon emissions.
Whichever reason is adduced one thing is sure…they don’t make them anymore like they used to. The quality is not what it used to be.

I remember when they used to make good cars and when they became crap.

I also remember the electronic gadgets I grew up seeing around the house. The Television sets looked like they were made out of some indestructible material or something, the stereo sets and turntables, the refrigerators, and practically every other appliance seemed like they would last forever. Now I try to contrast them with much of what is obtainable today….
Only recently, the first set of mobile phones were very tough and rugged. You could very easily have your infant drop your Nokia 3310 on the concrete floor and you’d be sure nothing would go wrong with it. That was their level of quality.

Think about what would happen to that iPhone if it dropped on a carpet now.

I remember when they made good and durable phones and appliances and when they became debile and pallid. I remember when they were good and now they are bad.

I can recall very clearly when I went on my first date; I still have vivid memories. I was thirteen years old was a girl I wanted to take out. He gave me one of his ties; over twenty five years later that tie still exists….somewhere.
The suits and winter jackets my dad had in the 70s and 80s were so rugged that most of them still exist in 2016.
I have had “designer” suits I bought within the last ten years that ended up having a tear designed somewhere less than two years after buying them. They just don’t make suits the way they used to.
Going to buy school shoes for my children I couldn’t help noticing the durability of the leather most of them were made with. I compared them with the shoes and sandals I used while going to school. Of course they were of far less quality.

I remember when the quality of shoes and clothes they used to make was enduring, and now they don’t last.

By now the keen observers among you would have noticed where I am heading with this.
There is an unfortunate trend that has pervaded almost every facet of life and aspect of society. That trend is quality products are fast giving way to more substandard ones, leaving us with only memories of “the good old days.”

The most tragic thing about it is that this trend has also pervaded and permeated Christianity today.
There was a time the word “Christian” was synonymous with terms like “Integrity”, “Morality”, “Faithfulness”, “Commitment”, and every other virtue that could ever come to mind. 
It is no longer the case.
There was a time men of the cloth were viewed with unbridled reverence because of their chaste and moderate lifestyles, and their focus on transiting people to higher realms of glory.
That is mostly no longer the case

I remember books by servants of God. Books that made a profound impact on me after I began my journey of faith. Literature from men like A.W Tozer, Andrew Murray, C.S Lewis, Watchman Nee, John Eddison, E.W Kenyon, and Kenneth Hagin. I can’t help but compare them with many of the books that are peddled in mainstream Christianity today.
The difference in quality is clear.
There was a time when many of the messages that came from the pulpits were soul-stirring and placed a deep conviction in the hearts of the hearers. It would seem the only thing that is stirred when many sermons are given today is uncrucified desires. Most are merely intellectually stimulating discourses and pep talks that tickle the fancy. 
Many ministers today are anything but what they ought to be.

Eugene Peterson said, “The Pastors of America have metamorphosed into a company of shopkeepers, and the shops they keep are churches. They are pre-occupied with shopkeepers’ concerns- how to keep the customers happy, how to lure customers away from competitors down the street, how to package the goods so that the customers will lay out more money. Some of them are very good shopkeepers. They attract a lot of customers, pull in great sums of money, develop splendid reputations. Yet it is still shopkeeping; religious shopkeeping, to be sure, but shopkeeping all the same. The marketing strategies of the fast food franchise occupy the waking minds of these entrepreneurs; while asleep they dream of the kind of success that will get the attention of journalists…..The only problem is that we are called not to be shopkeepers, but shepherds.”

This story is true for several doing ministry in Nigeria today.

A.W Tozer said, “There Tozer said,

“There has come in modern times a new cross into popular evangelical circles. It is like the old cross, but different; the likenesses are superficial, the differences fundamental….The new cross does not slay the sinner, it redirects him. It gears him into a cleaner and jollier way of living and saves his self-respect…The Christian message is slanted in the direction of the current vogue in order to make it acceptable to the public…The old cross is a symbol of death. It stands for the abrupt, violent end of a human being….The cross made no compromise, modified nothing, spared nothing…We who preach the gospel must not think ourselves as public relations agents sent to establish 
goodwill between Christ and the world. We are not diplomats but prophets, and our message is not a compromise but an ultimatum. God offers life but not an improved old life. The life He offers is life out of death.”

This is very sad. The same decline of quality that has percolated through society has also suffused through the primary agency for the redemption and transformation of humanity- the Church.
Many of us are now public relations managers and are taken in by the PC squad. We muddle the truth all in our bid to be appealing to everyone. Political Correctness has swept large portions of the Church in America and its spreading round the globe real fast.

The quality of everything seems to have dropped substantially, tragically also in the areas that matter most. Until we realize this we will never take the necessary steps to correct this rot in our personal experiences. 

I remember when the cross was at the core and Jesus at the centre, and now the things that truly count are on the fringes.