Thursday, November 18, 2010

Confessions of Lucifer – A Diary

. . . Lucifer, Son of the Morning . . . how you are fallen!

Isaiah 14:12

I was an angel once. I am not as has been described by the church – they have projected their own fears, warped by a distorted imagination, representing me as an ugly creature with horns, a tail, cloven feet, red eyes, black skin and holding a pitch-fork.

They portray me as ugly and grotesque – permit me to pay mankind back the “compliment”; man too is ugly. Any claim he has to beauty is only skin-deep. I pause . . . let me be generous – it goes deeper than his skin, up to his flesh actually. Man’s beauty is only skin-flesh-deep. Pretty skin and pretty flesh, covering the always-ugly skeleton!

But I digress. I was saying that the church has cooked up a false representation of my appearance. Their description cannot be true. My aspect is nothing of the sort –

I was an angel once!

in a sphere of existence many dimensions removed from the earth. I was the anointed cherub that walked the stones of fire with many precious stones for a covering. I stood on the holy mountains of God – soared in the divine winds of heaven – my voice, a symphony of timbrels and pipes, lifted in endless praise to the Ancient of Days. I sang with the sons of God – our collective voices rising like an offering – melodies criss-crossing each other in a dance of light.

That was before I became my own Master. But, I am an angel still!

A little thought would convince you that my features couldn’t be as the church has described me. Such a being as they have concocted would have no appeal – no power whatsoever to attract. Were I as described, the world would shun me, the church would despise me – men and women would be repulsed on account of my features. But people love me, the world welcomes me with open arms and broad smiles. I am not ugly. I never was. I am always beautiful – always was and always will!

Even the Man of Galilee gave the church a hint of my personage, when He was on earth but the church was too distracted to listen. Hear Him speak once again:

“I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven!”

Even in my fall, I shone like a million stars – in a blinding flash of illuminating brilliance. I lit up the dark sky as I traced a trajectory towards earth. O what a woeful day it was many aeons ago – when paradise was lost:

Once – a cherub, the seal of perfection.

Now – A Mighty Angel, . . . fallen!

Many believe that I cannot enter a church because it is “holy”. That cannot be true. Afterall, there are many modern priests in church who are so adept that they could teach even me, trickery and falsehood, and who freely strut about inside church, even at the altar.

If they can, then, so can I!

I dare to say that I am more honest than many priests; my intentions are known to all and I do my best to fulfil them. I believe in God and I tremble!

The modern priests on the other hand spew’s falsehood cloaked in half-truths. They twist the scriptures for their own gain. They believe in God and they do not tremble!

I fear God but the modern priest does not. He only fears losing the members of his congregation to another priest three streets away, who by the way, is more cunning and more devious than he is.

They say also that I am afraid of a cross. Is that a joke?

I cannot possibly be scared of two beams lying across each other, wether it is made of wood, iron, or gold. I am not afraid of such crosses. The only cross I bow to – the only cross that conquers me is the one formed by the vertical beam of the will of God, over which lies the horizontal beam of the will of man, and upon which the King of Glory dies. Two beams – two wills – God’s and a man’s, becoming one in the sacrifice of the Christos!

I do not tell a man to kill, steal or maim. The nature of man, desperately wicked as it is, is quite capable of concocting and executing such atrocities by himself without any assistance.

I am subtler than that!

Where I find vice, I humour it. Where I find virtue, I flatter it. So that by degrees, a man’s soul is turned away from God and away from his neighbour – turning wholly on his own Self. When a man is sufficiently full of him Self, he does not require the devil or any fiend to tempt him any further. In that Self-state he has an unfettered ability for any kind of evil he can imagine. I know this firsthand because it was the reason for my fall. At the peak of my Self, I boasted:

“I will exalt my throne above the stars of God . . . I will be like the Most High!”

Even a virtuous man when flattered for his virtue is at that point at the most likely of losing that virtue and yielding to Self. If he is humble, and I flatter him for his humility long enough, I could actually get him to take some Pride at how humble he is! Even in virtue, there lies the potential for corruption.

Let he that thinketh he stands, take heed lest he falls!

I am subtle!

When I tempted the Prince of Peace in the wilderness, I did not tell Him to steal, kill or maim. Instead I flattered him for his virtue and for his power.

“Be gone, Satan!” . . . thundered, the King of kings

On most days I still shake my fist in rebellion at the Lord of heaven and do my utmost to thwart the efforts of man to be reconciled to his Maker. And on most days, I am filled with Misery, because no true joy can come from the working of evil. Misery! Misery! Misery!

Such Misery is the worm that dieth not and the fire that is not quenched!

I roam the earth as I make this entry in my diary, and I hear the voice of an angel who I once knew in the Sphere of the heavenlies – it is a familiar voice – I have heard that voice many times singing with me aeons ago in the Courts of Praise before the Throne. I know the voice. The voice calls out now with the shout of an Archangel - from far away like the rumble of a distant thunder. The sound is yet to reach these parts. The ears of men are yet to hear it!

Will the church be raptured? How soon will this be?

“You have a few names even in Sardis who have not defiled their garments . . . !

And of this few, how many of them speak? Do these few clamour for the truth in the midst of the falsehood on the pulpit? Do they call-out the misrepresentation of the gospel of Christ and the glorified corruption of false doctrines?

“You have a few names even in Sardis . . . !”

Do these few stand idly by as the Faith is being made a mockery of by a bunch of ministers and talking-heads who have hijacked christianity? Do these few speak out like Nathan did to David, saying,

“Thou art the man!”

How many of the few see the rot and do not speak? Their silence is a huge weight on the scales of eternity – the collective weight of the silence of these “a few names in Sardis” perhaps, more than the iniquity of the majority makes the church too heavy to be raptured.

They ask “why is the church not raptured?” – they wonder why the rapture has not come. The answer is simple enough:

The church is too heavy!

If only they knew to end the silence! . . . Speak up! . . . and in so doing make the church lighter!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

A Parade of Illusions

(Picture) Is this a horse or a mountainside?

"The laws of God are not malicious, they are subtle."
- Albert Einstein

I am wary of any human being who appears to have an answer to every question and my wariness morphs instantly into outright suspicion if this person asserts this seeming omniscience from the pulpit. Imagine it, a man who it appears has a response for every issue – whether philosophical, metaphysical, geological, biological, or archaeological. Imagine it for a moment – one man, answering with emphatic certainty, all the time, an infinite number of questions.

Of course, there is a place for supposition and hypothesis, there is a place for the Pauline expression “I speak as a man” but that is not what I am talking about. The person I refer to here is the one who consistently insists that he is right on every issue and is always quick to weight his utterances with the congregated might of Divine Authority, saying “Thus saith the Lord” or “The Lord told me to . . .”. It is this same man who leans his opinions heavily on his listeners, and with tacit threats of heaven’s displeasure if they as much as think that he is not right or worse still, if they attempt to voice the inconsistencies in the Pastor’s dialectics.

Whether he is a bishop, evangelist, prophet or pastor, I am wary of any man who never says “I don’t know”

I have always wondered why the Church jumps into issues and make proclamations about subjects that they don’t have sufficient information about or that they don’t even have a scriptural reference for. Of course you can voice your opinion but to insists that the proclamation has the certification of Heaven, is a whole different matter altogether. Imagine the embarrassment and the damage done when eventually your “divine proclamation” is proved to be wrong.

When Nicolaus Copernicus proposed a Heliocentric worldview (that the sun is at the center of the solar system) his idea was severely criticized and anyone who espoused them was arrested by the Church, who insisted on a Geocentric model (that the earth is at the center of the solar system).

What is most striking about the Church’s position was that it was not based on a scriptural reference but rather, what they “felt” was correct. According to them, man was the pinnacle of creation, and if man was on earth, then, earth must be at the center. If that was the Church’s “personal” opinion, that is fine, but to go around proclaiming that “God told you so” or that the opinion has a “divine approval” to the point where you persecute those who hold a heliocentric view is reprehensible to say the least.

Galileo Galilei was put under house arrest by the Church because he said that the earth is not stationary but moves. He was branded a heretic because according to the Church “the earth does not move” and this again was not based on any cogent scriptural reference either but they gave the impression that they had God’s signature on it and proceeded to persecute all those who took a contrary view.

I have never understood this “boldness” in some people. In the words of the thief on the cross “Are you not afraid of God?”

Why are people so quick to preface every utterance they make with “The Lord says…” when you know the Lord told you nothing? How can you say "Thus saith the Lord” when in truth you are only voicing your opinion. There are many pastors who will answer for the damage they have done to people’s lives because they used the authority of the pulpit to voice their opinions while appending God’s name to it.

In trying to defend why Christian’s should be rich, I heard a minister say that Christ’s robe was expensive, and that was the reason the soldiers did not want to share it but rather cast lots for it. Where did he get this “revelation” from? We were told expressly that the soldiers cast lots for the garment in fulfilment of prophecy, period.

Someone gave an account of how a minister said Christ must have been rich because he had a treasurer and that he must have invested the gold, frankincense and myrrh he was given as a child.

Where, for goodness sake, is this in scriptures?!

A pastor preaches such distortions in church and the congregation, intoxicated myrmidons of ignorance, jump up and down, giving one another hi-fives and screaming word! word! word! or “ride on pastor” or “preach it” or one of the many catch-phrases or jingles that has become the stock in trade of the modern christian.

God save us all – we have no idea how far from the truth we have strayed.

I am in no way implying that Jesus was poor. I am all for prosperity – I want to be rich too and I want everyone to as well, but must we distort the scriptures to say what it was not intended to say. How is having a treasurer evidence that a man is rich? Every social group or student association has a treasurer – some even have financial secretaries – does that mean that they are Fortune 500 companies?

Some have also preached that if Jesus was poor he would not have had so many followers. How then do you explain the followership of Martin Luther King or Mahatma Gandhi or Jaycee, of Light Her Lamp blog? Are these three wonderful people millionaires? Is it not the greatness of their personalities and ideas that pulls everyone to them?

Again, I say, I am not implying that Jesus was poor. My point is the tortuous interpretation of scriptures that ministers indulge in to support their claims and all the while attaching God’s Name to it.

Someone please show me (maybe I missed it), where it says in scriptures that Jesus invested the gifts he was given as a child by the Wise Men. A pastor preaches this in church and he goes unchallenged and instead the gullible congregation urges him on?

Again, God save us all, because we have no idea how far from the truth we have strayed.

It is bad enough that the pastor says this at all but what is absolutely baffling is when they say that their utterances are by divine authority and that God told them so. Am I missing something? The word of God is our reference text. You can voice your opinion or hypothesis if you want to; you can say like Paul “Not the Lord, but I, say this”. But, when pastors take the Seal of Heaven and imprints it on their opinions, then the Church in one collective voice must ask a question that echoes the ovation given to Herod:

The voice of a man, or the voice of god?”

But the church is silent – instead we jump around, screaming for more of such “rhema”

But, am I surprised? What is to be expected from Christians that do not study? With full stomachs and empty minds – with cheap tastes and short memories, such Christians venerate their pastors rather than God. A “restlessness” may tug at the hearts of such christians perhaps, – some “instinct” may warn them that these “revelations” do not line up with God’s word but these christians are in a “hurry” to believe the pastor – they forget in their haste that “the best of men at their very best are still men”, - they forget that they are supposed to be Berean christians, - they forget the injunction

“Let God be true and every man a liar”.

They are more interested in being in the pastor’s good graces than to raise an objection or at the very least, study the matter for themselves. They go to church buildings, Sunday after Sunday to partake in a parade of illusions.

Why can’t a pastor say “I don’t have an answer to this question but give me some time to study and pray about it and I will get back to you”?

It is partly because he feels obliged to always have all the answers – his congregation demands it – the congregation has put him in the place of God in their lives and the pastor must “deliver” at every service – he must “perform” for them every Sunday while they applaud him. The pastor must play his part well or else he will lose his members to another pastor three streets away who knows how to “perform”. It is an eager crowd and they must be satisfied even if the pastor has to make stuff up. At the end of the day, you have a pastor who is not true and a congregation that is false – pastor and congregation, both, astonishing the Angels!

The laws of God are not malicious, they are subtle, Albert Einstein once said.

My friend, that subtlety demands that we study God’s word in detail. Yes, we can put forward our opinion on a scriptural issue but let us endeavour to say like Paul said when he did, “I speak as a man”.

Let us not be too quick to ascribe DIVINE AUTHORITY to our own opinions. History has shown that it damages the credibility of the Church in the long run.

Shalom aleichem!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Intellectual Complacency - The Zeitgeist

(Picture) The Thinker by Auguste Rodin

Bring me my Bow of burning gold;
Bring me my Arrows of desire:
Bring me my Spear: O clouds unfold!
Bring me my Chariot of fire!

I will not cease from Mental Flight
Nor shall my Sword sleep in my hand:
Till we have built a “Habitation of Peace”

- Poem by William Blake

Do you know what it is to be a Christian? I do not mean a christian who goes to church at least twice a week – who says “God bless you” at the appropriate points in every conversation and clutches a bible to his chest, his head bowed, as he affects a pious pose for all to see. I do not mean a Christian who reads the bible at least once a day, prays quite often and never misses a church conference.

I am talking of something much more than that – I am talking of a Christian who knows that God created his spirit and, that God also gave him a mind – to think!

I am talking of a christian who knows that the same God who delights in seeing him study His word, does not forbid him from exerting his intellect on the world, and indeed the universe in which he lives. A Christian, who realizes that faith is not necessarily blind and that reasoning and thinking is not “doubt in disguise”

Why have Christians given up the intellectual turf to non-believers? Through the course of the last century, Christians, for some reason, have slackened their grip in all fields of intellectual discourse – the arts, philosophy, astronomy, mathematics and apologetics. And no, I am not talking about simply going to a university and earning a degree, I am talking about being a “Thinker”.

In our present age, it is no longer considered “spiritually cool” to be a Thinker. Thinking is now looked upon as a sophisticated form of disbelief and, an appeal to reason is not particularly welcomed. The bride of Christ has abandoned the arena of Cognitive Revery, taking bogus comfort in the false premise that faith in God, as a rule, must not involve the intellect and reason. There was a time in the not too distant past when the greatest thinkers in the land were men of faith –

Leonhard Euler (1707 – 1783): mathematician and physicist who wrote apologetics and argued against atheist in his time.

Bernhard Riemann (1826 – 1866): Mathematician. Described Riemannian geometry, which enabled Einstein’s theory of general relativity. He even tried proving mathematically the correctness of the book of Genesis.

Friedrich Gauss (1777 – 1855): The king of them all. A child prodigy – corrected his father’s arithmetic before the age of three. Made groundbreaking mathematical discoveries while still a teenager. He is perhaps the most brilliant mathematician to walk the earth. He is nicknamed the “Prince of Mathematics” and he believed in an eternal, omniscient and omnipotent God.

Kurt Godel (1906 – 1978): Mathematician, philosopher, and logician. He is the greatest logician that ever lived. His "Incompleteness Theorem" is an extraordinary feat of sublime genius. He once said “I believe in the afterlife independent of theology. The world is rationally constructed, according to which the order of the world reflects the order of the Supreme Mind governing it”

And an atheist talks about logic? Hear the words of the greatest logician to walk the earth.

Time and space would not permit me to mention Gottfried Leibniz, Blaise Pascal, James Clarke Maxwell (I could go on and on)

“Modern Christians” have given up the intellectual space and stage that these men occupied and of course, it would not be empty for long – the void has been filled with other ideas, the most pervasive of which is the constantly growing notion that there is no God.
There are even Christians who automatically equate philosophy with atheism – that is how ignorant some in the church have become.


At least, two-thirds of the New Testament was authored by the greatest Christian philosopher in church history – Paul of Tarsus. Paul debated with the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers in Athens. What do you think he said to them? He met them on their turf and showed them the flaws in their reasoning.

Paul was a Thinker!

But fast-forward two thousand years later – it is no longer fashionable to think in The Church anymore. It is much easier to “go with the flow” to use a popular church parlance. We might just as well emblazon over the doorway of the modern church:

“Abandon Thought all Ye Who Enter Here!”

This has become the new canticle of the “fast-food-generation” church – this is the Zeitgeist of the modern faith! – It is, the spirit of the age!

You are a christian perhaps – when was the last time you read an intellectually stimulating book on any subject, whether in the Sciences or the Arts? When was the last time you read a book that was not the bible or one churned out every three months by your pastor or one of the numerous "fathers in the Lord” in Christendom.

Mind you, I said "Christendom" and not "Christ's Kingdom". In Christendom, the Christian lives within "a" kingdom while in Christ's Kingdom, it is "the" Kingdom that lives within the Christian. But, I digress. That is another topic for another day.

You can read, I presume; you can write as well, - you are educated, no doubt – you have a university degree – and perhaps even a postgraduate degree as well, but how much philosophy, literature, government, biology, physics, apologetics and logic do you know. Why has the word “philosophy” become a dirty word among Christians?
Whether you like it or not you are being bombarded with philosophy every minute of your waking life. When you watch a movie, listen to a radio programme, read a blogpost, even when you ponder on your own thoughts you are being presented with a philosophy of life and that philosophy of life influences society’s mindset about God.

Do you have any clue about the history of the church? Do you have any idea what the evolution of theological thought has been in the two thousand years of church history? Do you think that knowledge is not important? Do you think it is irrelevant?
Then, tell me, how will you rationally put forward a defense of your faith when you have no clue about the history or the antecedents of that faith? How will you counter the opposition when they confront you with half-truths and complete falsehoods about church history and the christian faith?

I can hear you saying that you will quote the scripture to them.

Will you, then?

Don’t get me wrong. I believe the scriptures and have nothing against quoting them as often as I get the chance, but in your schools, in campuses, libraries, or laboratories, what will you do when the people you meet would not accept as valid the reference text (the bible) from which you quote? They would rather engage you with logic and reason.

Should you walk away from them when they do, just because you can not hold a discussion on their terms? Does that mean all is lost and they are beyond your reach?


A Christian should not cower into a corner when faced with giving a defense of their faith outside of the scriptures! You only do so because you have refused to read, - you have refused to think, - you assume that faith must be blind – and you wrongfully apply the label of “faith” to whatever you have refused to do sufficient research on.

But faith is not blind belief – it is not burying your head in the sand, while half-hoping or half-wishing that by some cryptic mechanism, your ignorance would somehow give birth to the truth.

At present, all over the world, the intellectual discourse is dominated by atheist or their glorified clones – the agnostics.
Children in schools are being fed the notion that there is no God and they take it as truth because it comes from the lips of their respected professors and teachers.

And what is the church’s response?

The church organizes “Easter Retreats” "Spring Retreats" and “Men Conferences” and “Women Conferences”.

When are we going to put together an “Intellectual Conference?”

It is a shame that it has come to this, that a university graduate who calls himself or herself a christian can not take on an atheist and put forward a robust, rational and logical argument (without resorting to scriptures) for the existence of a Supreme Being.

You must read!

You must think!

You must understand the issues of the day!

There is more logic and rationality in “faith” than in the porous conviction of the atheist. The atheist is quick to boast that rationality is his clarion call but if you critically subject his views to reason, the logic (or lack thereof) falls apart. I say again that there is more logic in believing in the existence of God than in the converse.

The only reason why the world at large is listening to the atheist presently is because Christians have left the intellectual arena to them. The atheist dominates the intellectual discourse of the day and unwisely they are left unchallenged.

But who will challenge them when Christians are busy attending “Retreats!” and “Conferences!” and in tacit agreement, conspired to crucify Intellect and Thinking, again and again . . . and again!

Christians everywhere must read! – think! – read! – and think some more!

Christians must not cease from “Mental Flight.”
Flap your intellectual wings, and Heaven would grant it the strength to fly.

Think, and you shall Find!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Why I am not a Christian

"When the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?"

- Jesus Christ, (Luke 18:8)

I am not a christian.

I thought I was. But, it dawned on me recently that I am not, and I don’t think I ever was. The label “christian” has evolved through many cycles since it was first voiced at Antioch. By a label, I do not know what to call myself. I do not subscribe to names and badges because man and religion, ultimately, make a mockery of any nomenclature, no matter how innocently crafted. This much I do know:

I believe in God, the Father, Almighty, the Creator of heaven and earth and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, my Lord, Who was conceived by the Holy Spirit.

In its truest form, the term “christian” is supposed to mean “a follower of Christ”. It sounds simple enough, but how come then, that there is very little of Christ in christianity today? How is it that the image of the Christos is not etched on the face of the “modern faith”. Why, indeed, do people go to church to look for Christ but instead find the priest?

I am not one to criticize the church – that is not my quest. These questions are directed as much to me as they are to anyone who has also bent their knees at Calvary and cleansed themselves in the blood drawn from Emmanuel’s veins. I am only perturbed by the realisation that the more and more I read the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, the less and less I see the nature of Jesus in the “modern church.”

Should someone go out there at high noon with a torch in their hand, walk the streets and point the torchlight in every direction, looking for Christ in men? Why has it come to this, that someone would require a torch in broad daylight to search for a follower of Christ? Are they that scarce now?

The torchlight would reveal a throng of people milling into buildings of worship, all clutching their bibles to their chest. Some of them have all kinds of religious paraphernalia pinned to their coat lapels and dresses. With the torch, you will see that they are christians, . . . but will you see Christ? – will you see the ChristosThe Anointed One?

And no, they are not the same – being a Christian and being Christlike are not the same thing at all – not in this age – not in the “modern church”. Being a christian is a label, a badge, more like a political party actually, . . . while being Christlike, is LIFE!

Was this what Jesus alluded to when He asked that thought-provoking question in the gospel:

“When the Son of Man returns, shall He find faith on earth?”

If being a christian means forming “clicks of spiritual brethren” in church who look down their noses at their fellow christians, because “those ones” are not spiritual enough, then, I am not a christian.

If a young lady, who in a moment of weakness, had premarital sex with a man and she is guilt-smitten and truly repents but still needing reassurance of God’s forgiveness, unburdens her heart to her pastor, . . . if being a christian means that the pastor then decides to “crucify her flesh so that her soul will be saved” by announcing her misdeed in church and making her sit through every service at the back of the church congregation in shame for 6 weeks, then, I am not a christian.

Why does the church shoot its wounded? Why do we beat a man or woman who is already down? God has forgiven the young lady but the christians will not.

When a minister of God engages in an adulterous affair and realizes his mistake and appeals to the Heavenly Assizes for mercy, if being a christian means that he is denied by his fellow ministers and the “church board” – each one trying to outdo the other at how quickly they can distance themselves from “a fallen man of God” instead of putting their arms around him and restoring his shaken faith, then, I am not a christian.

When a pastor is stripped of his position and sent packing at short order from the house the church rented for him, when he is for all practical purposes excommunicated from the church all because he “slipped and fell” even when the Court of Heaven has pardoned him – if this is what it means to be christian, then, I refuse to be called a christian.

Yes, he sinned. Yes, he slipped, and he fell. But, he has appealed to the Courts on High, and the Christos has thundered back a response:

“Your sins are forgiven you. Go and sin no more!”

The Ancient of Days has forgiven him, but the christians will not.

It is fashionable these days for christians and christian organizations to immediately deny any association with a minister who sins – we see it quite commonly. No sooner is a pastor caught in adultery, than you hear the “church board” and its affiliates downplaying his role or involvement in their organization. These christians do not require a Cock crowing, to time their denials anymore – they are experts at it now:

“I do not know the man!”

“I do not know the man!”

“I do not know the man!”

“I do not know the man!”

. . . . . and on and on it goes . . . . .

That will become their new chorus.

They forget in their narcissism and greed, the wisdom in the saying:

“There go I, but for the grace of God”

The pastor is on his own at the time of his greatest need – his fellow pastors look at him askance, cancelling all previous engagements with him – to them, he has become “a dirty man of God” and he is still regarded as such even when he has settled his accounts with Heaven.

“Let him find God’s love and forgiveness if he will, but we will never give him ours” is the christians’ attitude towards their former shepherd.

I am not a christian.

How can I be a christian, when to be one means that members of one denomination must see the members of another denomination as inferiors, rivals, or outright enemies?

I can not be a christian when the authority of the pulpit is used to bully and intimidate the congregation with supposedly “hot messages” instead of encouraging them and rebuking them IN LOVE if need be.

If being a christian means reasoning is snubbed and the intellect derided, whether overtly or covertly in a church because you are not permitted to think – because afterall, it is the pastor’s job to think and tell the congregation what to think, then I am not a christian.

If an unsaved lady who feels that her life is empty, decides to attend church because she is trying to seek and understand the Truth, but comes to every church service in her trousers, but she is constantly told by the “spiritual congregation” to “stop wearing trousers or to stop coming to that church!”. If this is what it means to be a christian, then I am definitely not one.

If christians can not accept the broken and the fallen, who else will?

If christians can not extend forgiveness to a pastor who “messes up”, even before he asks for it, then, who else will?

If christians cannot embrace the fallen man, or the fallen woman (who by the way, is already repentant), then how dare we defame the name of Christ by calling ourselves His followers.

It is an admirable age we live in – an age when we can reinvent anything – we have even succeeded in reinventing a christianity without the Christ!

What a piece of work christians are! – what a veritable bundle of unbridled egotism!

Alas, I tell you, the angels wonder – they wonder at christians, they wonder at the arrogance in an imperfect man, who mercilessly condemns another imperfect man.

I am not a christian.

I rest my case.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The Bandwagon Effect

It is so much easier to go with the crowd. People as a rule, are apt to allow another do their thinking for them. It never ceases to amaze me how a single idea, if let out at an opportune moment, and parroted ad nauseum, can snowball into something quite large - And when given sufficient time, it makes no difference that this idea is completely destitute of logic and has no basis for its continued pursuance.

It is the bandwagon effect!

For years now, I have watched with fascination, almost amusement, at the popular view concerning “love and respect (submission)” between a man and a woman in marriage. Again, people have taken the message of Paul in Ephesians 5: 22-33 and driven it in a direction that it was not originally intended.

In relationship seminars and books, you must have heard it said so many times that :

"Men want respect, and that men value respect more than love."

(as if respect does not matter as much to women)

Infact some have gone as far as to say that:

"If you ask a man to choose between love and respect, he would choose respect."

Now, notice, that this is all supposedly based on the premise that Paul told women to “submit” to their husbands.

Some have even gone as far as to say that:

"Paul told women to “respect” their husbands and did not tell them to “love” him because “love” comes naturally to a woman."

Does anyone sincerely believe that love comes naturally to any human at all simply because of their gender? Do you not know of any woman or at least, have you not heard of women who do not love their spouses?

Now, if the above was true, how would they explain Titus 2:4, where

“Young women are admonished to love their husbands”.

O! I see! maybe love comes naturally only to “old women” and not to “young women”

(I am sure someone has tried to use this as an excuse by now)

On the other hand, in the same Ephesians 5: 22-33, men are admonished to love their wives.

An immediately obvious question would be:

Does that mean that men should not “respect” their wives because they were not specifically told to do so?


Does “respect” come naturally to men, and is that why they were not specifically instructed to “respect” their wives?

I have always steered clear of this topic but I have no option now but to weigh in because I hear this same message about “respect” and “love” being preached so frequently at weddings.

Personally, I think there is no scriptural basis for the formula that they are trying to concoct.

When Paul talked about “respect” and “love” in marriage, he was not trying to create two new equations that read:

Husband = to love .............. equation I
Wife = to submit ................. equation II

Here is a Newsflash:

I believe that the man is also expected to "submit" to his wife and the wife should also "love" her husband. Why? Simple.

If I truly love my wife, I will "submit" to her and my wife will only truly submit to me if she "loves" me.

In Titus 2: 6-8, Paul told the young men to be sober minded . . . etc

Should I then deduce from this passage alone, that Paul knew that it is natural for young men to LOVE THEIR WIVES, and that is the reason he did not specifically instruct them to?

My whole point in this issue and in all other issue concerning scriptures is that you CANNOT TAKE A SINGLE PASSAGE AND RUN AWAY WITH IT and the fact that something was not EXPLICITLY mentioned does not mean that the instruction was not IMPLICIT.

I do not understand why women are constantly told that "men have fragile egos” and this “fragile ego” demands to be propped up by the wife’s constant respect or submission. Why are men never told to stop sulking, grow up, and be less egotistical? What everyone is happily calling and glorifying as "male ego" is just another fanciful expression for "male selfishness".

Male selfishness is the last vestige of an instinct which was acquired through the course of history that women were created for the amusement of men.

But, from the beginning, it was not so!

This is not some feminist rant. I am a man but first and foremost, I am a human being and I owe it to my fellow humans – women, to speak on their behalf.

I see a trend especially in Christendom: we have drawn up this long list of so-called “differences” between men and women, among these are:

"The woman uses her left brain while the man uses his right brain"
"The woman is emotional while the man is logical"
"Men get their validation from their jobs while women get theirs from the home"
"Women should “submit” to their husbands while men should “love” their wives" (people have taken this passage by the apostle Paul and stretched it to distortion, as if "submit" and "love" are two entirely different modes of behaviour.)

How on earth can you put the sexes into such rigid boxes? I have met many women who are more rational than men and who also get a sense of validation from their jobs.

Does this make these women any less women?

I have met men who are more emotional than women and who get a higher sense of fulfillment from their home than their jobs.

Does this make these men any less men?

People are people and you can find the combination of all the items listed above in both sexes. No particular item on the list defines a particular sex. What these rigid roles do is give people unrealistic expectations of themselves. A man feels he has to live up to his “manliness” by being all of the prescribed items on the list and the woman her "femaleness" by doing the same.

Obviously men and women are different and I for one know that very well (My training is in the sciences and I can give you a long list of physiological and biochemical differences between the sexes) but these so -called “differences” are not as "unique" as these “relationship experts” are advertising.

Has anyone noticed that God Himself does not have a different plan of salvation for women and a different plan for men? If the differences between the sexes are so “destiny-defining” obviously God would have taken that into account.

Here is another newsflash:

“Submission” and “Love” in marriage, are aspects of the same thing. A man who truly loves his wife will invariably “submit” to her. He was told to love his wife as Christ loved the church and GAVE HIMSELF UP for it.

In other words, Christ’s love for the church led Him to the ultimate form of submission:

Death on the cross!

And no, Christ did not die for the Church (his wife) because the Church (his wife) first submitted to Him. We are told that it was “while we were yet sinners that Christ died for us”

Now, that is TRUE LOVE! That is UNSELFISH LOVE!

If a man TRULY (I always use the adjective TRULY because TRUE LOVE embodies every noble virtue possible, including respect/submission) loves his wife, he would also SUBMIT to her.

So, eventually, what you have is, the husband “loving and submitting to his wife” and the wife also “loving and submitting to her husband”.

Love and submission in marriage are aspects of the same thing.

If a husband and wife have TRUE love for each other the issue of "submission" will not come up because the bond between them would be so seamless, that you cannot tell at any point who is "submitting" to whom. They are both constantly giving to each other.

If a man has a plan in mind but his wife has a better alternative and he still insists on doing it his way, then he is in the wrong for not "submitting" to his wife. He can do what he likes obviously, but that does not make him any less guilty for not "submitting" to a better idea from his wife either because of his "ego" or because he actually believes he is right.

The truth is that, if there is TRUE love between a couple, the man should never feel insecure about "NOT BEING A REAL MAN" if he submits to his wife, because they are supposed to be ONE! 

It is the inherent insecurities in marriage relationships that feeds this love/submit debate.

Ideally, and in REALITY it should not be so.

In a marriage, TRUE love is the overarching principle - and if a man and a woman TRULY love each other, SUBMISSION TO EACH OTHER would be the most natural thing in the world.

I can’t believe that a married man can actually say that if he has to choose between “respect” and “love” from his wife that he would choose “respect.”

How can a man get true “respect” from his wife without having her “love?” The kind of respect I am talking about here is not born out of fear or intimidation

It is like telling someone to choose between “God the Father” and “God the Son”. You can not choose one without invariably choosing the other.

When love is true, a husband and a wife should be able to say these words to each other:

Your hands are in the hollows of mine,
my heart with yours is full;
Love’s command is upon my eyes
to see myself in you

Sunday, May 2, 2010

A Thousand Splendid Things

Awake, O north wind,
And come, O south!
Blow upon my garden,
That its spices may flow out.
Let my beloved come to his garden
And eat its pleasant fruits.

The Shulamite, Songs of Solomon 4:16

The bard of Stratford-upon-Avon, that true but uncrowned king of the blessed isle we call England, William Shakespeare, once described love as a discrete form of madness.

Ah me! . . . he was right!

Love is indeed a fine thing. The love between a man and a woman is without doubt a beautiful thing. There is no human experience I know of, that ranks above that moment when Cupid’s arrow first strikes your heart. The world around you becomes a pleasant blur and the heart within you throbs! . . . and throbs!! . . . and throbs!!! . . . glowing with all the passion of a hundred suns.

But is it possible you ask?

Is it possible for the love between a man and a woman to thrill our imagination with such fever-pitch intensity?

Yes, yes, . . . O yes, it is possible!

It is possible to have a love that is so untameable, unassailable – love that is like a storm in the heart and nothing can be done about it either in time or in eternity. Yes, such a love as the human heart craves for – a longing, so deep and a hunger that is twice as wide.

For a man to look into the eyes of the woman he loves and be lost in their wonder; to have those ten dainty trimmings that he calls her fingers, tickling his sides to make his heart merry with laughter; to roam the grassy fields, the countryside ringing with their laughter – intoxicated with this wine that flows from their hearts.

To have the moon bathe their marriage nest in an unbroken stream of silvery light; to taste honey between each kiss – their breath, the smell of scented flowers. To place her seal upon his life and do the bidding of love, which commands him to see himself in her – that is, my friend, a thing of beauty.

Such a love is as much a wound of Cupid’s arrow as it is the combined will of the lovers to keep it so. It must be tended to like a garden of flowers – weeds must be kept out. One man can love one woman and, one woman can love one man and they can both be the better for it – like music and poetry - in eternal union.

Love is a winged creature, a native of the skies. It is an offspring of the wind-borne clouds, an ever-soaring companion of the stars. Love is a minstrel, love is a goddess, - love is a scion of the divine.

It is the light in the eyes of a strolling couple, even the sun in its brilliance does not compare. Love stirs the heart in unending bubbles – it is life’s elixir, it is a spirit, so fair. It is the soul of laughter, the messenger of joy; it is the Artist of all nature’s display.

Love is the coolness of morning, it is the fire in your bosom – it is the volcano that erupts within your frame. Love exalts your sight, it makes your vision boundless – love is a deity that grants you a noble name. It is heaven’s melody, it is as vast as the eternals, love is a mystery that no man can search.

It is a divine angel, the beat of all hearts.

Love is more than a thousand splendid things!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

What is in a name . . . what is in a word?

“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose,
by any other name would still smell as sweet.”

William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet, Act II Scene II

In this seemingly simple quote above, Juliet sums up the beauty, the angst, and the eventual tragic denouement resulting from her love for Romeo. Who would have thought that love could hold so much pain in its bosom – a pungency of sadness that simmers down to a mellow sweetness. Love, with all its exultation, with all its cherry-fresh succulence and brio, is a precursor of sweet sadness. Would the ambivalence of love be absent if it was called by another name?

What is in a name afterall? Is a name not a sophisticated verbal articulation, a mere product of the movement of the vocal cords modulated by the tongue and lips? If the english choose to call the action of putting food into your mouth “eat” and the French choose to call it “manger”, does it change the fact that “the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach – via his mouth of course” (can I get an Amen! from the male corner?)

But seriously, is it my calling a cup a “cup” that makes it a cup? Was it not a “cup” before I called it so? I have heard christian say that Adam named all the animals in the garden as if there was something particularly mystical about the sound he made when he called out the names. I agree that Adam named the animals. I don’t doubt that. But, do you seriously think that Adam called a wild cat with spots a “leopard?” I mean, do you think he actually mouthed the words: l-e-o-p-a-r-d / lěp'ərd /? Did Adam name the animals in English then?

Which language in particular did Adam speak?

How about christians who insist that when David faced Goliath in a duel and went down to a stream to pick five smooth stones, that each of those stones represented a letter in the name, "Jesus". That sounds interesting and would make for a good line during a sermon, but is it not taking it too far when people insist on making a doctrine out of five stones representing the five letters in the name of Jesus.

Do you think Jesus was addressed as “Jesus” when he was on earth? He was called Yeshua in Hebrew and Iesous in Greek and when these names were written down, they were definitely not done with the characters of the alphabet that we use today. Does that make Jesus any less than who he was when he was on earth? – Divinity in human form.

I am not trying to split hairs here. I mention these things because history has taught us and is still teaching us that mankind generally tends to be religious, so religious at times, even to the detriment of the truth. People can make a doctrine out of anything and from seemingly simple issues, as evident in the myriad of denominations in christianity today.

These doctrines usually start from something simple and seemingly uncontroversial but with continuous reiteration they take on a mind and a life of their own, become binding on their followers and eventually everybody forgets why the instruction was given in the first place and obey it without so much as a question. When you ask these followers why they subscribe to such a doctrine, they give you an answer that basically says:

“that is what we do in our church”

Man is a religious being: The children of Israel do not eat the muscle that shrank which is on the hip socket because He touched the socket of Jacob’s hip. . .

Jesus on the mount of transfiguration had Moses and Elijah by His side and Peter calls out “It is good Lord that we are here. We will build three tabernacles – one for You, Moses and Elijah.

I tell you, if Christ were to appear to you in your living room, sitting on a particular chair, it is extremely likely that after the event, you would venerate that chair, infact no one will seat on it again. You would even have people coming on pilgrimage to your house from all over the world to see what will now be fanciful called

“The Chair”

Do you think that example is far-fetched?

Have you not heard of christians trooping to various parts of the world to sites, were supposedly a Saint was reported to have been sighted? Huge crowds gather around those sites for days.

People still troop to Jerusalem constantly to see the tomb of Jesus. Have these christians not heard the words of the angel? It was announced two thousand years ago and still reverberates to this day:

“He is not here. He is risen!”

Now patience, patience, don’t jump on me yet. I am not against visiting historical sites but I only bring these up to show you how susceptible man is to concede to religious activities while ignoring the substance and the essence of the gospel. Man has a tendency to chase shadows. Christ Himself said it best –

“You strain at a gnat but you swallow a carmel.”

I read an article in a blog recently where a christian asked a rather pertinent question. She wanted to know if it was okay to substitute some other words in place of “swear words” e.g.

“shoot” for “shit”,

“heck” for “hell”

“darn” for “damn”

"effing" for "fuck"

Personally, I wonder, whether words become less of a profanity just because you take a letter or two of the alphabet out of it? Does it make any difference if you voiced “heck” and “effing” but your heart is actually saying “hell” and “fucking”?

You are merely playing with words, my friend. It is still profanity no matter how you spin it.

It is mere window dressing and political correctness run amok when people write f**k when everyone knows that the asterisk in the midst of the words is “uc”. It is ludicrous to say the least when we tacitly agree that it is okay to swear on television and on radio as long as we “bleep it”

Hello!!! "THE BLEEP" is now the universal Morse Code for a swear word or a foul language. So, who is kidding who or in the words of “my generation”:

"So, who the heck is f**cking with who?"

Oops! see what I mean? The asterisks could very well have been the actual alphabets, “uc”

Is it not better if you do not use profanity at all? I know that one can make occasional slip ups (I certainly have) but it is a different ball game when society is almost elevating swear-words to the level of Art with all the fanciful embellishments that it gets. Let us instead call it what it actually is:

A verbal diarrhoea resulting from mental constipation.

There is a whole variety of words in the english language and in any other language of your choosing to express yourself in. It is a poverty in the depth of vocabulary that makes one resort to four-letter expletives.

Oh, I see, you want to sound “folksy” and “current” – well, too bad that you have to go into the gutter to do that.

To echo the mood of a modern day Juliet:

What’s in a name? “A hell of a piece of shit”,
irrespective of how you spin it, to “A heck of a piece of sh*t”
would still smell, just as bad.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Ancient of Days (1)

(Painting) Ancient of Days by William Blake

I watched till thrones were put in
And the Ancient of Days was
His garment was white as snow,
And the hair of His head was like
pure wool . . .

And the books were opened.

Daniel 7: 9-10

It is rational to believe in the existence of God. Infact, it does not stand to reason if you do not believe in a Supreme Being who created the universe. Yes, we might debate about which way is the right way to approach Him or split hairs over some doctrinal issues, but there is a God. He exists!

I have never understood the flawed logic of the atheist, who proudly beats his chest in the “certain knowledge” that there is no God. Well, what can I say, . . . there are bounds of reason, but I guess all humans do not dwell within its confines.

At no time in the long history of mankind has the topic of God’s existence been more contentious than it is today – in this age of information. I do not propose to provide in this brief write-up an “undisputable proof” of the existence of God but rather to lay, however briefly, a rationality for the belief in a Creator.

It is imperative in this present age that christians educate themselves not only in scriptures but also in as many subjects as they may find time and means to study. It is a brave new world out there – a world of ideas – in our campuses, classrooms, lecture halls and laboratories and you must meet the opposing ideas and “always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you…”

Now, when I say give “a defense” I do not necessarily mean that it has to be “a scriptural verse” or “a passage from the bible”. I am talking about discussing philosophy with the philosophers, discussing physics with the physicist, and biology with the biologist . And no, you do not need to be a universal expert in all of these disciplines to confidently do so. There is a simple rational basis in all academic disciplines and that rationality is usually more than enough to state your case.

And why is this important you ask?

The story is told of a fourteen-year-old boy from a christian family who asked his father about the existence of God and the conversation went something like this:

“Daddy, God created the world, right?” the boy asked

“Yes my son, He did” the father responded “Why do you ask son? You have believed in God since you were ten years old. Are you having any doubts?” the father asked.

“No Dad. I got into a debate in school with some of my classmates about the existence of God and as hard as I tried to make them see my point of view, they were unyielding.” the boy responded.

“Just tell them God created the world and how it is well explained in Genesis chapter 1 and 2. Also mention John 3:16 and how God sent his only Son to die for the sins of the world” the father said

In exasperation the boy blurted out,

“I know all those scriptures Dad! The book of Genesis and John work very well within the confines of our house and in church, but these books do not do very well in my classroom.”

I will leave you to imagine the expression on the father’s face.

A fourteen-year-old boy has perhaps stated in plain words what you obviously must have experienced when you tried to talk about your faith from a strictly biblical perspective with your professor or your academic colleagues. The point is that they do not accept as valid the reference text (Bible) from which you are quoting. They wish to engage you at an academic plane, to make the discussion as intellectual, as logical and completely subject to reason and empirical evidence.

So what is the christian to do? Walk away?

No. No. A thousand times, No!

As a christian there is more rationality in your faith than in the fleeting convictions of an atheist. What is your faith? When I hear christians talk about faith, they speak of it as if faith is the same thing as some helpless belief that they have no option but to resort to.

When the apostle Paul defined faith, he called it the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. So faith can have a substance, faith can have evidence. Have you noticed that Paul defended his faith before scholars and before illiterates, before Greek philosophers and before the academics and intellectual elites of his day; so much so that Festus cried out in a loud voice “Paul you are beside yourself! Much learning is driving you mad!

And what was Paul’s response?

“I am not mad most noble Festus, but speak the words of truth and reason”

Did you read that? …the words of truth and REASON! So there can be a reason for faith, a substance for faith, an evidence for faith. Faith is not some passive, weak-minded and whimsical belief that a christian should capitulate to because he has not made the effort to think. It is and can be rooted in REASON if christians would make the effort to read and to think.

Christians, I implore you all to Think, and you shall Find!

Of course I am not in any way suggesting that you will know all things. No man knows all things, but you will always know enough and more than you need to debate and to defend your faith in the battlefield of ideas. Yes it is a battlefield and the war has since started. On television, in university lecture theatres, academic fora and conferences, men from every field of learning are constantly casting doubt over the existence of a Supreme God.

You may say it does not concern you but O it does. You can already hear the questions being asked in every nook and cranny of university campuses and on the streets, and no doubt you will have children of your own someday and your children will ask you these same questions because they will hear it in school from their classmates and from their teachers. If you are not prepared now, you will not be prepared then.

It is also important that christians educate themselves so they do not make statements that are to say the least “totally outrageous”. I listened to a radio programme recently where a christian lady called in to express why she believed in God/Bible. She started off by making certain assertions about cloning and to quote her, called it “crap”. As a fellow christian, my sympathies were with her but I cringed at her utterance; anyone who says cloning is crap (perhaps suggesting that it doesn’t work) certainly doesn’t know anything about cloning in the first place. It is statements like these, made by this caller that leaves the christian faith open to assault by non-believers who call us a bunch of mythologists.

The caller was not lacking in passion, but passion without facts and reason is not enough. You can pound on the table and speak at the top of your voice from sunrise to sunset that “I believe the Bible!” “I believe in God!” I believe the Bible!” I believe in God!” but that alone will not be admissible in an intellectual argument. That approach may work in church but it will find no acceptance against the logic of your professors or your intellectual non-believing colleagues.

I am by no means saying we should not quote the bible, what I am saying is that as christians we should be wise enough to be mindful of our audience and how best to engage them. You might need to engage people in an intellectual debate of your faith before you introduce the scriptures because that might be the only way you can get past the walls they have erected in their minds.

As christians we must read far and we must read wide, and not just the bible but other books as well. When was the last time you read a book on history, geography, government, or theology? Have you read an account of the history of the church (and I don’t mean the Acts of the Apostles), I mean the history of the church from the time of Polycarp, through the dark ages and the enlightenment period in Europe.

You have lived in England for five years perhaps, but do you know the history of that country from its Celtic inhabitants through the Roman occupation and the Anglo-Saxon invasion to present day or have you taken a scholarly tour through the “Egyptology section” of the British Museum?

Do you know what a gene is and how it affects our existence as humans? If you don’t know, what are you waiting for before you do? How do you expect to debate atheist like Richard Dawkins, an Oxford university professor or Christopher Hitchens for that matter.

Get a library card and read for goodness sake!

When was the last time you read a book on christian epistemology or apologetics? Why are the only books christians ever read always “Seven steps to …… (fill in the blank).

Have you listened to a theological discourse by Ravi Zacharias or John Polkinghorne? It would not cost you a cent to. An archive of Ravi’s apologetics can be found on his website.

There is a battle of ideas going on in the world right now, in society at large but particularly in our citadels of learning – the psyche and the instincts of people – students and children especially, are been turned further and further away from a belief in God.

Do you even have a library card?

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Friendly Fire

Those friends thou hast and their adoption tried,
grapple them to thy soul with hoops of steel . . .
Give every man thy ear, but few thy voice;
take each man’s censure, but reserve thy judgment . . .
This above all: to thine own self be true,
and it must follow, as the night the day,
thou canst not then be false to any man.

William Shakespeare, Hamlet, Act 1 Scene III

Do you know what it means to be criticized? I am not talking about the opinion voiced by one of your friends about why the colour of your shirt does not match the colour of your trousers or why you have chosen to wear the same dress you wore to class to a birthday party.
I am talking about a criticism that assaults your dreams, your ambitions and your hopes; the stinging attacks against your aspirations – that rips to shreds the blueprint (or a blueprint) you have drawn up for your life. That insistent myriad of voices that bombard your consciousness in the guise of friendly advice and at times, outright hostility:

“you are aiming too high”
“you are taking on too much”
“you cannot”
“you are a dreamer”
“this is a stupid venture”
“you are not ready”

How many times have you heard these from well-meaning friends and acquaintances? How many more times in your journey through life will you feel the piercing darts of the critical tongue? It might be useful to remind yourself in the midst of scathing criticism, especially of the type that queries your abilities or that continually insists that “you are not good enough” that the cautious approach of a tiger is not an indication of weakness but rather, an intoxication of strength.

Hostile critics are perhaps the easiest to deal with (they are not any less stinging) but they are easier, because you know, at least, that their intentions are opposed to yours. It is indeed a curious thing and I dare say this in all sober earnest and with all the humility that I can glean from my arrogance, that if you are alert to the possibility and can adequately gauge the stubbornness of these hostile critics by the measure of your own obstinacy, these critics can very well be your greatest cheerleaders.

But, the gentle suggestion of friendly criticism, now, that is a whole different matter altogether; the gentle hand of a friend on your shoulder, the clear, unwavering eyes staring directly into yours, coaxing you with all the honesty that friendship grants it liberty to, a critic that does not wish you ill, infact oftentimes, a critic whose intentions are noble – that my friend is a much more perilous sea to navigate.

But, the noblest intentions, contrary to all expectations can smother the best of dreams – the noblest of your friends can actually kill your dreams with too much love.

So, should you not listen to your friends, or should you only have friends that agree with you all the time? The short answer to both questions is “no,” but the long answer to both questions are two questions, “Who are your friends?” and “Do you know what you want?”

The advice of friends can be useful and there is nothing wrong with one seeking wise counsel from those you have chosen to call your friends. But, there are certain friendships that you need to strengthen and there are other friendships that you simply have to say “bye-bye” to.

A wise man once said, “Choose your friends wisely, if you don’t choose, you will lose”

The keyword there is WISELY, and “wisely” does not mean based on social, economic or religious factors but rather based on your core values.

So, what are your core values?

Choosing your friends based on your CORE VALUES and having a well-defined set of goals are indispensable preambles to accurately judging and handling whatever criticisms may come from them when they offer you advice.

There is no prescription that can be written to tell you “when to listen to your friends” and “when not to listen to your friends” but if you have chosen your friends wisely and know exactly where you are in life and know exactly where you want to get to, Providence will always lead you along the right path. It is an uncanny truth but true all the same, that Providence always seems to throw its weight behind the man or woman who knows exactly where he or she is going.

Ultimately, the buck stops with you and you alone will live in whatever reality you choose to create.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Living in the Present

“Now, is the accepted time” the lawyer from Tarsus boldly proclaimed about 2000 years ago. You will find layers of meaning compressed in that singular statement, which for the brevity of this post I will not go into. For many people the past and the future are always a constant companion and not very pleasant ones at that; they are either relieving over and over again the mistakes of the past or fretting constantly about what the future might bring (or might not bring). For such people, the present never really exists – they are caught perpetually in a time loop – swinging on that obsessive pendulum between the tears of yesterday and the fears of tomorrow.

But, . . . “Now, is the accepted time”

There is nothing wrong with thinking about the past, infact you should give the past a considerable amount of thought. The past holds your memories, your joys, your friendships, and your successes but it also holds your mistakes, your regrets and your failures. There is nothing wrong with thinking about the past, to draw courage and belief from your successes and to learn valuable lessons from your setbacks. It only becomes a problem when you focus on your mistakes and regrets so much that it numbs you from daring to go forward.

The same is true about the future – your dreams are yet unborn, you do not know for certain what form the offsprings would take but remember that reality is the offspring of dreams, and it is within your power, and within the latitude of your ability to dream dreams that would shape that future reality.

Two things come to mind when people hear the name King Solomon; firstly, the fact that he was an extremely wise man and secondly, The Temple that was built during his reign, called Solomon’s Temple, was perhaps one of the most magnificent structures ever constructed by man. But, how many people realize that both King Solomon and The Temple are in a sense the consequences of two mistakes in the past of King David.

Solomon was David’s son by his wife Bathsheba whom he took through dubious means from Uriah the Hittite (Let’s call this David’s first mistake). The site on which The Temple was built was the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite, the same location where an angel was restrained from carrying out destruction when David erroneously numbered the Israelites (Let’s call this David’s second mistake).

Only God can take a man’s two greatest mistakes from his past and build a magnificent Temple out of it in the future.

As obvious as it may seem, people should always remember to live in the present while garnering wisdom from the past and dreaming about the future. Let go of the nightmares of the past and dream great dreams about the future; see clearly in your heart and in your mind what your goals are because knowing what you want and defining it clearly, has a way of rallying Providence in your favour.

Always remember the words of the lawyer from Tarsus: “Now is the accepted time”

Moreover, if we are to consider the issue just a little further, there is no such thing as yesterday, today and tomorrow anyway. What we call the past, the present and the future is actually just one, vast, and eternal NOW!!!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

A Dance of Light

Wonderful, Counsellor, be born in my heart,
Though I know that it has great lacks;
For you would find it an even more wretched place
Than the manger where you once lay.

Wrapped in swaddling clothes, attended by donkeys,
I offer Thee a home with greater poverty;
O Stem of Jesse, be born in my heart,
This is my wish, my hope, my cry.

- Eyitemi Egwuenu from my poem, Star of Bethlehem

He wants to take us by the hand, to retrace our steps to where it all first began – to the very beginning – before those words that still echo to this day were spoken – “Let there be light”.

He wants to take us to before the beginning, before space, before time – before the singularity of the big bang – to the very origin of a dateless past, when our formless eternal souls were sheltered in His thoughts. He wants to show us what we are, who we are – our heritage, our ancestry.

Often we catch glimpses of it in Nature – in the regal swirl of whistling pines in the winsome winds and in the guileless smile that ripples a baby’s face. Even by night, we still see Him in the beauty of the moonlight as we roam the landscape without a care, walking in the beam of that polished disc of silver.

And even more, He wants to show us the Seed that rests quietly in our hearts – “The Kingdom of God is within you” He says. The Kingdom of God, The Kingdom of God – what a birthright, what an honour – what glory, what majesty – it should be music to our ears – it should be melodies in our hearts – melodies that crisscross each other in a dance of light.

In my mind’s eye, I can see it – the fluttering wings of Divinity that dwells in every human heart. Our duty, our responsibility as humans is to pray – pray – pray, that Heaven grant those wings the strength to fly.

Monday, March 15, 2010

In Our Stars or in Ourselves

Men at some time are masters of their fates;
The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars,
But in ourselves, that we are underlings

Cassius from Julius Caesar Act 1, scene 2

Often times I have wondered about the nature of destiny and predetermination and I find it curious that I never arrive at a consistent conclusion every time I do. Certain situations have inclined me to the belief that a person’s fate is nothing more than the outcome of a series of choices he made before that point. But, no sooner have I grasped this conclusion than I feel my hands been prised open by other ideas when I hear of certain experiences that make me wonder if there is an unseen puppeteer who pulls at the strings and that we, helpless humans that we are, are compelled to nod, dance and even scratch our buttocks, when the puppeteer bids us to.

The more I think about it however, the more it is impressed on me that it (fate or destiny, whichever is your preferred label) might actually be some curious mixture of both predetermination and choice. But, how? You might ask. Are predetermination and choice not mutually exclusive? Aren’t they for all practical purposes diametrically opposite? The short answer to these questions is “yes” and the long answer is “no”.

First, the short answer: Yes, taken literally, "predetermination" and "choice" are opposites, like “up” and “down”, “short” and “long” and “yes” and “no”.

Second, the long answer: No, predetermination and choice are not opposites; it is a trick of our minds, conditioned by our own sensory experiences in the natural world that compels us to make that assumption; we simply do not have enough information from our sensory apparatus of sight, hearing, taste, touch and smell to arrive at the correct conclusion. Humans are so used to their senses and have come to rely on them so much that often times we forget that there are a lot of other modalities around us that we simply cannot sense and that concerning the sensory modalities that we can perceive, we cannot be absolutely sure of what our senses tell us.

I will give examples:

Everyday, we all see the sun rise in the east and set in the west, but anyone who has paid attention in a high school geography class knows that this is not really true; the sun does not rise and the sun does not set; it only gives the illusion that it does. The truth is that, it is actually the earth (which our senses tell us is immobile) that actually moves (rotate) on its axis. This may sound so very obvious to many people now, but don’t forget that not quite three centuries ago, men like Galileo, Copernicus and Giordano Bruno were tried by the Inquisition for heresy and were put in prison and in the case off Giordano Bruno burnt at the stake for espousing such “obvious” ideas.

So, put succinctly, we cannot be completely sure of what our senses tell us no matter how believable it appears– we may only sense things as “they appear to be” but not really “as they truly are”.

If we didn’t know any better, I bet everyone alive today would swear to it that the sky actually touches the ground at the horizon – but we know it doesn’t, though our sight still continues to insist that it does. As usual, I digress; what constitutes reality as adjudged by our senses is a whole new topic of its own.

So, how is destiny both by Choice and by Predetermination? I see two possibilities:

First, all that will happen in a man’s life has already been predetermined by the Creator, but if that predetermined fate is to be played out exactly as it has been scripted, it will depend on wether that man validates that destiny by the choices he makes or alters it (for better or for worse) by making a different set of choices. In other words, what is fated is not necessarily inevitable – a man can, quite literally change his predetermined fate (again, for better or for worse) by his choices.

The second scenario is actually a bit subtler and more difficult to explain. In this case, a man does not have a predetermined destiny, so he is more or less writing up his destiny as he lives out his life but, there is a catch somewhere though – in this case, the man has no predetermined destiny, however there are certain events in history that are predetermined and unalterable and those events, depending on when they happen, may directly or indirectly by their ripple effect, influence a man’s destiny depending on how he responds to them or irrespective of how he responds to them. These predestined and unalterable events I believe are mainly associated with the birth of specific individuals into the world or some natural events. These predestined events would nudge subtly or overtly, directly or indirectly, the lives of everyone who comes under their latitude of influence.

I speak and write in English today largely because my country was colonized by Britain. I probably would be writing this essay in French or Portuguese if it were colonized by France or Portugal. However, I can choose to learn French or Portuguese and write in these languages but I have chosen not to, largely because my anglophone upbringing and environment did not require me or make me see the need to do so. If it was predetermined that my country of birth would be colonized by the British ( I am not saying it was, I am only using this as an example to make a point) that event has influenced the lives of countless individuals and the choices they have made years after the actual event – these individuals are more likely to live in English speaking countries (UK, USA, Australia, New Zealand, Parts of Canada) and most of their academic choices and by extension, life choices will always be influenced by the language they speak.

Another way to look at this is to ask, “What would the world be like today if say, Jesus and Alexander the Great were not born?” You would agree with me that it would be a very different world indeed. The birth of Christ was foretold, that we are certain of but here is where it becomes tricky; though Christ was destined to be born, He still had a choice to make as to the path He would take. He Himself said that he laid down his life willingly and that He can take it up again. He could have chosen not to go to Golgotha. Do you remember the travail He went through in Gethsamane and His prayer? “Father, let this cup pass over Me” the good news is that He did not end the prayer there, He added “not My will but let Your will be done”

In the case of Alexander the Great, we have no way of knowing if his birth was destined, and that is the tricky thing about this second scenario, we actually have no way of knowing which events are destined and which ones are not – the birth of Alexander the Great may not have been destined, rather it could be that, his becoming a pupil of Aristotle was the fated event – in other words, Alexander the Great may not have influenced the world the way he did even if he was born but did not come under the tutelage of Aristotle. He would have been just another man from Macedonia who was born and lived out his time on earth and passed on.

In this second scenario, there is no way of knowing which event is a critical or a destiny-defining event; something as trivial as waking up at 6.30 a.m. instead of 6.32 a.m. could be a predestined event while something as globally news-worthy as Angola winning the world cup might not be fated even if it happens.

Ultimately, whichever scenario you look at, the choice of the individual still takes centre stage – it may sound like a paradox but the one thing that I believe is fated for all humans is Choice – all humans are destined to choose – they must choose whether they like it or not, - and choosing not to choose, in itself, is a choice.