Pages

Saturday, 14 April 2012

Thunder will not fire you by @iLoveDarkRooms

I grew up believing that it is important to give to God. Give Him your time by working in God’s house; give Him your money to promote the spread of the gospel.
These days, I find it increasingly hard to stick to what my parents instilled in me.
I was an ardent tithe-payer up until a few months towards the end of 2011. Prior to then, I would pay my tithe FIRST before any other thing and regardless of how pressed I was for money.
Fast-forward 2012, I don’t even feel too guilty about it.
One day, I sat in church and listened to my pastor tell one of his numerous stories about how he was in this country or that country (sometimes with his entire family). And then I said to myself “wait, whose money is used to fund these regular round-the-world trips?” And that was it for me. The next month, rather than pay tithe to the church, I gave it to an orphanage.
Now, I am fully aware that some pastors regularly get personal gifts from their clients customers fans members. I am aware that some of these trips are sponsored by individuals who feel the need to “be a blessing to God’s servant”. But then, I am also aware that a bulk of these “Missionary Journeys” are to Europe and America. My question is, why don’t they go to Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Egypt, Somalia, Libya etc?

Why don’t these people go to people in war-torn countries who need God’s love the most?

Why Europe and America?

Why should my pastor drive a Range Rover Sport with a personalized plate? Is he D’banj? Does that in any way inspire more people to give their lives to Christ? Why should my pastor have bodyguards? Is he David Mark? Who pays these guards? What other sources of income, apart from church funds, does he have?
When the missionaries came to Nigeria, the fastest way they got people to listen to them was by building schools. They didn’t necessarily have to preach before people agreed to go to school. Enriching their lives was an effective way to teach them about God’s love.
You don’t have to carry Bible and microphone to shout about Jesus before you win souls. By living a life akin to Christ’s, a life worthy of emulation, a life filled with kindness and love to others, you are evangelizing in the most effective way possible.
Now tell me, which church in Nigeria has built ONE school and made it free or atleast highly subsidized and not for profit? None that I know of! With all the billions of naira these churches rake in every month, they can afford to give free basic education, either as a body or individually. Yet what do we see?
Millions spent on church buildings, millions spent paying for adverts of numerous church programs on TV, radio and newspapers, millions spent establishing media empires (publishing books, selling dvds etc), some even have their own TV stations now! All these things are by no means cheap!!

The one that irks me is when they constantly “import” preachers from Europe and America and add it on their posters and flyers, perhaps
to lend more “credibility” or is it now effizzi? You fly a preacher (and his family) in from America, pay for their flight tickets, put them in the best hotels AND pay them “honorarium” when they are leaving. You spend all that money to come and preach to a widow with five children who can’t afford to pay her kids’ school fees and is only just managing to get by. And you tell her God is good, you tell her to have faith and wait for her blessing. YET you live in absolute luxury and forget that you may be the one through whom God is supposed to bless her. Why should a church build a school using CHURCH FUNDS and still charge exorbitant fees afterwards? If that isn’t criminal, I wonder what is. Despite all these, we sit and do nothing. We criticize the government instead because we have been so blinded by religion, we can no longer differentiate between right and wrong. As long as Pastor is doing it, it is from Jehovah himself.
We hide behind the cloak of religion to cover laziness and greed. And if we say “peeem”, thunder will strike us. After all, God says “touch not my anointed”.

The church has turned to a fully fledged business. Infact, I know of a church that sent its pastors on a business course to learn about business models. No be “dem say”, it’s a fact. And if you look carefully, you’d notice that most of these churches are run just like other businesses.
Their merchandising na die. Check out holy water, anointing oil, holy handkerchief, devotionals, tapes and dvds…the list is endless. This is besides the normal offering, tithes and special offerings.
When I talk about things like this, my mother will give me the look that says “shut up before thunder fires u”. Lol. But for how long? For how long shall we wallow in ignorance?
We owe it to ourselves not just to speak against bad government policies, but also to speak up against “bad church policies”. We owe it to ourselves to demand accountability from our pastors, to demand for fairness, equity and everything that was the basis on which Christ lived.
The time has come for us to stop being mesmerized and tongue-tied about the issue of religion. We should start speaking up and demanding for what is right. Thunder will not fire you if you do. Our God is not amadioha 

8 comments:

  1. This is by far the best post I've come across on the issue of churches wealth and their responsibility to the country.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Ooohhhkay! I know that there's alot of embezzling going on in Churches but let's get our facts right as far as what our responsibilitie are as children of God.

    Giving alms is entirely different from "paying" tithes, God demanded that we should pay our tithes so that there will be food in His house. If the pastor and elders are chopping it then be rest assured that sooner or later, one way or the other, they WILL pay for it! Prov 20:17 Bread gained by deceit is sweet to a man but afterward his mouth will be filled with gravel. You just do yourself a favour and do what God asks, He will take care of you in the same measure He will take care of the cheats in the opposite direction.

    As far as speaking up goes, if you can't call up a meeting with your church people then you shouldn't be writing a post about it because none of the people who matter in your church will read this. Remember what happened to Miriam after she and Aaron spoke bad about Moses in Numbers 12? I am not saying follow your pastor like an ignorant blind mouse, I am saying if you can't respect your pastor because of the wrong things you think he is doing then you should find a way to talk to him. And if you can't talk to him then i think it's time to find a new church. Why stay there and scoff at everything around you and get yourself in trouble with God for another man's sin? If it's too much to bare, leave! And leave knowing that no church is perfect because it is run by men so all that really matters is finding a church that helps you grow spiritually.

    1 church that gives (as good as) free education? N.K.S.T. It is a Tiv church in with branches all over Benue State and atleast one branch in every state. Their primary and secondary schools are probably the cheapest in the entire country. I fear to say that it is free sef cos i am not sure.

    I'm really sorry if i have ended up sounding condescending, one way or the other, it isn't my intention at all. Andy please let the writer know of my comment and i'll come back to respond to any objections (s)he has.

    God bless you for sharing

    ReplyDelete
  3. This article captures a fraction of the stench oozing out of our religious houses. There are reasons for instructions given in the bible - health, preservation of life, bond, etc. The essence of the injunction to give is for a redistribution of the common collection so that the poor and underpriveledged don't die from neglect. The new testament depicts this in its account of early church life. Now, if we are followers of Christ, we should live as he did; we are not entitled to any modification. We don't find accounts in the bible of Christ or any of the early xtians basking in opulence whilst a good number of the congregation suffered lack.

    I am not rewriting this article but I need to stress that the whole idea of a church or religion is a sham, and it is mankind's greatest undoing! Pastors and their extortion machineries thrive because of bad governance and its attendant consequences - abject poverty, corruption, dearth of reason, etc. Anyone who has an understanding of the age of the charlatans will immediately recognize the striking similarity with these mountebanks. It is pure fraud to hide under the cloak of divinity to extort poor, hopeless people and offer unrealistic promises that take them away from reality and the chance to confront their problems in practical ways.

    God does not need our money to feed. In fact, 'deut 14:22-end' is the definitive authority on tithes and outlines the essence and procedure for observing tithes. It provides for us to spend our tithe and give every third round to the priests, poor, widows and strangers.

    @dosh: you are besides the point. this writer captures the prevalent situation but you mentioned just one church. you also suggested the writer convenes church members and i think that is overly simplistic and will yield obtuse results; that is a physical approach to a more complex social and moral problem. this intellectual pkatform is the proper medium to raise awareness and addres the issue. also, what if david oyedepo were my pastor, how do i access him? do you want me to be branded a witch, slapped and ordered to hell? No dear. As i am yet not atheist, beleiving in Christ and enjoying my romance with him, i can only ask, for your sake and those of the billions in the dark, that great old gospel cry: SEND THE LIGHT!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lord of mercy, did you not read the part where i said if a meeting is not possible then (s)he should consider changing churches?

      Secondly, she asked for just one church

      And telling me i'm in the dark is just unnecessarily judgemental and offensive which goes back to the point i'm sure i made but you deliberately refused to understand "If you can't fix it, leave it!". Coming here to rant and point fingers will change nothing and all you'll be left with is bitterness that no one sent you to feel in the first place because your rant "here" is only but a rant!

      Delete