The Man in the 21st century by Bibi

Shifting Border

Feminism, a word coined by Charles Fourier in 1837 and practiced in France and Netherlands, is fast gaining grounds in third world nations such as Nigeria and a few other African countries. This is viewed as an ideology that establishes the economic and social rights of women. This highlights on the need for both men and women to receive equal economic, social and financial rights, including eliminating the concept of segregating between the male types of jobs from the female types, thus leaving the women with very little to participate in a male dominated world. Feminism has been well received by a few, but continues to be a reason for so many heated conversations and debates. Most men are perceived to be loudly against this, while very few are beginning to see the need to tag along.

The 21st Century man is different in ideology. Unlike his predecessors, he has achieved quite a lot in the areas of technology, medicine, environmental and financial atmospheres. And these various endeavours and victories can hardly brag of overcoming challenges without the input of the female gender. Women have over the years woken up to the reality of their need to participate in the new global shift. And in developed worlds, it is no more a surprise that women are seen driving cabs, fixing automobiles, reporting as war or conflict journalists and fighting wars as soldiers. In religion, human understanding and tolerance have been shifted to women, so much that they are ordained as priests of massive congregations, and in few cases start up new churches by themselves. So, we no more scorn as we sit in these auditoriums to listen to female pastors as they try to explain the word of God. Although this is yet to be achieved largely in all religions, Christianity is opening up to the new wave.

As all things change, including the climate and the environment, and also humans, our long held principles and ideologies must keep changing. For each generation, there must be compromise. For every generation, there must be a border that must shift and tolerance to accommodate, and women must be in the picture of this imminent shift in culture. Women must leave the stronghold of their kitchens and move into the business streets majorly dominated by men. Women must not be treated like they are less human than men. By doing this, the global man must open up all sectors and social activities for equal participation. Equal participation must not only be projected as accepting women into jobs reputed to be for men, but also accepting men into jobs assigned to women, such as cooking and very many domestic duties. This comes with many positive results, including healthier competition and contribution in the growth of every nation’s economy. It exposes global challenges to the possibility of creating new views and approaches to solutions, and develops better thinking women in our society. As these well exposed women impact positively to challenged economies, they also help raise better children with stronger views about the future of our spaces.

It is no doubt that many see this recent shift in profession and tasks by women as a huge threat, quite a huge number of men and women have accepted the movement. And this is why we, as participants of the global community, must continue to enlighten our society on the need to allow women to take up on any job of their choice. This is why we must continue to encourage our women to chase all their dreams. This is so we can also tap into their wealth of knowledge to build better sustainable solutions to challenges facing our tomorrow.

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Bibi Ukonu is a Husband, Father, Brother and a Son. He grew up as the only Son in the midst of his sisters. He truly understands who the Man is in the 21st century and isn’t threatened by women rather an ally and an advocate for women.  We need more Husbands and Fathers like him.

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Man in the 21st Century and the women who love them

It was one of those Sunday rides after Church Service with a friend. From discussing the sermon to a female friend of his. This shouldn’t make headlines but something he said struck a chord with me. This lady friend of his visited him in a “big” car and he found it threatening to men (Not him though, cos’ he wasn’t interested in her). He’s not alone in this line of thought, a colleague reiterated this claim when I mentioned the kind of cars I like. In his words “it will drive men away”.

Ursula von der Leyen, Nikki Haley, Chioma Ukonu. These names may just be other names but look closely, Ursula is the German Minister of Defense, wife and mother to seven (7) children, Nikki is the US Ambassador to the UN, wife and mother of two while Chioma is running a foremost Nigerian Recycling Company with her husband and has three children. If you’re still wondering what my point is with all these information just stay with me a little longer.

I grew up in a home with just my two sisters, there was never a time the place of our gender affected what we could or could not do. We practically lived lives to the fullest, if we had to race the boys in our streets on our bikes we did, if we had to slide down on the corridor, we did just that. When it was time for undergraduate studies our gender wasn’t a determining factor ; we studied Metallurgical Engineering, Geophysics and Electrical Engineering respectively. All thanks to my Father and Mother who were the wind behind our wings and haven’t changed.

But I’ve often heard some comments from people when I run my ideas with them, you’re too ambitious, you’re a woman, you need to take it easy, and you’ll chase men away. I remember a guy asking me why I wasn’t a primary school teacher (this isn’t to undermine the teaching profession) to enable me come back from work around 2 p.m. to take care of my children. at that time he was a prospect and I asked him what of the father, his response “You’re an African woman, when you people travel abroad you forget this”.

Dear woman.jpg

In a conversation with an acquaintance the issue of the equality between male and female came up. He went straight to remind me he’s a Bible believing Christian by quoting “The woman should be submissive to the man” (he didn’t know where it was written in the Bible). On the premise of his sermon to me, he went further to say the woman is inferior to the man using the most appropriate illustration – Star Radler and 33 Star Lager Beer. The alcohol content is 2.00 and 5.10 percent respectively. Radler representing the women while 33 was for the men, I went on to ask him what content was more in the men. At the time of this writing he hasn’t given me an answer yet.

What does it mean to be an African woman? Are women truly inferior to men? What does the Bible mean in Genesis 2:18 “Then the Lord God said it is not good for man to be alone, I will make him a helper fit for him” Genesis 5:1b – 2 “When God created man, He made him in the likeness of God. Male and Female he created them, and he blessed them and named them Man…”. Can women break glass ceilings and still be wives and mothers for those who choose to? If these women are breaking glass ceilings do we have a generation of men who are threatened by them?

A man I respect said something profound. In the past, men were the hunters but now we have women who are going out to hunt too. The career path chosen by many women is giving them a platform they never had before. I know I was created for so much more, I’m trying to make sense of all of that and at the same time coming to terms with the reality that there’s really no limitation except the one I choose to place on myself as a result of Cultural or Social bias. In the next couple of days I’ll be putting up articles written by Men and Women on these issues. I hope this challenges what you have thought and believed both as a Man and Woman.

Loads of Love

JMAD

Photo Credit : Google

#Day 3 ; Unearthing my beliefs

Romans 3 : – Riding on what He has done

Verse 1 – 8: – What advantage then has the Jew, or what is the profit of circumcision? Much in every way! Chiefly because to them were committed the oracles of God. For what if some did not believe? Will their unbelief make the faithfulness of God without effect? Certainly not! Indeed, let God be true but every man a liar. As it is written:“That You may be justified in Your words, And may overcome when You are judged.”But if our unrighteousness demonstrates the righteousness of God, what shall we say? Is God unjust who inflicts wrath? (I speak as a man.)  Certainly not! For then how will God judge the world?  For if the truth of God has increased through my lie to His glory, why am I also still judged as a sinner? And why not say, “Let us do evil that good may come”?—as we are slanderously reported and as some affirm that we say. Their condemnation is just.[NKJV]

Reflections: – I have battled with this particular chapter cos’ of some hard truths in it, even Paul isn’t left out. It’s reassuring to know Paul wasn’t afraid to point out where he spoke as a human being, he needed to remind us Christians, it’s okay to ask those questions we encounter in our Christian walk. How often have we been taught we should never question God but looking through the Bible we constantly see men and women engaging in dialogue with God which sometimes involves questions… ‘Come let us reason together says the Lord’ Isaiah 1:18a. Now we are trying to uncover the truth behind the righteousness of God and Paul is asking if in the display of our sinful nature and unrighteousness God’s righteousness is brought to bear, why are we still judged for that since it’s an occasion for God to display it. To start with God is righteous, He doesn’t become righteous cos’ of our unrighteousness, it is who He is. A Doctor isn’t named one cos’ the sick visit him/her, neither should the Doctors be blamed for the sickness of their patients. The patients only highlight who they are and what they’ve studied for.

Verse 9 – 18: –  Well then, should we conclude that we Jews are better than others? No, not at all, for we have already shown that all people, whether Jews or Gentiles, are under the power of sin. As the Scriptures say, “No one is righteous—not even one…They don’t know where to find peace. They have no fear of God at all.”[NLT]

Reflections: – An emphasis was made on “us” and “them”. He had to highlight that both the Jews (custodians of the law) and Gentiles (those without the law) were both on the same boat. There is none who is righteous as long as you are on earth; the sinful nature abides in you. Not just the nature but under the power and just like it’s highlighted “ how can one enter a strong man’s house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man” Matt 12:29. It’s a power tussle, we need a higher power to free us from sin, and self-will can’t get us there.

Verse 19 – 20: –  Now we know that whatever the Law [of Moses] says, it speaks to those who are under the Law, so that [the excuses of] every mouth may be silenced [from protesting] and that all the world may be held accountable to God [and subject to His judgment]. For no person will be justified [freed of guilt and declared righteous] in His sight by [trying to do] the works of the Law. For through the Law we become conscious of sin [and the recognition of sin directs us toward repentance, but provides no remedy for sin].[AMP]

Reflections: – I enjoy watching Australia declares, in one of the episodes a woman was found with a suitcase packed with food stuffs and fruits too. She hadn’t declared it and it was against the Australian law to bring in such, hence she attracted a fine. But on further interrogation they found out she was a first time flyer and committed the crime out of ignorance not to forget the tantrum she threw at the officers. The items were destroyed and the fine was cancelled cos of her ignorance. This was highlighted in verse 19, the law was given to place everyone on the same level and that no one will have an excuse to accuse God of being an unfair judge. It brings us to the end of ourselves, that edge of the cliff moment where we know we are helpless without a Hand reaching out to grab us. Our sin senses get activated once we hear or see “Do Not”, I don’t know why but it’s human nature. Take a cue from Adam and Eve, it was after the instruction “Do not eat” that the tempter came along.

Verse 21 – 26 : – But now God has shown us a way to be made right with Him without keeping the requirements of the law, as was promised in the writings of Moses and the prophets long ago. We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are.  For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet God, in His grace, freely makes us right in His sight. He did this through Christ Jesus when He freed us from the penalty for our sins. For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed His life, shedding His blood. This sacrifice shows that God was being fair when He held back and did not punish those who sinned in times past, for He was looking ahead and including them in what He would do in this present time. God did this to demonstrate His righteousness, for He Himself is fair and just, and He makes sinners right in His sight when they believe in Jesus.[NLT]

Reflections: – But why did God give us an alternative through Jesus Christ in order to be made right with Him? Wasn’t the law good enough? The law that came through Moses by God gave us the only option of adhering to rules in order to earn our justification before God but not how to achieve it, but now even right now God is saying you are made right with God by placing your faith in Jesus Christ and believe in His death and shed blood. And this call is for everyone, it simply gives everyone an equal opportunity regardless of you or what you’ve believed in the past. You are declared righteous and no longer bound by the power of sin. This is the greater power, the Almighty God we need to tear down the strongholds of sins.

Verse 27 – 31: –  Can we boast, then, that we have done anything to be accepted by God? No, because our acquittal is not based on obeying the law. It is based on faith. So we are made right with God through faith and not by obeying the law.  After all, is God the God of the Jews only? Isn’t he also the God of the Gentiles? Of course he is. There is only one God, and he makes people right with himself only by faith, whether they are Jews or Gentiles. Well then, if we emphasize faith, does this mean that we can forget about the law? Of course not! In fact, only when we have faith do we truly fulfill the law.[NLT]

Reflections: – By this act of sacrifice, human effort is eliminated cos it’s not about anything we’ve done. Rather its simply believing, this makes the message of Christianity different, difficult to understand by other religions and legalists, too basic to be complicated. God calls you to Himself even in your sinful nature and cleans you up cos of your faith in Him. While other religions expects you to cleaned up before coming. God doesn’t respond to what we do rather we respond to what He does. Isn’t it amazing and mind boggling at the same time? If we are made right with God by faith without obeying the law, what kind of lives do we live? Vs 31 says we only fulfill the law when we have faith. But why do I still need the law when I have been made right with God already? I am sure other chapters will answer the question.

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Loads of Love

JMAD

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Unearthing my beliefs

We were getting to the end of the service when the announcement was made, “the grace for the communion is for all but only a particular set of people are allowed to partake in the communion”. It was my lunch break and I went out with a colleague turned friend, on our way out I mentioned my water baptism was taken place in a few days and he could come around. And he responds I thought you have been baptized already as an infant. He wasn’t wrong, I was born an Anglican and went through the tradition of infant baptism by sprinkling, although I tried to explain the importance of full immersion baptism, he got disinterested and said all you Pentecostal people.

What does the communion mean to the body of Christ – Church? What instruction was given by the One who instituted it? What is the symbolism of baptism? Why do some Churches baptize their infants while others wait till one is fully aware and can make decisions? I painted these two pictures to cause us to think deeply on what we’ve been taught all our lives as Christians. I’m pretty sure you’ve some questions in your heart concerning some of the practices in your Church. Somehow we grew up with the mindset of otu o odi na mbu k’oga digide (how it was in the beginning is so shall it be) hence we don’t ask questions.

I have been examining what I believe as a Christian, I haven’t been to all the Churches in the world but I have been to a few and with each new location comes another experience of another Church. This has exposed me to the various practices as well as traditions. Sometimes I find myself disagreeing with some messages or the order of service but I’m grateful for those moments cos’ it created the desire to know why.

I’m on a journey to give an informed answer to what I believe in and why I believe in it. To be honest this is a journey you take alone, there’s something about staying alone, and God said Abraham leave your kinsmen, and Jacob was alone when he wrestled with the Angel of God, and Mary was alone when the Angel of the Lord visited her. Am I saying you should cut others out? No. We live in trying times, yes we live in a globalised world, we can access the world and loads of information with a touch of a button but that can’t save us from the evil one.

There’s a raging war going on, within and without. There’s a fight for territory, the devil’s tactics hasn’t changed, he came after the identity of Jesus Christ when he came to tempt Him and he’s still doing that now. We can’t depend on some traditions or practices put together by men to lead our lives and fight for what’s rightfully ours. Who’s feeding your spirit daily, what informs your decisions?

If you’re currently living in Nigeria, you would have experienced some discomfort coming from the instability in the economy, yes the love of money is the root of all evil but you’ll realize money answers all things and we sure need it as a tool to achieve a lot. Many Christians shy away from this truth and the Bible has given us the solution “seek the kingdom of heaven and it’s righteousness and all these things (including money) will be added unto you.

Christians all over associate with Abraham who the Bible records is the father of righteousness. I want to know what it means to be righteous, what amount of work do i have to do, what are the do’s and don’ts, how can i remain righteous? These and many more led me to the book of Romans. I’ll be sharing what i learn in the next 16 days from each chapter.

I’m not sure what to expect, but I’m definitely sure things will be put into a better perspective, i would have stripped off a great deal of legalism. I’m relying on the Holy Spirit to dig up the true essence of righteousness. The aim isn’t about what’s right or wrong rather to know God’s heart concerning this issue and to take off the veil preventing us from direct access to the Father. I hope you will join me on this journey.

Loads of Love
JMAD