Just a lil’ bit closer

A few months ago I had a conversation with a lady from the Eastern part of the country. I jokingly told her I was married to a man from the North and she literally rained down fire and brimstone, you know that kind of thing the Igbo people will say “tufiakwa” or “Chukwuaju” which both literally translates to God forbid. She had every right to make such statements after all, her brothers and sisters were been killed in the North, all of them in the North are killer herdsmen, all of them are members of Boko Haram. While you’re wondering where I’m headed with this story I’ll paint another picture.

Sometime last year I had attended a program organized by my local Church for the youths. It was a week long program with some adults from Church living in a camp with about 700 youths. On one of those days the organizing team for the variety night was supposed to shop for the gifts for the pageant winners. One thing led to the other and I was co-opted to join two (2) ladies. I literally fought my friend who made the suggestion… “I don’t know her well, we don’t talk, it would be one awkward drive” – my words to my friend and to make it worse, the second lady goes to sit at the back and leaves the front passenger seat for me *insertrollingeyes*. The first few minutes were indeed awkward and then a word here and there, then music, then more talk, then hysterical laughter, then we end up eating in the market (Agidi and pepper soup), then we buy boiled corn and coconut and then I peel to give her to eat while driving and then we start to dance to loud music in the car on our way back.

How often have we made decisions on assumptions, half-truths, media-sensational news? I have a colleague who is against globalisation. He feels everyone should remain in their countries. But here’s the thing about such statements no one is an island. Life happens, and we find ourselves constantly on the move. You will never understand anyone from a distance, you’ll make false assumptions when you don’t understand someone. Can you make an effort to get to know that loner in your class who everyone thinks is weird? Can you choose to seat close to that colleague over lunch and get to know her better although your colleagues feel she’s mean? Can you spend an extra minute speaking to that security man in your estate who you can’t stand his guts?

In the two stories certain assumptions were made. On one hand my new-found friend attended the same Church with me, served in the same ministry with me but I didn’t know her. Did I forget to add she also felt uncomfortable going with me – in her words it would be one awkward trip. On the other hand what I didn’t mention was my dear Northphobic lady had never lived in the North, all she knew about them was what she read and heard. What she doesn’t know is my first night in England during post-graduate studies was in Zainab’s house – A northern and a Muslim (We are not related, she was referred to me by a friend in Nigeria). What she may never know again is the few weeks I was using crutches to walk in school, it was a Pakistani-Muslim who offered to be dropping me off in school and asked I called him after my lectures to pick me up. The only link I had with him was we shared an apartment building.

Yes we live in a world dominated by technology and you’re a keypad away from any information in the world. But the question remains who controls the information you read about? Whose narrative is it? Is the information verifiable? If it is verifiable, what is the criteria? Cos at the end of the day, you will never know the person you don’t understand. If you don’t understand the person, you can’t make excuses for the person cos of misunderstanding. If you can’t make excuses for the person, you’ll be quick to make judgements. By making judgements you fall into the category of generalisation. And honestly almost everyone is fighting some demon. Can we all take a step closer to know someone.

Judgement

Loads of Love

JMAD

Photo Credit : Google Images

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Rahab; a foreshadow of Nicki

When was the last time you heard some “good news” about someone you used to know? You quickly go into your brain archives to dig up all the contrary evidence you have of this person. Their not so good history, the history that holds all the reasons why they shouldn’t be beneficiaries to such good news. You’re probably not like that, in fact you have never had such thoughts about anyone. Doesn’t the Bible say “whatever things are pure…think on them” and you’re such a “good Christian”. You have done pretty well for yourself and deserve a standing ovation. But you see, some of us are still in the Potter’s Hand, our minds are still being renewed daily, we are constantly torn between who we are and who we ought to be. I have a confession to make and while I’m at it please try not to judge me.

The month of June is always extra special to me but this year added some toppings to the cake. If you’re a Nigerian you probably were aware of the #HallelujahChallenge but for those who are in the dark I’ll explain it. Nathaniel Bassey a Nigerian Gospel artiste inspired by the Holy Spirit, hosted a 1 hour praise session everyday in the month of June. What made it amazing was the fact it was online and started at 12 midnight. People tuned in from all over the world and because it was live, you could see when anyone joined and even dropped a comment.

 I remember joining and after a few days I started seeing some names pop up in the feed and when I mean names I’m referring to some “Secular Artistes and Actors”. I’m not sure what went through my mind but I could literally hear my self judging them and wondering what they were doing in such gathering. They should probably be sleeping and not staying awake to join some bunch of people who were praising, reading the Bible, praying in known and unknown tongues. But God reprimanded me, who was I to determine who joins in a praise session? Was my blood offered to God on their behalf? Who made me judge? Oh!!! My foolishness stared at me and I repented.

Just when you thought the world had few of my kind (before I repented) multiple headlines make the news.  Few days ago the justification of Tasha Cobbs featuring Nicki Minaj on one of her songs was and is still a topic of debate. While listening to a Mix on YouTube the song popped up. I instantly remembered the ongoing debate, and because my mind is always very busy I remembered my perception during the #HallelujahChallenge and it didn’t stop there, I was equally reminded of Rahab the Harlot in the Bible.

Rahab

For a long time I wondered why Rahab was mentioned in Hebrews 11 in the hall of fame of faith. At the back of my mind I knew she deceived the soldiers who were looking for the spies and I’ve always questioned the rationale of her making the list. But I was so wrong and God wanted me to know the truth. A teaching series on the heroes of faith from Hebrews 11 has been going on in my local Church. It’s been an exciting journey but so far Rahab’s teaching has been my best. Joshua 2: 9 – 11 holds something profound and “she said to the men,I know that the Lord has given you the land, and that the terror and dread of you has fallen on us, and that all the inhabitants of the land have melted [in despair] because of you. For we have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red Sea for you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to the two kings of the Amorites who were beyond the Jordan [on the east], to Sihon and Og, whom you utterly destroyed. When we heard it, our hearts melted [in despair], and a [fighting] spirit no longer remained in any man because of you; for the Lord your God, He is God in heaven above and on earth beneath.” While God sent signs to Abraham, Sarah, Moses etc she only heard of God’s exploits and believed He is God. Her faith came by hearing and like the Word says “Faith comes by hearing and hearing the Word of God”.

for the Lord your God, He is God in heaven above and on earth beneath.” While God sent signs to Abraham, Sarah, Moses etc she only heard of God’s exploits and believed He is God. Her faith came by hearing and like the Word says “Faith comes by hearing and hearing the Word of God”.

Rahab the Harlot, the somewhat “Nicki” of her time although not similar in occupation but are both unlikely candidates for the job they carried out. Negotiated the safety of not just her but her entire family, she would later become the great – grand mother of King David and many years later Jesus Christ was born from the descendant of the King. A look through the genealogy of Jesus Christ in Matthew 1, only five (5) women were mentioned : Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, Uriah’s wife and Mary. Go and do an extensive research these women would never have ticked the boxes of our holy standards to birth the Savior of the world. Oh!!! May God break us especially those of us who sit in the front row in Church, who lead the Prayer team, may He break us to see through His lens. The “good, born-again Christians”, what does this even mean? Once you’re a Christian in the true sense of the word you’re Christ-like. It’s either you’re Christian or not, no extra qualification.

So hear it from a repented heart, God loves you as much as He loves Nicki. Yes, she may not tick your box of Christian standards but God sees her through the Blood of Jesus. What I think we should do as the body of Christ is to lift her up in prayers. God’s ways are sooo far from ours and He works in mysterious ways. He can use anyone and anything to His glory and like Rahab said “He is God in heaven and on earth” and like Nicki said in I’m getting ready

‘Cause me and all my angels shot the devil up
While you was trying to pull me down I levelled up
I levelled up twice, I levelled up three times
He tapped ’em and told ’em “she’s mine”
So even when I cried I knew I’d be fine
Prepare for a miracle blessing in these times
Now praise Him, raise Him, name it, claim it
Every tongue that rises up against me, shame it
I breathe success in and out my lungs
I got the power of life and death coming out of my tongue

And like she said God tapped them and told them she’s mine. These are prophetic words and as you said believing the power of life and death are in your tongues, I speak the life of Christ over you and may your life point the world to Christ.

May we all be gracefully broken that we can accommodate others.

Loads of Love

JMAD

N/B Photo Credit : Google Images

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.

***End***

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.

Man in the 21st Century by Ogechi

Ogechi.jpg

So Much Noise!

There is a silent murmur and grumble along the aisle of manhood; people complaining about all the noise generated by certain “feminists”, many of whom do not even understand the feminism concept itself. Many of the menfolk who grew up in a culture of “the females are for the kitchen and the other room” are quietly getting worried about the feminist revolution and what might result.

On the other side of the divide are those who identify with the Revolutionists, many of them not having all the details of the course. Women, men, teenagers, old and young. A few of whom see this as a way of rebelling against religion. Yes, RELIGION, which all seem to share same views about woman / females and the need to keep them in submission / subjection. There is so much noise and no one is calm enough to seek better understanding of who the woman / female is.

Strangely, we will be looking at this totally from pictures painted by events in the scriptures. Stay with me to at least halfway. That’s all I ask.

Who is the Man?

First of all, God never named man “Man”. Adam did. The word Man (Ish) first appeared in the scriptures after the woman was created.

                “This is the bone of my bones and the flesh of my flesh. She shall be called Woman (ishah) for she came out of Man(ish)”

Before then, every mention of Man is actually “Adam”. And in Adam, God actually created male and female. Equal beings. No separation. Same roles.

So then, who is the Man? Let us first know the Woman.

The Woman here is the one that already has her “ish”. The issue of headship in a marriage was instituted for order. That does not define the female.

You can almost understand where I am going.

We have a being here who has dual role. In her relationship, she has a partner who by design and order is the head/face of that relationship.

To the world / society, she is a female, having same limelight, roles and capabilities as the male. Same strengths and weaknesses. Because, she and he are in “Adam”.

A lack of understanding of this drove the world into having the same roles assigned to the woman and the female. This is a grave error, and the crux of the matter. If there is an identity crisis, it should do with our perception of the woman / female.

Who is the Man in the 21st Century?

The man should first understand who the woman / female is. That makes his job easy.

Therefore, the physiologically balanced and happy 21st century man must understand that:

  • The male and female are same and equal in the society, sharing similar roles and capabilities and have nothing to do with gender;
  • The woman in the relationship is one who has chosen who is held responsible in her relationship This is purely for the sake of instituting order. If it does not suit her, she can just decide to remain only a female. A strong one at that;
  • The man in the society is not merely in competition with his kind, but with females too;
  • The man in the home / relationship will always be held responsible for outcomes in the home only, and not the society;
  • Society deals with male/female (simply called Adam) while the relationship / home deals with man and woman.

A man or woman that properly understands and embraces this knowledge will be better prepared for life in the 21st century.

***End***

Ogechi is my virtual friend but it feels like I’ve met him before. His family reminds me a lot of mine while i was growing up. He has three amazing Princesses and one Prince with a doting wife he adores. So when he talks about the Man, I listen cos’ he fully understands who he is and he is African too. He hasn’t let cultural, religious or social bias influence his thought pattern. Thank you Ogechi for showing the world we still have Men like you existing.