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KNOWING THE VALUE OF OUR SPIRITUAL CHARACTER

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African American family reading the Bible.

Every human person exhibits a unique spiritual character that is mostly coined from the special devotional prayers or songs or works he or she does. It is very common to all Christian people to demonstrate this character to uncover the values that are deeply ingrained in them. When we are talking about who we are as Christians, Kelli Mahoney said, our character matters and it should be reflective in our spiritual life. People look at us to be an example of Christianity, and when we misbehave, we only substantiate a belief that all Christians are hypocritical. We need to allow Christ to build up our character and as we look at the Bible we can see that character matters: God wants us to be the best people we can be. We need to be more like Him in our actions and words. He asks us to walk in His footsteps and follow his example of good character. If we are truly living a life of faith, we will also should strive to build a good Christian character. 

In the Pauline address to the people of Rome, he mentioned that  “we should not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of our mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will (cf. Romans 12:2). There are spiritual devotions that have its own emblem which designates and co-ordinate the way they live their lives and how they socialize with others. For those who may find it awkward relating with people of such spiritual formation, it doesn’t really make them spiritual fools or those who have no interest in spiritual activities, rather it simply questions their own spiritual foundation, which may likely to be faulty out of poor information from the Bible or they were economical of spiritual orientation while growing.

There are outstanding pious societies in the Catholic Church, such as Legion of Mary, Sacred Heart Society, Precious Blood devotees, Divine Mercy and many others. In the same vein, there are other Biblical groups like CCRN, CBMN, CBIU, to mention but a few, which has a separate way of operating in the Catholic jurisdiction. One thing that is very important here is that each of the group has introduced in them, a formal way of life, which systematically build their pattern of prayer life. It is in trying to understand these differences that the Catholic community in its native tradition reshape the intending plurality of ideologies, which gently gain entrance into the corridor of spiritual values of the adherents of these spiritual organisations. Take, for example, the organic institution of the Charismatic movement, especially in their method prayer, it generally differs from the prayer life of a Legionary, who tenaciously recite the bead of the rosary and carry out their legionary work. The creation of these differences may institute a gracious spiritual fragrance if only they are truly harnessed. But with recent spiritual settings corrupted by human will, many groups, have partitioned their groups’ spiritual life, by saying, I am a member of Charismatic, I am a Legionary, I am a devotee of Precious Blood and so, I do not operate in the same spiritual reality with other brethren from other pious groups. The conception of this only brings forward so many division in the Catholic faith. St. Paul reminds us that all of us should agree, that there be no division among us, but that we are united in the same mind and the same judgement, in Christ Jesus (1 Cor. 1:10).

In recent times, the Catholic Church has begun to record conflict in spiritual activities, which has a parochial influence on those who are still spiritual infants. In terms of prominence, which I think, causes a lot of issues, people tend to follow the crowd-spirituality. The reason why this happens is that there is fewer or no preparatory class for them to follow. They are spiritually dwarfish and they are not with the materials that will guide them, starting from the nursing stage to the time, they wish to choose their own spiritual devotion, which will assign them with a particular spiritual character. Without the right implements, every labourer in the vineyard of spiritual battle would always come home defeated, because the moment you lack the technical aspects of developing spiritual maturity, it will naturally affect ones spiritual journey.

Many Christians are inadvertently denied access to knowing their spiritual character and its values. It is beginning to unmask the faceless individuals who are intolerant of Biblical instructions. Some of these people exist, they are ritual Churchgoers who at every given moment bring their body to the Church and you can find them through the disposition they put in liturgical activities and how they respond to the clarion call, either to assist the parish in a way or they are asked to oblige their God-given talents for the work of God. To be honest, however, no matter how everyone behaves, he or she, has a character he or she portrays with regards to spiritual formation. And no matter how sour or stale ones spiritual character is, there is always a means of restructuring it. One can redefine his or her spiritual character by paying optimal attention to the word of God; by living a life of unity, by listening to the sermons of the priests and bishops; by feeding himself or herself with spiritual books and by taking a spiritual walk to any local monasteries, the shrine of the saints and emulating students who are judiciously undergoing Spiritual studies.

Our Lord Jesus Christ has a spiritual character, which is seen in his public and private ministry. Any time, he is engulfed by the work of evangelization, he withdraws immediately to a quiet place and prays (Lk. 5:16). The significance of this practice is an excellent choice of silence and it influences the way he speaks, the places he is likely to be found and the type of conversation that wish away his time. Our spiritual identity should as well collaborate with the character of Jesus, no matter how our school of thoughts, may pose a serious challenge to us.

If our relationship with others has no common value on love, judicious silence, richness in prayer, it simply implies that we are indirectly causing our inclinations and desires to rule over our spiritual intelligence. For love is the greatest force in the universe, Martin Luther King, Jr. would say. It is the heartbeat of the moral cosmos. For he who loves is a participant in the being of God. And the only way to obtain a good spiritual value is by accepting to love, respect, tolerate each other and become inherently kind, knowing that love concretizes good spiritual character. Our love for each other should be warm and hearty and shouldn’t have any trace of race, spiritual affiliation, for Christianity without love, Bishop Godfrey Onah pointed, including love of the enemy, is empty. And a Christian without love has no spiritual character.

THE COUNTRY REELS IN CHAOS: A LOOK AT WHAT WE CAN DO

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Many often, we chose to eliminate the importance of history, not by the effort of western education, but by neglecting the stories that haunted our past. David McCullough mentioned that ‘history is who we are and why we are the way we are’. Unfortunately, we are drastically obliterating the essence of knowing how we began and how we inherited the condition we are in. Sometimes, to know our history, is somehow, to know the truth about our situations. Karl Marx, was right when he said that ‘revolutions are the locomotives of history’. In what way, have some of us thought of the present chaotic condition that is staring us in the face?

There were two ethnic groups told in the history, called the Huntu and Tutsi. It happened that among these two groups, what demarcated them was just physical structure. Tutsi people were said to be lanky, while the Huntus are not. Surprisingly, the two ethnic groups, enjoy the same culture, the same language, neither of them has a difficulty in understanding themselves. This is to say, that language or tradition wasn’t a barrier. One of the greatest challenge spoken of was that the Huntu faction was mounting the weight of dominance on the people of Tutsi and considering how tall they are, they are likely to be a peril to realising their objectives.

The people of Huntu were said to be greater in number and they want to achieve their goals by appropriating the Tutsi to themselves. They began by labelling them infidels and raising propaganda that they originated from Ethiopia. In 1916, when the Belgian Colonists arrived in the country, they decided to print a new identity card for everyone and making the people of Tutsi (the minority) enjoy most of the Federal economy. Noticing the ill-treatment, they became indignant on the people of Tutsi, and have laid many traps to extract them from the populace.

As time goes on, resentment among the Huntus gradually enlarged, culminating in a series of riots in 1959. Approximately 20,000 Tutsis were killed, and many more fled to neighbouring countries like Burundi, Tanzania and Uganda.
Towards the time the Belgium colonists relinquished power and granted the country independence in 1962, the Huntus took their place. Over subsequent decades, the Tutsis were portrayed as the casualties of every crisis. This became the case that the country under the watch of the incumbent President Juvenal began to grow poorer.

It was later found that the Tutsi, who were refugees in other countries, formed a group called RPF, which was headed by Mr. Kagame. Their major reason was to bring justice to themselves and for that to be possible, they need to expropriate the present administration of the country and find their way into their homeland. The present President decided to exploit the threat as a way to lobby for the support of Huntus. Owning to that political treason, the people of Tutsi, who were residents of the country, were taken to be the RPF bystanders. Later on, in August 1993, a peace pact was signed, even though it never restored the political reels that overwhelmed the country.

A few months later, President Juvenal’s plane was shot down and the people of Huntu nursed that the carriers of the act, were the remnants of Tutsi. Because of that, they launched an attack on the people of Tutsi. The presidential guard initiated an unofficial announcement and recruited other security guards, politicians, businessmen and even young people of Huntu to kill every Tutsi people. In the process of carrying the heinous act, they were given incentives like money, food and were informed that they have the right to possess the land of any Tutsi person they kill. The mayhem claimed about 30,000 lives.

Towards the middle of 1994, the RPF group captured the capital territory and the government collapsed. At about two million Huntu people dashed out to Zaire, where we commonly call the Democratic Republic of Congo. Soon after, the country was restored with Pasteur Bizimungu, a Huntu as President and Mr. Kagame a Tutsi as the deputy. Much later, the pair fell apart and President Bizimungu was accused of inciting ethnic violence. He was jailed, while Mr. Kagame, a Tutsi, later became the President.

What you just read was the history of Rwanda. I decided to fling back the story because I felt most of you are already at home with the story of the Biafran war. I am writing as a Nigerian, who has read histories of many African countries, reeled off by war and political nepotism. I am having the thought that a good number of us, especially from the Eastern part of Nigeria, have forgotten what happened fifty-three years ago in Nigeria under the leadership of President Yakubu Gowon. I wouldn’t want to bore you again with that story, including how millions were starved to death. It is pertinent to remind you that there is a need to understand the handwriting on the wall and make haste before we become a waste under this section of slaughtering and maiming and ejecting people from their ancestral home, become normal.

To begin with, the RPF, means Rwanda Patriotic Fronts, while ESN means Eastern Security Network. The duo is typically related and used to achieve a positive goal. The Huntu people conceived the RPF as a pure political threat, whereas their major role, was to get back what belongs to them. The government of Nigeria has chosen to tag ESN as a terrorist group, simply because they are standing to defend the incessant killings been perpetrated by Fulani Herdsmen. I will like to take us back to Rwandan history, where the people of Huntu took the Tutsi as non-loyalists. And since the country was ruled by a Huntu descent, they took the bull by the horn to make the Tutsi group restless until they submit to their authority.

Let it be clear to you that I am not instigating rancour, anarchy or societal upheaval, but to notify us that if we relent in fighting for our rights and what personally belongs to us, which is the right to live and freedom as well, they will never let us rest, until they achieve their agenda. That we are asking the incumbent President of Nigeria to speak up or grant us a referendum, is never a wrong request. We are entitled by the Federal constitution to have a response to the killings that is sporadically claiming each city of the country, before twenty-four hours and failure to comply, means that he is aware of the coup.

And for the Christian people, which include all the denomination, should, as a matter of fact, bounce back to action, rather than prayer and reliance on prophecies alone. This is not the time to dwell in the house of God, jumping up and down. Remember, that one of the primary targets of the Huntu Militia, was the Churches, and it will interest you to know that such is applicable by the Fulani herdsmen. Quit the excuse that you are not ready to fight or your commandments forbid murder. If that is preoccupying your mind, let me for clarity sake intimate you about Saint Thomas Aquinas’ theory of Just War, which was an earlier postulation of St. Augustine of Hippo.

The classic Just-War Theory has its origins in Christian theology. Aquinas referred to the Bible and regarded some wars as necessary
to amend an evil. Notably, he revised Augustine’s version, creating three criteria for a just war, which include, that the war needed to be waged by a legitimate authority, have just cause and have the right intentions. The moral justifications for war are expressed in ‘jus ad bellum’; whereas, the moral conduct of the war is expressed in ‘jus in bello’. Furthermore, he outlined seven characters that can justify a Just-War, which include:

i) A just war can only be waged after all peaceful options are considered. Which means that the use of force can only be employed as a last resort.

ii) A just war is waged by a legitimate authority. A war cannot be waged by individuals or groups that do not constitute a legitimate government.

iii) A just war needs to be in response to a wrong suffered. Self-defence against an attack always constitutes a just war; however, the war needs to
be fought with the objective to correct the inflicted wound.

iv) In order for a war to be just, there must be a rational possibility of success. A nation cannot enter into a war with a hopeless cause.

v) The primary objective of a just war is to re-establish peace. This is to reaffirm that the aim of the use of force must be justice.

vi) The violence in a just war must be proportional to the casualties suffered. The nations involved in the war must avoid disproportionate military
action and only use the amount of force absolutely necessary.

vii) The use of force must distinguish between the militia and civilians. Innocent citizens must never be the target of war; soldiers should always avoid killing civilians. The deaths of civilians are only justified when theyare unavoidable victims of a military attack on a strategic target.

In the ratio of six over seven, you can see that fighting back is legitimate and there is nothing wrong with self-defence. This is for those, who will raise arguments that when it is not monitored by the government, it is rebellious.

To our Eastern Governors, however, it is time for you to understand that the growling of the electorates should matter to you. The quicker you abort the rat chasing, by giving support, not just in the installation of Ebubeagu group, it will lessen the destruction of your personal goods and the goods of the state. If something is not done, by placing the security of your people as the central issue, you may not as the security tension continues, have peace of mind.

THE STRUGGLE OVER KNOWLEDGE AND SPIRITUAL ECONOMY IN NIGERIA

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The introduction of Christian religion in Nigeria by the Europeans or best placed, Irish missionaries was not meant to eradicate our culture.

Meanwhile, there is already a big gap between the Christian religion brought by the Europeans and the one we practice at the moment.

I do not think that the one we were introduced to, was filmed in hate. Christian religion as it was preached, was majorly on love, and deep appreciation of others gifts and talents.

The early Christians retired to sharing many things, starting from their proceeds, landed properties and most importantly loving one another.

The birth of avarice and other forms of dangerous exercises being perpetrated by some Christian leaders and her members are not the teachings of the European missionaries.

Let me remind us, that any religion that is focused on the negative advancement of evil, is not meant to stay. It is contrary to the ethic of humanism. If you can as well understand, for those who think that Christianity as a religion brought many untold challenges, it is mainly how we carry it out, that matters, not the religion itself.

Christian religion is rooted in culture and it does allow every section to apply their own culture in the worship of the Supreme being. Especially, when the culture has an atom of Supreme ethics.

As it stands now, our mode of worship in this part of the world is different, due to the cultural undertone. It suffices to mention that our activity as a Christian begs the accommodation of culture, our culture in order to be validated.

There are many things carried out today in the guise of Christianity. Many religious pastors have replaced the teachings of faith with first and second collection and it doesn’t bother them that the spiritual culture, which supposed to be sowed basically by breaking the truth from the Bible is taking a sorrowful dismissal.

The European missionaries never taught us spiritual competition. A stage where each pastor boast of how best he performs and how many crowds he can pull from other side of the road, maybe from the content of his words, vocabulary and mastery of the Scripture.

Materialism was not one of the things they brought to us. It is evident now that a good percentage of our religious pastors are fighting tooth and nail to polish their posterity by accumulating material things. That is why you are likely to see a pastor own about ten houses in different parts of the world, drive the most executive cars and even go to the extent of procuring a private jet for his or her comfort.

The list will be endless if I continue to mention where our practice of Christianity has derailed from that of Europeans.

Moreover, it will be nice I remind us that Europeans are still going to Church and they are by far more spiritually refined than us. This is for some of us who are always coming with the logic that those who brought Christianity to us are no longer practising it. That they do not worship like us or crowd the Church building doesn’t mean that they are no longer participants. Or they are suffering from a spiritual dwarfish mentality.

One thing is very remarkable among the Europeans, there is time for everything. When you supposed to be busy in your working place, you are in the chapel praying against those who are pursuing you. The time you can use to research and develop your world, you are busy chasing rats and cockroaches in the Church. And when others who address their time very well, are progressing, you term them to be ritualists or antichrist.

Europeans understand the knowledge economy than us who are pontificating on the altar of the spiritual economy. The worship of God is not centred on faith only. Pope John Paul II who published an encyclical on Fides et Ratio, knew the advantage of reason in the economy of human salvation. So, while you speak against the Europeans for distorting our life with the Christian religion, check too if the ‘form’ of Christianity you are practising is attentive to love or something contrary.

HOW PLAYING CHESS REMOULDED MY THINKING CAPACITY

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It was summer in Nigeria, 2009, towards the early resumption of school in September. The beginning of each session was then embraced with milder class activities. We barely had teachers and our notes were more of what was taught in the formal class we were. I was allocated to one of the noisiest classrooms and to make them keep quiet, was to report them to the school principal.

My classroom is situated far from the other usual classrooms, maybe because it is the senior class. For a teacher to be around there means that it was for teaching or to give vital information. I would love to be in a serene environment, if not for any other thing, at least to read tons of novels my parents bought for me. There were as well, amazing classics I bought most times I meet one at bookstores, during my holidays. These were my greatest concern.

Having thought of it on many occasions, I decided to talk to my friend, Ben, who was more likely to feel distraught about the situation. I noticed that Ben shared the same concern, so also a few others. The fact that there is already a problem at hand, without a veritable solution, could make me become more angst. A two days after, Ben, resumed class in the morning with a board, a very simple brown slate, constructed in the form of little boxes.

I found an idea, Ben voiced in a broken English. I never mentioned, Ben preferred pidgin English and there is this carefulness he places on it, anytime he speaks. I am going to introduce you to a new game, Ben continued. Zero your minds from any other games you have known. I knew of “whot”, ” lido” and one other locally made game. I think, he wasn’t mentioning them, because they are too common, I growled.

Take a look at this board, Ben forced our eyes by beating the board, which was already relaxing on his laps – are you seeing the shaded boxes and the plain ones, he asked. We were like three boys, including me, who chorused unanimously, yes. Very well then. This game is a little different from what you may have known. It is very tasking and at the same time tactical. Before you play, think. Consider the risk you may be, if you play without first, blocking your enemies from invading your territory. Be mindful that one of the major instrument for this game is the reason. If you seldomly don’t reason at any given moment of your game, there is much possibility of you failing. So, if you must win, get ready to think and evaluate the movement you may want to take.

After a few prepping which was excitingly done by Ben,  one of us, who was listening to Ben very attentively, decided to commence the game with Ben, while some of us, watch how it works. Gradually, the game took a whole lot of our time and energy and at some point, influenced a good number of boys. The whole session was incredibly dedicated to chess. It was after some time, that it began to control the noisy class and slowly considerable number of boys, enrolled in Ben’s chess class.

I knew of three impressionable things the playing of chess impacted in me, they are:

i) To think deeply

Most of us think, obviously, but to think deeply is a new column of imagination. As much as I know, thinking has three layers and without the consideration of these, you may come up with little or nothing to boast of. To think is to have a picture of something. There should be an object that propels you into thinking. For a problem to get a solution, there should be an already existing issue, which will fascinate the mind to think. When the mind can conceive first the image, which is the primary focus, it justifies the act of thinking into feeling. By the way, for a picture to be in uniform importance, the mind should feel it. Feeling is the emotional connection of a thing, either through physical activity or perception. And the only way one can feel is when an object acts on the mind. When this is established, it opens the way for imagination, which is a simpler method of arriving at the answer, once the picture has made an impression. It is on this level, can one assemble multiple solutions or opinions to make lose a hedge before the person or a set of standard mounted before the person. It could be a little challenge on how to upgrade your competency in your profession or how to employ solutions to your marital fracas.

ii) To take a risk

A good number of us prefer to take a shield than to take a risk. Life, as the popular axiom goes, is full of risk and so, trying to avoid them will certainly not come by, because it is inevitable. The playing of chess prepared me into taking a big risk. Each moment of our life is often punctuated with uncertainty and the more the picture of our lives don’t appear brighter, the best thing is not to quit. What should rent our mind, should basically be on how to break the chain. No matter how difficult it may choose to be, it is better to involve yourself, than to pave way for the difficulty to overwhelm you. Once you give in without first, making an effort, it is the shortest means of communicating your weakness. Taking a risk means attempting every chance you meet in your life. Even when they fail, it is an added advantage to you, that you have leverage over the problem. Life should be given a chance to win or you lose, but not to try is very catastrophic and can place you at the mercy of your competitor. Prove yourself, by invading each province you encounter, you may be lucky, to find your gold, a level of fitful dominance.

iii) To be smart

Being smart is knowing the right answer to give at any point in time you are confronted with a complication. There are many intelligent people who are not smart, maybe because they often think that intelligence guarantees smartness. It is appropriate to liken smartness to being clever because when you are presumptive of an event, it is a position of accepting that there is always the possibility of things happening. Anyone who always lives with the attitude of poor imaginative prowess is considered not smart. Because to be smart is to dictate that there may be a looming danger and thus prepares you for the outcomes and how to make your defence. Smartness increases your level of diplomacy. At times, you experience certain messy cases that are asking for your opinions and if care is not taken, you may land into trouble if your responses or suggestions are not truly diplomatic. A smart person knows what to say, where to say it and when to say it. A smart person knows which information is right for any class of individual he or she meets. Smartness is the active function of your sense organs at any given time, without raising a conflicting report.

If at all your mind does not change, then you need to change your mind.

So far, I have benefited from the playing of chess, because it has immersed me into these three blueprints. And it is quite commendable to initiate everyone into that program. It may be very exhausting, but the legitimate knowledge that comes from it is humbling and worth dignifying. I am not reducing the profits of this game to these three facts I just enumerated. I think I reacted more to where I have gained a lot at the process of playing the game. It will be truly welcoming if there are other ways this game has helped your life or has influenced your thought about the global world.

Improvement is not enough

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Don’t focus on improvement. Focus on sustainable improvement. Take something you want to change and focus on it. Without knowing, you will change many other things in the process. There are many things, not at a time that you can improve about yourself. It means, for your goal to attract Western visibility, it should shoot at achieving a better way of continuing the reality of what you choose to improve.

For the past few months or years, most of you have been very busy with how to grow their business. It is something of interest to them because this has to do with their life. Based on this, does it mean so much to you to spend quality time, restrategizing many yielding ways to tune in the frequency of continuity. Even when this dream works, it is recommended that you don’t stop there, because the dramatic change of business can as well affect the fertility of the growth.

Your business idea, should not be confronted with fear, lest you may be getting comfortable with the little you have gotten. There would be a time when you give risk the chance, in order to bring the best part of you. To speak about risk-taking, means, to also have a shock-absorbing character to every level of your business goal. That your idea didn’t meet up to the standard of those whom you are dependent on their grant or loans, has nothing to do with your idea being stale. Once you fall into such a trap, you may need to consider rebranding your thoughts or line of ideas, in order to accommodate the trend of time.

Unfortunately, those who record the failure of their businesses or financial institutions, are those, who at the red flag of their business proposal or advertising, witnessed so many cold responses. It may not be that your ideas are not necessarily lucrative, it may be that you are too good for these people that they can’t take your proposal. If you begin to factor that in, that’s what people feel about what you do, you are driving into a new apartment of poverty, which may not materialize as fast as you think.

Monitor your wins. Expand them by picking every crumb of that success as a foundation to a new image of progress. Your wins, define a proper evaluation of how you can be able to include more other prizes you are likely to welcome. Your wins are those excellent failure that you turned into an opportunity and you decided on their possibility to gain you an advancement. Your win is your ability to structure each return at the best container of more improvements. Your win is you and there is no you without your win.

Since you are making amends in your life, especially in the expansion of your improvements, dare to ask for more techniques. Consistently, monitor your excitement in your improvements. Sometimes, the quicker you become influenced by the excitement, you lose the sense that you need to get back to work to lodge in other places. If you define your improvement by merely what you have, it is somehow a signal that you are closing up your mind to other avenues. But if you count on things you are open to invest in, you are making a long time financial insurance that will not be bedridden.

MUSIC IS A PIECE OF MEAL

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Music was part of my thing. The needful franchise you exercise when you feel bored and get in between solitude and depression. It is a construction of the mind, which conforms with the natural features of the environment. The more you become deeply oriented to the musical instruments, especially to the saxophone, you begin to reimagine the concept of the universe and how the composition began to yield truth.

Music is life when you begin to sing, you press it to your heart, the burning energy, which seemed to be lost out of human instability of consciousness. The production of this new life doesn’t come from the fact that you are only singing, it filters when you listen to your voice, uniquely echoing in a manner that will impress your living. Many a time, the figures, which are calculated through the stamping of the feet, invest a raw magnificent meaning, which reverberates your soul and can make one leap for joy.

Music is charming when you begin to invent traditional tones that swiftly runs the command of your origin. The local application brings a sense of love, a true admiration from a handful of others who have a thing of listening to the lyrics and interpretations. The delicate ascent it lends purifies the mind and makes it a source of inspiration to anyone who starts to reduce it to reasoning.

Music is entertaining when there is a flexibility. The input of humour, the selection of cords that systematically draws the rich content of an event, makes it appear simply interesting. When the voice begins to jerk, when the baritone voice flashes in, when the instruments gears towards painting an existing reality, you will see an attachment of excellence, closed up with sweet manifestation of the chorus which gives a great blend, then, you’d see a relief, such that ejects your anger, your frustration, your depression and you’d regain a stability of mind and from there, peace sets into your domain.

So, when a musician says that music is life, which has a recipe of charms and comics, then be sure that he is referring to these assertions I have mentioned above. If you are lurked up in anger, try making a musician your friend and the person would restore your sanity with just a string sound of the harp. It dissolves your resentment, it builds a storey of beauty, which is more likely to incense your mind with excitement and carve out a niche of elegance in what you do.

Music is a piece of a meal. It offers you a breakfast of courage, to face the lunch of opportunities, while it welcomes you with the dinner of love. For a meal to be able to quench your hunger, it comes with the complete application of the ingredients. The sound of music becomes pleasing to the ear when harmony is achieved through the application of other instruments. This means, what ingredients are to have a deserving meal, instruments are to the making of interesting music. Shakespearian Twelfth Night recites “if music is the food of love, play on”. In other words, it means, ” if the sound of music is a piece of meal, serve more”.

THE PROFILING OF SPIRITUAL POLITICKING IN THE MODERN DAY CHRISTIAN WORSHIP

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Ever since the creation of human life, the quest to source for autonomy and social independence has become a perennial concern. The increasing number of ideologies and creative prowess has made it very easy for people to enjoy the Enlightenment of their effort. Day after day, the challenge of teaching the traditional doctrines of the Catholic faith, is stiffened by a lot of individuals who believe that the reality of such exercise, should trace a primary foundation from them. We are gradually shifting our gaze from social independence, into a more fundamental and complicating aspect. This brief reflection would uncover how delightfully the many Christian and traditional worshipers, introduce a new system of devotion, conceived as spiritual politicking.

There are three arms of religious worshipers and each of them treads on the concept of Trinitarian identity to fight for their position. Their feelings about religious practices and how well the identity of Christianity influence them, occasion various issues, which make them rethink certain traits pinned to worship and devotion. To achieve a clear cut distinction, traditional worshippers are a special kind of people, who do not find the need to be associated with the Christian-oriented characters and have in small measure, used culture to build their perception about worship and devotion to their supreme being. While the Christian worshippers, employ the Christ-like characters, which has its proceedings from Biblical instructions and other Godly curricula. It is an interesting feeling to know that these two separate spiritual foundations have a common goal and which is to give honour and adoration to a Supreme God, but at times the many cases of abuse filed while disseminating these functions contradict the purpose of the worship. Every spiritual task, has inside it, the three arms, which include; Faithful worshippers, Syncretic worshippers and Spiritual Politickers.

Faithful Worshippers:

I am likely to tell you that the Christian people have slender faithful worshippers. It is also possible to find out that one of the most troubling aspects of the Christian life is to measure out a good number of people who are deeply not in doubt of the spiritual activities carried out in their churches. Most of them, who are born Christians, are with no choice rather than to adhere to the established rule of worship. Amongst these difficulties, there are a handful of people who are filled with the zeal and lovely aspirations towards Spiritual issues. They are set of people who as well think that the reason why Christ went to the Cross as Fulton Sheen enjoins, was to show us not just love, but the need for our redemption. Very few people in this age, have a balanced budget for spiritual worship. Some may be out of economic necessity, some may be to obtain a social relevance and many others, come to pray and worship so that they will ascend to a particular political power that will nominate affluence and authority to them. The act of worshipping God with the primary intention of seeing others as brothers and sisters and those who through the likeness of Christ, participate in the universal communion, develops with the incredible sign of love. By this fraternal nature, which seems to me, a humanistic inclusion, shows interestingly the character of Christ who so loved the world and has acknowledged that by giving his life as a ransom to our sins, we are solely in union with him. This is to say, that every faithful worshipper, who by the presence of Christ in their heart, will manure his or her Christian inclination, not with just love by expression but in perfect disposition to love above barriers and individualism. Saint Thomas Aquinas sought to describe the love made possible by God’s grace as a movement outwards towards another, whereby we consider “the beloved as somehow united to ourselves”. Our worship as Christians should think towards shrinking hate and valuing others no matter the social class the individual belongs to.

Syncretic Worshippers:

We hardly can give a history of this milieu’s way of worship, without referring to how their different ideologies have stolen the sense of sacred Christian tradition. The adoption of these various ideologies, ignite tension and in between the practice push forward the retardation of spiritual strength. Those who wear the Christian garment, are generally using their different cultural mentality to worship God. However, the fact that these are actions exhibited by a Christian populace, makes it more worrisome. Those who are participants in the spiritual communion are often seen sourcing for powers and riches with native practices. They are those group of people who are living with pseudo faith, the type that doesn’t believe in the graciousness of God’s omnipotence and who think that the best way to live out their life is to hotspot two spiritual foundations. The character of syncretic worshippers is those who have a double affiliation to spiritual comfort and those who presume that each of these spiritual power, has its limitation. It is based on this spiritual syllogism that many align concretely against the biblical injunction “you can’t worship both God and mammon” (cf. Matt. 6:24). Syncretic worshippers develop a new calendar of devotion, which identifies, struggle to keep two legs in opposite directions. Gradually, the intense desire for reserving our faith in God is no more like before. Now, Christian people, who receive the holy body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, are likely to present any slightest issue you have with them, at their local shrine and even go forward to perpetuate other similar evil, using that native method. They are not bothered about the effects and other demerits it generates in their Christian faith. The craze of immediacy can as well contribute to why people seem to be syncretic worshippers; the moment they are unable to reach their material desires and perhaps their security assurance, they employ the use of charm, magic, and a host of other diabolical slots.

Spiritual Politickers:

Just like we have other political parties which dominate our political enclave, we have also many spiritual parties who in their respective capacity unleash their agendas. The increment of Church political associations is giving rise to certain conflict in the worship of God. There are numerous Christians, who with their wanton interest in planting the seed of discord, strive to head a particular religious organisation. It doesn’t suggest that this individual has the strong zeal to propagate the teachings of Christ, in the small Christian crib, rather, it uses the spiritual environment as an arsenal to fight others, who seem to be his or her rival, either in the business area or social status.

I have monitored a lot of pious societies, who focused their interest on the leadership of the group. They barely find meaning in the prayers and the spiritual exercises that are carried out. Their primary objective is to install a great feeling of leadership. At times, they fight to usurp the government of the present administration, in a way to screen their steps into the room of leadership. It baffles me that such an idea can be found in a place of worship. The fact is that this terrible attitude wings its way even to the point that religious leaders serve as backups to this pagan demonstration. And it becomes a problem when those who are seen as custodians of faith and doctrines of God are giving their secret support, either through silence or lewd advice.

The nature through which this cankerworm finds its trace into the Church is an undue influence of materialism and for the fact, that the Christians are conceiving the Institution of Christ as a table of fun, they periodically launch their perception as a major wheel that can drive the spirit of the Church.

What can we do?

First of all, we need to tell ourselves the reality of our connection with what we do in the worship of God. There is already a contradiction of purpose in the way we reverence God. A minority of us come to worship God and that is simple. Others who are making their way to the Church, have dubious attitude. It is customary to those who feel that the more they get closer to the Church, they become familiar with the teachings of faith and by so doing, ascribe those doctrines as nothing.

One more thing, we should learn to be speakers of the truth. Once you discover such a person with that attitude, don’t hesitate to speak up. The character of recalcitrance and nonchalance that is creeping into the fabrics of some Christians are way too much. Your silence is a new means of consent and it destroys the embers of the glory of the Church.

The Church is specifically designed for worshipping God and raising our hearts to God through prayer. Anything outside these, are unacceptable. The figure of the Church should remind us of a place of encounter, a place of communion and a citadel of holiness. When our devotion to God, is punctuated with human inclination, it is possible to raise candidates who are not in genuine friendship with God. And when you begin to subscribe consistently to the web of human reasoning, it blinds you from seeing the divine realities, which supposed to help you grow in faith than in the default of a real Christian, which gives rise to spiritual politics. 


	            

I am not gay, I am a woman

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A marriage counsellor was attending to her client, when a young couple, at about six months married walked into her office and was demanding they see the counsellor.

Bothered about their increasing pressure, she asked the other of her client to excuse her, since what she has on the ground, seems to be a more difficult case than hers.

The client being civil, accepted to take asylum in the waiting room, while she gives the young couple the privilege to see the counsellor.

My wife here wants to reveal something to me and she is insistent that she is going to do that in the presence of a marriage counsellor. I think she is doing that, in case if you have some help to offer us, then, it will be more soothing.

Very pleased to have you here, the counsellor cut in.
Please, feel free to say what you wish to reveal, she said again.

I was a man before I did a transgender and became a woman, the bride who sat at the left side of her husband said.

The room became tensed and the atmosphere was not happy with the air conditioner. Almost everyone began to sweat profusely.

What did you just say now, the husband attacked?
You mean I have been married to a man for the past six months?

No, no, you got it wrong. I am a woman.
I said I was a man. I was. Didn’t you hear that?

Overwhelmed by the news and bereaved of what to say, she sneaked out of the room, while the couple were throwing words at themselves.

I am straight, I am not gay.
I was meant to marry a woman, not someone who changed into a woman by artificial remedy.

But I have the features of a woman. (She turns around, with her generous butt and her gracious breast).

No.
This is marriage by deceit.
I am nullifying this marriage.
It never happened.
Not me, either.

[Both of them, with high voice walking down the staircase pointing at each other strenuously and with sadness the man went into his car, drove out indignantly].

There is no room for transgender people in Nigeria. I may not grant such a request if I am in such a position to make my own opinion. Maybe a certain influence from my belief, from acceptance to truth, from an indication that there are slim chances of such sexual reproduction. It is never a sort of negligence to people in that biological formation if at all there is. I am only operating according to the moral standard of my nation and as it stands now, culture abhors such for any marital union.

It is as well inhuman to hate them or put them aside from enjoying societal benefits. They are human beings, and they have the dignity and respect they should be given. Insofar as they do not cause any harm to others, they are meant to live, bearing in mind that their presence in society is not a threat to others who also exist.

Transgender is one of the biological functions Science and technology advertised so fast. I am oblivious of how it works. I am quite a way that human desires made it seem like it is normal. It is just like the transfer of one gender to another in a split second, but it doesn’t deserve credit, because it shows an embodiment of biological conflict.

My Encounter with a policeman: The feeling I have not outgrown

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Police officers on duty

In most civilised countries, the duty of the policemen is not to incite violence or instigate a quarrel no matter how tense the environment appears.

I do not understand why one of the most beautiful things Nigerian police officers do and very quick to achieve is to label everyone they see as first a criminal before they go on to investigate otherwise.

I could remember the other time, I was inside the bus, with other passengers and I sat with an old man in the front seat. A few kilometres away from the park, we met a group of policemen on patrol. They insisted our bus should stop and knowing how violent they are likely to be if the driver had made a move, he slowed down and recovered a more safest place to park, to avoid other plying vehicles from navigating.

The driver, who may have known them, got down from the bus, took a few naira notes from his wallet and dashed to where the policemen pitched their tent.

We were almost frustrated in the car when some passengers began summoning the driver to come take us out from where he wheeled his bus.

A few seconds later, the driver, was already in an open confrontation with one brief policeman, who was terribly insistent he shows him the way to his bus.

There was a barrage of questions in the askance of other luggages inside the bus. He ordered everyone to come down, which we did. Indignant of the situation, I stood aloof. Noticing that I was indifferent, he began looking for a means to ask me a few questions, which I disembarked with silence.

After a while, he saw a sizable bag and ordered that the owner should open it. I was the owner and knowing that I had a few clothes and books inside, I opened it. Recognizing I was the owner and pending to many times he had wanted me to get too comfortable with his attitude, which I wasn’t, asked that I provide the receipt of the bag.

Why will I have to carry the receipt of the bag everywhere I go, the old man who was sitting with me on the bus, reacted. Shouldn’t it be more of electronics and maybe goods probably bought the same day it is conveyed, the old man added.

The debate about the bag and non-provision of the receipt took a lap of time and everyone were growing impatient. Some minutes later, he finally discharged us.

While we were on the bus, I was researching the functions of police officers and I found out that what we underwent was practically not among the functions they are asked to carry out.

I understand how relaxed our country is and how they recruit unrefined men and women to join the police force. The few of them who are cultured are not often found in the road. Despite the fact that our security lapses are at times encouraged by these security agents, yet, we are meant to see that they are doing their work.

Police officers are responsible for maintaining public order and safety, enforcing the law, and preventing, detecting, and investigating criminal activities. These functions are known as policing. Not violence. Not engaging in a fist. Not working hand-in-hand with high street bandits to tough out money and properties from people illegitimately.

In case you are not conversant with the functions of Police Officers, I think these may help.
a) to uphold and enforce the law impartially, and to protect life, liberty, property, human rights, and dignity of the members of the public:

(b) to promote and preserve public order;

(c) to protect internal security, to prevent and control terrorist activities, breaches of communal harmony, militant activities and other situations affecting the people.

(d) to protect public properties including roads, railways, bridges, vital installations and establishments etc. against acts of vandalism, violence or any kind of attack:

(e) to prevent crimes, and reduce the opportunities for the commission of crimes through their preventive action and measures as well as by aiding and cooperating with other relevant agencies in implementing due measures for anyone who is faulty.

I am warmed by irritation after that experience and I am yet to meet anyone who has proved otherwise. The more I make journeys, I am not surprised again what they are up to. I have come to make common their embarrassment and they do most of these actions, knowing fully well, that they are not giving a good example.

It is human to FORGIVE

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Humanity should know that forgiveness is not confronted with mercy or societal ideals. If by any way you are expected to make peace with people, do it without being compelled by anyone.

Let your voice speak, your hands demonstrate, your action exhibits that you are honestly sorry. For no one keeps in his heart, a raging storm of an unforgiving spirit, for the waves are trembling, and the sound quite violent”.

Sometimes, our pride and our little social value, blind us from knowing that we are as well subjects of forgiveness. This does not add any importance to our growth as human beings for without communion, which peace brings, the world will be impotent of advancement.

Let’s not talk about our inability to meet up with the regular decalogue, which of truth, is something we have pledged by our Christian affiliation. I am positioning my point on us. Me and you. We wrong ourselves every day. By being humans, we have been made a prisoner of disobedience, which means, to offset these wares of offence, we need to know the language of forgiveness.

By the way, what will someone do, that you can’t forgive? If we begin to cut a portion of what others do to us, rudely, perhaps by vengeance, what will become of you, of us, of everyone living?

Give space for forgiveness, no matter how bad it is. Stop being revengeful. You are unfortunately making yourself bitter, any time you are thinking forgiveness is false for you.

Grudge separates peace and gives life no place to pitch its tent.

If I should ask, what do you stand to gain, when you say, I am not forgiving you? Nothing. Just tell yourself the truth. You rather pluck a seed of distress into your heart. You just become a slave to acrimony, grudge, resentment and the worse is anger.

Forgiveness should be human. Forgiveness is tolerance and for everyone, no matter your creed, you should be a master of that language that has no respecter of your tribe, what you worship, which class you belong and your economic value.

When you inhale oxygen, how you do feel? Life. That is what forgiveness gives you when you embrace it.

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KNOWING THE VALUE OF OUR SPIRITUAL CHARACTER

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Our spirituality should find a foundation in the life of Jesus Christ. If we are interested to build a new spiritual attitude which can come as a result of our devotion to the Blessed Sacrament and strong attachment to Mary the mother of Jesus, then, it is required that we define it distinctively, such that, when we talk and our behaviour become visible, will be representing the devotion that solely nourishes our Christian faith.

Improvement is not enough