Saturday, January 07, 2012

Of Christians, The Kingdom Economy, and Oil Subsidy Removal


In many ways, this article flouts the motley collection of rules that usually guide my style of writing.


It is unusual that I start a post from the middle, write the beginning, and then proceed to the end. However, I intend to do just that in this post. After all, writing is in art – which in my world translates to a field without clearly defined guiding principles.


I start with the class of people on my facebook and twitter timelines who deeply believe the mantra that ‘this world is not my home’. I have seen posts stating that: as lions ‘we’ will not eat grass no matter the economy of the jungle; that no matter the economy of the country, ‘we’ cannot suffer because we run the economy of heaven; that Jehovah Jireh will subsidize us if the Federal Government removes oil subsidy etc. Many of the time, these posts end with the statement “it is not pride, it is just who I am”.


I have also heard clergymen take prayers entreating God to raise the income of their church members to levels where they can conveniently afford the widespread increase in prices occasioned as a result of the removal of the fuel subsidy.


I wonder what ideology gives raise to such posts and prayers, but I get ahead of myself.


I believe in everyone’s right to their own opinion – no matter how much such opinions are at variance with mine, and like I have stated severally – I never try to force my values on others. I do not write this in a bid to convert anyone to my school of thought; I write to posit my own opinion – peradventure something in here might cause someone out there to thoroughly evaluate their perspective and re-consider their stand.


When I speak to Christian gatherings on such matters as these, I often try to draw a parallel between the ideal perspective of a Christian and the Bible’s injunction to Israelite exiles in Babylon as contained in Jeremiah 29: 7. "Make yourselves at home there and work for the country's welfare. Pray for Babylon's well-being. If things go well for Babylon, things will go well for you”.


My understanding of Christianity involves a great deal of social relevance, of being a shining light in the darkness of a confused world, of speaking out for the less-privileged, and of taking a strong stand against oppression.


That stated, I am of the opinion that prayers such as described above – relevant though they may be – are an abrogation of the church’s social responsibility. In fact, it may be argued that they are attempts to transfer the responsibility for the removal of the oil subsidy as a result of human corruption to God.


In my perspective, such thoughts and prayers try to isolate the success of the ‘believer’ from the economic environment of the nation they live in – an act that is clearly impossible. The Bible states unequivocally, “if things go well for Babylon, things will go well for you”.


In a later post, I will state my stand on the removal of the oil subsidy – and explain why I stand where I do.


If you have thoughts at variance with those I have expressed here, please feel free to drop a comment. We could get a nice discussion going.

5 comments:

  1. I had never read that text from Jer 29. Very profound. I've always thought so but never had the scripture to back it up. God is calling us to be nation builders, and that does not mean that we declare ourselves blessed and do nothing about it. I am not Nigerian but the principle of what you write about still holds true. God gave man dominion over the earth and we are to work. So yes I will not eat grass, but I better not just be saying that and doing nothing to help 'my Babylon' as it were.

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    1. Thank you, Anonymous. As you may or may not know, your comment gave rise to an appreciation post... Thank you.

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  2. I agree with you on this. I would however add a few thoughts. It is so true that we are connected in many ways to the country that houses us and that should not be debated. I also know that the individual's prosperity lies in God's hands and not in the nation.

    That God instructs us to seek the good of our nation doesn't in my opinion translate that the health of our nation depicts how prosperous I would be. My role is to seek the good of Nigeria and this includes fighting social injustice, praying for her and getting involved. But my success still depends on God, even as I obey Him and carry out His instructions on living, which certainly does not exempt seeking the good of Nigeria.

    This is particularly important as a lot of Christians live in despair simply because of the widespread poverty in Nigeria. Looking unto God for living can only be the way to go. I assume your article stems from the apparent indifference Christians tend to show when it comes to the prevailing conditions in Nigeria.

    Faith cannot be complete without love (Gal 5:5-6). Thus, christians cannot continue to pray for their individual prosperity without showing some love to a nation that houses them. But in the end, it is God that blesses and He doesn't need d help of anyone, any country to bless the people He wants to bless.

    PS: U got a brilliant article

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    1. Thank you, Ayokunnu. I am also of the belief that my success as an individual is not dependent on the prevailing economic conditions in Nigeria. What I try to explain above can is not limited to 'success', it is all-encompassing. For example, exploding bombs do not distinguish between Christians and people of other faiths. Bad roads do not distinguish between people of various faiths when accidents happen. When Christians refuse to elect good leaders and participate in governance, insecurity will continue - and bad roads will continue to claim lives...

      Thanks again.

      Delete
  3. I agree with you on this. I would however add a few thoughts. It is so true that we are connected in many ways to the country that houses us and that should not be debated. I also know that the individual's prosperity lies in God's hands and not in the nation.

    That God instructs us to seek the good of our nation doesn't in my opinion translate that the health of our nation depicts how prosperous I would be. My role is to seek the good of Nigeria and this includes fighting social injustice, praying for her and getting involved. But my success still depends on God, even as I obey Him and carry out His instructions on living, which certainly does not exempt seeking the good of Nigeria.

    This is particularly important as a lot of Christians live in despair simply because of the widespread poverty in Nigeria. Looking unto God for living can only be the way to go. I assume your article stems from the apparent indifference Christians tend to show when it comes to the prevailing conditions in Nigeria.

    Faith cannot be complete without love (Gal 5:5-6). Thus, christians cannot continue to pray for their individual prosperity without showing some love to a nation that houses them. But in the end, it is God that blesses and He doesn't need d help of anyone, any country to bless the people He wants to bless.

    PS: U got a brilliant article

    ReplyDelete