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Religion, Politics and Ethnicity-3

Mon, 31 Aug 2009 Source: Opare-Asamoa, Yaw

Yaw Opare-Asamoa oasamoa@gmail.com

As was to be expected, reaction to my second installment has been all over the place. That is fine but what saddens me is that in Ghana, we so often either refuse or ignore core issues under discussion and instead delight in creating our own ‘deviations’ and complaining about them. I went through some of the ‘comments’ and at a point I had to go back to re-read the article because I just could not fathom where some people were coming from and what they were talking about. Yes, in Ghana we would rather dance along the ‘circumference’ or even go off on a ‘tangent’ but leave alone the most important-the ‘diameter’-that cuts right through the ‘issue’ through the middle.

I raised issues about something I did not understand. I also asked questions but unfortunately none of the comments posted addressed any of them. If I hear from anybody with a contribution that addresses the issues raised I will be more than willing to participate; otherwise those who wish to continue with their comments (uninformed mostly and misdirected) can continue so to do. I will have no further part in it.

I want to take a look at some aspects of Christianity or at least what is left of it, and as is practiced here in Ghana (and elsewhere maybe). The Bible is clear on what Christians ought to ‘look’ and ‘sound’ like-by deeds and words. All over the world Christendom seem to be under some form of ‘attack’. Some of it may be due to ‘persecution’ as stated in the Bible but some other part of it seem to be ‘self-inflicted’, I believe. Somebody had said that Jesus Christ (and the gospel) is not the problem at all; the problem has to with the ‘PR’ (public relations) team or Christians of today. We are not representing our ‘Boss’ well at all. Full disclosure: I may not be the perfect example of a Christian but I believe I will get there yet.

Our Lord Jesus Christ was such a simple guy whilst on Earth. He told us not to let our left hand see what the right is doing but what do we see today? He prayed that we may all be one but some of us behave as if we have never come across that portion of Scripture. Ministers and Church leaders seem to have forgotten the reason for their calling, that is, if the calling was from the Lord in the first place. After serving his/her term of office, a minister refuses to leave so another can be appointed. Resistance to this action then leads to split-ups and this minster goes away with half of the congregation to start a new church. We cannot all belong to the same church; true! And there is nothing wrong with starting new churches but surely motives matter to the Lord. In many instances somebody refuses to submit to authority and so decides to leave. This same individual then starts a new church and expects others to submit to his/her authority. Amazing!

The Lord Jesus gave us the Great Commission and that should be the paramount ministry of the church but is it? What percentage of the annual budget goes to Evangelism?? Don’t we spend most of the budget on projects and infrastructure? There always seems to be a building fund somewhere; first to put up a new place of worship, thereafter comes the need for a church hall, then something else and on and on it goes. Again I am not against infrastructure per se, but priorities please!!

And how do we get the congregation to give? Do we properly teach them what the word of God says on Giving or do we come up with ‘tricks’ to get them to part with their monies? How many different kinds of offertory do we have on a given Sunday? The regular one, the special one, the one for only tall people, that for short people, those with and without moustache etc. And as our ministers continue to ask the congregation to give, what about they themselves? Do they give? The Lord Jesus was about what I refer to as ‘total’ or ‘complete’ Gospel. Attend to both the spiritual and physical needs of the people. Yes, I do understand that the minister and the ‘first lady’ (where did this title come from anyway?) should appear decent and nice but it all has to be done in modesty. Sheer flaunting of ‘prosperity’ by the clergy and family whilst members of the laity starve is no gospel. Let’s just consider a woman who lives quite a distance away from the church. She doesn’t have much but she is always determined to put ‘something’ in the offertory bowl or basket. It would have been nice for her to take a taxi to church so they avoid the sun and the attendant sweat. But doing so would mean no money for the offertory bowl. So if such an individual endures this with such a motive, is it alright for the minister to use the money for 2 or 3 different luxury cars? Is it alright for the minister to live a life of opulence and attribute that to the blessing of the Lord?

Then also is the issue of ‘healing’. The Lord Jesus was never a one-way guy. He healed, using different methods in different situations. Why are some of our ministers building healing ministries on one thing or the other? I hear some use ‘koko’. Others use salt solution and many other things. If the Lord Jesus reveals to you to use a particular material in a particular situation, does it mean you use it in all situations? I know of a minister who was instructed to pray over a glass of water and give to a woman who had been barren for years. He was then directed to tell the woman that she was going to have a baby the following year. He did exactly as directed and bingo! It happened as the Lord had commanded. Should this minister then start a healing ministry based on glasses of water? Are we not supposed to allow God to do His thing, the way He wants it at all times? Without checking with the Lord, we tell people we are going to heal them and when they don’t get healed, we accuse them of not having strong enough faith. Call me naïve or whatever you want, but as for me, I stay away from any ‘one-way one-material’ healing minister. And lest I forget, fondling of female genitalia in the name of healing has no place in the Gospel of Jesus Christ either. Isn’t it interesting that such incidents always involve a self-styled ‘pastor’ running a one-man show? And why do our people subject themselves to such humiliation? Well that is for another day! Church music or what is popularly referred to as ‘gospel’ music is almost unidentifiable now. There is such a thin line between that and what is produced and sang elsewhere(outside the Church). But when you question this, you will be told that in order to reach the generation of today, church music must conform to what the youth would identify with. So that instead of going to the club to listen to the ‘beat’ they can come to church and get the same ‘beat’ Well, I thought the Church was supposed to influence the world and not the other way round. The Lord Jesus said we should come as we are, but once we come in, the church is supposed to influence us. There ought to be a difference, in everything including music.

Well I am just an ordinary guy. I don’t pretend to be extremely spiritual or anything. For me, these and many other factors are driving people away from the Church. We may not appreciate this very much, for in Ghana it is still ‘fashionable’ to go to church on Sundays. Elsewhere the situation is different. The frightening thing is that since we decided to become more and more like the ‘world’ in order to draw the ‘world’, the ‘world’ is beginning to lose its respect for the Church. And this is because the ‘world’ does not see the difference anymore! We need to go back to the pure simple gospel of our fathers. Let’s just endeavour to do as Christ did and that’s all that is required.

Written and submitted on August 25, 2009

Columnist: Opare-Asamoa, Yaw