Friday 7 January 2011

Thought Picnic: Attending the 1st Church of the Bank

A Facebook initiation

I found it difficult to join in this Facebook discussion, matters concerning religion amongst Nigerians very rarely find an objective trajectory, getting involved in the conversation almost always leaves you exasperated.

In this case, I decided it was best to lift the initiating statuses from Facebook and create a blog on the issues raised.

Chxta Bee

is pretending that he hasn't heard about the 1k charged as gate fees by Christ Embassy...

Seyi Osiyemi

Gone are the days of I.O.U Christianity. When you are allowed to make a monetary 'pledge' and pay later. Nowadays, it is 'Pay As You Go' Christianity. Some Churches even have signs saying 'cash only'. And in cashless societies, the ushers have mobile EFTPOS machine or there's always an ATM within the Church premises. #The Lord Loves A Cheerful Giver#

The gospel of cash

The matter of church and cash or the tendency for the message to centre mostly on money, the acquisition of lucre and the dispensing of it with the lifestyles that purveyors of that gospel live always draws comment and many not that favourable.

The common term for this message is the Prosperity Gospel where prosperity which should be broadened to include health, peace, contentment and ability has been narrowed down to transactions in money.

Now there is a faith element that allows people to believe that investing in the “House of God” is good value with great returns and there is no reason to contemn that belief system, it does work for some.

Cash the key to the blessing

However, it becomes worrisome when access to the sanctuary is gated as if one is attending some social event of particular privilege and right of access to those who can afford to make payment to gain entry to that inner sanctum for blessing.

There is a school of thought that proffers that no one is compelled to make that payment but coercion does not have to be direct, there are people who are fearful enough of the missing a blessing that their motivation is compelled by that fear of losing out.

There people who think the “Man of God” is infallible and hence every utterance and action is presumed to be of God no matter how wrong and false it might be, in that vein they are compelled by the force of the personality they believe is derived from Godly instruction.

There are others who might well question the rationale behind this development but cannot be seen to separate themselves into a thinking minority challenging the norms in that environment – so they are compelled by the circumstances to acquiesce and emulate.

The majority however just do as they are told, joyfully, sheepishly and without hesitation, they have become members of the cult, their spirituality well exceeding their ability to reason out the options they might have and make quality decisions grounded in the Scriptures they profess to fully believe to the letter.

However, let us not challenge any of these people on any of these belief systems, rather, let us assume a more practical posture on this matter.

The harvest of investing or sowing

If money were put under a mattress, it would yield no interest and probably go mouldy; however, if invested in a bank with some guaranteed interest there would be some profit; in shares or stocks, there is the possibility of there being a profit or a loss but those who invest in the markets vary their options to ensure that their investments yield returns.

The farmer naturally sows seed expecting a harvest and knows when a harvest is good or bad, tends to the crops during the season between planting and harvest to ensure that the best yield is derived from all the labour that when into that activity with the hope that when the crops reach the market it would have been all worthwhile with the impetus for the same rewarding activity the next year.

Most instances where references are made to sowing in the Scriptures there is the reaping; where investments are made there is real accounting and accountability with rewards for making the best of the initial capital given.

Open a ledger with God

In other words, there is nothing wrong with paying into the coffers of these institutions of churchianity but open a ledger with God – write down what you put in and when you did, note when you get your returns and if that investment has been worthwhile or your church has been selling you junk bonds masquerading as seed faith.

With all read and seen, there might well be a time for some tables to be upturned in the temple, there might not be the money changers and pigeon hawkers of old, not even the selling of indulgences of times of Martin Luther but your indulgence in being craved and many leaders are indulging in very unscriptural practices but if you cannot free yourselves of these cults I would suppose the leaders have had it made and you have your hopes to live on with reality somewhere in the not too distant eternity.

Meanwhile, we are all fully persuaded of the fact that, the Lord loveth a cheerful giver; a bountifully rewarded receiver could even be a more cheerful giver if they have been giving for the right reasons, in the right places far from being fleeced for every penny they have to receive that amazing blessing.

Think! My people, think!

1 comment:

CodLiverOil said...

This is one argument you can never win.

The Bible is so expansive, those that defend the practice of demanding money in cash. Can fish out any text what they want to defend their actions.

Their ultimate defense is "it's a matter of faith" and "worry not about the affairs of man but concern yourself with the affairs of God and all good things will be delivered unto you..."

This is what I can vaguely remember from my church going days, which are now firmly in the past.

You can't win this argument with believers, even if someone has been giving their entire life and received nothing in return. The pastor/ priest will say "thou shall not put the Lord God to the test", and "God works in mysterious ways."

My conclusion, is "relax about this". You can never convince them otherwise, each to their own.

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