New Year Resolutions

I wrote this a couple of weeks ago. I thought to share it here.

It’s 2015 and it is looking like 2014 already. The Poltical bickering between Labour and the Conservative party has started again, this time it is about the NHS, the deficit and Immigration. In Nigeria, 2015 is looking like 2014. Or is it not? As Fela said, ‘suffering and smiling’ is still the same. The banners which say ‘corruption is not allowed here’ looms across many institutions but corruption is still one of Nigeria’s main problems.

The Chibouk girls are still missing, Boko Haram is still wrecking havoc across Yobe, Borno and Adamawa States in Northern Nigeria, massacres are still being carried out in Northern cities, suicide bombers now use little girls to carry out dastardly attacks, Brent crude dips below $50, Ebola is still ravaging parts of West Africa, power supply is still epileptic in Nigeria, and Nigerians are suffering from an inflated pound compared to a deflated Naira. Plus, It is a count down to the elections. The camp is pitched in two sides, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (rtd) and Goodluck Ebele Jonathan.

Before the election campaign gets hotter, here are some useful tips on how to make the best of the new unfolding year.

Hopefully, by the time you read this article, you have not already given up on your resolutions. The challenges you set for yourself is beginning to have the desired effect on you and your dreams. Many people have written on the NewYear and how new year resolutions are useful to take you to the next level. Some claim the start of the year is always a great time to start something new even though new things can be started at any time of the year. If you haven’t started on your new year resolutions or you have not given up on your resolutions, here are some ideas to help you make a fresh start. Or a fresher start of you will.

For starters, it is important to note that no one simply changes because there has been a change in the calendar. Most experts agree that it takes 21 days for a habit to set or for a new pattern to form. Simply put, it is also a case of mind over matter. Setting challenges and seeing it through in spite of difficulties.

Mark Zuckerberg started a book club as part of his new year’s resolution declaring 2015 as the ‘year of books’. You can join him and millions around the world by reading two books a month or a book a month. Better still, you can start your own book club- online book clubs are more interesting and easier to follow. Another idea is to read and analyse an ancient text this year. It could be the Bible or any other book that is guaranteed to improve the inner life or thought life. It’s easy to read on an android and Ebooks are definitely the trend.

Secondly, every year, most people decide to loose weight. By middle February, they have given up. Instead of going on another yo yo diet, a new year resolution could be to eat carbohydrates twice a week, eat more fruits and vegetables or to reduce food portions. This is a good time to give up or reduce the intake of meals like pounded yam and Amala. Resolutions must be easy to follow otherwise they will be discarded and not generate any new change. For some, it is hard to give up these meals, but cutting down the portions taken is possible.

Most people decide to join a gym at the start of every year. We pay huge sums to the gym but we never show up. Instead of following that dead pattern again, why not invest in a cross trainer that can be installed in the sitting room in front of the television so as you are watching the news or listening to your music on your iPods, you are training away? The idea here is thinking outside the box. Doing little things to make a change. One hour a day during the Network news is better than paying for gym membership and never showing up.

Why not schedule time alone to work on self? Trifling habits like perpetual   lateness enshrined as ‘African time’ and procrastination can be sorted out through ‘alone time’ growth sessions. Mental paradigms can only be shifted if we take time out to deal with reasons for personal inefficiencies.

If you are over 35, the start of the year is a good time to do a health MOT. Whilst you are at it, check for diabetes, blood sugar and blood pressure levels. You might need to cut off salt or reduce your intake of sugar.

Women are realising that the new look in town is the natural look. So the start of the year could be a great time to save on the Brazilian and go natural. The natural or ‘Earth’ look does not cost a fortune but it requires a mindset that my natural look is beautiful. What is the ‘earth’ look? The earth look has no frills, nothing artificial, elegant and actually sophisticated. It’s basically you using your own hair as opposed to fake extensions.

Men who frequent bars before they go home could decide that the need to cut down on their smoking and alcohol intake. There is another idea that runs nearly parallel to this: it is to attend less of ‘owanbe parties’. These are parties that add no real value, they are places where people gather to eat, drink and smoke for fun of it. These are also parties where comparative analysis takes place. Who has the bigger car? Whose cloth/fabric is the most expensive? These are redundant conversations with lazy minds.

Spending time with the wife and kids could take the place of the ‘owanbe’ parties. Most women would agree with me that they would like their partners to spend more time with them. By eliminating the unnecessary social gatherings, couples could actually invest in themselves and their relationships.

2015 is a year to give back to the community, church and to God. One way of doing this is by adopting a child. Yes, adopting a child: giving as child an opportunity. You don’t have to bring them to live with you, but your can sponsor their education and keep abreast with their progress. Many people already sponsor their junior ones through school. If there is scope for more, adopt a disabled child, give such a child hope to live in a tough world as ours.

You could also fundraise for your local charity. In this day and age where people struggle to keep their non governmental organisations afloat, sharing the love could mean helping them get money. Charity owners know this is so important and they couldn’t thank you enough.

Politically, this is the year to become a card carrying member of a political party. Better still, why not run for office yourself to improve the lot of humanity. Whist this is ongoing, plan to give a talk a TED Talk. The world is waiting to hear what you can share from your wealth of knowledge and experience.

Local businesses are the life wire of our country. A new year’s resolution could be to only buy from our local farmers what they produce. Buying Nigerian made goods can only become trendy if we support local businesses who are trying to produce Nigerian made goods against all odds.

Finally, live life. Write your book this year, fall in love with your self again this year. Do things with your self to show you that you care. It’s only a change of calendar and to be honest, most of us are never going to change, but we can try to make our lives better one resolution at a time.

 

Tundun Adeyemo

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Yejide Kilanko's Daughters Who Walk This Path

It has to be Yejide Kilanko’s book this week.

From http://www.yejidekilanko.com, here is what people have said about the book.

Praise for Daughters Who Walk This Path

“Daughters Who Walk This Path is a subtle yet complex exploration of what it means to be a young woman growing up in contemporary Nigeria. Kilanko does not shy away from tough subjects. Just as importantly, she does not sensationalize them. This is a delightful, haunting book from a very talented writer.”

–Chika Unigwe, award-winning author of On Black Sisters’ Street.

“Though the subject of her novel is one that’ll typically make us avert our eyes, Yejide Kilanko combines an unflinching gaze, a tender heart and a gift for lyrical storytelling. Daughters Who Walk This Path is a necessary book.”

-E.C.Osondu, Winner of the Caine Prize and author Voice of America (HarperCollins 2010)

“The lives of girls and women continue to be fraught with secrets, shame and violence. Yejide Kilanko ‘s courageous characters reveal how young women bear their coming-of-age, and then they learn to tell.”

-Kim Echlin, Giller-nominated author of The Disappeared

Book Description:

Spirited, intelligent Morayo grows up surrounded by school friends and a busy family in modern-day Ibadan, Nigeria. An adoring little sister, her traditional parents, and a host of aunties and c

ousins make Morayo’s home their own. So there’s nothing unusual about Morayo’s charming but troubled cousin, Bros T, moving in with the family. At first Morayo and her sister are delighted, but in her innocence, nothing prepares Morayo for the shameful secret Bros T forces upon her.

Thrust into a web of oppressive silence woven by the adults around her, Morayo must learn to fiercely protect herself and her sister; a legacy of silence many women in Morayo’s family share. Only Aunty Morenike—once protected by her own mother—provides Morayo with a safe home, and a sense of female community which sustains Morayo as she grows into a young woman in bustling, politically charged, often violent Nigeria.

 

Let us Pray: Susan Ferguson

It has been a long and busy week for me. I have found God’s strength though prayers though.  This is the tragedy of our lives: busyness. We need to make the time to pray.God answers when we pray as prayer is communication with God. Prayer comes from a place of intimate relationship with the Lord.  I found faith writers.com and I have been blessed so much by the site. Here is a write up that spoke to me. Hope it speaks to you.

Think for a moment how amazing it is that the Creator of the universe hears our prayers and answers them. God knows us by name and even knows the number of hairs on our head. (Matthew 10:30) Let’s keep our hearts in awe of the amazing God we serve.

A passion for the presence of God
God answers when we pray

The Bible tells us to pray and to ask God for what we need. (Luke 11:9-12) Answered prayer strengthens our faith and brings glory to God. The benefits of prayer are numerous. Through prayer and God’s Word, we come to know Christ and develop a relationship with Him. Through prayer, we partner with God, and by His grace, we accomplish what is impossible otherwise. Through prayer, we serve God, the Church, and the people we love. Through prayer, we offer thanksgiving to Christ, our Savior, for the free gift of eternal life. Through prayer, we confess our sins, and He faithfully forgives us. Through prayer and Bible study, God shows us His will for our lives. Through prayer, we give our burdens to Jesus and receive His sustaining strength. (Psalm 55:22) Through prayer, we ask for God’s wisdom, and He generously provides. (James 1:5) Prayer brings healing to the sick and gives comfort to those who mourn. Prayer renews our strength, diminishes our fears, softens our hearts, changes our focus, fills our hearts with peace, and gives us a new hope.

How can we afford not to pray? Prayer is for our good and is essential for our growth in Christ. As the New Year unfolds, there’s no better resolution than to devote more time to prayer.

Today’s freelance writer is a bookkeeper by day and a writer by night. Susan Ferguson lives with her husband in Madison, MS. She can be contacted via the faith writers.com forum.

I am Baga

I wrote this article last year and it was published in TELL Magazine in March 2014. With recent news about the disputed death toll in Baga, not much has changed.

Nigeria's Baga hrw.org
Nigeria’s Baga
hrw.org

Two names Nigerians will not forget in a hurry: Bama and Baga. One hundred and eighty-five civilians were killed in Baga by trigger-happy troops in a multinational joint task to fish out insurgents. In Nasarawa a cult, acting on a tip-off killed about 100 policemen and SSS personnel.  These deaths are in addition to the over 2,000 people killed by Boko Haram since 2010.

Meanwhile armed robberies, kidnappings and insecurity are on the increase in the South. Poverty, unemployment and insecurity are triplet evils decimating the South. Whilst some Nigerians are deluded into thinking all is well with the country, saboteurs and criminal gangs are working hard at receiving their own share of the national cake.

For human rights activists, Bama and Baga are tragic resource mines.  Bad news is a certainty everyday especially if you live in the North-east of Nigeria. From the South, the world is guaranteed news about corruption, inept leadership, kidnappings, armed robberies, paedophilia rage, and others. Even if you are not directly affected by the violence, you cannot help but feel for families who are affected.  Mothers who have lost their sons and daughters, wives who have lost their breadwinners, children who have been killed prematurely for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. The violence and terror in northern Nigeria is sadly giving Nigeria such publicity that deters foreign investment and with corruption, this negative publicity is hard to shake off.

Granted, some parts of Nigeria have said goodbye to tourism as an income, but one cannot help but wonder where the wonderful North has gone? One remembers travels to Maiduguri (years ago), Kano and parts of Yobe State. The North-east offers Nigeria a taste of the best in Arab cuisine and culture. The kunu drink may be the best drink yet to be exported from Nigeria but this will never be.

Northern state governors, elders and past northern leaders have failed to step up to the challenge of bringing the madness to a halt. Save issues of political dominance or 2015 presidential elections, northern leadership on the whole have been silent and this has not gone unnoticed.  The so-called Northern Elders Forum as well as past national leaders have failed to show key leadership in arresting the stagnancy of development in the North. Say what we like, we cannot divorce decades of under development with the insurgency we are witnessing now. The youths in these states are angry and very hungry hence, their embrace of Boko Haram.

Borno, Yobe, Adamawa, Taraba, Gombe, Bauchi, Balyesa, Kano, Nasarawa have all experienced ‘terrorist activities and protracted security challenges’ in recent times.  But, the state of emergency in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states has been applauded and derided in some quarters. To others, the emergency power is seen as too little action, too late.  We wait and see how effective the state of emergency will be.   Whilst the North-east is in a state of war, it is interesting to note that very few northern leaders have come out to address how the situation can be ameliorated. We hear the Northern Elders Forum saying they wish they did not support Goodluck Jonathan in 2011, but these leaders are selfish in a way. Their lack of strategic leadership, vision and welfare of their people is one of the underlying causes of the unrest in the North.

All the three states mentioned are already under some form of emergency rule, which has not worked, what are the chances that this one will work? Ahmed Khalifa Zanna, a senator representing the Borno Central, a hotbed of the terrorist organisation was interviewed on Sahara TV, and the statements he made, if true, are very shocking. He said about 2,000 or more militants were assembled at Sambisa Games Reserve, some 40-45 kilometres from Maiduguri. These militants were supposedly there, at the time he spoke. It was unthinkable that the federal, state and local governments were aware of their existence but did nothing to disarm them before the imposition of a state of emergency in the area.

Most astonishingly, the senator revealed that he had been unable to return to his constituency for fear of being killed. He also noted that in Borno, 24 of the 27 local government areas are under the control of Boko Haram. If all these are accurate, the question is why has it taken the government this long to come to terms with the Boko Haram mess?

In the southern parts of Nigeria, insecurity is also a major issue. Banks are robbed in bold attempts, kidnapping is on the increase not decrease, unemployment and poverty, two indicators which drive criminality, are not being tackled effectively enough so we find groups challenging the authority of the state.

Many times we talk about the integrity and unity of Nigeria. We talk absentmindedly of a united Nigeria. Is there a united Nigeria? The government has never been perceived to be helpful to the common man.  Most Nigerians don’t feel they have a stake in the leadership or in Nigeria. Health care when available is out of reach, good and healthy food three times a day is an accomplishment for most; our roads are a death trap.

We wonder what is happening to Nigeria. Be it as it may, we are affected in different ways; some in more ways than one. The truth if we are honest is that if Nigeria does not turn itself around, there may not be a Nigeria in 20 years. By our actions and inactions, there may not be a Nigeria for our kids.

The state of emergency in these states reminds us that our democracy is threatened. It shows us the apathy of our leaders and the way they play politics with our lives. May God help us all.

Tundun Adeyemo

Choosing Wisely

This song encouraging Nigerians to “ChooseWisely” in the upcoming elections was sung by sisters, Dinachi and Chibundu Onuzo.

“Making a difference begins with you and me and with our leaders, officials and every Nigerian citizen.”

The song bears a very important message and melodious, which is why it had racked up nearly 1000 views on Youtube within 48 hours of its release.

PDP should talk about real issues: urnaija.com

Just Hold on: Ikeoluwa Gadido

Sometimes, when God is silent and life looses its sparkle, a word or two at the right time heals the soul and brings back lost perspective.

Sometimes, there are no words to say.

Sometimes, it is hard to articulate issues in prayers, sometimes no one understands.  Sometimes, there is no one to talk to.

Sometimes, its best to be quiet than to call friends and have a pity party. Ikeoluwa encourages us to Hold on. Hold on to God because He never fails. He never lets go of any hand kept safe by him.

 

JUST HOLD ON
God is working for your good

Its not over until you win.
Be encouraged

He is looking out for you
He’s got your back
His plans for you are of good and not of evil
Not a matter of chance or luck
It’s a matter of divine plan
It’s a matter of grace and mercy
Though He seems to tarry, wait for him
Though you don’t understand, trust Him still
Though the roads seem blocked, hold on
He will make a pathway in the wilderness
And rivers in the desert
In your darkest hour, His light will shine
God is the potter, you are a masterpiece
He is the author and finisher of our faith
He is the script writer and the director
You are an actor in the play
He will cause the lines to fall for you in pleasant places
He will make a way for you
Just hold on

Hebrews 10:23
Let us hold on firmly to the hope we profess, because we can trust God to keep His promise.

Ikeoluwa Gidado writes for faith writers.com. She is available as a writer for hire.

Bible Treasures Explored: Omosola Fiberesima

This week, its got to be Omosola Fiberesima’s Book ‘Bible Treasures Explored’.

The  back cover of the book reads:

‘ Treasures Explored presents questions every child asks about Christianity. This book is written with simplicity without loosing the authenticity of the gospel of Jesus Christ. It contains real answers from children, supported by Sunday school teachers. There are over 30 BPicture for Sis Tundunible treasures explored and explained with great illustrations to bring this message to life. Find out what young Christians have a say about identity, love, relationships, Sunday school, salvation, faith, new life, church and much more Find out what inspired Anthonia to become a Sunday school teacher at the age of thirteen; what made Boma embrace this new life at eight and why Grace aged four enjoys Sunday School. Parents also share the importance of Sunday school from their personal experience. This book is a must read if you want to apply its “Bible Treasures” to your every day life. If you are curious about this amazing relationship with Jesus

 

Children need Jesus. Period. Fullstop. The question is how can you get your children connected with the Lord? Bible Treasures Explored provides an answer.

See for yourself.  It is not difficult to bring faith alive. Buy it here:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Bible-Treasures-Explored-Firm-Foundation/dp/1502531585

Omosola Fiberesima has her heart in the right place
Reaching children for Jesus

Its gonna be OK!

I first saw the Apolos Hester video on Facebook last night. I have played the video over ten times since then. The enthusiasm, smile and radiance of  the  young player is infectious. With over 8m views and counting,  if you have not seen it, this will bless you. We all can use a dose of positivity and optimism:)

TWC News Austin reporter Lauren Mickler and videographer Jesse Moloney interview East View High School Football player Apollos Hester after the Patriots triumphed over Vandegrift by one point. Hester’s post-game interview was one of the most inspiring interviews .

When God says No!

I spent the day yesterday thinking about when God does not answer prayers.  A much better write up would have been when God answers prayers. He does answer prayers, but not all the time. I spent yesterday sulking like a child asking why this one prayer is taking God ‘rather long’ to answer.

So, I wanted to write about prayers, but I left my laptop at work so I could not write at all yesterday.

Until now.

I realise that I am not using any biblical references as well. I will try to remedy that in future posts.

So does God answer prayers? The fact that there is this one prayer I have repeatedly prayed- which has not been answered- however  suggests to me that He does  not always answer prayers. But perhaps He does, but not in the space and form that I may want Him to.

He does look after me and many times the Lord gives me things I do not pray for. I can count miracles, answers to prayers, blessings I don’t deserve and so on from God. Many times, I even fail to say ‘Thank you’. There are many times He has kept me from bad situations, accidents and from the consequences of my actions. He does all this because He is faithful, merciful and a friend.

So, does God answer prayers? Yes. In. His. Own. Time.

The questions again, Does he aways answer prayers? No. He answers when He wants to.

His decision is ultimately best for me. Over the years, I have learnt this. Even though I may want something so much right now, God is saying to me….. wait. …….right now is not the best time. You still need to grow a bit more. You need to mature a little bit more. I want the best for you, but not just right now.

This is hard… because I would like to experience that answer to my prayers like right now. This very minute. So, I conclude because I know my Father loves me.

My confidence is that God loves me, He wants the best for me and so I thank him for all the prayers he has answered especially the many gifts I get that I did not pray for. I thank Him also for the gifts I am yet to receive. I thank Him for the miracle of today and then ask Him to help me wait on Him for answers to that one prayer.:)

 

Tundun Adeyemo

 

'Terrorist attack in Nigeria is no longer news' Chibundu Onuzo

There was a terrorist attack in France a few days ago and a lot has been said about how Nigerians and the Western media have focused on this incident and paid little attention to what is happening in Baga. But I think we need to be honest with ourselves: a terrorist attack in France is news. A terrorist attack in North Eastern Nigeria is no longer news. When a Boko Haram attack breaks on my twitter timeline, I hurry past, rushing to the next banal tweet: a Nigerian comedian’s latest gaffe, or an APC/PDP devotee waxing on the virtues of their chosen candidate, or more often downplaying their short comings. A speech delivered at a Presidential rally gets more airtime than a bomb blast because convincing speeches from our leaders are so rare, and explosions are so common.

Sometimes you want to make sure that you’re still normal and it is not because you think white lives matter more that you immediately knew what the #JeSuisCharlie hashtag meant but you had to google #bringbackourgirls when that campaign was born. So you try empathy. Empathy is the fruit of an imagination and imagination is something that writers usually have in excess. So you picture yourself in Baga. 2,000 dead they said, though they never agree. When the ‘they’ is government, 2000 becomes 100. When it’s an NGO, add at least one ‘0’ to the government figure. They all say they are lying.

Fact of the matter remains, whether 2,000 or 200, there are a lot of dead bodies around Baga. But then this is not empathy, to walk through Baga like a journalist, taking photos of nameless corpses, stunned by it all but still one step removed, still composed enough to remember that my editor will want both a gruesome shot and a milder image, that I must find survivors to interview, that perhaps a translator must be arranged.

And so I enter Baga again, and try to become someone born there, someone raised there, who went to the local school, when girls still felt safe going to school. And then these dead bodies are no longer dead bodies, they are my friends and teachers and pastors and imams and brothers and sisters and parents. And then I think it is time for me to jump off this careening empathy wagon because the image of a row of people I know, corpses, bent at unnatural angles, faces destroyed with bullets, is one that I do not want to dwell on. Just from this small exercise in empathy, my face is twitching and my eyes are watering.

So I can still cry for Nigeria. Of what use is that to the people of Baga? None perhaps but it is of some use to our country. The fact is we have put up a wall between ourselves and what Boko Haram is doing. How do you function otherwise? How do you have a job, and go to school, and make your deadlines if every time an attack hapens, you bring your life to a standstill? And yet we are lost as a nation if we cannot mark the passing of 2,000 Nigerians. If their dying makes no clamour in us. Tears fix nothing, build nothing, repair nothing but we must still shed them so they can water our resolve, which has withered in these arid conditions. We cannot let Nigeria disintegrate on our watch. We must not. We will not.

 

Chibundu Onuzo

 

Leah: scorned but grateful

I have been reading through the Bible from the beginning following the HTB plan on my You Version bible. To help me stay disciplined, I have committed to blogging five days a week my thoughts on what I read. We all need a dose of encouragement and inspiration so this is mine packaged as Insight: Thought for the Day.

 

I had never considered that Leah had anything to teach me until today. Here is what I learnt.

I have been thinking today about Leah. She was of course one of Jacob’s wife. She was not loved by her husband as she would have imagined  love to be neither was  she was  wanted as she was plain eyed. Her life must have been emotionally hard filled with anger, tears and frustration:  waiting for her husband to love her but that never happened because he was in love with someone else. She was fertile having sons for Jacob.

Her fourth son is Judah from whom Jesus the Messiah came. Judah is also called Priase. Leah, the unloved wife gave birth to  Praise because in her tears and brokenness, she found God. She found that her affections were better placed looking up to God than focussing on her husband. It must have been a liberating experience for her.

When you think about Leah and her travails, the one lesson that come through is that no man can satisfy the heart of a woman. Women have deep longings to be loved and understood. Many women end up with the wrong men because these men lure them with empty words. Seriously,  Only God fills that deep need. The earlier we learn this, the better for us. The less we would expect from our partners and cling to God.

Leah’s  sister  Rachel had the love of her husband  for her whole life. The Bible describes that she stole her father’s gods, was Rachel a pagan? But for a long time,  she was barren  giving birth to  Joseph and Benjamin who  are not as well placed in the genealogy of Jesus as Judah was. Could we argue that the love of God is preferable to the love a man?

My point is no matter how hard life is, true love must be found in God. Only God can satisfy that longing  to Be loved, held and cherished as a woman.

 

Thats the thought for the day. See you tomorrow.

West has lost the war on terror

The Western society is losing the most important aspect of the war on terror – the ideological aspect of it.

Terrorism is a crime and should be treated like one. If you live in the West, however, you’d be forgiven for thinking that the sort of terrorism that made Man Haron Monis hold people hostage in Australia is just another part of Islam or that the criminals who recently killed 17 innocent people in Paris committed that act on behalf of Muslims.

There are over 1.8 billion Muslim all over the world and it’s safe to hazard a guess that more than 99.99% of them would never fire a gun or plant a bomb yet ever since the 9/11 attacks anytime someone commits an act of terrorism and claims to be doing it on behalf of his god you start seeing phrases like “Islamic militants”, “Jihadists” and “Islamic terrorism”. In addition to that is the outdated and ill-advised “divide and conquer” strategy of referring to innocent, law-abiding Muslims as “Moderate Muslims”.

So the impression created is that if you’re a Muslim you’re either a “Moderate Muslim” or a terrorist – nothing can be further from the truth.

Here’s what Hassan Nasrallah, the Hezbollah leader said about the terrorist attack in Paris, “The behavior of the takfiri (apostates) groups that claim to follow Islam have distorted Islam, the Quran and the Muslim nation more than Islam’s enemies … who insulted the prophet in films… or drew cartoons of the prophet,”

Hezbollah was conceived by Muslim clerics and funded by Iran following the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982, and was primarily formed to offer resistance to the Israeli occupation so their leader is the last person you’d expect to condemn the terrorists yet he did not only condemn their actions he completely rejected the notion that they were Muslims.

As long as phrases like “Jihadists” and “Islamic Militants” continue to appear in newspapers and used by the electronic media Muslims will continue to feel alienated by the rest of the society.
Both the terrorists and the non-Muslim world are fighting for the hearts and minds of Muslims and it appears the terrorists are winning because as long as terrorism is linked to the religion some Muslims will continue to assume, erroneously though, that the terrorists are fighting for them.

A closer examination of the terrorists involved in recent terrorist attacks in Europe and Australia reveals that they all have criminal records or links with criminals. They started as petty thieves and unfortunately graduated into killers. During their assent, however, they sought refuge in the midst of a much maligned and marginalised sector of a Western society, a Western society mired in racism and bigotry.
To buttress the point, Rupert Murdoch, probably the most influential media personality in the Western world, responded to the Paris attack with a most ridiculous tweet, saying, “Maybe most Moslems peaceful, but until they recognize and destroy their growing jihadist cancer they must be held responsible”.

Murdoch’s understanding of the situation is bigoted to say the least, he is directly holding Muslims responsible for the actions of a handful of criminals thereby perpetuating a myth his very successful media empire helped to create.

Time has come for Western Press and government agencies to reconsider some of the nomenclatures created after 9/11. They must start to call terrorism exactly what it is – a vicious crime that spares nobody. Muslims too are increasingly being targeted by these criminals and that trend is not showing any evidence of slowing down.

Kunle Shonuga is the founder and publisher of http://www.urnaija.com.

 

The Sun has Set

I want to dedicate this page to ideas, thoughts, reflections, prayers and words that reading an ancient text  will inspire.  We live in a monstrous world where the plethora of news cycles do nothing to calm or soothe stressed nerves. Every where we turn, we are saturated by sad stories and bad news.

I have been reading my Bible this year from the beginning, this page will be thoughts from that experience. I  hope to find a lot of things about myself, my journey, my place in the world  and so on. I hope that this journey chronicling  my thoughts and aspirations would cause me to reflect and change old unproductive patterns.  Please join me every week day from tomorrow for my thought of the day.

 

The first idea I want to share is from the tone of the Bible itself: the idea that renewal can only come from an experience with Him.

The sun has gone to bed

The day is long gone

All the worries and anxieties

Never to reoccur on a day with

Date like today

The Sun has set

But I am still here

We are both still here

Dreaming that in the sunrise

We shall arise with healing and power

To conquer not the world

But our selves and the small minded way

We limit ourselves.

 

The sun has gone to bed

On all of us

When we arise, we would be grateful

For another day to trade and barter in the sun

Inspite of it all, we arose

We will arise

 

 

Tundun Adeyemo

 

God is Beyond the Tithe

Giving the tithe is a fundamental part of theology in Nigeria. Churches rely on faithful and committed giving to survive. In Nigeria, there are more churches than businesses and industries, certain pastors enjoy luxurious lifestyles at the expense of poor congregations. Yet, because the tithe is given to ‘God’, no one questions the excesses of indulgent men of God. In the UK, churches are regarded as charities and thus regulated.  There are wealthy pastors as well in England, the comfort for believers is that laws keep them humble and diligent.

Should we tithe?
Tithes is the 10% of any increase.

Tithing can be regarded as a form of worship. Strictly speaking, it is giving a tenth of one’s increase. Tithing is recognition and worship of the One Who created and actually owns all. Worshiping God in a prescribed manner has existed since the Garden of Eden. Cain and Abel knew the correct way to worship God, but one of them chose not to worship that way. Any Christian who loves the Lord should desire to give everything to Him. Sometimes, you wonder why give  to God who owns the cattle on the thousand hills.

Does the God of heaven really need our tithes and offering? Does he punish us with disasters when we fail to tithe? Does he wait impatiently for the end of every month to get his hands on our money? Does he refuse to rebuke the devourer because we often do not tithe? Why are most people desperately poor even though they give faithfully and loyally? Must we tithe when we are just getting by? There are so many questions regarding the nature of God and tithing. Most preachers insist that those who give the tithe and remain poor remain so because they lack the faith to receive scriptural blessings. This is cruel theology and it must be far from the truth. Poverty is the direct result of an unproductive life. You can become unproductive for many reasons.  For instance, you cannot work because of ill health, or you have not been able to get a job that pay well, or the income you bring, is unable to feed your wife and  kids.

The idea that God depends on our tithes is just wrong for God is beyond tithe. He is a father and a friend. Jesus lived on the earth 33 years and not once did he pay the tithe nor did he make any teaching on the tithe. The only new commandment was that we should love God and our neighbour. When we love God, all we have becomes God and all of God’s becomes ours. Could the tithe therefore be a teaching of man to milk their congregation of the little they possess? Living in Nigeria is tough as it is. The writer will get emails about the tithe being in an Old Testament teaching and thus still relevant. Response? We might as well practice all the six hundred and thirteen laws of Moses.

Our Lord feeds the birds of the air and he knows the number of the hairs on our head. God takes care of all his children especially those who are not Christians and those who do not tithe. The point is do not feel pressurised to give your hard earned cash in any offering basket. He understands when you are unable to give. Its offensive when pastors hound us to give. There are churches where the emphasis is on getting to know and love God. In these churches, people are not forced to give. Yet, these churches are successful and people give cheerfully, wholeheartedly and they are blessed in return. God does not need our money, he is more concerned about us as individuals. He desires us and He would hope we love him too. If we gave on the basis of an admiration, love and respect for God, it is okay, but to give mechanically after being psychologically blackmailed to a church or to an unknown passive distant God is purely a waste of time.

Many Christians would disagree with me by citing testimonies of how they gave and God blessed them. This is good and consistent with the general principle that follows any giver be they Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists or Animists. These Christians would often blame those who suffers adversity by insisting he has issues and that he has not exercised enough faith in God. But if we were really honest, no one ever got rich by just praying or religiously giving tithes and offering. The Holy Ghost does not mint money, he gives ideas and would usually guide one in matters placed in his hands. The general rule of thumb is not to give offerings or tithes to the more successful churches as all that does is it enables the pastors to a lifestyle of Range Rovers and Gucci brands.

Wande had a bad year last year, she tithed faithfully every month, spoke in tongues, attended two extra services during the week in addition to the Sunday service, yet when she invested in a business in accordance to the ‘word of faith’ she got from her ‘Daddy in the Lord’, she lost every dime she invested. From speaking to her, the contention was that she was a faithful tither yet she had suffered so much by the devourer. The writer tried to make her see that the tithe had nothing to do with it, she simply made poor decisions and she suffered simply on both occasions heavily because she did not carry out due diligence. This idea that her ‘daddy in the Lord’ also prayed for her is nonsense. Sadly, many ‘daddies in the Lord’ have no business being in the Ministry. They are weak shepherds who need career counselling. She should have heard God for herself before embarking upon any  investment. Besides, the idea that Christianity is a bed of roses is an evil doctrine from the pits of hell. Our Jesus was crucified, his disciples credited for spreading the sacred truth of the gospel were mostly killed for the truth they stood for. Paul was beheaded in Rome, Peter was crucified under Nero. John was put to death with a sword and John the Baptist was beheaded because Herodias daughter was instructed by her mother to request for his head. Bartholomew was hung on a tree with his head downwards and Stephen was stoned to death by a hedonistic group. We need to dissuade our minds that Christianity offers a life of no troubles. Our brethren in Jos, Kaduna and Kano will attest to the fact that there is a price for being a Christian. The idea that we can trade with God Almighty on the basis of our tithes is nasty. Preachers should teach a more liberal and balanced theology on tithing, the problem is, they don’t and again, we all know why.

Those who tithe their money faithfully need to remember that if tithing is to be done well, they need to also tithe our time, talent, our first born child etc. The act of tithing has made financial slaves of simple Christians. Perhaps, there is an argument to tithe as ministers of the Word need to profit from their ministry. If we must tithe or give to charity, we do well to pray to God before we part with our hard earned cash. God knows how to prosper us. God like a parent wants to live successful lives. He does not want for us to struggle and live like paupers. When we are able, we should give and when we are not able, we should not give. God is not a tax master who sits waiting for the end of the month for our tithe. A lot of the pastors are business men  and we do well to educate them that the God we serve is beyond the tithe.

 

 

The image is from:http://benjaminconwaydotnet.files.wordpress.com.

 

Tundun Adeyemo

PS: I wrote this years ago and it was published in TELL Magazine.