To say that every passing day sees me getting fed up with society is to make an understatement. My sagging hopes are predicated on the pretentious nature of our existence, the false life we lead and, worse of all, the condoning, if not encouragement of such by institutions one would ordinarily rely upon to fight against the malaise. Thus, everywhere one goes, be it in the church, communities, or associations, that fact stares one in the face with its grim reality. Why then would anyone still be wearing a smile?
What gave me my topic this week was something I read in the social media. It succinctly captured what happens in our society and which I have been trying my little best to preach against. Before I go on with my piece, it will perhaps be a good idea to share what I read and it goes thus:
''MY HOUSE WAS ABOUT TO BE LOCKED on the 29th of September just because I was not able to raise the rent.
I posted it on Face Book, seeking for help, but all I got were 2 likes & zero comments.
''So l sent 250 messages to my contact list, requesting for a loan of $100. Sadly, only 10 people replied. 6 out of the 10 claimed they couldn't help. Only 1 out of the 4 who said they could help actually gave me some money, but the rest only gave me excuses and never picked my calls. At the end, my door was locked.
''I had nowhere to sleep. I walked in the dark, seeking options and sadly a thief stole my empty purse with my identity. He was badly bruised by a fast car as he was running away and died.
''Fast forward the next day, news quickly spread around that I had died. 2500 people posted on my wall how they knew me. How great I was. A committee was formed by my “loyal” friends who contributed $1,800 to feed guests at my funeral.
My colleagues at work teamed up and brought another $1500 for coffin, tents and chairs.
''I was to be buried in a coffin worth $1200 but since they purchased it in a haste, there was a middle man who sold it to them for $500.
''Relatives met again, it was a rare occasion for them to meet, so they met. For my send forth, they contributed an extra $1,000.
''Everyone wanted to volunteer in order to appear they were helping. They printed T-shirts with my image, each T-Shirt costing $120, so the T-shirt man got $1,200 from my presumed death.
''Everyone wanted to speak at my funeral. There was drama all over from people who never knew how l survived. There was rumour that I was murdered by my friends. People falsely accused my successful relatives of sacrificing me. Speeches were made on how talented I was by even those who never attended my events. The few friends who supported me didn't get the chance to speak during my funeral although they knew the Truth. In fact they were prime suspects for my 'death.
''You can imagine how the scene turned after I showed up alive, some thought l was a ghost.''
Don't show people Love when they are gone. Show it when they can appreciate you...Call people when they can pick; not when they are gone and you pretend to shed crocodile tears when in fact they cannot hear you. *THIS IS THE IRONY OF LIFE; WE LOVE THE DEAD MORE THAN THE LIVING*
Crocodile tears indeed, that's all we do today. But that's not all: there's also the false life. Hardly do you find people who are what they really are. Everyone seems bent on wearing a false veneer and because society seems to accept that, it thrives.
That is why criminals and all manner of bad people are glorified simply because of what society stands to gain from them. In this state, a criminal was once made a traditional ruler, something that made the cover story of a national newsmagazine then, to the shame, rather than the glory, of the state.
Such characters are everywhere now, bamboozling weaker characters with their ill-gotten money. They have become role models.
There are also those who made genuine money but who, rather than help those around them who are in dire straits, prefer to spend their money where they will receive ovation, forgetting that the Holy Book tells us that our father who sees in secret rewards those who give in secret.
But what are we seeing today? A man whose neighbour's children are at home because they can't afford school fees, goes to the church, to the village and to his club and donates handsomely to projects. He is cheered on by everybody as the best thing on two legs. He is seen as someone without blemish; a man who can never be wrong, even if his wrongs are as clear as crystal.
For all I care, people can go on cheering such people, because they probably aren't able to read between the lines. What bothers me the most, however, is that some institutions people look up to, to put a halt to this phenomenon are not doing their duties.
Their silence has thus begun to institutionalize this behaviour and the major institution I still have issues with remains the Church. Yes, the Church. She is supposed to offer the last hope but somehow, these days, she appears to have been swallowed up by the monster and joined the crowd.
If the Church gets it right, society will get it right because, no matter what, the Church is still enjoying enormous respect. I've written something about this and I guess it needs repeating because of the harm it's doing to society.
If certain things are condoned or glossed over by society, the Church should be the place to put a halt to it, with the Church showing the way to go. But then the Church, as stated earlier, appears to have joined the crowd in taking a materialistic bent and thus, the rot in society is continuing.
But how can the Church stop this new phenomenon? I have just one panacea.
Let's look at this scenario: I'm a parish priest. My parish needs money urgently to either finish a building project or to complete the new church building. A man comes to me, telling me he wants to donate handsomely to the project. I'm naturally elated. But just before I take the cheque, I ask him,
'Brother, I'm of course happy that it has touched you to respond to my plea for help. It shows you are a good parishioner. But before I accept, I want you to search yourself and try to remember if there is anyone in your family who truly needs this money more than the parish. Is there a neighbour whose child is not going to school because the father cannot pay the school fees? Is there an old man or woman near your house who is dying slowly because they have no one to help them? Is there anyone around you needing shelter because no one can provide one for them?'
If he agrees there is anyone needing help, I will advise him to first go solve their problem before coming to give to the Church in line with the charge by Jesus that whatever we do for the least of our brothers, that we do unto Him, the lord.
I will tell him this because we are first, human beings, before anything. Those people need the money more than the Church because even if we worship God under the tree, He will listen, as far as we do it genuinely. But if we worship Him atop a skyscraper with distractions and with ill-gotten money, we will just be wasting our time.
The failure to address such issues as this is killing the faith and turning the Church into a stock exchange or a theatre. There's too much distraction today in the Church of God that true piety is dying. Wicked people, thieves and blood suckers are taking over the Church of God, displaying their wealth where they will draw cheers but refusing to help the needy in the privacy of their homes.
Indeed, if possible, public donations in the church should be banned. Anonymous donations should be encouraged. But I'm pretty sure that if this is done, half of those parading themselves as ''do gooders'' in the church today will vanish. That shows you the hollowness of their ''philanthropy''. But then, it is better to aid them to make heaven through genuine donations and true piety, than speed their passage to hell by not telling them the stark truth, especially when we are privileged to do so.
But just as the Bible warns, it is better for one to have a stone tied round one's neck and thrown into the river than lead the children astray. The Church has a lot to do to bring back solemnity to the house of God, rather than the present chaos we are experiencing.
It is because the Church is failing in her duty that society is falling apart. Materialism is taking over true worship. Society is losing its soul and humans are losing their humanity. Any wonder that stories of wives stabbing husbands, husbands killing wives and people jumping into lagoons are all over the place? These are people who have no one to tell their stories, who have no shoulders to lean on and who in their frustration, take drastic actions.
As they suffer and die, we keep on acting as though nothing is wrong and the pretence goes on. When those people die, we kill cows, repaint their homes, close streets and hire the best musicians to give them ''befitting'' burials. Oh, what a shame!
Indeed, verily, verily I say unto you, it is better we worship under a weak building and in clean hearts and have it collapse on us and we die, than to worship in a multi-million dollar building without our hearts and with blood or 419 money and live.