Monday, April 29, 2013

The Christian and Riches

We've heard the prosperity gospel some time or other - preachers who pervert the Gospel of Christ, making it all about the believer's accumulation of material gain, while ensuring their own temporal prosperity in the process, and calling such vampirism the blessing of GOD. Just a few Bible passages would serve to expose their deceptions.
MATTHEW 6:33
But seek ye first the kingdom of GOD, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. 
 Paul's first letter to Timothy discusses wealth with some depth.

1 TIMOTHY 6:6-12
But godliness with contentment is great gain.
For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.
And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.
But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition.
For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith,
and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.
But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.
Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.
Shortly after, Paul reveals how rich believers are to conduct themselves as concerns their wealth.
1 TIMOTHY6:17-19
Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy;
That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate;
Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.
Clearly, wealth in itself is not bad. The book of James contains a prophecy that addresses wealth, scheduled for fulfillment in the last days, warning all who expend their wealth on their own lusts. 
JAMES 5:1-6
Go to now, ye rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you.
Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are moth-eaten.
Your gold and silver is cankered; and the rust of them shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as it were fire. Ye have heaped treasure together for the last days.
Behold, the hire of the laborers who have reaped down your fields, which is of you kept back by fraud, crieth; and the cries of them which have reaped are entered into the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth.
Ye have lived in pleasure on the earth, and been wanton; ye have nourished your hearts, as in a day of slaughter.
Ye have condemned and killed the just; and he doth not resist you.
It says the LORD hears the cry of exploited workers when they are defrauded by unjust employers. My mind can’t divorce sweatshop workers from this scene. Or most so-called mboches. Or “perpetual interns”.
COLOSSIANS 4:1
Masters, give unto your servants that which is just and equal; knowing that ye also have a master in heaven.
The preacher made it emphatically obvious in Ecclesiastes: the accumulation of wealth is ultimately futile. The grave swallows the owner whole, another inherits the wealth. Today we see some “heaping treasures for the last days”. These see that the last days will be major trouble, but have put their trust in wealth, rather than in the LORD the omnipotent Giver of life, health, strength, and wealth, to Whom all things belong.

In the words of JESUS;
MATTHEW 6:19-21
Lay up not for yourself treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal;
But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through and steal;
for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

They say rebound relationships are a bad idea

My last blog post did a good job of trivializing the hurt that accompanied the break-up narrated therein. This appears to be my coping mechanism for hard or scary situations: joke until something happens. Never works. Sad jokes don't do the joker nor the hearer any good. Here's a sober retake, if I can manage it.

Heartache was easier in the past, in my days of inexperience and naiveté, when everything to do with romance could be intellectualized away with clipped maxims. Times past, I literally used to dwell in the library, perhaps partly to trick myself that loneliness was not my problem. Those days came and went in an endless circuit of reading, swimming, reading, soccer, studying, and more reading. Thus I cultivated a hard exoskeleton of supposed indifference towards all the people I inwardly fancied but couldn't afford to risk being rejected by.

Things went according to plan - until the instant I met (let's call her) Dee for the first time along a quiet path one evening. The Arcadian environment receded into oblivion as I said hi to her; the touch of her hand in greeting obliterated whatever traces of the universe had survived her enchanting presence. It was just me and her alone full-stop. I gazed with some intensity into her eyes until something flickered in hers. A starting gun fired in my head. Only literal fireworks were missing. Having thus spectacularly inaugurated things, we dived into it headlong.

Having bagged quite the catch (I have praised her beauty elsewhere), and certain that we constituted a cute couple, I indulged recurrent moments of exultation: "The Ex should see me now!" But cracks in the narrative appeared too soon, which quickly became serious gaping holes as the structure crumbled. In the middle of our conversational adventures I often trod upon certain discordant and inconvenient truths. As a fuller picture of Dee replaced the ideal I held, a brusque maxim of time bygone rudely sprang to memory: "Gilded tombs do worms infold." Recalling my past, I regretted all that time I had spent in the library instead of out in the field learning to sniff out frauds and fiends from a mile away. Fortunately I initiated a break-up quick, only to find myself in the peculiar situation of mourning the living.

I was a wreck. Hard lessons awaited learning. But I set them aside to critically examine the possibility of salvaging the relationship. Sundry encouragements availed themselves: "Hope ever springs anew," "People change," "All is not lost." But my eyes were opened by force through incontrovertible proof of infidelity. Then did I sit down to wolf the hard lessons.

The 21st century "dating scene" is a gallery of ugly. I could have never learnt this from Pearl or Ailis or The Ex. It took playing with fire to burn my fingers and learn. Many men in search of suitable partners will utterly bypass marriage material, only to settle for a figment of their own imagination which a total stranger conjures up for them. How great the fall, when initial excitement decays into eventual disillusionment!

One trusted friend presents the prospect of a truly wholesome positive relationship based on mutual love and understanding. So rich with promise, so virtuous the standard, that I dare not dream of it idly.

Besides, they say rebound relationships are a bad idea.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Pyrrhic Victory

Consumed with anguish and dread, I suggested to her that we break up. (I shouldn’t have called it a break-up. We were still standing on the fringes of an actual relationship, not quite in one yet. But attraction had been confirmed and I like to think it was mutual.)

Her reply to my break-up suggestion was an anticlimax. “Pouwa xana!” (translates approximately to “Awexome!”)

Now I’ll be the first one to wonder how I fell for a xufferer of xpelling xyndrome. I pay rigorous attention to the details of spelling and grammar, even when I text people who can’t be bothered to punctuate and who resort to texting fads which I consider juvenile and worthy of a haughty look. But once you fall for someone their quirks are left to slip as fond messages come and go.

Why did I fall for her? She’s beautiful, with a likeable personality – a nice person, her temperament is my ideal blend of assertive yet serene, her cheekbones are high, her smile is sumptuous to behold. It was still opening stages, the famous “honeymoon;” the venture glimmered with the promise of much fun. And I was resolved to live with as many misplaced x’s as possible.

But the problem was me, not her. My intentions were less than honest. Fortunately, the plain truth cornered me: I couldn’t marry her and didn’t want to, so what did I want her for? I decided to break it off before we got there. I was living in doubt with a foul conscience, not living by faith with a clear conscience. The difference is like hatred and love. That was the problem.

Besides, my instincts were telling me things that our ignominious break-up (above) only confirmed - she wasn’t thaaat into me. And I listen to my instincts with ears pricked upright. Some call it paranoia. But I say doubt must not be entertained just because one fears the truth that one suspects. Better to come to terms with truth than to conjure wishful smoke and mirrors in one’s own mind.

The break up went through successfully; consequently I have earned a loneliness waged on my own instigation, hence the title “Pyrrhic victory”. Right now my life appears to be the embodiment of every man’s nightmare: no job and no meet help. It becomes awkward when I see my old friends, classmates and age mates posting wedding pictures on Facebook. But I’m not complaining. I’m happy for them; GOD has blessed them. I’m living in faith that one day I too will find a good woman, who, because she’s good, will take care to be well found.

CONFORM

All billboards say the same thing




Friday, April 5, 2013

1534AD

The following argument was presented to Portugal by the Abyssinian ambassador when asked why Ethiopia sanctified the seventh day:
On the Sabbath day, because God, after he had finished the Creation of the World, rested thereon: Which Day, as God would have it called the Holy of Holies, so the not celebrating thereof with great honor and devotion, seems to be plainly contrary to God's Will and Precept, who will suffer Heaven and Earth to pass away sooner than his Word; and that especially, since Christ came not to dissolve the Law, but to fulfill it. It is not therefore in imitation of the Jews, but in obedience to Christ and his holy Apostles, that we observe that Day.... We do observe the Lord's day after the manner of all other Christians, in memory of Christ's Resurrection.