Friday, April 25, 2008

Wrong application of Salt

Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under the foot of men. Matthew 5:13

I presently advise the management body of a distribution firm on issues in their processes. Due to turnover and growth, a core operational aspect requires recruitment on a day to day basis. I make frequent attempts to review the employee evaluation processes (which requires that the candidates take a test). To fit in, my dress sense will give any onlooker that I am some university graduate or an aspiring yahoo yahoo guru.
An interview just finished ten minutes before I started writing this blog. I noticed these two men passing about papers during the exam and exchanging ideas. Immediately the exam was over, the older one bowed his head and offered a prayer, clearly for success. After which he made the sign of the cross and left the examination hall.
What do you think about that?
First lets get this straight; Facts about me:

  1. I come from a Christian family. Most of my friends are Christians also.
  2. I practice Christianity (not necessarily to the level at which i can be considered "born again" but I think I can be classified a "good" person (by standards))
  3. I encourage Christianity and believe it provides a sustainable way to life long happiness

One aspect of my philosophy on life, looks at value and systems. I believe we are all working together for our perception of a greater good. Due to the complexities of our society, one individual is not equipped enough to produce everything he/she requires for survival.So some form of batter trading takes place. And this value is stored in the form of cash/money.
I generate money from the value I add by providing analytical services to interested clients. This earnings is diverted to meet my wants & needs (as I do not have the time or expertise to do that, and at the same time, focus on meeting the needs of others). While I focus on writing this blog (for example) , Acer can focus on building better laptops. In the general case, some groups focus on tilling the land for our needs (food, oil and mineral resources)some other modify what has been tilled, others apply it, while another are bungled up with the task of deciding what to do with the produce. That is how it works.

Those that work are those that can eat!!
I tend to believe that institutions within a society are employed to add value and earnings for such, reflects the amount they add. To falter would mean certain aspect of societal living will be affect. Different institutions have been employed to review different aspect of living. They are either based on governmental nomination or voluntary mandate. The government delegates ministries to create/maintain infrastructures and (depending on the level of development in that society) provide social goods. The people nominate religion to help provide a conscience/essence to living. It objectively should instill a universal truth; a truth that will be acceptable across all social segments. It should be an institution managing an aspect of the society that both government/private institutions are not capable of handling; the state of the human mind. I am talking about putting the right control mechanism in place to prevent the powerful from inflicting extreme social experiences on the weak. As this position of power in this institution links its congregation closer to God, the the seat of power enjoys immunity.

The Nigerian church can be estimated to be a $19.14 billion industry (Estimation is based assuming annual GDP at PPP of $191.4 billion (source wikipedia April 2008) that is evenly distributed, and Christians are 50% of the population; they all pay their tithe, which is 10% of their income and pay an extra 10% on pledges, building fund, church offering and thanksgivings).There is a balanced distribution of both the rich and the poor but a similar clamour seem to be fueling their desire to "invest" more in the church; change. People are fed up with epileptic electricity situation, bad road, corruption in government, high crime rate, and a general decay in the social fabric that lies underneath the structure of our society. I don't think our religious engagement will be this high if Nigeria functioned better.
I cannot help but voice out my perception on the whole thing. Agreed the bible says:

For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness" 1st Corinthians 3:19.
For all I know, there might be aspects that I overlooked or am not capable of analyzing. But the bible also says:

"If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land"
2nd Chronicles 7:14
Statistics at one time ranked Nigeria has the country with the 2nd highest number of churches per people (Jamaica was ranked first).
In line with my thinking, the church revenue along with the above statistics do not give any indication of the value it adds to our well being.
The media publishes daily news on:

  1. Corruption cases against almost all governors, minister and governor over allegedly siphoning money (papers as at time of writing are filled with the case of Senator Iyabo Obasanjo-Bello and the N300 million health ministry scandal)
  2. Death from preventable diseases are on the increase
  3. Rising crime rate levels
  4. Soaring unemployment rate
  5. Crisis in the Niger Delta
  6. Traffic in Lagos
  7. Increasing brain drain

At the same time, we hear news on night vigils are becoming society events that attract the rich and mighty (Ex president Olusegun Obasanjo, was a regular at the redemption Camp along with a host of other governors to include Chief Gbenga Daniel).

I might be wrong but I believe that the church should be a more pivotal role in deciding how this society should function.

  • The church should have a laid out plan on how it intends to ingrain discipline in the mind of the youth. Although it has not been completely successful, I think introduction of private universities by some churches are a step in the right direction (I am not completely convinced that shielding them totally from the evils of the world would make them become good Christians; how do you what is right, when you don't know what is wrong?).They should also be active in developing survival strategies for its youths that will enable them function in a society like this and still maintain their faith.
  • They should also be effective in ensuring that the law rewards and punishes fairly. These institutions should be out there making comments on government policies and effects on the grassroots, designing better ones and constructively criticizing the government's negative actions.
  • The church should be heavily involved in charity work and welfare services. (not by donating one bore-hole and organizing a ceremony to do that; I am referring to welfare packages that will ensure the individual comes out better off at the other end).

I believe the issues the church should deal with must reflect the challenges the society faces at that time. The missionaries who came from the West (before the colonisation of Africa) required expanding the gospel at that time because that was the major challenge they faced. Societal values functioned better and people barely knew what they know now. So unrest was not like it is now. The major issue then could include convincing new convert that they are doing the right thing (as the religion seemed to be gaining ground elsewhere). I am not critizing any expansion strategy but I don't think it is a priority (especially when you are expanding in the same location). Our challenges as a society go deeper than make more money, kill all enemies or building bigger churches. They are more fundamental (that is why we now have pastors who roam about with siren vehicles and security guards).

The amount is of salt applied to food is usually very little (compared to the volume and quantity of the food and other items in the pot). Yet, there is always a difference. I think the question we need to be asking is if the salt is wrongly applied or simple has lost its savour.
Whatever the case maybe, something definitely is not right.



Very interesting post. I might need to read it again, and more thoroughly to truly get it.

Nice blog, by the way.

Ms. Catwalq said...

I agree with you entirely and have been mirroring the same sentiments for years...

But beinf a non-christian, u can only imagine how that comes across to the "faithful believers"