Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Place of worship or money making venture???


        Taking a walk down my street, I am amazed at the number of churches that occupy it and yet more are still springing up. Every available space, shop or warehouse is converted to a place of worship. Each church which its own loudspeaker competing with the other begging to be heard or just contributing to noise pollution. By definition, a church is a building for public Christian worship. Basically, a place where all believers gather to worship and serve their maker .People are faced with different challenges and run helter skelter to find solutions. The church has proven to be a solution provider hence some dubious people have turned it to money making venture resorting to all forms of schemes be it hypnotizing, witchcraft, occultism and other evil plots to exploit their followers.

      The other day I was in the saloon patiently waiting for my turn along with two other women-one obviously married and the other probably not. Trust women and gossip, the issue was about pastors and how they are duping gullible followers. This discussion came about as a result of the stylist opening later than usual. Her reason was that she went to church first before coming to work. The two ladies present had scolded her and had pointed out her nonchalant attitude towards her business. According to them, business first then others follow after all that was what put money on her table. However, the stylist did not claim defeat as she defended her action; she had told them that God was the giver of life and good things like health and that if such things were missing in her life then who would be available to render the services that they needed. This little argument had regenerated to take a new form as stories of personal encounters with so called men of God were recalled. I decided to be a listener rather than a contributor.
     As much as I have reference for Pastors, I would however admit that going into ministry has proven to be a lucrative venture aside politics. The intending pastor does not need to have a PhD in Psychology rather he/she must understand the art of how the human mind works and apply common sense and every other thing follows. I don’t want to sound judgmental but it quite obvious that many have been led astray, hypnotized and duped all in the name of seeking salvation or one form of breakthrough or the other.  
  
    What is even more pathetic is the level of moral decadence in the society-armed robbery is still on the increase, corruption has eaten deep into the society, people still nurse selfish ambitions and think less of their neighbours, parents no longer their monitor their children and wards, the youths are over-zealous to make quick money; they do not believe in hard work anymore, indecent dressing has been the order of the day which in turn brings about cases of rape and other social vices. Recently, a new trend which has taken over the headlines is the rate of kidnapping. People are no longer safe in their homes and environment yet we have so many churches preaching morals and the kingdom lifestyle or are they only focusing on prosperity and giving alone.

        Truth be told, we all need prayers and can not stop getting enough but must we rely on solely people who claim to be anointed for the laying of hand and prayers before we believe things would go well. There have been reported cases of pastors who belong to occults, sleep with their congregations and encourage satanic behaviours. I t is high time the essence of religion is practiced and not capitalized on .I am not against the propagation of the gospel but what I consider disturbing the rate at which churches spring up for generating income yet there is so much ill in the society. A famous Nigerian artiste in his song “wonder” was quoted to be saying people are suffering and the pastor lives are getting better…and that whether would Jesus ever come. It is not an uncommon sight to see so-called pastors drive jeeps while their members trek to church. Religion be it Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Judaism, Rastafarian or as the case may be all boils down with a personal conviction of one maker. It is a personal walk though there is need for fellowship with other believers. Every person would be judged accordingly and individually not collectively. With so much deceit circulating it would be wise for a believer to be careful in the decision he/she makes concerning his/her place of worship and service to God. It is best to dissect every word preached and cross check the bible for any contradiction. People should also remove the mentality of worshipping their pastors –they are not gods only instruments in the hand of God. Members should also strive to be worthy vessels in the house of God for His glory. 

   Religion’s motive was to instill morals and preach peace and love towards humanity but the reverse is the case because it appears to have been taken to another level by so-called fanatics. It is one of the causes of discord, war and unfair treatment to humans and even killings. By definition, religion is a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature and purpose of the universe especially when considered as the creation of a superhuman agency or agencies usually involving devotional and ritual observances and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs. Going by this, it should on its own instill some check and discipline in the society to bring about peace.

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

SOCIAL MEDIA: GAINS AND PAINS.

Social media has taken over the world particularly among the youths. It is very rare to find a person that is not into social media .It has been expanding, before now the most popular was Facebook but other sites such as Twitter,LinkedIn,Google-plus,Whats app,2go,Skype,Instagram,MySpace,Blackberry Messenger amongst others have posed as stiff competitors for an individuals’ time and attention. Information is key in the world that we live in. A misinformed person can be regarded as one who has a deformed mind. The world is a global village and there is need for communication to disseminate information. Social media serves as a platform to spread information like an uncontrolled wild fire. It is also a medium for self expression. Thankfully, Nigeria is under a democratic dispensation, so people can still voice out their opinions or views even though they might not be present physically but still they make their stand known. As much as social media creates a medium for freedom of expression, individuals should take caution when addressing issues without the use of vulgar or barbaric expression. Social media has created an atmosphere for networking; people of like minds have the priviledge or opportunity of meeting to rub minds even when far apart. It bridges the gap of distance-a person can reach the other party instantly via any of the social media platforms. It serves as a medium of comic relief through the uploading of funny pictures, bizarre stories making news around the world and the posting of jokes. Social media has also reconnected long lost friends, childhood friends, schoolmates and colleagues that might have drifted apart because of the furtherance of education, change of location, marriage or career advancement. It rekindles friendships, opens up old memories and expands future aspirations. Social media has created job opportunities for individuals who have proven to be internet savvy. Certain Organisations require the services of people who possess special skills relating to the optimisation of social media usage. Business owners and Organisation do not rely solely on advertising their products and services in newspapers, tabloids, television stations, radio stations, billboards, fliers, posters e.t.c. They have also resorted to taking advertisement to the next level by being visible online and joining social media to create awareness about their brands. This has boosted a large customer base and patronisation. It had never been easier to locate or search for an Organisation/Enterprise but with the advent of Social media, transacting business on-line has gotten easier by the day. Social media has brought business owners closer to their customers. Making enquiries, complaints and everything related to business affairs are made clear to the customer unlike in the normal procedure of making phone calls which most times do not go through or is it going to the business location which involves facing traffic and competing with other customers before one is finally attended to. Social media has also brought about marital relationships. Two strangers with common interests can build on their friendship and then take it to another level. There has been a reported case of people who got hooked up via social media and are enjoying their union. Social media has helped in the transmission of emergencies and breaking news. Normally, such information would have taken hours to reach the intended audience or authorities but the advent of social media has brought about a fast paced free flowing information world. As much Social media has done so many good, fraudsters and dubious individuals have converted it to a business venture to dupe innocent and gullible people. There have been cases of business transactions and deals that were not genuine that left the undeserving victim helpless, stranded and psychologically wounded. Last year, it was reported that a young lady had come all the way from t North to do business with two men that she had met through one of the social media networks. She didn’t know their evil intentions and that she would not be alive to tell her experience. The men had drugged her, raped and eventually killed her. But for timely intervention, the culprits were nabbed by the police and have been made to face the wrath of the law. Several cases of such incidences of violence, kidnapping, forgery, impersonation and other vices have been linked with the wrong associations in the social media world. Social media has given access to criminals to infringe on people’s privacy and hack into their accounts. No wonder it is advisable to not give out all ones information. It is always best to put up privacy settings to block unwanted access. Mores so, cases of theft of smart phones, laptops and other gadgets have been on the increase because everyone wants to be on social media and create a false impression. Social media has taken over conversations. These days people rarely sit down to talk one on one or eyeball to eyeball. They would rather spend time chatting. This has led to the adoption of SMS languages and shorthand. This has also affected the art of writing because a person who is addicted to social; media and its language would have difficulty constructing a full sentence without putting slangs, abbreviations and codes. An individual can spend unlimited time chatting when that time could be used for other productive and beneficial activities. It has been proven that people lie on social media. Someone living in Lagos could deceive people to believe he/she is staying elsewhere. Pictures uploaded might not be the person’s real identity and fictitious names are also used. Social media tends to promote dishonesty and unnecessary behaviour that wants to oppress and impress people. It has also served as a medium to spread rumours and false information or stories. This has brought about so many controversies, doubts, panics and disputes. However with all the disadvantages associated with social media, it is pertinent to know that it is a powerful tool for bridging distance and disseminating as well as retrieving information. Do yourself some good and be active on social media for the right reasons.`