I have a habit of talking to myself.
I know it’s weird but I find it comforting and soothing to be able to sit by myself and talk to myself like I am speaking to thousands before me. Don’t worry, I am sane and well. It is just a habit I have formed over the years and I do not know if it’s good or not. I’ll leave that for you to judge.
As a result of this, I find myself being drawn to the happenings and realities of the world, analyzing trends, issues, ideas, cultures, religion and philosophies that directly impact our day to day living experiences. As I soliloquize, I always feel the need to record my reflections so that I can come back to them sometime in the future to see how much I would have grown by then. But then, I hardly ever take the step to record them. But now, I have decided to briefly compile my thoughts as I am inspired to write in this blog. Hence, this piece is a compilation of my thoughts and reflections on specific themes I choose to reflect on and my understanding of how they shape our lives as humans. I am only free writing and if it happens to be too long, I’ll break it down into a two-three part series. Let’s get in!
Very fickle… transient; temporary. Some have defined it as a marketplace where we come, buy things and head back home which is believed to be heaven while others get lost on the way back home and eventually land in hell. But this part is about life, not the afterlife… so let’s stick to that. Truly, our time here on earth is very limited no matter how long we live. This is why we have to constantly look for ways to leave our footprints on the sands of time and create a long-lasting legacy for generations to come. But the truth is some people do not care about legacy, and that’s alright! After all, we all have different reasons for doing what we do and legacy or not, both are very tenable, valid arguments. Legacies could also be termed as good or evil and so a random google search of Martin Luther Kind Jnr and Adolf Hitler should help you make a sound judgement.
Inevitable. All living things must die. So we all will die one day! No matter how scary that sounds, it’s the blunt truth and the earlier you accept and embrace your mortality, the better you’ll be able to live life and find meaning and purpose to it. Our fear of death is what plunges us to live a life of fear and lack of taking risks. The more we accept our fate that death will find us one day, the more blissful we live life and enjoy the blessings that come with it. Having death at the back of your mind every day, every time, everywhere will make you lose the taste of what life’s all about. You will not enjoy life and certainly, you wouldn’t be bothered about leaving a legacy. You will be miserable and always censor even the tiniest things in your life. The problem is not because you’re more self-aware; the problem is that you’re denying a core part of your mortality and the result of that is fear. Free yourself from those thoughts; live life; inspire people; go to school; get married; have kids; attend wedding ceremonies; live your faith; live life and you won’t regret when death knocks on your door. Make every moment count.
I need to address a point here: I hate how some people think that when people die, they are being punished by God for it. You even hear some people say that “maybe if the dead hadn’t done this or that, or made a certain decision, they’d still be alive today.” While it seems logical to want to think about what could be, I think such logic is not paying respect to the dead; Such logic blames the dead for being mortal and fulfilling a core part of mortality; Such logic blames them for making a decision that their mortal self felt was the best decision they could make at that point while they were alive. Of course, they couldn’t have known they were going to die! That’s why we are mortal, we do not know it all. We cannot predict the future. The least we can do if we find ourselves in such situations is while mourning, we respect their decisions and accept their death as a core part of their mortality and we all will get to that point one day.
Very controversial and sketchy when trying to make sense of it in a more general sense. Whilst religion might be seen as one of the most powerful tools that has been used to advance injustices and problems in this world (and rightly so when you think about slavery and other injustices around the world), ironically, I still think religion is one of the most powerful weapons that can be used to address some of the pressing problems we face in the world today (I won’t delve into that much; that’s an entire blog post in itself… haha). However, selfishness, pride, close-mindedness and lack of tolerance are the recipes responsible for the aroma of hatred that has filled our noses and plagued our hearts to cause all these troubles. The Bible did say the mortal body (flesh) always wants to “continually do evil.” So in a nutshell, religion is not necessarily the problem; the problem is that, imperfect humans who have the ability to “continually do evil” define for themselves what religion means to control others and advance their own personal agendas. Thus, the problem is not the religion; the problem is the people defining it.
Forms some of the core parts of my values. I strongly believe in the gospel of Christ and the redemption through the cross. I also think the world needs Christ to be saved from their troubles. But then I cannot shy away from the constant issues I find in Christianity. I think Christianity is heavily influenced by contextual differences so that’s why having a tattoo in a Nigerian church may be seen as demonic and immoral but a tattoo in a different context, (say the USA) but same denomination seem not to be a problem (this is something I’ve personally observed before and not some fairy fable concocted to support this notion).
While I understand the importance of fellowshipping with the brethren, I personally think and believe that personal relationship with God is much more important. Oh, I also think people have different versions of Christianity and they simply write and preach about these versions. These so-called versions are not wrong but they become wrong when they are not genuinely practised or preached. What I’m saying is churches preach the truth that they deeply and genuinely understand. So if they sound like they are not preaching “everything” in the Bible, that doesn’t mean that it is false; its what they understand that they are preaching. Take a look at Apollos in the book of Acts Chapter 18. Personally, false doctrines for me means when you understand the doctrines of the Bible but deliberately refuse to preach a part of those doctrines that people need to suit your own personal gains. There are many ways this is happening today but I’ll stop there for now.
Also, Christianity is usually presented in a way that looks like we all haven’t gotten it wrong at some point. Like this extremely perfect bunch of people with no record of a dirty past. I think we Christians can be more impactful by telling people about our struggles and pasts. What I’m saying is at times, we present ourselves like we do not have a past (or even present struggles) to share to people, and so those we are preaching to cannot relate to our story. I recently listened to someone call this “Authentic Christianity.” I feel like the gospel can be more impactful if we Christians authentically talk about our problems and pasts to lift other people up.
Can’t say much about Islam. But my observation is that the doctrines within Islam seem to be very similar to the Old Testament doctrines of the Bible. So some of the things Muslims do (like fasting for a period, ablution, prayers at certain times every day), were done in the Old Testament. But the people in the old testament were not Christians because Christ hadn’t died on the cross at that time.
It is a sham! These days you hear the masses protesting against democratically elected governments because of very similar issues: the fact that the government seem to be out of touch with the realities of the masses so they roll out policies that are not very friendly to the people they serve. Gerontocracy in democratic structures across the world is also a very interesting observation I’ve made. You find an 80-year-old person as president especially in our dear continent but such a person is clearly unfit to even work in a Private Sector company. Why does it look like old people are unfit for the Private sector but are more than fit to govern/rule? The so-called experience they got in the 80s is of no use in this age and time because the world is constantly evolving fresh ideas are needed every day. Except the system is deliberately tweaked or totally overhauled to a better one (I have no idea of what a better one would look like btw!), the youths may never become the leaders of tomorrow in the political space.
More of a choice (or a decision) than feelings. See, when you decide to be with someone yeah, it’s not because they are the most beautiful or handsome or self-made or smart or wealthy or romantic or all-those-things-we-want-in-a-potential-partner. It’s because you chose them! Those feelings or hormonal inbalances do not define love entirely. They are important but not sustainable and I can bet those feelings won’t be there 10-15 years from now (ask your parents! LOL). The decision is what makes them “in love.” That decision allows them to empathize, understand and encourage each other the more so they can stay together, and in many cases, forever.
Problems are a part of life; failure is a necessary ingredient for success, hence, they are both inevitable on life’s journey. When we focus more on our problems we tend to be happier than when we run away from them. The title of a particular chapter of Mark Manson’s book, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F**k is “you are not exceptional.” This directly translates to “no matter the severity of your problems, you are not exceptional so do not feel like what’s happening to you should not be happening to you.” This is the game of life: You go through these experiences because they are a part of life. The only way you can survive this life’s challenges is solving the challenges life throws at you so as to get better challenges in the future. When we whine about our problems, we become miserable and all kinds of things like depression settle in.
Now, let me sound a note here: This is not to downplay the actual severity of the problems people face (people go through very terrible things in life) but you only have to look sideways to see that there are other people going through worse than you are! Hell, I don’t care about others! Oh yeah… but then the fact that others are going through challenges just as you are, shows that we all are not exceptional. At some point, we will go through stuff and what matters in the end, what decides our fate and outcome is how well we deal with that stuff. If we deal with it positively and effectively, we get a fairly easier problem in future; if we cry about why it shouldn’t be happening to us, we add more challenging problems to our lives than what we had before.
The challenge of life is like playing a game with varying difficulty levels; only that this time, the more you advance, the easier the levels; but the less you want to advance in the game, the harder the levels. Weird but yeah… I hope you get it. LOL.
Nigeria and Nigerians
A very industrious group of people willing to go to any length to succeed.
One of the most religious people on earth, yet, wicked in thoughts, and deeds. I feel Nigerians theoretically understand religion to the core but cannot seem to practise what religion preaches. An average Nigerian is very self-oriented and cares more about themselves and their family than any other person. On the face value, this is logical: I mean, would you love someone else than yourself and your family? But then why this act is selfish is because the average Nigerian goes to any length to succeed even at the expense of other people’s happiness. When you push Nigerians to the wall, instead of fighting back, Nigerians will simply break into the wall and create a space therein to hide and find temporary comfort. Did you know that on average, Nigerians provide for their own electricity through the usage of imported generators? This is why people no longer care about the general electricity problem in the country. After all, everyone has bored a hole in the wall and we all have created rooms for ourselves and made ourselves comfortable in the discomfort. The truth tho is that not everyone is able to create room in the wall and as a result, if you can afford it, you get a generator or a solar panel to deal with the electricity issue, but if you cannot afford these things, you just stay in your darkness, praying for the Power Holding Company to show mercy upon you and your household.
There are so many world views about the afterlife but my Christianity once again is the basis/foundation of my belief in the afterlife: Heaven or Hell. Heaven for Those who have accepted Christ as Lord and Saviour; Hell for the rest of the world. But then I often wonder about what could be in the afterlife really because the simple truth is as mortal beings, we have no idea of what is on the other side. The only way to know is to cross over and you cannot cross over without death. So bottom line: The book of Revelation gives us a snippet of what to believe exist in the afterlife, and if you have faith as a Christian like me, you will believe the book of Revelation. However, on the face value, no one really knows what’s in the afterlife until you get there. But it is better safe than sorry. Or don’t you think so? Haha. That’s why I have chosen the book of Revelation to clarify matters of the afterlife in that regard.
I believe God exists. Indeed, I believe in the Godhead which combines The Father, The Son and The Holy Spirit into one being which equals God. The Judeo-Christian worldview’s idea of a father (the creator who made man that later committed sin); a Son (whose death purges the world from its sins); and the Holy Spirit (a guide and counsellor in our walk on earth) seems to be the world view that makes the most sense to me. I must confess that I haven’t deeply explored other worldviews to fully compare them. But with my little understanding in this regard, the above influences my idea of God.
Ask most Africans that are Christians what they imagine God to be. Most of us still think God is a white male with a white beard who sits on a huge throne in the skies wearing a long white gown. While it seems to make sense to have such conclusions of an immortal being, most times, we fail and forget to understand that God is a spirit. Fellowship is good, but a personal relationship with God is gold! Chase the later, support it with the former and see how your perception of God changes!
How can a continent be so rich and yet poor? The irony!
Thank you so much for thinking with me today :). I’ll probably share my thoughts on more themes at a later time. Perhaps, there are themes you’d like to have my thoughts on? Do tell!