Friends like these- not in my portion?

I have always been curious, no fascinated is a better word about the ‘not in my portion’ mentality. Three years ago, when I was diagnosed with cancer a friend prayed for me and said “cancer is not in your portion” I said nothing, but politely hung up the phone as soon as the friend went on about “no need for treatment, the tests are lies results are lies from the devil and with faith you will prosper.” What kind of person says things like that to someone they claim to care about? I politely respected their opinions or the right to have them. Why? Because I read somewhere that “opinions are like assholes everyone has one.” On a serious note I have cried and prayed and laughed and ignored and pondered these thoughtless comments about portion and lack of faith over the years. One question that always bugs me is that why is it that it’s always diseases like cancer, Ebola, HIV, that are not in our portion. Other questions include: Is malaria in our portion, common cold, headache or minor cuts and scrapes? Why does my friend self medicate and see the doctor for these conditions but does not respect my right to do so for something major? Is faith only selective or elective during major crises? If you believe that God made everything why don’t you believe that he gave scientists and doctors the knowledge to save lives? Yes we are all entitled to our opinions, but when you cruelly blame a sick person for their disease or death, because “they lack faith,” how unattractive is your religion. To my former friend that prayed for me, please remember the clich├ęs; “the road to hell is paved in good intentions,” and “with friends like these who needs enemies.” BTW I will still pray for you.

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Praise singers

There is a new generation of praise singers that constantly sell their souls and voices to the highest bidder. They are so loved by the rich and powerful as they complement every word, idea, spewed by these people for some rice, naira, dollar, or whatever tip, privilege or opportunity that is tossed in their direction. They praise with their blogs, their songs, their dances and worship at the feet of their masters, who can do no wrong. These praise singers are spineless chameleons changing colors and teams without blinking. Curiously resilient their voices are loud and they reap the rewards of their ‘loyalty’ as they ascend to levels previously reserved for sacred cows. Once in a while, however an insane master, unmoved by the incessant adulation, crushes a praise singer, like roach. Before we can get used to the quiet another praise singer arises ululating dirges to the memory of the fallen gong.

The curious case of the anointed TBJ

A synagogue residential hall collapsed upon hundreds of evangelical Christians in Nigeria and over a hundred lives were lost. Families and friends are mourning from Nigeria to South Africa. Even Dr President Goodluck Jonathan (when will he go do the same at Chibok?) came to mourn and stand side by side with the prophet of the synagogue. The dead are dead and may they rest in peace Amen. The plot thickens as the prophet declared that he knew that his congregation would go through tragedies and difficult times. I believe him because this anointed prophet is like an arsonist who sets fires and predicts it would burn. Anyone surprised? Monumental buildings that are improperly constructed will collapse, surely the anointed ‘ s holy water could not collapse proof his building. The prophet needs our prayers not because he is pursued by satanic forces spearheaded by his critics as he claims. But because he has power, money and influence that is guiding the gullible to death, despair and ignorance. Many Christians are quick to claim ‘touch not my anointed’ but we need to be careful. We have seen ministers like Jim Jones, David Koresh, who ended up hosting mass deaths.
None of them are God. The cult of greed and egoistic, self-centered, self-serving, money amassing, prophesy is dangerous in so many ways. BTW I will pray for the anointed that he gets a new vision and keeps his jet of Ebola curing water out of Liberia unless he is sending some soap and bleach as well.

Please see below an image of the building, anyone surprised that it collapsed?

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Happy birthday Nigeria

October 1st 2014 and Nigeria is 54 years old today. Dreams and fears stand side by side with hope and loss. It is hard to celebrate when there is so much work left to do. It is hard to celebrate when we still need to #bringbackourgirls. It is difficult to celebrate when poverty is increasing and greed is the greatest prayer from the mouths of the anointed. But sparks of hope, the resiliency, the vitality, the laughter, the dirges, the smiles, the tears, the fears, life itself summons the words happy birthday Nigeria, may the lessons of the past stimulate growth. Ase!

Not in my portion – Superstitions and religion

There have been extremely troubling reports about the Ebola Index case in Port Harcourt, Nigeria. The man was a physician, lets call him Dr Index, who knew he had been exposed to Ebola in Lagos. Rather than take the necessary precautions, Dr. Index traveled by air to Port Harcourt where Dr Index exposed patients in his private clinic. Dr Index also exposed family members and church members who performed healing rituals that involved laying of hands on Dr Index. All of these activities were after Dr Index was fully symptomatic. The Nigerian blogs are rife with speculation, people claiming that Dr Index had mental problems or that Ebola clouded his mind. Others assume that Dr Index was greedy and was chasing money by practicing in his private clinic. I doubt if any of these were the case, after all Dr Index was alert enough to perform surgeries and participate in community activities. I think it boils down to something a lot more sinister. A mindset that is rife with dangerous superstitions.

These superstitions are extremely dangerous. The pervasive mentality of some religious people in Nigeria is that a disease is “not in my portion.” This is the attitude that Dr Index showed by leaving Lagos fully aware of his exposure to Ebola. If you believe you are impervious to diseases or other problems because they are not in your portion, you take unnecessary risks and make irrational choices. There are so many examples of this behavior, I know of several cases of women who tried to pray away early stage breast cancer only to die a slow painful death from metastatic cancer. Or the case of parents whose kids had a minor bacterial infection but refused to use medication preferring prayer until it was too late. Public Health, therapeutic, hygiene, sanitation and other interventions will be ineffective when people continue to sabotage them with ignorance and superstitions.

This mentality is not unique to Nigerians and is shared by many West Africans. Denial and superstitions is why people hide family members that have Ebola instead of protecting them and the community by sending them to health care centers for proper treatment and quarantine. Instead of rejecting superstitions, people embrace these superstitions tightly. Instead they hide away from help and try to pray the Ebola away, after-all it is not in their portion. It is no wonder that attempts at containing Ebola in Liberia are proving quite difficult.

The portion preferred by some folks is one where it is easy to regurgitate conspiracy theories rather than practice the courage displayed by physicians like Dr. Ameyo Adadevoh who made the ultimate sacrifice to prevent an Ebola epidemic in Lagos. Nigerians continue to sing her praises and those of the unnamed healthcare workers who sacrificed health or life for public safety. These songs will be mere lip service and could easily turn into insulting dirges to the memory of Dr Ameyo Adadevoh if they are punctuated with the superstitious refrains of “It is not in my portion.”