I don’t know if this is a rejoinder to Tolu Ogunlesi’s article on Punch mobile but it was certainly inspired by it.
I will start by saying that I got born again at 13. I might not have been the brightest student but I wasn't dull so it wasn't out of a desire to excel at school. It wasn't so I could pass JAMB, find a good husband, have a successful career etc. Much as I have most of these things now, and will attribute them to God’s grace and favour upon my life, at the time, I was simply seeking the kingdom of God.
Although it hasn't been all smooth, I have fallen several times and a few more for good (okay, bad), measure. And every time, He has picked me up, His mercy being new every morning.
A lady has recently come out to speak about an affair with her pastor. My first questions were: was she raped? Was she drugged? Is she underage? NO. Then, accept my apologies, but I cannot sympathise with her. If you’re a woman in Nigeria, you’d be very aware of sexual harassment. Sadly, it’s not really frowned upon. When we’re still fighting over rape? If you get raped here, you’re likely to be blamed. What was she wearing? Why was she there etc? In my Movie, Kokomma, a 17 year old maid is raped by the Oga of the house causing his wife to leave him. While censoring the movie, a greater number of people thought she took it too far. ‘It was only rape and not murder’ they said. Very recently, an acquaintance of mine was raped, she reported to the police and they laughed at her, asking if she didn't enjoy it. This is the present reality for the Nigerian woman. So the woman needs to learn to protect herself. I see no reason why a woman should visit a man be it pastor, carpenter, senator or guardian in a hotel room alone except she absolutely trusts the man. That’s why hotels have lobbies. I think it’s a failure in the family system. What are mothers teaching their daughters? Where are the values? The man will always be attracted to the woman, and the woman to the man. It is nature. In the early days, they had chaperones keeping their eyes on suitors. In our days, you couldn't accept gifts from just any man, now the toaster hasn't started if he has not yet bought you that smart phone.
My friend says I'm double minded because the lady could have been raped, and had it been rape, my stance would have been different. And it would have been. I insist that nothing justifies rape: It is a criminal offence and must be treated as such. But consensual sex between two adults? That’s a totally different story. We have to be careful not to confuse crime and sin.
Is adultery/fornication a crime? I don’t think so. Is rape a crime? Most definitely.
I think that most Nigerian men still see the woman simply as a sex object. Perhaps it is cultural, perhaps it is the woman who has first put herself out as a sex object but that is a debate for another day. The more women you've had, the more pats on the back you get, never mind your marital status or political or religious positions.
I'm very careful not to judge people by my own moral standards. However, because I openly say that I am a Christian I expect to be judged by the precepts of Christianity and if you are Church leader, you’re not just accountable to God but to the thousands under your flock and more. In Timothy 3:2&3, the Bible says that the overseer must be above reproach, the husband of but one wife, temperate, self controlled, respectable, able to teach, not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a love of money. I suggest you read the whole chapter.
None of us is above sin, yes. We live under grace, yes. Does grace justify sin? NO!
If the allegations on Pastor Biodun are true -- this is my theory and nothing but a theory -- that it might not be the first time, that the church and his wife might have been aware but swept it under the carpet, I think the church board should have cautioned him, prayed for him and found a way to help him and if he was unable to control himself, he should have been made to step down. The Church would have been spared this embarrassment.
But unfortunately, our leaders - Religious, political, and corporate - have come to see themselves as demi-gods. And we the people have fuelled this belief. From the madam who kicks his house girl at home, to the church leader who uses his position and power to manipulate his audience, to the politician who steals from the nation’s treasury to the boss who calls his staff ‘fool’ every other day.
How can we ask them to be accountable when we have shared in their loot, when we have come to enjoy our docile position? The pastor said so, then it must be right. It’s easier to take his word than to read the Bible and know God’s word.
Because I am by nature simple, I attend a simple church presided over by a simple pastor. While I cannot beat my hands on my chest for my pastor(can I even beat my hands on my chest for myself?) there are some things that I can say for him.
I often wonder what it is that attracts people to churches where the pastor is boastful, does not give, does not impact society, is more concerned about the crispiness of his shirt than the welfare of his members.
As long as we continue to go to church to seek husbands (you would have thought husbands were to seek wives), wealth, miracles etc instead of God then these things will keep happening.
So while we must check the church, we must also check ourselves.
The Bible says that the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.1Tim 4:3.
Again, I suggest you read the whole chapter.