I do not like controversies on religion, faith or belief, but sometimes the brand of Pentecostal Christianity in Nigeria breaks my heart. This sentence was my comment on one of the first posts, Sykik's Religion that talked about this issue. I don't mean we shouldn't blog or talk about it, just that we shouldn't quarrel with each other which I see some commenters on some blogs doing.
Of course it becomes more pertinent if one has the ears of one of these pastors, that would be excellent so the discussion can be more directed. I said essentially the same when I first saw the video above on Adura Ojo's Let's talk about it. I was not too surprised by the perspectives in the video, they were as split as I expected.
In reply to my wish that a so-called man of God will speak on what he believes, Prism reminded me that Pastor Tunde Bakare has. He actually condemned it, but some may accuse him of poverty or jealousy since he doesn't have one. I want to hear from those who have bought these jets or who accepted the gifts - talk about chop and clean mouth.
In case my stand is not clear from the title, I think that a so-called man of God owning a private jet in the Nigerian context is fraudulent and heartless. Fraudulent because a lot of them essentially dupe their members with selective passages from the bible and hoodwink them with fake miracles. Fraudulent because the mega-millions that prop up these churches are tithed and donated by criminals and/ or thieving politicians.
Heartless because even the genuine churches have millions of people who live in abject poverty either in their church or next door to them, and yet they close their eyes, building massive churches and buying or accepting gifts of private jets from the money-miss-roads in their congregations.
I want to see a massive hospital built by a church either as a charity or even as a business. And don't tell me they're not the government, the very first schools and hospitals our parents and grandparents used were not built by any government, but by churches.
Even if you discount the work of the olden days missionaries, those of us outside Nigeria will testify to charity hospitals and care centers set up by either churches or secular non-governmentals. How many of such are there in Nigeria? Instead the schools the churches manage charge fees beyond the reach of the middle class, not to talk of the indigent.
Eya of wives townhall connection wrote a beautiful post on 25 good things your Nigerian church can do for you. Some of them are below,
- Provide snacks for Children Sunday School classes. This will help you save a little cash. Buying snacks by the church gate for kids before taking them to their classes? Shouldn't the offerings these kids give be used to make their classes more fun? I used to frown at Birthday celebrations that take place in Children classes, but not any more. If not for these celebrations, there will be no form of entertainment for kids apart from singing, clapping and dancing.
- Stop telling little Kids who haven't started earning any income that not bringing offering is a sin. The parent's Tithe and offering covers them too.
- Stop making members feel like God is some kind of magician who calculates the amount you give him and instantly makes you rich when you give big amounts. God is no magician, he works in mysterious ways.
- Tell the congregation that God is interested first in you as a person. I am yet to see where God says that if you need a big car, you have to SOW your property or a huge amount of cash to get it. Tell the people that he is not a God of " The more you give the more you get"
- Teach members that loud singing and clapping by 5am, Use of microphones early in the morning and late at night in residential areas can be classified under noise pollution.
- Teach the congregation that Christians who are not members of your local church are also recognized by the creator.
- Use part of monies invested in big Businesses for charity.
- Provide for the needy from the purse without necessarily raising an offering every time help is to be rendered.
- Build and buy musical instruments from accumulated Tithes and offerings without tasking members .
- Build orphanages for the poor.
You can read the rest of the things on her blog.
It amazes me that private jets are even the big sin, these churches steal from the children in their midst. To all church goers and church workers reading this, please discuss with your pastors on how you can start doing these things. And if your pastor asks for your opinion about buying his own private jet, tell him NO!