owadays, people look for immediate solution to their problems. They detest any rigorous religious act. They want nothing but Christianity made easy. This reminds me again of my secondary school days, whereby students rush to bookshops to purchase English Made Easy, Mathematics Made Easy, Biology Made Easy, Chemistry Made Easy, Physics Made Easy, etc. No one has time and energy to go through English Grammar Books, Modern Mathematics, Modern Biology, Comprehensive Chemistry, Physics by Nelkon, etc. Nonetheless, these big books are recommended by the Educational Authority. Students collect money from their parents or guardians to buy them. But they were used for decoration and ego boasting.
Today, people would like to grab such books as Healing Made Easy, Christianity Made Easy, Suffering is not my Portion, Back to Sender and Heaven Made Easy. But I do not think anyone would rush to purchase Hell Made Easy, Death Made Easy and Suffering is my Portion. Yes, most people are not comfortable with any rigorous religious practices. If they were in the shoes of Jesus Christ, they would not have undergone the painful way of the Cross. Christ should not have been crucified to redeem sinful mankind, because for God everything is possible. Preferably, God would have pronounced directly from Heaven, "Sinful mankind, I command you to be saved in the Name of my only Son and Saviour Jesus Christ!" Then all people on earth would respond, "Amen!"
It is a common phenomenon now that people rush to wherever things are happening, imagined or real. They seek for the God of sharp-sharp. I know one police officer and lawyer whose nickname is Sharp-sharp. He is very clever and wangles his way. His clients find solace in his simplicity and easiness. He can pass through a pin-hole to achieve his aim. There is also a priest who is called Father Sharp-sharp. His Mass and prayers do not last for long. Most members of the congregation smile whenever it is his turn to officiate in the church. Another priest who gives long homily and whose Mass lasts so long is known by the people as "Father Sleep for Church." Before he concludes the divine worship, half of the congregation has left for home.
There was an expatriate priest in my seminary days as a philosophy student at Ikot Ekpene. The priest did things slowly but calculative and consistent. Whenever he officiated at Mass, before he could finish making the Sign of the Cross, you would have gone to Enugu from Onitsha and back again. Nevertheless, he was a good and articulate priest of God. He taught us Natural Philosophy. He was a lover of silence, such that when a pin drops in his class, you would hear the sound. He was a meticulous man. I wrote my philosophical Memoir with him. Pay attention and feel with me on what follows. As I came to his room one day to check if he was through with my thesis, he removed his eye glasses and looked pitifully at me. He smiled and said to me, "Gentleman, look into that dust-bin and see it." I thought he was joking. My dear, I looked, I saw and I believed. In fact, I nearly fell into coma. My 50-page thesis that I wrote sharply and submitted for correction and approval was squeezed roughly and was thrown into the dust-bin for onward transportation to the ministry of refuge-dump. I wrote on Aristotle. With dizziness I asked my expatriate teacher, "Father, please what is wrong with my Memoir?" He replied, "You are very lucky that it has not been thrown away and burnt. Go and begin afresh. Writing of thesis is like choosing a wife among many women. If you wish to write on Aristotle, it should be Aristotle and not a conglomeration of divergent authors. You are free to refer to other authors in your evaluation." Indeed, I nearly dropped dead after looking hopelessly up and down. However, I summoned courage. I went back to the Library and started writing afresh. I burnt the midnight lamp for days. At last my expatriate teacher scored me high. I followed the rigorous way this second time and discarded the sharp-sharp method.
Which destination am I heading to? I travelled to Jos in Plateau State during my recent leave. I was born and brought up at Jos in those peaceful days, when Christians and Moslems co-habited peacefully and lovely. Unfortunately today, Jos has been polarized into Christian territory and Muslim territory. In order not to wake the sleeping dog, I resided in the Christian territory. On the Sunday following my arrival, I attended Mass at Saint Mulumba Catholic Church Jos. To avoid any rigorous introduction, I took my seat among the congregation. I was touched to the bone marrow by the officiating priest's homily. He based his preaching on Mark 8:27 - 35. Jesus Christ was teaching his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem to be crucified. Instantly, Peter took him aside and said, "God forbid that this should happen to you!" Jesus rebuked him, "Get behind me Satan!" Peter is not the Satan but his idea was satanic, because it was not the will of God. Whenever we fall short of doing the will of God, then we queue behind Satan. As a priest I can be a victim. You can also fall a victim.
The officiating priest rebuked us Christians for rejecting the Cross and looking for Christianity Made Easy. We rush to buy all sorts of anointing oils as solution to our problems. After all said and done, we see ourselves duped and dumped. We look for quick solution in fake healing ministries. Most Christians follow Christ but reject the Cross. But the truth is that there is no Christianity without the Cross. Jesus did not mince words when he said, "If you wish to be my follower, denounce yourself, take up your cross daily and follow me" (Lk. 9:23).
Are we deaf and dumb? At the Terminus in Jos, I came across a beggar with the written script "I am deaf and dumb. Please help me." Unfortunately I had only one thousand Naira note with me and I cannot spare giving all out. Unconsciously I asked the deaf and dumb beggar, "Do you have change?" He unconsciously shouted, "Yes!" I starred furiously at him and went away with my hard earned money. At least a miracle has been done. I have healed him by making him to speak instantly. That was an enough gift. He should go home and tell his people what God has done for him.
In the evening of that Sunday at Jos, I sat with two of my siblings sharing the Word of God. They told me that there is a new Christian Ministry now reigning in Jos within the Christian territory. It is known as the "God of Sharp-sharp and the God of Now-now Ministry." Immediately, laughter pushed me down from my seat. My siblings supplied the tenor and bass in the laughter. After the tearful laughter, the spiritual sharing continued. This new Ministry was founded by an unsuccessful business man who was unable to carry the cross of business. He gathered the likes of himself and they invoked a spirit that anointed them Men of God. They learnt the Art of Dubiousness and faking of miracles. Wonders started happening. Numerous Christians including Catholics trouped in there to encounter the God of Sharp-sharp and the God of Now-now. Some people got temporal solutions to their problems, especially financially.
As time elapses, the charm of the God of Sharp-sharp and the God of Now-now Ministry started failing. People sowed seeds with everything they have and got nothing in return. The Men of God in the Ministry smiled daily to the banks and are now driving exorbitant cars. They milk their congregation dry. The God of Sharp-sharp blessed his ministers abundantly while his followers who have sown millions of seed go home empty handed. What type of God is this? Who cheats who? My people shine your eyes! How long shall we continue to be misled by unscrupulous elements in our society who pose as Men of God? Even some call themselves Reverend Father just to catch gullible victims. Our Lord Jesus Christ warned us to beware of wolves in sheep's clothing. By their fruits you shall know them. Look twice before you reap.