Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Of Christianity, Character, and Influence on Society

Saturday, September 27, 2014
Folks, we have for many times now been discussing matters arising from the lifestyle, public utterances, and claims about gifts of prophecy that continue to raise serious questions about Christianity in our contemporary times, especially as practised in Ghana and Nigeria. I have been particularly strident in condemning the “Men-of-God” who always catch public attention with their prosperity messages and prophecies of doom. It’s all meant to throw the searchlight on goings-on in the church to prove that Christianity is a lifestyle to be lived and not professed by word of mouth.
Living Christianity as a lifestyle enjoins the Christian to be above reproach so his/her lifestyle can positively influence the world and win more “souls” for Kingdom business. After all, the Great Commission is still relevant and can be fulfilled only if Christians can live and do things that separate them from those they seek to proselytize. Otherwise, if the would-be converts don’t see any difference between themselves (what they are or how they do things) and the so-called Christians (what they do or say), they will not be willing to be converted. And they will have a good cause not to become Christians.

The proliferation of churches and the intensification of soul-winning efforts are obvious, meaning that Christians are actively seeking to expand their sphere of influence. How they do things is already known.
What seems to be creating the impression that they are on the move is the part played by Gospel music in the evangelization efforts. All kinds of artistes are composing Gospel songs in all veins (for praise and worship purposes) and spreading the Gospel through their lyrics.
Considering the proliferation of such Gospel musicians and the volumes of rhythms emanating from their efforts, one might think that Christianity is the “in-thing” or that the society is benefiting from their work. But a bitter truth lies behind what goes on, which is that the Gospel music industry is just a money-making avenue being exploited to create the misleading impression of holiness.
We have seen the gospel musicians of all types in all guises, performing, gushing out quotations from the Bible, and holding themselves up as messengers spreading the Word of God. Some earn much respect for what they are or how their songs influence their followers while others lag behind or are disregarded because they can’t reach out to society.
Gospel musicians play a huge role in Christianity. Take some established ones like Elder Kwesi Mireku, Beecham,  Francis Adjei, Kusi Berko, Kwaku Gyasi, Stella Dugan, Comfort Annor, Cindy Thompson,  Samuel Sarpong, and many many others; and you should know why the “explosion” of Gospel music in the country. I am even not talking about Ghanaian highlife musicians shifting to Gospel music at the tail end of their career (E.K. Nyame, Kofi Ani Johnson, C.K. Mann, Daddy Lumba, etc.).
Gospel music is an attraction, which is why all over the world, gospel musicians are recognized as instruments to be used for propagating the Word of God.
One important aspect that is often overlooked in the assessment of the gospel musicians is the kind of lifestyle they live. Of interest to me—and which is why I am raising issues here—is this concern regarding LIFESTYLE. By how they live and do things, the gospel musicians go a long way to influence society, whether for good or bad. How do they hope to be remembered as such? And what becomes of them if their lifestyle conflicts with the “holiness” that their songs propagate?
I have asked these questions because of one stunning development that has been reported: “Popular gospel musician Christiana Love, now known as Obaapa Christy, is reported to have recently married a new husband and even delivered a baby girl for him although her marriage with Pas­tor Love, the father of her three children, is yet to be officially dissolved.
Interestingly, Christiana's new hus­band, whose name was given as Nana Frankie, is the same man she was accused of flirting with as far back as 2011 while she was still married to Pas­tor Love Hammond, General Overseer of the Life Power Miracle Church”.
This aspect of the news report shocks; but this is how Christiana Love has reacted: “"People are saying I gave birth, so what? Ghanaians talk too much, espe­cially on matters that have no bearing on their lives. I am not concerned about what they say about me as I am focused on stuff that will uplift my music... One should not pay attention to what people say. What is said about you will not make you". (Source: http://www.myjoyonline.com/entertainment/2014/September-24th/christiana-love-grabs-new-husband.php)
Here is the part that strikes me most: “I am not concerned about what they say about me as I am focused on stuff that will uplift my music...” Really, Christiana Love? Focusing on stuff that will uplift your music while doing things that will downgrade Christianity and the very values that your songs profess?
So, in practical life, you can just do things to undermine Christian values but seek to uplift same in your gospel music? A bundle of contradictions!!
You see, my good friends, this happening says a lot, which I have attempted dissecting and will now leave for you too to explore. Probably, when we get to know exactly the contradictions entailed by this posturing, we will know better how to position ourselves and not be cajoled by anybody.
Indeed, Christianity is being challenged (and probably undercut too) in many ways in our time. It is only good character (and not volumes of Biblical quotations, stagecraft, or theatricals) that can help expand the sphere of Christendom.   
I shall return…
·         E-mail: mjbokor@yahoo.com

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