Tag Archives: Reflections

In the Name of Jesus: Reflections on Christian Leadership

In the Name of Jesus: Reflections on Christian Leadership

Henri Nouwen was a spiritual thinker with an unusual capacity to write about the life of Jesus and the love of God in ways that have inspired countless people to trust life more fully. Most widely read among the over 40 books Father Nouwen wrote is In the Name of Jesus. For a society that measures successful leadership in terms of the effectiveness of the individual, Father Nouwen offers a counter definition that is witnessed by a “communal and mutual experience.” For Nouwen, leadership cannot function apart from the community. His wisdom is grounded in the foundation that we are a people “called.” This beautiful guide to Christian Leadership is the rich fruit of Henri Nouwen’s own journey as one of the most influential spirtiual leaders of the 20th century.

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Anglicans and the Roman Catholic Church: Reflections on Recent Developments

Anglicans and the Roman Catholic Church: Reflections on Recent Developments

The beginning of a specifically Anglican liturgy and culture within the Roman Catholic Church was established in the United Sates by Pope John Paul II. Since then, Anglican Use parishes have been worshipping in a distinctively Anglican style within several American dioceses. Thanks to Pope Benedict XVI, these communities are now able to form into personal ordinariates led by bishops who were previously Anglican clergy. As a result, even more Anglicans seeking full communion with Rome can find a home within the Catholic Church.

The twelve essays in this book discuss the reasons Anglicans have sought reconciliation with the Holy See, while retaining elements of their own liturgy and traditions. They explore the history and scope of Pope John Paul II’s Pastoral Provision and Pope Benedict XVI’s Apostolic Constitution and examine the needs of the new ordinariates if they are to flourish. Also considered are the changes to the Roman liturgy since the Second Vatican Council and the specific patrimony that Anglicans bring to Catholic worship.

Many of these essays have been written by erstwhile Anglican clergymen who have been ordained into the Catholic priesthood (and one into the episcopate). A few are by Catholic experts on this topic. There is also a contribution from a woman who had been an ordained Episcopal priest before becoming a Catholic.

Here is a wealth of information for anyone interested in the Anglican communities within the Catholic Church, the “reform of the reform” of the Roman liturgy or the testimonies of Anglicans who have become Roman Catholics.

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Reflections On Prophet TB Joshua At 46

Reflections On Prophet TB Joshua At 46

In Nigeria’s recent history, June 12 has become a very special and important day. It has become a symbolic day that reminds Nigerians of their history of many shattered dreams, of a fact that the ordinary folk of this country cannot even be allowed to become what they want to become, to choose the leaders that they want to choose for themselves.

June 12 is also the birthday of a remarkable Nigerian, a man whose type graces this world once in an epoch. On June 12, this year, Temitope Balogun Joshua, Nigeria’s healing pastor, extraordinary preacher, prophet and humanitarian, turns a mere 46 earth years. But it is only God Almighty Himself (judging by the profundity and wisdom exhibited by Joshua) who can tell the real age of this prodigious man of God.

Until I watched the story of Nigeria’s beleaguered dwarves on Prophet TB Joshua’s Emmanuel TV early this year, my attitude to organised religion had been one of total indifference, if not downright hostility. And who could really blame one for this? If the general attitude of many of our today’s religious people and their leadership is anything to go by – and I mean of every popular religion in this country – then, it is time to consider Satanism as an option!

It is also impossible for any serious African, a student of history and one who has taken pains to research into Black history and avail himself of facts, of the role that religion (particularly Christianity and Islam) played and still plays in the subjugation of the Black race, not to be bitter towards and suspicious of anything religious. This is only human.

The world, for instance, annually celebrates the very unfortunate fate of the Jews in the concentration camps of Auswitch and Birkenau. But nobody ever mentions the horrendous massacres and enslavement of the Bakongo of five centuries earlier and the fate of the last Mani-Kongo who even transmuted to Dom Afonso I, from Nzinga a Mvemba, on conversion to Christianity, thinking he was dealing with honest people of God.

Today, the ongoing genocide in Omar al-Bashir’s Sudan is there for all to see. But what is the so-called civilised world doing about this evil and well-orchestrated decimation of Black African populations in that country? Why are even other independent African nations pretending to be doing something, whilst the long-suffering people of Darfur are steadily wasting away?

Because of the long history of struggle for survival of the Black race and the many terrible things that have happened to our people in the past and still continue to happen, many African elite have turned sceptical to matters of religion. This cynicism is aptly captured by the battle song of one of the leaders of the Haitian Revolution, (1791-1804) Jamaican-born Bookman Dutty, now famously referred to as “Bookman’s Prayer”.

That revolution, begun almost half a century earlier by Maroon leader, Francois Makandal, was carried to a successful conclusion by Black fighters, under Jean-Jacques Dessalines. Unfortunately, the struggle came to a tragic end when the White agents of Napoleon Bonaparte tricked the last leader of the revolution, a mulatto named, Toussaint L’Ouverture. Toussaint was promptly shipped to exile in France where he was executed by means of starvation and cold.

The revolution was thus extinguished and since then, Haiti, the first independent Black nation on earth has never been allowed to be the same. And neither has Nigeria, either, since our so-called independence – this Nigeria of ours, the one Black nation on this earth with the capability and enough resources, human and material, to strike out on its own. The deepest roots of Nigeria’s myriad of problems lie in matters of race and religion.

For me therefore – and like I believe, for many of my kind – Jesus Christ merely became a symbol of Western deceit, cheating and thievery. Everything about the Christianity into which I was born irritated me completely, until I discovered Prophet TB Joshua’s brand of practical Christianity. In the name of the same Jesus Christ that one viewed with great suspicion, the man heals the sick, preaches the gospel in his own unique way, gives without any reservations whatsoever and sees deep into the future and even into people’s private problems, to reconcile feuding families, among other things.

I have continued to study this man and my interest in his activities, are growing by the day. He demonstrates Christian virtues like no other pastor I have come across, does. Well, if all this is what Jesus Christ is all about, then I should review my opinion of Him. Like I have said here before, his miracles are simply mind-blowing, which have led many to accuse him of witchcraft and sorcery. I believe people who are saying this need some enlightenment for, like Prophet Joshua himself often says, “What people don’t understand, they criticise…”

But anybody who has taken pains to study the principles of some occultic practices would know that with Joshua’s many diverse capabilities, it is not possible to combine darkness and light, at the same time. This is a simple fact of nature. No one occultist could combine the many capabilities of Prophet TB Joshua – not even great masters like Abramelin the Mage and Aleister Crowley could. Such endowments as he has exhibited, coupled with his personality, can only come from an enlightened soul, directly connected to and tapping from the highest source of Light. Those who have taken the trouble to study the man at close range would understand what I am talking about.

Ironically, like Nigeria his country, Pastor Joshua has not been allowed the peace of mind he deserves, to continue his good work of charity by, of all people, his fellow Christians. I just read an interview granted a magazine (or is it newspaper now?) by Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, the current President of the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria, PFN, in which he declared that Pastor Joshua is not of God. Pastor Oritsejafor was also quoted as having demanded to know who Prophet TB Joshua’s mentor is.

Let me begin by asking Pastor Oritsejafor who his own mentor was and who his own mentor’s mentor was. Secondly, by whose authority were both himself and his mentors ordained pastors? Having said that, by whose authority has he declared that anybody is not of God? Hasn’t his own Bible told him yet that judgment is only for the Most High Himself? Well, if a man should disobey the Biblical injunction simply because he is the president of a Christian group and pass judgment unto his fellow man – something that is an exclusive preserve of God – then, he is not doing God’s will. By that very token, he is not of God!

It is amazing that anybody who lays claim to being a pastor of God (like Pastor Oritsejafor of the PFN does) should be talking about mentoring in matters of the faith as if talking about some rookie artisan being shepherded into ‘freedom’ from his master’s workshop. Such drivel simply speaks volumes of the man who utters it. It reveals the depth of vulgarity to which our ‘modern’ men of God have allowed the gospel of Jesus Christ to sink.

Anybody who boasts in God’s vineyard about his mentor and such other inane subjects as earthly endowments has simply not imbibed the lessons of Christ’s personal life. Jesus Christ the Son of God could have been born a prince, if He so chose. On the contrary, God made man, decided to come into this world, the son of a wretched carpenter born in, of all places, a manger and side-by-side animals! He had neither an earthly mentor, nor did the Bible tell us that He had doctorate degrees in sacred theology and dogmatic philosophy.

In His divine wisdom, God chooses whom He crowns king and decides whom He endows with any gift He likes – and we all have our different gifts. Anybody who challenges this wisdom of God Almighty blasphemes against Him, by querying His authority.

So, why would God choose a humble, even innocent, or bucolic Temitope Balogun Joshua for the enormous anointing he has received? Why didn’t He pick one of those blue-blooded, Oxford-trained peers of the realm?

One cannot exactly tell and neither can anybody else, for that matter. However, having watched Pastor Joshua very closely these past few months, followed with keen interest, the documentaries of his early ministry and his teachings and other activities on Emmanuel TV, physically witnessed his Sunday healing and miracle services at the Synagogue Church and had numerous private audiences with him, I have been privileged to glean a few facts and to learn a very important lesson about faith, from this soldier of Christ.

As humans, we usually crack in the daunting face of adversity. In fact, at some point, many of us not only give up on God, we even dare to turn against Him. In the case of Prophet Joshua, the harder the battle to survive, the greater his loyalty to his God appears to be. I have never seen anybody with such unshakable faith in what he believes, such optimism that may even look to an observer during those his ministry’s early years as mere folly.

Anybody who has seen that documentary on his early ministry, of his first church (a miserable looking shack, with about 20 worshippers) and the optimism with which he prophesied how the whole world would soon come to Synagogue Church, would simply be awed by the power of the living God and testify to His glory. A little later during those early years, Prophet Joshua who leads by example went down to such fine details as personally cleaning the toilets of the church for three long years. As he says, “In order to be able to manage success, I had to first learn how to manage poverty”. As bad as things were then, Pastor Joshua was always seen ministering to his flock with a broad smile, even as