The Faith Virus


There’s a pint sized creature dancing in my head
It stomps on the well worn neural pathways
Connecting my thoughts to my fingers
So when I think ‘God is good’
It comes out sort of ‘Gulder’s fool’
And I swear, I’m not even drunk

There’s a pint sized creature dancing in my head
It stomps on the well worn neural pathways
Connecting my visual center to my subconscious
So when I see God’s promises in print
I think “this surely can’t be true”
And then life proves me right

There’s a pint sized creature dancing in my head
It stomps on the well worn neural pathways
Connecting His words to my actions
So when I want to do good,
I find I do anything but
And I don’t even mean to

There’s a pint sized creature dancing in my head
It stomps on the well worn neural pathways
Connecting my heart to His law
So when I see His ability to save me
I concentrate more on my ability to change me
Even when I know I can’t

This tiny bot
Has taken up res
In my software
Daring me to try and fry him
I know I’m not tech savvy
But I do know about malware
So as the word flashes on my screen
I drive this point home;
“Faith comes by hearing and hearing the word of God”
So with my mind receptive and vulnerable
My bot is obliterated.

Ifechukwu Miracle
©2020

The Upgrade

I love you Lord;
For your voice means the world to me;
Say it, I’ll do it,
I needn’t understand
For you have made your dwelling with me.

O Lord you will lead me through the valleys,
Of the shadows of the death of me,
You O Lord puts the word in season in my mouth;
You have made my tongue the pen of a ready writer,
For you have chosen me for deeds noble.

I will never really understand your love,
How you choose to love an adulterer,
Or make prayers in folded palms,
For the ones whom a hole,
They drilled into your palms,
Or choose to let a kiss betray you,
And yet still gave your life,
As a sacrifice! All for what?
To prove your love for me,
Yes, I have denied you more than three times,
Yet, you choose to love me,
I guess my eyes will always see love differently,
Love that crossed my I’s,
Love on the crossed-eye
love of God, for I!

How do I tell this story,
A tale as old as two cities,
Before time could even speak,
My brain never seems to figure out the math,
Of how you could love scandalously,
How a Prince gave up everything,
To love a low-life like me!
My scars didn’t scare Him,
Rather He kissed them!
Now I see nothing but love!

And when I kept at you,
You looked at me so tender
You said, “spread your mercy abroad,
To the good and to the ungrateful,
You’re like me that way,
What I do for my living,
This is the upgrade you need”.

Olaoye Adeleye,
Favour Omeje,
©2020

Fixed?

There is a reason we respect those who fix us
For we are married to mistakes and misgives
If we had no one to fix what was once broken up
There is no telling the darkness reality would be

There is a reason we respect those who try to fix us
Where others standby helpless and in hopeless anguish
They step on the price of past sacrifice to reach hope
And for a moment longer they give us a reason to believe

There is a reason we respect those who fail to fix us
Their failure comes at a cost of more than bargained for
If they could, they would work harder and not give up
But a one-eyed man can only lead a blind man so far

There is a reason we need a renewal and not a fix
Like Eden, this wound is located beyond man’s search
Jesus on the cross provided us a homing signal to healing
and “It is finished” was for us an eternal discharge

Now our respect may be well placed on these fixers
But they make no promises, only a willingness to try
Jesus offers you his life so you don’t have to fix yours
Now that is a certain promise for your faith and life

Ezeonyeka Godswill
(c) 2020

RACIAL RECONCILIATION: OUSTING RACISM WITH LOVE

” God created the human race, humans created racism.” -Jane Elliot

Racism. We all are somewhat scared of and responsible for this word. An upsurge in protests snowballing across many countries in the wake of George Floyd’s murder is shaming racism and racists. Topics that were once sacrosanct are now public discussions. The world is waking up to the damaging effects of institutionalized and systemic racism that has plagued “minority races” for decades. In spite of the COVID-19 pandemic, activists and protesters are stamping their feet down, pumping their fists in the air demanding equality for all races. These measures are certainly drawing attention to the issue but unless conscious steps are taken by every individual, it “may” be a waste of time. We may not be responsible for racism but we sure do have our work cut out in achieving its deconstruction.

Living in imperfect societies as Christians compels us to do the one thing we’ve been called to do – Love. The famous one-liner, “if you can’t beat them, join them” isn’t a Christian mantra, but rather debunking it is what we are called to do. We can’t stand up to racism by inciting hatred or shrinking into our holes but by loving people of all ethnicity and language like Christ did, unconditionally. Mike Todd in his sermon on racial reconciliation expatiates on a commandment God gave us; “love your neighbour – not your black neighbour, or white neighbour, or affluent neighbour”. The knowledge that in Christ, there are no divisions based on race or ethnicity would be more effective if it were truly practiced rather than stated.

Prejudice, discrimination, structural and institutionalized injustice can be demolished with racial reconciliation which upholds love, tolerance, inclusion and respect as its tenets. Recognizing the problem and actually believing it is a problem is a good place to starting the journey of racial reconciliation. We ought to have a level of self awareness rather than feign ignorance on the issue, only then will we see it as a social problem that needs to be tackled.

Racial reconciliation is not just the sermons but the conscious and consistent love for people, not because of the colour of their skin but because they are human. Love encompasses everything we need to fight racism. There is beauty in diversity, I mean the world will be so bland if everything existed in one shade. Accepting and embracing this draws us closer to the fulfilment of the revelation John had when he saw people of all race, language, nation and tribe worshipping God in harmony.

Reconciling races is possible when we’ve been reconciled to ourselves. No race is inferior to the other, therefore you are not inferior, the spirit in you is not the spirit of fear but of love and that eliminates all fear. We are all worthy of respect and equality and because this decades-long monster has eaten deep into our societies and institutions does not imply we have to settle for and expect less. We are to celebrate our ethnic identity and uniqueness, whether we be African, European, Asian, American, Australian, Biracial, Multiracial, we are God’s ingenious handiwork. We love God and by transforming into His image, we become love and in turn, we love others.

Self-examination reveals who we inherently are. There are social, religious and institutionalized constructs and biases inculcated in us from our childhood which may be discriminatory, this can unconsciously lead us to perpetrate the myths and stereotypes we grew up feeling were normal. Racial reconciliation means evaluating our beliefs and theories about people different from us and ultimately deconstructing the prejudiced, bigoted ones.

The one way racism can be ousted is through love, the God kind – agape. Sure activism raises awareness but treating everyone equally starts from an individual making the choice to love. And how best can we love except we have love in us? There is one who loved us all so much He gave His life for us and if we let Him in, then we too can love effortlessly, regardless of who it is, White, black, brown, red.

In a world where hatred and strife is growing, may we choose to be symbols of love.

IfiokAbasi Okop and Steven Kator Iorfa. ©2020

The Fig-Leaves Issue

And as they ate it, suddenly they became aware of their nakedness, and were embarrassed. So they strung fig leaves together to cover themselves around the hips.

Genesis 3:7 (TLB)

As a creative, I get to “over-think” many otherwise simple things. Maybe it is a curse in another’s eyes but in mine, it is clarity. The innate ability to really analyse events that are as heavy as world crises to lightweight issues like the response I wish I said two minutes earlier, has really helped me see what is underplaying our everyday experiences. It doesn’t make me right, I guess it just helps me to build stronger structures around what it is I believe.

As I grow older and experience more interesting versions of reality and life as we know it, I am ever more convinced on the authority and the authenticity of the bible and its teachings. One that really stands out for me it the way we tend to try and fail constantly at providing solutions to seemingly every problem that has ever occurred to the human race. Bogus claim? Yeah, I get it sounds as such but this is a conclusion I have come to through almost every thought excavation I have set my mind on. You can try it too. Ask “why” enough times and you will almost surely find yourself at a helpless human with a problem and solutions that only create more problems. This is so perfectly represented in the verse quoted initially but before we talk about that, let’s bite a little deeper into this.

Psychoanalysts, philosophers and sociologists have come to a dismal conclusion that all philosophy and modes of agreed upon human existence has its flaws. The highest medical research has provided us with solutions that are not 100% and drugs with side-effects. Engineers agree that every solution provided comes with a new problem in its suitcase. So we hold in high esteem the concept of maintenance and constant innovation. I would argue that this is growth in a sense but if you dig deeper you find, this is all a melting pot of ideas by humans trying to save themselves and failing terribly at it. Socialism and communism failed, capitalism exposed our wickedness and democracy is a hot mess. We are killing the planet by “developing” it and humanity grows dumber by consuming more and more information.

Obviously we are running ourselves to the ground and that is not a surprise at least for us Christians. The bible does prophecy it. Basically the day man thought he could decide between right and wrong, he doomed himself to death. So we are all just living a self-fulfilling prophecy but God provided us an out and that is what that verse in Genesis serves as a prequel to.

Adam and Eve had just made the dumbest decision ever (much like we do daily) and the implications of their choice showed up almost immediately. A problem. With the ability to decide for themselves, they did what we all do and tried to solve the problem. The hilarious thing is with all the “knowledge” to be like God according to what the devil promised, these two humans could figure out that there was a problem of nakedness but “they strung fig leaves together to cover themselves around the hips.” Now in retrospect, that was really dumb because even though you are not naked, you are not covered either. Only one winter breeze would show that “fig leaves” are not a sustainable clothing option. Funny thing is, Adam knew this because after adorning original “eden brand” fig leaves, he still had to hide behind bushes and here was his reason…

That evening they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden; and they hid themselves among the trees.  The Lord God called to Adam, “Why are you hiding?” And Adam replied, “I heard you coming and didn’t want you to see me naked. So I hid.”

Genesis 3:8-10 (TLB)

But this story is not all bad news at least at that point in the story. Look at verse 21 with me…

and the Lord God clothed Adam and his wife with garments made from skins of animals.

Genesis 3:21

God stepped in and provided Adam with a better solution. One that solved this problem for literally generations. I like this part of the story because it doesn’t leave man hopeless. Even more glorious is that before this verse, God had addressed the main problem with the promise of a solution. Right there in that garden, Jesus was promised; but that is a story for another day. In this article we realise quite clear as day, that even though man can choose from right and wrong, that knowledge does not guarantee him wisdom and his only hope is to give that baton to God where it rightly belongs in the first place.

What does that look like in the 21st century? Quite simple. Listen, trust and obey. We need to know what God is saying about every problem and every decision. Then we need to trust that he has our best interest at heart and then give in by obeying his instructions. Now if you want to know why we should do this, here is a reason for you; he created it all! Too obvious? Okay what about him choosing to be like us, feel what we feel and die worse than we could die just so we could have an opportunity to get back what we intentionally lost at Eden. He loves us as a whole and individually too. So maybe we might want to listen to him more.

Let’s get practical.

Before you choose to hold on to a grudge because you are genuinely hurt (fig leaves) maybe you might want to try forgiveness and give yourself peace. Instead of making yourself into a sex junkie in a bid to satisfy your cravings (fig leaves) you could let the one who gave you those cravings tell you how he intended for them to be used. PRAY! Pray as much as you can. Especially to know what to do per time and with the little and big stuff the bible doesn’t mention. Most importantly, let God lead your life by accepting the life he laid down for you at the cross. That way you get access to God in man: The Holy Spirit!

I will end with an interesting story that is not so much in the past. The film, Selma, chronicles one of the most pivotal moments of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s story. One of the scenes shows MLK leading a huge multitude in a peaceful protest and for a moment it seemed as though their enemies would let them carry on but MLK stopped and took a knee. This made everyone in the protest do the same, and after a moment he stood up and went back and the crowd followed. The leaders at the time were so furious with MLK. From the perspective of the film we were able to see what transpired behind closed doors that MLK and his comrades were not privy to. This was meant to be an ambush but a lot of lives were saved because MLK stopped and prayed.

I guess I have expressed this point as much as I can for now. I hope you realise that the fig-leaves solutions you have cannot stand the test of time so you need to let God help you. I hope our leaders learn to pray and truly listen to God and then trust and obey him. In the end, this world will definitely come to ruin but at least most of us can be saved if we do differently, let God heal us and provide us with better solutions.

– Ezeonyeka Godswill
(c) 2020