PENSPEAK 2018 | ILLUMINARE BY MHIZJACE

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These little lines of mine

My name is Godswill Ezeonyeka and I am blessed to be here. I feel privileged but what can I say. When God calls He fills also. That is to say whatever you are meant to do you already have capacity to. It just needs a bit of harnessing.

  1. PURPOSE:

7 years ago, Wordsmith was not a word meet to describe me. In fact I was at an impasse with myself because I really wanted to know what it was I could do to impact my world, but writing at the time was not an option. Probably just a distant memory because rewind some 15 years I had tried my hands on poetry and that was it. But then during my university days, I once was watching an episode of Turning Point and they had this poet perform a piece. As I watched, I had this certainty, call it conviction if you will, that I could do what she did and needless to say I was excited inside because I loved it. I loved it and I wanted to do it and your guess is as good as mine “I did nothing about it”. Till I got an idea that was stubborn, it wouldn’t leave. It seemed as if my mind had a life of its own and soon I had to write. It was my first good poem (at least I think so) and it was more of a release than it was passion.

But then I had this question. WHAT NEXT? Now that I have written. What next?

That question’s metamorphosis is the vision that is Christ A Poet. You can visit http://www.christapoet.com to see what that is about. But this story I shared is to make a point; “Purpose is what directs passion and skill to solve problems”.

Many people writers are familiar with the writer’s block syndrome. But I can tell with your writer’s block on full gear, if your life depends on it, you will write and write well. As writers or artists in general, if your art creation is not for a reason bigger than yourself, you will always be substandard to who you can be.

Purpose drives you when you have the “inspiration”. Purpose drives you when you are sick. Purpose keeps you up late at night thinking of the perfect word to complete a line of thought. Purpose will make you go to your friends, beg them to put on the generator so you charge your phone and write. In general, Purpose takes the excuses out of the game. If you still have excuses (no matter how valid they are) for not writing, then you do not have a big enough reason/purpose yet. Purpose in simple definition is Why you write.

SO WHY DO YOU WRITE?

Before you rush to answer this question lets see what writing can do.

How Books Saved My Life

NOVEMBER 1, 2013

By Lindsey Collins

http://www.literallydarling.com

There is a term (a legitimate medical term), called bibliotherapy, and I think, unknowingly, it might have saved my life.

Bibliotherapy– noun; an expressive therapy that uses an individual’s relationship to the content of books and poetry and other written words as therapy. The basic concept behind bibliotherapy is that reading is a healing experience.

There are libraries that make a practice of prescribing books to people as a form of therapy. The Center for Fiction in New York City actually employs bibliotherapists to give out book prescriptions. I think this might be the most amazing idea.

But back to me, and how books saved my life.

I was never suicidal, but I was angry and confused and hurting. My story is less common than most (at least I think so) but I hope you will still understand. Tragic circumstances took an angry, typical 15-year-old and made me into a walking emotional wreck. Most people who knew me then probably thought it wasn’t a big difference considering what I’d been through, but it was. I am just an exceptionally good faker.

When I was 15, my dad got sick. The disease doesn’t matter, but six months later he was blind. It’s been more than seven years, and it’s a fact that I still have a hard time accepting. When he first got sick, there was nothing I could do. I couldn’t make him better, couldn’t show the doctors how to fix him, and I felt helpless. So I turned to books. And TV shows. Any story I could find with a mystical, supernatural, or mysterious component. I carried books everywhere, weighing down my purse or just in my hands like a personal shield. I needed stories that didn’t require me to think beyond reading the words or watching a screen, and I threw myself in other (fictional) people’s problems. I cried with them, I laughed with them, I pitied them, and I used them. I used them to soften my own problems, the problems lurking in my house that I couldn’t repair. I don’t think I realized at the time, how much my situation was influencing my choices. I picked shows where people had the ability to heal, something I would’ve given anything to be able to do. I picked shows where 16-year-old girls fought monsters, both real and imaginary. In those six months I probably read a hundred books and watched a thousand hours of TV (sleep was not really being a friend at this point). Mostly it’s all a blur.

I’m 22 now. I’ve graduated from college, and I’m looking for a job. Looking back, I think those stories saved my life. They let my mind walk away and showed me that the characters I loved were the strong ones, and that I could be strong too.

This I culled from a site to show something people don’t pay attention to. Writing can change the world, one person a time. Yes many think reading is boring, yes many don’t see why you work so hard to string these words, and yes it all seems futile and you feel not appreciated and irrelevant. But you have your audience and no matter how little or big they are, they are hanging on your every word and they deserve your very best.

  1. Pursuit.

I am for the most part a poet. This means I try a lot of stuff, and I have learnt much. This platform is a bit limited for a proper transfer of knowledge but instead of giving you fish. I will tell you why and how you could fish.

First, you are only as creative as the amount of skill you have access to. What you dont know you cannot be creative with. Grow your skill.

Lets take poetry:

Poetry is the genre of literature with the fewest use of words. Prose and Drama get the liberty of using a tonne of words to drive home a point that the rhythm and rhyme constrictions of poetry will give you only 8 syllables to do same. Like every art form, there are rules. You have got to learn them. Some of such is:

  1. Rhyme and Rhythm: Lose this and you don’t have a poem. Your ability to string words in such a fashion that the mind of the reader travels but you still have control of where it goes is key to creating a good piece of poetry.

Disclaimer: Not every poem rhymes but all poems have rhythm.

  1. Structure: With many types of poetry at our disposal, an understanding of structure gives you a guide to follow. So when you choose a structure, you stick to it and get the best off it.

Examples of structural decisions:

Number of lines per verse

Rhymes or no rhymes

Language of choice

Story etc.

Find them, understand them. This applies to most forms of writing.

There is a lot you can do with writing but if you don’t seek to know you might find yourself stuck in a circle, writing the same things. And then writing gets boring both for you and the reader. So seek skill!

One easy way to learn is to watch and learn from those doing stuff you can’t yet do. In the story above… The poet in question was Janette…ikz. I presently have almost all her videos available on the internet. Infact I presently have over a 100 poetry videos. I am not sure of the number because I have not counted.

Also exercise is key. Take time to try new stuff when you write. You might not get it now but you will get better if you start now. Subject your work to criticisms and take them well. In 5 years time no word said to you will mean as much. And by all means write! Write! Write!

One more thing.

There are two kinds of writers. Those that wait for inspiration and those that draw inspiration out of its hiding place.

All these I am pointing is to say; When you have purpose, you have a reason to write. When you acquire skill you are equipped to fulfill purpose.

Finally…

These little lines of mine I wrote is a spin off the popular children song (I’m sure you all noticed). And like this song I hope this time we shared gives you a reason or an answer or inspiration to know you have what it takes to change the world in those little lines of yours.

(C) Godswill Ezeonyeka

2018

Christianity and the vicious cycle of political hopelessness

For a long time in Christendom, there has been an unfounded nursed notion that, active political engagement is inherently defiled and corrupt, hence Christians who are serious and passionate about the gospel should not be involved. Most Christians are of the view that anything besides pulpit preaching of the gospel is a distraction from the Great Commission. while this sounds religiously true, it is urgently necessary to understand that we believe in a God who cares passionately about His world and the whole of His creation (Jn. 3:16) and is therefore concerned about its affairs such as, how it is governed and who governs it.

The Lord in Matthew 28:18-20, commanded us to go and make disciples of all nations, teaching them to obey God in every area of life. In making disciples of all nations and in all areas, we must also disciple people to make godly decisions about politics and governance. Nevertheless, this is not the stance of many Christians. Some prefer to be indifferent towards governance and the whole process of electioneering. In Nigeria, majority of the active and most influential politicians belong to the ‘other side’ and are at the helms of government, advancing the purpose of their beliefs. That is largely the reason why today, the afflictions of Christians are multiplying all over the country; the incessant harassment of Christian farmers all over the country by Fulani herdsmen, Boko Haram insurgencies, the displacement of Christians from their original villages in Kaduna, Benue, Taraba etc. and many more terrorist actions are few examples.

While some of these persecutions may have their place in awakening the Nigerian church and increasing her thirst for revival, could this have been the original will of our God; that His people have no safe place of worship? These killings and terror attacks might go on and many more may arise simply not because God wants it but because Christianity lacks influence in Nigerian politics. It is not just okay anymore to fold hands and watch helplessly as evil men decide the fate of God’s true children. In this write up, I introduce the term “political hopelessness” to help explain the default condition of an ordinary Christian in Nigeria towards politics. I also try to charge the heart of Nigerian Christians to get involved in politics, lead and establish God’s purpose on earth.

The lack of Christian influence in the Nigerian government has led to a vicious cycle illustrated below:

Most Christians have recoiled from affairs of the government due to past experiences and therefore have developed a default mindset that sees politics and every politician as evil and corrupt. This has consequently engendered borderless political apathy. However, not getting involved does not solve the problem, it only makes Christians to be outnumbered and consequently loose in the elections. So when the elections are over and most of the seats are occupied by non-Christians, we have nobody to represent our interests. No one to stand up and pass bills that protect Christian interests and affairs as evidently displayed in various systematised anarchy unleashed against innocent Christian farmers, villagers, schools or gatherings.

As time went on, we lost our voices and because our voices were lost, our interest were buried! We consequently returned to the beginning of the cycle. And on and on goes the vicious cycle. This cycle has been on for decades in Nigeria and we have consequently settled with a sense of hopelessness having ignorantly concluded that nothing could be done anymore.

Furthermore, many so-called Christian politicians have worsened matters. They come to the churches and kneel on the altars only to get elected and enrich themselves. Such people have lost the trust of the Christian masses for they have helped make them hopeless. Reserved for them in hell is everlasting torment, except they repent and occupy for God.

In order to remedy the situation however, the cycle has to be broken. Christians must begin to deliberately strategize and put trusted people in the right positions. These efforts may not yield immediate results but at least will set the pace for generations to come. The Bible also challenges us in Luke 14: 28 & 31 to first sit and count the cost, and plan. With determination and proper strategy, Christ will rule and God’s counsel will be established. It is necessary that stable government policies that promote the preaching and practice of God’s word at all levels of civil service be implemented. It will be glorious if the government of the day sees and believes in the end time revival of the land and hands over power to the Holy Spirit to move in the lives of citizens. How can this be achieved? To what extent is this achievable? It takes having a sincerely consecrated disciple of Christ to be in power. How else can he/she be in power if not encouraged to accept God’s leading and training, and then get involved in governance?

It is worthy of note that the involvement of Christians in government through the ages is the most vibrant reason why today, we have hospitals, abolition of slavery and the practice of killing twins, modern science, the true understanding of the worth of women, regard for human life, great works of art and literature, a workable system of justice, education for the common human being, the free-enterprise system, etc. A writer tells a story of a Christian minister named John Witherspoon who became president of the College of New Jersey in 1768. While there, Witherspoon taught Biblical principles of government to his students. Of the 478 young men who were graduated during his tenure, 114 became ministers; 13 were state governors; 3 were U. S. Supreme Court judges; 20 were U.S. Senators; 33 were U.S. Congressmen; Aaron Burr, Jr., became Vice-President; and James Madison became President. As a Christian, Witherspoon exerted an enormous influence on the direction of American government. So did Joseph and Daniel during their times in the Bible. These are eloquent testimonies of men whom God used in politics during their time. What makes it different now?

As Christians, we must come to the understanding that God is interested in having His Children take over every sphere of influence even on earth. And we must deliberately determine to make His counsel stand if we truly love Him. The true proof of our love for God and one another lies partly in our participation in politics albeit, with a kingdom mindset. How do we claim to love God if we don’t engage in things that enhance and promote His kingdom? How do we claim to love one another if we don’t participate in the area that most profoundly shapes basic rights and the freedom of others? We must arise, take the bull by the horns and put an end to this vicious cycle of hopelessness. You have the opportunity to influence the world for God if you will only take it.

However, taking the bull by the horns comes with a price. We must realize that this is a mandate worth living for and if need be, worth dying for. We must be ready to loose our lives in pursuit of this mission, bearing in mind that to live is Christ and to die is gain. And also that as long as we remain in the will of God the Father, there shall no evil befall us neither shall any plague come nigh our dwelling, except it be His will. We therefore, must come to a point where our lives mean little in the face of God’s great promises. He has said, “he that loveth his life shall lose it, and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal”. Eternity is the bigger picture. We must be able to give up our lives to pursue Heaven’s mandate. If we do not come to that point, then it is better not to have started. Are we ready to die if need be? Are we ready to say like Daniel and his friends, “our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us out of thine hand, But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.” We will not compromise. And the Father will fight for us. We have the opportunity to influence the world for God if we will only take it. May God grant us the courage, Amen.

(C) 2018

Steven Kator IORFA