Saturday, 9 March 2013

6 Reasons why he became a prodigal son

The prodigal son has received lots of criticism for leaving the father's house to go and squander the wealth only to come back and plead for forgiveness. We judge him badly. Do we know the treatment he had in the house before he left? We don't know whether his needs were met or not. We also don't know his emotional and psychological state of mind.

Therefore, before you cast your stone, pause and reflect on the possible reasons why he did what he did and compare that to your own life. The followinfg 6 factors could have informed his decision to move out.

1. The behaviour of his older brother. The reaction of his older brother when he returned home should give us a hint that all wasn't well between the two of them. It's quite possible that his older brother managed to push him away hence his strange behaviour when he returned home. Like the older brother, there are times when as brothers and sisters in Christ our conduct falls below the standard expected of us. In my local church where I've formed the habit of doing what I call "exit interview"- finding out from people the reasons for their leaving, somethimes the things I hear aren't pleasant. Therefore, while blaming the prodigal son, we should also examine our conduct which could push people away.

2. May be he was a poor man living in a healthy home. Everyone is concluding that because the father was wealthy he must have had a good life. Don't we have millionaires whose children are poor? May be he wasn't made to feel that his father was wealthy. I used to date a millionaire's daughter. All my friends were very excited about it and when I asked why they were so excited about the relationship they pointed to the fact that her father was a millionaire. I reminded them that it was the daughter I was dating not the father. There are some millionaires whose children are living ordinary. In fact some millionaires children enjoy the wealth and others don't. In some instances wealthy parents would spend their wealth on others rather than their own children. May be it was only when he threaten to move out that he got some inheritance. On that score I agree with him. There are times when the only way to get what's due you is to shout. He possibly shouted father! I've served you all these years yet all what I get is the crumbs whilst my brother enjoys the real wealth. I am moving out! I agree with him here. You don't sit down thinking oh God knows my needs. You've got to petition God.

3. He might have thought he could do better by himself. He might have thought that with all his share of the inheritance he could do much well with his life. He didn't need any help from the father or indeed his brother. How true for us humans. We think we don't need God and that we can manage on our own. If that was his motivation then it backfired badly.

4. It could have just a desire for freedom. May be he's had enough of the father and brother telling him what he can and can't do. What he could eat and can't. He's had enough of his father telling him the friends he could go out with and even telling him what fashion style he could have. He thought his father was too strict and wanted his freedom.

5. Comaprative analysis might have compelled him to move out. May be he compared his life to some small mates, colleagues, and others in the community and thought they're much better than him. He looked at other's houses, cars, expensive holidays and all the good living and he wanted similar. Yes, there are times when the statement "seek ye first his kingdom and his righeousness, and all these things will be given to you as well" becomes a mockery. After years of submitting to the father, you turn round and ask, where are the things which will be added? You become aware of others who haven't really sought the kingdom let alone his righeousness yet but have received the "other things". Few years ago I bumped into an old coleague. He offered to drive me to my destination. When I sat in the car the first question he asked was you don't have a car after all these years of going to church? Ouch! I used to argue with him about Sunday work. I insisted going to church. Such thoughts could get into one's head and heart. Its possible that despite the abundant wealth, the young man lacked these material things.

6. His personal guilty might have pushed him out. It's possible that his past and present offences were haunting him and couldn't bear to live the same houseld with the father. He couldn't forgive himself of his past mistakes. Very true of humans. We feel so ashamed of our past or even current life style and we think we better moved out. We might have prayed for forgivness but still not sure of ourselves.

Do you still have your stone or stick ready to lash out? Here's the checklist:
  • Have you not left or considered leaving because of some people's attitude?
  • Have you not felt poor in spite of the "father's" abundant wealth?
  • Have you not felt you could make it on your own?
  • Have you not wished you could have the freedom to do whatever you like without feeling any guilt?
  • Have you not compared yourself to others and felt bad about it?
  • Have you not felt ashamed of your guilt and lifestyle?
Where's the inheritance the father gave you? What have you done with the inheritance of love, joy, peace, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control, service, caring, guidance, counselling, friendship and money?  Have you squander all of them?

We're all prodigals (wasteful), and it's about time we went back to the father and asked for his forgiveness and reinstatement.


Monday, 4 March 2013

Catholic Church Again?

Following the resignation and confession by Cardinal Keith O'Brien that his "sexual conduct" had fallen below the standard expected as a priest, I can't help it but join the clarion call that the Catholic Church needs reform. After a week of denial that he had had sexual advances to four men- three priest and one former priest, the former Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh who is also the leader of the Catholic Church in Scotland has admitted the offence and asked for forgiveness.

I've since been asking myself whether there's any organisation religious or otherwise which could call the Catholic Church to order. The World Council of Churches came to mind. Could such a body intervene to put some sanity in the Catholic Church? My checks indicated that the Catholic Church isn't a member of the World Council of Churches. I wonder why?

I am very much aware of Christ statement; he who has no sin should cast the first stone. I know there's no individual or a religious denomination which hasn't sinned. However, if there's any denomination which has damaged the Christendom then it's the Catholic Church. The blow that the latest scandal has caused transcends the Catholic Church. The whole Christendom suffers from the Catholic Church's scandal. No one knows what more is yet to come. The solutions of the scandals aren't far-fetched.

                                         Why Celibacy?
What is it about sharing the gospel of Christ that one can't do while married and enjoying sex, and raising children? Many others in similar vocation are married and can in some cases do the work much better than the so called celibates. Isn't marriage a creation of God, and which church promotes marriage than the Catholic Church? So why speak well of something and abstain from it? And I am curious as to why when they want to enjoy sex they tend to the males. Are those people gay and only entered the priesthood to cover up?

                                       Why Rome or Vatican?
The Catholic Church is one of few churches I know which has worldwide headquarters. Many other have gained independence from the founding base. The Methodist Church Ghana attained full independence from Britain in July 1961. Why can't the Catholic Church allow individual nations to have their freedom to do what they wish? What are they afraid of? How can a Church with such bureaucratic office ensure effective leadership?

I pray that the new Pope would realised the huge damaged the Catholic Church has caused not only to itself but the Christendom. He should have the spiritual courage to call for wide range of reforms in the Catholic, and I hope abolishing the celibacy rule would be high on his mind. It's been proved over and over again that the soul and the body aren't on the same level. The soul might be willing but the body might not.

Reform and save the Catholic Church and the Christendom from the continuous shame.