“When you have this very vanilla-type faith presentation, of everybody smiling like they just got their teeth cleaned? That’s not where real people live! Real people live with being Christians with cancer, Christians with AIDS, Christians coming back home with limbs missing from war, Christians being evicted and Christians losing their homes. If you don’t paint that picture too, then I think that you are misrepresenting what the faith really can look like. The faith is not always sunny days. If we don’t do that, then I think that we are selling the wrong message”
I had written this a long time ago but could not publish it because a couple of friends who got married around that time would have said it’s about them. Funny it is, but I have learned one thing in recent times that timing is very important even with publishing of my posts and I still have unpublished posts that are over a year old. So now that at least I know of no close friend whose invite I am honouring soon, I feel at liberty to publish this. Lol.
I thought the day and age where we used to keep people waiting hours at marriage and wedding ceremonies should have been long gone now but sadly it’s still with us. If there was any glamour in it in years past, my dear bride and groom, it’s no longer glamorous. The age we are in now, time is of big essence to throw away waiting for a bride and groom for hours. It adds no value to anybody’s life to have to wait hours for a marriage/wedding ceremony to start. It doesn’t make any bride or groom too any more valuable than they already are. If anything, it rather looks disrespectful of people’s valuable time and for you the bride and groom, it creates a bad image on you especially when you are of the educated or elite class.
Of course we all know sometimes things don’t go as planned and some unexpected stuffs can cause delays but seriously, for hours? Hell no! It’s unacceptable! Of course it’s your day and all your guests have put off important things for your sake just to show their love; but don’t take them for granted! It’s a choice you have to make way before the wedding day.
In this part of our world where marriage is not just between bride and groom but a family affair, it makes it even more important that you accord a little bit of courtesy to important family members most of whom are way older than you that at least you should respect their time. It surely is very annoying when your entire family and important guests gather at the time you yourself has given them and now have to wait for you for hours!
Ok, we in this part of the world are never on time so that’s why if it’s supposed to start at 12pm you let your invite read every 10am? Oh come on! A few minutes late may be pardonable (doesn’t mean it’s encouraged), but not 2 hours late for God’s sake! But that’s what our educated brides and grooms are doing to us.
When I was getting married my wife and I agreed that we are educated and should not embarrass ourselves with excessive lateness. We were glad and even more put on edge when the presiding Pastor also stressed same to us during our last meeting with him a day before the event with the words “you guys are learned so don’t act otherwise and keep everybody waiting”. And he was glad after the ceremony that we did not disappoint him and all the people who had travelled from very far to honour us.
There were circumstances that could have made us late especially my camera man deciding not to show up on time. I remember leaving to the Church without him doing the coverage and sending strict instructions to my wife and the bridal team not to wait for him and that I would be so pissed if we had to go against our “no lateness” resolve because of him. Luckily, he was able to catch up with my wife and the bridal team on their way. So as it were, things didn’t go as planned and he couldn’t cover the dressing and preparations before the wedding as agreed and yet wanted to hold us against our resolve, demanding we wait for him. Annoyingly though he saw nothing wrong with it because according to him it is unusual for weddings to start almost on time and that almost all the weddings he has covered started at least an hour after start time.
It is very unfortunate when at a wedding guests begin to make comments like “If I had known I would have taken my time and not come on time or at least eat before coming” just because by the time your reception starts (going by when programme was supposed to start), your guests would have been dying of hunger just because of that little cocktail or buffet. Of course a start time of 10am for a church wedding does not mean groom must be there exactly 10am because they arrive first (that will be great though) but both groom and bride not arriving so many minutes or hours beyond start time in my opinion is disrespectful of people’s time!
Well, maybe it’s just so ingrained in us that we just can’t help it. Then again I thought we only do that while here at home but no, we do it even when we are living abroad. I almost left a wedding of some friends when I was in the UK had it not being that it started to rain just about the time my patience run out. And the atmosphere in the Church that day and the embarrassing expressions of the Pastor, officiating ministers and the groom who had to wait hours for the bride (yet everybody switching to happy mood the moment bride finally entered as if they were not boiling and complaining moments ago) is one that I can never forget.
Shame on us!
© Mark Gadogbe (McApple)
Marriage & Personal Development Author
Like, Comment, Share…and Subscribe!
There’s so much ethical crisis in the Church (leadership) today, from mishandling and dishonesty with church finances to living extravagant lifestyles at expense of poor church members’ offerings, proud, arrogant and immoral lifestyles, showing no concern for views and trials of church members, increasing interest in cheap fame/popularity and misusing God’s anointing, among others.
When it comes to spiritual things or callings, some people believe they are a law unto themselves and don’t need being regulated. They decide what they want to do as long as they can hide behind the idea that it is a spiritual direction from God…or wherever they get their direction from. They give no regards to normal ethics even in its simplest forms. It appears lately there are no ethics to spiritual callings and the “office of Prophets” especially appears the most unethical. We see too many unethical Prophets and “men of God” these days that an increasing number of people no longer appreciate prophecy or believe in it. And many times one will wonder if they ever learn or are taught anything like ministerial ethics.
What I personally don’t fathom sometimes is how we often see in our churches many unethical Prophets and “men of God” who put people’s personal issues out to the congregation during “deliverance services” claiming they have received one revelation or the other from God about the person. I’ve got no problems with deliverance services or revelations, but I do feel sometimes that the fact that God reveals something to you during your ministration about somebody’s situation shouldn’t give you the right or permission to put it out there just like that without even weighing in on the impact that could yield later. If the revelation is about the person, I believe there is a good way to tell the person without screaming in the microphone about it to the entire congregation!
There are a lot of very sensitive issues that come out mostly in churches and in the aftermath of the “revelations”, peoples’ lives are left worse off…mostly because of the victimization and ill attitude they encounter later from church folks.
I’m tempted to believe in Bible days when God gives his Prophets a revelation about or a message for somebody, the message is for the person’s hearing alone, whether it is a good or bad message? The fact that it is a congregational service doesn’t mean when you call someone forward and a message comes to you about the person you blurt it out there in the microphone, whether it be a good or bad message?
People are told “I see you getting married before the year ends” to resounding cheers and then the year ends and nothing happens and church folks begin to jeer, gossip and do all sort of things. And many times the Prophets are “always right” to many Christians so when the things they declare on people don’t see the light of day, then they blame is on the person who apparently must have gone to commit some sin or not prayed on the prophecy or not acted in ways to bring the prophecy into being so they suffer for it in the sight of other members.
People are told “I see God calling you to be this and that” and some people just forcefully align their destinies with what the Prophet has said and of course the expectations of Church folks to function as such and so end up struggling to function in callings that as it may God himself has not destined for them. Then there are others who after fasting and praying themselves on the Prophet’s “authentic declaration” and being convinced the calling is not for them and so make no effort to “become what the Prophet said” are looked at some way by Church folks; the courageous ones questioning them why they have “refused” to become what Prophet said they will become.
I remember a true story a friend of mine shared with me. She narrated how her church once hosted a Prophet who during his ministration called forward a lady chorister and told the whole congregation “what God has revealed to him” about the lady. And his revelation was that the said lady is a fornicator and has an unholy relationship with her boyfriend who promised marrying her but has been abusing her yet for the love she has for him she is still with him. According to her the whole church was thrown into a state of murmurings, including her fellow choristers; and the lady couldn’t bear the public shame that God apparently was putting her through and broke down crying. According to my friend she herself felt so embarrassed and couldn’t imagine being in the lady’s shoes and all that might be going through her mind. Apparently in her words, the lady is one of the choristers who sing as if heaven has engulfed the church so it was a good day for the church folks who were screaming “eeii” “eeii” to the revelation. She wondered whether the Prophet couldn’t have handled the revelation meant for the lady in a much better way or he was too much under the “anointing” that ethics didn’t matter. Weeks later she told me she hasn’t been seeing the lady singing with her fellow choristers again and she suspects she might have stopped coming to church.
Then there was another lady called forward of whom the prophet said her mother is a witch and the reason for all her many misfortunes and she wondered what use is that sensitive information that can wreck a family to her my friend as a congregant to know. She asked me rhetorically, couldn’t they the congregation have still prayed for the said lady without that information being blurted out? Then she said if it were the lady she would just have stopped the church because she can’t imagine all the eyes that will be looking at her every Sunday and perhaps screaming in their heads “here comes the daughter of a witch”. “Even if my own mother is a witch and I even know it myself, there’s no way I am going to announce it to a whole church so why should God be interested in doing that?”, she expressed in worry.
And the examples go on and on and all over in almost every “spiritual” church. Not everybody is comfortable with every detail about them, whether good or bad, thrown out to public domain all in the name of prophesy? What code of ethics do ministers of God work with anyways?
Many men of God are doing so many unethical and humiliating things to people in the Church all in the name of the practice of spiritual callings. I’m not a Prophet to understand why and maybe I’m not “spiritual” so cannot discern spiritual things with my carnal mind but I sure do not think God’s intention for the prophetic and pastoral calling is how we see it being practiced.
As for some of the Prophets and “men of God” who apparently God reveals football match and election results to so that we know and do what about, and whose only motive is to pride themselves with public declarations or “prophecies” about the death of people and not to save them, the least said about them the better. For now all I can say is, if of all the things happening in the world the only ones God cares about to inform us to just know for knowing sake are football and election results, then “I can’t think far” as Ghanaians have coined. And who knows, maybe mere prediction and soothsaying (perhaps under the influence of having eaten too much) is the same thing as prophesying under the unction of the Holy Spirit; or maybe we as Christians are just too gullible.
Well, the thing with opinions…maybe I’m getting it all wrong but whatever it is, God help his people!
© Mark Gadogbe (McApple)
Marriage & Personal Development Author
Like, Comment, Share…And Subscribe!
Featured Image source:
“If a man seduces a virgin who is not engaged, and lies with her, he must pay a dowry for her to be his wife”
Many believe that in our present day and age, the enforcement of the Exodus 22:16 verse/law would be a great encouragement to fornication. Some also think applying Mosaic Law in the New Testament dispensation is like crucifying Christ again.
In others view too, if the focus of the new testament is only about fleeing fornication, then what happens in a situation when someone is unable to follow the rules all the way through and where do we find a remedy for that situation. Are they totally condemned because they couldn’t flee?
Again, others feel there should be a balance so we don’t try to live the Christian life only on the basis of the New Testament, after all the Bible in its entirety is our manual, not just the New Testament.
So what do I think? I think both verses (Exodus 22:16 and 1 Corinthians 6:18) being in the Bible makes the Bible a holistic book. Though there are some varied histories behind the Exodus verse and what was the norm in those days, I do not believe the verse is meant for pagans; neither do I believe it is there to encourage promiscuity or the lack of self control. And whether or not its application or relevance should be left to die with the practice of old and not brought into modern day Christianity, the reality is that I believe God in His infinite wisdom knows that even in today’s Christendom, some will get caught up in a situation where they are unable to exercise self-control and have “unmarried sex” and maybe have pregnancy on their hands before marriage. And what should then be the Bible’s requirement when that happens to a virgin or woman of marriageable age? Judge and condemn them because “fornicators” shall not inherit the kingdom of God, and on that basis prevent them from getting married because of the sin? Should they be made to look like the worse of sinners as some Churches do or be allowed to marry even when they are willing?
I do not see the application of Exodus 22:16 as condoning wrong or encouraging sin but just the recommendation of the Word of God. Repentance will not be required of Christians and mentioned in the Bible if God was oblivious of the fact that Christians do sin or will sin (not as a habit though). All sin is sin; fornication (whether a one-time act or serial act) is an equal sin as any other sin. Christians do mess up, don’t they?
Far from it, I’m not encouraging fornication; just sharing my thought on the Exodus 22:16 verse. Premarital sex is a sin and that’s undisputed! Premarital sex is sexual immorality and all sexually immoral (I believe those whose actions have become a conscious habit and not just someone who once fell into sexual sin and repented) will NOT inherit the kingdom of God!
But what’s the atonement for every form of sin as the Christian knows and lives by? Isn’t it simply a genuine repentance and change from one’s old ways (though some consequences of one’s sins cannot be undone)? And aren’t all Christians, including Pastors, only being perfected in that regard? Is it not true that we all are not perfect; at least, not yet?
So yes, I’m not encouraging premarital sex. I’m only saying that the practice where a Christian brother and a Christian sister are made to feel like the worse of sinners when either by “mistake” or some unrestrained passions they fornicate and even refused marriage by the Church even when they are willing to is too extreme and not a balanced Christian principle in my view. Of course I do not expect the Church to encourage sex before marriage or preach it, but neither do I expect the Church to assume that Christians are without sin. Christians were sinners before accepting Christ and Christians are not without sin after accepting Christ.
What do we sometimes see in Churches? Some churches decline such folk marriage even when the people involved have acknowledged their sin, repented and are willing to. Some churches say they have to punish or discipline the people involved in order to maybe purge out the sin or serve as deterrent to others. To do this therefore they instill certain rules. In some churches the Church Pastor brings them before the whole congregation and shames them, telling of their act. Then, the “fornicators” (not the appropriate tag because I don’t believe someone who fornicates and then repents still qualifies to be called a fornicator) when in Church cannot sit among the congregation but at the far back of the church in specially reserved seats for such folks. He/she is also not allowed to partake in communion; neither is he/she allowed to come near the “altar”, among other restrictions.
The Biblical basis for such actions is sometimes “absurd” to me; but surprisingly many Christians submit to these kinds of treatments by the Church, maybe out of respect for Church elders or “Church discipline”. Those who are unable to handle the ill treatment just leave the Church altogether. Church discipline especially regarding dating and relationships is a very sensitive and divisive issue to many Church folks anyways.
When two people are unable to exercise self-control which leads them to fornicate, I’m convinced the Biblical solution is to pray for them and encourage them to repent and mentor them. And should pregnancy be the outcome, they should be made to consider marrying especially if they are of marriageable age and offered as much help that the Church can in that regard.
Isn’t that what Exodus 22:16 recommends? Even if marriage is not the option they want to pursue, a lot can still be done for them other than shaming? Why a Church will rather chose to not encourage the praying for, mentoring and marriage option, but be interested in shaming and “disciplining” instead is what is sometimes not [biblically] clear.
Nonetheless, here’s how one Dr Lawson Stone interprets Exodus 22:16:
“Clearly this text has no idea of justifying or legitimizing any kind of sexual intercourse prior to marriage, but is a sanction enforcing marriage as the only setting for sexual union. The Church’s emphasis on sexual sin appears selective, harsh and hypocritical”
Well, the thing with opinions; they are so varied!
God help us!
(PS: Fornication is sin; as much as you can, flee it!)
© Mark Gadogbe (McApple)
Marriage & Personal Development Author
When the world (including Christians) looks at marriage counsellors, they often want to see “perfect” people or people in “perfect relationships or marriages”. Very often we come across debates on whether or not divorcees should be marriage counsellors in the Church or not; and whether or not they are qualified (seeing that they couldn’t hold their own marriage together) to counsel would-be couples. Not just counsellors, but also Pastors who have had the unfortunate situation of going through a divorce are not spared the “bad image” and their credibility always raises eyebrows.
If you ask for my personal sentiments, I would say we don’t need “perfect” people or only people with “perfect marriages” to counsel us…we just need the truth of God’s Word. And that can come from even divorced couples or divorced Pastors.
Today’s Church likes to “play clean” and whilst preaching the essence of God’s forgiveness and restoration, the Church is still the first to castigate people whose sins come to the fore, even after they have repented. The Church will even try to deny them of continuing in their God-given calling even after they have repented and God himself probably have forgiven them.
Or the fact that God hates divorce means He hates the people involved too just like that?
It’s quite funny sometimes how the Churches scream things like “all are sinners”, “there’s none righteous”, “our righteousness is a filthy rag before God”, “God forgives all sins”, etc, which means they understand (maybe superficially) that no man (the holiest of Christians alike) is without sin. But when sin presents itself before them, they try to then not associate with it even in its “repented form”. Every Christian sins whether we like it or not; Pastors, Shepherds, Prophets, Ministers, what have you, all sin! And divorce is an equal sin as any other sin! But does that make anybody less of a Christian? People commit “weightier” sins in the Church, then repent and continue still in their roles. Could it be that some sins are not as glaring as the “sin of a broken marriage” that’s why Counsellors who experience divorce cannot continue in their calling?
There is the story of a Christian Minister whose marriage was experiencing divorce and managed to keep it private (secret) for a few years before it went public when all hopes of salvaging it was lost. I’m tempted to believe that in all those years of secrecy, if he/she were a Counsellor in the Church, he/she would have still continued in that role until the point where it became public. And if that was the case, what puts him in good standing to give marriage counsel while working through his “secret divorce process” and what puts him not in good standing to perform same roles after going public? Have we not seen, heard and read about Pastors who are divorced and still continue in their Pastoral callings; some even re-marrying…and God’s still working through them?
Then again, not every Christian who is divorced had wished to be or is happy about it; and not every Christian who is divorced is the cause of the divorce. So why then do some still think that they are not worth being called good Christians or even worthy of giving good advice?
Taking counsel from a divorcee in Church is not a case of being unequally yoked or taking counsel from ungodly folks; is it?
No, these are Christians…and very good Christians in many cases! Nobody while marrying prays for a divorce I guess? They made a mistake and so what? Many of these folks are people who have regretted their actions and for some, if only their partners were willing, they would do anything just to restore their marriages. But sadly, many times it’s just a situation one cannot salvage. Sadly divorce seems an easier option than putting in the hard work to restore a breaking marriage; thus not surprising how amicable divorce processes are.
OK…one more story before we wrap up.
There’s the story of a female marriage Counsellor of a Church who discovered after 25 good years of marriage that the husband had been married to another woman even before her. As it were he had deceived her prior to their marriage about his marital status and there was no evidence of him being already married or perhaps she had just trusted him enough not to seek it. But as it now is, he’s fathered a child with this other woman too whilst still in this marriage. Two wives! And she’s only now finding out after 25 years! Now she’s worried that her own marriage has been a lie from the start and here she is a Counsellor who has advised couples for many years. And now she’s worried if she divorces the man, all the people she’d counseled and many others will say how come she a Counsellor has not been able to manage her own marriage. She’s worried her Church folks will begin seeing her in bad light and opine she’s not a good model to would-be couples and should not continue counselling. Question is what’s her crime? And why can’t she continue counselling people?
You see, we always make that mistake and see fellow Christians as our element of perfection. A divorced Christian is no less a Christian than those who are not; neither a divorced Pastor less a Pastor than others.
Maybe we have created a mess for ourselves in Christendom thinking divorcees cannot be good Counsellors so we make do with people who look clean outside but with so much filth and garbage going on in their homes only trying to deceive everybody that they have got it all together.
Who knows, on the judgment day we may be surprised to find that many divorcees are even better than those whose marriages are intact but with a billion hidden sins; sins weightier than the “sin of divorce”, maybe.
Does God forgive divorced couples and restores them in good standing as Christians when they seek His forgiveness? Or are they perpetually condemned on the grounds that He hates divorce and thus can no longer have a place in His kingdom? Well, ponder hard!
(PS: Not justifying divorce; God still hates divorce. His will is for all marriages to work)
© Mark Gadogbe (McApple)
Marriage & Personal Development Author
We have said it a billion times!
Our churches have lost it!
Both the “sane” and “insane” churches
Our people both literate and illiterate have lost it too!
In the name of spirituality…we have all lost it!
We have argued many times
How far church discipline should go
We have argued a billion times
Where the Churches assumed role of “parenting” ends
We have raised it a million times
How church “membership” ought to be defined
And where the church’s “authority” over its “members” ends
We have voiced out a thousand times
How non-ethical our church leaders are operating
How manipulative and cunning they have become
How the main purpose of the Church has shifted
How “secular” our churches have become
How we can no longer differentiate
Church from a Business or Secular Organization, etc
But for fear of being labelled “carnal”
And put in some particular stereotypes
And for how wrongly we have been brainwashed
In interpreting the “touch not my anointed…” scriptures
The “it is God speaking through me” gimmicks
That makes us take every message/direction from the pulpit
Hook, line and sinker!
We ourselves have become unwise and “stupid” followers
How brainwashed we have become
How undiscerning we have become
How dead in our spirits we have become
Because we do not know the Bible for ourselves
Because we fail to realize
Our lives are not sold out to churches to do as they please
Our lives are to be led by Christ and not the Church
Church leading you and Christ leading you…
There’s a whole lot of difference!
The day you know…you will be liberated!
Mark Gadogbe (McApple)
(PS: Sentiments entirely mine! Don’t steal it! And don’t hate when you don’t share same sentiments! Leave me to Christ…lol 😂😜)
Many are ready for the wedding but not the sacrifices that come with marriage. All their preparations have been for the wedding ceremony…not for the journey of marriage.
The only times they have read or devoted serious attention to anything related to marriage was when they were planning the wedding. And if they be Christians, then the only times they have had marital counsel was during their premarital counseling or those rare times short marriage sermons came from the Church pulpit. Beyond these, they would have made no further efforts on their own to read, learn and acquire marital knowledge.
Preparations for a wedding and preparations for marriage are two different things, or are they not? One ends but one continues throughout the length of your lives together, or it’s not so? How can any serious business like marriage survive without good preparation and continuous acquisition of related knowledge? Or don’t they say to be forewarned is to be forearmed?
Yesterday I visited a family friend whose marriage had broken way before mine started. She’s way older than me. Apparently, I had once shared some marriage truths or knowledge with her and gave her some materials, videos, movies, etc. At a point in our conversations, she said something to the effect that she wished she had all those materials and information I gave her when she was still in her marriage and that all that knowledge that she has now would have helped her save her marriage. She bemoaned her ignorance at the time. I was sad for her but was still grateful for her comment.
She made me realize that knowledge is everything and that timing is important. Knowledge at the right time is powerful and life saving.
Nonetheless we are human and cannot know everything. And even if we do know everything, and have applied all that we know, we still have flaws and cannot save everything, marriage included (a failing relationship/marriage can only be saved when the two parties are willing). That’s where God’s super-duper Grace comes in! Grace…we all need it, for in the end, though knowledge be important, it’s not all about knowledge.
God help us and our marriages that we will not live life with a belly full of regrets!
Mark Gadogbe (McApple)
PS: Like, Comment, Share, and…Subscribe!