Why does the church want to escape? Why is the church always seeking to avoid her realities? Why is the church often involved in fantasizing, daydreaming and wishful thinking of heaven? Why is it so convenient for a church to gather together impoverished, sick and tired people and talk to them about miracles and do nothing about the people’s circumstances? Why are new churches springing up every new day when the impacts of the ones on ground is barely felt? Why do we have Churches in corrupt countries yet services go on as usual as if everything is normal? Why is the church so eager to leave earth?
A few weeks ago, I read with interest some stories making rounds which a friend called my attention to. Indeed, there was not just one of such story but several of them all with the same subject. The stories were aimed at attacking Churches and Pastors who invite comedians to their stages (or pulpit, whichever you may call it) to entertain people. Like I said, the stories and articles were many. After reading several of the stories, in my opinion all the arguments sounded valid but lacked content. For me, it was another case of the Church escaping realities. You may wonder how I mean, let me explain. Do you know that many of the people who wrote such stories about having comedians in church did so because they thought they were defending God and the truth? Well, whenever you make an attempt at defending God, you are practicing the evil of religion. Secondly, such people who wrote against having comedians in Church have escaped the reality that comedy, movies and entertainment is part and parcel of people’s everyday life. Even God himself love to be entertained, isn’t why the Bible says that ‘He that sits in heaven shall laugh’? You can’t prevent the people from getting entertained and when they do not have it in Church or you oppose it in their living rooms, they will simply go under the bed to still get entertained. That is birthing hypocrisy. Same arguments have birthed opposing dramas and other innovative forms of communicating in church even though they are as effective as speaking.
Thirdly, people who wrote this articles and stories probably condemned such, thinking the comedian is not worthy to hold ‘the holy microphone of the church’. The life of this young people plying their trade are condemned. Well, my argument is if it is based on holiness, then we should also take the microphone off the Pastor because we all are found wanting. Christians often escape the reality that all men are sinners and if not for the grace of God, we cannot even call on his name. We often forget that every thief behind the bar, every prostitute on the street are our brothers and sisters, our comrades waiting to realize the grace of God. God does not love any man less than he loves the pope. Wouldn’t the father be pleased, even if it is a form of entertainment that will draw the ‘prodigal son’ back home? You wouldn’t condemn anybody the next time you remember this. Lastly, we forget that comedians are invited to Church to entertain because they are excellent at what they do. And if you agree, excellence has a culture of invading everywhere, even where it is not wanted. Simply put, the church perhaps lacks such excellent form of trade hence we have to buy where it is sold. Rather than for us to avoid this form of trade all together, why are sons not trained and raised to invade that world with a different mindset. This can only happen when we replace our gospels of escapism with the gospel that addresses our reality.
Escapism is defined as the tendency to seek distraction and relief from unpleasant realities, especially by engaging in fantasy and daydreaming. Isn’t that our passion when we talk and fantasize about the streets of Gold when all we have on earth are streets of potholes? Perhaps, that’s why we sing in the ‘sweet by and by’ when there is nothing sweet about our current circumstances. We pray, fast and do anything we think necessary to qualify for miracles, daydreaming that things will change on their own. We teach faith with fervency but clearly lack any demonstration of it. Didn’t the Bible say that ‘Faith without works is dead?’ We teach prosperity with zeal but only to get rich at the expense of millions of others. We talk to people about being born again but lack ideas about what their roles on earth should be. We teach people our own gospel and many fits of our own imagination.
Will I be getting into trouble to say Jesus never preached about being born again? He only told a man about it once in the middle of night and never mentioned it to any crowd, not even his own disciples heard it once. Yet that has become the core of many people’s message. If you are preaching born again, you are preaching Escapism.
Need I say Jesus never preached prosperity, because prosperity either financial or in the broad sense of it answer to established laws and principles. If any man obeys them, he will truly prosper. Prosperity is another escapism gospel.
Jesus delivered people but his concepts were not of demonology and Satanism, things the Church bothers itself about today. When did the white house start discussing how to grow vegetables?
Though Jesus healed people, he never taught them on healings and miracles. He never taught seed sowing, tithing etc. The many other forms of escapism gospels we are entangled with today.
Escapism is what men are reduced to when the original value God placed on their lives is submerged and undiscovered. For example, the original value of God for a man could be to be his presence-carrier, invading nations with his values. However, because of a temporary health situation, such a man can be reduced to a miracle seeker all the days of his life never attaining to his potential because all that the escapism gospel will do is constantly point his attention to his situation. Escapism gospels point people’s attention to their own bank accounts, their own possessions, their own situations when in actual fact they carry the answers to the problems of the world.
Escapism reduces the value on people. When you try to escape you lose all relevance. You lose touch with reality. You become a nuisance on earth and a burden for the government. You become a data at census, a biological biomass. A progenitor capable of only bringing forth children, same ability that pigs possess. Escapism makes you become a point of concern to others. Escapism makes you get in the shadow of your own goalposts, you become a miscue, a foul throw and a missed penalty kick. In other words, you become a disappointment to yourself, to God and to your generation.
Escapism relieves and disengages us from our original mandate, which is to invade and occupy the earth. The role of the Church is invasion and occupation. God wants the Church to stay on earth and invade, the church wants to escape and go to heaven. What a conflict of interests. It is easier for you to want to escape than to want to invade, unfortunately we go for the easier option always. Remember as a child how we want to escape duties assigned by our moms or the reality of waking and going to school by staying in our cozy little rooms fantasizing and daydreaming. That is exactly what the Church is doing now. We are sleeping in our cozy little room called Sanctuaries, temples and Church buildings. We are sleeping on our cozy little bed of religion and routine and fantasizing about heaven singing ‘In the sweet by and by’. Escaping does not change realities. If as a kid you avoided going to school, you will simply fail. That is a direct consequence. The direct consequence of our negligence and religiosity is a world turned around, void of God and deep in evil.
God has not sent you to earth to come wait for his return in your church building, he has sent you out to go invade for him. God has not sent you to the world to come wait to die. It’s amazing that many in the world are just waiting to die hoping that heaven will be a better place. Do not be eager to die, if God does not need you on the earth He could have killed you. You are still breathing because there is an assignment from him to you on the earth. Get busy invading for him. You were sent to earth to invade, occupy and take over.
Any message, sermon, gospel, theology, religion etc then that resembles escaping, taking off, dying, running away, ‘I’ll fly away’, is directly counterproductive and directly opposed to God’s purpose and agenda on the earth. Such thinking is against God’s plan for men on the earth.
The message of Jesus was the message of invasion, it was the message of occupation. He talked about conquering, of capture and of seizure. He brought the idea of making the earth an annex of heaven, directly annexing heaven with earth. His disciples after him completely took over and appropriated God’s will on the earth. His overwhelming presence could not be ignored and he overran every sector of his day. His impact was felt in religion (he brought down the temple and rebuilt in three days). His presence was known in politics (He declared himself King though there was a sitting emperor). He could not be ignored in education (He is revered as the greatest teacher that ever lived). He fed the hungry and attended festivals. He was a popular guest at the house of sinners. He completely affected every aspect of his own world.
To be continued…