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HolyBlog
I am respectfully privileged to extend my greetings as a Christian jungle boy to Pastor Mensa Otabil. I have never met him and I probably never will. Not to worry, though. These Facebook and Internet streets make anything possible. And since God is good, I have a good feeling that my article will find his good self somehow in these good times. I only hope I don’t look to him like an insult in this introduction. I do watch National Geographic so that should place me far off on the right side of a Likert scale between an insult and a non-insult. All this brouhaha involving his role, executive or non-executive, in these financial sector sarcomas got me worried, not so much about him per se, but about the negative impact it was beginning to exert on Christianity and Christian ministry. Make no mistake. It’s making us all look bad. Every single fornicator, thief or adulterer ever rebuked on any subject to do with sin is insulting Christians because of him. Class One Christians who last attended church from the comfort of their homes when Prince Harry wed Meghan are insulting us because of him. Even the atheists, the sasabonsam people, the arch-rebels are all in on it because of him.

And his congregants aren’t helping with all the I Stand with Otabil nonsense. Who stands with the widows, the poor carpenters and truck pushers whose mites and coins filled up the treasury of the misbegotten bank he board-chaired? Who stands with Ghana, in these moments of difficulty trying to fund free SHS for the citizenry? Who stands with our sweat-fueled taxes wasted trying to save his and his shareholders from losing the arrogance that comes from wearing $2,000 suits? Who stands with poor Ama Ghana?

The facts of the reports we have all sighted indicate that under Pastor Otabil’s non-executive watch, whatever that means, Mr. W. A. Essien, the majority shareholder, flouted all banking and risk management rules and treated depositers’ and public funds as his personal “piggy bank”, and blew tonnes of Ghana Cedis on dubious acquisitions and well-nigh criminal financial shenanigans, even as far away as Mugabe’s Zimbabwe. At the core of the problem was the weak board oversight rendered of Capital Bank’s risk management oversight functions. That in simple English means Pastor Otabil provided spineless leadership and incompetent oversight of the functions that could have saved poor depositors’ and public funds. This is why the juries in the alleys of Facebook and Twitter find him guilty.

Not because they have proof of his personal, direct contribution to Essien’s remarkable lack of good risk management sense, but because he is the leader and pastor of a church that shows more business sense than all of the consolidated local banks put together. And worse, he is a “man of God”. That title puts him in a better management position than the Chair of the US Federal Reserve Board. We all saw how well Moses executed his executive and non-executive roles leading the Israelites to the Promised Land. They walked through dry land in the Red Sea, for crying out loud. Do you have any idea how hard that is? We haven’t been able to desilt the Korle since I was a kid. This is just how much power and good sense we expect a man of God in a board-Chair position of a bank to exhibit.

Or, failing that, admit his failure in his duties, appeal to his humanness and save all of us other Christians the shame of explaining our God and how He is not responsible for His servant’s failures. This is what a true man of God would do. A true church of God would also suspend Pastor Otabil forthwith. This is why churches with visible one-man founders fall within the ambit of false churches no different from the Obinims of today, but I digress. If for nothing at all, at least for bringing the name of the church and the church’s God into this uncalled-for disrepute, a suspension would have been in order. In a more serious church, this nonsense has little currency.

Take the Church of Pentecost, for example. Those folks don’t play. In that church, the mere sign of fibroid is grounds for suspension for the sins of fornication and of premarital pregnancy. Oversight failures for messing up choir master deposits would have called for outright dismissal. Which is why Dr. Otabil’s “God is Good” response to the financial mess he is alleged to have supervised leaves a sour taste in my jungle Christian mouth.

God is Good sen?

That response is worse than his alleged role and puts him in the same scale as Eli, the High Priest of Israel whose sons, Hophni and Phinehas, stole the best parts of God’s offerings, and had sexual affairs with women right in the church. Amazingly, when all these things were brought to Eli’s attention, his response was the exact same response we have now received from Pastor Otabil – God is Good!

This account is found in the first Book of Samuel, the Prophet of Israel at about 1164 BC. Eli was old, and though the Chief Priest of Israel, probably had a non-executive role in Temple administration in the Church of God, at the time known as the Tabernacle of the Lord, at Shiloh. He had sons, two of whom are described as “corrupt”. They would send their servants around while worshippers offered sacrifices, “with a three-pronged fleshhook… while the meat was boiling”, and have them thrust it into the pot and take for themselves “all that the fleshhook brought up” (1 Samuel 2:12-14). These sons of Eli essentially robbed God, stole from him and engaged in sexual crimes with the worshippers in the House of the Lord. The Bible describes their sins as “very great before the Lord, for men abhorred the offering of the Lord” (1 Sam. 2:17).

In the same way a lot of people are abhorrent of Christians today as a result of the actions and inactions of “men of God” such as Pastor Otabil. The grievousness of their sin was proportional to the disrepute they had inflicted on the cause of justice and righteousness by their evil deeds. The sins of the Sons of Eli got God so angry that he demanded of Eli through a man of God, “Why do you kick at My sacrifice and My offering which I have commanded in My dwelling place, and honour your sons more than Me, to make yourselves fat with the best of all the offerings of Israel My people?” (1 Sam. 2:29).

Considering the wealth, power and influence today’s men of God wield, and how “fat” they have become at the expense of the people who attend their churches, it is no surprise that the account of Eli and his evil sons is an apt description of Christian churches today. Even worse is the appropriation of God’s resources for dubious gains. How do churches, whose funds belong to the service of God for charity, for schools and for hospitals to alleviate human suffering, invest in banks that are involved in all kinds of ungodly deals including money laundering?

God’s declaration against Eli and his sons was that “in one day they shall die, both of them” (1 Sam. 2:34). Any wonder UT Bank and Capital Bank died in one day and were caputed by GCB? But here comes the shocker. After many years of evil-doing by Hophni and Phinehas, Eli somehow believed that he was nothing but a non-executive actor absolved in the whole saga. His behaviour seemed to have irked the Good Lord more, for in a vision to the young boy Samuel, the Lord said, “In that day I will perform against Eli all that I have spoken concerning his house, from beginning to end. For I have told him that I will judge his house forever for the iniquity which he knows, because his sons made themselves vile, and he did not restrain them. And therefore I have sworn to the house of Eli that the iniquity of Eli’s house shall not be atoned for by sacrifice or offering forever.” (1 Sam 3:12-14; emphasis mine)

I believe that the only way Dr. Otabil walks away from all this without prosecution is because we live in an apampamu-store republic. A republic that sponsors Mecca and Jerusalem pilgrimages lack the bold, hairy and audacious gonads required to haul someone like Pastor Otabil before the Courts.

Tweaaa.

Ain’t gonna happen la.

Notice that in the Courts of Heaven, Eli didn’t get of that easily. But the worse thing in the biblical account equitable to Pastor Otabil’s miserable apology of a response happened when Samuel fearfully told High Priest Eli what the Lord had revealed to him.

After much coaxing, the boy opened up to the priest and declared the judgements of the Lord. Guess what Eli the priest said: “It is the Lord. Let Him do what seems good to Him.” (1 Sam. 3:18) Clearly we have a more contemporary rendition of Eli’s words in the face of God’s imminent judgment in the response suggestions offered by Pastor Otabil to his congregation who clearly idolize, adore and worship him.

“God is Good!”

In Eli’s response, he seemed lackadaisical, uncaring of, and unimpressed with God’s declared judgment. A concerned priest would have done all in his power to put his house in order like the people of Nineveh, to avert God’s wrath. The man of God seemed completely unconcerned in his response, “It is the Lord. Let Him do what seems good to Him”. Pastor Otabil goes a step further beyond uncaring to presumption. To declare presumptuously in the face of damning allegations that “God is Good” is (1) to pretend that the loss of almost 10-percent of our GDP under his spineless board leadership is an easy thing to sweep under ICGC’s Christ Temple altar; (2) to act like the rest of us interrogating the issue are as gullible, bereft of independent thought and in awe of him as are his ICGC congregants; and (3) to theologize that our Father in Heaven, whose benevolence feeds the little sparrow and sustains the leviathans of the deep seas; who notices every injustice done to the widow and the orphan, and excuses not the thieving, corrupt under dealings of politicians and judges, supports the criminal and nation-wrecking allegations of financial impropriety discovered under Otabil’s so-called non-executive chairmanship.

How blasphemous!

Now, I do not wish any evil on Dr. Mensa Otabil. I wish him long life and personal prosperity, although I wish his prosperity would spare us losses to our GDP. But in the Biblical account of Eli and his evil Sons, the High Priest and his sons died horribly. And the two devils – Hophni and Phinehas – died before their high priest father. As we speak, Capital and UT have died horribly (and may the CEOs whose foolishness caused their demise grow boils on their behinds while the state seeks to prosecute). It therefore stands to reasonable expectations that the real culprit – their high priest mentor whose silence led to the festering of their moral rots  – follows suit.

The “God is Good” response is unfortunate, to say the least, and despicable in both Biblical and moral examination. Watching the video, I had no doubt that I was looking at a man who believes himself untouchable where his role in the on-going scandal is concerned. Even worse is the insult delivered to those of us asking the questions for which his misguided answer seeks to respond.

Please keep us non-ICGC Christians out of this nonsense. Pastor Otabil’s latest response neither makes sense in the light of the issues or in the light of the Bible, and not all of us are dumb enough to offer “God is Good” as a legitimate Christian response to a report that alleges nation-wrecking infractions. We dissociate ourselves from such behaviour and demand full scale prosecutions of everyone, executive or otherwise, whose actions led to these gargantuan losses.

Only then can we all agree to a resounding “God is Good!”
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HolyBlog
You’re right. I am definitely a what-iffer. Life would be intrinsically more boring for me if I wasn’t. Being a what-iffer doesn’t mean that I am exactly insane but, all the same, let’s agree I am a what-iffer. Some of my what-iffs are productive.

Examples: What if Ghana had the longest zip line across the largest man-made lake? What if free SHS was possible? What if the ecstatic, unintelligible gibberish of today’s churches wasn’t the tongues of the Bible? What if I could change Ghanaian culture in favour of outdoor adventure activities? What if Sunday worship was the Mark of the Beast? What if America was truly racist? What if I could reconnect with my first love in ways that could build the best friendship I had ever wanted?

These what-ifs are productive in the sense that they cause me to bend my mental, physical, intellectual and financial resources to seeing some happen, discovering many to be true, lambasting false Christian theories and building better relationships. Then there are the totally useless what-iffs; the ones I call modin-Sane: What if, instead of having an abortion it was possible to extract an embryo alive from the womb of a woman who didn’t want it, and move it into a lab that could sustain it to babyhood for nine months? What if we could have shitholian African Parliamentarians taken out and shot? What if Ghana could launch a real space ship into orbit (I knew I shouldn’t have eaten too much pepper the night I had this what-if)? What if we could rid Africa of corrupt leaders by May 26, 2018?

As you can see, not all what-ifs are positively whatifiable. So, when I what-iffed the possibility of a non-existing God, I immediately filed it under modin-Sane.

But the thought wouldn’t be so easily discarded. My mind actually thought it would benefit from considering the possibility that there was no God. This had come about because many unbelieving friends of mine had that week put up spirited denunciations and ridiculed the concept of the existence of God. I faced them fair and square of course (no one I know of has ever accused me of running away from an intellectual fight), and floored the archeologists and humanists among them (let’s hope they don’t read this and write rejoinders ;-)).

So I gathered my puny human intellect, picked up a glass of aluguntugun juice, sat on a camp chair on an island in the Akwamu Gorge one evening, raised my eyes to the starry skies and bent the forces of my mind to contemplate the possibility that God did not exist. Before this exercise, I had availed myself of all the still-unrefuted scientific evidence that had been discovered and widely published in some of the world’s leading science journals. Some of them had for 40 years supported the Genesis Creation record that God made the heavens and the earth and the sea and everything in them. By embarking on this what-iffer, I was essentially about to suspend what I had believed for 35+ years and consider alternatives.

Make no mistake. The only way to declare that God does not exist is to attack the first book of the Bible – Genesis. But since Genesis had done me no wrong (I like Moses actually. His meekness is one I aspire to, just as soon as I get rid of my Kalashnikov), I could not bring it up in my what-iffing. If a person is willing to consider that there is no God, that person has no business bringing a book of God into his or her enterprise. If God does not exist, then Genesis does not exist. Therefore, I had to turn to something that wasn’t godly – the big bang theory of relativistic cosmology – earlier deduced by an “army of data” to have occurred 5.5 billion years ago and was later amended to some 13.8 billion years.

The theory essentially claimed the universe as we know it started with a small singularity, then inflated (bang!) over the next 13.8 billion years to the cosmos that we know today. What commends the big bang theory to itself is its reliance on what seems to be overwhelming experimental evidence for an ancient age of the earth and its unquestionable laws of radioactive decay, also called radiometric dating.

Christians claim that God created the heavens and the earth, the sea and everything else that exists. They cite the Bible as the source, and the basis, of that belief. If one wants to refute that, then one has to refute the Bible’s authenticity, and as the world knows, there is no end to the relentless pursuits on a daily basis to discredit the Bible.

But for the Christian, there really isn’t much work to do to prove anything beyond what the Bible has said. God created the heavens and the earth. Enough said. Since Science claimed to be above faith and the Bible, I began to ponder whether Science had any real evidence from among the “overwhelming scientific data” for the claim that the earth had banged itself into existence over billions of years.

What physical element, substance or property was scientifically credited to be the evidence of the big bang? I was informed by the documentation I assessed that pleochroic halos were deemed to be the phenomenon, which supposedly established the constancy of the decay rate of radioactive matter over geologic time, and threw out the ananse story of a God who had power to create. If there were no God, then the scientific evidence should support no claim of a fast-solidifying foundation of granite rock – known as Precambrian rock. Science holds that these rocks were formed (excruciatingly) slowly as molten magma cooled down. The Bible holds that these rocks were formed instantly in one day when the Spirit of God moved over a formless earth and caused the dry land to appear from nothing. These pleochroic halos are apparently formed by radioactivity in various rocks and are most easily observed in mica under a microscope. Uranium forms the rings of a certain type of one of these halos, which is the key for scientists as to whether the rate of decay was constant. But uranium is not the only element that forms these halos. Polonium does that too but, unlike uranium, polonium has only a fleeting existence, leading scientists to only credit uranium with the production of the halos.

As a what-iffer my interest, while sipping my aluguntugun juice, and trying to make sense of tons of scientific gobbledygook, was knowing when the Earth was formed. If the evidence proved that it took billions of years, God would cease to exist in my eyes because a God of truth would not have us believe that it took Him six days only to create the heavens and the earth when it took Him billions of years. But if science could not prove when the earth banged into existence, then it simply would become charlatan and false, and God would be true.

Essentially in big bang cosmology, all of Earth’s chemical elements formed hundreds of millions or billions of years before the time matter finally began to condense to form the proto-Earth as a molten ball of matter. Geologists generally believe that these are Precambrian rocks because they contain no fossils and have no evidence of life in them. These are the rocks that underlie the continents – the foundational rocks – and are the ones that contain the uranium and polonium halos. The evidence I studied, while the harmattan winds whipped Lake Volta into a frenzy, suggested that the polonium halos could not have emerged from uranium. Granite cooling from a molten state would have taken so long that there would have been, in the heat and all that turmoil, no traces whatsoever of polonium. In fact, polonium would have been incinerated in minutes.

The answer to how polonium could have been around in the long time it would have taken the granite to cool was the answer to my musings. Basically, a speck of polonium in molten rock could be compared to a tablet of Andrews Liver Salt in a glass of water. The beginning of effervescence is equated to the moment that polonium atoms began to emit radioactive particles. In molten rock the traces of those radioactive particles would disappear as quickly as the Martin Liver Salt crystals in water. The only way the crystals would be preserved is if the water were instantly frozen. Polonium halos could only have formed if the rapidly “effervescing” specks of polonium had been instantly encased in solid rock.

The truth, of course is this: there are immeasurably large number of polonium halos embedded in granites around the world. Just as frozen Martin Liver Salt crystals would be clear evidence of the quick-freezing of the water, these many polonium halos undeniably give evidence that a sea of primordial matter quickly “froze” into solid granite. The occurrence of these polonium halos, then, distinctly implies that our earth was formed in a very short time (in six days actually), and not over a long, drawn out period of billions of years.

The most credible source of that information is the Bible, which speaks unimpressed with scientific gobbledygook about the foundation rocks, “And, Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of thine hands.” “Of old hast thou laid the foundation of the earth: and the heavens are the work of thy hands.” “By the word of the Lord were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth. … For He spake, and it was done; He commanded, and it stood fast.” (Hebrews 1:10; Psalm 102:25; Psalm 33:6,9).

Before the alunguntugun juice ran out, my belief was strongly reaffirmed that God exists. He is. He was. And always will be. Scientists, not unexpectedly, believe the polonium-halo evidence for Creation is, at best, a tiny mystery, in spite of the fact that they haven’t been able to refute the evidence in close to 50 years. “But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty” 1 Corinthians 1:27.

Polonium halos may be insignificant in the discussions of a big bang theory, but they clearly offer a big challenge to the science of evolution and totally flaws the theory of the big bang, and until that challenge is proven beyond reasonable doubt, I believe in God!

So, with that resolved, I bent what was left of my what-iffing over a long night to what social evidence we would see if there were no God. And I realized that people would have us believe God does not exist as a way of shaking off His moral restraints. Evidence abound that the increasing rise in divorce, fornication, licentiousness, homosexuality, vice and all the putrefying sins of the world is linked to the removal of God’s moral restraints. Other than His law, what else would make stealing another person’s wife abhorrent (unless you were the victim-husband)? Human laws have not been enough to curb society’s hurtful tendencies, and neither has the proliferation of churches in every available street corner of Accra where I live. It is God’s word and His law – not the false churches that create economic opportunity for themselves in His name, nor the false humanists who would have every allusion to God’s power and grace to save removed from all mention, nor the false scientists who move from their failure to ground the theory of evolution to declaring vile homosexuality a hereditary tendency over which its adherents have no control – that would make the world a better place.

This jungle boy believes God through Christ will come soon to clean the mess we have made of His earth and restore us into His image and His original plan for all His created beings – joy, untold happiness, and the realization and achievement of our sanctified dreams and aspirations higher than our present senses of self-actualization.
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