Friday, December 05, 2008
When love stops talking to you, it stops seeing who you really are, it stops looking into your eyes,
When love stops loving you?
What do you do while watching love fade, watching it lose its lustre, its shine,
When it starts to lose its meaning?
What do you do when your heart stops skipping and fluttering and beating..like that, leaving an empty hollow sound...faint..
What do you do when loves walks past you and doesn't even stop to look at you anymore?
What do you do when love is dead.
This thing called love, so pure, yet so hard to keep, so strong, yet so frail, ..
The love that once was, just sits here, in the quiet, gazing with a blank stare,
wondering and waiting..
Gentle, now gone.
Wednesday, December 03, 2008
An African View of the Palin Video
I just again watched the video clip of Sarah Palin being prayed for by the Kenyan preacher, Pastor Muthee, and for the sake of this article, paid special attention to what he said and his prayer points for her. I heard the following: prayer for favor; prayer for finances; righteousness; the breaking of yokes, prayer against hindrances of the enemy; and finally, the binding or rebuking of all forms of 'witchcraft' - words that have since sent America in a tail spin, wondering how Jesus and witchcraft can be mentioned or prayed for within the same sentence. I would like to try to explicate this from a couple of different perspectives.
First from an African perspective - Pentecostalism in Africa is quite mainstream. In the African tradition, even dating back to pre-colonial times, the average African s have always worn their spirituality on their person and have always been very closely linked to their spirituality, whether traditional, Christian or Islamic spirituality. It's never been hidden or considered something to be ashamed of. It is also not unusual in Africa to find a politician being closely affiliated to a religious leader, or to find him or her attending the service of a particular church on a regular basis, or being prayed for in a manner almost identical to that of this YouTube clip. Even if the politician is of a different religious affiliation such as Islam, it is not uncommon to find him calling on a Christian Pentecostal leader for prayer or guidance on a particular issue. Spirituality, on a very ordinary level, is a close part of the everyday African life.
Now, people in America see this clip of Sarah Palin and freak out and the incident literally becomes sensationalized in the media. But, you see in Africa, this is "normal". But Evangelicalism/Pentecostalism in the U.S. is not mainstream and many people here still consider them as something practiced by fringe elements. The interesting irony here also, is that as closely linked as America is to religion, for most intents and purposes, most Americans are still agnostic.
As seen from the clip, the notion of casting and binding evil spirits or rebuking every form of "witchcraft'' is very much in line with the principals of karma and the clearing or removal of negative spirits, negative forces or energy working against a person's ability to do or achieve good. It is not a literal reference to witches with wobbly pointed hats flying around on broomsticks waving a wand that turns a rabbit into a pigeon. Nor is it a direct reference implying that Sarah Palin or anybody else in such a congregation believes in witches and wizards per se.
Jesus himself can be found in the Bible casting out demons (see Mark 5:1-20).The clearing out of negative energy or spirits in a person to make room for good or better to take place is very much in line with the principles shared by ninety percent of many other religions. For example, Buddhist chanting as a form of prayer is an act of clearing away negativity around such a person in order to be able to receive good things or positive energy, is akin to a Christian prayer that says "to bind every negative hindrance working against you in Jesus Name". In the same vein, the principle of Jesus going up to a mountain to fast and pray (going without food or water) for 40 days to commune with God is very similar to Buddhist monks that shaved their heads, climbing to the top of a mountain to purify themselves by purging all negativity in order to enhance their ability to tune into the spiritual in an intense and as pure a manner as possible. The act of purging oneself of negativity has the same idea behind it, whether it is to affiliate it with God, if that is what is believed in, or to affiliate it to some other spiritual being or notion.
In Nigeria for example, the religious convictions of revered Christian (Pentecostal/Evangelical) leaders such as Pastor E.A. Adeboye of Redeemed Christian Church of God or Dr. D.K. Olukoya of MFM Ministries are not perceived as threatening by the general public because they generally stay within the confines of "religion" and do not try to spread their influences and beliefs into the political sphere. They have tended to keep their political views abstract and general -asking the government to help the people that they are governing or that the wealth of the land should be used for all people and not just a select few - thereby offending as few people as possible. But in the U.S., some people, Sarah Palin included, have political views that could be found detrimental to people in general. When one now associates all these different forms of intolerance with the practice of evangelicalism or Pentecostalism, then it now becomes understandable that Americans in general have a negative view of it or are troubled by it when they really shouldn't be. The spheres of extreme right wing politics and evangelicalism have co-mingled in such a way that one has now tainted the other when it shouldn't be that way.
I am a Nigerian-American, have grown up, lived and worked in both countries, and also a Christian of Pentecostal leanings. As a result I have the unique ability to be able to look at both sides of a coin and understand the sometimes-opposing standpoints. But that does not mean that
I believe in the political convictions of some American evangelicals that blatantly advocate for the assassination of America's perceived enemies, or the taking away of a woman's right to choose nor do I believe in aerial hunting, to mention a few.
As is popularly said in Nigerian Pentecostal churches, salvation is personal, not the law of the land.
So! I’ve put together what will become one of many series based on my personal reviews and recommendations of certain things or places. This is my Lagos series highlighting where to find the best of certain things. These are my favorite things in Lagos that I can’t live without.
Best Cappuccinos in Lagos – Candies on Kofo Abayomi in Victoria Island; Orchid on Isaac John in GRA Ikeja
Best Croissants in Lagos – La Saison - off Awolowo Road in Ikoyi (Tosan Cakes’ café); Chocolat Royale - Etim Inyang in Victoria Island
Best Breakfast in Lagos – (rankings 1-4 with 1 being the highest) Orchid on Isaac John in GRA Ikeja; 2. Candies - Kofo Abayomi in VI; 3.Chocolat Royale on Etim Inyang in VI; 4. Robert’s Café -Akin Olugbade Street, VI
Best Bread in Lagos – Hands down! And the award goes to Oasis Supermarket -Mobolaji Bank-Anthony Way, Ikeja; 2. Agoyin Bread from the clay ovens of central Lagos -off Igbosere Street; 3. Chocolat Royale in VI
Best Ofada Rice Lunch in Lagos - And the award goes to Terra Kulture - Tiamiyu Savage Street, Off Bar Beach Road, Victoria Island. Check out their newly updated website above. This is an arts centre that comes with a restaurant, art gallery, book store, to name a few. The rustic ethnic theme of the restaurant sets a somewhat cosmopolitan tone for the authentic nigerian cuisine on the menu. When in the mood for a lunch of very good Ofada rice in particular, this is the place to go as they have managed to maintain a consistency in the quality of this item on the menu. This is a great place for lunch with the girls or business meeting and get this -they actually have reliable WiFi! - in the event that you want to lunch and cyberwork on your lappie by yourself. Ofada and the internet go very well together.
Best Bookstore - Quintessence - Falomo Shopping Centre, Awolowo Road, Ikoyi - This is a unique Oasis that meshes art, books of African and Nigerian origin, magazines, ethnic nick-nacks, music with mellow but rich ambience that makes you forget the bustling madness that is Lagos. This is a favorite haven of mine. Don't be surprised if you go in there just to look around and you end up spending all the money in your purse or pockets. Perfect place for unique book or gift items too for friends local and abroad. Trully worth it.
Best Unique Shopping Experience in Lagos -(if you just wanna get that dress and go and possibly wear the same day or night ‘prêt a porter’)- Tiffany Amber -Palms Mall, Victoria Island(I must say though, that for that unexpected pleasant surprise in an outfit is what one gets on the off chance that you find yourself in a Tiffany Amber store. It beats me though as to why the company still does not have a website, even after 10 years in business! Even if its just for general information with a nice picture of an outfit on the main page. It's almost 2009 people!); Tae in GRA Ikeja; Jewel By Lisa - Ikoyi
Best (favorite) Cafes in Lagos – Orchid Bistro (can the real Dr. Robert please stand up!)in GRA Ikeja; Chocolat Royal (best and most courteous service); Candies on Kofo Abayomi (best salads and sandwiches in town; the waiters are a bit grumpy, but once you smile they soften up and smile back – usually. Also, it has a decent window view if you want to look out on to bustling Victoria Island will you eat or sip.
Best Chin chin in Lagos – The mama with the big boobies and extended derrière on the corner of Moloney Street in Central Lagos. They have the franchise of the very best chin chin this side of the equator on lock.
Best Plantain chips in Lagos – Laide’s on Adeyemo Alakija Street, across from Citibank’s old offices (Commerce House), under a big faded Celtel umbrella. She’s got attitude though, so watch out. When your car is slowly moving in traffic as you approach her, she’s quick to tell you, “I can’t run o, I’m not a young girl”. Nor does she deliver (which is quite narrow-minded for a small/micro entrepreneur in Lagos, given the fact that these days, “everybody” delivers for the right price; even the guy selling telephone credit will be happy to deliver to your house if you so choose, since everybody has a mobile phone these days! But you can call her to place large orders and pick up yourself. BUT, her chips are THE BEST. Take my word for it.
Best Cosmopolitan in town – Orchid Bistro in GRA. To my utter surprise, I finally found a place in Lagos where cosmos are made the way the gods initially intended and designed, and served in the martini glass that it deserves to be in. At other bars and spots, whom I shall have mercy upon and not mention, if you order for a cocktail drink, especially for something as simple as a cosmo or a spin of martini origin, it will come in a fugly drinking glass (big and unwelcoming), chock full of nastily shaped –looking ice cubes, all watery and nasty* with a big ol’ oversized straw crassly sticking out of the glass. SMH. So if you are ever thirsty for a real cosmo in Lagos, drive down (or up) to Orchid’s Bistro. They have it all figured out.
Stay tuned for new updates in theses series!