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Archive for March, 2013

easterEaster has always been different. Growing up, we always looked forward to festivities. Accidentally, they often coincided with our holidays. As children, we were enamoured by the celebratory mood that hung in the air, the new clothes and shoes our parents purchased for us, the exchange of cards, the twinkling lights, the knock-out and of course, the special rice and larger chunks of meat we would eat around that period.

Even as a child, I had noticed that unlike Christmas, there was something different about Easters. My Parish then was of a kind where during lent there was absolutely no music at Mass, hardly even the clapping of hands. I remember observing the solemness of the hymns, the dull colours of the sanctuary, the many festivities viz Stations of the Cross, palm Sunday and Holy week, the general sad demeanour of everyone like something very bad has happened and the dramatic change witnessed at Easter Sunday when everything suddenly comes back alive.

As I grew older and began to better appreciate the teachings of the church and the reasons for the solemness at this season, Easter began to evoke a very special feeling. Perhaps less of a feeling of ‘difference’ as I had imagined as a child, but a lot more special, a deeper and much more spiritually enriching festival and season. I am sure most of us share this similar experience.

Easter is the very essence of our existence, the very source of our Christian faith. In exhibition of His infinite love for humanity, God sent us His son to cleanse us and reconcile us to Himself and He did this in no less a symbolic way than to have been betrayed, tortured, crucified and nailed to a cross, like a common criminal. On that cross, He declared that “It is finished”, signifying that we all have been discharged and acquitted and by rising on the third day, our hope for a new life in Him is sealed.

Sadly though, we all, children of this modern age seem to have lost the deep spiritual significance of this special season. Christians today seem to have become too complacent, too distant from the faith that this wonderful story of resurrection now seems like a myth, like some meaningless fairy tale retold yearly simply for entertainment. Religion has in like manner become commercialised and politicized that we have lost the very essence of why Christ came and died on the cross which is Love.

The beauty of Easter is not only that it reveals to us God’s majesty and power exemplified in the resurrection of His Son, but also that it reminds us each time we bow our heads before the crucifix that in the brokenness of Jesus on the cross, the love of God is revealed so profoundly for each of us and we are called to spread that love to all of humanity.

Our holy father Pope Francis is leading the way in this call for renewal. With his adoption of the name Francis and in all of his public utterances, he has been reminding us of the essence of love and the need to embrace the poor among us which is the kind of evangelism the world needs today.

Every time we bring hope into a situation, every time we bring joy that shatters despair, every time we forgive others and give them back dignity and the possibility of a future, every time we listen to others and affirm them and their life, every time we speak the truth in public and boldly confront injustice, every time we think not of ourselves but of the needs of others, we bring people back from the dead as Jesus was at Easter.

This year’s Easter which coincides with this very remarkable time in the history of the Church, presents us another opportunity to realign ourselves to the cross, to the fundamental teachings of the church and appreciate once again, the beauty as of when we were children, of Easter and the season we have just entered. Happy Easter Good people!

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25 WAYS TO BE A HAPPY WRITER (OR, AT LEAST, HAPPIER) by Chuck Wending.

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NBMI recently had a conversation with David Ishaya Osu for The New Black Magazine on my background, my writing, opinions on literary issues and plans for the future.  It was quite detailed and exhausting… it felt like i was being grilled but i enjoyed every bit of it.

The New Black Magazine is a Black British online magazine with a global outlook. You can learn more about them and their publications by liking their page on facebook here

Now click to Read the interview and share.  🙂

 

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oga at the top We laughed, my god, we did.

First the laughter was out of shock, then of course we were disgusted and laughter came in handy in dousing our collective disappointment. Then we got creative on both web and mobile and more laughter ensued. Then it got ridiculous and painfully banal. Gradually, it turned into a proclamation of self-righteousness and then, we lost it.

Some are still laughing though, they have a right to I must admit but by the time we are done laughing, by the time it is all silent again and our eyes that has leaked tears as we chocked in laughter are now dry, we will come to the realisation that in many ways there is a Commander Shem of various forms in all of us and we have essentially been simply laughing at ourselves.

If what we crucify Mr Obafaiye Shem for is ignorance and incompetence following an embarrassing goof on national television, then we are all, without exception as guilty.

You see, there is this unfortunate impression we have of ourselves as a generation that because we all own smart phones and can navigate through social media, we are smart. Pitifully, it seems the smarter the technology gets the dumber we are. And as for incompetence, no generation has exhibited an uncanny ability to manipulate the system and exploit real and apparent short cuts towards attaining undeserved heights as ours have and continues to.

The wise ones made this assertion long before our birth that while one points accusingly at the other person with one finger, three other, points at him. Kongi I believe it was who admitted that his was a wasted generation, mine I fear is ruined. The system, our education and the complete collapse of values ruined us. While that might not have been our fault, the fact that we do not seem to notice that we are in serious trouble but prefer to call out the failures of others, and make a feast out of it ensures we stay ruined and believe me, in the near future Mr Shems goof will be Childs’ play with what will be on display.

You are tearing your hearts out in laughter over “Oga On the Top” yet you relied on leaked exam papers to pass your SSCE. Your admission into the university was only by the grace of a JAMB mercenary or special centre and while you were there, cultism or ‘runs-girl-ism’ was your trade. You paid your way through to a degree and today you are a graduate of Mass communication with a job secured for you by the magic of a “to whom it may concern” note from an influential uncle or sugar daddy but you cannot draft a press release and you are laughing?

You own a smart phone, the very expensive kind, complete with a google app and a dozen other sources of instant information yet you know nothing. And because you don’t know and have simply refused to try to know, opinions expressed by others from the very bizarre to the downright ridiculous become yours. As long as it is what your friends are saying, you key in, hiding your ignorance under the cover of the trending discussion. You broadcast every rubbish that hits your phone as fact because you are simply incapable of verifying any information of your own and you are laughing?

I recently saw a munched screen making the rounds of someone asking if this Pope that was elected is catholic. Can you beat that? The thought that there are people among us, who habour the same ignorance about otherwise every day issues it beats me and I wonder, such people too are laughing?

You are an online entrepreneur. You fancy you can also become a dotcom millionaire. Fair enough but because in your thinking hard work is not one of the ingredients to success you sit back and wait for cooked food to be served you. You have created your own website to publish news and articles. But none of the content you publish is yours. You cut and paste, Ctrl C/Ctrl V other people’s ideas and reports and shout about it all over social media, even more than the owners and then you call someone else incompetent? You publish everything from the offensive to the embarrassing in your page-views rat race and have absolutely no regards for ethics, and professionalism and you are laughing at someone else?

The last time you read a book was your final exams. The only other book you have bought since then is the devotional sold by your pastor which got tossed into a corner of your room where it is currently gathering dust. Shamelessly, you declare, as if it is something hip, that you do not read and you hope to be clapped for? They say the book is changing form, doing digital, you have access to this digital universe but you do not care.  You own an ipad because all your friends have one with not an ounce of value added to you and you are laughing?

And yes, you are always online. Always in the mix. Always joining in on whatever is the gist of the day but you don’t have a job and you don’t care so much about your future and you are laughing? Of course, there are no jobs, easy excuse. The government has failed the youths, perfect alibi. So at 25, you sit your arse down at home and lazy all day, eating “mummy thank you” meals, looking out for the next person to buy you beer, whiling away your time with like minds arguing over who between Selina Gomez and Justin Bieber did the ‘dumping’…all day long, and you are laughing?

Need I say more? By the time we are done laughing, by the time the effect of this newest opium has cleared off and we are sober, we will see that we spent the whole time laughing at ourselves really and our many failures and inadequacies as a people. Perhaps at that point, we will realise that the NSCDC Commander is the least of our problems, that we are our own problem and the sooner we began to change ourselves, the better for our country.

First published on TheScoopNG.

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2013 Creative Writing Fellowships You Still Have Time to Apply For.

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[Guest Blog Post – Professor Pius Adesanmi] The Hunt for Francophonism.

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