10/11/2006

Shameless Commerce: Church of Nigeria style

Shameless Commerce:

Two items appeared yesterday on the Church of Nigeria web pages: One a report of the Archbishop of Nigeria’s trip to China in June, the other a most peculiar article titled, “ FROM CARPENTER TO PRIMATE: Ambassador Sagay writes on Abp. Akinola.” It is a reprint from an article in THE GUARDIAN (a Nigerian paper, not the GUARDIAN of English fame) of Sunday 1st October.

Regarding the trip to China: The Archbishop of Canterbury has just completed a trip to China and this article reminds us that the Archbishop of Nigeria is every bit as traveled, ever bit as lionized as is the ABC. It never says it, of course, and it could be the very simplist of coincidences that brings this report out immediately on the ABC’s trip.

The real article of note is however, “From Carpenter to Primate.” I call attention to it only because of its shamelessness in extolling the virtues of the Archbishop of Nigeria. An appallingly fine example:

“Laudable as these accomplishments are, they still do not tell us much about the inner man behind the veil –the shepherd with the heart of a lion. Outside of the hallowed precincts of the Church and his Bishop’s Court, this “Lion” is self-effacing almost to the point of meekness; nevertheless, such is his aura and “presence”, that despite his elegantly casual way of dressing, especially when traveling in cognito, (in civilian mufti), no-one could fail to notice him when he passes by, or enters a room. And when he opens his mouth to speak, authority and command issue forth, to compel your attention. The magic is in his voice! His voice is a cross between a muffled trumpet sound and an Army commandant’s barking orders during parade. His English when he addresses an audience, is totally without Oxford accent affectation, yet it has the resonance and clarity of a bell. It is authoritative, yet pleasing and re-assuring. His assertions carry a note of finality –not unlike Pilate’s, “what I have written (spoken) I have written (spoken)” No listener is left in doubt, or wondering as to what is meant –he means what he says, and says what he means to say –without ambiguity. He has the spell-binding gift of the anointed, and leaves no one in doubt that he is the oracle of God, speaking the mind of Christ, especially in his prophetic pronouncements, based on the hidden truths of the Scriptures. You feel the Power in God’s Words, as they cascade and issue forth from the spiritual well-spring of his inner being. Let me tell this story, by way of illustration, and as a testimony –and to God be the glory!”

Need we say more?

20 comments:

  1. Nope, that about says it all.
    -frank

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  2. That quotation is a reason to be proud I am a lay person! Do the words "truly I tell you they have their reward" not make it into Nigerian Bibles?

    Absolutely amazing.

    FWIW
    jimB

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  3. I think I like this part even better:

    So in the person of His Grace the Most Reverend Peter Jasper Akinola, you have the combination of the qualities of the prophetic Moses of The Old Testament Scriptures, and the earnestness and impetuosity of the evangelic Apostle Peter of the New Testament, on whom Christ bestowed the mantle of Shepherd of the church universal. Those who scorn his effervescent evangelism, or deride the rectitude of his unbending faith, need only remember, that the call to which he has answered is the Lord’s, and to him only be ascribed the majesty and honour of his purpose-driven life, in Christ Jesus. Our Lord Jesus Christ said to his disciples, “you did not choose me, I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit –fruit that will last” (John 15:16). This is Primate Akinola’s inheritance from the Lord, an inheritance crowned with a crown of thorns, as was fore-ordained, and presciently fore–knew by the Lord in Jeremiah:

    “My inheritance has become to me like a lion in the forest.
    She roars at me; therefore I hate her.
    Has not my inheritance become to me
    like a speckled bird of prey
    that other birds of prey surround and attack?
    (Jeremiah 12:8)

    But thanks be to God, for Christ has given us the victory in the person of his servant Peter Jasper Akinola, who has dared to stand up for Christ –unashamed or intimidated by the sneers of detractors, because the God of all comfort has assured:

    “In this world you will have trouble
    But take heart! I have overcome the world”

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  4. And when did you meet Peter? I talked to him on Sunday and he is still one of the joyous and visionary men I have ever met. He is enthusiastic about the Gospel of Jesus Christ, he is warm and kind and humble. I am sorry that it is neccesary for frustrated Episcopalians to redirect so much of their rage against this extraordinary leader in the Anglican Communion. It breaks my heart.

    -Mary

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  5. BabyBlue, I think I can understand that it is entirely up to you to admire whoever it is that you admire. It's your life.

    However, if you are trying to say something that will explain the cascade of self-pleasing bull you and everyone else can read in the The Guardian "article", then you are in for a long, long task. Be my guest.

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  6. Whew! At least they didn't become hagiographic. :-)

    Babyblue, Bishop Akinola reveals a great deal about his character in the way that he, in his position of ecclesiatical power, characterizes others with whom he is not in agreement, including those with no ecclesiastical or political power within his own country. Fellow believers who have been targets of those characterizations and political actions, while required to forgive, are not obligated to be quiet as religiosity trumps Gospel.

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  7. Baby Blue (Mary) asks when I met Abp Akinola. The fact is I can't. He literally ran out of a room in New York some time ago to avoid meeting Dr. Crew. He does not have any time to meet those of us whom he considers the enemy. (Bye the bye, I am straight.)

    I am sure that one--on--one when interacting with a supporter, he is charming and humble. By all accounts, so were most of the dictators of the last century. A person is properly judged by the way they treat their advisaries.

    FWIW
    jimB
    bbbbb

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  8. The Rev. Lois Keen11/10/06 5:02 PM

    I have no reason to doubt babyblue's personal experience of Archbishop Peter. I do doubt his actual humility, when I read "you have the combination of the qualities of the prophetic Moses of The Old Testament Scriptures, and the earnestness and impetuosity of the evangelic Apostle Peter of the New Testament, on whom Christ bestowed the mantle of Shepherd of the church universal. Those who scorn his effervescent evangelism, or deride the rectitude of his unbending faith, need only remember, that the call to which he has answered is the Lord’s, and to him only be ascribed the majesty and honour of his purpose-driven life, in Christ Jesus." "Shepherd of the universal church" is sorta what the Pope is. Sounds like whoever wrote this about Archbishop Peter is setting us up to accept him, at the very least, as more chosen by Jesus to lead "the Church" than Archbishop Rowan, the traditional spiritual hub of the Anglican Communion.
    Lois Keen

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  9. Interesting the writer of this article should have compared Peter Akinola to Pontius Pilate. Is that the sort of muted note of subversion we used to watch for in the literature of Poland and Czechoslovakia, back in the old Cold War days?

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  10. I also note the following:

    "He has the spell-binding gift of the anointed, and leaves no one in doubt that he is the oracle of God, speaking the mind of Christ, especially in his prophetic pronouncements, based on the hidden truths of the Scriptures" (emphasis added). To this EfM student, this smacks of Gnosticism. Hiddent truths of the Scriptures? I have a hard enough time with that which is in plain sight.

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  11. could it be intended to be a satire?

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  12. It's the "Christ has given us the victory in the person of" bit that finally had me choking on my migas.

    Surely ++Abuja still has the capacity to blush, and will be stung by the shame of this...

    Frankly, this is worse than Madonna's aping the crucifixion, since it is being perpetrated by confessed believers.

    I have no doubt that ++PJA is a powerful presence, and a comfort to those who believe as he does. The same has been noted of +VGR. I felt the same from being around the Rev. Barbara Brown Taylor, among others.
    But riffing on 1 Cor 15:57 has got to be a new low, especially for people who claim a special reverence for Scripture and who so vehemently defend a restrictive vision of the uniqueness of Christ.

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  13. I suspect it won't be long before we see a ++Peter Akinola Action Figure.

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  14. sheila,

    lol!

    maybe a bubblehead?

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  15. It seems so shamelessly over the top, I do wonder if the writer was doing it on purpose. It's more likely a cultural-style difference, and this piece was written to build Akinola up for the role of pope.

    "this “Lion” is self-effacing almost to the point of meekness" -- and there's a bridge in Brooklyn I will sell you.

    I wonder if Akinola ghost-wrote the piece?

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  16. I'm willing to bet the beloved bell tower on my church that this was written by a faithful, pious, devout evangelical Nigerian Anglican who has read way too many Victorian novels - and desperately needs the job for which a recommendation written by (and 50 quid in the palm of) +PJA will be secured.

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  17. The Abp can afford to be "humble" with this sort of stuff published about him!

    "But thanks be to God, for Christ has given us the victory in the person of his servant Peter Jasper Akinola"

    I think we may be in need of a revision to the Creeds here, folks?!

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  18. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  19. Thanks for the post. It's like five years of not being in Nigeria has finally made me out-dated for this to be news to me. The change is amazing. Great blog!



    --
    call Nigeria

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