The news that Donald Trump won the US election came to me at a wrong time. I was recuperating from surgery, though feeling strong within and ready to move around, but my wife, like most good spouses would do, held a contrary view, when someone lifted the lid. “How could Donald Trump win?” I wondered, though remembering that anything can happen in America, a continent noted for its ‘American wonders’.
Not giving up, I still wondered… The agitating question in my mind was whether his victory was real or another ‘American wonder’, remembering ‘Prof.’ JN. In those days, each time he visited home from Port Harcourt, he always left at mid-night. “How will you go at this late hour?” we would ask him. “Through the cemetery,” he would tell us. American wonders! One day, the bubble burst, that he had been sleeping at Ahaba, a close town, on such occasions. “US is burning and people are protesting,” someone said. My mind went to my son, who was still in flight, returning there after a brief visit. “Is he safe? His family nko?” I asked myself.
I had to resort to the only thing that works when all other things fail. Prayer! I pleaded with God for mercy and protection for my son and his family. In the hospital, though not a TV man, but compelled by exigency, I looked at the screen and it was all about Trump and the protesters. As a nurse was attending to me, my doctor and his friend came to see me. Their mood was contrary to what any rational person could imagine – celebrating Donald Trump for winning the election. “Are you a Trump’s man?” I asked my doctor. He had no time for that as the two men, saturated by the euphoria of Trump’s victory, waltzed out of the room. Chineke!
I never planned to write about this election but after reading Dr. Amanze Obi’s ‘Broken Tongue’ of November 17, 2016, the last paragraph touched me. Hear him, ‘Thus, if Hilary played to the gallery or employed tricky diplomacy, Trump left Americans in no doubt as to where he belonged. The result is what the discerning American voter has chosen to stay with the unambiguous campaign message of a Donald Trump’. I had a ministration that compelled me to reflect on Trump’s campaign strategy and that of Hilary Clinton. I was no more seeing Trump and Hilary but the Church I met when I was born-again and the one of today. I understood then why the Church is no longer making much impact.
The Church I met in 1972 was Donald Trump’s type, telling the story as it was without mincing words and not minding anybody. “You shall know the Truth, and the Truth shall set you free,” Jesus said and the members lived to it. “What can wash away my sin?” they sang, “Nothing but the blood of Jesus,” they chorused. “We are going home to Heaven, the home of our Father; the fornicator, drunkard, thief, will you follow us?”; “When we shall go [Heaven] the eyes of holy people will see Him [God] the Trumpet will sound…” These songs offended the ungodly but the saints did not bother. They ministered to the clergy and to the laity, as each needed salvation. The sinner knew he was one and some of them desired for the new life. The implication of compromise by a child of God was obvious to him.
The sinner might not like the message but he knew deep inside his heart that it was right. Paul Thomas Mann said, “A harmful truth is better than a useful lie”. That was what Trump did, telling the US people the ‘harmful truth’ and they understood and believed him rather than ‘useful lie’ that would lead them nowhere. Yes, he campaigned on what Americans know to be true which nobody had ever had the nerve to say. It is easier to believe someone, who says what is true though you hate him for his awful truth, especially if he does not shift grounds so as to please the nobility, than a liar.
The modern Church is properly represented by Aunty Hilary, who told American what is popular and what they cared to hear. Last week I wrote how a lady told me in the US after my ministration on the Rapture that such messages were no longer popular. It did not bother me. When they prepared me for surgery in Dallas in 2011, they told me that we would wait for the Surgeon, who could come at an unexpected time. After waiting for a while, they announced that he had arrived. As they were wheeling me to the theatre, I told them that as they prepared me ahead of time and waited for the Surgeon, was what we have been preaching to people to get ready for Jesus, Who will come on an unexpected day. They laughed. I was okay, having told them the truth. One day, I asked my doctor whether he belonged to any Church. “I go to the temple,” he informed me regrettably.
The modern Church is afraid to challenge their members as Joshua did, offering them life and death, and asking them to make a choice. They will not follow Moses to ask, “Who is on the Lord’s side?” The modern Church contracts programme moderators, who ridicule Pastors and God, in form of entertainment. The modern Church in the US will not take a stand on issues like gay marriage, remarriage while the spouse is alive, et cetera, fearing that if they do, they will lose their members. Trump has taught us that in such situations, you do not lose members, you rather gain new ones.
I want to believe that Churches all over the world, including Nigeria, will learn from Donald Trump and go back to our old-aged song, “Give that old time Religion, give that old time Religion, give that old time Religion, it is good enough for me. It was good for early Christians, it was good for Paul and Silas, it was good for Mary and Martha, it is good for me. It will take us all to Heaven…” If it was good for Trump in winning the election, it will be good for the Church in soul winning. What attracts people is telling them the truth. Excitement is ephemeral while truth abides. Doctors are honest people. They tell their patients, though in pain, the truth about their situation even when it is HIV.
Note: ‘Victory by the Word’ will be concluded next week.
For further comment, Please contact: Osondu Anyalechi: 0802 3002-471; [email protected]