By Fr George Adimike
In recent times, our society experiences ministers of the Church abandoning their calling for traditional stools, which often requires them to engage in cultural or religious practices contrary to the previously held religious faith. To say the least, being a traditional ruler often imposes an entirely different worldview distinct from the calling of a pastor. It beats reason that some of these ministers justify their vain desires with the claim to have been spoken to by God. While the Scripture requires a minister to forget what is behind and strain toward what is ahead (cf. Phil 3:13), a worldly version of Christianity preaches serving the God of Jesus Christ and the goddess of wealth and comfort. On the contrary, Jesus’ principle of discipleship holds that “no one who puts a hand to the plough and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.” (Luke 9:62). Therefore, it is incongruous with sound Christian discipleship and distasteful for a Christian minister to relinquish his vocation for a traditional stool. Such calls to question the genuineness of the supposed vocation of the minister in question.
In reality, it is unlikely that a minister who is fully persuaded of his calling or vocation will abandon it for any other thing, least of all a traditional stool. Whoever encounters Christ sincerely would not want to abandon him for anything, even when an unsupportive community surrounds one. The inexplicable joy of knowing Christ and his salvation would not let the person slip from the grip of grace. But whoever lacks encounter would have a million reasons to leave Jesus – they can easily reject him because of Judas or leave him to join Judas. Of course, people who are attracted to the ministry by the apparent respectability, fame, glamour, or economic security seemingly enjoyed by some ministers can easily abandon it for another profession that promises more of those things. But if dedication to the service of God and the people of God is a product of deep thinking and conviction in the reception of grace, one would not abandon it for a traditional stool.
Leaving one’s vocation as a pastor or priest in pursuit of worldly well-being, often deceptively dressed in the altruistic spirit of greater service to the people, spells that something is desperately wrong. Lack of faith in divine providence or shallow understanding of the God of Jesus Christ funds such a situation. It does not matter the quantity of religiosity, for a person might have practised Christianity as a set of beliefs or doctrines or system of morals and rarely as an encounter with Christ who changes one’s perspective about reality. This lack of personal knowledge of Christ and a warped appreciation of discipleship confuse the kingdom of God with the earthly kingdom. In consequence, it can fuel a choice of an earthly messiah (Jesus Barabbas) instead of Jesus Christ (the eternal Messiah and redeemer of humanity).
Indeed, in our time and clime, Christianity witnesses many ministers of the Church who practise ‘Churchianity’ instead of Christianity and who exercise their ministries with manifest evidence that they are under the grip of the priestcraft or pastorpreneur mentality. One of their marks is their obsession with fleeting worldly gains and temporal glories associated with religion. Whichever is the case, it is clear that the traditional stool promises temporal power to its occupants. Still, beyond that, it is generally associated with fetishism, diabolical practices or traditional religions, which masquerade as cultures and traditions.
The act of abandoning the sacred vocation as a minister for a traditional stool is one of the emblems of a worldly brand of Christianity. It reveals a superficial relationship with Jesus Christ, a poor understanding of God, a lack or sterility of faith, unsatisfied expectations, inadequate knowledge or reflection on the question of culture and religion, a lack of conviction in the faith, and a mundane craving for worldly gain and human applause. Therefore, it is an aberration to abandon priestly ministry for a traditional stool.
You can reach Fr George Adimike through firstname.lastname@example.org