What Beowulf has to say to us?

21 05 2021
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Beowulf (2007)

Living in age where the nuclear family is under attack and fatherhood is considered irrelevant hold over from the middle ages, the epic poem, Beowulf, written probably in the 6th century by an unknown author may have something to say to us. Director Robert Zemeckis  2007 CG remake of the poem Beowulf is delight to watch.

The movie Beowulf (2007) is in 507 AD when a legendary warrior, Beowulf (Ray Winstone) comes with his band of soldiers to Denmark to the aid Danish King Hrothgar (Anthony Hopkins) against the demon Grendel who torments his mead hall and kills and eats his men.  To confront the devil, Beowulf told the beautiful Danish Queen Wealtheow, whom he had fallen in love with, that since he had no weapon that could kill a demon, he would fight the devil naked and let fate decide who will win. Though funny, there is a fine logic behind Beowulf’s idea that reminds me of sayings of St. Josemaria, in his book the Way:

“Detach yourself from people and things until you are stripped of them. For, says Pope Saint Gregory, the devil has nothing of his own in this world, and naked he comes to battle. If you go clothed to fight him, you will soon be pulled to the ground: for he will have something to catch you by (The Way, pt 149).”

 If the devil has nothing and comes to battle naked, then those who wish to do battle with the devil must meet him on equal term by equally being naked, or else they would be putting themselves at great disadvantage the fight. Put in another way, if we are attached to anything, the devil will use that thing to defeat us. It happens all the time, for instance, a drunk attached to the bottle is dragged to the gutters by the devil through the bottle, and similarly a man attached to sex and women is dragged by the devil to his destruction through sex and women.

Thus, Beowulf strips himself of everything and lay naked waiting Grendel, and when Grendel (Crispin Glover) enters the mead hall that night catching and eating men, only Beowulf who was naked escapes his clutches and thus was able to fight him, cutting off his arm thus wounded Grendel ran off howling in anguish back to the swamp from which he came and there he died. The King Hrothgar gave a mighty feast in honor of Beowulf and made him a gift of his golden drinking horn. However, after the celebration, Beowulf wakes the next day to find that all his men have been slaughtered except for his friend Wiglaf who was not with the others.  King Hrothgar conjectures that must be Grendel’s mother who has done it, and called her the last of the water demons and confessing that he taught she was dead.

Thus Beowulf goes to the swamp to kill Grendel’s mother, queen of the devil, but she meets him in the form beautiful naked woman (Angelina Jolie) and enchants him, promising him to make him a king if he would love her and give her a child. She then took the dragon drinking horn from him and told him that as long as she keeps the horn she will never break her promises and Beowulf succumbs. Back home, Beowulf brings back Grendel head tells lies to his people, that he has killed the queen of the devils but the Hrothgar smells a rat and confronting him asks, “You have brought back the head of Grendel, but where is the head of the mother? To which Beowulf could give no answer except to retort, “Do you think she would’ve let me live if I didn’t kill her? And the old king suspecting what must have happened laughs and says to Beowulf, “It does not matter, what matters is that Grendel is dead and the curse of Grendel’s mother is no longer my problem.” It was then that Beowulf understood that he has now inherited the curse of childlessness and bareness with which King Hrothgars was accursed because of his sexual liaison with the queen of the devil.  Hrothgars then calling his people told them that since he has no son, upon his death, Beowulf would be king and with that he takes a leap through the window committing suicide.

Thus Beowulf becomes king and marries Queen Wealtheow but theirs is not a happy marriage and fifty years later, having conquered all the surrounding kingdoms, he is desperately unhappy and childless. However, Queen Wealtheow who is now a Christian sadly watches her husband’s infidelities, as he crawls into bed with different women, but thanks to her Christian faith  she was able to forgive. Then one day, a slave found the golden dragon cup returns it to Beowulf, who realizes that the evil queen was no longer protecting him and worries and prepares to returns to the swamp to try and return the golden cup. His wife, the queen, begs him not to go. Beowulf finally confesses all he has done and asks his wife forgiveness, declaring he has always loved her and she forgives and returns his love and affection. And his final words to her were that she should remember him, not as a warrior but as a man who had failings and weakness. With the love between him and his wife restored, Beowulf takes heart to confront the evil queen but it was too late for the fruit of their unholy liaison has grown into a mighty dragon that has already begun unleashing terror in the land and Beowulf dies from severe loss of blood because he had to cut off his own arm (much the same way that he cut Grendel’s arm) in other to kill the dragon and save his wife whom the dragon was about to slaughter.

There are many lessons to be learned from this film, one of them is the love of family, both on the side of the good guys and on the bad guys. Later in the film when we learn that the demon, Grendel was the son of Hrothgar, King of the Danes, through his unholy liaison with this Grendel’s mother, queen of the devil, we thus understand why Grendel did not harm Hrothgar, when he first attacked the mead hall, this was because even a demon does not kill his own father, Furthermore, when he returns  to the swamp, his mother, the queen of the devil asks him about his  father and Grendel quickly replied telling her, “I did no harm him,” which made her happy. Thus this film is very pro-family and fatherhood is sacred even to a heinous creature like Grendel.

The second lesson is revealed still in the opening scenes of the movie where we see the, Queen Wealtheow a modest and chaste woman who would not participate in the revelry and debauchery going on at the mead hall and thus when devil Grendel struck, it was as if Grendel had no power over her and she was invisible to him. This has been proven time and again, when girls and women guard their virginity through modesty and by not succumbing to the temptation turning their bodies into a canal play ground and toys, then they would not be tormented by the demons of abortions and others. But to do that they need to   shun pride and avoid dialoging with the devil. This was the mistake Eve made in the Garden of Eden according to the book of Genesis, when she willing entered into dialogue with the serpent in the garden, allowing him to fill her with his empty promises.  Beowulf equally made the same mistake when fell into the evil queen’s trap by dialoging with her and hence allowing her to fill him with her empty promises

 It is just as St. Josemaria advices those who wish to make progress in the interior life never to dialogue with the devil. The reason is because the devil is as old as the world and full of lies and empty promises, we cannot hope to match his capacity for deception, and the best thing is never to enter into dialogue and give the devil the opportunity to convince us because would lose we have an enemy within us that is attracted to sin from what spiritual writers call the wound of original sin. Thus we have a fallen nature and thus find it difficult to do good and easy to do evil, so the best defense against the devil who can easily seduce is never to dialogue. In conclusion, I would say that the movie Beowulf (2007) apart from a few incidents of bad language and adult scenes is very instructive and has a lot to teach us.

By Chinwuba Iyizoba





Wisdom from a third grade dropout: Story of Rick Rigsby

21 01 2021

A few days after, a Journalist, Rick Rigsby, delivered this speech, it received more than 130 million views on YouTube, and it is called the most motivational speeches ever given. In his speech, he said that one of the wisest person he ever met in his life was a third grade dropout, who taught him to combine knowledge with wisdom to make an impact–his father.

A simple cook who left school to help out in the family, his father believed he left school not education, and never let his lack of education get in the way of his achievements. He taught himself how to read and write and decided to be a man: not a black man or white man, but a man. His father challenged him and his brothers to be the best they could saying, “Boys, I have no problem if you aim high and miss. But I have a problem if you aim low and hit.” Again he would say, ” Son, you better be an hour early, than a minute late.”  

Citing Aristotle, his father used to tell them, “Son, you are what you repeatedly do. Therefore excellence has to be a habit and not an act.”

One of kind with a mind chockfull of life changing wisdom, little wonder Rick has three degree and a PhD and his brother is a Judge all because  their third grade dropout Dad. The video below of the talk by Rick Rigby is worth 10 minutes of your time.





Vice or Virtue? Comparing “Northanger Abbey” & “Black Beauty”

23 12 2020

Northanger Abbey ( Henry and Catherine)

The opinion held by most people is that movies should entertain but also help foster virtue.  A comparison of two movies, “Northanger Abbey” and “Black beauty” reveals that one fulfills this goal while the other does not.

“Northanger Abbey” is adaptation of Jane Austin’s novel of similar title and “Black beauty” is an adaptation of Anne Sewall’s novel of same title. “Northanger Abbey” is a high budget film with great cinematography and top notch casts, nevertheless, the characters spend their time gossiping about class distinctions and angling for wealthy suitors, while “Black Beauty” was done a more modest budget with a handful of armature casts, yet the characters are down to earth, concerned about family and helping others.

 “Northanger Abbey” is about a 17 year old girl, Catherine who is introduced to high society and falls in love with Henry, a son of a wealthy man. She is invited to their rich castle called “Northanger Abbey” a  place crawling with servants and rich things, though  her suspicions that the castle is haunted is proven false, nevertheless, there is hardly a mention of the kind of things the average Joe might care about. Rather, intrigues and ball room plots are the order of the day. Somehow the movie leaves you wondering if going to the ball, dancing, and hooking up was all there was to life. What about work? In the entire length of the move, there was not a single instance of someone doing any productive work such as cooking washing or any of the typical things that make up daily life.

On the other hand in “Black Beauty,”  a 15 year-old girl, Audrey  adopts an abused horse and together with her grandpa they work towards restoring it back to health. The movie is chuck full of sublime teaching moments such as when Audrey was accosted at a department store by a rude and antagonistic rich girl  but she simply leaves the store rather than engage in a fist fight. She also gallantly decides to lose a competition rather than risk her horse suffering injury when midway into a competition; something went wrong with the horse. The audience at the competition was so touched by her nobility that they broke out in applause for her even though she was disqualified.

Audrey and Black Beauty

In “Northanger Abbey” on the other hand, Catherine and the other girls care very little for the sublime moments, rather the care more about boys, wealth and fortune. Perhaps that was what Victorian society dictated at the time, unlike them, Audrey even though she was also interested in boys, she was rather gainfully employed rehabilitating her horse and her romance with Josh, a boy that worked in her grandfathers ranch just happened along the way.  Furthermore, she didn’t take Josh’s bank account into account before accepting to go out with him as the girls in “Northanger Abbey” undoubtedly would have done. As far as she was concerned, his financial status was irrelevant and she was happy and enjoyed her time with him and his sister.

Another quite remarkable scene in “Black Beauty” was Audrey’s relationship with her father. They quarreled at the dinner table because he wished she finish school before settling at the ranch, but she had fallen in love with the ranch and with Josh and was thinking of chucking school so she quarreled with her father. Nevertheless, a few moments later, her father apologized for being harsh and she apologized for being rude, and they made up. She also accepted to do his wish and finish school, thus showing that both father and daughter loved each other, and are willing to forego their ego, and apologize when disagreement arises between them. On the other hand, in “Northanger,” General Tilney, Henry’s father, was a harsh and rather vain man, who was only generous to Catherine for as long as he thought she was from a rich home but turned her out of his house in the middle of the night when he discovered that she was poor—a most despicable act.

Hence, while “Northanger’s “plot emphasize the importance of wealth and having a good fortune or inheritance and negate the value of hard work, “Black Beauty’s” plot on the other hand, emphasizes the value of kindness, and altruistic love. Arguably, “Northanger Abbey”, written in 1798, may not be representative of 18th century England that produced English men like James Watt who invented the steam engine or James Dewar and Isaac Newton who greatly impacted the scientific world with their resilience, enterprise and hard work.  England at that time was emerging as an Empire, big vast and strong; a feat that would require hard working men and women with enterprise and determination.

In summary, even with “Northanger Abbey’s” high budget and great cinematography, “Black Beauty” is a more realistic and its short fall notwithstanding, encapsulates the real concern of ordinary life and portrays model behavior that could bring people to live virtuous lives.

by Chinwuba Iyizoba

Black Beauty
Northanger Abbey




Feminist Chimpanzee and Jane Goodall

15 11 2020

I recently watched a documentary on the life of Jane Goodall, the British woman who studied the life of chimpanzees in the African wild. Though I enjoyed it very much, it seems her fame was due more to her stunning looks and aquiline beauty than to her studies. Still , her “Tarzan-like” courage is remarkable, and she definitely had a good nose for strong unpleasant stench, an invaluable asset in her line of work. There’s no doubt that she helped the world get a better glimpse of the private life of those hairy beasts, but even more importantly, her discoveries had remarkable influence on her own private life in ways that even she would not admit.

At the early stage of her expedition, she met and fell in love with Hugo, a young photographer who was sent by the National geographic to photograph and documents her work. It was a love affair that was– as far as all could see—unavoidable. Was there a better elixir of love than a scenario where two youngster are alone in an African jungle with to do than ogle each other and watch Chimpanzees?  

One day, Jane and Hugo were watching a female Chimp mating freely with several males who took turns with her. When afterwards, she became pregnant and gave birth to a baby chimp; all the male chimps previously enamored with her abandoned her to raise the child alone.  One could almost say that this female Chimp had as a natural gift, what modern feminist seek or aspire to achieve throughout sexual revolution of the 60: serial sexual partnerships with no strings attached. It can be argued female chimps had an advanced form of human feminism and high rate of single motherhood as well as lousy fatherhood, because the males play very little role in the family and the life of their offspring.

Furthermore, the couple confirmed by their observations that the female chimp with multiple sex partners, if they already had offspring,  was an embarrassment to their adolescent offspring, some of whom would even attack their mother’s lovers trying to break up the ongoing act. Thus multiple sex partnership similar to modern day serial divorce in human society was terribly upsetting even for children of irrational beasts. One could understand why it is even more distressing to human children. In a 2010 study, Donahue et al, demonstrated that adolescents whose parents were divorced were more likely to experience depression and a range of psychological problems.

In spite of all these discoveries, Jane and Hugo’s marriage would end in divorce a few odd years later, and Jane would go on and marry someone else, forgetting the odd grief of the adolescent chimps at their mother’s multiple sex partners. One would have expected her to spare her son the grief she had witnessed in the baby chimp. 

However, apart from this singular failure, Jane would successfully raised her son alone in the wild, struggling to replicate the love she witnessed that the mother chimps lavished on their children. But she also avoided the mistakes the mother chimps made in raising her infant son who became so attached to it’s mother and died when it’s mother died.

Fears of this propelled Jane to send her son away to a boarding school in London, a way of helping him gain greater independence from her, and perhaps have a  greater contact with his father and others male companies.

Surprisingly, Jane who was a passionate believer in evolution and a feminist, failed to make the connection that the very failures and weaknesses that threatened the extinction of these beasts are what is being proposed today in the modern world as progressivism. If evolution is movement from inferior intelligence to superior rational articulate intelligence, how do we account for the return to the instinctive “multiple sex partners” and the consequent “absent fatherhood” in our post modern world?  Perhaps instead of evolving we are actually devolving.

Prior to the sexual revolutions of 60’s multiple sex partnership, serial divorce, cohabitation and single motherhood— traits that Jane observed on chimp world–were abhorred in most human societies. The sexual revolution returned these straits back to human societies, a devolution back, from man to chimp. Today, only the Catholic church remains firm in her conviction that the sexual revolution is wrong, insisting that marriage is between one man and one woman, for life and maintaining that premarital sex and promiscuity are beneath the dignity of humans and indeed, by doing this, the Church is actually supporting science and evolutionary progress and rejecting the devolutionary agenda of the sexual revolution.





The face of America: Why Gosnell is the honest face of pro- choice

13 09 2020

There’s an African proverb that says that if you want to eat a toad, you should look for a fat and juicy one, so that if anyone calls you a toad eater you would answer to who you are.
Recently, I summoned up the courage to watch the 2018 Gosnell movie, the trial of American biggest serial killer, which is simply the story of physician who runs a filthy hospital in Philadelphia, filled with aborted body parts, who was arrested in 2011. Fainthearted, I opened all the windows, and sat trembling before the movie started, unsure of what I was about to witness. In the end I was glad I watched it, the movie was cleverly done, without traces of gore and more importantly, it answered the question I have been waiting to ask:
“What is the difference between Gosnell and the others abortion providers? The simple answer is none. Rather, he is more honest, because he embodies the American dream of effective and efficient service delivery. In 1972, he had experimented with inserting electric powered spinning knife blender into women’s womb and crushing babies like pawpaw juice, but it didn’t work and some many women died.
But America wants abortion and that is what Kermit Gosnell is all about. He is ready to deliver, fast and cheap, and good businesses, to compete, cut cost. Kermit Gosnell is a good business man, who knows that it is faster and safer to induce delivery and then kill the child rather than go inside a woman’s womb to kill a child. That’s the efficient way, the American way. Like he said those who made these laws are rambling idiot “I have no respect for any of them” and rightly so.
Gosnell lawyers put it more succinctly to the neatly dressed woman ( perhaps from Planned Parenthood) who testified during the trial that she has done more than 30000 abortions but never had to snipped the spine of “a born alive child” with a scissors.
“What would you do if you have a born alive?” The lawyer asked.
“We never have any,” the woman replied.
“That’s because you inject potassium chloride in to the womb to kill the baby, but hypothetically, what would you do if you have a “born alive?”
“We would make sure it is comfortable and allow it to die.”
“Wouldn’t it be more merciful to just snip its spine.” The lawyer asked the hypocritical jury. There was silence.


However, there are plenty of lessons in this movie for women who ask for abortion. The moment they take that decision they should not blame Kermit Gosnell for what happens next. It’s their call, their choice, their body. Similarly, the state of Philadelphia is saying to them, “Though it is your right to get rid of your baby, nevertheless, once you seek out people like Gosnell and place yourself in their hands, accept the consequences, don’t expect the state to interfere, inspect, or inquire.
America is likewise saying to them, “You want abortion; you get it, with all that comes with it. Don’t expect the press to report what happened, they aren’t going to do that because you won, women have won the right to do as they please with their bodies and we will let them.”
And why shouldn’t Gosnell’s clinic or any other abortion clinic for that matter, smell? Are killing fields expected to smell like roses? During the French Revolution, it was said that the fetid odor from the guillotine could be perceived from miles away. Likewise the grisly death camps of Auschwitz II-Birkenau did not smell of jasmine. What’s more, the child whose life is snuffed out garners no advantage even if the place was as exquisite as Buckingham palace.
Perhaps, the filthy smell and grime should have flagged the unfortunate women of the fowl thing they had embarked on. The filth should have brought them to their senses, to run away and put their trust in God who can unlock possibilities. Every abortion is a fitly act.
I would argue that Gosnell is the most honest face of American pro- choice or more accurately, pro-death movement. The filth and smell they decry are tangible manifestation of the final consequences of pro-death. Gosnell’s calloused indifference and self confidence mirrors the swaggering pro-choice America, champion of freedom, yet killers innocents. It’s the face of a legal system that protects dogs but permits egregious violence on the unborn. Gosnell calls out many Americans who, like ostrich, bury their heads in the sand rather than face what they know in conscience is evil and wrong.

In truth, the real hero of the movie is the relentless blogger who without pay and against the denigrating attitude of smug lawyers and police officers, managed to bring the trail to the world, thwarting the mainstream mafia code of silence. She deserves credit and she demonstrates that truth can no longer be gagged by money and politics. She stands as model of how social media could be used for good as opposed to frivolity or worse, evil.

by Chinwuba Iyizoba





Critical review of movie “Unplanned”

29 08 2020

Unplanned  is a movie based on the bestselling biography of Abby Johnson, a young woman whose passion for helping women led her to join planned parenthood, an organization that claims to help women by promoting abortions. Abby would later rise to become a director in this organization. However, her near death experience while aborting her own baby refuted the organization’s assertion that abortion is safe and risk free.

Furthermore, the organization’s affiliation with Margaret Sanger, a racist who promotes abortion of blacks and handicapped raises many questions. Her disillusionment reached a climax when one day she was asked to assist in an abortion procedure and she found herself staring for the first time at an ultrasound image of an unborn child in womb fighting desperately for its life before suction.

When the abortionist doctor jokingly called for more suction pressure, “Beam me up scottie” Abby fled the room and from the organization, convinced that she had made a terrible mistake joining them. From then on, she would dedicate herself to spreading awareness of the wickedness of abortion.

Though the movie is rich in vivid images and gives cinematographic satisfaction, it however fails to capture the interior workings of human conscience, for instance, there was a scene when the abortion clinic staff refused to go outside because their consciences were troubled because a nun was praying and weeping outside the clinic because of their work. Likewise, the movie couldn’t help viewers imagine the grief and remorse in Abby conscience because of the two abortions she had (as she recounts in the book). Similarly, the movie was unable to help viewer capture the love, patience of her dedicated husband and the faithful love of her parents, all which seem to converge as a sign of God’s power working on the human conscience. Her encounter with the reality of abortion during the procedure in which she had to assist with an abortion and her seeing the struggles of the tiny fetus shim away from the suction probe was only the climax of the long chain of events probing and prodding her conscience to accept the reality as what it is.  Perhaps, the contrast between the book and the movie, could serve as a pedagogical evidence of books superiority over movies in portraying the full spectrum of human experiences because no matter how well a movies is made, it often misses out in what is most interior, most intimate in the life of the characters

Abby’s story is a witness to the infinite mercy of God who never abandons the most reprobate but rather with infinite patience, and unobtrusive love continues to draw the penetrating light of truth to convict. In addition, this story is also proof that it is never too late to return to the right path and that no matter how far of the mark, the grace of God can bring us back. Furthermore, this story highlights the perennial importance of the Christian concept of “hating the sin” but “not the sinner” as a most efficacious means win people over. Shawn, Melissa, Elizabeth and the other pro-lifers because they treated Abbey with love and respect, made  it was easy for her to turn to them for help when the grace came demonstrating that error, blindness and defensive justification all fall away with an encounter with a non judgment love,  a personal love that is unconditional.

The story is also an important lesson on the mysterious efficacy of prayers. Many people are often tempted to abandon prayer after a while when it appears that things aren’t changing. The  pro-life crew who prayed daily outside planned parenthood clinics and were occasionally tempted to discouragement because they were unable to see the fruits of their efforts. Thus they were stunned when Abby revealed to them that there were observable decrease in numbers of women opting for abortion each time they were praying.

Lastly, despite its problems, the movie offers valuable insights into the inner working of the abortion industry, but even more interesting, it demonstrates a way for people on different sides of the abortion argument to come together drawn by the truth.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bhgCvUyZSHs

by Chinwuba Iyizoba





In God’s Land: Nazareth and Mount of Transfiguration

21 09 2019

20th September 2019

We had early breakfast, by 6.30am to be precise, and departed for Nazareth by 7.20 am prompt. Nazareth has about 70,000 inhabitants today, but in the time of Jesus, it had just about 100 people. It is a two hour drive from the city of Jerusalem.

We took the shortest way; high way 6, because we needed to get there on time to see Nazareth and celebrate Mass is at 11 am at the Church of Annunciation.

Our mission is to visit Mary’s well; a well that ancient tradition says was frequently used by the Blessed Virgin Mary and the boy, Jesus. We also hope see the workshop of St. Joseph, and the cliff from which the people of Nazareth wanted to push Jesus down in an act that is best described as an attempted murder. After Mass we intend to visit the ancient village of Cana where Jesus turned water into wine at the insistence of his mother and finally we will end our tour with a visit to mount Tabor, the mountain where Jesus transfigured and his clothes became dazzling white, in the presence of his apostles and with apparition of Moses and Elijah. (Mark 9:3)

As you can see it’s a tight schedule for one day thus the early rising.

Nazareth

350m above sea level, Nazareth was where everything started. God took flesh in the womb of a woman, the most pure womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Lk 1:26-38). On the way, we saw the Chapel of our Lady of the freight, to commemorate Mary seeing the people of Nazareth trying to cast Jesus into the cliff. (Lk 4:29)

In the time of our Jesus, there were just about 30 families living in Nazareth. Today, Nazareth is the biggest Arab town owned by Israel. Most of the inhabitants are Muslims.

We entered Nazareth using the Via Maris (the way of the see), a high way that begins in Memphis in the delta of the Nile towards the lake of Galilee. We passed through the valley of the “seed of God” also called Jezreel, very fertile plain with abundance of agriculture. From the bus we saw rows and rows of cultivated fields. Agriculture is the highest export of Israel and a huge source of income. We passed through the land of Gideon
Finally we left the plains of Jezreel up to Nazareth.

Story of two Churches and Mary’s well

In Nazareth, there are two Churches of the annunciation. One belongs to the Greek Orthodox, who claims that the first apparition of Arc Angel Gabriel to Mary took place at the well whilst she was fetching water; she took fright and ran to her house. It was at the second apparition that she was finally calm enough to listen to the Angel and thus the orthodox built a Church near the well, and to give tourist something to see, they diverted the spring that fed the original Mary’s well to the Church, so Mary’s well is no longer flowing because this.

Pictures of Mary’s well

Mary’s well
Our guide, Oliver explains why Mary’s well is dry

Sad and unfortunately, this the only spring of fresh water in Nazareth, and they are using it up all for themselves.
We stopped to look the dry well of Mary, before proceeding to the Greek Orthodox Church of the Annunciation, at least to have a look at the original water of the well.

Pictures of the Visit to the Greek Orthodox Church of Annunciation

Pictures ate the courtyard of the Greek Orthodox church of the annuciation
Seated inside the Greek Orthodox Church of the Annunciation
Roof of the Church

The grievance between the Catholics and the Greek Orthodox goes back many century and many versions of the conflicts bear the bias of who is telling the story. Some say that the bone of contention was that the fourth crusaders sacked Byzantium, stole the true cross, crown of thorns, which led to the mutual excommunications between the two branches.

The synagogue that almost murdered Jesus

Next, we visited the 1st century synagogue where the boy Jesus and his father and mother often went to pray. It was a stone throw from Mary’s house. It was here that they wanted to throw him off the cliff after he had read the scroll. The story is told in Luke

It reads:
“Jesus returned to his hometown Nazareth, from Capernaum, and he went to the synagogue. The synagogue official gave him the scroll to read, they didn’t like his interpretation and they tried to cast him of a cliff.” Luke (4:16-29)

The Jews had a custom they called Bar mitzvah in which every boy who comes of age is given the scroll of the book of the prophet Isaiah to read and afterwards asked to explain or interpret the verse he had read for all in the synagogue. If he passes, he is included as one of the ten that can start a synagogue. Jesus was given the scroll and the people didn’t like how he interpreted it and wanted to kill him.

Church of the Annunciation


When we left the synagogue, we went straight the authentic Church of the Annunciation, which is next to the synagogue. According to an ancient tradition passed on by some Fathers of the Church, some relations of Jesus were still living in Nazareth in the 2nd century had preserved both the room in which the Angel Gabriel visited Mary, and the house of the Holy Family. There are written testimonies of pilgrims who visited the house in Nazareth in the 4th century when it was already a place venerated by Christians, complete with an altar.

Pictures of the Church of the Annunciation

Catholic Church of the Annunciation
Introduction from Saxum
Walls surrounding the Church is covered with beautiful paintings of Mary from all corner of the world
Entrance
Different depictions of Mary inside the Church
Side view of the Church
Sculptor of Mary as a young girl over the entrance

The Catholic Church of Annunciation the biggest, most magnificent church in the Middle East. It was built over the site of an earlier Byzantine-era and then Crusader-era church. Inside, the lower level contains the Grotto of the Annunciation, the remains of the original childhood home of Mary. Scientific tests on the house in Loreto matches the one here, in Nazareth, likewise the graffito written on the walls and traces of oil found on the wall dating back to the time of Jesus are identical in both places.

On the front door of the Church, there is a depiction of the major events in Jesus’ life.

Pictures of the Front door of the Church

Inscriptions at the door
Designs on the wall
Pilgrims visiting the Church
Magnificent Image of our lady at the Annunciation from Philipines
magnificent depictions at the door ” the life of Mary”
Inside the upper floor
Church of the Annunciations is the biggest church in the middle east

We recited the Salve Regina inscribed on the wall on both sides of the main door. Above the door, there is a bronze sculptor of Mary as a young girl, looking towards Calvary, Jerusalem

Then on the arcades of the Church, there are paintings of Mary from different countries of the world; Germany, Japan, Philippines and so on.
In 1964, when the Church was being built, the Pope Paul VI wondered if it was necessary to have such a big Church, in such a small town, but today Christians of Nazareth are grateful because they didn’t know that they would become a minority

The Church consists of two floors. The ground floor is at the level of the grotto of the 1st century house where Mary lived, and the upper floor of the Church has many stained glass windows and paintings of Mary donated from every country in the world.

The altar piece is a magnificent painting of heaven with all the saints and martyrs walking towards eternal happiness with Mary depicted in an amazing representation as giving birth to the Church.

Pictures of the upper floor

Preparing for Mass at the Upper floor
dome of the Church

On the ground floor is original room that Mary was in when the Angel visited her. Its white stone wall blackened with age and behind a small stair case going to an upper floor

Pictures of ground floor and grotto of Mary’s house

Loswer floor, house of Mary 1st Century
Reaching up to take a shot
Standing in front of Mary’s house
Panoramic view of Mary’s house
Shot at the circle from which Mary’s house can be seen from upper floor

Nazareth means the of spring water. It is amazing how insignificant this little town had been before the birth of Jesus, for instance, the Old Testament never mentioned Nazareth, neither does Josephus, the Jewish historian, who is reputed to record anything important to the Jews. It is marvelous that God has chooses such a lowly place to come down to meet us. This should encourage everyone one who feels left behind, that God chooses the lowly and enfeebled things of this world to confound the rich and the powerful.

We attended Mass at the upper floor of the Church of Annunciation by 11 am

Pictures of the Mass

At exactly 12 noon, the bells of the Church of the Annunciation started ringing out melodies and the scene of the annunciation was reenacted as the Franciscans gave a benediction from inside the house of Nazareth while we stood aside and watched.

Pictures of Noon Benediction

Like we said earlier, this Church is the biggest Church in the Middle East, and it therefore the envy of all. In 2002, Muslims raised money to build a big mosque directly in front of the Church of the annunciation. The intended that mosque would be bigger and over shadow her glory.

The day the foundation, the fundamentalist Muslims were gleefully shouting in unison “Today Nazareth, tomorrow the world!”
But things quickly went out of control, and riots broke out, many Christian shops were burnt and looted causing the Israeli government intervene and cancel the project, forcing the Muslim to stop the constructions and uprooted the foundation already begun.

The city of Nazareth is run by Muslim families, thus sanitation is poor, laws are not enforced, and the town is badly run. In the ottoman where here for 400 yrs and they really didn’t care about the local population, so no hospitals where built. Thanks to foreign countries that mercifully came and built and built hospitals, there might not have been any hospitals in Nazareth today.

There’s a minaret and a mosque on the highest point in Nazareth. How it happened was that 23 yrs ago, a family asked if they could hire this highest point, and the owner said yes, the family lived there for a few months and then gradually built a mosque on top of the peak. The problem is that once a mosque is built, it’s impossible to remove it. That place becomes holy ground. That’s why the foundation of the one that they attempted to build over the Church of annunciation had to be removed. So they built the mosque by stealth.

After spending time in the Church of the annunciation, we walked over to another Church, called the Church of St. Joseph. It is said that the workshop in which Joseph the carpenter and the foster father of Jesus was located here. What we saw were ritual baths and what looked like a place for baptism. The workshop must have been converted into a church during the first century and hence the ritual baths.

Pictures of the Church of St Joseph

Ritual births in the Church of St. Joseph

Cana

We finally left Nazareth about 1 pm to go to Cana. We passed by the ancient Roman town of Sephoris. This town is not mentioned in bible but was very rich and close to Nazareth. Perhaps, some of Joseph’s clients lived there since it was just 3km from Nazareth and perhaps Jesus used to accompany his father there to make deliveries. Sephoris was rich Roman city, and Jesus must have seen luxurious life, huge balcony and opulence, in contrast to his cave like home in Nazareth.

Pictures on the road to Cana

Pilgrims who came to renew there marriage vows

When we entered the city of Cana, we saw that all the shops here advertise “the Wine of Cana,” the Miracle of Jesus in Cana. Archeologically, there is no certainty of the authenticity of this Cana and as it where, many other Canas have cropped up, with competing claims of being the authentic Cana of scriptures. Still, it was good to be here.

Pictures of Church of Cana

Underneath the Church at Cana

As we were at Church of Cana, a group of people came to renew their marriage vows.
Cana is about the superabundance of the grace of sacraments. We bought the wine of Cana, sweet wine

Mt. Tabor


When we left the Church of Cana, our next destination was Mount Tabor.
Tabor is on the outskirts of Cana and before we could leave Cana and get to the outskirts, we encountered lots of traffic because the Muslims were coming from the mosque and school children closing from school.

Pictures of the road to Mt. Tabor

Mt Tabor
Tabor and surrounding district
On the bus up Tabor
Church of Transfiguration at the back ground

We passed by the Bedouin town of Shibli is set at the foot of Mount Tabor. It consists of a single clan, and everyone has the same surname and they intermarry between themselves. This is not only a health hazard but a logistic nightmare for a postman who has to deliver parcels to them.

We had a quick lunch at the base of Mt. Tabor before boarding taxis that took us up to the peak of Mt Tabor. Tabor is 640m above sea level and this is where Jesus transfigured before three of his apostles, Peter James and John. Moses and Elijah appear during the transfiguration. This is also where in the Old Testament, Deborah fought and killed the Canaanites.

Church of Mt. Tabor

Nowhere in the gospel is the Tabor mentioned, yet Jesus chose this mount to display his glory to the apostles to strengthen them for his coming passion and death. The Byzantines have originally built a church at this peak. The crusaders also built a church here. They were all knocked down by the Muslims until the Franciscans came and bought the property and gave the contract to the same architect that built Shepherd fields, and many others churches

Pictures of Inside the Church of Mt. Tabor

Entering the Church of Transfiguration
A group of south African pilgrims having Mass
Painting of Moses on the Roof of the Church
Views from the hieght of Tabor
Church of transfiguration

On the left inside the church, is the Chapel of Moses with Ray of light.
Then the Chapel of Elijah, with his animals.
At the bottom of the Church, a beautiful image of Jesus transfiguration. On the longest day, the light shines in on this image and it shimmering and beautiful. The roof is made of alabaster, because the architecture wanted people to be transfigured.

It is said that every year, a batch of young drug addicts come here from Italy, working and praying to be transformed.

Why did the Lord choose to transfigure himself in a place that was so far from where he lived and required a strenuous physical effort over a long trail?” Blessed Alvaro gives the answer himself, saying “that it was probably so that we could see with our own eyes that to reach God, we also have to put in a human effort that is physical sometimes.”





In God’s Land: Jesus in Prison and Peter Denies

18 09 2019

Basilica of St. Peter in Gallicantu

The band of soldiers and their captain and the officers of the Jews seized Jesus and bound him. First they led him to Annas; for he was the father-in-law of Caiaphas, who was high priest that year.

Peter, terrified by the servants, denied having anything to do with Jesus. “I do not know him; I do not know what you are saying; I do not know this man!”
And immediately, while he was still speaking, a cock crowed and the Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said to him, “Before the cock crows today, you will deny me three times.” He went out and wept bitterly.
On the door of the Church of Peter in Gallicantu (Gallicantu means “cock crow”) commemorates the triple denial of Peter and the bitter tears he wept after the cook crowed.
It is located on the eastern slope of Mount Zion outside the old Jerusalem wall.

Pictures of the exterior of the Basilica of St. Peter in Gallicantu

Art work on the door of St. Peter in Gallicantu


At the entrance is a joint art work of Jews, Muslims and Christians of Jesus at supper with his discipline and telling them that one of you will betray me.

Inside the Basilica of St. Peter in Gallicantu

In inside the first floor of the Church, is the court of the Sanhedrin, with fresco of 12 Sanhedrin judging Jesus on the altar piece.
Jesus’ trial was illegal because courts do not open at night. And no trails should hold during Passover.

Jesus’ Prison

From here we went down below to the house of Caiaphas proper and the dungeon below. Prisoners arrested at night where usually thrown into the dungeon till the morning when trial could hold. The prisoners, hand tied, were dropped down through a hole and then they are fastened facing the wall with hooks. The prison was discovered accidentally when the hammer of a construction worker dropped accidentally and fell through a hole in the ground.

The hole from which Jesus bound hands and feet was let down into the dungeon

We read the psalm (88) here and touched the wall where Jesus was bound till morning. Next, we climbed back up, and looking at the purity bath, or ritual baths, or micvah which Caiaphas had in his home. This practice has been adopted by the Muslims also.

Where Peter denied Jesus

We then went to where Peter denied Christ three times, outside, at the courtyard. There was a statue of him with the two maids.

The stairs used by Jesus to go from the upper room to gethsemane


From this balcony we could see the garden of Olives and Gethsemane
We also saw the stairs that Jesus used to go to from the Cenacle across the Kidron valley to the Garden of Gethsemane. Also visible from there was the east end of the temple, said to be the spot on which King David was standing when he saw a naked woman bathing and committed adultery with her and subsequently murder.
There also he saw the angel of God standing by the dome of the rock, (rock of Moriah) ready to destroy the city of Jerusalem, and he pleaded with angel to spare the city and kill him(David) instead.
The angels said to him “Go to the Mount and make a sacrifice.”
After he had made the sacrifice, he said to the angle, “Let me build you a temple here. But the Lord said no, since his hands were stained with blood, and told him that his son, Solomon will build the temple. We left the Basilica after staying there for about an hour, pondering the deep love that God has for us, we headed to the Church of the Dormition of Mary, where we were to celebrate the Holy Mass

On our way to the Basilica of Dormition of Mary

We arrived the Church of Dormition of Mary located in the highest point on Mount Zion. The location is identified in Christian tradition as the place where the Virgin Mary died — or “fell asleep”, as the name suggests. Christian sources say that Mary was probably 50 years old when she died. There are claims that Mary died in Ephesus, Turkey, but this is not supported by the early Christians. According to St. John Damascene, “St Juvenal, Bishop of Jerusalem, at the Council of Chalcedon [AD 451], made known to the Emperor Marcian and Pulcheria, who wished to possess the body of the Mother of God, that Mary died in the presence of all the apostles, but that her tomb, when opened, upon the request of St Thomas [who arrived late], was found empty; wherefrom the apostles concluded that the body was taken up to heaven.”

Pictures of the exterior and interior of the Basilca of the Dormition of Mary

Basilica of Dormition of Mary
Mosiac art work of Mary careing for infant Jesus on the dome
Mosiac floor of the Basilca of Dormition of Mary

On the ground floor of the Church, there is a life size statue of Mary sleeping.

Life size statue of Mary sleeping
Mosiac of six Old Testament women above the sleeping statue
Painting above the statue of Mary sleeping: Jesus caring for Mary in Heaven
Painting on the basilica dome: Mary cared for Jesus on earth

On the mosaic above the statue of our lady Dormition, there are paintings of six women in the Old Testament.

We said the Hail Mary Six times besides the statue of sleeping Mary.
There were more details we could have missed. The painting on the dome in the basilica proper was Mary caring for Jesus which represents the humanity of Jesus. While the painting on the dome above the sleeping statue showed Jesus caring for Mary in heaven which represents the divinity of Jesus.

We heard Mass at the Basilica of Dormition of Mary

It was a great experience to celebrate Mass at the place where Mary the Mother of Jesus breathed her last. We ask her to intercede for us who still remain her till we go to join her in her in heaven where she is.

Pictures after the Mass





In God’s Land: Gethsemane, Jesus’ Agony

16 09 2019

“Father, remove this cup from me, but not my will but thine be done.”
When God’s appointed time comes to save mankind from the slavery of sin, we contemplate Jesus Christ in Gethsemane, suffering in agony to the point of sweating blood (cf. Lk 22:44). He spontaneously and unconditionally accepts the sacrifice which the Father is asking of him.
Ancient information located the grotto of Gethsemane, in the Kidron Valley, where Jesus went with his disciple, and where he was arrested. Excavations which took place after a flooding revealed that place was previously an olive press with olive gardens and a cistern. In 4 century AD, a byzantine rock church was built there and later rebuilt in the 6th. Also several tombs were excavated near by witnessing to the ancient tradition of burying the dead near holy places.

The Garden of Olives

The Church of Gethsemane has 16 domes because 16 nations donated to rebuild this church. Gethsemane was an olive oil press. Inside the garden, 8 of the trees here still dates to the time of Jesus. It was a garden or orchard where there was an oil-press (this is the meaning of the name Gethsemane), and it was outside the city walls of Jerusalem, to the east of the city, on the way to Bethany.

Pictures of the Garden of Olives

The Church of Gethsemane

Inside the Church of Gethsemane, the blue-ish purple color of the stained glass windows helps pilgrims pray. The Church faces the golden or beautiful gate where Peter healed the blind man. It has a deer on the roof. The deer is on the dome is the symbol of psalm, like a deer thirsts for water so my soul is thirsts for the living God. In the year 2009, Benedict 16th celebrated Mass in the olive garden across and the President of Israel, Netanyahu, attended

Pictures of Church of Gethsemane

The stone on which our lord sweated blood

Here we are touching the stone on which Jesus sweated blood while he was praying

Mary’s Empty Tomb

Next we went to see the empty tomb of the Blessed Virgin Mary, where she was assumed body and soul into heaven. When Mary passed away, they laid her in-corrupt body at Mount Zion for nine days. After, they took her to the burial grounds of Gethsemane and buried her. Jews buried their dead facing the temple and thus our Lady’s tomb faced the temple.
Three days later, they found the tomb empty.
According to archeologist, Niccacci, there was an ancient text that was read during the feast of Assumption which described the location of Mary’s tomb as part of the Jewish burial ground or (Necropolis)
In 1959, excavations revealed that the Mary’s empty tomb was on a burial ground, there was a happy coincidence between this literature and archaeological findings. Early Jewish Christians had isolated the tomb from the rest of the tombs and preserved it with veneration. Two churches, one upon another were built by the Byzantines in the 5th century BC.
We celebrated Mass at the Grotto of Gethsemane (Where Jesus was arrested, betrayed by Judas with a kiss)

Pictures of the Empty Tomb of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Inside Mary’s tomb

Mass at Gethsemane

A place of agony, a place of our incapacity to keep close to our lord in prayer! We ask God to teach us to abandon our selves to the will of God. Help us to always do the will of God

Church of the Pater Noster

Next, leaving Gethsemane we went to the Pater noster Church.
It’s the place where our lord thought the disciples the prayer, Pater Nostra. It’s also here that our lord ascended into heaven. It’s also here that our lord wept over Jerusalem.
We had to pay money to enter because it is controlled by Muslims. When Saladin conquered, he converted it to a business, Muslim businessmen pay to hire it and charge money from Christian pilgrims.

Pictures of the Church of the Pater Noster

The Church of Pater Noster today has the arch of the crusader.
Our Lord loved the Mount of Olives because it over looked the city of Jerusalem. It was from the Mount of Olives that Jesus ascended into heaven. It was also here that our lord wept over Jerusalem. The Mount has numerous caves and it is in one of them that Jesus taught his disciples the “Our lord’s prayer” or the “Pater Noster” as it is called in Latin. The Church of the Pater Noster stand on the Mount of Olive, astride one of the caves in which ancient tradition says Jesus taught this prayer per excellence.
It was built under the direction of Constantine’s mother Helena in the early 4th century. The church survived intact until it was destroyed by Persians in 614.
In the year 1875, a young princess, Princess Aurelia Bossi came to the Holy land and saw Muslims selling the remaining stones of the 4th-century church for tombstones, she paid them off and acquired the land, and handed it to the French government. She is buried here as a mark of gratitude for recovering this place from the Muslims.
In the Church, the Pater Noster is written in 173 languages. There’s also a piece of mosaic left over from the basilica built by St. Helena

Yes, it is a cave, winter is cold, and our Lord had no money to pay for hotels, so he and his disciples gathered in caves they didn’t have heating. Here, in this cave, Jesus spoke about the end and about his passion and death. When he finished, one of his disciples asked him, Lord teach us to Pray
Here we held hands and sang the Pater Noster in English, Philippines and Igbo.

We saw the plaque in Samaritan. They were part of the Jews, but were excommunicated because they mingled with Babylon. Today, they (Samaritans) still intermarry between themselves and thus are dying out. There are just only 760 Samaritans remaining in the world (380 in Jerusalem and 380 in Shecem) and many of them are retarded.

Ascension

Next we went to the Chapel of Ascension
There are two foot prints of the Lord which he left as he was lifted up to heaven chiseled into a rock but one has been removed and put in the dome of the Rock. From here our lord Ascended to Heaven

Pictures of our visit to the Chapel of Ascension

Video from Saxum on the Ascension

Church of Dominos Flevit. Where our lord wept over Jerusalem.


Next we climbed further up to the Church of Dominos Flevit, this was where Christ wept, crying:
“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, killing the prophets and stoning those who are sent to you! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not! – – Matthew 23:37
Jerusalem, a city that Jesus loved so much, that never returned the love of God because they have not learned how to be friends of God. We become God’s friends through prayer. When we persevere in prayer, even if it is repeating over and over, Jesus I love you.
As St. Augustine says, “It must burn in you that which you want to ignite in others.” Jesus was burning with sacrificial love for Jerusalem, wishing to heal her and teach her the way of live but she wouldn’t listen.
Planted in front of the Church was the tree of the crown of thorns

The Church of Dominus Flevit overlooks today the dome of the rock and the Alaska mosque, because the prophesy of Jesus was fulfilled in the year AD 70 when Jerusalem was destroyed, and the temple burnt down, such that there was no one stone left upon another.

That is the focus of the trouble between the Jews and the Muslims. The Muslims claim that the rock enclosed by the dome is the place where Prophet Mohammed ascended. But yet the Temple Mount was the holy place of the Jews many centuries before the birth of Prophet Mohammed, the founder of Islam. King Solomon constructed the first temple in the very place that the dome of the rock is today in 900 B.C, but it was destroyed by the Babylonians. Second temple was built by Herod 20 B.C. This destroyed by the Romans in 70 AD. Mohammed was born in 22 April, 571 AD

To enter the Al-aqsa mosque and the temple mount is free but there was a time it cost ten dollars per visit. They stopped collecting money after the second intifada which started when the then Israeli President, Ariel Sharon entered the Al-aqsa mosque. As we stood looking at Jerusalem and the temple mount from the Church of Dominus Flevit, time for the Muslim prayers arrived and at once powerful microphones started blasting out Islamic prayer call to prayers.

Pictures of Dominus Flevit





Nigerian Teens Create Sci-Fi Movies With Smartphone

21 08 2019
Critic company

The saying that if you give a hungry man a fish, you will feed him for a day but if you teach him how to fish, you feed him for life is so true for 8 teens from northern Nigeria who are making science- fiction movies using a broken smart phone.

No doubt, they love watching Sci-Fi movies but unlike other teens their age, the Critics company, as they call themselves, are determined to make their own. They came together 2016, started creating short film with special effects they learnt from YouTube videos.

Using a broken tripod stand to hold up a smart phone with a cracked screen, they shot a ten minute film called ‘Redemption’.

This film caught the eye of international media organization like Reuters, Aljazeera and others who celebrated them for making history by successfully making first Nigerian sci-fi movie. According to one of the young filmmakers, Godwin Josiah, their aim was to show that kids in the north are doing something different.

Support has since started pouring in. Veteran film maker Kemi Adetiba, tweeted enthusiastically about them in June and helped them raise $5,800 to upgrade their equipment.

Imagine what they could do with a formal training in sci-fi movie production.

Ironically, this same youtube medium that can create porn addictions that wrecks the lives of other teens is empowering and enabling these 8 youngsters to acquire skills in movie production. This shows that it is not the media as such that is to blame when youths get hooked on internet porn but the lack of focus and motivation among young people.

Serious minded teens can sift out the best and useful things in social media and use them to advance themselves without necessarily falling prey to harmful contents as these 8 teen have aptly demonstrated.

Still, it takes guts and drive and thinking out of the box. It demands  finding a dream, pushing forward and following that dream to its logical consequences.

In life, honest and productive work is usually rewarded with fame and success, and Godwin Josiah and his cousins are making themselves useful with a broken smart phone

Nigeria has over 70million are teenagers, but still teen productivity is so low. Experts say that this is due to skill deficiency Nigerian educational curriculum, which is shockingly theoretical rather than practical, and many teen leave school ill equipped to earn a living. Hence the high rate of youth jobless, resulting in political unrest, economic instability, drug abuse, crime, prostitution, human trafficking, terrorism and kidnapping..

The Critics Company have alerted people to the possibilities of digital media like YouTube to tutor themselves in skills that can fetch money or jobs or even help them start their own businesses. 

Many handy skills can be learned via YouTube: from air-conditioning repairs to fashion designing and computer programming and countless free online tutorials on software development. Furthermore, an average low-end smart phone is chockfull of useful apps, such that an average user cannot exhaust 1% of its capability.  There are apps that can transform a smartphone  into a math lab, reader, and multimedia learning platform and many other things, and most are available free.

The triumph of these teen is good news for a region considered by most as educationally backward and where teens are often school shy. The Kaduna state governor, Malam Nasir El-rufai has praised their creativity, invited them to statehouse for special visit and is generally making a fuss of them. He has also offered the government’s support and constituted a team of senior officials to work on the details with their family.

Josiah and his cousin are blazing a path for African teens to follow, and confirming that with courage and determination, any African teen will not only survive, but actually thrive in these polluted waters through through hard work, unrelenting focus.

  Their fame and success has even wider relevance. Teens the world over should cease being passive consumers of social media content and become innovators, leveraging on these platforms to create and market their own ideas and become creators, and contributors to human progress.

They are an indictment of those who engage in online scams popularly known in Nigeria as “419”, a scam that has given millions of Nigerians a very bad name.

They are also showing up the so called Nollywood industry, still stuck in their abysmally low quality films, rife with poorly written scripts and stale story lines  revolving around time worn themes of sex, money and power.

They may yet give the Nollywood oligarchs a run for their money and possibly break their  strangle hold on the industry.

With sci-fi movies like Star Wars and Avengers grossing over $900Million and $800Million respectively, a sci-fi skill set is not a bad investment and the Critics company could be pioneers in a business that could bring much needed foreign exchange flowing back into African pockets. Time will tell.





Peer pressure: The Caving of Miley Cyrus

12 08 2019

By Chinwuba Iyizoba

There is a saying that the corruption of the best is the worst. This rings true in case of Miley Cyrus, a once adorable chastely clad girl who attended church regularly while growing up and wore a purity ring.

 At 11, she became a teen idol with millions of fans for her role in Disney Channel television series Hannah Montana.

She went from success to success, earning golden globe awards and was ranked the 4th best selling female artist in 2009. Her Hannah Montana soundtrack sold millions of copies. The taste of success was sweet as she performed for Queen Elizabeth II and other members of the British Royal Family at the Royal Variety Performance in Blackpool, Lancashire.

Unfortunately, in 2010, things took a bad turn. Her film “The Last Song (2010), based on the Nicholas Sparks novel did badly, her studio album that same year was a commercial failure.

Attributing her string of failures to her unsexy image, she parted way with her old manager and hired a new one who advised her to take a wrecking ball to decent girl image.

She heeded the advice and transformed from wholesomeness to the highly sexualized woman we see today. 

In a video interview in 2014, she shared her transformation story

“It was always Miley is boring, boring, boring she said, revealing the unrelenting peer pressure with which modern showbiz stars have to contend.

 She didn’t need much convincing though, she loved being a superstar and if going bare will keep her there, so be it!

 Against her mother’s advice, she ditched her decent garments for naked profanity. Her 2013 album “Wrecking Ball” showed her swinging naked on a wrecking ball. It was viewed over nineteen million times within its first day of release and became first single to top the Hot 100 chart in the United States having sold over two million copies.

Fame and power– honey she had once tasted and loved– flowed back into her tongue in torrents. Today, she is worth somewhere around $200 million.

In same video above, her mother said she doesn’t agree with everything Miley does but added, “We must understand that we are dealing with a 21 yro girl, and this is what 21 yr olds do, Miley is just doing hers in front of the world.”

Yet private things are best kept from the world.

True, parents should allow their adult children freedom to live their lives, yet they should never abandon their duty to correct them when they go wrong especially if it is due to peer pressure.

Public nakedness is wrong because it can provoke extreme revulsion or extreme attraction; the same parts of the body that attract sexually are also the same ones that repulsive during excretion. That’s why decent people choose to be naked only in private, and before people who they trust. Exposing of private parts to strangers can incite lust or derision. Of the two, lust is the more dangerous.

Lust is a craving force that can lead to crimes like rape, and murder. Sex when abused has a markedly disastrous effect on society. According to C.S Lewis, “Someone who abuses sex may easily populate a whole village.”

It is thus common sense to control and moderate this power through decent clothing. To dress modestly is to live charitably with other, for it is charity to avoid arousing lust or revulsion in others. Unfortunately, modern showbiz only care for money.

Today’s showbiz stars must dance naked before camera crew if they want money, power and fame. It is the echo of the ancient serpentine offer, “All the kingdoms of the world I will give thee. If you fall down and worship me.” Jesus may have rejected that offer but many celebrities are grabbing it with both hands.

Yet as scripture says, “The canal cannot see God,” Miley regularly wears devil horns on stage,and continues degenerating to vicious license, and things are going dark quickly for her.

Slave of sex and selfish, she is incapable of faithful lifelong love. She recently ditched her husband Liam Hemsworth for a lesbian, after just 8 months of marriage.

She’s now a frenetic supporter of every sexual deviate.  Bent on sexualizing her teen followers, she is a strong advocate of abortion, and infanticide, and recently posted a picture on Instagram, with her serpent tongue on an abortion cake

Her addicted fans hail her as Queen and like puppets are imitating her excesses to their own destruction.

Miley Cyrus dances pornographically atop the grave of chaste Hanna Montana, however, she and her unscrupulous collaborators should know that there is a huge and devastating cost to what they are doing.

According to researcher, Patrick Fagan PhD, internet pornography is killing families and is responsible for 50% of divorces with over 40million addicts in the US alone.

And just like drug addicts have a powerful tendency to violence to satisfy cavings; porn addiction is linked to rape and other sex crimes. FBI’s own statistics show that pornography is found at 80% of the scenes of violent sex crimes, or in the homes of the perpetrators.”

 A great percentage of Miley’s 44 million Facebook followers are teen boys who do badly at school because porn exposure is linked to problems with problem-solving, reasoning and comprehension abilities, all of which are necessary to succeed in school.

These are real costs, borne by ordinary people, parents of families, mothers and fathers husbands and wives. They would do well to protect their homes and children from these disruptive influences by monitoring the type of social media content their wards consume.

Still, it must be remembered that Jesus did not come to save the righteous but sinners. With more energetic supernatural means of prayer and fasting, the corrupted can be purified to shine brighter than diamond. Let us not leave this soul sunk in her wantonness for want of prayer and fasting.

Chinwuba Iyizoba is the Editor of Authors-choice and an author.





Who Wants African Teens Having More Intercourse?

9 06 2019

by Chinwuba Iyizoba

African teens web

Over 4 million candidates for the West African Senior School Certificate and General Certificate Examinations (GCE) English literature are required to read a novel called “Faceless”, about a 10yro girl, molested and killed by a pedophile.

Set in suburban Ghana, in 2000, the novel by a Ghanaian female writer, Amma Darko, races through harsh, frightful and sometimes out-rightly disgusting deviant sexual crimes against minors.

With adult themes about sex, orgasm, rape, breasts, incest, prostitution, condoms, pedophilia, the novel reads like a play of soft pornography.

One wonders why such should be required reading for school teens. Why aren’t we encouraging our youngsters to read great literary works that stimulate their creativity and innovation, that inspire them to hard work, that furnish them with proper reasons to shun corruption and that helps them embrace sexual discipline?

Books on pedophilia, rape, murder, incest on the other hand cause harm.

According to psychologist, Carolyn Ross, “Just as we read specific books and show educational movies to our children in hopes that they learn lessons from the characters… boys who were exposed to sexually explicit media were three times more likely to engage in oral sex and intercourse two years after exposure than non-exposed boys. Young girls exposed to sexual content in the media were twice as likely to engage in oral sex and one and half times more likely to have intercourse.”

So, who wants African school teens having intercourse? 

The answer is Planned Parenthood.  By far the worst organization in every country they operate, they make money by providing abortion services. They are interested in teens having sex because the highest demand for abortion come from people who have sex when they aren’t ready for babies, and teens are by far the largest group in the world not ready to have babies.

In the US where they have aggressively invaded schools. Family Watch, a US family advocacy group issued a warning to parents everywhere: Investigate what Planned Parenthood is doing in your country and in your state, and especially in your children’s schools.

A group of high school parents in the Iowa were surprised and upset when they learned Planned Parenthood was teaching sex education to their teens in the district’s schools. You can read what they discovered here ~it is frightening

Anglican Mainstream, a family online magazine, alerted parents to cross check their teen’s school books warning parents of Planned Parenthood’s agenda to sexualize their children. “Sex education is a major Planned Parenthood marketing tool for their contraceptive/abortion business. Sex education is how they groom children in order to generate paying customers for “services” provided in their 65,000 service points in over 170 countries,”

Entering African schools Faceless

Like snakes, they have slithered into African schools undetected, and parents are none the wiser. They have bribed school administrators, education boards to introduce compulsory reading texts like “Faceless” that innocuously encourages early sexually activity among teens.

In the novel, the main character, Kabria, a mother of three, catches her teen daughter hiding some pamphlet of Planned Parenthood under her pillow. Having only a vague idea what the organization did, she sneaked back later to read the pamphlet and was “delighted” that they (Planned Parenthood) provides guidance and counseling for teens on how to avoid unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases. 

This is the kind of false and misleading information Planned Parenthood uses deceive, and carry out its nefarious acts.

 Population control

They aren’t only promoting lurid books to minors; they also promote population control especially among black people. Indeed, pro-life advocates have consistently argued that blacks have been specifically targeted by the abortion industry. After all, in 1939, Margaret Sanger, founder of Planned Parenthood, stated her desire to “exterminate the Negro population.”

All along the novel are hints and subtle hues of massages that preach population control. In one scene, two fat women were gossiping about marital troubles, one of them bemoaned her pregnancy and blamed her husband who stubbornly refused to use condoms and hence their six children instead of the three she had originally intended to have.

These women have been brainwashed by Planned Parenthood radio and television broadcasts. Melinda Gates, was even quoted as saying that the great unmet needs of African women are birth control and condoms.

Over Population is a Myth

 

Yet numerous studies show that the real reason for poverty in Africa is corrupt rulers, not a lack of birth control. (Source author-choice) 

Majority of Africans greatly value children. They know that in a society like theirs, where no government sponsored social security programs exists, children are their best investment for the future and the more the better

To think that millions of African boys and girls from Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, the Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo, as well as the United Kingdom Overseas Territory of Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan are required to read this novel, cover to cover, soak it up and master it to pass their exam is heart breaking.

Reading has made many Saints, but also many demons. Good books, especially novels with virtues, clean and classy themes have great potentials of forming the minds of young African towards virtues, while vicious books and novel lurid in contents not only corrupt their minds but cause poor academic performance.

The compulsory reading of this book isn’t by accident; Plan Parenthood wants to catch them young, when they are most vulnerable. West African parents should wake up and reject this willful corruption of children dressed up as literature.

 

by Chinwuba Iyizoba

 

 

 

 

 





How to Shield Your Children from Corruption

24 03 2019

By Chinwuba Iyizoba

Robtel Neajai Pailey
Robtel Neajai Pailey

Rife in every section of Nigerian society, corruption is more visible in the armed forces who clog highways with sandbags and drums, and openly extort money from motorist.

I was driving with my 7 yrs nephew, Jonathan, by my side. It was a hot afternoon. We came to a police check.

“Do you want to be a policeman? “ I asked mischievously.

 “No,” the boy answered, without hesitation.

“Why?”

I was curious to know the reason for such categorical rejection. A police job is honored work in many countries.

“They are corrupt!” he quipped without blinking.

The policeman by the car in front crumpled something into his pocket waved him on. We were next.

 I wound down and greeted him cheerfully.

“Anything for your boys?” drawled the officer.

“Nothing today, sir” I said, sheepishly. “May be tomorrow.”

He waved us on.

We drove on in silence. I was wondering how much harm was done to children by witnessing daily daylight graft on our roads by men in uniform.

It reminded me of another story a woman told me, some time ago, about her 7 yr old son, Hamza. He had just joined the boy scouts, the uniform and badges gave him such a trill, he felt like an officer, and like officers do, he wanted money. The next day, on his way to a scouting activity, he stepped into the middle of a busy road and faced a fast approaching taxi. He had seen policemen do all the time. As the car raced towards him, horn blaring, he raised an authoritative hand. Stop!

 The car swerved at the last minute to avoid running him over, the driver spat at him, passengers cursed and showed him their five fingers. Passersby screamed as they hauled him by the ear out of the road and someone whisked him back to his shocked and grateful mother. That was the end of his scouting career.

The difference between Jonathan and Hamza, it occurred to me, was that Jonathan goes to a private school where Christian ethical codes were taught every week. During classes, teachers emphasize the difference between good and evil, and how lying, cheating–in a word corruption, harms. They help them discover good and do it, they help them uncover evil and avoid it; they learn that they can make mistakes and how to be quick in correcting themselves.

Hamza, on the other hand, attends a public school ill equipped to teach him Math’s and English, but very efficiently creates an environment that makes it hard for him to be virtuous.  He learns from older pupils how to steal, smoke, drink and climb school fences at night to visit brothels. He has never been furnished any argument against the corruption he sees.

Yet more Nigerian children attend public schools than private schools, and we cannot have it both ways. Either we teach these children about the evil of corruption now or we have corrupt citizens later.

This troubled Robtel Neajai Pailey, a Liberian academic, activist and author until she decided to do something revolutionary.

 In 2012, frustrated with all the rhetoric about fighting corruption in Liberia she wrote anti-corruption books for kids. The first one, Gbagba loosely translated, means ‘trickery’ or, ‘corruption’

 “I realized that integrity must be strengthened at the earliest stages in a child’s life in order to mitigate the practice of corruption in the next generation” she said.

Gbagba is the story of young twins, who leave the countryside to visit their aunt in the capital, Monrovia. The intrigues of adults in everyday corrupt practices—robbery, bribery, fraud, vigilantism—collide with the children’s strong moral sense of right and wrong.

Immediately after the children arrive in the city, a thief “in dirty clothes” snatches their suitcases in broad daylight. The description of the robber tells us that that the man is poor and desperate. But the idea that it is greed rather than dehumanizing poverty triggers the man’s thievery incites the threat of mob justice

And in no time, the twins later observe their aunt’s driver bribing a police officer. Their aunt’s indifference during this encounter stands in stark contrast to the twins’ sharp perception of the unfair advantage that takes place after the transaction.

You can watch the video adaptation of the book below and please share with your children

Pailey was inspired to write the book in order to give children the verbal tools to question the ethical and moral values of adults around them. The book received critical acclaim and has been adopted as compulsory reading by Liberian Ministry of Education

“Eight to 10-year-old children are the perfect targets because it is at this stage that they begin to form an ethical core,” Pailey continued.

 “In writing Gbagba, I imagined myself a proverbial anti-corruption pied piper, without the instrument of doom…. Even though Gbagba‘s setting is Liberia, it remains a universal tale about children’s emancipation from the confusing ethical codes of the adults around them”

As Pailey says, children are the moral compass of Liberia if not the world. When they start publicly exposing corruption for what it truly is, my hope is that adults will be shamed into living more honestly, with integrity.

The book has been turned into a play and the play was well received by parents, teachers, and school administrators in Liberian and other African countries.  It has also been converted to a play, and 200 theatre-goers enjoyed the performance in the audience on debut day.

A parent of one of the cast members informed Pailey her daughter is now the integrity police in their household, pointing out when her parents and siblings are being dishonest.

This is a worthy investment Nigerian government should consider making, inviting Pailey with her project and give children like Hamza the knowledge they need to fight corruption in themselves and later in the Nigerian society . Pailey has since written a sequel to Gbagba called Jaadeh.

By Chinwuba Iyizoba








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