The Pangs of Desire

This has been quite an interesting two weeks, thus my silence. I have encountered a whole host of people who are either unaware of the ill they do, or are aware and ignore the voice of conscience. Ok, I wont stand here and judge like I never disobey what my conscience says or even claim to have never caused any harm by my disobedience so take this toasted lament with a pinch of salt, a hint of pepper and some Marmite (which I hate by the way).

You are always righteous, O LORD, when I bring a case before you. Yet I would speak with you about your justice: Why does the way of the wicked prosper? Why do all the faithless live at ease?

Jeremiah 12:1

The question that has been marinating in my heart is this. Do the wicked have no conscience or is its voice dimmed?

In my own life I’ve found it quite hard to make a cup of tea for myself without offering one to whoever was around me. I struggled to eat the last biscuit in the pack, and used to buy two chocolate bars so that when asked I had one to share. I try to do what I can to be a positive in people’s lives. This is quite difficult as my desire is to serve myself, thus wrought for others seems vain. My conscience however, loud as a drum, kicks in and wrangles with my self-centeredness whenever I turn away from serving others.

This moreover is a world full of people who can be ungrateful, and utterly selfish with no regard for their neighbour’s wellbeing, and seemingly get away with it. This makes the whole turn the other cheek thing tough; not because the other person is relentless but because deep down I wish I could get away with doing what they are doing. This is at the core of my complaint. It is such a devastating lens focused onto my own depravity: that it isn’t against the wicked that I lament but a desire at very center of my heart to be one. I genuinely love God and would like to think that my actions in line with His will are rooted in a love for Him rather than a fear of my actions’ consequences. But that root isn’t as straight forward as I find as similar a mystery as is the nature of Grace at the core of my desires.

I honestly do wish I could get away with half of what I have seen people do this week and am – like Jeremiah – complaining about it. At the same time, I know how harmful selfishness can be and am – in a small part – grateful that I know I wont actually get away with it. It doesn’t stop it being painful to witness, neither does it make doing good easier.

Our faith is difficult one. I suppose if you aren’t grappling with it constantly then you’re either almost in heaven or most certainly angelic. It’s answer to the pangs of desire is to ask us to pursue someone else’s: God’s. This doesn’t stop them from being pangs. I suppose the idea of ‘carrying a cross and following Jesus’ is this sense of doing something difficult for a cause that transcends our own. It’s a noble thought that like a drop of water skims the surface of a furnace almost mocking the hope of dousing the flames.

Evidently I am in complain mode so I will not put my positive thoughts. (Out of disobedience because I hear and feel the answers to my complaint: take what you will from that.)




Poetry 022: Dust


The first breath,
Accompanied by the tears
And the lament –
That ushered in the embers
Of a rotting life –
Set the tone (of atoning strife).
Like my father I refused
To embrace my looming death,
Assured that the life breathed in
Would stay.
A gloved fist int he air
Spoke of my debonair rebellion:
The fruit forbidden was mine to eat,
My complexion a feat placed
Against the lightly coloured rules
That blighted my background.
These feet –
that from the red earth arose –
Were determined to wallow
In the sorrow-free days that’d
Precede my return to the dust.

© Denis Adide 2012

Keep God in the heavens

Outward authority is cast off and is replaced by the inward authority of the individual thought or experience. Reason here, emotion there, usurps the place of God… every individual becomes a law unto himself in religious matters. God is dethroned, humanity reigns, and in practice humanity means little more than individual man, the thinking or feeling self.

The New Bible Commentary Revised ed.

I came across this excerpt in the introduction to the commentary quoted and had to halt for a moment. My first instinct was outward and the thought that dominated my mind was that of how it summed up the simplicity – stupidity even – of a lack of faith. Refusing to acknowledge God – Keeping Him in the heavens – was tantamount to outright rebellion and all who indulged in it did so at their own detriment. If only there was a way ‘I’ could convince them otherwise. It was at that thought – the ‘I’ – that caused check from my conscience – Holy Spirit time.

It is a strange commission that we have been given: to go into all the world preaching the good news of Jesus. I’ve always wondered – especially when with my intellectual friends – why God didn’t just reveal Himself to them in power like he did for Paul. Why was it that He left it down to me at times to try and defend his cause? Carrying the frustration of failing to convince – to convert even – after throwing all I knew at the person. To aid my arsenal, I read a plethora of books and took an interest in all manners of religious ideologies as well as philosophy: none of which made a difference. The basic fact was that the inward authority of my individual thought and experience was not enough. It would take an outward one, expressing itself – impressing itself onto the individual – to inaugurate change. In my drive to convince, I had kept God in heaven. Professing my faith in factual terms, as the most rational way, meant that I had entered into the selfsame realm of rebellion. Let me quantify this.

Omnipotent, Omniscient, Omnipresent (Alpha and Omega): God is infinite and complex. Where would his complexity and magnitude be if ‘I’ – a human being unable to totally comprehend himself – could present God boxed in a present at the end of a rational pursuit. This is what makes proclaiming the Gospel, especially in this day and age, quite a difficult task. We can easily make it scientific, or philosophical, with proof  and Logic being the only modes of discourse. Have you ever encountered someone who is as sure of his disbelief in God as you are of yours in His existence? There is the frustration that accompanies the urge to with Reason destroy the erroneous edifice within which your compatriot is hiding, ushering him into the light – and delight – of a relationship with God especially if, like the people I know, they are stubborn intellectuals.

Unless, however, there is that total dependance on His Outward authority, the exercise is futile. Part of the message itself is the call to humility: that is the idea of a total surrender – intellectually as well as emotionally – to the Godhead. Our faith begins with bad math, we have to let go of Logic, let go of proof, and surrender before we are able to see the logic. The temptation is to keep God in heaven so we can reign – inaugurating change on the strength of our argument. But as Paul says…

The kingdom of God is not of talk but of Power

1 Corinthians 4:20

Far from giving me a rod to condemn unbelief – whose symptoms I sometimes show – the excerpt challenged me away from loftiness. As an evangelist – which we all are – the most important thing to be able to say is “I don’t know it all”. It is true because we don’t. Relinquishing our inward authority breeds a reliance on God and invites Him down to earth – or rather acknowledges that He is already here. It is an act of faith – assurance of hope in the face of skepticism – exemplified by Jesus in the garden.

Yet I want your will to be done, not mine

Luke 22:42

Think on this

The Christian religion not only was at first attended with miracles, but even at this day cannot be believed by any reasonable person without one. Mere reason is insufficient to convince us of its veracity: and whoever is moved by faith to ascent to it, is conscious of a continued miracle in his own person, which subverts the principles of his understanding, and gives him a determination to believe what is most contrary to custom and experience

David Hume

More musings to come.

Feel free to comment or query.

Poetry 003: The Proposal

The proposal

She took the rose I gave her, tied the stalk with a silk string
And hung it from her windowsill to dry;
Its petals still accented by the scent of early spring.
She smiled. “These flowers, my love, tell a lie,
For they do not have the life to which they cling,
Their crimson clothes for affection die.”
Slumped I stood, “What a reply!”,
And couldn’t tell her I’d bought the ring.

© Denis Adide 2010


In my experience so far – which I don’t think differs from any – I have been victim to the strange way in which men and women, in speaking the same language, misunderstand each other. Thinking on this pointed me toward the fears that I had – and still do have – about openly expressing how I felt to a woman. How everything they did or said affected what I was about to say. The proposal is such a story, where love – and the celebration that it should carry – is lost in the vacuum of things either unsaid, or misunderstood. It is a solemn poem that like the hidden ring, speaks of concealed emotions and thoughts lost on the threshold of commitment because of fastly fading sentiments that are as dead as the flowers. Love, more immortal than the dying plants or the fears that hamper, is sorrowfully lost in the small moments. This poem is for all the men, who like me, never reached the height of romance in their proposals. It is a word to our respective women: our actions will never fully incapsulate our sentiments, bare with us.

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