20.02.2004 Feature Article

Ghana Has Gone Gospel

Ghana Has Gone Gospel
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Eyo Osagyefo, Yesterday is gone, another day has come, do something new in my life…. This is a song by Elder Collins Amponsah. Elder? When did we start addressing peeps with titles like Elder? Hmm, this world seems to be passing me by.

Crusade! Crusade! Crusade! For the third time in thirty minutes, the commercial for the Apostolic Crusade at Kumasi Jackson Park is aired on TV. To me, it is a normal thing on GTV these days. Others find it interesting, Efo Kwakuvi finds it compelling, Araba Tetteh is itching to go to the crusade and John Brown is making fun of it. John can't understand why a crusade should be held in the first place lest have it advertised on TV. Some may side with John, others won't. It's 'babahazing' (amazing) to me this should be happening in the first place. (C'mon, new words are created day in day out and I am no exception)

Osagyefo, Ghana has gone gospel. Conventions, crusades and revivals are part and parcel of the lives of the Ghanaian masses and it is not a mistake it is getting airtime. People have resorted to attending these as getaways for the weekend. Sometimes, on the weekdays, it robs the nation of productive working hours. Productive working hours? Maybe not. The whole notion of late to work, early to leave is found in the average person, from the MP of Hweebonto (credit Obrafour) to Salamatu the Kayayoo. Ghana needs prayer. Abedi Pele will tell you so, with the recent troubles facing Ghana football. We have found ways to worship and praise God every Sunday, wear our best attires to enter into the assembly of God, whether food would welcome us home or not. I would expect peeps to be rather stingy considering the HIPC pockets Traveller John and his cohorts have or have not helped maintain when it comes to 'church collection' due to the shallow pockets we have, but we find ways to make sure Kwasi beats out Kwaku for Kofi and Ama.

If there is anything more interesting, it should be way gospel music sells these days. When more than 5 of the top songs in Ghana are gospel, it drums home a particular message: our countrymen believe in divine power. Kojo Antwi, Daddy Lumba and Obrafour are all dropping gospel tracks and gospel artistes are rapping as well. I am sure I am not the only one who's been hearing gospel songs at parties and social events these days. For all I hear, the NPP and the NDC are fighting for the rights of Seth Frimpong's 'Afe yi ye m'afe' song, hoping it could spur support like Cyndy Thompson's 'Awurade kasa' did for the NPP in 2000.

If you want to search for evidence, drive through a number of streets in the urban areas. 'God will provide Plumbers', 'Jesus saves Sewing Factory', Awurade beye Chop Bar', His love reigns Electronics' are some of the kiosks lining the roads. Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks. These names are not supposed to sell; they are to show gratitude to who the names allude to. Wasn't it a joke when Jake the Fat man said that troskis and trotros would run out of business by 2005? Ghanaians love to express themselves and a lot of trotros go by these kinds of names: 'You Lie, See God', 'Meet the Son, See the Father', 'God dey!', and my favorite, 'No Jesus, No Life. Know Jesus, Know Life'. How can you not be a happy person in Ghana with all these around you? Smile, brothers, for your breakthrough is coming.

Ghanaians have become religious for a number of reasons. Ghanaians are a peace-loving people. The Dagbon conflict and crisis did not augur well for the hospitality and understanding we have as a people, but in the midst of the present West African chaos, we can give ourselves an A. HIPC or no HIPC, we find ways to be happy. Ghanaians want to be prosperous and they feel they can find that by going to church. By praying day and night and giving their tithes for the work of God, their prayers would be answered. I can't blame them. We have to be a religious people alright, Osagyefo, but we have to let this show in our characters and personality. How many churches did we have in Ghana in the good ol' days of 1957? We could have counted then. I tried doing that recently, and lost count. Preaching must be a profession now, it pays. Pastors are leading lavish lifestyles, makes our civil servants bow. The greatest works of architecture these days are church buildings. The more pastors preach about prosperity in their sermons, the more Ghanaians will flock to church. The pastors of course care much more about their church infrastructure than their ministry. The stories about pastors in dubious and corrupt acts are very disturbing. How does the Ghanaian succumb so easily to these things? Here, major causes are superstition and illiteracy. It's no surprise scandals have rocked the church 419 style.

This is what I find disturbing. It's great and awesome to see the power of the gospel these days. But, it is not reflecting in our development as a nation. There's still a lot of indiscipline, bad work ethics, bad characters and above all, no patriotism. We have to show our religious fervor in our lives. It should be present in our daily lives. 'If you practice what you preach, you'll do everyone a favor.' It starts with the pastors, priests, general overseers, bishops, apostles, prophets, elders, and reverends. They must shift their sermons from prosperity to discipline, morality and nation building. It's beautiful to see the enthusiasm and passion for the gospel but we need to see some love, some character and some holiness in our nation.

Sooner than later, we will have to drum this message home, to our beloved. President Kuffuor campaigned with a message of 'Positive Change'. Funny how, we never got the full analysis of that message. To me, 'Positive change' encompasses a mentality change, a character change and a personality change. God helps those who help themselves. Times have changed and we as a people must change with the times. It's beautiful to see the country very much alive on Sunday but we must turn our efforts to hardwork, discipline and a burning desire to see our country move forward. Osagyefo, I hope it wouldn't take long for all of us to figure that out.

Yours truly, Maximus Ojah. Views expressed by the author(s) do not necessarily reflect those of GhanaHomePage.

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