by Chi Ibe
Writer Chude Jideonwo has penned an open letter to his pastor, and we have it here on YNaija – as other young Nigerians are happily circulating it to take to church this morning. “Let our pastors know how we feel,” one of the emails said. “Drop this letter in an envelope and in your offering boxes! We also encourage Muslims to write a similar letter for their Imams.”
The letter comes with a guide:
(Print this letter and drop it in the offering box for your pastor)
(Please replace sir with ma if your pastor is a woman.)
(Please fill in the correct name and address)
(Please change the name from Chude Jideonwo to yours and sign.)
See the letter, below.
8 January 2011
Open Letter to My Pastor: What Would the Prophets Do?
For the hurt… of my people am I hurt, I am black; astonishment hath taken hold on me.
Jeremiah 8: 16
Know ye not that we shall judge angers? How much more things that pertain to this life?
1 Corinthians 6: 3
Thou shall not muzzle the mouth of the ox that treadeth out the cord… this is written: that he that ploweth should plow in hope; and that he that thresheth in hope should be partaker of his hope.
1 Corinthians 9: 13
I write you this letter because I am a Christian and because I sit under your ministration – and I listen to God’s Word through you constantly.
Our nation is in crisis. The people have been subjected to a government policy – fuel subsidy removal, alongside a debilitating cost of government – that impoverishes us. Yes, the current trend of subsidy payments is unsustainable, but visible cuts must start from government with clear steps to deal with the rot in the oil sector. Leadership is by example, not by decree! Many of us affected are here in church today – we give offerings, we work for the church, we answer when you call. Now, we need you to answer our call.
I have waited for you to offer guidance; waited for you to speak to us; waited for you to share in our pain the way the prophets from Elijah to Nehemiah have; waited for you to speak up against bad governance and selfish leaders; but you have not.
We have been on the streets from Monday, and will be on the streets in greater numbers from tomorrow – but have not heard the sound of your voice, clear and strong.
This is not the first time sir. At crucial times in our nation’s life – the disappearance of our last president, the drive to get out the votes, etc – I have found the voices of many ministers missing. I don’t mean bland admonitions about corruption and good leadership; I mean actual statements that you think of your congregation, and you feel with them.
This is not right. This is not what the Bible says.
I don’t need you to be Martin Luther King Jr sir; you don’t have to be Matthew Kukah. All I require is for you to speak for what is right. Can you imagine how powerful it would be if you and your contemporaries lead the congregations of all the churches and speak against this bad governance decision on Monday?
The Bible commands you to, sir.
See Proverbs 31: 9:
Open your mouth, judge righteously; defend the rights of the poor and the needy.
Didn’t Bishop David Oyedepo once say, “A closed mouth is a closed destiny”? Some of you might like the President personally, especially as he is a believer, but this is about Nigeria and Nigerians; not about Goodluck Jonathan.
I am not sending you this letter because you are an easy target – in fact in Nigeria these days; pastors are the hardest people to speak with. It is your Biblical duty to speak, and to act.
Jesus avoided the secular realities of his day, but none of His disciples did – and, sir, you are not Jesus. The prophets and the apostles were vocal about governance: Jeremiah, Nehemiah, Elijah, Paul to mention just a few.
And what am I even saying? Jesus called out the leadership of his time! In Luke 13:31; he was absolutely clear what he thought about the Roman leader Herod: he called him a “fox”.
You are influential and powerful by His anointing. Imagine if all of you come together and say no to this wicked policy! With or without you we will fight, and by God’s grace, we will win; but with you we can win even bigger – and quicker.
What do I want you to do, sir? Please see below:
- Do not give bad leaders comfort through silence – speak up and take a stand on the issue of fuel subsidy removal.
- If you support it, speak up; if you are against it, announce your support for Nigerians who are peacefully protesting and encourage other members to join. You should also join the protests – it will be a powerful boost.
- For those members that cannot join, encourage them to visit sites such as www.eienigeria.org to get information as to how they can support this movement.
- Your church should support the efforts of many Nigerians – who are using their meager resources to support this effort. Provide materials: buses, food, drinks, phone access, and anything else that can make this a success.
- It is too late for these announcements to be made in church, but can you please help spread the message through the cell meetings/fellowship and weekly services this evening and through the week. Also, if the President doesn’t revert to the old price of petrol per litre, then this message will still be relevant for next Sunday, as we will still be on the streets.
I beseech you sir to listen to the warning that Mordecai gave Esther when King Ahasuerus began a reign of oppression against the children of Israel (Esther 4: 14): “Think not with thyself that thou shalt escape in the king’s house, more than all the Jews,” he said. “For if thou altogether holdest thy peace at this time, then will relief and deliverance arise … from another place, but thou and thy father’s house will perish.”
As book of 1 Timothy 1:7 reminds us: “God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
The times call for power and a sound mind.