IS CULTURE UNCHANGEABLE?


Many times, we justify certain ideas with the line “it is our culture” and we allow maltreatments, abuses and so many negativities to thrive just because this was how people lived in the past. Racism and gender discriminations can be said to be culture because these are ideas, customs and social behaviours that have thrived over the years and have even found a way into the present age. Let’s understand what culture is: cultures are ideas, customs and social behaviour of certain people while tradition is the passing of culture down from one generation to another.

I was arguing with someone about these things and he said: “We are imperfect people and therefore we need culture as a guide.” But, is that supposed to be so? Is culture truly meant to guide us as humans? Who sets up the cultures exactly? Perfect people? I admit people develop culture overtime with how they had lived and in what they find comfort and ease of life. However, these cultures can also be formed on the wrong perception of life, on human weaknesses and on what people thought was working but truly never working. A culture may be relevant today and lose relevance tomorrow and this is because our minds are evolving and we can’t stick to the patterns of yesterday if we must forge ahead.

“Cultures can also be formed on the wrong perception of life, on human weaknesses and on what people thought was working but truly never working. “

I was in a firm previously, sitting at the reception and waiting for my job to be delivered and I noticed a man who walked in and headed straight to the attendant who was already attending to a young lady. He demanded that he gets attended to immediately as he was in a hurry. The young lady turned, looked at him and said: “at least if you want them to leave me and attend to you, you should have pleaded with me first…”

Guess what?

This man got full of rage! He started vibrating and making noise as he walked around the hall calling for attention. He threatened that he was going to beat up the young lady, that in our culture, a woman (especially young ladies) aren’t supposed to talk when “men” are talking. Isn’t that a stupid culture?

“Who gave her the right to talk while I am talking? Does she know who I am?” He raged

I got so angry but my consolation was that I noticed some group of men setting up formations to take turns on him if he ever lays his rusty hands on the young lady.  Well, in the end, we had a heroine!

Why did I tell this story? In parts of the world, women are seen as unimportant people, they are seen as weak genders whose only role is to be married to their husbands and live for their husbands alone. If the man had beat her in some environments, she will be asked to bear it because she is a woman but in developed countries like America, he would be arrested and charged for abuse.

I was in a bank some years ago when a man slapped a woman because they were arguing about who came first. To my utmost surprise, this man was not arrested by the forces around until the woman called her husband who called the police. These things exist as cultures all around the world and the question remains, should we keep entertaining such irresponsibility in the name of culture? Who set the rules? Are we made for culture or is culture made for us? Is it wrong to question the imperfections we see in what happens to be culture or traditions?

I heard people say that a man who accepts to be wed in the Church of the woman is not “man enough” and the idea of what it takes to be man enough in the part of the world where I came from is to be arrogant and “women domineering” in which a woman doesn’t have a voice! Is there not a problem with these cultures? Cultures are imperfect just like the people who adapted to those customs over time and we must be willing to be dynamic and flexible so that we can always adapt to a better lifestyle that is more human-friendly. A lot of people are scared to question the norms because the culture seems to them as something that cannot be changed but if men decided to be eating with hands in the past, we can decide to eat with spoons today!

“we must be willing to be dynamic and flexible so that we can always adapt to a better lifestyle that is more human-friendly.”

Another instance is the idea that men came to this world to lead while women came to be led! These things became cultures over time but it is absurd to still believe that crap at this age! We are in an age where a lot of things must be questioned, we are in an age where we must question what makes the right hand, the only right hand! In many parts of the world, using the left hand to greet people is seen as an insult but some people make use of their left hands because that is how their brain conditioned them to act and trying to get them to switch is very dangerous to the brain. Do you see? The cultures of the past were established without certain facts and truths they knew existed. Some cultures were based on flat earth instead of a spherical earth, some cultures were based on the moon as the source of its light instead of a moon that gets light from the sun. As we make more discoveries and understand humanity perfectly, we should question and do away with cultures that are no longer relevant.

Culture shouldn’t be in control of you, you should be in control of culture. Cultures are subject to personal review and we should know when it doesn’t count and what to write off from it! If we must lean on culture simply because this is the prevailing ideas and customs from the past and the foundation on which our traditions were built, then it is a matter of the blind leading the blind. It will leave us retrogressive in life. We gradually change cultures when we begin to change our collective thinking. One person doesn’t change culture but one person can initiate it by raising the red flags of a certain culture and speaking out even when others find him or her odd!

“Culture shouldn’t be in control of you, you should be in control of culture. Cultures are subject to personal review and we should know when it doesn’t count…”

The advent of Christianity in various parts of the world changed a lot of things about people’s culture! For some, their cultures took a different turn, their cultures changed entirely! Globalization is also changing cultures and as long as these changes make us better and put everyone on equal opportunities, the changes are relevant.

Speaking from a Christian perspective, God doesn’t want us to stick to unchanging cultures, He wants us to be dynamic and flexible with culture in the sense that we should be ever ready to write off what we find irrelevant in cultures without minding what people around us think. The Bible says in Romans 12:2

Don’t copy the behaviour and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.”

A culture like we saw earlier is behaviours and customs and tradition is the handing down of these things to other generations. Culture isn’t what brings transformation to the minds of people, culture is the futile approach of imperfect men to deal with their imperfections but many times it proves abortive and counterproductive. Why are we not to copy the customs of this world and in what context is the Bible giving us this encouragement? I will explain.

“The customs of this world is deeply rooted in racism, discriminations, abuse, selfishness, wickedness and so on!”

The customs of this world is deeply rooted in racism, discriminations, abuse, selfishness, wickedness and so on! These customs are rooted in lies, fear and insecurities but God’s word (revealed in Jesus) is what brings transformation! How? Jesus didn’t discriminate against gender, therefore we shouldn’t discriminate against gender! Jesus didn’t discriminate against race and therefore we shouldn’t discriminate against race. Jesus loved people regardless of who they are and therefore we should do the same.

When people credit gender discrimination to Jesus, I know they are simply trying to mix their customs with Bible verses quoted out of context. What is God’s word that brings transformation? Is it Genesis to Revelations? No! Let me show you something in the Bible. Concerning Jesus, the Bible says in John 1:14

“So the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son.”

Jesus is referred to as God’s word, God’s word isn’t the totality of the Bible, Jesus is God’s word which became human! The Bible says He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness! He is the one who brings transformation to our hearts when we learn of Him and conforms to Him, letting what we learn of His character create a new way of life for us.

“Cultures aren’t unchangeable because humans who created cultures aren’t unchangeable either”

So, if Jesus didn’t treat people based on their gender, age, colour, religion and so on, I should follow Him in that regard too. Culture can be changed when you change the way you think and influence others with it. It may take time, you may be persecuted or even mocked but as long as you keep at it, you’ll influence others with it. Cultures aren’t unchangeable because humans who created cultures aren’t unchangeable either.

We change our culture by changing the way we think!

We change traditions by changing the culture that we pass down to our children.

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PODCAST: YOUR SCARS | Your Defining Moment


Sometimes, we look back at our scars and we murmur in regrets. Some scars heal and some never get to heal but these scars are meant to be treasures just that we do not notice this on time.

In this fresh and inspiring release based on our previous article, we discussed why you should treasure your scars and how amazing those scars you despise would be. In simple words and with clarity, this will not just appeal to your heart, it will bring healing to those long moments of regrets that you have nursed for a long time.

Listen & Download the MP3 Audio for free!

YOUR SCARS ARE BEAUTIFUL


This morning, as I was getting ready for work, I walked to my mirror to have one more look at my face. The pimples and some blisters have always been a cause of worry to me. I tried lifting my right hand to feel through the surface of my face and then my eyes were caught up on the little scar on the back of my palm. I kept staring at it through the mirror, the story flashed back to my memory; yea, the story of the scar! It was a reminder of the day I fought in school in defence of my brother. I smiled knowing that I won that fight and also got vindicated by the school authority. I won’t bore you with details of the fight but it has been more than ten years now and the scar is still there, serving its purpose; a quick reminder.

Everybody has scars, it could be emotional scars, it could be mental scars, it could be physical or even financial scars. Whichever type of scar one has, there is something common about these scars. They are reminders of failures or victories but ultimately, they are reminders that we pulled through that stage of life. Whether we won the fight or lost, the scars don’t just remind us of the results, it also whispers to us “you made it past that experience.”

Dead people don’t have scars because they have ceased to exist. Only people who are alive have the opportunity to look at their scars and tell the story. No matter the circumstances behind that scar, there is always a lesson! Scars are treasures, they may be ugly, the stories behind it may stir oceans of tears but they are rich with lessons, rich with encouragements and rich with strength! Because we always live to tell the story of our scars, it is a reminder that God loves us no matter how ugly our stories are.

After Jesus had resurrected, the scars of His hands and feet didn’t represent death! It represented victory, it spoke volume of His victory on the cross. The scars of Jesus would simply say “I was beaten, dragged, nailed on the cross and buried. But, I conquered death and resurrected!” Jesus wasn’t always on the cross, it got worse! He was lowered to the grave. We all thought that was the end, the Apostles might not have even believed He resurrected until they saw the scars!

“Scars are treasures, they may be ugly, the stories behind it may stir oceans of tears but they are rich with lessons, rich with encouragements and rich with strength!”

It doesn’t matter what you are going through right now, remember that on the hill there was a cross, after the cross, there was a grave but beyond the grave, there is a resurrection! The morning will always come, the scars of the night will remain but they will only tell stories of your victories over the night. If you are a Christian, the scars of Jesus is a treasure for you too! It indicates that your faith isn’t in mere philosophies but in victories that have been achieved.

At least, you lived on to mourn that rejection and heartbreak. You lived on after failing that exam, you lived on after losing out in that business, you lived on after you were betrayed and accused! The scar is there but it doesn’t just tell a story of failure, it also tells a story of victory over failure! As long as you could look at those scars, you have won because you are living ahead and ahead.

Scars also have a way of waking the giant in you, it is an indication that you tried, an indication that you broke out of your comfort zones, indications that you’ve gathered experiences and qualifications to guide others out of your mistakes. Don’t sit there regretting it, you can help others with it. Whether you got it on yourself or it was someone else’s fault, you can help others with it.

“The scar is there but it doesn’t just tell a story of failure, it also tells a story of victory over failure!”

Those scars are your trophy!

Carry it with pride. Yes, you won!

Your scars are beautiful.

Blessings!

~ George O.N

DON’T IGNORE YOUR INSTINCTS


I had prepared for work and had moved out of the house ready to trek a distance before getting to the bus stop where I could be able to board a taxi to the office. I had walked a far distance from home when it seemed a message was dropped in my heart. It read clearly “George, take a spare key to your house and hide it somewhere outside your house.” I was already out of the house and I didn’t want to argue with myself, I promised myself to do it as soon as I come back home in the evening. I had tried taking a step further when it came again, it was louder and stern this time around.

I began to struggle with myself. For more than one year since I lived alone, I never experienced a loss of key, I was always careful with my keys as I wear it like a ring on my finger. I didn’t know why my heart couldn’t just allow me to get to work first and perhaps we sought it out in the evening. I was already late for work and I had an urgent task waiting for me.

One thing I had learnt though was to always trust my instincts, God has always spoken to me through it and many times that I had tried ignoring it was always met with disaster. I remember there have been days I could have a feeling to leave a place and when I do I would come back to hear stories of terrible things that happened there! I also remember there are times my instincts would ask me to switch my phone off and when I do, I could switch back on later to see a message that would have distracted me from very important things. Not that my instincts have always been right but on many occasions, especially when I am not feeding it my thoughts, it is usually right.

Somehow, I am always able to discern when God is using my instincts to speak to me even when I feel like doing otherwise. The instruction was not normal but after much persistence, I decided to go back home and do as I was led.

Several months later, on a beautiful Wednesday, I went to Church for midweek service in the evening. We drove directly from the office just like every other Wednesdays. It was an amazing service full of the revelations of God’s word. After the service, I went home rejoicing and I remember I was singing my way all through until I got to my door and realized I didn’t have my keys! I searched my bag hoping there would be a miracle but there wasn’t. My apartment is a far from the office and it was already 9:45 pm, it would be impossible to trek out to the bus stop at that time or even see a bike going towards the bus stop.

For some minutes, I stood there confused. Several thoughts were going on in my head, I thought of asking my neighbours if they would accept me into their apartments for the night while I knew I wouldn’t be comfortable any bit with the weed they always smoke into the morning. That was going to be my last alternative, I kept gawking into the thin ear when something struck my mind instantly!

“Remember the key you hid somewhere?” It came the same way it did some months ago and I felt very relieved! With excitement, I went towards the place I hid my key, searched and found it! Ahaa! I didn’t have to spend the night in distress, I didn’t have to sleep without eating and I didn’t have to skip a hot bath that night!

Why? Because I listened to my intuition.

Sometimes, our instincts are right! Sometimes, God sends signals to our instincts and sometimes we even get a clue about something that is about to happen. What you make out of your intuition may determine your next experience. I remember a certain time my instinct asked me to move certain money from my main account to my second account but I ignored it… I lost the money to fraud! It couldn’t have been possible if I moved it. I also remember several times my intuitions are right!

Your instincts may probably be wrong if they are based on your thoughts and assumptions but whenever you get a trigger in your intuition about something, pay attention to it! It may be God calling your attention and wanting to save you from trouble the same way He used my intuition to make plans for me for what would happen in months to come.

What are your instincts telling you about a friend, a business, a major step you want to take or just anything else? Pay attention to it! Yes, your heart can be deceitful when your focus is always on self, fear and the wrong things but it is amazingly true that God will always guide yielded hearts as the Bible says in Philippians 4:6-7.

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”

God’s peace exceeds anything we can understand, it exceeds our worries and fear and it guards our heart and mind as we live in Christ Jesus!

God bless you.

~ George O.N

DANCING IN THE FIRE


So they finally threw me into the burning furnace, locked the gates, leaving me there to burn. I was burning, the heat was piercing into me and I felt like I was dead already. My skin smelt delicious as it roasted but then a hand tapped me from behind, it was soft and had an aura of peace. When He touched me, the spot felt chilled!

At first, I was shocked, who would be in the fire and still feel cold? Who would be comfortable in this fire like that? But I turned and behold it was Him! His beautiful face glowed even in the fire, the purity of His white wouldn’t be corrupted by the thick black smoke of that fire. He had come to me some time ago and I knew He had amazing powers, the power to save whomever He wants to save! He saved me from the sickbed miraculously and maybe He had come to save me from the fire.


“Thanks for coming… Please get me out of this fire!” I cried!

He laughed and started dancing! I was shocked at that “what are you doing? Dancing? While I am burning?” He didn’t say anything, He kept dancing but I had to speak again or even put His guilt on His face

“Why are you so selfish? So because you can survive the fire, is that why you’re making fun of my condition? Weren’t you the one who promised that you’ll always be there for me? Why did you ever allow me into the fire in the first place?”

“But I am not just here for you, I am here with you!” He said without looking at me, He was enjoying His dance steps and then He added: “You can survive it!”


“Howwwww?” I shouted as the pain was becoming much more for me to bear coupled with watching someone dance in the fire while I was dying


“The pain you’re experiencing is not as a result of the fire, it is as a result of your mind. I didn’t promise to prevent you from being thrown into the fire neither did I promise you that I will put off the fire. I promised to be with you as we walk through it and I promised you shall not get burnt in the fire.”


“What are you saying? But am already burning and I am dying!” I cried

“You’re burning not because I lied but because your mind and fear are shaping your reality. Why not ignore the fire and focus on dancing with me?” He said and then He did a dance step that I had been trying to learn. I was excited, I had been trying to learn that dance step


“Woooh! You killed it! Teach me that step!” I pleaded. As I began to take the steps with Him, I suddenly started hearing the rhythm He was dancing to, it was amazing and out of whatever was in the world. I closed my eyes to assimilate the sound coming from the strings and percussion, then I opened them again!

I realized we had an orchestra but not the kind we see around! They could play the instruments in such a way that the vibes controlled my feet to dance. The lights were amazing and I realized we were on a stage with the spotlight on us!

We had danced and danced when I suddenly remembered I had been in the fire some hours ago. And I was shocked

“how did we get here? What happened?” I asked

“We were dancing and we should continue” He smiled. We kept dancing while we talked

“I thought we were in the fire?” I asked

“No, we’re just in the spotlight, not fire! Can’t you see it?” He replied
“I am sure we were in the fire!” I insisted

“Well, it depends on what you want to see. You saw the fire, but I saw the spotlight and a nice place to dance. Let’s keep dancing or you like the fire?”

“No” I quickly replied, “I love where we are.”

“Listen, son,” He said holding my hand as we stopped the dance “where your mind is, is where you are. Keep your focus on me and you can walk on every storm. Let your mind be on the beautiful things I have done and not on the threats of men and the challenges of this life.”

Everything went off, it seemed I was back in the fire but now my focus had changed! I went back to dancing. Right now, I love dancing in the fire as I walk through it! They had come to take my ashes and they met a man on the spotlight dancing!

~ George O.N

Free on all book platforms

REVIEW: Raped At Seventeen


Raped At Seventeen by George Onyedikachukwu Nnadozie
Shittu Adetola Johnson
ICT Consultant | Event Planner | Estate Management | Writer

THE WORLD IS FULL OF EVIL

“I cried reading this story”Shittu Adetola

RAPE is one of the most degrading, devastating emotional events that can happen to a person! Many people tried to DENY they were raped by keeping it a SECRET but repressing an attack simply DELAYS the healing process.

This young man story hit some raw nerves in me. I found my self clenching and un-clenching my fists in maternal despair.

He forgave his abusers but deep in my heart I don’t wish them well for the corruption and trauma they dealt to him at his young age.

He was barely a child!

What is wrong with people?
Why so much vile and horrible people out there?
The world is full of evil. WATCH OUT!

Shittu Adetola Johnson, Lagos Nigeria

ICT Consultant | Event Planner | Estate Management | Writer

INSIGHT INTO MALE RAPE

Well written, balanced, easy to read and touching story.

Victor Ayeni

I applaud your bravery in sharing such experience that many men would prefer to take to the grave with them. I recommend your book for every teenager, especially male.

For too long a time, in the battle against sexual assault, the male gender has been unfairly marginalized, misrepresented and ignored. That’s why news reports of male sexual assault seldom elicits public sympathy; because the society has constructed a false cage of masculinity and have expected every male to stay in it.

To write on male rape as you did, rather than igniting outrage against sexual predators, is usually met with deriding remarks like “You must have enjoyed it if you didn’t scream or fight him off” or “You are just a sissy to have laid down and allowed this happened.” And perhaps the worst of all: “You must have seduced them in some way.”

Some psychologists have stated that the way a guy will relate to other men is often circumscribed on their relationship with their own fathers. I like the fact that you provided that detail in your story; the complicated relationship you had with your father ostensibly dictated the “weak” response you showed towards the violation. Again, male sexual abuse is usually about power; a man dominating another man by the force of his personality, class, age and authority. These sex predators saw your fear, naivety and vulnerability and decided to take an advantage of them to sexually prey on you.

Your story also refutes the myth that male sexual abuse makes one gay. Some experts point out that the response of a victim to an abuse will tell the quality of life he will live — whether the abuse makes him hardened or weakened. When people respond to abuse with hate, anger, fantasies and retaliation, it actually pushes them to that very act that they were introduced to.

Some ignorant people often wonder what could make a victim of rape still hang around the individual who violated them. Your experience proves again that many rape victims pass through different stages of denial, shame, regret and self-created amnesia. These are can be defensive mechanisms people use to shield traumatic experiences.

Finally, I believe the Christian faith gave you the strength in your trying time and God helped you forgive your abusers. I personally know guys who experienced what you did, who didn’t fare well. Please keep up the good work.

Victor Ayeni

Researcher | Writer | Satirist | Nature lover | Intuitive.

“Such an expository stuff on this delicate matter. Our society need to do more and parents need to be more observant and the kids should be well thought the about it”

– Oyebanji Segun, Lagos Nigeria

TIME OF RECKONING IN COMING

“Really a brave move coming out of the closet of sexual victimization and rape to tell your story. Especially in a society where rape is a taboo to mention, much less report of being a victim!”

The scorn and absolute chastisement and condemnation of the victim by the society is just as grave as the actual sexual assault on the victim, hence raped and dehumanized all over again!

Thank God for the few in the present generation who have taken up the mantle of resistance to fight and push back against those haunting voices to ensure rape and sexually assaulted people’s voices are heard loud and clear.

Most homes harbour such sexual predators and paedophiles hence, would always intimidate their victims not to speak out. Family members and friends are also enablers of this evil vice. But their time of reckonings is fast approaching in Nigeria, where these culprits will be picked up by the law enforcement officers and tried by the judicial system and sentenced duly.

When that comes, persons found guilty will have their names in public libraries, local government offices, televised as sex, rape, paedophilia offenders! Neighbours will be furnished with the names of such predators so that they’re mindful of their kids around such individuals in the neighbourhoods.

When such drastic actions are taken against these demoniacs, they might start ruling over their predatory desires.

Once again I commend the gentleman on this brave move to disclose his past.

Asas Richardson, Las Vegas, Nevada

Raped At Seventeen by George Nnadozie Onyedikachukwu

Raped At Seventeen | Free Ebook!


This is my own story. I am not sharing it because I have enough courage to speak up yet or because I am shameless! But this is a sacrifice I am making to be a voice for so many other people, male or female, who went through the same thing I went through but couldn’t speak up and start healing. I shared part of my story here but it is not enough to share just a little, I saw it relevant especially at this time to tell all of it!

This is a process of healing that started many years ago but a process that is perfecting as you read. I am glad to be relieving my heart of its heaviness, I am glad to be reaffirming that I have moved on from the past and forgiven myself and others but I am also bothered that one way or another we are shutting people up from opening up and we are treating people who open up by wanting to teach them how to tell their stories rather than allow them to say it the way the they understood it and allow truth surface.

This is my own experience of abuse and rape, written in advocacy of the fight against rape, manipulations and Child abuse. This is also an appeal to everyone, to listen more, care more and build an enabling environment that allows people to open up without fear.

Raped At Seventeen is now available for free on OkadaBooks, Amazon Kindle, Smashwords and various other book stores worldwide! It is also available in PaperBack.