There’s never a time when conversations that centres around either the church or the nation is not in vogue. Yet, when they seldom cross, the real issues are left out. Most times, these conversations aren’t deep enough. We just settle for the icing and forget about the cake.
It’s important that we note that both the church and the nation exist as distinct entities – but they do exert some influence on each other.
Infact, many have argued that the nation is what it is, because the church is what it is. They argue further, that to change the nation, all that need happen is for the church to change.
I differ here. That position is only half true – the icing, not the cake. And I fear for the crusaders in the church, who intend to change the nation by encouraging and influencing the church to change. Very too often, this set of people often realize much later, that such an approach doesn’t work.
This is because the transformation of the nation is not entirely predicated on the transformation of few individuals in the church.
In fact, the church exist – physically – within a subsystem of the larger national network. And that is why the system of a nation can directly affect, influence, and impact the church.
Even Jesus appreciated this fact when he said, “Give unto Cesar what belong to Cesar, and unto God what belong to God” This shows that he recognized both as been distinctively different. Consequently, while both exerts influence on each other, we cannot change the one by the mere act of changing the other.
On the contrary, history is replete with instances when the nation takes full regulatory functions over the church – or when the nation exercised certain extreme power using the church as the excuse.
The point here is this, transforming a nation goes beyond the mere act of the church. Of course transforming the church is an important part of the process. Yet, that by itself isn’t sufficient.
The nation is a large complex and complicated system. And it takes proper understanding of this system to influence it, something the church is not ready or willing to learn.
Transforming a nation requires an indept understanding of the various forces, systems and structures that makes a nation work the way it does. Furthermore, it is important also, to understand the platforms and machineries of the nation by which it can be influenced.
One of such platforms is politics. It’s difficult to bring about a profound national transformation without participating in politics directly or indirectly.
Unfortunately, many of the crusaders in the church have no clue as to what politics in the real world means, neither do they understand how it works. So by and large, there’s a significant gap between the ideal nursed within and the cold reality on the outside.
Similarly, it’s really hard to transform a nation without a fine appreciation and understanding of the nation’s cultural, historical and religious life – both in the past and present. Just ask our colonial masters.
That makes continuous learning on the history and culture of the nation an indispensable part of the process of transforming the nation.
Like Winston Churchill said, “in history lies the secret of state craft”.
It’s in studying history that you learn what has or hasn’t worked in the past – and improve on that knowledge to evolve new solutions that will work in the future.
Thus, for anyone interested in transforming the nation, learning about the cultural, historical and religious peculiarities and intricacies of the various segment of the nation is imperative. Without this, it’ll be difficult to be highly effective in politics.
And instigating national transformation without directly or indirectly involving politics is an impossible task.
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