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Warning To Celestial Church Members: Does Your Dancing Glorify God? —- Kayode Alfred

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The subject of dancing is one that elicits varied opinions all around the world. While a school of thought believes it comes with therapeutic benefits; and another believes it is spiritual and biblical; there are various extremist Christian groups that believe dancing is inherently sinful and should be proscribed in general or during religious services. For the purpose of this intervention, the seductive instrument that dancing is fast becoming or has become in Celestial Church of Christ vis-à-vis its spiritual significance is the central focus of this piece.

It is not clear when dancing became an activity for humans. But from the early records of civilization dancing, at one point or the other, dancing was an act used for mate selection, the invocation of fetish spirits, initiation to secret societies, and worship of pagan gods – it was either ceremonial or ritualistic. And as civilization progressed it morphed into an activity for social functions, a form of mere entertainment, displayed especially in night clubs. We all know clubhouses to be a center for extreme profanities, a space that does not agree with our Christian beliefs. However, in recent times, some of these dance steps displayed in clubs have been surfacing during worship, in our churches. And the question now is: why are we bringing the unholy to the house of holiness?

The word dance or dancing, in all its forms, appears multiple times in the Bible. And they are two interpretations to it. The first could be translated to mean jumping up and down in (un)controlled excitement depicting joy. The second could be translated to mean indecent bodily movement, which was always condemned in passages where it appeared. Primarily, dancing, especially for women, is to some degree, seductive expression of body movements. It was why the women of old used it to seduce fetish spirits they sought favour from, or, as was the case in mate selection, to seduce and attract a potential partner. Therefore, the act of dancing can induce lust and lead to fornication or other sinful acts.

A biblical account lucidly explains how dancing led to an atrocious act by the great King of Galilee, Herod, and Herodias’s daughter. In Mark 6:21-22, Apostle Mark wrote, “Then an opportune day came when Herod on his birthday gave a feast for his nobles, the high officers, and the chief men of Galilee. And when Herodias’ daughter herself came in and danced, and pleased Herod and those who sat with him, the king said to the girl, ‘Ask me whatever you want, and I will give it to you.’”

Salome, encouraged by her mother Herodias, asked for the head of John the Baptist. And King Herod, under the seductive spell incited by Salome’s dance moves, consented. He slew the man of God and served John the Baptist’s head to Salome. This is an example of how extreme the power of sensual dancing can be, and the damage it can bring. Under the influence of its seduction we can go to extremes and commit acts we should not involve with, as Christians. It is why we shouldn’t bring this ungodly movement of body parts into our places of worship.

In early July 2019, a video of a young member of the Celestial Church of Christ went viral on the internet. In this video, the young man was doing a dance redolent of masturbation, a dance that was popularised by a Nigerian musician Naira Marley. This dance we all know as Soapy. And this young man, with his palm folded into a fist in front of his crotch, moved to our Christian praises with his immoral dance step, rocking the folded fist back and forth to mimic stroking. At that time, the video sparked a lot of controversies, of how young Christians are letting pop culture slide into our religion, of how these young Christians, with their sensual dances, are desecrating God’s holy ground, of how they are painting the church in a bad light. This young man could feign ignorance and say he didn’t know the implications of his actions. And that is why it’s important we have this conversation. The question I’ll ask is this: When you move your body in a way suggestive of sexual activity, what image would you be putting in the minds of people around you? If you answered honestly, you’ll agree that you have, at that moment, planted unclean thoughts in their heads. In short, you have led them to sin. For fear of sounding judgemental, can you beat your chest, come clean and say you are not as guilty as those whom you have led astray in their innermost thoughts even if they did not physically manifest the lechery in their head?

Also, about a month before the Soapy dancer’s video, another video of a Celestial member had gone viral too. And in this one, a young woman was dancing in front of seated elders of the church. She twisted her waist and moved her backside to the rhythm of the drumbeat in the background. It’s a dance popular among ungodly women known as ‘twerking’ – a dance that has no place in the church of God. This video made outsiders say all sort of things against our church. Many who do not understand our values began to condemn us because of the act of this young lady, saying our church has become a clubhouse. Is this the image we want to project?

Anyway, these are the ones that went viral because they crept into the internet, but how about the ones that didn’t? Dancing is an activity of the body, requiring the movement of the shoulders, waists, and feet, a movement that can become sexually suggestive depending on how you move. In our churches, it’s been noticed that most of our ladies, while dancing, end up shaking their behinds in worship, even their breasts too, which can prove provocative for the men around them. Sandra Humphrey, author of What Do You Communicate, said, “No healthy man will deny that it is sexually arousing to watch a girl swing her hips and breasts suggestively to music.” It’s a biological reaction and the best way to surmount any lustful temptations is to flee. We can’t pretend the sway of hips and twist of waist women do in church is not sexually suggestive or not dropping lascivious ideas in people’s minds. For example, if you were one of those elders seated before the twerking lady, what thoughts do you think would creep into your mind? Even if by the grace of God, you avert the temptation and chose to not act on it, it doesn’t negate the fact that a lewd thought was established.

In Matthew 5:28 Jesus said, “But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” And if your sensual dancing was responsible for men lusting after you in church, won’t you be guilt-ridden at the fall of those men? Many may say they only danced to glorify God and not to tempt the opposite sex. But the question I’ll ask is when this suggestive movement of the body is corrupting the hearts of the opposite sex in church, does the dance glorify God?

In his letter to the Philippians, Paul wrote, “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy–meditate on these things.” (Philippians 4:8)

Take note of “whatever things are pure”. Now, if your dancing was pure would it plant impure thoughts in others? Remember that anything that is of the Lord is pure. And if the endpoint of dancing leads to impurity, then it is safe to say that dancing is not of the Lord. And we should desist from it.

As committed members of the Celestial Church of Christ, we should always look back to our foundation to be sure we are not breaking away from our roots. The first primary mission set by our founder, Reverend Samuel Bilewu Joseph Oshoffa, is: “To worship God Almighty in holiness and reverence.” Dancing provocatively in the church is in opposition to this mission. It may feel innocent to indulge. And one could say they are only dancing to the glory of God, in praise and adoration, as King David in the bible danced with reckless abandon. But remember that David was a bad dancer, so his dancing was putting his image, if caught by another eye, at the risk of embarrassment. He had something to lose. And his poor dancing skill, instead of pulling or drawing the eyes seductively, instigated mockery.

Michal, daughter of Saul, even condemned David for his dancing: “But as the Ark of the Lord entered the City of David, Michal, the daughter of Saul, looked down from her window. When she saw King David leaping and dancing before the Lord, she was filled with contempt for him. … When David returned home to bless his own family, Michal, the daughter of Saul, came out to meet him. She said in disgust, ‘How distinguished the king of Israel looked today, shamelessly exposing himself to the servant girls like any vulgar person might do!’” (2 Samuel 6:16, 20)

But David retorted, saying he was willing to look more foolish than he did, even to the point of humiliation, in celebration for what God has done for him. The things to pick out of this are:

David danced out of excitement and he lost control.

David knew he was a bad dancer, so him dancing before those people was a thing of embarrassment for his image, which could make some people lose respect for him.

And we all know how important people’s respect is for a king. And David also knew but was putting his self-respect at stake. So, when you chose to reference David as an example when you’re dancing recklessly, ask yourself: What do you have to lose? What is the personal/important thing you are putting at stake?

Some of us do it because we feel it is the way of the world now, and we’re evolving alongside. But remember what John wrote, “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth forever.” (1 John 2:15-17)

The lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes: We can tell where these two forms of lust can happen at once: dancing. And as children of God, we shouldn’t corrupt our morality with the ways of the world. We shouldn’t let the want of the flesh to lead us to sin. The Bible was always particular about the dangers of sexual immorality and promiscuity. Whether we chose to admit it or not, dancing is sexual. It is an erotic stimulant. Dancing breeds lust. And with lust leading sexual advances will follow. And if the spirit is weak, church members can fall into the sin of fornication or adultery. In the book of Galatians 5:19-21, Paul wrote, “Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, … and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.” The word we’ll pick out here is sensuality, also referred to as lasciviousness in other translations. Its root meaning is: moving the body in a way that arouses sexual desire. And if we should compress that definition into a modern-day word, wouldn’t that be dance? You can see that the dancing, in itself, can deprive one of inheriting God’s kingdom.

There are many ways through which we can glorify God without having to put up seductive dancing shows that make our Christian virtues questioned; many honourable ways through which we can express our joy and gratitude for Him. Yes, God has turned our mourning into dancing but the dance does not have to project those trending carnal dances. God sees our hearts. He knows if we are deeply thankful. He knows if we are truly worshipping. Shaking your body in a way that could lead others to sin is not necessary at all. Singing praises to His name is worship enough. Giving offerings and tithe is enough to show gratitude. We should abstain from this act that may lead us to eternal damnation and focus on worshipping God the right way, the way our founding father followed.

BIG STORY

Prevail On Nigeria, Benin Republic To Release Sunday Igboho – Afenifere To International Community

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Afenifere, a Pan Yoruba socio-cultural organization, has urged the international community to press the Nigerian and Benin Republic governments to free Sunday Adeyemo, also known as Sunday Igboho.

The group also urged the Federal Government to pay Adeyemo the damages awarded to him by the court as a result of the attack on his person and property, according to a communique issued at the end of its first annual general meeting held at the residence of its acting national leader, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, in Isanya-Ogbo, Odogbolu Local Government Area of Ogun State, on Tuesday.

The meeting had in attendance the former governor of Kwara State, Chief Cornelius Adebayo, former deputy governor of Lagos State, Senator Kofo Bucknor-Akerele, Senator Femi Okunrounmu, and Chief Supo Shonibare.

Others were Chief Sola Ebiseni, the Secretary General, Dr. Gbola Adetunji, Chief Korede Duyile, Abagun Kole Omololu, Hon. Leke Mabinuori, Chief Kofoworola Doherty, Dr. Ebun Sonaiya, Chief Tunde Onakoya, Senator Femi Lanlehin, Jumoke Ajasin-Anifowose, Chief Segun Olawoyin, Deacon Owolabi Oladejo, Chief Olu Pesu, and Reverend Goke Omigbodun.

Afenifere also called on the Federal Government to release Nnamdi Kanu on political consideration as it was done in the case of Asari Dokubo under the administration of former President Olusegun Obasanjo.

The group noted that the country had been under the siege of security challenges which it described as unprecedented in the history of the country, just as it stressed the need for the Federal Government to consider the establishment of state Police in order to address insecurity.

It said: “In recent times, we have consistently expressed concern on the situation of insecurity in Nigeria today. We have also always recommended what we consider the ways out of the unprecedented security challenges facing us. In this respect, we strongly call on the present administration under President Muhammadu Buhari to ensure the introduction of state Police equipped with requisite means to enhance security in the states and that of the federation ultimately.

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3 Out Of 20 FCT Women Experience Office Rape – Survey

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Fifty-one percent of women working in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) say they have experienced some type of sexually related violence at work.

Three out of twenty women acknowledged being raped in their offices, according to the submission, which is based on HEIR Women Development’s research findings.

The study, which aimed to bring the reality of gender-based violence in the workplace to light, found that 55 percent of women do not understand what constituted sexual harassment.

Dr. Obianuju O. Nnadozie, an economist from the University of Benin (UNIBEN), who lead the research team that sampled responses from 1000 women online and 60 women off-line said, 77% of the women complained about bullying in the workplace while 70% of women lamented what they described as inflexible work hours that formed advancement barriers to them.

Dr. Obianuju shared the research findings at an HEIR Women validation meeting of research findings at a zoom meeting.

She said the findings called for an Empowerment of young women against sexual harassment, and support organizational coordination to ensure compliance with sexual harassment policies at workplaces in the Federal Capital Territory.

According to her: “Findings from the online survey and in-depth interviews suggest that sex is prevalent at the workplace in the FCT. Specifically, the online survey shows that:

“1 in 2 women (51%) reported that they have been sexually harassed at the workplace.

“More than 3 in 4 women (78%) have experienced verbal sexual harassment in the workplace.

“About 3 in 4 women (74%) reported that they have experienced cyber sexual harassment.

According to the research Sexual harassment is prevalent at workplaces in the FCT, Abuja and it can/should be addressed.

It continued that “there is little or no organizational measures/mechanisms and, where present, a lack of trust in the existing organizational measures that should address sexual harassment at workplaces in the FCT.”

It also noted that there exists a very limited understanding of the context of a safe working environment, gender-based standards, and its importance.

In the light of the above, appropriate actions should be taken to enlighten young women against sexual harassment as well as encourage organizations existing measures and adopt, where necessary, best practices to harassment/career barriers at the workplace, the survey stated.

More findings on the report showed that 71% of women have experienced online stalking which the researcher pointed out was an emerging threat that must be looked into.

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I Didn’t Abuse Juliana Playoff’s Sister Sexually, I’ve Apologized For What I’m Guilty Of — Pastor Timi Adigun

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The feud between Nollywood actress Olayode Juliana and her former pastor, Timi Adigun, has escalated, with the actress accusing him of sexually abusing her sister.

On Tuesday, Olayode accused her spiritual father and manager, Adigun, of seizing control of her Facebook and other social media accounts.

The actress alleged on Wednesday that the preacher abused her sister during their social media debate.

She wrote, “Did you listen to yourself at all? I don’t think you did. You manipulated and sexually abused my sister and you thought I would be calm. You expect me not to be furious. How are you processing the things you did and the things you said? How? I don’t get you.

“You talk about apology and forgiveness. Forgiving you is a process for me. I forgave you then, for my sanity, just when I am trying to move on. You do something else that triggers me and I get mad at you again and I beg God to help me forgive you again.

“The hurt is really deep, the pain, the trauma, the disappointment, the sleepless nights, the tears that drenched my pillow, the shock, the entire experience is indescribable.”

ALSO READ: Gospel Singer Sammie Okposo Apologizes Publicly, Suspends Self From Ministry Over Infidelity

In response, Adigun said on his Instagram story, “For those concerned for me and asking me to stop responding, if I was brought before a court, I would have to talk or my lawyer would talk.

“I have been brought before a social media jury. I have to speak the truth but it is still up to individuals to choose what to believe.

“That said, I want to make it public here that I am ready to stand before any court or panel and I am ready to be investigated.

“When you know you have told the truth, there is no more fear. I NEVER sexually abused anyone! I have facts, figures, and dates. What I was guilty of, I owned up to and apologized for. The next I want to see is a subpoena.

“I will continue on social media and continue building my businesses and ministry. This is a distraction I have no time for. I will not be posting on this again.”

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