To protest or not to protest

This is in response to today’s post by Watchman on protest. This response is far from exhaustive. As I was thinking about it this morning, before later finding Watchman’s post, I read Matt12:18-20 and posted 2 tweets from that portion of scripture.

It goes without saying that followers of Christ must respond to oppression. Protesting or not I believe is a matter of faith and spiritual maturity. I tend towards no protest but that means I must be busy doing something else to end oppression and evil and I need to understand why I will not protest.

The scriptures say Christ “will proclaim justice to the nations” yet “no one will hear his voice in the streets…until he has brought justice through to victory.” How come? He deals with root causes, quietly. Noise suggests weakness, not strength. A “protest” suggests powerlessness. If we were mere humans, protests would be necessary but if spirits, who are we contending against? The government or the princes of darkness? Interestingly, I asked my wife this morning, “If an intruder comes to take over my house and I have power to take him out, do you think I will be protesting?” Far from it. I will take him out quickly and quietly, thank you. I will only protest if I am helpless. The last time I checked, we were seated with Christ in heavenly places far above the powers that seem to be. Have those scriptures suddenly become false because we are dealing with societal issues?

I think the reason an Occupy movement emerged at all is because we (Christians) failed. If we were doing the works of Christ, there would be no need for Occupy but we seem to be waiting for Him to return before we take our place as people who have been given authority. We are responsible for what happens in our domains because we are the ones the scriptures say are seated with Christ in heavenly places. We are recreated spirits who have access to the same power and authority Christ has in the spirit world and if we understand that there is no economic or political problem that was not first spiritual, guess who is to blame? If there is a watchman equipped and responsible for safety and there is an invasion, who is to blame? But I believe we will wake up this time.

In “this blog post,” I said, “In the absence of saviors on Mount Zion, the oppressed must attempt to deliver themselves…” I cannot blame anyone for protesting on the streets, if that is all they know to do. I applaud them, because they are using what they know. They are confronted with an unwanted situation and they are not complacent about it. The issue for me is not whether or not we should protest, but what are we doing? You may argue that we are praying in secret but I will have to say like I tweeted this morning, that spirituality without results has to be fake. I am not sure how many people would have followed Jesus if he had no results to show. When we take our rightful place, there must be results. Our rightful place, if we are following Christ, will have to be in quietness and in love for all concerned (including Nigeria’s Boko Haram!) but backed with all power in heaven and on earth.

When you know you are capable, you do not protest, you issue warnings, commands and ultimatums, just like the late Archbishop Idahosa did in the 80s to stop a worldwide conference of witches from taking place in Nigeria. Agreed, those commands must be backed with deep spirituality and with prayer and fasting but when confronting spiritual wickedness and principalities, you had better not be praying but issuing commands from a depth of revelation of who you are.

Having said all that, I think protest is much better than doing nothing in the face of injustice and blatant evil. At least, if we prayerfully protest as opposed to do nothing, God will honor our faith and our disenchantment with evil.

Thanks again Watchman for the post.

Yoga beyond the Yoga Mat

The title for this post came to me a few days ago during a conversation with Grace, a friend and fellow McGill MBA grad who teaches yoga “for the love of the game” and is presently planning to start a Yoga studio. During our conversation, she talked about the need to “take yoga beyond the yoga mat.” The common approach to yoga is to go several times a week to practice yoga in a place. Once you roll up your yoga mat, that is it. Yoga is done until the next time. This post takes my last post a little deeper.

Yoga means union of the self with the Supreme Being or Ultimate Principle. If you practice yoga and do not believe in the Supreme Being, you are seeking Him unawares – just beware… I do not practice yoga the way it is commonly done, as a physical and mental exercise. But I practice yoga in that everyday, I set aside a time to connect with the Supreme Being, the Ultimate Principle, the Truth, the Way, the Life, the Almighty. I set aside a time, usually very very early in the morning, to connect with the being, in union with whom all things hold together. I set aside time to connect with the One who said, “I am the vine, you are the branches, without me, you can do nothing.” I set aside time to connect with the Almighty, whose whole desire is not to dwell in the heavens but to make my body His temple.

When I explained my practice to Grace, she said, “you are a yogi, that is yoga.” So, yes, I do yoga, most mornings, for several hours. I do it in spirit and in truth and that of course involves my whole spirit, soul and body. My aim in those few hours is to bring my whole being in sync with Existence, “in whom we live, move, and have our being.” My aim is to experience what Jesus Christ spoke about when He said, “I and my father are one,” which terribly upset the religious leaders and still does, as this post may.

This union is indescribable in its effects on spirit, soul and body. There is unspeakable joy that comes from knowing that right now, right here, I am in sync with God, I am God’s temple. There is deep peace, there is healing, there is love, there is wisdom, there are solutions that seek you out, there is a sense of abundance, making you eager to share, to distribute what others may want to hold on to with dear life, and many more. The question is, why restrict this connection to the “yoga mat”? Why sever my union with Deity at the end of my prayer time?

The One I know as the Messiah said, “God is a spirit and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth.” I believe this with all my heart. God is worshipped spiritually. He can only be spiritually discerned or connected with, not physically or mentally and that makes my connection to Him independent of place or a set time. My body is incapable of sensing God by itself and my mind is incapable of relating with Him by itself. Only me, an invisible spirit like God, can relate with and connect freely with God 24/7 and when I do, my body and my soul fall in line as a matter of course.

I have not really started to do yoga until I live as a yogi, on or off the mat. I need to take my practice beyond the “yoga mat”, beyond the “prayer time”, beyond the church walls. My union with God should begin in my prayer closet, it should not end there. The goal is to be able to say like Jesus Christ, who declared Himself the way, the truth and the life, “My Father has never left me alone, for I do always those things that please Him.” Why be pleasing to the Father only in my prayer time? Why rob myself of heaven on earth, of pleasures for evermore by limiting my connection with God to “spiritual moments?” Why not be as connected, inspired, joyful, peaceful in a board meeting, in a time of cleaning or when playing with or reprimanding my child as I am when I am actually communing with the Most High?

I do not live on the “yoga mat” but I live among other human beings, in daily tasks and activities. I spend much more time away from the yoga mat than I do on the yoga mat and therefore, my connectedness to divinity is more needed off the yoga mat than on the yoga mat. My being a temple of the Most High is more needed among other human beings than in a quiet, secluded place. My desire is to be in sync 24/7, spirit, soul and body with the divine will as Christ was. This opens up a whole new world of possibilities to me and for the world because one more human being has opened up his whole existence to be an expression of Joy, Wisdom, Love, Peace, Faith, Abundance and everything divine in a world in dire need of it. And, there is a way to it…