20 Things PNG Christians Should Avoid When Fighting Political Corruption [#1-5]

 

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Photo courtesy of Paul Kemga

Many claim that PNG is a Christian country, but I wonder what we are referring to. Is it the constitution, the religion or the people who make PNG a Christian nation? I wonder if we are what we claim to be. You can embrace Christian principles into the constitution. You can have the freedom to practice your religion and make it become the biggest religion. You can put Bibles as magic charms in the parliament, in your offices, in hotel rooms, in your cars or in your houses to create a religious presence. Yet that does not make a country become a genuine Christian nation. A true Christian country is depicted by the present thoughts and actions of its people, and not its history or the religious symbols it possesses.

A true Christian country is identified by the conducts of its citizens who claim to be Christians. Being a Christian is not about attending church services on Sundays or becoming a member of a Christian denomination. Though these are important, they are not the purpose of being a Christian. Being a Christian is being a “little Christ” in the world we live in. Christians are ambassadors of the kingdom of God. They have dual citizenship for both their own country and the kingdom of God. In the case of PNG Christians, they are to respect the constitution of their country by displaying a better pragmatic Christian approach in their lives as citizens of the kingdom of God in dealing with issues of injustice.

Papua New Guinea is going through a lot of political crises. As citizens we have a duty to contribute towards the betterment of our country. And part of it is to fight corruption at all levels of our society. However, we have to know how to do it the Christian way. Sadly, at this stage, most Christians are not sure what to do.  Often many Christians fight corruption using other unchristian methods. To help us understand where and how to stand in our fight against corruption, there several things we need to avoid.

PNG people
Photo courtesy of Paul Kemga

1. Use or support crime and violence as a means to fight corruption
The Black American civil rights activist, Martin Luther King Jr, once said, “Violence as a way of achieving racial justice is both impractical and immoral. I am not unmindful of the fact that violence often brings about momentary results. Nations have frequently won their independence in battle. But in spite of temporary victories, violence never brings permanent peace.” Mahatma Gandhi, the father of Independent India said, “Victory attained by violence is tantamount to a defeat, for it is momentary… non-violence is a weapon of the strong.” Christians should support the fight against any injustice. Yet they are not to instigate, use, aid or pledge their support for crime and violence in any form as a means to fight corruption or gain attention. Even if you are successful in achieving justice through any of these means, the end does not justify the means in any way for a Christian. You are still accountable for every action you take. The recent fights happening among students in the three universities that destroyed public and company properties and the loss of human lives have prompted a lot of people to raise their voices to justify the actions of the students. Many blame the cause of all these to the Prime Minister, Hon. Peter O’Neil and his cabinet ministers. Non-Christians can, but a Christian will not in any way support these violent actions of the students. Christians are not even supposed to support the police shooting of the university students.

2. Carelessly destroy public and/or other people’s properties
Humanity was created with a mandate to be the stewards of God’s garden. They were mandated to create, redeem and sustain the creation of God. But not everyone seems to understand that. Therefore, Christians are required to display the attitude of good stewards in caring for the environment. God is not a careless God; Satan is. Therefore those who are God’s children should not be careless. We should be taking care of both the public and private properties. Christians should not support the students who burnt down the school buildings and other private properties. Any government, religious or private property that was established to help the people are to be cared for. Harboring arsonist or crime suspects is against the law.

3. Use illegal and dangerous elements to further the cause of justice
The use of guns, bush knives or any lethal weapon intended for destruction of lives through different mediums including sorcery and magic should not be supported. People using such weapons of destruction for the purpose of destroying human lives should not even be praised. Justice should always be voiced by Christians only through non-violent means.

4. Support Racial and ethnic discrimination
Racial and ethnic discrimination is an age-old issue all over the world. Christians are not to favor a particular ethnic group and discriminate against another. They are the glue that are meant to hold people together in peace and unity. Since everyone is unique, Christians are not called to be activists of any religious or social uniformity. Instead, they are called to initiate and promote “unity in diversity.”

5. Use vulgar or obscene languages to express anger or frustration
There are so many vulgar and obscene languages used by people commenting on Facebook posts made against corruption. The use of such filthy languages discourage healthy dialogues that are intended to contribute towards a better conflict resolution. Christians should not use such languages or be entertained by them. Such languages shows the content of the heart of the individuals who post them. The use of obscene languages displays a lack of maturity in the use of proper language communication to discuss pressing moral issues. People’s opinions should be respected. Any comment made as a negative response to people’s opinions should be made not to destroy another fellow brother or sister but help them see things differently (the way you see it). After all we are all fighting for the same cause.

Thank you for taking your time to read these first five things we should avoid as Christians when fighting corruption. But these are not the only ones. Like my Facebook page to keep yourself up to date for the next five things I will be posting again next week.

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PNG’S INSTITUTIONAL CORRUPTION A BY PRODUCT OF ITS OWN SOCIETY’S MORAL DECAY

The plight of the current political crises must not be a surprise to any educated Papua New Guinean citizen because PNG has struggled for the last few decades with corruption. Since 1975, we have witnessed governments after governments come and go. Policies after polices were passed over the years and yet corruption continues to rip this Theodore Roosevelt quote - educationnation from the government down to the grassroots level. Unless we fix the root cause of the problem, we will not solve corruption.

Many people at this time are crying foul over what is seen as corruption by the state and the judiciary. But there has not been much or if not any wailing going on about the plight of the deteriorating morals of our individual communities. On one hand, I do understand that the government is the most powerful entity in any country. And whatever it does affects its citizens. On the other hand, we tend to forget the implication of our own words, “the government was mandated by the people for the people.” The government is comprised of the best leaders of the every electorate and provinces in the country. Many will disagree with this statement. But this is what the majority of Papua New Guinean citizens around the country said when they put these people into power. Out of the many candidates who raised their hands in the 2012 national election, the majority of the people in each electorate and province chose these bunch of leaders. So, by a majority vote you chose what you thought were the best out of the best leaders you have in your districts. You chose your best sons and daughters to represent you. Now you don’t like them? Who should be blamed; them or us? Maybe we are suffering because of the consequences of our own choices.

The first problem I see is that our people do not like to make good choices based on sound moral principles. It’s not that they do not know right from wrong. They know it but they just don’t like to do it. Our societies are also full of corrupt community leaders. During the election period, a lot of people support candidates based on certain cultural norms such as tribalism, bribery and free handouts. Most of us don’t even care about the moral standards and values of the person we elect into office. We only care about other areas such as the person’s educational qualification, tribal affiliation, work experiences, his money and his party policies. In doing that we miss the very foundation of quality leadership. And that is the moral values and principles of the candidate. No matter how many degrees your leader has, how much money he has, or the best idealistic party policies he presents, if he does not have strong moral principles to guide his life, he is deemed to be a corrupt leader.

I am not an expert in politics. But as far as I know in good leadership, no leader will pass any policy without moral judgements. Moral politics influences the political language used in every decision-making in public policy management.

Most problems we now have are not the result of bad policies or the carvings and totemic poles in the parliament house. It is with the leaders who don’t have strong moral principles to guide them. Therefore, they will pass laws and become the first ones to break their own laws. You can replace the cultural symbols in the parliament with a Bible, but you can’t change the attitude of the government leaders. They have sick moral values that affects their leadership. Compare them with the senators of the White House in America or the parliamentarians in Australia and England and you will realize that the bulk of our MP’s don’t have proper moral behaviors. They can go out partying and drinking, misuse tax payers’ money, make porn movies or marry as many women as they like and continue to lead our nation.

Even in our universities and colleges, morality is at stake. As Theodore Roosevelt said, “To educate a man in the mind and not in morals is to educate menace to society.” You go into some of these institutions and you will find students who live without any sense of moral obligation studying to become leaders of the country. It is sad that our top institutions are equipping a good number of morally irresponsible students along with the good ones. We graduate them and send them into the workforce. But instead of improving it, they add more salt to the wound. It could be like educating terrorists with an intention to contribute meaningfully to their societies. Instead they end up killing and destroying lives with the intellectual abilities they have.

This should ring a bell in our minds about the kind of society we live in. We cannot sugarcoat our society’s image with excuses to deny the reality of our degenerating generation. We must admit that and find ways to partner together in restoring the broken fabrics of our society.

So how do we fix that problem? There is no quick solution to this issue. We can’t put a band-aid to cover an ulcer. You can put your KJV Bible in the Parliament and preach Christianity to them, you can expose them on media, you can take them to court, but neither can you can you teach an old dog new tricks nor discipline them to behave like children. This is a problem that is deeply rooted in our traditional cultural attitudes. Therefore, the only way is to go down back to the where they came from and work on restoring the morals of our society. We must go back and fix the roots of corruption in our families and in our communities and in our education systems.

As I have mentioned earlier in one of my articles in PNG attitude, Families are the main pillar of our society and we all need to be responsible in building good family foundations. The moral foundation of any group of people is not shaped by the constitution of a country. It is not based on the wealth, economy or religious status of a country. The foundation of a nation begins with the family unit.
A child is born into a family and raised in a family. Families gather to form a community. Our communities make up society. Unless we have strong moral family foundations, we will never have a strong nation.

The Clash of Cultures Within a Developing PNG Mind

Papua New Guinea is changing very fast and the effects of it is felt in many developing areas in the country. Every Papua New Guinean understand how it feels to be caught in a culture clash. Yet wet often do not know how to express our opinions of the cultural clashes going on within us. Click this link http://asopa.typepad.com/asopa_people/2015/12/the-double-standard-riveting-poetry-on-pngs-cultural-clash-between-tradition-modernity.html to read the riveting poetry on the cultural clash within the developing PNG mind.

 

PNG has a lot to offer to the world

The biblical expression by Jesus, “the first shall be last and the last shall be first,” is widely used in many contexts. Probably one such example is the rise and fall of many nations around the world.

It is true that many countries in the world are not in the top 20 – 50 list of what people categorize as developed countries.

A lot of people in countries that are considered as “developing countries” have a general perception that only the developed countries can offer them help. In fact it is true in terms of education, health, technology and other areas.

But the good thing about many young developing nations is that most of their natural resources have not been used. therefore, developed countries are now turning to developing countries to get something that they no longer have. Such is the case with Papua New Guinea (PNG).

PNG is so rich in minerals and other resources. One of it is the virgin forest found in many remote jungles spread across the nation.

PNG now has a chance to turn one of it’s biggest natural resources into money without doing any damage to the environment.

Sam Knight writes about his discovery of what may become a huge economic boost for the most remote, neglected and undeveloped parts of PNG. Click the link below to read more: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/nov/24/redd-papua-new-guinea-money-grow-on-trees?CMP=share_btn_tw

What is Christian Music?

I was reading some articles about Christian worship and music and stumbled on this article I wrote about seven years ago as a first year student in Bible School. Somehow it was put into the Melanesian Journal of Theology. The article was written from my perspective of music not as an expert in the field of music or theology but as a youth in the church who wanted to express his opinion about how he understands what Christian music should be. Click the link http://biblicalstudies.org.uk/pdf/mjt/25-1_84.pdf to read . This article can be downloaded for free.

Visit http://www.cltc.ac.pg/MelanesianbrJournalofbrnbspnbspTheology.aspx for more information about Melanesian Journal of Theology.

Are you doing something?

There are some people who go through life complaining about their situations without doing anything. They shift the blame over to the government, religious organization, company or to someone else. Others realize their problem and look for ways to do something about it. Click the link below to read more about the amazing story of the Hagen market taxis.http://asopa.typepad.com/asopa_people/2015/10/hagen-market-taxis-offer-an-important-lesson-to-our-country.html