Sunday, 25 September 2016

The Unimpeachable Kong Hee - a reply to Calvin Ho.

One of the Executive Members of City Harvest Church, Calvin Ho, has finally spoken (or written). Not surprisingly, he stands firm on the side of Kong Hee and Sun Ho. He is asking for “the establishment to demonstrate sound moral judgment and consistency of its acts” because he “can no longer see this unprecedentedly protracted court case go so wrong in the eyes of (his) conscience, and so unjustified in so many aspects, and to-date still delivers an awful lack of convincing balance of sound, good-conscience judgment.” Underscore “awful”.

Calvin then went on to “call out the obvious that is so wrong, in the whole scheme of things, and with a beholding of the state of affairs in this country (he) observe(s), as a total human-citizen-Christian-CHC Executive Member observer.”

He then posed five questions  in his letter and I have added my thoughts to them– as usual. Here goes.

First, he asked, “where is the legal basis for CBT when there is no personal gain or benefit?” I will respectfully leave this part in the ably hands of the Court of Three Judges because as a Christian, my concern has always been with the spiritual and moral responsibility, stewardship and accountability of the CHC’s leadership before any dissected legal culpability of the collective six.

On this note, what is therefore not denied (and can’t be denied) is that Kong Hee’s stewardship has fallen way below what is expected of a leader, especially a church. The laundry list starts with shifting blame instead of bearing them, lying to the Church about his wife’s singing success and album sales, shamelessly touting her as the next “Whitney Houston,” living off the millions in extravagance while the poor and struggling in his Church live in modest accommodation, some even just scraping by, splurging on his wife quite mindlessly on a pretense of questionable evangelism resulting in money that could be used for other more worthy, effective and proven evangelistic causes (and definitely less controversial), and failing to make full and frank disclosure as the trustee, shepherd and professed lover of the Church about the Crossover Project where millions of hard-earned member’s money were spent.

I can go on about China Wine and the perversion of the gospel (which was met with disapproval from other church leaders), but I think you get the drift.

Where is then the responsibility and accountability in all this? Where is the stewardship and shepherdship of God’s people and their money? I can understand that one needs to readily forgive his or her pastor, he is just a man after all, but how do you even start the forgiveness, reconciliation and healing process when the church leaders admit to nothing, deflect all blame to his subordinates, and rally a defence (not legal mind you) to insulate himself (and herself) from any wrongdoing? I know one should not be ashamed of the gospel of Christ, but shouldn’t one be ashamed of the gospel of lies?

Maybe, Calvin can answer all that with his clear-eyed conscience?

Second, “who is the State Prosecution to tell the Church, its members and its leaders if they should or should not direct their building fund money to invest in a Crossover love outreach mission, if their Church Constitution already empowers the Management Board and leaders to do so?” Calvin then talked about the lack of transparency in the many Town Councils’ alleged investments in “risky collapsing Lehman Brothers stocks during the 2008 subprime crisis period, and why they are allowed to divert large funds to invest in such instruments, and lost millions?”

Here, I am reminded of the verses that say, “In those days there was no king in Israel, but every man did that which was right in his own eyes” (Judges 17:6)  and ”there is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.”(Proverbs 14:12). 

Let admit it, it’s just a matter of time anyway. Being right at most times is a psychological sentence that locks one in a self-assuring mental prison of self-belief and self-invulnerability. The forces that gather once a man or woman thinks he is right and unimpeachable, even infallible of the ex cathedra kind, are self-reinforcing, and the resilience that is built up by the deluded will resist even the plainest of common sense, the sharpest of wits, and the sincerest of persuasion. And to the deceived, the many numbers that checked their brains out at the door, it is strangely the coldest comfort that they are readily prepared to embrace because form always supersedes substance, convenience is preferred to character, and groupthink prevails over critical individual reflection.

Thirdly, Calvin asked these series of questions, and this has to be quoted verbatim so as to not dilute its biting irony, “If the six charged and accused CHC leaders were swindlers and cheated of the Church members of their hard earned money, then why not haul all the 500 Executive Members to come testify and witness? Why were no victims called to testify? Why has even no Church Management Board Members been called to testify?”

Well, in the light of what has happened, and putting aside Mr Poon and the price he had paid before he was vindicated (and with no apology forthcoming mind you) and considering that the attendance of CHC had been slashed by almost half since the start of this fiasco, is CHC really a victimless church? Is Calvin speaking for the whole church or the members past who had left and present, that is, is he speaking for those who have donated and will still donate to CHC with glee or those who had given and then left in disgust because they felt betrayed and fleeced?

Of course, Calvin can argue that we are talking about legal wrong here to fit the crime charged. But in cases like this, where I am talking about how my Savior will go out of his way to look for that one stray sheep out of the 99, can we honestly say that CHC under Kong Hee’s and Sun Ho’s leadership has suffered no real loss? One really has to define loss and let’s not be flippant or legalistic about it.

Alas, I believe victimhood is a state of mind, that is, it is a mind-over-matter thing. Yes, you heard the jingle right, “If you don’t mind it, it don’t matter.” That is why I guess Calvin boldly wrote this, “How could you so neglect people like me who is an Executive Member for almost 15 years (in my estimation of years) as witness, and I am just one of the hundreds?”

I have no doubt that Calvin, being a “total human-citizen-Christian-CHC Executive Member observer,” will stand up for Kong Hee and Sun Ho – even if they ask him to sell his house, car and the shirt on his back for even more dubious and controversial projects as long as it is all carried out in the pristine name of evangelism. Again, I reiterate that it is not about what Kong Hee was being legally charged for. It is however about the spiritual and moral responsibility placed under his charge. Has he lived up to it? Does he need to reflect more about it, and not whitewash himself more on the international and local stage?

Fourthly, and this is disturbingly strange because Calvin went on to say that “every year we see government ministries having endless cases of lapses amounting to millions of dollars unaccounted for properly and all you need is one Cabinet minister to stand up in public to declare all these lapses were not result of dishonesty but genuine human errors, with media splashing all over echoing such positive statement, and then the case is closed with no one daring to question publicly otherwise,” then he tried to marry that whole mouthful with this “incompatible bride”, “now, not that I claim there is dishonesty there (???), but what I am saying is – who is going to investigate? (for no dishonesty?) Are we sure no one is having private gain? Why not the State Prosecution haul up all these offenders and grill them in court to find out as much as they grill the six CHC accused leaders?”

Is he for real? Is he treading in the rapid waters of defamatory undertows? Was this expressly or tacitly approved by Kong Hee? Or did Kong Hee secretly desire for this to be published without thinking about its negative consequences?

At this moment, I really don’t know whether he is helping Kong Hee’s cause or is he digging it deeper into the abyss of guilt for him both in the physical realm and the social media platform? You be the judge.

Finally, he repeated the so-called injustices by writing, “What is clear is there is no wrongful gain to any of the six accused leaders of CHC, as convincingly established by the defense counsels, yet the Prosecution, riding on the loud speaker engine of the state media, kept making loud, high sounding, sensationalized quotes such as “Lies! Falsehood!” - which are all so readily lapped up by the public as juicy news-bites.”

This is how Calvin ended, “I hope the establishment could make a convincing deliberation to end this unworthy protracted longest court case history in Singapore, where the Prosecution could go as far as the letter simply because the Church was parked under the Charity code of conduct.

It is time for a national rethink perhaps to separate religious organizations from the Charities. The Church is not a charity, period. It is caught in the Achilles heel for law argument sake simply because of the Charity code, but it is definitely a law argument without sound conscience or proper moral reasoning.”

Calvin, I know you are focusing on the legal aspect of the comparison between charity and church. However, here is my one-paragraph reply that is directed at the total forest of things, that is, the bigger picture on church leadership, and not just on a few trees of legal argument. Ready?

“The Church is definitely not a charity period, because it is much more than a charity. It goes beyond the standards and codes of conduct expected of a charity, which governs her effectiveness, transparency, openness, and accountability. The Church is all that and much more. The Church is ordained by God, led by His Spirit, and has Jesus as her reigning head. The Church is not called to be followers of men, however promising they appear to be on stage, but of the Crucified and Risen Christ. The Church is redeemed by His blood and is counted righteous by that one sacrifice surpassing all sacrifices of old. Jesus paid the ultimate price and we as his redeemed think, do, act and respond in all ways and manners that accord unreserved glory, honor and praise to His name. We are not perfect but in Him, we have our being, our salvation, our hope, our joy, our faith, our love and our peace. We do fall sometimes, but what sets us apart is that we admit to it, repent from it and turn from our wicked ways. Love is not blind Calvin, but it bears the Cross, pays the price and gives of Himself to and for the Church. Love conquers all, yes, but first, you must allow it to conquer you and all your worldly desires (and blind ambition and allegiance). So, you are right, Calvin, the Church is not a charity period. But it is a place where hearts are transformed, spirits are lifted, souls are encouraged, our flesh is crucified, lives are born again, love reigns, leaders sacrifice, leaders take responsibility, leaders shoulder the blame, leaders lift Jesus high and not themselves or their wife, and leaders do as they say and say as they do. In the foxhole of church leadership, the leader is the last to leave. Jesus set the example for the Church, and we are called to follow that example. And He stayed behind in the foxhole called Calvary, and he never left. Jesus has called us to live simply since this world is not our home – lest we mistake its possession for our possession. We are warned not to let the love of money (or the idolatry of spouse) cause our downfall. We are called to be beyond reproach as leaders and not to drag the Church through a legal entanglement that lasted for five years all for a so-called evangelistic project that is highly questionable, deeply disturbing, undeniably self-glorifying, wholly unproven and plainly arbitrary. Where is the Crossover now, the seedy gyration, Calvin? Aren’t the gallivanting couple going back to the good old fashioned evangelism – the way Jesus did it? We are reminded that we are in the world but not of the world, and definitely not become the world in order to save the world. We are called to always turn our eyes upon Jesus and the things of the world will go strangely dim, and not turn our eyes upon prosperity, membership expansion, multisensory programs, worldly identification and consummation, indulgent living, and promoting a culture of secrecy that is controlled by one, and allow the high calling and the glorified name of Jesus to go insidiously dim.”

Calvin, I know you love your pastor. I know you wish him well. I know you may see all this as worldly persecution. But put all that aside, reflecting for yourself, away from the mesmerizing crowd and culture, do you think Kong Hee and Sun Ho have nothing to apologize for, nothing that they have done, judged, said, and thought wrong that they should be responsible and accountable for?

Leaving legal aside, is Kong Hee “morally blameless” for the lies, deception, arbitrariness, obsession and misappropriation? Is he strategically reserving an apology to an opportune time because it is inconvenient and inappropriate to do so before the trial ends then and before the appeal concludes now?

Bro, is there a rightful time to take responsibility for a wrongful crime (or moral wrong)?

I hope that in the same way that I have deeply reflected and replied to what you have written, you would do the same for mine. For it is undeniable that all 500 of you will unquestionably stand up for Kong Hee, but will you stand up for what is right? Cheerz.

The Foolish Kong Hee - a lamentation.

Calvin Ho, the Executive Member of CHC wrote this yesterday:-

"If the six charged and accused CHC leaders were swindlers and cheated of the Church members of their hard earned money, then why not haul all the 500 Executive Members to come testify and witness? Why were no victims called to testify? Why has even no Church Management Board Members been called to testify?

This to me is so lop-sided and absurd as it is, as I see the establishment calling out witnesses as they deem fit yet in their choice of witness not a single witness to date was convincing in their total witness testimony that any of the six accused did wrong that is worthy of criminal charge and punishing jail terms.

How could you so neglect people like me who is an Executive Member for almost 15 years (in my estimation of years) as witness, and I am just one of the hundreds?"

Lesson? Yes, just one. It is called "The Foolish Kong Hee - a lamentation".

Oh, Kong Hee, oh Kong Hee, how foolish can you be, Kong Hee?

Throughout this saga, you have shown to be of little faith in the crossover project. You have disappointed many who have put their faith and trust in you. Your apologetic god will not be pleased, trust me.

Like Joseph Prince in his Swiss Alps experience where his god told him in ghetto-speak that he was mixing law with grace, you have mixed doubt with faith.

You ought to be ashamed of yourself, even remorseful. The errors of your way is that you have underestimated the power of congregational giving when it comes unhinged with the power of congregational believing.

It's practically a blankcheque trust, but you did not cash it in 100%. You helped it along. You overdid things. You itchy backside. You exposed your insecurity with Xtron, Firna and all. And for that, you are paying an unnecessary price now.

Your lack of faith is your downfall. You have lost your way because of fear, anxiety and overcompensation. It is a lesson you will learn the hard way.

By now, you should know that there is absolutely no need for you to maneuver in the dark when you could have done so in the light. You therefore don't need to borrow the covers of the night to launch off your supposedly evangelistic Trojan-horse front of your wife's singing career when you could have rolled her out in the open meadow of undisguised extravagance and opulent living.

She should have been the superstar that you have always wanted her to be without the dubious vehicle of loan investments, sham companies and questionable round tripping.

The $24 million shouldn't have been made to look like a drug mule bloated with cash trying to skirt, avoid and escape detection by the authorities for suspected fraud and misappropriation.

Instead, you as their leader, their shepherd, their head rancher should have made full and frank disclosure (without fear) to the faceless masses of tens of thousands who simply believed, adored and admired you without condition and question (and still inexplicably do).

Their loyalty, devotion and trust in your leadership comes with a dedication of time, money and effort that is simply out of this world. In other words, you don't need a drug mule to make that crossover transition in secrecy and conspiracy.

You just needed more faith in your thousands of supporters to put your beloved wife on a bejeweled donkey (borrowing a Palm-Sunday analogy) and ride her into a certain cavalry of what she once described as a life of self-sacrificing for being drawn away from family, living in a lonely mansion, flying in top class cold comfort, and immersing in a despiritualized world of fame, riches and carnal influences.

And now, you are paying for this lamentable lack of faith in your die-hard members. Sure, some will fall away by the wayside when you tell them the truth and nothing but the truth about the Crossover Project.

They will squint when you tell them that you will be promoting your wife's secular singing career for evangelistic purpose. They will cringe when you tell them that she is going full throttle with obscene videos where she will gyrate sensually and make sexually suggestive expressions all for a godly cause.

And they may even walk out when you tell them that her "sacrifices" also involve spending millions of the building funds to ensure that you keep up with appearances by making sure she lives in unimaginable luxury, with personal grooming and services of the highest class, but with the endgame of saving souls in mind and heart.

But let them be. Let them go. Leave them leave. They are someone else's problem - not yours. You shouldn't have abandoned your faith in the rest of your members just because you are spooked by a handful.

You have forgotten yet so easily that you still have an army. You still have a legion. You have innumerable; they numbered the stars. You can always depend on them to stick by you come rain or shine, storm or blue skies, crossroads or crossover.

Alas, yet you have failed them. You underestimated their fealty, their undying devotion, their unconditional love for you. It could all have been so different, so victorious, so glorious! It could have been a success way beyond your wildest imagination.

All you needed to do was to have more faith to tell them about your unembellished intentions, ambitions and motives for your wife's singing career, and not leave any of the morally unspeakable stuff as seen in China Wine video out, and you will be surprised - I assure you - of their collective response. They will still support you. They will still cheer for you. They will still donate unconditionally. Some will no doubt leave, but the critical mass will nevertheless give.

So, you will still have many who will support you. You can therefore still achieve your goal for the Crossover Project.

However, by taking the long faithless route of setting up dubious companies, issuing suspicious bonds, and expending millions in cover-ups, instead of openly and boldly asking money from them, you have dug your own grave. You have capsized your own ship.

Oh Kong Hee, Oh Kong Hee, how foolish can you be, Kong Hee! You have only yourself to blame. You are running from the hauntings of an imagined guilt. You are therefore the author of your own misfortune. Because you have gone ahead mindlessly to do as thou wilt. Cheerz.

Sunday, 18 September 2016

The Pharisee and the Tax Collector.

A modern-day parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector…

Two men went up to the temple court to pray and to plead their case, one a CEO and the other, his tax auditor. The CEO knew what he wanted to say. He had it all scripted. He was all dressed up for the occasion. He was all ready to prove his worth and value to the temple heads. 
He even came with an entourage, flanked by many who knew him, adored him and would do anything to defend him. They were there to marvel at what he has to say. They were all ready to be awed by him.
His wife came with him too. She was there to support him. She was confident of her husband's unimpeachable character. She stood all ready to stand by him. She knew he could do no wrong.
The CEO entered the temple gates, walked into the pristine place and perched himself at the center of the grand hall before a crowd of witnesses. He looked around, bowed at the temple heads, and began his speech:-

"My Lord, I thank you for my innocence. I thank you that I am not like those who took millions and splurged it on themselves. All they care about is themselves. But my Lord, I am different. I stand apart from them. I did not pocket a single cent. I gave it all back. I mean everything. It was never about personal gain. My company suffered no wrongful loss. I was not dishonest. It was always for a good cause. I did it wholeheartedly for my company.
In fact, I did everything for the people. I led by example. I have people who will stand by me. They supported me unquestionably. They gave of their time, talent and love gifts to my organization without reservation. That is how much respect I have earned from them, and mind you, it is all hard work on my part. 
I would have you know that I expand my company faster than those neighborhood shops around me. I have other companies from other countries following after my business model. They are setting up their organization based on my blueprint. I have even started schools based on my teachings and my leadership style. My overseas project may be unorthodox, even controversial, but it brings in the crowd, the fame and even the cash contributions. I am doing everything right, sir.
For all this, I have to thank my beloved wife. She is my sun-light, my inspiration. She is my wisdom. She had stripped of herself of almost everything in order to win contracts for the company. She has sacrificed greatly for me and she therefore deserves the best of everything. I will not spare a cent to make sure she lives in comfort and wealth. If anything should happen to me, she is my successor, needless to say. No one deserves more than her to fill my shoes.
My Lord, big names have come all over the world to seek my counsel. They come in busloads to watch me lead on stage. I am in hot demand as a speaker, a performer and an image consultant. I am indefatigable when it comes to expanding my company and enlarging my estate. My people love me.
My company's growth and the people's undying affection for me are what sets me apart from the rest of those who are now still struggling with their finances, numbers and building space. 
So, I consider my leadership beyond reproach. I have sought regular legal and auditors' advice. I cannot be blamed for matters for which I have no control over. I am therefore not guilty. Not at all.
And if those below me have missed a step or committed a wrong, I cannot be held responsible for their actions as their CEO. I have done my part as their leader and I can only do so much as a man. 
My Lord, I am no superman. Many things are really beyond me. You will have to look elsewhere for the culprit. I am and will always be innocent. I rest my case. Thank you for your time."

It was the tax auditor's turn. He stood at a distance. He would not even look up at the temple heads, but he beat his breast and said, ‘My Lord, have mercy on me, a sinner. Forgive me I plead. I accept unreserved responsibility for my failings. I am truly sorry." 

“I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” (Luke 18:14) Cheerz.

My away!

Please prepare for this. It is a rant. It might go nowhere. Hit empty targets. Miss the spot. Or just idle away.

But it is no less a rant. It is a rant about us. About how we have changed. About how we have put ourselves above others. About how we have forgotten what is truly enduring, life-enriching, and in its place, pursued what is simply degrading and life-destroying.

This rant is blind to being tactful. It is insensitive to people's feelings. It is blunt and some may say attention seeking.

But a rant is no respecter of persons. It comes as it wishes, makes the point and leaves when it’s done.

This is my rant and I am taking off the gloves here. I am going straight for the heart of the issue. The jugular. That vital pulse that still matters in us. Here comes my foul mouth. Ready with apology?

Alright. Here it is. I shall lay it down here. Fire away.

We are all insane. Yes we are. We are insane in the way we care only for ourselves. This is glaring in how we treat our loved ones, our spouse, our marriage.

We treat marriage as a me-centered relationship. We enter into it hoping to get something out of it rather than to give of ourselves to our partner. It is always a case of when-the-going-gets-tough, the-act-tough-bails.

The high divorce rate everywhere speaks about a timeless love that has taken a long leave of absence. And in its place is instant self-gratification, self-indulgence and self-elevation.

The marriage vows have become a commercial jingle and when the music and fun stop, we start looking for diversions, distractions and marital indiscretions. 7-year itch has been reduced to 7-month full body scratch.

Happy-ever-after is now happy-in-what-I-am-after. And when happy is no longer happy, we take the next bus of divorce out of the marriage. Love train becomes lust reigns.

Here comes the second rant. Ready, with pardon? Fire away.

We are also insane in the way we view sex in marriage. It has become an obsession, and fornication and adultery are now badges of honor, and not shame. It is the same way with virginity is prude and blow jobs before kisses.

We boast about it. We give the adulterer a pat on the back. We cheer with the fornicator. We say we understand. We say to them, "If she is not giving you right, go for someone who can."

We tell them that first marriage is always experimental, don't take the vows at the altar too seriously. Don’t be naïve or old fashioned. Move with the time. Flow with it.

We comfort the guilty and put guilt on those who need comfort. We want to be understanding, liberal, open minded, avant garde, modern, flexible, acceptable, ahead of the curves, likeable, outstanding and admired.

We want pornographic sex in marriage. We want to be satisfied first. We want to be served first.

Sex in marriage is now a competition. We are looking for the best service around and marriage is no promise of the best service provider. Recall this is a rant? And recall it is insensitive to others' feelings. Ready for another, sorry?

Here it comes...and it has got to do with politics. Fire away.

Love may TRUMP hate, but not common sense. America is sadly leading the way here. When Hillary said that half of Mr Donald Trump's supporters could be put in a "basket of deplorables," she was deplorably foolish to say that.

She is forgetting she's a politician. She has been one since decades ago. She should know better, much better. Foolishness doesn't even cut it for her.

Hillary apologised after that and she did the politically correct thing. She needed their votes. She needed to suck it up. She is a politician, remember?

And here's a tribute to them politicians by Groucho Marx: "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it, misdiagnosing it, and then misapplying the wrong remedies."

But seriously, here is my rant about the "basket of deplorables" and you can actually find them everywhere. I have been one long enough to know how to spot them on the streets, in large gatherings, in a mob, and even in some megachurches.

But let's not jump into the religion bandwagon just yet. My rant is about politics and Trump is leading the way. He is the epitome of our time. He is like "Moses" but trust me, the sea ain't parting.

A writer once said this, "Mr Trump is a deplorable candidate - to put it charitably - and anyone who helps him advance his racial, religious and ethnic bigotry is part of that bigotry. Period.

Anyone who elevates a sexist is part of that sexism. The same goes for xenophobia. You can't conveniently separate yourself from the detestable part of him because you sense in him the promise of cultural or economic advantage.

That hair (like the sea) cannot be split. Furthermore, one doesn't have to actively hate to contribute to a culture that allows hate to flourish.

It doesn't matter how lovely your family, how honorable your work or service, how devout your faith - if you place ideological adherence or economic self-interest above the moral imperative to condemn and denounce a demagogue, then you are deplorable." (Charles M. Blow).

Now, that's ranting with class and I can't agree with him more.

You see, we live in an age where we readily equate fame with virtue. The popular gets away with almost everything, and can do anything with feted dying affection.

We worship the celebrities in concert halls, in stadiums, in open-road rallies, and in megachurches, but we forget about the unknown or never known, the ones battling with terminal illness, the ones struggling to make ends meet, the ones supporting the family while the head of the household has abandon them for another, and the ones who are morally and religiously condemned for being different, less than perfect, and for having fallen because of a moment of human fragility. Sin is always other people remember?

And with Google, Facebook and Yahoo!, we can readily call up people's sins in the past with condemning exactitude, but we easily forget people's inspiring deeds in a second. God can readily forget our past sins, but we can't thanks to modern technology. We can't move forward because the hauntings of the past come in surround-sound, enhanced 3D visuals and in full blasting Technicolor. We are living our present and forestalling our future just for our cursed past. We have lost the right to be forgotten. To forget what needs no remembrance – or else, there would never be full closure and recovery. Cursed digital memory!

Indeed, our insanity has no limit. And so is my tactless rant. Let me end here with religion (my specialty). Strap's the only rant here with no apologies. Fire away!

Whether we admit it or not, AW Tozer is right you know. If the Holy Spirit were to be taken away from the megachurches today, 95% of us will still carry on as before - its business as usual.

The preachers, whether in fine leather or a suit and tie, will still tell you from the mesmerizing pulpit that God's grace, favor and prosperity are on you - 100%. They will still tell you God wants you to have big cars, big houses and a fat bank account.

They will still tell you that if you give to the church, God will bless you materially. And they will still tell you that repentance is so last century, blessings are coming your way, sickness is not for you, God wants you to do nothing, and love is all you need (forget about travailing in trials, overcoming life’s obstacles and engaging in the disciplines of the Spirit).

Even when the HS is no longer around (so says Tozer), the megachurches will still prosper. They will still grow stronger in numbers. They will still have millions of dollars coming in from donors who are thoroughly impressed with the music, the band, the stage, and most of all, the one and only star of the magnificent building that costs millions, that is, the preacher with the Midas touch.

And they will equate all that with spirituality because their feelings are telling them it is just right, that they feel His presence, and that they are inspired to do great things.

Alas, one day, someone will pick up the Bible, read it from cover to cover for himself, and put all of them celebrity preachers to shame!

So, in a nutshell, if there is a new religion in town when the HS has taken leave, it would have to be the religion of emotions. It is about feeling good. It is about feeling loved. It is about feeling high. It is about me.

Herein ends my rant. My mindless screed. My aimless pitch. My pent-up screech. Have I missed the target, skirt the issue, strayed off the path? I hope not. I hope I have made some sense. Cheerz.

Hold that stone.

It’s stone casting time guys. Everybody take up that rock and take aim.

Today’s papers (8 September 2016) reports that a lawyer, "who had an affair with a former air stewardess he was representing in divorce-related matters, was given a three-month suspension by a Court of Three Judges yesterday.

To add to that grip in the rock you are holding, the lawyer, Mr Lee, is married and admitted to the tryst at a hotel over two days in January 2014. And to burst that bobbing vein in your grip, the lady has a boyfriend and it was he who reported the incident to Law Society.

Both were therefore supposedly attached: one matrimonial ties, and the other, in a courtship.

Mr Lee in fact “romanced his client for over two months, while representing her in ancillary matters in divorce proceedings, and took some time to transfer the case to another law firm.”

In mitigation, Mr Lee said that he “was in a genuine relationship with her and was not being dishonest” and being a lawyer of 12 years' standing, he also did active pro bono legal work and served the Law Society.

Giving no excuses, he expressed his deep remorse over the whole incident.

Lesson? Three.

1) The dilemma of monogamy. To some, monogamy is freedom. To others, it is a sentence. To still others, it is an excuse to do as thou wilt.

For some married men, the 7-year itch never comes – his soul mate is the repellant to all itches (corny, I know). For others, it comes once or twice. For still others, it is an irresistible rash that requires constant scratching. Alas, show me a man who loved unconditionally and I will show you more than a dozen who don’t.

We live in a world soaked in ideals all the time. It is the ideals of perfection. And it is at times a struggle of herculean proportions to keep it up.

Mind you, I am not excusing Mr Lee’s conduct. I am just trying to understand it. It is without a doubt that he has violated a sacred code for lawyers, breached a hallowed trust between a professional and his client, taken advantage of a situation of unequal powers and position, and most of all, betrayed the marital vows he had sworn to uphold.

Yet, who has never fallen prey to a momentary lapse, and then perpetuate it with the hope of never getting caught? There are skeletons in all our closets and some closets are well-designed catacombs with chambers of secrets only the schemer himself (or herself) knows.

2) The human prick. Every man confronts a demon. This is the demon of himself. It is a demon of endless appetites. It is a demon of wanting more, never having enough, and seeking alternative thrills to get out of the monotony of life (and monogamy).

Temptation is really the least of a man’s concern here. It is unrealistic to expect men not to be tempted. The world around us is so hyper-sexualized that you have to be living in a cave, perched high above a mountain and surrounded by a moat of crocodiles not to be distracted everywhere you go.

However, what is a man’s greatest twin nemesis in a profession that is liken to the Omerta Oath – the code of silence and confidentiality between lawyers and clients – is opportunity and time. Given the right opportunity and enough time, most men will fall.

And just as choices are made by men, opportunity and time are also made by them. It is often blows after blows of crushing waves over an enduringly long time that wear off the rock and with blows after blows of opportunity and time given for the subject-matter of one’s attention, a violation of some sort is just a stone’s throw away.

3) Hold that stone. It is reported that after the hearing, Mr Lee told reporters: "I'm very sorry that I've hurt the people around me. I hope to be given the space to recover."

There is just something endearingly redeeming about a man who repents. Of course, repentance must bear fruits and again, it is about opportunity and time, that is, consciously making the opportunity to make amends and pay the price, and giving it sufficient time to see it through to fruition.

For me, everyday I wake up and look into my wife’s and children’s faces (while they are asleep), I tell myself that I am going to make many choices today. Innumerable choices in fact. And the only question for me is this: Will my choices add up to make me love her and them more or draw me away little by little from them?

If I don’t live intentionally, then I live on autopilot and the latter is always the demon’s breeding ground. You see, the celebrated matador always go for the heart of the bull because that is where it truly counts.

And for me, I go to the heart of the issue where lasting changes can be found. And the heart of the issue is to enlarge the opportunity for love and faithfulness in my marriage and life by making conscious choices over time in the right direction, notwithstanding the occasional slips. I understand that love rewards, but you have to earn it first.

So, I am letting go of my grip and the stone now as I see more hope in a repentant man who is prepared to make amends than one who justifies a wrong with a shovel and layer after layer of obstinacy. Cheerz.