Harvest Of Death In Venue , North Central Nigeria

DailypostNov 27, 2020

In a single day, the once serene community of Owukpa, had to bury at least five persons who fell to a strange disease believed to be Yellow Fever.

DAILY POST had earlier reported the death of 17 persons, and with the latest that has sent the community into panic, the figure has now risen to 22 deaths in less than a month.

Recently, the Benue State Government sent a team of health experts to the state on a fact-finding mission to determine the cause of illness and deaths. Following the outcome of the investigation, an intervention team was sent to the affected communities in Owukpa and Otukpa where the people were vaccinated against Yellow Fever.

The team was led by a renowned Epidemiologist and consultant, Prof Stephen Abah.

But despite the vaccination exercise, more deaths have been recorded, creating the doubt that the disease is Yellow Fever, as some community leaders believe there are forces behind the strange disease and deaths and cannot be linked to orthodox medicine.

On Thursday, the 27th of November 2020, about 3 persons died from the strange illness and have been laid to rest. No fewer than two bodies believed to have died from the ailment were equally conveyed to Owukpa as at Friday afternoon.

According to a community leader who pleaded not to be mentioned in print, the atmosphere in Owukpa right now is characterized by fear, frustration and mourning. Who will bury who right now? It’s getting to a point of all man to himself. We are tired,’’ he lamented.

DAILY POST spoke to many residents of Owukpa and the mood was the same. The people are now apprehensive over who is next on the line as the disease continues to penetrate villages. No fewer than 30 people are currently on admission across ill-equipped private hospitals in Otukpa, the Ogbadibo headquarters.

Mostly worried are young people as 70 to 80 percent of the victims of the strange disease are youths. Some health experts contacted have questioned why older people with weak immune system are spared, while the disease hit young people with stronger immune system.

Recall that the Honourable member representing Itabono ward 1 in Ogbadibo Local Govt Area of Benue State, Hon. Patrick Ejeh, also known as Pataba had earlier raised the alarm over the outbreak of the epidemic .
Owukpa community cannot boast of a single hospital or health centres. In the entire district, no single functional hospital is standing, no government hospital and no standard health centres are found around. Avoidable deaths are common in Owukpa as people often die of minor illnesses, unless they are taken to far away Okpoga or Otukpa for treatment. This has become a major concern to well-meaning indigenes of the community on how the people can survive this epidemic with no functional hospital for even emergency treatment.

Speaking of God

Our language is not adequate to capture all of the truths of God, but it does allow us to begin to understand and describe him

Douglas M. Beaumont 12/18/2019 / catholic.com

Every Advent, Christians ponder a singular event: God becoming man. This is an incredible thought—one that, on some accounts, seems completely impossible. After all, how can the infinite become finite? Christians have a similar problem when it comes to talking about God: how can finite language capture truths about an infinite God?

To borrow a humorous example from Stephen Bullivant’s book The Trinity: How Not to be a Heretic, imagine that you had grown up in a town that only served fast food. One day you visit another town and have a meal at a five-star steakhouse. The experience would be radically different! It would be so different, in fact, that you would have a difficult time describing it to the people back in your hometown. The words you use to explain your culinary experience would primarily come from your shared experience of fast food, and so you’d be hard-pressed to adequately describe your steakhouse meal. You might borrow language or images from other shared experiences that approach more or less how “beyond” the experience was, but you’d know that there were limits to conveying the truth of your experience.

We face an even greater problem when speaking of God. Practically every word we use refers to something from our experience of finite reality. We can try to elevate the concepts our words create by adding prefixes like “super“ or “all“ or “omni“ to them, but ultimately the thoughts in our head remain finite. How, then, can our limited language capture the truth of our infinite God?

The Church’s answer is that language can be accurate even when it cannot evoke adequately the fullness of the truth of God. This is because the way in which words are used in a particular language varies, and not all uses of language are legitimate when speaking of God (Catechism of the Catholic Church 39-49, cf. Aquinas, Summa Theologiæ I, Q.3, A.5).

Note, for example, when a word has a single meaning even when used to describe two different things. If I say, “Plato is a man,” and “Aristotle is a man,” I mean the word “man” in the same exact way even though I am referring to two different men. This is called the “univocal” use of language.

Clearly, our finite language cannot adequately express truths of an infinite God univocally, because that would make God out to be a finite being. As the Catechism says, “God transcends all creatures. We must therefore continually purify our language of everything in it that is limited, image-bound, or imperfect, if we are not to confuse our image of God” (42).

The second way words occur in a language is when they have the same appearance (spelling, pronunciation), but have completely different meanings. So, for example, a tree’s “bark” is nothing at all like a dog’s “bark.” It’s just an accident of language that we use the same word for both of these different things. This is called the “equivocal” use of language. Now, it might seem like our finite language would always be equivocal when expressing truths of an infinite God; but if this were the case, then words would not tell us anything about God (any more than a dog’s “bark” helps us understand a tree’s “bark”). If words could not tell us anything about God, then the Bible would be meaningless. (Not to mention the fact that we would be using words about God to say we cannot use words about God, which is self-defeating!)

We can say, however, that a particular pizza is good and that God is good. In the case of the pizza, the meaning is clear enough—the pizza is well-made and enjoyable. We can describe in a finite way the traits that make it good. But how is this the same as God’s goodness? Poets, musicians, philosophers, mystics, and theologians have tried, and together, they even they can barely begin to approach the reality of God’s goodness.

This points to the third way words occur in a language, which is when they have similar meanings. This is called the analogical use of language, as when a single word is used in related but distinct ways. Although what makes two different objects “good” is not the same thing in reality, the word “good” can be used accurately of both. A related, but not identical, use of language is that of metaphor, as when we say that “God is our rock.” In saying this (or think of countless other examples from scripture and from the saints), we’re obviously not saying that a particular rock is the God of the universe, worthy of our worship. We’re conveying in an imperfect way one aspect of God, his steadfastness.

It is through the use of analogy and metaphor that our finite language is able to accurately (if not adequately) express truths of an infinite God.

When St. John says, “God is love,” the evangelist does not mean God is reducible to feelings, or even to the greatest theological virtue. When we say, “God is all-powerful,” we do not mean merely that he is stronger than any other person. With these terms we are capturing, with more or less accuracy, aspects of God’s indescribable love, power, and greatness.

But we can take this a step further as well. When we say, accurately, that “God knows all,” we do not mean that He just happens to know everything in the universe for all of history. Here, even the word “know” is analogically used: God’s knowledge of all being as its creator and sustainer is also impossible for us to capture completely in the verb “to know.”

Why does this matter? Because confusion over how these finite terms relate to God’s actual being can easily result in bad theology and even heresy. It is not inaccurate, for example, to call Jesus a “friend”—he loves us, is close and available to us, and wants the best for us. This does not mean, however, that he is the type of friend who just pats us on the back no matter what we do. Yet, how often have we heard homilies in which Jesus is called a friend who loves us no matter what? This isn’t untrue, but the false impression is often left that he doesn’t care how we live our lives, that we have nothing to be sorry for when we sin. No, the friendship of Jesus—the Son of God, the second Person of the Holy Trinity, the One through whom all things were made—is more complete and more intimate than we can fully fathom. And he has made it perfectly clear that he cares very much about how we live our lives, and where we will spend eternity if we do not follow his commands.

So it is not truthful to say that because our language can never capture God’s true essence, it is therefore useless in describing or understanding him. On the contrary, because God is the Creator, and because we are made in his image and he has revealed himself to us, we can know truths about him through his creation (e.g., Rom. 1:19-20), through his revealed word, and express truths about him in words. But we must never think that we have captured the whole truth of God in our descriptions (e.g., Rom. 1:21-23). The balance comes when we see our finite language as accurate but not adequate (Ps. 50:21).

As we prepare our hearts for Our Lord’s birth this Advent season, let’s take strength from knowing that,  even given the imperfection of our souls and the language we use, we can know Our Lord more closely by immersing ourselves in the sacraments and traditions of the Church, and in his Word.

What is Advent?

The word advent derives from a Latin word, adventus, that means “arrival” or “appearance.” The Directory on Popular Piety and the Liturgy, a document of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Saints, says of Advent,

Advent is a time of waiting, conversion and of hope: waiting-memory of the first, humble coming of the Lord in our mortal flesh; waiting-supplication for his final, glorious coming as Lord of history and universal judge; conversion, to which the liturgy at this time often refers, quoting the prophets . . . joyful hope that the salvation already accomplished by Christ . . . and the reality of grace in the world, will mature and reach their fullness, thereby granting us what is promised by faith (96).

Advent is the liturgical season during which the Church prepares for Christmas by penance, acts of charity, and celebration of the sacraments. The penances are traditionally less strict than those observed during Lent, and the Church in the West no longer requires Catholics to fast or abstain from meat. But the season has a flavor of its own and isn’t merely “Lent lite.”

To begin with, the Church’s liturgical year starts with Advent. The focus is on preparation for the coming of the Messiah, both in his first coming at Christmas and in anticipation of his final coming at the end of time. The Directory states:

Popular piety is particularly sensitive to Advent, especially when seen as the memory of the preparation for the coming of the Messiah. The Christian people are deeply conscious of the long period of expectation that preceded the birth of our Savior. The faithful know that God sustained Israel’s hope in the coming of the Messiah by the prophets (97).

In its liturgies during Advent, the Church points to the expectation and hope of Advent through its devotions and eucharistic rubrics. For example, on each of the Sundays of Advent, a candle on an Advent wreath is lit to mark the progress of the season. Three candles are violet to symbolize the penitential nature of the season. One candle is rose and is lit on the third Sunday of Advent, called Gaudete Sunday from the Latin word for joy. Rose, a lighter color than violet, represents the “brightening” of the faithful in anticipation of Christ’s arrival. Similarly, the vestments and altar cloths used during Advent are violet or rose in honor of the spirit of Advent.

To begin to appreciate the “true meaning of Advent,” we can look to a few of the saints of Advent: the models of Christian perfection to whom the Church points for our edification during these three to four weeks.

St. Francis Xavier, whose feast is December 3, was one of the original members of the Society of Jesus (or Jesuits). He is best known for his mission trips to the Far East, opening India and Japan to the spread of the gospel. Francis hoped to do the same in China but died on the journey. He was named a patron saint of the missions because of his success at evangelism.

Not as well known was Francis’s reputation as a wonderworker. He cured the sick, restored hearing and speech to the deaf and mute, multiplied coins that he gave to the poor, and raised the dead. In other words, he performed the same kind of deeds that heralded the coming of the Messiah into the world (Matt. 11:4-5). Christ promised that his followers would perform mighty deeds in his name as signs that they were sent by him (Mark 16:15-18).

Not much is known for certain about St. Nicholas of Myra, the bishop whose feast we celebrate on December 6, but the legends surrounding him are rich and varied. He was also believed to be a wonderworker, but he is better known for his love for children and generosity to the poor. Although some historians question whether he was actually present at the Council of Nicaea, he’s lauded as a fierce defender of orthodoxy, and the popular pious tale that he slugged the heretic Arius at that council makes the rounds of the internet every December.

On December 12, we remember the apparitions of Our Lady of Guadalupe to the peasant visionary, St. Juan Diego (his feast is on December 9). Our Lady’s appearance to the indigenous convert inspired the conversions of millions of native Mexicans within a decade after the apparitions. Although Juan Diego pleaded with Our Lady to send a more worthy emissary to give her message to the bishop that she wanted a church built in her name on Tepeyac Hill, she insisted on lifting up a poor man to speak for her to those in power in Mexico City. Juan Diego spent the remainder of his life spreading the Virgin’s message.

St. John of the Cross, mystic and reformer of the Carmelites, is remembered on December 14. He was a priest and theologian who wrote extensively on “the dark night of the soul.” The “dark night” is often misunderstood to be a time of spiritual desolation, but, rather, it was John’s metaphor for explaining the soul’s journey to union with God. This journey is reminiscent of our journey through Advent, as we wait in joyful hope for the coming of Christ, who is the light of the world (John 1:1-5).

Over 40 farmers ‘killed in Borno’ — Officials


The farmers were attacked by Boko Haram on a rice farm, residents said.

by Abdulkareem HarunaNovember 28, 2020

At least 44 rice farmers were killed by suspected members of the Boko Haram while harvesting their crops, a lawmaker and sources have said.

Sources in Zabarmari, a Borno community known for rice farming, informed PREMIUM TIMES the farmers were attacked as they were working on a rice field at Garin Kwashebe.

The farmers were attacked on Saturday as residents of the state were voting to elect local government council officials, for the first time in 13 years.

The sources said the farmers “were rounded up and summarily slaughtered by the armed insurgents”.

Hassan Zabarmari, a former chairman of a rice farmers association in Borno State, confirmed the incident to PREMIUM TIMES on phone.

“It was a sad incident that took place at about 11 a.m today,” he said Saturday. “The farmers were attacked at the Garin-Kwashebe rice field, and according to reports reaching us since afternoon, about 40 of them were killed.”

“But we have been receiving conflicting information on the casualty figures – some said it was up to 50 farmers that were slaughtered.”

A member of House Representatives, Ahmed Satomi, who represents Jere federal constituency also confirmed the incident in an interview with PREMIUM TIMES.

“It was a very sad development that happened today at Zabarmari rice field general area,” he said.

“Farmers and fishermen were killed in cold blood. We have so far received 44 corpses from the farms and we are preparing for their burials tomorrow by God’s grace.”

The lawmaker said the farmers “were attacked because they had on Friday disarmed and arrested a Boko Haram gunman who had been tormenting them.”

Decisions as votes, and why modern society is built to kill marriage.


A close friend of mine is going through divorce: found out early this year that his wife had cheated on him, and in the intervening time he’s proceeded steadily toward having her move out and filing the actual papers.

Out of respect for him I won’t get into the hairy details too much. As he said yesterday on the phone, the breakup of a marriage is no cause for celebration. It’s not good for anyone–the kids (if they have children), nor the adults, nor frankly, the friends and family who supported their union.

But he said a few things “I’ve been turning over in my mind ever since”–to borrow a Fitzgeraldism–and then reading Breeze’s latest post, it got me to thinking more about the strange nature of the world in which we live.

So fair warning: this post isn’t about day game or sex or any of the shit…

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Philippians 3:12-13a

Arlin Sorensen's Thoughts on Scripture

In Philippians 3:12-13a Paul continues in describing how he is willing to give up everything for the sake of Jesus. He focuses now on the future of his relationship with Christ. “Not that I have already lobtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own.” Paul wrote from such spiritual maturity and purity that we might expect he believed that he had conquered all of life’s spiritual difficulties and saw himself as having arrived at near perfection. Yet here he assured us that is not the case at all. There was no perfectionist attitude in Paul.

Unfortunately today, many believe they have made it and give the image that their life is perfected, which is not the case. Spurgeon addressed this attitude with his writing: “But while the work of Christ for us…

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The Hidden Habits of Genius


Leading Blog

The Hidden Habits of Genius

WHO and what is a genius? The label gets thrown around a lot. Are you a genius? Probably not. But then, most of us are not. However, you can learn to think like one.

Craig Wright teaches a class at Yale on the nature of genius. He distills all of that work into his book with a hopeful title, The Hidden Habits of Genius: Beyond Talent, IQ, and Grit—Unlocking the Secrets of Greatness. Perhaps there is something we can learn from true geniuses that will help us perform better ourselves.

I like the definition of a genius provided by German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer: “A person of talent hits a target that no one else can hit; a person of genius hits a target that no one else can see.” Wright defines a genius as “a person of extraordinary mental powers whose original works or insights change society in some significant way for good or for ill across cultures and across time.”

Geniuses work hard, but it’s not the hard work—the 10,000 hours of practice—that is the secret. “Practice may make the old perfect, but it does not produce innovation.” Talent may be the impetus, but hard work moves it along. To get to the top, it seems “you must max out both.”

IQ tests can’t predict the next genius or a person’s potential. Some who have done well academically, like Marie Curie, Sigmund Freud, and Sergey Brin, went on to do remarkable things. But others we look up to today, like Einstein, Edison, Steve Jobs, and Picasso, did poorly in school.

What about prodigies—young people who possess talents far beyond their years? Not really. “The difference is that geniuses create. They change the world through original thinking that alters the actions and values of society. Prodigies merely mimic.

Childlike creativity plays a part. Picasso said, “Every child is an artist. The problem is to remain an artist as we grow up…. When I was a child, I could paint like Rafael, but it took me a lifetime to paint like a child.” “From Einstein’s mental play with images emerged his famous thought experiments. Einstein was able to imagine the world as a child while keeping apposite scientific information in mind.”

Geniuses are lifelong learning addicts. “Students may receive information and learn methodologies in school, but the game changers of this world acquire the vast majority of what they know over time and on their own.” They learn what they need to know.

What about passion? “If our passions drive us in ways that ultimately change society, that change is a mark of genius.” Not all passion leads to genius. Geniuses see things differently. They “cannot accept the world as described to them. Each sees a world asunder and cannot rest until things are put right.”

Some geniuses are rebels, but not all rebels are geniuses—no matter how remarkable they may seem in the present. Some rebels, misfits, and troublemakers are just that. Not geniuses, but rebels, misfits, and troublemakers—people that just want their own way or push their own agenda. Wright correctly asks, “What is it that all of us believe today that some genius will disprove tomorrow?” We should be more careful pushing our biases and opinions.

Most rebels are not geniuses.” A person that changes the course of history need not be a genius, but rather someone who saw an opportunity and took it. Some people we presently regard as geniuses are clever and creative, but they are not geniuses.

Aesop observed in his fable, The Fox and the Hedgehog, that “the fox knows many small things, while the hedgehog knows one big thing.” Wright says, be the fox. Develop a wide range of knowledge, perspectives, and skills. Cross-train. “The more broadly based the information in mind, the more likely that disparate ideas are combined.”

Jeff Bezos observed, “The outsized discoveries—the ‘non-linear’ ones—are highly likely to require wandering.” “The lesson for all of us,” says Wright, “stay nimble.”

Imagine the end and work backwards. Think opposite. Again, Bezos instructs: “You see a new technology, or there’s something out there, … and you work backwards from a solution to find the appropriate problem.” Wright says, “the more a person can exploit the contradictions of life, the greater his or her potential for genius.”

To coax out your best ideas, relax. “If you need a fresh idea, go for a walk, or jog, or simply get into a relaxing conveyance so as to allow your mind to range more freely.” Then concentrate. Like a genius, “create a daily routine for yourself that comes with a four-wall safe zone for constructive concentration…. At the end of the day, you alone are responsible for synthesizing that information and producing something.”

Could we use more geniuses? Well, yes. But what we really need are people who learn to think like a genius. Not the pandering and the misuse of statistics to push an agenda that has become so prevalent. We need people who will take a measured approach and contribute constructive ideas that will benefit the rest of us.