Novelist Chinua Achebe Died Today at Age 82- Boyace Van Harlan Jr., PhD

chinua_achebe1When I was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Ghana, West Africa in 1976, one of the first books that I read was Things Fall Apart by the great African writer Chinua Achebe. He was the first author in the African Writer’s Series that I had read. I went on to finish reading all of the authors in the African Writer’s series during my 2 year tour. No book in that series however affected more that that of Things Fall Apart.

A novelist, poet and essayist, Achebe was perhaps best known for his first novel Things Fall Apart, which was published in 1958. The story of the Igbo warrior Okonkwo and the colonial era, it has sold more than 10m copies around the world and has been published in 50 languages. Achebe depicts an Igbo village as the white men arrive at the end of the 19th century, taking its title from the WB Yeats poem, which continues: “Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold.”

“The white man is very clever. He came quietly and peaceably with his religion. We were amused at his foolishness and allowed him to stay. Now he has won our brothers and our clan can no longer act like one,” says Okonkwo’s friend, Obierika, in the novel.

Chinua Achebe, the Nigerian novelist seen by millions as the father of African literature,  died today at the age of 82.

African papers were reporting his death following an illness and hospital stay in Boston this morning, and both his agent and his publisher later confirmed the news to the Guardian.

Simon Winder, publishing director at Penguin, called him an “utterly remarkable man”.

I downloaded his book Things Fall Apart on my Kindle Fire just a few minutes ago and I will reread it this weekend. I am sadden with his loss but I am happy that his work is still with us to enjoy. I find it ironic that my son who has recently graduated from the University of Houston moved to Boston on yesterday to embark on a new career. The cycle of life. One life ends and one begins. We all have a beginning and an ending separated by a dash. It is what we do with the dash that makes the difference. Chinua Achebe born in 1930 in Ogidi, in the south-east of Nigeria. Died in Boston today 2013. 1930-2013. Rest in peace.

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Christ Consciousness (Part 2) – Boyace Van Harlan Jr., PhD

ImageChrist Consciousness (Part 2) – Boyace Van Harlan Jr., PhD

 

 

I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in me, bears much fruit; for without me you can do nothing. John 15:5

It is Satan’s job to keep us focused on our situation rather than our position in Christ. When we are focused on the situation we are open for deception. Remember when Peter walked on the water with Christ? As soon as his attention was taken off of Christ he thought he saw the wind and began to sink. As long as his focus was on Christ he walked on what eventually became his trouble. Branches don’t have to try to be branches they simply are. Our job is to abide; to stay focused on our position. Remember we are accepted in the beloved!

Ephesians 1:6

King James Version (KJV)

To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.

Remember saints, we are seated with Him in heavenly places at the Father’s right hand.

2 Corinthians 5:21

King James Version (KJV)

21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

Ephesians 2:6

King James Version (KJV)

And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:

Remember we are heirs and joint-heirs with Christ.

Romans 8:17

King James Version (KJV)

17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.

Remember to maintain the “sweet balance”. We all have a little of Mary and Martha in us. There is a time to bang pots and there is a time to lay before the Lord. The genius is finding the balance between the two.  Martha was busy doing the work while Mary sought the presence of God. Stay in the middle!

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I choose my reading carefully. I choose what will open my heart and open my mind — developments in science, the spirituality of many religions, health, nature, and philosophy. I read poetry, essays, and stories that open my eyes to wisdom and experience. If I can read on a garden bench in good weather or with a cup of tea beside a wide window in winter, then my soul is nourished indeed.– Bobbie Silk, Illinois

The Clarity Paradox- Boyace Van Harlan Jr., PhD

The Clarity Paradox- Boyace Van Harlan Jr., PhD

 

 

ImageSuccess is a catalyst for failure”. I made that statement in an earlier post entitled: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less- Boyace Van Harlan Jr., PhD. Greg McKeown’s wonderful post in the New York Times stated that we should beware of the clarity paradox and continue our upward momentum. I stated that a broad perhaps over-simplification of the clarity paradox was the undisciplined pursuit of more. To bring more clarity to this discussion I think that here I should define “the clarity paradox”.  The clarity paradox is in three phases.

Phase 1: When we really have clarity of purpose, it leads to success.

Phase 2: When we have success, it leads to more options and opportunities.

Phase 3: When we have increased options and opportunities, it leads to diffuse efforts.

Phase 4: Diffused efforts undermine the very clarity that led to our success in the first place. 

Counterfeit Wisdom- Boyace Van Harlan Jr., PhD

ImageCounterfeit Wisdom by Boyace Van Harlan Jr., PhD

 

 

 

In Lauryn Hill’s The Mystery of Iniquity she makes a curious statement in her lyrics. The hook in her song states:

Hook]
It’s the mystery of Inequity…
Said it’s the misery of Inequity…
Said it’s the history of Inequity
When it all…
All falls down…
Telling you all…
It all falls down

She goes on to speak about ‘counterfeit wisdom’ when she says:

Woe to the men
Trusted in the chariots dem’
Leaning on horses
They run their intellectual sources
Counterfeit wisdom creating the illusion of freedom
Confusion consumes them
Every word they speak it turns them out really white
Internally they absent of light

Trapped in the night and bonded to the Cain of the night

I wrote in an earlier post Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil (Considerations) -Boyace Van Harlan Jr., PhD

“The word knowledge here in this text is the Hebrew word da’ath. It means knowledge obtained experimentally through the senses. It is trial and error. It is the modern way of science and medicine. It is good but not God’s best. But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. (1 Cor. 2:9)  But God has revealed it to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. (1 Cor. 2:10). Before the fall of Adam God revealed knowledge to him by His Spirit. Beloved, God is calling us back to that wonderful place”!

God wants us to get our information from Him and no other source and like any good parent He wants us to know good and not evil.

Before the ‘Fall of Man” man’s knowledge was downloaded to him through the Spirit of God. Adam had attended no University or had any formal education yet he went about naming all of the plants and animals. This wisdom is far superior to Counterfeit Wisdom. There are many examples of man’s operation by this counterfeit wisdom so poetically defined by Lauryn Hill’s lyrics. In Daniel 2:27 Daniel tells King Nebuchadnezzar that ‘true wisdom does not come from astrologers, magicians and soothsayers; true wisdom comes from God.

Daniel 2:28

King James Version (KJV)

28 But there is a God in heaven that revealeth secrets, and maketh known to the king Nebuchadnezzar what shall be in the latter days. Thy dream, and the visions of thy head upon thy bed, are these;

Miss Hill was right! Counterfeit Wisdom creates the illusion of freedom.