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23 August 2007

Prophet or Profit?

- prophets versus prosperity preaching

Written 22-23 August 2007 - (169 lines)

*

Prophet or profit - pick your choice!
So said the old-fashioned decent voice
Now very difficult to find
Drowned out by the modern kind
Should it be possible to get near
You still just might be able to hear
The faintest echo above the roar
But hurry and do it today before
The last few traces of the way it was
Disappear completely - why? Because
The new generation is moving in
Capitalising whenever you sin

A relic from a more honest age
Gone are the days of the wise old sage
Who let you into the secrets for free
Or for a meal and a cup of tea
Would tell you willingly what was to be -
No secret, today you must pay a fee
To be told what you probably already know
In truth it is all just a sham and a show!

*

Have times really changed? You bet!
In ways befitting the Internet
It never was easier to run up a debt
In an attempt to reduce or offset
Your heavy burden of sins, so let
The clever software aid and abet
To help you recover from each regret
As you enter your PIN-code and secretly sweat
Really there is no need to get upset
Fiddle with keyboard and mouse or fret
Any problems, do not forget
For an extra donation you can simply reset
And have another go, just like roulette -
It is all a promise and not a threat!

Online confessions a speciality
Please use our PayPal facility!
Donations of more than seventytwo
Will play a synthetic prayer for you!
If you give us your email address
We will write back every day to bless
For a dollar per mailshot and sometimes less!

The church of the future has claimed a place
For itself already in cyberspace
Be warned the competition is fierce
Determined to explore and pierce
The limits around the leading edge
The followers are exhorted to pledge
The funds required to take them there
On solemn promises that they will share
The ultimate experience close to God -
In anticipation the sheep applaud
Not knowing their shepherd is a fraud

*

Televangelism works OK
But prosperity preaching is the better way
To make a pretty fortune today
Make the congregation say
There is a price to pay to pray
Abuse its spiritual need
Played skilfully the sheep will feed
The shepherd who grows fat and rich
The show performed without a glitch
The music starts and fades on cue
Proceedings all revolve around YOU
Theatrical outfits to impress
The assembled sheep, more or less
Like a famous pop star on tour
Teaching the followers how to get poor
Robbing Peter to pay Paul
The shepherd is in for the long haul
Much more efficient when you can get
From event to event in your private jet
No word of remorse or apology
This is the high-tech theology
For the twentyfirst century
Opening the new millenium
With sinister signs of worse to come
At the dawn of the age of Aquarius
No professional shepherd travels by bus!

Chanting soothing words he will pull
With deft movements their very own wool
Over their eyes and cleverly hold
Their rapt attention as he folds
His holy hands in prayer and bleats
That all must now vacate their seats
And follow him to the special fold
Where entry costs a piece of gold
But two is better and why not three
One for each in the Trinity!
Rewards for all eternity
But not for you my friends but he
Now working out the bottom line
With algorithms of the divine
Monitoring the performance graph
Scornful of doing things by half
In the dance around the golden calf!

The sheep do not really seem to care
That the shepherd is a multi-millionaire
For they have already heard him declare
Whatever they can they ought to share
That is God's will and He will reward
Them better the more they can afford
So they part with their hard-earned cash
Scooped up by the shepherd in a flash -

Questions of transparent and frank
Accountability will draw a blank
Or get steamrolled as if by a tank
As the shepherd laughs all the way to the bank -

Where he carefully takes his ill-gotten gains
And the manager patiently explains
The most profitable investment plan
For a business-minded mortal man
Stocks and shares and futures maybe
After all any prophet can SEE
Whether or not the value will soar!
Setting aside a princely sum for
A mansion in the country and fine decor
A Ferrari and a Rolls-Royce at the front door
A lot for the family in trusts offshore
Some for the mattress and below the floor
Some for the mistresses he knew before
And the rest to be blown on his favourite whore -
Halleluja! Who could ask for more?

*

Their slick cynical commercial ways
Demeans, degrades and betrays
True religion and gives it a bad name
As they chase personal fortune and fame -

Instead of worshipping how much it pays
Oh for a return to the good old days!

When I close my eyes I can picture him there:
The prophet speaking in the village square
With his waist-long beard and flowing hair
Simple clothes and a profound stare
Of goodness and piety, acutely aware
Of life and death and what lies between
The two, for he has not only seen
But heard and felt and lived it all
And was selected to receive the call
To pass on the message to the women and men
Of his own and the next generation, and when
He talks about the future and the past
It is obvious to all that his insight is vast:

"Brothers and Sisters! Remain steadfast!
This very moment was not meant to last
In the ocean of time it is only one drop
And time itself may never stop
We were not given life to know
Everything but in order to show
Appreciation and gratitude
Nurtured, strengthened and renewed
Resurrected every day
Most efficiently when we pray -
Brothers and Sisters, hold your souls dear
Seek salvation for the time is near
And as true believers have always done
Come to the worship of the ONE!"

It is as if the voice of God
Speaks like it did before the flood
Through the prophet in the broad
General terms we realise
And subconsciously recognise
As the silent echo of Paradise...

The reassurance we humans crave
As on the current monster wave
Our ark named Earth rolls and lists
The single mast moans and twists
The battered mainsail still assists
Our course, as the weary captain insists
That one navigational truth persists:
The simple fact that God exists...

*

Copyright © 2007 - IBRAHEEM (O.E.H.Johansen) - All Rights Reserved

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