“Weed Out the Cultural Norms to Succeed” – Thanksgiving and Intercessory Service Preacher Tells the Nation
MONROVIA: As the nation transitions between two dispensations today with the citizens looking forward for a brighter future under the incoming administration of Ambassador Joseph Nyuma Boakai, a renowned cleric has called on Liberians to weed out all the “usual cultural norms that have kept the country and its people backwards for a long time” if meaningful progress will be made in the country and stop playing the blame games.
Delivering the Intercessory message as part of the activities marking Liberia’s democratic transition, the Pastor of the Efforts Baptist Church, Rev. Trokon Langford, said Liberia’s 176 years is not reflective of its achievement and instead of the citizens bracing up to find solutions to how they can correct their mistakes, they are consistently embracing the “normal old ways of doing things”, thus keeping the country perpetually down.
Speaking on the theme, “Two Nations, Two Priorities” and premised his preaching on General 25:29-34, Reverend Langford drew parallel lessons from the story of Jacob and Esau in the bible and said the two persons though brothers but were referred to as two nations “who had two priorities, one made the other to sell his birthright to the to the other person because he was hungry”.
“Today our nation faces another opportunity to shift the paradigm, but the question is will we use the opportunity to create the change we need or are we going to allow our cultural norm of how we live and always live to keep us where we are.
“Speaking about some cultural norms, we have been engulfed in some bad practices, bad lifestyles that have enslaved us, entrapped us and kept us backwards, wayward as a nation, as a people. We are indeed fed up with the outcome of our existence. We have reached 176 years as an independent nation, we have very little to show, very little to boast in”, he said
“Let us not look at the present and past leadership. We need to look at the culture we have accepted. We have accepted the culture of corruption, lack of accountability, but our leaders live in the culture but we expect them to live higher. Even we religious leaders who should be the moral conscience of the society live in a culture that actually embraces corruption and the lack of accountability. Even the church has not been a great example. What a dilemma?
The fiery clergyman said while his submission about the decay in the society could be harsh, the fact remains that Liberia has embraced the culture of corruption, stressing “we are either a representation of an Esau nation or a representation of a Jacob nation”
He said Liberia could be likened to Esau in the sense that he failed to make provision of his needs and made Jacob to trick him into selling his birthright just Liberia over the years has failed to provide for its citizens even in the midst of abundant resources and turning itself to beg and in the process is mortgaging her resources cheap.
“They did not steal the resources from us. They did not force the resources from us but we freely gave them out because we are hungry and did not make provision to feed ourselves in time of hunger so anything that comes our way for short term benefit, we will accept it”, he said.
He said over the years, Liberians have developed some false narratives of the country’s infrastructural development
He said a good lesson could be learned from the story of Jacob and Esau “because it taught us that one nation is sustaining itself from within and the other finds solace in sourcing from outside; one is lending and the other is borrowing to consume”
“We are always looking outside for sustenance, not looking inward. What is there that foreigners see here that we as citizens do not see. When a nation refuses to give priority it needs then it is doomed”, he said.
He asserted that Liberians have for a very long time developed a false narrative of the infrastructural development of the country when in reality the country is far from being celebrated as a prosperous nation after so many years of existence and blessed with natural resources.
“What will a nation want to celebrate infrastructure when its young people are losing the battle to drugs
What nation will celebrate infrastructure when it finds majority of its youth are riding motorcycles
“This is the time for citizens to begin to deal with a culture that offers nothing for the future”, he said.
Amidst cheers, Reverend Langford who said he has known President elect Boakai for 33 years, threw a challenge to the incoming government to step up its game to meet the challenges ahead “because those who voted for you expect more from you and it is in your own interest and that of the country to deliver on your promises”
“When the people walk in the rain and sun, it is because they believe in you. It is time for you to show to them that you believe in them. Let the young people who voted for you have all the reasons for their decision to support you.
“If we do not set priority for the country, our national leaders, our future is done”, he said.
President elect Boakai who spoke later said he was overwhelmed by the enormous goodwill messages that came from far and near, stressing “these are not just how you love us but a challenge to us to do what we were elected and I can assure you that we will not fail by the grace of God”
He said he has always loved the country to the extent that at one time in 2016, he sent out a Christmas message to bemoan the state of the nation after 168 years of independence with nothing much to show for it.
“In 2016, I sent out a Christmas card and said Liberia is 168 years is this where we should be? Are we satisfied with where we are? But now Think Liberia, Love Liberia, Build Liberia. We have not come to repeat the same mistakes but we are here to help change the country for the better and I say this with all seriousness that if there is anybody that is dissatisfied with how our country has been run, they should have a rethink”, he said amidst cheers.
Our reporter who followed the intercessory service said the program was colorful as the edifice could not contain the numerous guests who came from far and near were overwhelming. Former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, under whose presidency Boakai served, was at the venue and received an appropriate state protocol upon her arrival and was ushered to her seat in the front row.
Vice President Jewel Howard Taylor who deputized President George Manneh Weah was received at the venue and escorted to her seat where Vice President elect Jeremiah Kpan Koung and wife, Speaker Fonati J. Koung, Pro Temp Nyonblee Karngar Lawrence and Chief Justice Sie-A- Nyene Youh were seated.
The edifice went into celebration when protocol officials announced the arrival of President elect Boakai accompanied by his wife, Mrs. Katumu Yata Boakai having been driven to the church by a befitting motorcade straight from his house at the Rehab Community in Paynesville.
Several choir groups performed at the service to the delight of the guests and congregation.