The foolishness of the Cross

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Rev. Apelu Tielu*

Martyrdom has always been God’s way of providing salvation for us, human beings. 

It confounds the human mind, but an agent of God, always has to make the necessary sacrifice on God’s behalf, so the people may be saved. 

It was so with Jesus dying on the cross for the sin of humanity, and it was the means by which the Gospel has survived and spread. For Paul, the message of the Cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but it is the power of God to those who are being saved (1 Cor. 1:8).

So, as Tuila’epa’s D-day for the clergies to pay income tax approaches, the E.F.K.S. ministers will need to stand firm and expose Tuila’epa’s bluff, even if it means imprisonment, because it seems like all their other colleagues in ministry have either run away or are heavily drunk with Tuila’pea’s wine.

As I had said in the only other article I had written on the issue concerning taxing the clergies’ alofa, the tax is only a front. If it was about raising government revenues, then Tuila’epa should also tax the farmers, the fishermen and women, and anyone else that receives money through alofa. Tuila’epa’s main goal is to grab all the powers so he may have full and total control of our people.

This goal is woven like a code in his presumptuous autobiography, O le Palemia. To get some insights into O le Palemia, you will need to read and get a good understanding of another autobiography – Hitler’s Mein Kampf, which is translated, My Struggle. In O le Palemia, Tuila’pea also talks about his struggles.  

Now, if you know your history, then I do not have to tell you that we are crossing into a dangerous threshold if the E.F.K.S. and her ministers forget about their calling and instead raise the white flag. While there is such a thing as a benevolent dictator, history can provide only two: Pericles in ancient Athens and Greece and the late Lee Kuan Yew of Singapore. More often than not, Lord Acton is right: Power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely.

I have now come and see, and I can see many signs of corruption. Singapore and South Korea were developed in a short span of time with the wise and efficient use of aid, which included food aid for South Korea. Money and other forms of aid have been pouring into Samoa in the near 30 years that the H.R.P.P. has been in power, where Tuila’epa has been Prime Minister for 20 years. But all I can see are a few kilometers of decent road and a few Chinese-built buildings, but nothing else. Appallingly, Apia, let alone Samoa, still does not have a ‘toilet’! It says a lot about Tuila’epa, who is the only thing that has grown greatly in the last 20 years.

My greater concern, however, is the erosion of our identity; his slowly and subtle destruction of our values and the things that define us as a people; things like our lands, village governance, the matai system, deference, decency and consensus seeking of solutions to our problems, most of which were woven into our Constitution. And the approach has been very Hitler-like.

Like Hitler, Tuila’epa is subtle and persuasive. The original Constitution has been altered beyond recognition, the matai and the village systems are in name only, and he has sucked all the honours off our Tama’aiga and Paramount Chiefs that, they are only shells of their former glories! The Head of State to Tuila’epa is his office boy; it’s an empty office, because he can have legislations become laws, even if the HoS refuses to sign them into laws. He has successfully dragged the Tama’aiga around like pieces of sugarcane rinds. They may be the Head, but Tuila’epa is the neck! O! How the mighty have fallen!

Like Hitler, Tuila’epa has managed to have all kinds of people, especially the youth, drunk with his wine and sing his praise. Just listen to how rude and cocky the youth talk and write. I would not be surprised if babies are starting to talk and behave like Tuila’epa. The boy from Lepā has charisma! Just like Hitler!

Tuila’epa knew that the German administration used a poll tax and taxed everyone like the Roman did, including the clergies. But he also knew that, when our fathers and mothers drafted the Constitution for an Independent State of Western Samoa, they decided not to tax the faife’aus. Why? As Āo o Fa’alupega, our parents deferred to the Faife’au. That is the only logical explanation. But it is now clear that Tuila’epa considers our parents’ wish to maintain our values as nonsense. 

It would have been preferable that the whole Catholic and Apostolic Christian Church (the Mormons and the Jehovah’s Witness are not part) could work together to resist Tuia’epa’s move. But like Hitler, he has managed to split the Church. 

It seems like everyone else has sold his/her soul to the devil and its agencies, and only the E.F.K.S. and her ministers are listening to the voice of God. But I can see the hand of God in what is happening.

Though Tuila’epa’s childhood life was formed by the E.F.K.S., by the nurturing of my grandaunt, Avaola, and her brilliant husband, Taule’alo, Tuila’epa is disgusted by the power and mamalu of the E.F.K.S. faife’au. While they should not descend to Tuila’epa’s language and manner, it is still incumbent of them to protect our people and our Fa’aSamoa and Christian values, for a number of reasons.

First, they were the pioneers, despite the Methodist’s attempt to rewrite history.

Second, the E.F.K.S’s faife’aus were the ones to whom Malietoa bestowed the honour of, Āo o Fa’alupega.

Third, the E.F.K.S. is the only denomination that resemble what I would call a National Church of Samoa. 

Finally, the E.F.K.S. provided leadership for all of Samoa before the colonial administrations in Samoa and American Samoa. So you can provide leadership for Samoa once again, if necessary.

It is not easy, and seems unfair, for me to say this, but my fellow E.F.K.S. ministers, I urge you all to offer yourselves as living sacrifices for God and country. 

Listen to the voice of God in your heart. Remember the sacrifice of our Lord. Remember also the sacrifice of the Church Fathers, the eagerness of Polygarp to be crucified like his Lord, and the many that have given more for God and country.

Let him take you to prison and plunge the country into the darkness of the abyss. There, you can sing your songs like Paul and pray for a better future of our beloved country that is slowly being trampled upon by Tuila’epa.

The devil and its agencies should never prevail. Our Tama’aiga and our traditions and cultures must be restored and nurtured. Our lands should not be sold to foreigners and our children must have a better future. You must provide an alternative to the uncultured scheming of Tuila’epa. 

I will pray for you. I will stand by you. God is the only power on earth, and you are his agents. All other powers, including Tuila’epa, are false and must be defeated. 

The cross may look foolish, but it is there where you can find the power of God.

You can do it, because God is on your side.

 

* Rev Apelu Tielu is an ordained minister of the Uniting Church in Australia and currently serves as the parish minister of the Papakura Pacific Islanders Presbyterian Church in Auckland, New Zealand. Rev. Tielu is also an economist, a scientist, an educationist and a novelist. He has published book chapters and articles in professional journals and articles in the print and electronic media.



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