By Odimegwu Onwumere
I’ve read a lot of denigrating words from people I do not know concerning the fact that General Muhammadu Buhari has made appearances in churches these days in pursuit of his presidential ambition wearing his hat. These persons were not just speaking, owing to the undertone in their sentences that Buhari wore his hat to church, but because he is a Muslim fanatic, who would frown if non-Islamic faithful wear sandals or shoes inside the Mosque. These persons actually are entitled to their opinions and views.
But it behoves us to understand that some opinions and views are not acceptable no matter from who such were coming from. My argument is that if 1 Corinthians 11:4 warns that every man who prays or prophesies with his head covered dishonors his head, why do Bishops of some Christian churches wear tall hat otherwise called “miter” in the church? Miter or mitre is a Greek or Latin, which means crown.
It was obvious that in the ancient Jewish traditions, the Jewish leaders – the high priests – (not Christians, because Christianity started with the biblical Jesus) were obligated to be set apart by what they wore, and predominantly by wearing miters. See Exodus 29:6, Leviticus 8:9, Exodus 28:3-4, Ex. 39:28).
But does this practice correspond with what 1 Corinthians 11:4 recommends above in the New Testament? The apostles themselves wore hats, which we could see that they did in correlation with the Jewish tradition of the time, which suggested that noble people have different types of hat they wear to distinguish themselves from the people. Early Christian writers like Tertullian, Eusebius, Epiphanius and Hegesippus noted this: that the apostles themselves wore miters.
In our present days, many churchgoers still do not understand that many practices in the church were those of the ancient times inculcated into the church by the gullible Western emperors, just as the meaning of Christ, Jesus and Yeshua or Jehoshua are not known to many people till date, because they do not see beyond what their ‘doctored’ bible teaches them. I have posited in the cause of investigation before that true, the central celebrity of Christianity is called Jesus Christ today. But the early Christians were followers of the Aramaic (ancient Hebrew) word, Yeshua or Jehoshua. Deep down history, they were two personalities.
The former was coined to take the position of the latter. I’m not sure how many people know that the word “Christ” is not a personal name, it was gotten from Greek word which means Christos – a title.
Check the two names: 1. Jesus is today believed to be the Yeshua or Jehoshua of the Aramaic and at the same time, 2. Christ from Greek. Can’t we pause over the connotation in the two names? Some will not believe that the story of the “myth Jesus” was distorted and was hyped by Paul, who was originally a believer of Mithraism, his native spirituality, before his purportedly conversion.
Even when the apparent conversion of Saul took place, he laced his new “political belief-system” with the indoctrinations of his Mithras myths and superstitions and today we have the Paulian Christianity, outside the foundational Christianity of the followers of Yeshua or Jehoshua. Christ being a title and not a name, during the reign of Yeshua or Jehoshua, Thomas was the chief apostle of a long-forgotten form of Christianity. Hence, when the Rome/ West hijacked and stereotyped Christianity, they labeled Thomas, who was the chief apostle, a Doubter. Let me make my point clear.
Today, a government and its agents had labelled me ex-convict, rapist, kidnapper and all that nonsense they know how to write better because of my critiques of the government. In the future, say 500yrs time, if not that I’ve been able to re-write their malicious stories, many who might be making research on me would believe that all that was written against me were true and, history will absorb them. This is the same case with the “myth Jesus” and Paul. When we read that the “myth Jesus” would be conceived by a “virgin”, I think it behoves us to really understand what “virgin” means in the Aramaic Language, and not from the periscope of the English Language. An example is that in the part of Igbo where I come from, “leledule” literarily means “come I want to discuss with you.”
But somebody who does not understand it in the Language of my people would mistake it for “Look.” And if well hyped, history would absorb it as “Look”, depriving it of its original meaning. How many people know today that among some of the earliest followers of Yeshua or Jehoshua in the Fertile Crescent, from northern Syria to Egypt, Thomas emerged much more prominently? “He was seen as the special confidant of the Aramaic Yeshua or Jehoshua, today the “myth Jesus”, recorder of his master’s sayings.” In some sense Thomas was regarded as his twin.
According to findings, “In the Syriacspeaking culture of upper Mesopotamia and Syria the apostle was called Judas Thomas. Thomas (Tau’ma) means twin in Syriac, a form of the Aramaic which was the language of “myth Jesus” and his followers. And Didymus, a name by which the apostle is also called in the gospel of John, means twin in Greek. “Perhaps some regarded the two as blood brothers. Perhaps the twinship was regarded as spiritual or symbolic. Sometimes, as in early Christian systems, Thomas seems to be the, this worldly reflection or image of a divine saviour-figure, an earthly body inhabited by a spirit like the saviour’s.
In any event Thomas became a focus of special reverence.” However, Buhuri could be a priest, according to the culture of his tribe, who should go to anywhere with his hat on his head, just as the Bishops wear their beanies in the church. If Bishops could wear their hats in the church while in some bible portions it was stated clear that any man who does that disrespects his head, why not Buhari? Hats are in designs and are put on for different purposes. They have different designs and should not set anybody aside as important as not the other person in the recent times even though that we have to accord respect to whom respect is due to. One observer said online: The Catholic Church is a visible Church led by visible people.
The bishop’s miter is one of the ways that we can identify and recognize our visible leaders, the bishops. Why exempt Buhari or myself in this ‘recognition’? See the catholic cardinals assemble; they are with their ‘skull caps’. I want to tell those who are making Buhari a ghost because he has appeared in the church with his hat that the ‘beanie’ or whatever you may call it has a practical, not a religious origin.
Who knows that it’s officially called a ‘zucchetto,’ Italian Language, translating to ‘skull cap’? Initially the church elders were cutting their hairs in the form called ‘Tonsure’, just as we can see the monks of Hare Krishina Consciousness cut, before the Bishops changed to the ‘skull cap’. Investigations have revealed that such haircut is one aspect of spiritual rituals before any man enters the monastery. In the clerical level it was part of the ceremony before a cleric can enter the monastery. So how relevant is wearing such a haircut or skull cap in our churches today?
It was as a result of this type of haircut that Paul wrote: Does not nature itself teach you that if a man wears long hair, it is degrading to him…—1 Corinthians 11:14. But the modern church theologians ascribe ‘long hair’ to mean afro hair cut or its like. No. It clearly meant “zucchetto” which has transformed to represent the skull caps which Bishops wear today. I’m not writing all this to win a case here, but for us to research beyond what we have been fed with.
Initially as a kid, I had the belief that the planet was seven (or is it nine?) because that was what I was taught from infancy, but new discoveries have shown that we have 750 planets and many would be discovered with time. It is imperative that we see the world beyond our spoon-fed religious dogmas and the stories we have been told surrounding the alien religions of Christianity and Islam. We have to think about and, examine the world esoterically, exoterically and allegorically to really come up with the desired result, instead of the one directional perception people have held for centuries.
• Onwumere (firstname.lastname@example.org), poet and writer, sent this peace from Port Harcourt