Irony of slaves on horseback and when folly is allowed in high places

Author, Gawaya Tegulle. PHOTO/FILE

What you need to know:

  • When boys fail to cross the line into becoming men, neighbours will sigh, shake their heads. 

Some really interesting Bible study we’ve had at church this week. You may say what you like about him, but the Apostle Paul was a man no one ever accused of being two-minded and indecisive. Never! 

There was an absolutism about Paul. When he was anti-Christ, he was so passionate in his cause, he pursued every Christian near him, to the point of getting them killed. Even the nicest man among the Christians, Stephen, was killed in cold blood, under the command of Paul, then called Saul. 

But when he became Christian, everything about him changed. His name changed from Saul to Paul. And he was so passionate about Christ, he preached far more than even Peter, the head of the Church. 

He was so Christian, he was eventually killed for being Christian. But there was something else about his decisiveness: “When I was a child,” says Paul, “I spoke as a child. I understood as a child. I thought and acted as a child. But when I became a man, I put away all childish things.”

It is the joy of a parent and glory of a child when the latter is doing things typical of a child – playing around, craving toys, fretting and fussing about stuff like birthdays, favourite uncles, aunties and cousins, or even throwing tantrums. Absolutely nothing wrong with that – he is a child and it is his right.

Everything has its time; and will look great in its time. But when things happen out of time, the world is scandalised. When boys fail to cross the line into becoming men, neighbours may say nothing explicit in disapproval, but they will sigh, shake their heads slowly and spend long periods gazing at the ground and wondering what the world is coming to.

That is why Paul was quick to draw a line between being a boy and becoming a man; warning against a failure of metamorphosis. 

When that line is blurred, then there is a big problem; if that happened in a computer, the screen would be blinking wildly and screaming “error!” because something is clearly not right. 

Any conscientious parent will watch his kids closely, watching for signs that they are on the right track of steady growth. 

You smile when you see signs of maturity, when you see evidence that the human being you brought into this world is metamorphosing nicely from a child into a man. 

You laugh when you see his mischief, because you know boys will be boys. And you go to bed content in the knowledge that all is well. But you frown when you realise that the line has not been crossed. 
It is tough enough to handle at family level. But the whole scenario is greatly aggravated when that failure of metamorphosis is carried into high places. 

That is mixing up stuff, with everything out of place. Error, error, error!! Screams King Solomon in Ecclesiastes 10: 5-7.

“There is an evil which I have seen under the sun…folly is set in great dignity and the rich sit in low place. I have seen servants upon horses and princes on foot as servants.”

Solomon thought it is a great aberration and spells doom for a nation, when folly and irrationality take command. 
It is the ultimate sign of an aircraft that stopped its ascent long ago and is now firmly on its way down, nose first, at breakneck speed. 

Solomon thought it a great anomaly when people of wisdom, good conscience and competence are relegated to nothingness, as those of manifestly failed metamorphosis as well as questionable competence and conscience are assuming command. 

It was as anomalous as walking around town and witness a picture that has no good prognosis about it: slaves perched on high horses, while the nobility are walking and even worse, in charge of washing the horses and cleaning up their litter.

Mr Tegulle is an advocate of the High Court of Uganda