It appears that Christianity is no longer all-embracing, with ‘hugs’ now reserved for card-carrying members of the church club and their well-connected friends.
I grew up in a proper Christian home; one in which family prayers were hour-long events that couldn’t be missed (if only for the fear of the promised wrath of God upon absentees) and ‘stealing’ meat from pots overflowing with stews and soups that would have offended even the most tolerant vegetarian was regarded as the acme of sin—deserving the same judgment as fornication, blasphemy and other grievous evils that I was forbidden to even make allusions to. In was the new out. My upstanding parents being only too quick to tout the sterling qualities of the house and its fairly spacious yard as a safe haven, with the wicked world beginning at the end of our drive-in. In that vein, it’s a wonder I ever even got to attend primary school.
What neighbours we had were faceless voices, or at best, shadowy creatures glimpsed through the thick hedge that surrounded our humble four-bedroom bungalow, shielding us from the so-called dangers without. And heaven help you if you spoke to anyone for more than a minute with my parents in sight—they had mental clocks. Invitations to birthday parties, even the clearly safe ones, were to be turned down on the spot. Like anyone would have even invited me to their cheery events with the depressingly pungent smell of a social misfit that trailed me everywhere I went, announcing my presence with the stealthy effectiveness of a motion sensing alarm. I couldn’t even attend Christian meetings, where at least a few people would have accepted me, with ‘good’ kids my age. Other Christians were pretenders (“mere churchgoers,” they called them) in my parents’ wise eyes, and the only saved souls were the ones that lived for the interminably long Sundays spent in their precious church.
For the last decade or so, I have watched the terror of my childhood church life haunt most Christian assemblies. That pervasive ‘us versus them’ mindset that erects a barrier between denominations, creating almost sinful cliques within a faith that counts the unconditional acceptance of others among its most prominent foundational tenets. “God is everywhere, but this is where He really lives.” That seems to be the mantra of television and radio evangelists seeking to proselytize over the air. Dangling tantalizing miracle offers like bait, they fish for human statistics to add to their private church ‘kingdoms’ rather than souls to deliver into the kingdom of heaven. It appears that Christianity is no longer all-embracing, with ‘hugs’ now reserved for card-carrying members of the church club and their well-connected friends.
How did we get so wrong? Can the house of God be divided against itself and hope to stand? Does it matter what the name of your church is or how ‘cool’ the founder is/was when compared with his contemporaries? Who cares, really?The Bible makes it quite clear that God has no time for divisiveness, yet, contemporary Christians seem to derive an arcane pleasure in flexing spiritual muscles and exercising their bragging rights in the company of one another. God is for us, why should be be against each other? If it’s all in the heart, then judging based on appearances is pure foolishness. The church of God is one, and there won’t be denominations in Heaven. It’s time to lose nominal identities and begin to see each other the way our Father sees us: as His children. We all are His children.
Ore Fakorede is a social media geek, content writer & music critic
30 Days 30 Voices series is an opportunity for young Nigerians to share their stories and experiences with other young Nigerians, within our borders and beyond, to inspire and motivate them.
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