In this post, I would like to write about the importance of giving God an absolute one thousand percent of your commitment, and insisting on pursuing the Bible with that same 1000% determination, to truly obey what the Bible says, to submit to what the Bible says, and to submit to that wholeheartedly, and not what anyone else says, no matter how prominent they might be.
Once again, the world has been rocked by news of another innocent Black teenager killed or rather murdered in cold blood by the police, in the States. As a Black person, hearing these endless reports is so tiring. And then people rightly made the comparison between these Black teenagers who are killed outright, despite being unarmed, despite being completely innocent – and the white serial killers who would run into theatres, or schools or anywhere else, kill indiscriminately – and still make it out alive. Justice? Of course not. In this latest case the teenager concerned, Michael Brown, was shot 5 times, despite putting his hands up. Surely anyone would appreciate that it would only take a couple of shots at most to disable an assailant, even if he was an assailant. Experience tells us that the police officer involved will probably get off scot-free,as this is what always happens, and this is what probably emboldens the police officers concerned to kill these young men with such reckless violence. Like all the others, (Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner just a month ago and the countless others) it is a desperately sad story. My thoughts and prayers are with Michael’s family, praying that God would uphold them at this time. I’m also holding on to the need for forgiveness for the police officer involved, and forgiveness for racially-inspired police brutality on the whole.
Looking beyond that, this got me thinking for the need for us as Christians, specifically African Christians, to insist on a faith that is absolutely one thousand percent in pursuing the Word of God, and God’s truth. How do I get this? Well someone in the comments on this blog has just today accused me of “convoluted reasoning”. Well my reasoning in this current article is definitely convoluted. You see, ultimately, I blame Africa and Africans for racism that Black people continue to experience all around the world. More than that, I specifically blame African Christians. In Africa, whole populations continue to be ravaged and devastated by war and disease on an ongoing basis despite the advances made in modern medicine and technology and this teaches other people outside Africa, perhaps subconsciously, to think of African and by extension Black lives as cheap, or expendable, less than human.
As I was discussing with my sister on Facebook, the simple truth is that despite the racism that Black people experience in the West, despite the public executions of young men like Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin and Eric Garner, obviously it remains preferable for Black people to remain in the West than to return to Africa. No, in fact, more than that, many Africans are doing absolutely everything they can to be able to get into the West in the first place, spending all the money they have, even risking their lives to get there. So in a way this is telling Westerners: “Yes, we know you are going to be racist to us. Yes we know that you are going to mistreat us in every way conceivable – and a few other ways that are totally inconceivable – and yet we would still risk our lives for the privilege of merely getting to your country to be mistreated rather than remain in our own countries!” At least for those of us who are only still a few generations into the West, we could conceivably return to Africa. How about people like Michael Brown who, while Black, are actually America, whose families have been in the States for generations, and don’t actually have any other country to identify with or return to? What options do they have but to just sit and endure and pray for things to turn around?
The state of Africa.
OK, African Church, let’s look at the state of our continent. On one hand, it is good to be positive. So many excellent changes are happening. I for one am so proud about all the improvements that I saw when I last returned to Lagos, Nigeria a few years ago. These are things that would reasonably be taken for granted in most 21st century countries. However, on seeing them in Nigeria, and Lagos specifically, my eyes almost popped out of my head. If I were to list some of these changes, and you had never been to Nigeria before they were implemented, you might find it hard to believe that I could be so excited about such things. So yes, on one hand, things are improving, and for that, I am very grateful.
On the other hand – big sigh. Looking at the state of things in Africa generally, I can’t help feeling somewhat disappointed, or at least impatient. Contrary to what many people assume, it is true neither that Africa is poor nor that Africans are uneducated. Africa has lots of natural resources, and Nigeria for instance, on the whole, is immensely highly educated. And yet, you would not know that by looking at our continent, would you?!
This following is what annoys me about African Christianity:
Africa on the whole is a hugely christianised continent. There are other faiths and belief systems represented there of course, chiefly Islam (in Nigeria) and various indigenous tribal beliefs. There are also countless different flavours of Christianity represented in Africa as well as rampant syncretism, where people happily mix different faiths together. And yet there is enough real faith to make a tangible difference to our continent. I get so annoyed at those of us who are Africans and talk about being totally committed to God. Do we not appreciate that the Bible we hold in our hands is powerful enough to change our continent, especially when so many of us claim to believe in it? So why is that not happening? Someone please explain to me why corruption still has such a stranglehold over our continent, specifically the nation of Nigeria, even though so many people are professing Christians? Do we need to spell out what the Bible says about corruption? Let’s start with this: “the love of money is the root of all evil” Hello?! How about this one: “It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of the needle than for a rich man to enter heaven”? Or the entirety of Isaiah 58? Have you never come across this in your Bibles?! Come on Church!!!
1 Timothy 6v10:
10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.
And again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.