Christians are very interesting. Fifteen years back, adjectives that came to mind when ‘church’ was mentioned include love, compassion, etc. The Christian faith I grew up to love, as a Sunday school boy has now become ‘something which is there’ (transliterated from Twi to English to mean ‘a hard nut to crack’). It’s time to break the silence on certain weird disciplinary actions among churches.
DISCIPLINE FOR CHRISTIANS
Yaa Peprah is a fine usher at Christ Is Coming Soon Church, Sukula Last Stop. Gossip has it that within 48 hours members of the Accra-based church noticed she had taken seed, she was immediately arraigned before competent church board to answer why she ‘allowed herself’ to get pregnant outside of marriage. Cutting the long story short, Yaa had to say goodbye to her ushering job. She no longer partakes in Holy Communion. Despite the disbarment, her offering, contributions and tithe were acceptable before God and men. How funny!
Miss Peprah tried to be punctual at church but church members won’t let her be; they laughed, mocked and scorned her till there was no new angle to explore. Do not be deceived; many 21st-century Christians are also having some kind of sex with relatives of theirs, friends, colleagues, ex-lovers, strangers, church members or person(s) outside of marriage. It has never occurred to Yaa’s detractors the countless times some of them had aborted babies to save their face and mock God. After all these acts, they sit confidently on front-row pews like saints.
Church sanctions on immorality are meant to punish defaulters, deter others, and maintain sanity. Setting the records straight, such sanctions have outlived their usefulness. Yaa, for example can argue that if having sex and getting pregnant warrants a suspension, then everyone else who has had sex before, stolen before or told a lie should equally be sanctioned. After all, ‘all sin be sin’; trust me, if this is followed to the latter, the congregation will empty.
DISCRIMINATION AMONG CHRISTIANS
Meet, John Paul, son of the only koobi seller in Suhum market. He received the embarrassment of his lifetime when he visited a church recently. As is the custom, first timers were invited to the front and John ‘was there some’. He was received nicely, which made him feel at home.
At close of service, church members gathered to network and catch up on latest filla; John, however was on his own: alone and lonely at a corner in the auditorium. Apparently, members were too engulfed with other ‘important matters’ to notice that the young man deserved a listening ear. The poor reception really took the naive 18-year old by surprise and his face fell in sadness. “Are these guys really sure there’s no condemnation in Christ Jesus?” he questioned and sighed. All he did afterwards was tighten his lips, knowing that was his last visit to that church or any such place called a church. Without intent to badmouth that church, John unconsciously told many of his school mates about his terrible experience, bringing statistics of lost souls to more than 500 within 48 hours.
From the strategic point of view, many churches are unprepared about dealings with ‘the world’. Christians are tasked to “preach the gospel to every creature”. I’m still wondering if the disabled public are part of every creature. Quite apart from the whom Christians preach bias, many churches have sat aloof while disabled souls perish.
What is the church’s stand on incorporating sign language in the service? How many Sunday School teachers are trained to use sign language? Clearly, our priorities are misplaced.
Let me veer off to your case, my dear reader. Can you confidently sit by a leper, or a prostitute, thief or a drunkard throughout church service (without passing a negative comment or getting up to find a new spot)?
I dedicate this piece to Christians who have backslidden and all persons who have been marginalised.
NB: All names and locations used are purely imaginative. Any resemblance to any person (dead or alive) is coincidental.