By Olisakwe Ukamaka Evelyn
Olisakwe Ukamaka Evelyn
I met a young woman yesterday at a salon where I’d gone to make my hair. She came just after me, and immediately she sat she began to fiddle with her phone. She was tensed and terribly sad.
Looking at her, you just know she came from a “Bigman” home; everything about her was scrubbed clean and shiny and dainty, from her dress to her nails. It was also in the way she sat: dignified. But it was all marred by her swollen eyes. And minutes later she began crying. She cried while she took her calls, while she pleaded “please give me time to sort it out with “on the phone.
I couldn’t bear to watch and I had to go sit quietly beside her, and then held her hand. She didn’t flinch. She wept quietly. Then I took her out of the salon (eyes were on us then).
Long story short, her parents refused to let her have her wish: to marry outside the Catholic Church. Why? The man is Anglican. And after a tumultuous period of trying to convince them, her parents finally gave a condition that they must be married in their Catholic Church.
The man refused and broke off with her temporary, until her parents changed their minds. But they, her parents, are headstrong. It is either that or no marriage; her mother is an Ezinne (Good Mother) and her Father is a Knight. They would not be disgraced by marrying their daughter to man from a church outside the Catholic fold, and if they would compromise, then they must first be married in the Catholic Church, and to do that, the man must first be re-baptised in the church, even though he had been baptised before.
Now, it brought me the memory of all those ladies I knew as a child who didn’t marry because their suitors were from other denominations. I wondered where Anthonia was (she was a young, beautiful lady I’d known whose Catholic mother vehemently refused her to marry because her man was a Methodist). It brought me the memories of the hate we grew up with; of Anglicans mocking Catholics and Catholics hating every other denomination and calling them “lost sheep”. It brought me the memories of how we hated people we never knew just because they didn’t attend same churches with us.
It was from that hate we coined the derogative “mushroom churches” for Pentecostal Churches and all other churches that sprang back then. That’s why we pride ourselves as bible-believing churches and others as unbelieving churches. “Do not be unequally yoked with the unbeliever”. Smh. But we all claim we worship the One True Loving God.
I do not think it was God we worshipped back them; that it is God most of us claim to worship today. We’ve created hateful gods instead, gods that do not care so long as their egos are massaged. Those gods are mostly our Reverends and Ministers and Pastors. They spread hate instead of love, and we, the fanatics and sheeple, swallow all they shove down our throats and that’s why we do not care about the happiness of our children.
We care instead for the blessings of these “Men of God”, we care for what they think of us. We read the Bible as they want us to and interpret it just as they only want us to; every other thing is sin. “”Touch not my anointed and do my prophets no harm. Pity. We’ve lost our senses and sights, we traded them for the love our churches showered on us. We cannot stand up and speak against this paradigms. We do not even know what and who God is anymore.
I wish for a generation that would rise against this hate-infused constructs. This is why we are in perpetual war and never cease to “cast” and “bind” ourselves.
I long for that generation that will read the Bible and preach love and not HATE or WAR.
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