My first memory of Church was going to All Nations For Christ in Derby with my sister and her friends. I wasn’t really there to praise and worship God. We lived in a predominantly white area and that Church was my only access to black people like me.
I used to go to all the dance recitals and choir practices with her. Her friends would come to our house sometimes and she’d let me hang out with them while they spoke about boys and school. My sister was two years older than me and everything they were experiencing was amazing and new to me.
I remember going to ANFC for a morning sermon. One of the “Aunties” found me and cornered me by one of the pews. She stroked my cheek and asked me if I had been saved. This invasion of privacy was one thing I’d grown quite accustomed to and didn’t even mind. I’d never heard of the word “saved” though and my age mates were reluctant to explain. I took it as the musings of an old lady and moved on.
I didn’t really go to church much after that. It was only until I moved back to Zimbabwe that I was really confronted by religion.
The UK compared to Zimbabwe is much more secularised. Religion in the UK is more fringe than it is mainstream. This is true if you take the population of the UK as a whole. However, if you were to look at Asians and Black People then calling it mainstream is arguable.
When I moved back home, I was shocked at the amount of churches and mentions of God and Christ that were in the centre of the capital city Harare. The most I ever saw in the UK were preachers on the street shoving leaflets into my Mums bag when she wasn’t looking.
Church in Zimbabwe was a very different experience for me. I went to one church that was much like ANFC except they were Methodists and much less flamboyant with their hymns and practises.
The Other Church however…..
The other church was a culture shock, it was super strict on its members, particularly women ( no surprise there). We weren’t allowed to wear trousers or shorts, had to have short hair, cover our heads when we were praying, couldn’t wear backless shoes (???)or anything tight and provocative. It was a misogynists dream!
I bought into the hype when I was in Zimbabwe. I had been there for 2 years and by the time I left I considered myself a Born Again Christian. I prayed everyday, read my Bible everyday and spoke the word to anyone that would listen.
Being born again didn’t make me unable to show acts of rebellion though. I was forced to attend The Other Church but, eventually I started to outright refuse to go. I’d go to visit my grandparents on the weekend and when they went to Church on Sunday’s I would politely decline going with them.
My grandma wasn’t surprised by my decision to not go. I think she encouraged me to go because of how annoyed my Grandad was at my refusal.
I was the first Grandchild to refuse to go to church. It didn’t go down well. Phone calls to the UK were made and letters were written. I was told I was a bad influence to my little brother ( the little ass nigga was pulling apart expensive Toy cars to see why they go vroom and refusing to shower before I even said no to church).
But I didn’t care. I was a Christian but I wasn’t going to go to a Church that didn’t uphold my values. It got to a point where my Grandad started turning off the electricity and claiming it was ZESA load-shedding. I clocked it quite early and started turning on the generator as soon as he left.
When I moved back to the UK my sister was super shocked at how much I’d changed. I went from going to church to bond with people from the same culture and background as me to knowing all the songs hymns and practises. I carried a tiny bible with me and read passages whenever I felt lost.
I had my doubts, it didn’t make sense to me that good people died and I had been through some of the things I had been through (https://tiniwanatalks.com/2018/02/09/letter-to-mummy/). But I did believe in an all powerful God and his son Jesus.
I didn’t start having serious doubts until I watched the Da Vinci Code. I read the book, then I did my own research. Finding out that the book I had grown to see as a guide to being a good person, was edited to make it easier to control the masses, made me sick.
I was angry for a long longggg time. The idea that I hadn’t been given the whole story made it a lie of omission to me.
I stopped calling myself a Christian from that day. I still don’t think I’m a Christian but I do have certain values that I have carried with me from Church.
I believe in the power of prayer. Not necessarily to a God but saying things out loud makes it real even if it hasn’t happened. (Speaking things into existence).
I also believe in the teachings of Christ. Particularly about loving each other. I think Christ preached love. It’s why I try not to be judgmental about people and how they live their lives even if i don’t agree with them
I also don’t believe in casual sex. I’m no virgin but I didn’t have sex for the first time until I found someone that was willing to be in a serious, loving relationship with me and I’ve stayed that way.
At this point I’m still confused about my Faith. I’ve been to church and I’ve taken part in prayers. I don’t feel the same connection that I had before to it though. I feel like I know too much about the origins of the religion to truly feel like it’s real.
Right now it feels like a convenient lie that throws shade on the truth. That we’re all going to die and life sucks sometimes for no reason.
I do still find myself wanting to go to Church and pray to God when things aren’t going right. I often wonder if the emptiness I sometimes feel could be fulfilled with religion but logic is stopping me for believing enough to truly commit to being a Christian again.
I know that there are people similar to me who grew up Christian and now have doubts that have prevented them from exploring their faith. I battle with Logic vs Belief daily and I have examples of good and bad Christianity around me at all times.
But honestly what do we do when it’s easier to just ignore the issue entirely? It doesn’t help that most Christians I’ve come across aren’t open to answering questions around the doubts we have.
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I’d love you hear your thoughts and if you’re a practising Christian. What’s kept you faithful?
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