Some may think this question borders on blasphemy. But if you are as tired and deeply touched as I am by the screaming media headlines of abuse and so-called ‘miracles’ in churches today, it is a question that must be asked. My research and observations have led me to conclude that the majority of us go to church to look for ‘drama’. Yes drama.
Drama has many meanings – but I mean an incident involving a scene, a spectacle, a crisis, some excitement, or a fracas of some sort. And some church leaders have not disappointed in providing a platform for this drama, ensuring that congregants return week after week for their weekly dose. These leaders have lined their pockets as they provide dramatic theatricals sugar-coated as the word of God.
Wherever this unfulfilled need for drama emanates from, no one will ever know. Perhaps that is why the showbiz industry rakes in billions in dollars in an attempt to meet people’s desire for a world of ‘make believe’.
After the recent publicity surrounding the trial of End Time Messages leader and convicted rapist Robert Gumbura, and many other similar incidents in Africa and beyond, one is forced to reflect very deeply on the real reason people go to church. It is clear to anyone, including the church’s congregants, that half the things happening in that church were ungodly – but the believers found themselves religiously at the church doors every Sunday.
It is this search for drama and perhaps something beyond that will make us believe that some self-proclaimed pastors can make a woman have a child in three days – from conception to delivery. The same unfilled need will make grown men and women go and devour grass because some pastor has instructed such. We eat ourselves to a standstill and gain weight (acknowledging that sometimes weight gain is a medical problem) and believe that some person will command the weight to disappear?
This could look like a very simplistic analysis of a gigantic problem, but the truth is that the current state of affairs points to the fact that many of us don’t really know what we are looking for at church. So we become heavily susceptible to messages and experiences that are far divorced from why the church was established in the first place.
One of the leaders of the AFM church, based in South Africa, has argued that the problems we see today are because Christians are looking for ‘instant fixes’ to their problems. “The abuse we see today is a simple act of indoctrination, which thrives on the believer’s ignorance.
Hosea says “My people perish due to lack of knowledge” and religious leaders feed on that. Leaders thrive on keeping the masses uniformed and lead them astray. People have decided to “love” God not for who/what He is but for what He can do for them. They are too lazy to live righteously and pray for themselves. They would rather go to a miracle worker who gives “instant” results without so much effort. And the so-called miracle or ‘magic’ workers feast on this,” he said.
Until and unless we know why we go to church, there will be predators lurking in the shadows, waiting to prey upon unquestioning, uncritical and gullible believers. Unfortunately, the pulpit has been overtaken by some rogue elements. and the time to follow a pastor or ‘prophet’ blindly may be long gone.
We need to snap out of that naïve, foolish state of mind that believes that a mere mortal is a demi-god. When we do, we will open our eyes to the unacceptable sexual abuse taking place right under our noses by some opportunistic criminal elements that we have wrongly idolized as ‘prophets’.Post published in: Analysis