Let’s have Church: Doctrine


Whatever the case, he appeared to think about the word “abomination,” and then he said, “I myself, I’m no longer very much into church these days, as you know. See, I’m a businessman. And if you’re a businessman, then one thing you know is that business is all about gathering as many customers as possible and retaining them. Religion is basically a business, a very large corporation. Take the Anglican or Catholic Church, for instance. You have all these doctrines that are set up, and we are told that God is the reason for all of them.”

“Isn’t He?” I asked.

Chibundu shook his head. “No. I don’t think He is.”

“Why not?”

“Because if you look deeply enough into those doctrines, you begin to see that the Church just wants to do whatever it can to get as many followers as possible and to keep them under control. This is the way business works. So the Catholic Church tells us ‘Be fruitful and multiply’ means ‘Don’t use contraceptives’. And people actually soak it up and wind up having twelve children that they can’t possibly take care of. And they continue to have more children for fear of using contraceptives and angering God. And really, it’s not even God who’s making them do it. it’s the Church that has interpreted God’s words to its own benefit. Because the Church wants as many members as possible, as many followers as possible.”

“But that’s not us. We’re not even Catholics. What’s your point?”

“My point is that business is the reason for things like doctrines. Business is the reason for words like ‘abomination.’ The Church is the oldest and most successful business known to man, because it knows not only how to recruit customers but also how to control them with like doctrines and words like ‘abomination’. Bottom line is, take your abomination with a grain of salt. My sense of it is that some things are called abominations that really aren’t. and anyway, like you said, your mama is praying over you. And here you are, praying for yourself. If I were God, and if it turned out that you were actually committing an abomination, then I’d forgive you.”

“Don’t you want to know what my abomination is?”

Pg. 231-232, Under the Udala Tress, Chinelo Okparanta


Let’s Have Church: Black Theology


“At some stage one can foresee a situation where black people will feel they have nothing to live for and will shout unto their God ‘Thy will be done.’ Indeed His will shall be done but it shall not appeal equally to all mortals for indeed we have different versions of His will. If the white God has been doing the talking all along, at some stage the black God will have to raise His voice and make Himself heard over and above the noises of His counterpart. (…)

What of white man’s religion – Christianity? It seems people involved in imparting Christianity to the black people steadfastly refuse to get rid of the rotten foundation which many of the missionaries created when they came. To this date black people find no message for them in the Bible simply because our ministers are still too busy with moral trivialities. They blow these up as the most important things that Jesus had to say to people. They constantly urge the people to find fault in themselves and by so doing detract from the essence of the struggle in which people are involved. (…)

The bible must not be seen to preach that all authority is divinely instituted. It must rather preach that it is a sin to allow oneself to be oppressed. (…) It [Black theology] seeks to demonstrate the absurdity of the assumption by whites that ‘ancestor worship’ was necessarily a superstition and that Christianity is a scientific religion. While basing itself on the Christian message, black theology seeks to show that Christianity is an adaptable religion that fits in with the cultural situation of the people to whom it is imparted.

Black theology seeks to depict Jesus as a fighting God who saw the exchange of Roman money – the oppressor’s coinage- in His father’s temple as so sacrilegious that it merited a violent reaction from Him – the Son of Man.”
Pg.33-34, I Write What I Like; Steve Biko.

*will be sharing weekly reflections/excerpts from books I’ve read/I’m reading under ‘Let’s Have Church*