In Church I wasn’t Taught How To Love Anyone, By Joy Isi Bewaji - THE DAILY CRUCIBLE



Wednesday, September 25, 2019

In Church I wasn’t Taught How To Love Anyone, By Joy Isi Bewaji

I was taught to pay my tithe and other special donations, then watch God move mountains on my behalf. 

Not paying tithe was the only unforgivable sin.

Members would dupe one another; go into “organised” relationships, buy cars with yahoo-yahoo funds…but as long as they paid their tithe, they were loved by the pastor which automatically meant they were loved by God.

So we paid our tithes and hated one another.

The women grew jealous- filled with empty suspicion and distrust; the men ran bogus businesses.

But we paid our tithes.

Some stole from their work places, nurtured sour relationships with their parents, lied like it was going out of fashion; many times misogyny was in full glare…

Yet we were sinless. We were tithe payers.

But you see, it was never enough. And many times we were reminded, on the pulpit, with harsh words to: “UP our giving game.”

We did. We squeezed every penny from our lives to give so we could be accepted; recommended to God by the pastor.

Everything my mother said went through one ear, died a natural death before dropping out from the other ear. 

As much as she tried to remind me that family was more important, the church whispered slyly that serving God was more important- serving God under the interpretation of man.

So when I left a marriage, the church was nowhere to be found.

It was my mother who housed me for over two years. It was my mother who fought- physically and emotionally to have me keep the children. She was being attacked by a mad Ex while I was vacationing in Abuja. I wanted to rush back to Lagos but she said "No. Stay there and enjoy yourself. This one is not a man. Tu fia!" 

It was still my mother who paid my children’s fees through a full session. 

It was my brother who paid for my apartment when I was tired of squatting with my mum, and gave me a car.

It was family who rescued me.

What I am trying to say is: Church is where love is.

Not in the empty dubious babble of a man in a suit on a pulpit.

Wherever you find love, that is where your God resides.

That is your church.

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