My time in Ghana has been much like this blog, I have sought to educate but also it has been an outlet to vent my frustration. I have been called a weed smoker, frustrated, and a b*** and those are from those who had the gall to say it to my face. My blog has won me friends, but has also brought me a few enemies along the way. The narcissist in me however only seeks to want their opinion on my writing style rather than a defensive rant about my faults and failings. I have lived with this body for near-on 38 years, I know my faults and failings, I just want to vent, and maybe make it as a writer one day…hehe
Today however, I am going to take a step out of my world to talk about a topic I like to avoid. Religion, a very controversial subject, the topic has started wars, got people killed and can easily offend. Don’t get me wrong, I believe in God, but I don’t like to shove my opinions down anybody’s throat. I believe that we all believe in something, God, Allah, spiritual gods, Karma, some higher being that we have faith in that gets us through the day. That something that even when times are tough, gives us the power to wake up and make it through rather than crawl into bed to bow our heads in shame. As a Christian, we are taught that our sins are forgiven so even when we commit the most a crime through thoughts, actions or words, we can repent, ask forgiveness and sleep knowing that once we are no more, there is the possibility of eternal life. However, that God that I was shown as a little girl, seems to be something I wouldn’t say to be ashamed of in the country that I grew up with, but maybe in trying to appeal to every man, the essence of Christianity is slowly fading away.
This I find interesting, because long before I was born, immigration was actually legal. The condition, my ancestors had to be piled up like sardines with shackles around their legs and taken to the new land where the only job available was to pick cotton and be a slave. In return our gold and precious minerals were taken away from us, but in return we were given a legacy. A white man with long flowing hair with green eyes and a halo, he was the son of God who was sent down and born to a virgin in a barn. He was sent to take away the sins of the world. He was a hope for a brighter day, that it didn’t matter that we were robbed of our precious material wealth because we shall find riches in the kingdom of heaven. Fast forward to the same country that was used as a port to transport people and he still remains.
On a Sunday, in Ghana, tell a Ghanaian that you did not go to church and you may be accused of agnosticism. Tell the same nation that you don’t believe in God and well you may be accused of worshipping a darker force. When you meet a Ghanaian for the first time, it is likely that one of the first questions they will ask (other than why you moved to Ghana) is “what church do you go to?”. I never quite new whether I should mention the actual name of the church or say I was Catholic or why they even cared but it is better to answer than to have another long conversation about why you should find a church and pray every day. I recall tending to stay away from my charismatic friends while they talked about bible studies, choir practise, decons, church eldering and all the other topics, not because I was not a believer but I just didn’t really want to get into their judgemental preachy conversations, and for some reason they felt the need to recruit me to some church or another.
The word Nyame wo ho (God is there) was a phrase that I heard a lot. When things are good, things are bad or just indifferent, everything is sent to God for blessings. Every week my cleaner would say to me “God should bless you”, after she got paid, if she broke something she would also call his name I really wish he would have fixed my broken bin, broom and other things around the house that slipped out of her hands, but from that I could see that God was everywhere and that he was watching in any event.
So now I am back in the country that taught us about the heavenly father, and what’s the first thing that I hear. Apparently, the word Jesus was not recognised as word when writing a greeting card from a florist. There was something about people using the word as a derogatory term, I think it’s because they didn’t want to offend any other religion. Why do I say that, for a long time we have stopped using the term Happy Christmas, instead “Happy Holidays”. My school, a Catholic school is now an Academy, the Cannon has been dropped and now who knows if they even observe any of the Catholic observations. I appreciated the disciplines of being in a Catholic school, but now I think in an effort to be an every school for every child, it has lost its way and the school is not the same one I used to go to. Which is sad, because ultimately it was a Catholic school, had it been a school of another faith, I would have felt just as passionately, as it is what it is and just like anything or anyone, trying to be something you are not is a risk of failure.
Thankfully we still have Songs of Praise on a Sunday otherwise I don’t think I would remember where I am.
Now I am not knocking any other religion, I am all for tolerance and live and let live, however, I just find it interesting that on one end I have lived in an extremely Christian society and now have come back to one that is rather indifferent. Then when you look at the history, it just makes one wonder if one day, the word Christian may be taken away altogether.
But hey, ho, without running the risk of offending anyone, I have said my piece, all I can do is follow my learnings and love one another as Christ loves me. That’s a mission in itself because there are some people that I have come across who make that painfully hard to do. I am trying to be less controversial (so I am wondering why I picked this topic), but some things just have to be said. I have never shied away from my truth so I don’t see why I should start now.
In the meantime, I bid you a blessed day, until the next time.