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Subomi @subomiplumptre
, 18 tweets, 4 min read Read on Twitter
I had lunch with my Pastor yesterday. We discussed many things, including my growing scepticism about the traditional structure of physical churches.
I also mentioned that I was no longer attending church regularly, as I was taking some personal time to deconstruct the nature of Christ's relationship with humans, outside church walls.
At some point in our lunch date, I launched into the familiar spiel of why there was so much religion in #Nigeria, yet lacklustre governance. I wondered about the salt-seasoning and light-giving properties of the church in Nigeria (Matthew 5:12-16).
My pastor said something that ignited a light bulb in my head - "Subomi, you don't need religion to create a great country or to ensure good governance." We then went on to talk about the nations of the world that are not religious, yet exhibit great governance.
Yesterday's lunch was a learning point for me. When we quote Matthew 5:12-16, we forget the scripture is directed at individuals, not local church structures.
Salt is a preservative. If one believes that the world will eventually come to an end and be reborn, then at best, the Christian's presence serves as a preservative, to give enough time for people to be reconciled to God.
If salt is seasoning, then it is one of many elements in a dish. It cannot replace the active roles of chefs who combine ingredients to produce world-class concoctions. Governance is a project management matter, not an input issue.
If Christians are light, then they provide direction and illumination in the vast construction site we call life. People still need to do the actual building. If Christians are light, then they also shape minds and hearts though values-based engagement and authentic wisdom.
However, if the physical church (as presently constituted) is where the pastor presides, then, it is a TRAINING ground (Ephesians 4: 10-12 AMP), among other things. One of its roles is to equip the saints.
Among other things, church is an interactive academy for values and knowledge. But, the students must graduate someday and get jobs of their own. They cannot remain in school forever.
It is clearer to me that many times, the physical church serves its purpose. It is some church members who refuse to leave its safe confines to do actual work in the real world. They get empowered in church but use the knowledge for themselves and for their families, not society.
It is church members who are so obsessed with making heaven, that they don't mind living in hell on earth. Hell-holes like Nigeria.
It is church members who outsource charity and social responsibility to the inefficient administrative structures of local assemblies. The reasoning is that after all, they've paid their tithes.
It is church members who do not get entangled in the "affairs of this world" or in politics, yet are quick to play the government blame game. Perhaps the problem of Nigeria is not lazy youths. It is lazy oblivious protected church members.
Tangentially, I also believe that like other NGOs, registered churches can come together as civil society participants. They can advocate for good governance and speak to issues.
The law recognises that churches are NGOs. Since they represent large swathes of citizens, they are powerful constituents. Whether or not they choose to deploy that power for good or to enrich their leaders instead, is another matter entirely.
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