One of the characteristics of growing up in a traditional /conventional family in eastern Nigeria is that your faith gets handed over to you.
You grow up professing a faith that you never (hardly) quite got the chance to choose. if like me you were born in an Anglican home, you were baptised as an infant and when older, got confirmed and became able to partake in the Eucharist.
Then maybe, by mingling with a pentecostal crowd you got influenced to do an adult baptism because somehow, your infancy disqualified the baptism you already got.
In the past months, I have caught myself in conversations that pertain professions of faith and religion . There was the voicenote series by NikNak.Co, that discussed random views on faith and how they came about (or lost) their faith.
There was also Mr Deinbofa at the last TEDxPort Harcourt, who discussed the complexities,or simplicity, depending on your point of view, of faith.
Among my Christian brethren, there is always this attitude to “poach”(for want of a better description) members of another congregation to another. I don’t particularly find it offensive but I have my reservations on why you would assume that I am illfit for the congregation I have chosen, and the congregation “you” chose for “yourself” would be a goodfit. Is that not already an encroachment on my freewill and a judgement on my choices (I know it’s not that deep, but it could be).
So if I feel so strongly of people from a similar faith, “harassing” me with invitations, imagine how non-Christians feel about our badgering. I asked myself for the first time, If I wasn’t born Christian and had to be introduced to the faith, would I adopt it?
Fortunately I answered yes! 😁
The Christian faith, as I have come to grow in it, and understand is about companionship. The one reason why God created Man, and created Woman.
God didn’t create us for praise and worship, the angels were/are already doing that. But for the communion with man, he made us. He didn’t create woman to fill the earth He had made with offsprings , He could have also done that without the procreation of man and woman. At Christ’s return and our redemption, we may be yet returned to this masterplan.
The masterplan of loving, accepting and upholding one another.
The Christian faith is not about prospering in adversity, or being more than a conqueror. These are innate characteristics wont to manifest with or without your acknowledgment. The Christian faith is about Love, the very essence of God, and loving only the way God can.
As a Christian, I am not ignorant of the great commission; to speak and spread and share the gospel (which is absolute good news) to every corner of the earth. I also know that the great commision said nothing of enforcing the gospel as law.
When God gave us freewill, He who knows the end from the beginning knew exactly what would play out from events. I have a few “logical” questions that popped up at this point, but faith is not about logical.
Which explains why people’s faith and beliefs are sensitive matters to dabble with. Conversion, Reversion and whatever other verb changes in religion are described with, we must learn to be more tolerant of other people’s faith.
Live and let live.
Tolerance is not acceptance. Be grateful for peaceful coexistence .
If someone practices a faith different from yours, it us NOT your place to condemn them to damnation. It is however your place to pray for them and inspire them to adopt your faith as theirs by being a living example of the goodness of your God.
I know a couple of people who grew up Christian and turned to Islam. They are also much better people than they were as Christians. I am fascinated to no end about this, I want to have long conversations with them (which is mostly because I want to feed my inquistion) but I can hardly engage them so much because we are barely acquainted…lemme not rub someone the wrong way.
This life remains a personal race. selah
Peace and love,