We cannot think of worship without having debunked the myths of what religion is. The danger is to assume that the white man’s culture must be revered as a new form of African religion. Yet, this Eurocentric religion does not hold the word of God as supreme to all biases and traditions. Rather it submits white music, clothing, culture, food, medicines, branding of a white Jesus as doctrinal and dogmatic.
This type of religion cannot be practiced without white artefacts and emblems and because of this, it forces Africans to become like whites before they can be accepted by Yhwh and “Jesus”. This religion dictates that it is a prerequisite for the African be washed off his African-ness before sitting on the table of white grace. By so doing, it reduces the African to a slave for an earthly master and propagates inferiority of black African images. It soils the African value systems, robs Africans of their conscience and hands it over to the Eurocentric religious system. They decide what must bind the African conscience and that is idolatry.
How? Well, Eurocentric religion teaches Africans to fear the system more than to fear Yhwh. Many Christians are addicted and drunk with the doctrines of their churches and systems of governance more than they are addicted to the truth. A religion like that takes away the purpose of God and its sole drive is then to fulfil the vision of white supremacy; the colonisation of Africa, with a clear agenda of moving us away from what God wants us to achieve, towards what the church wants to achieve. This is a religion with no local vision.
This kind of a religion has a bewitching effect that forces Africans to maintain the church more than looking after our own families and parents. This is such an abomination because at times tithe paid to the church is more than the allowances that is given to one’s parents. Such a religion discredits the power of the gospel, “I have come to set the captives free” – Luke 4:18, freedom from what? The gospel should deliver food to the poor, freedom to the oppressed, health to the sick, life and life more abundantly. A religion that oppresses people cannot be the true Gospel.
Instead, this Eurocentric religion stands with the oppressor and manipulates the oppressed to worship idols of self or systems, to believe and worship the structures and organisations. It is a religion where there worshipper has no relationship with the God of the land, the God our fathers knew and worshipped. It is a Christianity, intricately woven with fear, designed with creeds that compel you to denounce your family and heritage so as to worship under fear.
In its desperate attempts to capture its subjects, this type of a religion threatens the African with demons, sickness and death if the African leaves the system. In some cases it curses the African for fighting colonialism and advocating for African freedom. It hypnotizes and alienates people from reality to occult/cult tendencies to deem themselves superior to the rest. A “better than thou” religion. This kind of remnant religion has become a breeding ground of heretics and fanatics.
It teaches Africans that once they convert then they are special people and that salvation through the church is the only means of divine salvation, deeming everybody else as lost. It teaches the art of performing fake miracles and signs to create theatricals rather than introducing the African to the truth and self-reliance.
The religion which we many of us adhere to is too rigid, too structural, too physical and not spiritual. There needs to be a balance between truth and spirit, Eurocentric Christianity neither has spirit or truth, it is an instrument of colonization which cannot translate itself into relevance and allow the progressive revelation of truth.
The spirit of Yhwh is not at liberty (in this Eurocentric religion) to reveal Himself to every generation. How can this be a true religion? When the institution deliberately violates the prescribed clear expectation of Yhwh upon the souls of man, putting more emphasis on artefacts and rituals, faith in clothes, foods, salts, waters than emphasis on the cleansing power of the gospel? When it teaches the culture of its preachers (white missionary) and insults the indigenous people, forces them to eat, dress, talk and practice the foreign culture? When it steals, robs and takes away the resources of the local people to invest in their own lands affairs? When it steals money from local people to serve its own interests and uses local churches as ATM’s to further its own interest? How can this be true religion?
A monument religion is fake, what is relevant is a movement religion because where the spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. Before we can even speak of worship, we must free the psychology of Africans by presenting the aforementioned truths and then we can begin to talk about worshipping God in truth and in spirit.
Like in the story of Jacob and Esau, Isaac felt the hands of Esau but heard the voice of Jacob. It is sad that we have seen such a production of schizophrenic black worshippers with white voices! Worshippers, how will Jacob cheat for his blessings? Does he need to lose himself to access his portion of wealth? Why must he fake the hands of Esau? How does he ignore the promise “Jacob I loved, Esau I hated” – Malachi 1:2 to cook his blessings? Did it work for him? Has it worked for the Africans?
Nothing destroys a person more than self, worse when self is foreign to self. David refused to go to war in Saul’s clothes, the burden is too much to live your life and having to allow someone else to live their lives through you. Jacob changed the hands but the voice still remained audible.
Farmers of Thought: Maponga Joshua iii Marara AChigaramboko
About The Author
Bishop Maponga Joshua III is a graduate of Andrews University (Berrien Springs Michigan USA); he holds a Degree in Philosophy (BA Theology) and Personal Ministries, with a variety of Outcome based qualifications from international institutes such as ILO (International Labor Organization). He has spent years in the corporate, religious and social space- a time that has made him own the title a ‘creative powerhouse’. There are those who think inside the box, there are those who think outside the box and then those who break the box and think-he is one of those who break the box and think. He lives and breathes change; his dynamic thinking has surely broken social religious, economic, national boundaries. He is the CEO of the institute Farmers of Thought, a pragmatic African citizen with a global view “Think globally and act locally” as he says it. He plays dozen of musical instruments, he the author of several books “Shopping Skills” and “So You Want to Be the Master” just to name a few, a life coach and social entrepreneur.
He challenges all who live mundane lives to move beyond cocoons of human limitations to excellence.
What a sobering thought for an African to be able to express his adoration and pay homage to God in a manner that makes sense to him as an African. A worship that is centred in God, devoid of the white culture and western imperialist values laced with biblical texts, is the only worship that we should all purpose to engage in.
I want to take this moment to extend my warm gratitude to Bishop Maponga Joshua III for this thought provoking and insightful fresh approach.