The church as an institution in Africa is fast being reduced to a punching bag by many. From finances to hours spent to sacrifices made and calls for display of faith in impossible situations, the punches never stop raining.
The latest have emanated from especially non christian folk following the death of prolific Nigerian singer, Osinachi Nwachukwu.
Multiple reports have it that she was her man’s punching bag, and lived her life in fear of what might become of her ‘godly’ persona should she quit the church.
Many have cited the church as being unwilling to help the Ekuweme crooner and others in a similar position, by remaining hinged to its ‘better for worst’ mantra.
Like every other institution with devout members, the church is not devoid of flaws and inconsistencies. It will be dishonest to say it is. In fact, those who have had a wealth of experience in the church would know every twist and turn where these cracks exist and the discontent their exposure brings to the clergy and hot headed lay faithful.
In instances like this however, many that bash the institution appear to coordinate the attacks merely as a means to justify their non association with the body or oint speeches of the church as a money making venture that milks off believers to death. The aim appears to be more about discrediting the institution rather than providing a better alternative for its ‘victims’
Like Achebe puts it, if you don’t like another’s story, write yours. This writer posits that destroying another’s castle when you could build yours, only makes a bigger mess and leaves everyone homeless.
In this light it is logical to question what spheres or mechanisms have been established to fill in the gaps the church leaves wide, or at least fill up the pits it digs.
Osinachi was first a member of her immediate community and society before being a Christian and then minister of the gospel. It is not just her but everyone else that genuinely professes allegiance to any faith-based establishment. They are all humans before being anything else.
Pointing fingers at the church and exonerating every other social clique to which she was associated is only reflective of hypocrisy and witchunting. In fact, pointing fingers at all such institutions and exonerating one’s self is a bigger display of nonchalance towards the plight of many more going through abuse of all types. Talk about throwing the first stone…
Though it stems from her, the conversation is genuine should transcend the confines of Osinachi’s case to those of thousands of millions still alive and losing it. It should pave the way for a humanitarian (not religious or anti-religious) approach to rescue many others in similar or worst situations.
It is only then that the banter would become productive. It doesn’t suffice to tell women (or men) to walk out of abusive relationships. When it comes to love and survival, everyone becomes a kid and like a kid, victims should be led by the hand – a sustainable approach that seeks to fulfill their needs. These needs are not limited to financial. They could also be phycological, sexual and emotional.
It is not rocket science to know that pounding on the church door will not easily free the next Osinachi from bondage. Pounding on the doors of abusers and creating mental, financial and physical safe spaces for victims will do the trick.
The church might have failed a thousand Osinachis, but there are millions more to be saved. Fight for the living.
– Giyo Ndzi