The church is supposed to be a safe house for its members. It is supposed to be a place of healing during your grave times but also a place which guarantees no judgement because the Lord is meant to be the only one to cast a stone to someone. But I have had experiences that have pushed me away from it. Now, I prefer to say I am a Christian but I am not religious. But it isn’t always easy.
Growing up, I was taught about religion, to respect and live through it. My mum made sure to make me be active in the Catholic church. I loved being a helper during mass and just being involved. The church was in my every move, I remember always crying during days my mum would say we would miss church, felt like I was missing the world.
At the age of 9, I had made up my mind and wanted to be a nun. Their clothing and aura really fascinated me. Their aid to communities and activism really felt like something I wanted to do in the long run. At that age, I was invited 6 times to the convent to learn more about sisterhood (these were programs set up to coerce girls at a young age to join), and I went all times (couldn’t pass on good food 😉).
I started learning the life and started adapting and because of good behaviour, I was selected to a high school run by the sisters. Best believe that my mum was proud. All through high school, I was a devoted Catholic and lived as such.
But there comes a time when you start questioning some of the beliefs shoved down your throat. That came to me when I was 16. I would ask questions, but the sisters never used to have the answers. I remember asking how different was our church to the pagan worshipers since we both used statues e.g Statues of Jesus, Mary, most of the saints. I was told to not question the church. This did settle well with me. Also, I opted out of sisterhood at age 13 when I decided my mum needed grandkids since she only had me.
I kept going to church but not for the right reasons. Most Malawians will agree with me that one of the reasons people go to church is just for the surety that they will have a choir singing on their funeral. So, we go to just register that we are active members of the Church. Last year, I outgrew that. I shunned away from the church because of the frustrations I had.
For three months, I became a church whore. Jumping from one church to the other in search of one that felt right. I once went to a Pentecostal church where they were teaching their members how to speak tongues during the services. Most people probably thought I was devil in flesh because of my laughter every time they attempted to do it. That was when I decided that prayer can also be done alone, I did not need the church to connect me to God.
My mum is never happy about the decision that I made. She has called me all kinds of names with hopes that I would go back to church. She has brought women from church to talk to me but neither one answered my questions and hence making me more comfortable worshiping on my own.
But I do need the church. I miss the connection of people coming to church to just praise and worship. Do I want my old church? Not right now, not until some of my worries were laid to rest.
Would you recommend your church?