The Lectern: I believe in my unbelief

The lectern

The month of November is very special. One of the many reasons for this is because it comes before December, a month completely defined by belief. To mark the beginning of this special month, Keren-happuch Odinenu takes to The Lectern with her lesson, “I believe in my unbelief”. It is a story that slams down on and also appeals to your conscience; it warns you to not only beware of the deceitful, but also beware of your own awareness lest it strip you of life’s joys. I’m really interested in reading your thoughts on Keren’s piece because I expect a myriad of varied interpretations. Indulge us by typing those thoughts down in the Comments, y’hear?

Meantime, enjoy this one and have a November worthy of belief.  

– Chisom.

 

I believe in my unbelief

Believe

We had been standing for two hours straight – my parents, siblings and even my brother-in-law who was in town for a few days. The man of God had just begun to ‘prophesy’, it took all of my willpower to not throw up in disgust. I had tried everything to not be there – lied, faked illness, whined but all to no avail. My parents insisted on the entire family attending the monthly vigils and prayer crusades. Since I couldn’t share with them my disdain for ‘casters and binders’ who turned church grounds into markets where desperate commoners sold their problems for as low as zero price, I went along.

As usual, the man of God called out a name and asked if there was anyone going by the name from so and so place. Not surprisingly, someone stepped out. Immediately, we were charged to sing more praises to God for the reception of His message without any interference. As I watched with unconcealed disdain, man of God bounced back and forth while shouting into the mic, “I prophesy!” Everyone around me threw their hands in the air and yelled back, “I receive!”

The young man who stepped out was as man of God had prophesied, a business man who was cursed by his uncle and was now facing serious loss and business failure. It was the usual story – an uncle, grandmother or even mother had broken your egg of destiny and blah … so come, sow a seed and all will be well. We would be forced to dance while filing out to fill up the offering boxes, and then yelled at to dance and sow some more, as if his protruding tummy wasn’t round enough from our gifts. I was sick of it.

However today was different. Man of God froze mid-prayer, pointed at another young man seated directly in front of me and started prophesying. He asked the young man if he was married. He was answered in the affirmative. Then he said that he could see a young woman whose back was turned away from him. Man of God faced the young man squarely. “Why are you tormenting your wife?” he asked, “the Lord just revealed to me that you beat your wife, is this true?”

The young man hesitated, then nodded gently, almost imperceptibly.

The whole congregation erupted in vehement disapproval – ‘tufiakwa’, ‘how can?’, ‘aru’ Frozen in my seat, I was just as shocked. I began to cry. Because this man who just admitted tormenting and beating his wife was the brother-in-law I loved, and the abused wife was my sister whom I loved even more.

I saw my parents bow their head in shame and restrained rage. I looked at the man of God, and for the first time I saw truth in his alias – okara mmuo okara mmadu (half spirit-half man). How else could he have known when even we, their family, were ignorant? As he advised my brother-in-law on what God wanted him to do, respect for the man of God welled up in me. At the same time, I felt ashamed for my own doubt. What a big fool I had been, playing the hate game when I didn’t even know the real players.

We were all silent afterwards but my mind was a marketplace of noisy why’s and how’s. I couldn’t even listen attentively to the sermon from then on. As my father drove us home in the early hours of the morning, one prayer resonated in my heart – Lord forgive my unbelief.

Later that morning, I picked my mother’s phone trying to reach my sister since I had no credit on my phone and hadn’t subscribed for data either. I was barely holding myself together so I decided to chat her up on Whatsapp rather than call. As I tapped away at the keypad, my eyes wandered upwards to a chat conversation between her and my mother immediately after we returned from the vigil. In the chat, my sister was complaining to my mother; she had shared her marriage travails with the man of God, and had even showed him her husband’s picture so that when he finally showed up at the church, the man of God could have a private talk with him. She was embarrassed that he had shared with the whole congregation, troubles that she had shared with him in confidence.

Realization struck me with the force of a blunt sledge-hammer. Foolish! We were all fools but I was the king of the fools. As quickly as the tears dried up, resolve solidified in me. A wall of disdain, sturdier than ever before, was immediately erected; and on the outside of it was the one – everyone – who lies in the name of God.

I left the room muttering to myself – I believe in my unbelief.

 

By Odinenu Keren-happuch

Keren-happuch_edited

Keren-happuch is 18 years old and a 300 level student of Religion and Human relations. She is passionate about music, writing and art. Her goal in life is to inspire others through her works.

 

 


 

If you have written something which you would like read at ‘The Lectern’, send it in a mail titled ‘The Lectern’ to wordsarework@gmail.com. If you are unsure about a subject matter, still send us an email and we shall work up something appropriate for you. It does not have to be right or wrong … just your opinion.

12 replies added

  1. Uncle Phil November 1, 2015 Reply

    Nice! Fitting for a Sunday morning. Wish it were a true-story, cos my heart resnoates with it. Our “witch doctors” have rebranded demselves as “prophets and men of God”. I was with family once when one of those “prophets/seers” read a Psalm forward n den backwards! like it was some incantation. Respect for “elders” held me back from throwing dem out, but I left in disgust. Its d same gist, “someone is afta u”, Duh! Waiting for someone to “prophesy” about me so dat I can make it very personal, mtchew!

    • Chisom November 2, 2015 Reply

      That ‘someone is after you’ concept has faded ehn, yet they won’t leave it alone. And the person is shaa always from the village.lool. Uncle Phil, take it easy with them y’hear?

  2. Chizzy November 1, 2015 Reply

    It’s so sad what ‘men of God’ do these days.

    I am a Christian not just by religion. However, I have also resolved not to be fooled by their antics.

    They give all those in ’14days’ prophecy.
    The bottom line is to have the Spirit of God active in you.

    There are times when I discover a man is fraud the moment he utters a word.
    Recently however, my mum told me we had to go to village for prayers. I already built up resistance in my mind. After the prayers, I realised the man was not fraudulent and was even a priest in my church.

    I prayed the prayer Karen prayed o. ‘God forgive my unbelief

    • Chisom November 2, 2015 Reply

      Mhmm, we have to be careful so that our wariness of deceit does not get in the way of our joys waiting to happen. I think the key to most, if not all, of this is moderation. Just a thought …

  3. Chonkea November 1, 2015 Reply

    The writer just echoed the frustrations of so many Christians who are tired of seeing Businessmen Preachers who use all means to milk desperate miracle seekers who genuinely need someone to solve their diverse problems!

    • Chisom November 2, 2015 Reply

      Someone I know says, “we accord the devil so much responsibility these days that sometimes it looks like we like him”. smh

  4. classiq ij November 1, 2015 Reply

    May God help us to have a personal relationship with him so as not to wait for prophecy from ‘men of God. If you do have that relationship with him, you go see vision pass the pastors sef . Good one Keren.

    • Chisom November 2, 2015 Reply

      True. I mean, I don’t know about seeing visions but I know that Christianity is a personal race. The Church of course is a key part of that equation but ultimately it’s the relationship you nurture with God that sees you through. Thanks for sharing this truth, Ij

  5. Yemie November 3, 2015 Reply

    This man’s action’s the pits…yuck! How could he?! Was totally suckered in, as with the Narrator, till the bubble burst and with it, the opening of a can of worms! So many scam artists out there…low lives and scum bags, with twice as many innocent and clueless persons being taken for a ride! Nothing beats having a personal relationship with God, and hearing directly from! These lots have made nonsense of ministry and the few genuine elect and called of the Lord, to further preach and make known His glory and wondrous works! God help and deliver us from ’em phonies! Eish!

    Beautifully concocted and suspense-filled! Many kudos to you Keren, and thanks for sharing Chisom! Rock on you both must! Shalom! ❤

    • Chisom November 3, 2015 Reply

      I was suckered in too! Such nonsense made of ministry, now you don’t even know who is real or not. smh. Thank you jare, Yemie

  6. Mozes Dickson November 19, 2015 Reply

    I agreed with you up until you started believing, I mean psychologically its not hard to hide domestic violence, even physiologically, I was sad that he suckered you, it didn’t even strike me as an accurate prediction, I was so glad reading the end, its nigh impossible to find a religious partisan absent fraudulence. But the Bible did say in “Matthew 24:5: For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many”. In this day and age, I believe one must make sure they find God first before leading a lifestyle of a concept you’re not ready to die for, hence being “Christ-like” or Christian, I mean it was bad enough culture has made finding God difficult, then Denominations decided to step in, The devil is busy dealing cards and we’re playing them for him.
    thank You Keren for helping my journey to find GOD with this piece, thank You for being sensitive enough to share this epiphany,
    And for literary proficiency in the wildest sense of these words, (I heard compliments are in vogue this time of the year).

    • Chisom November 19, 2015 Reply

      Your words of praise are gospel in themselves. Thank you for coming around and loving our work, Mozes.
      Keren will be available shortly to better address your compliments 😉

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