Sunday I went to church and felt like it was a good place to be. The first week I went, I had told BN I wanted to go to a church where they spoke English or French. I showed him a video that I got from a church I went to a sometimes back in NS and was like, I want to go to a church like this. So, after some delicious ginger coffee, we went outside and hailed a moto. BN said a few words to the moto driver including ‘CLA’. I hopped on, held my purse with one hand and the one of the handles with my other and I was on my way to Christian Life Assembly. Thank God for B-roc (BN’s new nickname).
The first week the pastor was talking about letting go of tradition that people still mingle with their new faith. He gave the example of how some people still marry first cousins, and another of how there still stereotypes against certain tribes that need to stop e.g. if you marry people from this tribe, you will have bad luck. I thought this was interesting because I’d read that a lot of people here mix the Christian faith with some traditional beliefs. I didn’t’ think that was necessarily a bad thing because I thought at least they were living the faith in their context; that it had melded with their knowledge of God to create something organic and not externally imposed. But I needed to know what these traditions were to know if it was good that they were being told to let go of them or bad.
Based on those examples the pastor gave in church, I agree with him that there are some traditions and cultural beliefs that just need to go. But this doesn’t just go for “tribal Africans”, it goes for Christian north Americans as well. We may not have tribes but some of us definitely have biases towards certain people and prejudices against others. I guess what I’m trying to say is that I was a bit relieved that day to learn that the cultural beliefs and practices that had to be abolished weren’t essential cultural pillars that would have caused the society to crumble into a state of lost identity, religious colonization, and confusion for the sake of a new faith. Rather, the examples the pastor gave of cultural practices that need to stop, apply very much to people in Canada too. They make sense. Don’t be mean/rude/snub people because they have a certain last name or look a certain way. It makes sense. I realized that I shouldn’t automatically be suspicious when I read or hear that certain people need to change if they really want to walk in the faith. It’s just that the language used to refer especially to Africans e.g. traditional, practices, beliefs, customs, tribal, indigenous, has a way of creating a separation between normal people who do normal things and other people who have “traditional indigenous customs.” Making people believe that anything that has now been nicely labeled as tribal, indigenous and traditional would best be removed completely and replaced with how we do things because this is what the faith looks , feels, smells and sounds like to us. I have a problem with that.
But that’s not really what I wanted to talk about in this section. It’s funny how when you write, your brain just reroutes you towards something that it wants to say. I really just wanted to talk about how church was good and how the people I met were nice -not overly friendly (which was good), but self-extending and welcoming. I wanted to share that God had been so faithful and had made me feel good going to his house and gave me something when I should have been going to give him something. He gave me people. I’ve been feeling a teeny bit lonely some evenings and both weeks that I went to church I met some really great people. The first week one girl came and picked me up in the evening to go to this thing called Heart of Worship (short message, singing and African tea-yum!). Last week, (this is the clincher) I met a Ghanaian family who said that they’d invite me over to eat Kenkey! (I’ve been talking about eating a lot since I’ve been here haven’t I?). Okay, that sounded like I’m only excited about the Kenkey, which isn’t the case. I’m not even really that into kenkey, I’m more a banku girl. Really, I’m excited because I met people who I guess gave me a sense of familiarity-three sisters and their parents. One of the sisters reminds me of my sisters back in the ‘Nish , K-eze (you know who you are).
So that was my weekend. I met great people, played with kids, and bought some bangin’ bangles. My computer is still working. God is good.