Mathabelazitha/The anvil BY ZIFISO MASIYE
It really applies to every other discipline of life. While I watch the Women’s World Cup and Afcon, I think sport and football is a good example. The ultimate difference between sustained success and failure is consistency. It is possible, nay, also common that a team of average competence, or bunch of amateurs may perform a feat of bewildering excellence, perhaps for 5 minutes — in a game of 90 minutes. They then string along their amateurish, stop-start yawning display, flashing tiny spasms of sporadic genius every now and then, but generally floppy. So often, their special quality, which grips the hearts of bona fide fans and a few neutrals, albeit momentary and orgasmic, is ring-fenced to those 5 minutes, but becomes their defining brand of potential… a great prospect, a grain of hope that, while ever so encouraging, never really matures into that reliable, guaranteed class of excellence. But the distinguishing mark of excellent teams is in their quality of consistency… quickly attaining that 5-minute feat of excellence and then, replicating it 15 times across the 90 minutes in attack, in the centre park and in defence. Invariably, they are supremely organised and impenetrable without the ball (which they ensure happens very rarely), and they are mean, deliriously creative, swift, mesmerising and absolutely ruthless while in possession and attacking. To be of real value, class must run in our very veins and be replicable over and over again.
I hardly attend church and am least qualified to pronounce on matters spiritual. But the thought struck me this morning when my neighbour, Bible in hand, clad in her spanking church choir uniform and clearly ready to go sing the roof off the church, preambled her departure with an overly frightful and vicious eviction of this most kind and graceful old woman, her hapless tenant for years. Her whole huge frame shaking with anger I could never understand, her lip-stuck mouth frothing and swearing unprintables as the red paging-edges of her Bible, the weapon with which she was pointing at the old lady’s shack (umkuku), flapped uncontrollably between her long, glossy fingernails. Even as the poor woman, pleading politely as she shoved her little rugs, tiny pots and thingamabobs into a miserly tshangani-bag, the seething land-lady, in a tantrum that drew mine, the dogs’ and the little children’s collective attention, swore by her god, that should she return from church to find the elderly tenant still lingering about, she would personally strangle her! What God do we worship?
The thought struck me when I realised that so many of us Christians have conveniently confined our spirituality and the quality of our Christ-like living to the church walls and to that specific day of the week, Sunday! It is akin to the 5 minute frenzy of excellence in amateur football. Sporadic, orgasmic, periodic Christianity! Ever noticed how supremely polished our manner is on Sunday within the church precincts, or Saturday if you are Adventist? The velvet tones of our voices, the calmness of our attitudes, the beautiful names we accord each other… “mzalwane”, to the dead, “abaleleyo” or to cars even… “inqola zomlilo!”, the deep camaraderie and well-wishing? Well, tell me what ever happens to Jesus-like atmosphere that engulfs a Christian inside the walls of a church, as soon as the same Christian steps out of church, steps out of Sunday… into the living week, into the community, onto a chicken bus, in the workplace, at the salon, and particularly into the homes we live in. Why are Christians or people that purport to be such, so ready and so happy to park Jesus Christ every 6 days of their lives and on re-ignite Him at the church gates on Sunday?
The body and symbol of Christ
If, as my accomplished Christian brother seems to persuade me, the church is the body and symbol of Christ, I put it to the Christian world, that we are living in a raging wave of relentless attack of that very body and symbol of Christ, that the devil, in multiple ways has moved his hunt away from the usual seats of sin and common carousing, but instead taken prime position in the church… New Evangelism will require freshly configured and smarter strategies by which to defend and retain the territory of Christ and regain the assured supremacy of good over evil than the usual ways may guarantee. Christian excellency must be a realisation that the soul of Christ, which is neither the physical church, nor the fallible symbols of Christ, that are presently exposed and vulnerable to the claws of the devil, is the goalkeeper, the last bastion of defence of the work of God. It is the home and the family!
The walls of your home are the true walls of the church
Except it is society’s net sum of the trinity, father, mother and child, (itself a symbolic mirror of the Holy Trinity), the church is a shell that is vulnerable to the abuse we have come to experience and that is amply predicted by scripture. Unless we Christians disabuse ourselves of the notion that certain levels of Christian propriety are reserved for Sunday and the church or that our minimum Christian guard of honour may be loosed as our radius from the church and our distance from Sunday increases, the present-day victory of the devil that confounds us shall continue. Unless fathers, in their homes, deliberately convert themselves into pastors and astute ministers of the Word of God unto their families. Unless children begin not only to hear of the Word, but experience the practical Christ-like living pathways from their parents, in their daily lives and socialisation, the compromised experience of church ministering by a second tier of men of God shall achieve little. The ministering role, in New Evangelism is the most important parenting role of the future. Nothing can be more disastrous to the family, the church and society… to the body and the soul of Christ than the attempt to transfer that parenting role to individuals and institutions outside the purview of home and family.
In much the same way as the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, and the Christian ecosystem that they symbolise, the distinct, but interwoven functions of the family trinity, the children, mother and father in New Evangelism are explored in the next instalment. [to be continued]
Zii Masiye (firstname.lastname@example.org) writes elsewhere on social media as Balancing Rocks.