I smoke weed like all the time. I get drunk when I’m free. I fuck random people once in a while. I was talking to my mum the other day and she asked whether I go to church. Of course I said yes. But if my mum knew the whole truth about me, I think she’d be heartbroken. Dad would definitely be very disappointed.
I remember the last time I was in church, back at my village. I felt very out of place; not that you could tell by looking at me. But I remember somewhere during the service, somehow, I forgot who I was. I forgot the whole gallery of tattoos on my body – some of which I’m not very proud of. I forgot the various ways in which I had sinned the previous weekend.
For some time, I was just a human in a church. I enjoyed singing the songs. I listened to the sermon. It was about hypocrisy. The preacher that day showed no mercy to the church members, calling them the Pharisees of today. He described them as wrongfully self-righteous and condemned them in the strongest terms possible. His message really blessed me. I even found myself shouting Amen one time. Me!
Towards the end of the whole service, I felt sad. I felt bad that I couldn’t be what God wanted me to be. See, I don’t hate God. And I’m not stupid enough or intelligent enough to be an atheist. There are just too many things coming between me and Him. That’s why I haven’t been to church since Christmas.
But recently, when my mum asked whether I go to church, she left me feeling a bit restless. Something in her tone made me think that she knows I don’t go to church. But she didn’t confront me about it. She just told me that it’s important to try and left it at that. Also, I met this really beautiful girl sometime ago. Man, she’s the whole package: beautiful face, shapely body, beautiful mind… Name it; she has it. But she’s a Christian – the real deal. So I had to keep my distance.
And of late, whenever I’m alone in my room, blowing those rings of smoke up into the air, I find myself thinking of one thing. Why can’t I be a Christian? Let’s see, if I was to really decide to be a Christian – someone who can date that perfect girl I have just told you about – what would I have to do?
I would have to stop smoking weed. Fuck. I’d have to stop saying fuck all the time. Shit. I’d have to stop fucking people until I got married. Double Fuck! I’d have to quit drinking too, come on. And church people don’t have tattoos covering their bodies, right?
Let’s be real: Me doing all that is impossible. Why lie?
So I suppose I’ll just have to be a sinner; at least until maybe thirty if I won’t be dead by then. By the time I’m thirty, I’ll have gotten tired of weed, hopefully. I’ll also be married so sex will be right for me. And I promise I’ll marry a beautiful wife so there’ll probably be no need to cheat, right? As for drinking, I could join the Catholics. I hear drinking is not a big deal there.
But wait! Jesus made wine for people in a wedding. Jesus himself drank wine with his disciples. I imagine if Jesus was on earth today, he would take tea at the last supper, but at that time, he took wine. So we can at least agree that at that time, drinking wine was not wrong. When did it become wrong? When did Jesus become wrong? And is there anywhere in the Bible where the mere use of wine is strictly forbidden? I think not. The Bible, however, has advised numerous times against the excessive use of wine.
How is it that we can determine that some part of what Jesus did was right and the other part was wrong? Look, I’m not saying that wine and alcohol are all good. They do have their bad side. But so does everything else. If we were to say that everything that has even the least potential of being bad should not be done by a Christian, what sort of world would that be? I mean, a phone can be used to call someone. The same phone can be used to access pornography. The internet can be used to spread the gospel. But it can also be used to spread hate speech. Should we ban the internet for Christians? Should we ban phones for them too?
The foundation of Christianity is Jesus. It was Jesus who taught the disciples to pray. It was He who healed people and performed miracles. It was He who died on the cross. And it was He who drank and made wine. How is it that Christians are able to condemn the mere use of wine???
How is it that I let that come between me and God? Because it does; it makes me feel like I’m unworthy of even trying to be what God wants me to be. It makes me give up before I’ve even started. And I don’t think it should be like that.
Well, my mum and dad will tell me that I should not take alcohol and I should not smoke; just like they’ll tell me that if I have anything between my ears, I shouldn’t marry from that other tribe. They’ll tell me that it’s for the best and of course they’ll have their reasons. Of course by following their advice, I’ll have a better chance at a good life. But there should be a difference between our culture and our religion. I know they are intertwined, but religion is far too vital. We can’t afford to let our culture be a block to religion.
It would be wrong to use religion to further our culture, which is what is happening today. Why would it be wrong? Because if I go against our culture, then they tell me that there’s no place for me in religion, which is the same as telling me that there’s no place for me with God. Back home, if I go to church with dreadlocks on my head, or in a pair of ragged jeans, they’ll judge me and make me feel like I’m in the wrong place. Is that right?
Smoking cigarettes, for example, is bad for health. And it’s disgusting if you’re a non smoker. Everybody agrees with that. So is smoking weed; it has its less desirable effects. But so does eating junk food. So does sports betting. So does watching a lot of television. So does watching the Game of Thrones.
The church might discourage sports betting, as it is supposed to do, but it doesn’t shun you because you bet. Neither does it shun you because you have eaten junk food all your life and you are obese. A Christian will watch the Game of Thrones with all its raunchy and dirty scenes. The same Christian will frown on you for smoking bhang. He or she will talk about you in low tones and point you out to his or her fellows after church. They will judge you. They’ll make you feel out of place. It’s funny, considering the fact that they are imperfect. And even if they would be perfect, like Jesus, they should follow his example, right? I mean, He was all about love. He won over prostitutes and tax collectors by showing them love; by showing them that there was a place for them on God’s table too. He never shunned. All He did was love and teach.
Whew! I’ve defended myself enough. But to be honest, there’s a part of my behavior that I can’t defend: my sexual immorality. I mean, that’s just wrong. I feel it in my conscience; and the Bible is very clear about it. So I suppose if I were to be a Christian, I’d have to do away with all this fornication I’ve gotten used to.
Hey but compared to the previous list of demands that I’d placed on myself, this new list seems manageable. I mean, I can take alcohol in the right way. I can keep taking my weed. My tattoos, they are a part of me; they show my journey to where I am. I didn’t get tattooed because I’m part of a cult – though getting my mum to understand that would be really difficult.
Of course they won’t just receive me with open arms back at my home church, not after I tell them all I do. But they don’t have to. I can read a Bible for myself. I can pray; my parents taught me how. I can try to know God on my own. And where I have a problem, there’s one or two people I know I can approach and they won’t judge me like some hypocrite Pharisees. One of those people is very beautiful.
And hey, if you ask me, that is the whole point of being here; here on earth I mean. To learn and evolve and finally become what God wants. Shit! I didn’t know I could preach. And well, well, well, is it just me or do I feel the Devil’s firm grip on me getting slippery?
Maybe now I’ll start tackling the root issues of my problems. Why do I love getting drunk? It’s probably because I want to numb my emotions; because there’s so much pressure to succeed and be the best and I don’t know how to deal with it; because expressing the need for help makes me weak and inferior; because being drunk helps me escape my insecurities and justifies my bad decisions. Sometimes I drink as much as possible because I’m disgusted with myself.
Why do I fuck random people? Because I fear being vulnerable; I don’t want to risk sharing my real self to someone while trying to commit to a relationship and then get hurt. I want to avoid rejection at all costs yet I still crave that connection.
I don’t drink excessively and fuck random people because it makes me extremely happy; no, not really. And yet for some reason, I’ve just been doing it.
Obviously, it’s a long, tough road to being right with God; to being right with myself even. But at least now I’ve psyched myself up enough to try. I’m better off than I was yesterday. I think that’s good.
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