Focus Africa: theological gleanings around the globe is a collection of hand-picked articles from around the world. I hope to encourage conversation on theological matters pertaining to Africa.
A lot has been going on in my life over the past month. I am excited to tell you that I got a research job outside Zimbabwe. And I will be leaving at the end of this month. I am grateful for your love, prayers, and constant encouragement.
A trip to Zurich, Switzerland opened me up to a world of brokenness and division – the Reformation. But as an African, I should have known better; tribalism is an enemy of progress and it’s more real than the PizzaGate. The church is not immune to tribalism. “Some of us have overemphasized unimportant points, and others have not adequately reformed obvious abuses.”
African leaders are much older than their country’s median age
Before you start throwing stones, consider this Barna Group survey: 1 in 7 pastors in the US is under 40, yet most of the pastors are only six years younger than the retirement age. There’s no problem with having leaders who are older than their followers. After all, wisdom comes with gray hair. However, “Pastors 50 and older, on the other hand, admit engaging younger generations is a challenge for them.”
Reading Tim Challies’ article, I realized I am susceptible to being a false teacher. When I publicly rejected Christ as my Savior I was a heretic. Teaching people to give so that they could receive, I was a classic charlatan. I became an abuser when I selfishly manipulated people using God’s word. As a divider, I fanned division among God’s people. Seeking to please men through persuasive writing, I became a tickler. And when I obsessed with something new, I transformed into a speculator. I am still yet to be a prophet. I only find solace in this; Christ once called Peter satan, and Peter betrayed Christ, yet Christ called him a friend.
Every worldview is really about identifying what story we live in. Our lives, our hopes, our plans for the future are all rooted in a much bigger story. Biblical theology helps us understand the story of the Bible clearly. If our story is a cycle of life, death, reincarnation, and rebirth, this will affect the way we treat others around us. If our story is part of a larger random pattern of unguided naturalistic evolution and eventual decay, this story will define the way we think about life and death.
I recently wrote about a good friend of mine who committed suicide. His name was Richard Nhika. A wonderful man, loving and caring. He was always the one who listened before he spoke. In this article, Christian Today reports about the circumstances surrounding his suicide. The problem of suicide is real, depression is real. But we do not have a word for depression in Zimbabwe, we call it kufunganya – thinking a lot. And the church simply calls it demonic oppression.