Conversations with my wife.
The trouble with mainstream religion in most of its forms is that it operates on a model that separates the sacred from the profane. I am going to go on a zen-ish tip here; If we separate our most sacred selves from our lived experiences then we exist in constant conflict.
One of the things I love about my wife is how easy it is to have deep conversations with her in the early morning, today we ( or I mostly) talked about religion.
I don’t mean to idealize African traditional religions but what I think we lost with the importation of western and eastern religions and what I think we can possibly grow back into is the lived religious existence.
God is not pedestal-ed away into a pretty building to be feared and worshipped on a given day of the week. When we relate to/with god this way, we distance our godliness and probably the most vital part of Aour selves from our lives.
I remember back in the day in my village, when someone died,the whole village would take some time off from the gardening and whatnot and mourn together. And during harvest time, people would take turns and help each other harvest, making easy work of it – this was religion and worship at its best.
This of course has mostly died out, I did not understand the significance of shared community then and I’m sure most of the village members didn’t either. And of course our lives have changed drastically and city living with people from all walks of life makes it impossible to live this , but I think we can still be conscious of ourselves in all ways and respects.
I think the reason we keep losing our values as Africans and black people in particular is because they are not articulated and documented,and that’s perhaps what was most valuable about them, the spontaneity with which we related to each other – one’s strength is also one’s weakness…
The difference is that it would have to be a conscious awareness of ourselves and our godliness that would help us stay connected.
We exist in the world accidentally, and believe that modernity is imposed on Africa by the outside world, we therefore put our African customs for reference and reverence and exist in the modern world on what we imagine are western terms.
See I don’t believe that “civilisation and modernity” are imposed on us or that they are un-African, history tells us that people went from stone age to iron age and would have gone on to the industrial age with or without outside influence, but because we feel that we were not actively involved in the modernisation of the world, we seem to think that what we are best represented by is what existed before any outside invasion.
In this way, we are taking on the same model of separating the sacred from the profane, because we have not customised our customs and beliefs for a modern world, it is therefore left in the villages and safeguarded by traditionalists and does not grow with us.
We need as human beings to exist in constant reverence of god and or ourselves – and for me there is no distinction. We need to attach value to life in all forms.
I will go as far as to suggest that the separation of god and self is responsible for the chaos, crime and lawlessness that exists in the world today. This idea that good and bad don’t exist naturally in harmony and we must choose on which side of the line to walk is rubbish, all human expression is sacred and when we suppress any part or live in fear of who we are, we run the risk of suppressing it into explosion.