My dance with religion: A nest of nests 

I was born in a Christian family. I had a mind of my own and questions that sometimes boggled my father. My mother grew up in the Seventh Day Adventist Church. In Zimbabwe, the church is notorious for many wonderful and interesting things. The people are usually kind and some of them actually opt to be vegetarian which is weird for Zimbabweans also known as lovers of meat. One other thing that the church is notorious for is that most men who do not attend this church but marry from it end up going to that church. It’s custom that the woman follows the man to his church but women from this church get their husbands to follow them. My mother must have married my dad having bought into this belief that she could turn him into a man of the Seventh Day Adventist persuasion.

However, my father was and still is a quiet, stubborn, and wonderful man. In the end, my mom tried to get each one of the children to go to her church starting with my older brother. I believe she hoped my dad would eventually be isolated, give in, and follow the family. That’s when I came in. My mother got me to go to her church. Then she provided me with literature on the good of her church and the evil in all other churches including my dad’s church. I devoured the material eagerly with skepticism for which she had not calculated. I observed a few things; that the Old Testament encouraged us to follow the law, including observing the Sabbath. That Jesus also observed the Sabbath, but He rose on a Sunday. And that the New Testament somehow encourages us to worship on the first day of the week. That’s when I decided I would go to both churches. I was 8 going on 9 years old. I reasoned that only God knew which one was right. If I went to both churches on Saturday and Sunday then I would have my bases covered when I die. After my death God would ask me if I had observed the Sabbath and I would say yes, or if he cared not for the Sabbath but wanted Sunday I would still say yes and heaven would be guaranteed! Also, one of my crushes had started going to the seventh day Adventist church too and I hoped to bump into her there!

A month or so after I started going to both churches my dad said I had to choose. I tried to reason with him but he put his foot down and I had to choose. I chose his church and with this choice came so many question about religion. If one is forced like this then really what is faith? I went to church but did not believe as much as I hoped I would.

The questions piled up, and I grew up and found myself at St. John’s College in Santa Fe. I was free of Zimbabwe, of family, of a lot of the past as it is carried by witnesses. I was free to search for the truth my way. I began to explore Buddhism, Atheism, Questioning the church, Islam, The apocrypha, Deism, Believing sorely in love, Meditation, the big bang theory, evolution, mind power, wealth generation, the secret, positive thinking, The Universe and so on. I was in pain somewhere deep within and was hoping to find an answer in one of the above. Like a man racing from a lion and speed dating every hiding place, I worked on all these beliefs earnestly and coincidentally one at a time. It wasn’t my intention to go for one from the other but a mere happenstance.

I tried them on earnestly and whole heartedly like new fancy shoes in a fashion store. In the end, I found myself dissatisfied, under challenged, over taxed, disillusioned, and mostly empty. I found happiness through one way but it had to be protected selfishly. I found peace in another but I had to maintain it constantly. I found joy in another but it meant not examining my actions too much lest I begin to wander about morality. I found focus and purpose in another but I had to isolate myself from all the people who messed up my energy. I found freedom in a lot of them but very little responsibility to anyone else in the world but myself. In fact I began to be accountable to myself about myself to degrees I felt where beyond my control. In a lot of these ideas I found chunks and bits and pieces that I liked and which worked.

Later I recognized them to be elements borrowed from the Bible or if you choose vice versa. Whomever borrowed from whom, it looks like the bible had the collection of the best picked and chosen from each of these practices. Examining these bits and pieces felt like it was a trail of crumbs that was meant to lead me to the baskets of left over bread and left over fish. Now without my family, without my father or mother, I felt I could again choose or decline the Bible freely. Like a woman who knows all her options freely chooses to be a housewife in an age of feminism I was free to choose the Bible in an age of new thoughts and beliefs. And I have started to believe again, not in the church, not in doctrines by others, but in the word and what it says. I have found a church that can support me in my journey, they do not always say what I want to her, but they do say what I need. And I have felt so much better since I made this choice to choose God through the Bible.

Yes, I feel like a prodigal son who squandered his time, body, mind, and heart, but the jewel, the prize of coming home is so exciting a reward my remorse in overshadowed by my joy and excitement. I am still on my way home though, and I hope to get there before I die.

My nest of nests, is my faith in the word and what it says. It is not faith in what any other human says besides those in the bible, neither is it faith in an extra piece of text that is the doctrine of someone else’s teaching, nor do I have faith in some superstition loosely based on the Bible. I believe in the word of God as written in the Bible and what it says period!

And with this belief comes my belief in love and grace. Nowadays people get slapped on one chick and they cry for justice, but the good Lord said turn the other chick. Nowadays people discriminate and hate in the name of love. It is really interesting to watch. Nowadays people simply hate other people because of their professed religion and that is misguided in every way. I have learned humans are imperfect, most of all me. And I would like to ask for everyone’s forgiveness for believing what I believe, and being who I am. And if you accept my apology then enjoy this blog, for it is an expression of freedom. Be you, do you, and God bless!

Allen Matsika

Born and raised in the small town in the land of milk and honey in south central Africa, I moved to the USA to study philosophy. The hope was to understand where humanity had lost its way. I took a historical perspective on the trajectory of western thought and was especially struck by Thucydides' History of the Peloponnesian War. The memorable description of human nature in that book contributed greatly to my understanding of the human condition.

Life is a misery to be endured until we die. Even those with terminal illnesses find times of respite and laugh and enjoy their lives. So too is mortality a terminal illness. We will all die, I for one am glad this is so. But before that day I will define myself, I will not go without giving everything I have got, and I will love with all my heart.

I am proud to be an Afropolitan; a world citizen of African descend. I am called Allen and I love writing, eating, and singing in the shower!

Allen Matsika

Born and raised in the small town in the land of milk and honey in south central Africa, I moved to the USA to study philosophy. The hope was to understand where humanity had lost its way. I took a historical perspective on the trajectory of western thought and was especially struck by Thucydides' History of the Peloponnesian War. The memorable description of human nature in that book contributed greatly to my understanding of the human condition. Life is a misery to be endured until we die. Even those with terminal illnesses find times of respite and laugh and enjoy their lives. So too is mortality a terminal illness. We will all die, I for one am glad this is so. But before that day I will define myself, I will not go without giving everything I have got, and I will love with all my heart. I am proud to be an Afropolitan; a world citizen of African descend. I am called Allen and I love writing, eating, and singing in the shower!

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