What you need to know:
We need the church to find its centre in real lives, in real ways that fight against all forms of discriminations from the use of divisive language that causes harm, gender inequality, elitism and impeding sexual education.
We need new preachers who’ll introduce us to theology that doesn’t intend to keep us on a leash, but rather guide us to new revelations because the God I know is a God of change, movement and revelations.
It’s that time when many go to church, not to claim righteousness, but to offer themselves in gratitude of the many things they’ve survived.
One of the things that I want us to stop is the wilful blindness that the church implores in conversations around sex.
I single out this particular issue because we are home with our youth of all ages and the one thing that silently worries us is their exploration of sex. The church, as we all know it, is supposed to be a house of safety free of all judgment, but this house has been notorious in the manner in which it subjectively labels and handles anything that has to do with sexual conversations.
As a recovering Catholic, I’m elated that a female pastor — whom to me is both an existence of two powerful contradicting identities of being female and preaching the word of God — is dismantling the whole idea of sex in a church.
My reason for pointing out this particular pastor’s gender is because in a Catholic church women did everything else like sing, make announcements, recite prayers but never preached. I never saw any female command authority like the male bishops, which makes you understand why this female pastor is a freeing voice.
The fact that she is able to use a platform — which I only saw reserved for men — to demystify sex and sexual pleasure is by fact setting the ground for a broad conversation on sexual health rights.
Which implies that we can finally take off the cloak of shame we wear when discussing or even teaching about sex. Secondly, she is making normal the human desire for sexual pleasure by destigmatising this very act, hence creating room for all of us to learn and eventually teach healthier sexual practices. This cannot be happening at a better time when concerns about teen pregnancies and unending sexual predation that happens everywhere, including the church itself, have been on the rise.
The church’s solution is always to pray away the “evil sexual spirit” and refusing to engage in the broad sex conversation from a place of empowerment and responsibility. This is the reason why sexual predators hide in the church because it doesn’t recognise sexual predation as a crime, leading to zero consequences.
The church stubbornly ignores justice and instead pushes for blind forgiveness yet God is, and will always be, a God of justice and not passivity. The church blurs its role in shaping real knowledge on sex education because its leadership remains stuck in impracticalities while nothing is static.
It’s time the church, with its massive power over people’s lives, be willing to unlearn stigmas that surround several issues such as divorce, single parenthood, contraception, childlessness, sex and sexual health so societies can begin to set a foundation for tangible humanity.
This requires that it begins to seek and practise understanding, instead of judgment. With understanding, the church will see that there are many human problems that require human solutions and that prayer alone will never be enough. I am, however, happy we are at this point where the message at the pulpit is slowly changing.
The writer is a policy analyst; [email protected]