Let's set the scene. I'm out, at a bar, with friends. My partner of 16 years and I are having a great time laughing and socialising and talking about JZ and South Africa's Junk Status.
A friend mentions: "All we can do now, is pray for South Africa".
I nod my head in earnest agreement.
The friend looks at me as if I've suddenly started speaking in tongues.
"You pray?" he asks. As if, me praying is the most bizarre concept he has ever heard of in his life.
You see, the thing is, I am a Christian. A very devout believer but (isn't there always a but) I don't necessarily live according to Christian rules.
Try not to judge me. I know this must be terribly confusing.
I am living with a man and I am not married. I do not often attend Church. In fact, I prefer to roam amongst a few different churches. Depending on my mood, on any given Sunday. I prefer to read my Scriptures online with those handy interpretations that they come published with as opposed to the Good Book itself. Having said that – I do love the Bible. I also love the smell of the wood oil used on church pews. The tradition of some Churches and Faiths are incredibly beautiful to me. Stained glass windows make me feel like the Good Lord is looking down upon me and I get teary-eyed when a Pastor preaches about something close to my heart. I also burn Sage when life takes a turn towards the sour and I'm not opposed to dancing under the full moon (for extra measures, you know).
I believe that all religion is referring to a very similar, unified belief system and that all the wars and beliefs that tear us apart are part of the same perspective if we just stopped being so worried about disappointing God. If we stopped being so afraid of making a "mistake" or accidentally taking the side of, well, the other side. If we just gave one another a chance as well as allowed one another to believe in a way that works for us.
This may seem very new-age for staunch Christians and again, may seem very rigid to spiritualists.
I think that's my point really. How can we all possibly, as diverse as we are, fit into one definition of what it takes to be a believer in any religion? If all language evolved from one type of communication then how can all our languages be referring to different things? You may call it meditation – I call it prayer. You may say "practice the secret" and I'll say "worship". Isn't' there a chance that it's all really the same thing?
I don't know for sure – not one of us does, except for our own personal accounts, what Faith means to us and committing to the choices we make in life.
I just cannot imagine going through this life without something bigger to believe in.
If science has only just scratched the surface of what we as human beings are learning then surely, religion is still an abyss of unknowns? The mere concept of this excites me. We know so very little and for me, the experience is the experience and I cannot deny myself from the Faith that has been proven to me.
All I really can say is – have an appreciation for the beauty in all Faith – try not to head toward extremism and just give it a go. There is something exquisite in believing, whichever choice it is you make.
As for me, I chose God.
And it may very well be the greatest "I told you so" of my entire life. I can't wait.
Ahead of Easter 2017, The Huffington Post South Africa is delving into what faith and spirituality means to South Africans here and now. Against the backdrop of a renewed wave of thought around decolonisation, a new generation are rediscovering their traditional beliefs, while some are reconciling with Christianity. And on another note, we tell South Africa's real good news story: our remarkable and peaceful religious diversity. In a world fractured along religious extremism, we have a large Christian population with significant Muslim and Jewish communities, who often come together peacefully and with purpose, as has been evinced at the memorials for departed struggle stalwart, Ahmed Kathrada. Read the rest of the special report here, or choose from our selection below:
- Decolonising Faith: Here's How Some Africans Are Rediscovering Their Ancestors And Spirituality
- Sipho Hlongwane: I Was Taught Not To Remember My Grandfather. This Is Why I Do.
- South Africa's Untold Success Story: A Christian's Nation's Peaceful History With A Muslim Minority
- It's Nearly Easter: Here's What You Need to Know In The Run Up