Just as I wondered how to begin this series, a song played in church whose lyrics capture a truth I have come to accept:
“You are the reason I’m alive today.
I am here to say.
It’s all because of You.”
Anytime I ruminate on my life, it appears scripted. I am a product of many giftings and graces; a beneficiary of the many prayers of others. Therefore, there is nothing to be prideful about. It would be like taking credit for things I have very little to do with. In many cases, my only contribution to my life path was simply to show up.
My Christian journey began very early, maybe at about 5 or 6. That was the first time I cognitively learnt about the existence of a God. But I think my journey must have begun earlier in the Christian walk of my parents – they introduced me to church and must have mentioned God in prayers at home. But my first robust memory of God was attending Children’s Church (known then as Sunday School) at Archbishop Vining Memorial Church, Lagos. Sunday School would unfortunately teach me many things about God that would later prove to be untrue. I learnt in church for example that the earth was created in 7 calendar days and that light was the first creation. It took many, many years to discover that the Sun and Moon didn’t show up until the third day of the Genesis account of creation. So, there was no solar calendar to mark time for a significant chunk of creation. It seems plausible that there were 2 timelines operating in creation and one may have been billions of years long. The two timelines could then have continued operating concurrently from Day 3 until the end of the creation process. I also discovered that the light I was told was the first creation was not. The instruction in the original language was to manifest – “Light Be!” It was not created and it was not the light of the yet-to-be created Sun.
My foundational Christianity to be quite frank neither prepared me for the realities of life nor my studies as a scientist. The discoveries I later made about the science of creation were only made possible by a mentor’s book. Watching movies like Lucy sparked the thought in my head that if humans were to exercise 100% of their brain capacity, concepts like the past, present and future would become fluid and the improbable job God gave Adam to name the creatures would have been very simplistic to a brain at full capacity. Again, I learnt none of these in church.
Looking back now, these are the lessons I can deduce from my first introduction to Christianity:
1. An individual’s first introduction to God is important. The knowledge base of the people who teach the Bible to children is critical. I strongly believe that Children’s Church teachers must take a course in science and Christian apologetics to answer the curious questions of children who have access to Google and are not afraid to ask “why”.
2. Parents and church teachers should encourage personal curiousity about God and a personal relationship with God early. By the time I left Children’s Church, I had read the Bible for myself, cover-to-cover, not because anyone in church encouraged me to do so but because my siblings and I began a bible reading challenge. I sincerely wish someone had explained some of the concepts to me though. For example, I’m glad I learnt to give early but no one bothered to explain the principle of giving or sowing to me.
I believe the development of an unthinking unquestioning generation is terrible and starts from childhood. If children are not taught to think when they’re young, they will become inactive citizens and Christians later on.
The greatest competition for the minds and souls of this generation is media -online and offline. Music videos are rarely rated so children can watch them. The other day I noticed that a music video with strippers was playing in the morning. This generation is being programmed by media. Yet, the word of God (the Logos) which is powerful media (words) is rarely adapted or deployed by Christians in contemporary forms. We keep making the mistake of Sunday School. We serve it raw with no context, proper interpretation or depth of understanding. The Logos, the Greek concept for God’s word incorporates an appeal to reason, yet it is watered down and turned into bulletpoints for success instead of being presented in all its glorious dimensions. This needs to change.
In Part 2 of my series, I share how and why I became a committed Christian. I also explain how I fell in love with God’s word.
Thank you for reading.
PS: If you’d like to begin your own God Walk, it’s easy. Simply say a short prayer now asking Jesus to walk with you and acknowledging him as your Saviour. Then begin to read the Bible for yourself to become acquainted with God’s thoughts. (You may search for my “Study Notes” to help you.) Send me an email if you’ve said this prayer.