Just as I wondered how to begin this series, a song played in church whose lyrics capture a truth I’ve come to accept:
“You are the reason I’m alive today.
I am here to say.
It’s all because of You.”
Anytime I think about my life, it appears scripted. I am a product of many giftings and graces; a beneficiary of many prayers by others. Therefore, there is nothing to be prideful about. It would be like taking credit for things I have little to do with. In too many cases, my contribution to my life path was to simply show up.
My Christian journey began early, maybe at about 5 or 6 years old. That was the first time I cognitively learnt about the existence of a God. But my journey must have begun earlier, through the Christian walk of my parents. It was they who introduced me to church. My first robust memory of God, was attending Children’s Church (known then as Sunday School) at Archbishop Vining Memorial Church, Lagos. Children’s Church would unfortunately teach me many things about God that would later prove untrue.
For instance, I was taught that the earth was created in seven calendar days and that light was the first creation. It took 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. It now seems plausible that there were two timelines operating, and one may have been billions of years long. To my chagrin, I discovered that the light I was told was the first creation was in fact, not. The instruction in the original language was to manifest – “Light Be!” It was not the light of the yet-to-be created Sun.
And so, my Christian foundation neither prepared me for the realities of life nor my studies as a scientist. The understanding I later gleaned about the science of creation came from a mentor’s book. Watching movies like “Lucy” inspired the thought that if humans were to exercise 100% of their brain capacity, concepts like the past, present and future would become fluid. The improbable task God gave Adam to name the creatures, would have been very simplistic indeed. But, I learnt none of these things in church.
Looking back now, these are the lessons I deduced from my first introduction to Christianity:
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. This will equip them to answer the curious questions of children who have access to Google and are not afraid to ask “why”.
Parents and church teachers should encourage personal curiousity about God and a personal relationship with him. 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 instance, I learnt to give, but no one bothered to explain the principle of giving or sowing to me.
I believe the development of an unthinking and unquestioning generation 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 in this generation is media – online and offline. Music videos are rarely censored, so children can watch them. (The other day, I noticed a music video with strippers playing in the morning.) This generation is being programmed by media. Yet, the word of God which is incredibly powerful media, is rarely deployed by Christians in contemporary forms. We keep making the mistake of Sunday School. We serve the word raw with little context, interpretation or depth. The Logos, the Greek concept for God’s word, incorporates an appeal to reason, yet it is mostly watered down in church and turned into success bullet-points, instead of being presented in all its glorious dimensions. This needs to change.
In Part 2 of my series, I will share how and why I became a committed Christian. I will 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 asking Jesus to walk with you. Then begin to read the Bible for yourself to become acquainted with God’s thoughts.The development of an unthinking and unquestioning generation starts from childhood. Click To Tweet If children are not taught to think when they're young, they will become inactive citizens & Christians, later on. Click To Tweet The greatest competition for the minds and souls in this generation is media. Click To Tweet