The Church Could Be More Vigorous in Its Approach to Problems Bedeviling Zimbabwe

Hayes Mabweazara (Address: 7524-37 Tshabalala, Bulawayo, Zimbabwe)

The long history of the church's indifference to the political turmoil in Zimbabwe has in many ways been castigated by well meaning Zimbabweans. That the church is finally getting to realize the inevitability of its active role in the restoration of sanity to our country which has been wrecked by a handful of intransigent people is encouraging. It however remains saddening and unforgivably so, that this realization manifests itself when nearly everything in the country is grinding to a halt. It is therefore not shocking that most Zimbabweans hardly have any faith in the sudden "awakening" of the clergy in trying to address the situation. It is also interestingly ironic that some key figures in the circles directly responsible for the problems that Zimbabwe is facing today have also expressed some reservations in the sudden awakening of the clergy in trying to resolve the current political impasse -- for the wrong reasons though!

It really boggles the mind to try to unearth reasons as to why the church hardly arose at a time when this whole rote was at its infancy. It is in this context that I am equally tempted to view the recent developments with reservations. Mere posturing when it comes to issues of this great magnitude cannot be afforded at this point and time. In a situation where "man" has assumed a carefree attitude to the apparent suffering of the masses and opts to continuously "crack the whip" irregardless of the piercing cries by his own people, it defies logic for the man of the cloth be economical with the truth in terms of the suffering of the common man on the ground -- outright condemnation of evil is no vice at all. There comes a time when human suffering becomes so compelling that the keeping of appearances can not in any way be tolerated -- the time can not be any further than now.

Interestingly and in fact more painfully, the long period of indifference to the disintegration socio-political fabric by the clergy has also been characterized by an upsurge of a coldhearted breed of church ministers whose key agenda has been to forge the interests of evil doers in effort to perpetuate the status-quo which is benefiting them.

This proliferation of "heartless" men of the cloth who sing praise songs to those responsible for the suffering of their kith and kin is no strange phenomenon at all. It is reminiscent of key scenarios in the Old Testament, where false prophets surfaced and took sides with the wayward authorities of the day whom they continuously flattered for purposes of self gain. One is particularly reminded of Hananiah the false prophet who featured during the time of Jeremiah, his function was to rubber stamp a rotting status quo through impersonating the true man of God. Resultantly, the true man of God suffered great condemnation by the authorities of the time when they spoke powerfully against the ills of the day. Similarly, some Zimbabwean clergy who unwaveringly continue to fight for the restoration of sanity and the observance of the dignity of human life have suffered unwarranted condemnation and criticism from key authorities who seem resolute on perpetuating a status quo that has literally destroyed the once vibrant and promising Zimbabwe.

Despite the variegated nature of Zimbabwe's Christian community, one thing is certain, that all Christian denominations have got a similar underlying characteristic -- the nurturing and cultivation of man's moral conscience. The church therefore is seen by society as a paragon of moral values that govern the spiritual well being of a people within a given context. This ideal function of the church can however, only come to fruition through a proper leadership that wholeheartedly strives for the observance of a good moral conscience even in the face of persecution. It stands to reason therefore that any church leader who approaches this key function with a double barrelled conscience is misplaced and indeed questionable as a true messenger of Gods values.

It is indeed a fact that, "no nation can win a battle without faith, and if our faith in our God is spoilt by our having to see Him through the eyes of the same people we are seeking to correct then there obviously begins to be something wrong in that relationship."

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Last Modified: 28 August 2003