Wednesday, 25 March 2020

Thought Picnic: Being a real person and not a faux parson


Serve it cooked
As much as possible, I do not want to wear my religion on my sleeve, I do write a lot on spirituality and beliefs, but mostly to explore the depth of our humanity. I believe for myself that elements of my character, values, and outlook find their grounding in a broad and liberal Christian foundation.
I am fine with contextualised insight, but dislike being preached at. Some time ago, I was invited to a WhatsApp group of the Class of 91 of my secondary school. Considering I have maintained minimal social contact with my classmates and schoolmates apart from a few on Facebook, I allowed myself in to observe.
Sadly, there was no particularly productive discussion going on apart from people sharing snippets of pompous religiosity with no indication of what it meant to them or how it affected them. I do not think I lasted a week in the group before I extricated myself.
A respectful disposition
What irked me most was I was probably the most religious due to circumstances relayed in an earlier blog that my nickname was Pastor, and at no time did I thump the pulpit with my beliefs. I was left wondering where and when they suddenly took on a mantle of religious calling to pontificate amongst their peers.
In fact, the ones who did eventually go into ministry who I respect for taking on the challenge, do not exaggerate themselves upon me to suggest they have a revelation too new to be ignored. Probably, down in their hearts, they do recognise that a prophet is yet without honour amongst their own. For we of those times together know enough history even if their paths might have been obscured after we left school to the present. Each is still owed courtesy and respect.
The nuisance I was
I know I have made that mistake before when I wrote tracts of religious insights and sent to friends, before I started blogging in earnest. My best friend remonstrated responding to one of my emails, he was not interested in my religious musings, rather he was more interested in what I was up to, my life, my circumstances, and maybe some intimate things you will share with friends.
Taken aback, I went on the defensive retorting that what I was writing about was really about how things affected me. I remember it was soon after I had the HIV diagnosis and when I wrote about it, I was circumspect about the matter but resolute about the lessons and the future ahead of me. I did, however, reflect and abandoned the activity. I would think other recipients out of politeness simply passed my religious emails to the junk folder.
Affected to effect
My hope is that I have the best virtues of religious and Christian instruction imbued in me to reflect warm and kind humanity, able to sympathise and empathise, ready to listen and understand, willing to consider a broad view of things, believing the best of everyone and persuadable of different things by discussion, by debate, and by merit. Maybe there are ways to see the positive and the objective with the ability to help or give succour.
It is a progress of constant improvement with a willingness according to Peter Drucker, to “discover where your intellectual arrogance is causing disabling ignorance and overcome it.” I am really working hard on that. I strive to be the warmth you feel rather than the fire that singes, the lamp that shows the way rather than the light that blinds the eyes.
This was not the blog I was planning to write when finished the first paragraph, but by the third, I realised I probably would be writing another blog on what was on my mind before I started writing this one.

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