President should not blame the Church
Posted Wednesday, October 23 2013 at 01:00
During President Museveni’s address to the family and mourners at the late Chango Machyo’s funeral, he said that factors that influenced the deceased’s belief in Marxism and non-existence of God were oblivious to him. He cited situations in which the church had lost its credibility and rendered itself irrelevant and dysfunctional in the human society. The President is, however, wise to have examined his experiences to derive a personal conclusion which is the basis for his belief in God. Some of these could be his common narrative about his escapade at Maluku, Mbale in 1973. Some are recorded in his book The Mustard Seed and many others such as Mr. Opiyo Oloya’s story of the Gulu car breakdown.
Eastern Uganda is still in a period of bereavement after the demise of its two brilliant pioneer intellectuals and this article is not intended to stain their achievements. Both were intelligent, but probably not equally wise because the Bible says ‘A fool says there is no God’ (Psalms 14:1). God expects us to examine our surroundings and circumstances of life and draw conclusions about His existence. Nothing can exist by itself unless it is designed and made.
Just as it applies to man-made things like TVs, cars and radios so are things we suppose exist naturally like anthills, mountains, rivers, lakes, the sun, the moon, stars, trees, animals, insects and birds. I, therefore, think that if the matter of offense was just church alone, the late Chango Machyo should have converted to another religion like Islam but instead he did otherwise. Were the current sex and corruption scandals in church known to him earlier but hidden from us?
The church is an entity established by God on earth to transform selfish sinful man into a creature full of love, truth and justice. It cannot do this by force, but by preaching and practicing the truth so as to convince humankind. The managers of this divine project are fellow humans called church leaders who are susceptible to error, deception, compromise and rebellion.
This has been the norm since the days of the Old Testament. The sons of Eli, for example, were corrupt, lewd and greedy priests but the young Samuel chose to listen and obey God rather than follow their wicked ways. Even kings like Saul and David had their own shortcomings, but it is their response after such shortcomings that determined their rejection or acceptance before God. In brief, in every generation, there are sin-hating sinners who repent and sin-loving sinners who pass the blame to God, circumstances or other people and fail to change.
In Uganda, for example, the population has grown nearly three-fold from 12.6 million in 1980 to about 34 million people. But many churches have remained the same size and very few new ones have been built locking out millions in darkness to determine their own destiny. This is attributed to failures by the church leaders to lead by example.
Ugandans must not, therefore, misunderstand the President’s speech and wait for the church to play the ‘saviour of the world’ role alone. The government must play its part and do adequate urban planning to eliminate slums which act as breeding cells for crime.
Charles Okecha, Mbale