Friday, June 05, 2009
Dr Simangaliso Kumalo who did our 'Bible Study' time at synod, made the statement that 'Africans are incurably religious'. I was talking to my supervising minister and we agreed that the size of the Methodist Church amongst black Africans wasn't necessarily an indication of and state of the peoples' hearts. Church is a cultural thing. John Mbiti is the one who has pointed out most strongly that for Africans there is no separation between the religious and the secular. In many ways this seems to be a good thing. Christianity has in most places in black South Africa replaced or mixed with traditional religion. But it seems to be a sad fact that this is a form of religion, not a change of heart. Of course, this is not true for every church attender - there are many genuinely committed people in the black Methodist Church. But the conception of most people within the church is that church has come to be about power and status instead of about love and co operation. It is a difficult mindset to change and a difficult climate to work in.