The South African Series

Forgive My Attitude, Lord!

This Sunday we went back to the broke down Church spot for Sunday service. We didn’t go last week, and our absence was apparently felt. Several people had asked if we were coming this week, so we made every effort to comply. I had mixed feelings about going though.

How can I put this delicately? Oh, I know! :

I hate going to church in Qolweni.

I know, I know. I should be focusing on the fellowship that we’re sharing in the Spirit of the Lord, but it’s hard to focus on fellowship when you’re freezing and you can’t concentrate on what the pastor is saying.  Don’t get me wrong: There is definitely a sweet spirit in the church every time you go – however I wonder how much of that is imposed joy and how much of it is generated. I get the feeling that folks are just trying to make the best of what they’ve got. Perhaps that’s what ‘joy’ is after all. That, or utter nonsense.

The temperature in South Africa is frigid, and this Sunday happened to be the coldest, rainiest day that we’ve experienced to date. As I said previously, yours truly did not believe that it could actually get cold in Africa, so she didn’t bring a coat or a jacket. And so there I sat, in a 200 square foot church shivering in my knee length skirt sans stockings and jacket, my attention shifting between the rain pounding on the tin roof outside and the large white man at the pulpit imploring us to consider our sin and cast it unto Jesus.

You know what’s a sin? I wanted to scream. You having us sit in this leaky, cold room when you had the power to have it built properly in the first place!! This place is a lightning rod and we’re all going to die!

I managed to keep both my composure and my thoughts to myself, however, and remain expressionless. That is, until he said the following:

“You know, I’m so pleased to see you all here today. I thought because of the rain there would only be one or two people here. It’s just evidence that even though it is cold outside, it’s warm in our hearts for Jesus! Amen?”


“Amen,” some folk muttered. There were some foreign visitors in the congregation as well. I wondered how they were taking the whole experience. I just smiled wryly. My heart was pumping extra hard to keep the rest of my extremities warm, so it was the only facial expression I could muster.

I later confessed my disgruntled feelings to one of the ladies at church.

“You know, I’m really angry with the pastor for building this shoddy building,” I said in measured tones. “I mean, he’s in construction! Does he feel no shame?”

“He doesn’t feel shame!” she shot back rather quickly. I think she’d been pondering the same question. “Even me, I was praying that the rain would come HARDER so that it would rain on the heads of those White visitors.”

“Oh!” I laughed.

“No, yes,” said another lady. “Do you know when it rains we ourselves have to wake up very early to come and sweep the floor to clear the water?”

She sucked her teeth despondently.

I felt better that everyone else was as annoyed as I was concerning the condition of their church. As I said before, it’s representative of the value that this man has placed on the lives of the people. I’m all for suffering for Jesus, but this is nonsense; and I’m not into suffering for nonsense!