So yesterday I was sitting down and reading comments from the important notice post I did about IANS and Love, Your Enemy and it hit me that a good number of my readers may be wondering where I’m headed with the new series, wondering if my aim is to put the church in a bad light.
I’m sure these same people know that I’m not so into church, and I like to dissociate myself from any of the denominations. Hence, this could be the reason for their mistrust. Lol! I totally do not blame them, though, and so in response to anyone wondering if the story is an ignoble act against Christianity and the church, here’s what I have to say:
1. Like all my other series, I’m simply telling a story. There are going to be villains and heroes and all the juiciness you have in a typical story. That because it has to do with religion doesn’t mean I should break the writing rules and paint a picture that’s unreal just to please or displease a certain group of people.
2. The stories are mostly true. Papa, for instance is inspired by a man I know very well (not my dad, please, before you start asking). Leye is inspired by another pastor I know. Pastor Love is a representation of typical pastors’ wives. I want to give you a glimpse into the lives of women who stand behind the men that deliver the word of God. Alice…well, I won’t say much about her. Wemimo, of course, is that one Christian that you often wonder if she is a Christian or not. Tara is the one who would worship her pastor even if she found him shagging a goat on the altar. The other characters are a reflection of the lives of people I encountered every day while growing up as a pastor’s daughter in a pastor’s home and being actively involved in the running of the church.
3. The story is going to be nasty in certain places. This is because in reality, pastors are human beings like you and I, and are totally flawed. The same sins people commit, these men commit. That you only see them in church on Sundays doesn’t mean they came straight from God’s armpit. They are flawed. They fall. They sin. The bible says the righteous man falls seven times and he rises again. Because I have been privileged to have a glimpse into their lives when their congregation is not watching, I am able to share these stories. I am also going to show you how the church is run via a system that is partly spiritual and partly business-like. There is no church that 100% runs on spirituality and does not seek profit. Quote me anywhere. That is why churches today employ the services of business managers and experts to see to their affairs. And it’s not a bad thing. God blessed those people with the gift to run organizations that are filled with humans and not angels. It’s a wonderful thing to use those gifts for his kingdom. This is what Love, Your Enemy is trying to show you – how God takes flawed, sinful, broken, fearful people and uses them for exploits. If you read the bible, not one of the greats was without one flaw or the other. Christ was the only righteous one.
As for the church making profit, it’s not a bad thing, as you will come to see in the story. How else do you want them to pay their pastors, other workers and spread the gospel?
4. The story is going to be spiritual in certain places. For those who are irreligious and atheist, you may find yourself rolling your eyes a few times. Love, Your Enemy will talk about God’s love, his redeeming grace, his mercy, his power, and it will delve deeply into the spiritual at times. It’s a story about a person’s relationship with their maker and how that relationship affects their environment and the people around them.
5. The name Love, Your Enemy could mean anything. I would tell you but it would take away the fun. So, figure it out yourself as you read. You may come into a different conclusion from another person who is also reading it.
6. This story has been on my mind for years. Yes, I have built and pulled it down so many times. Just for the sheer reason of not wanting to annoy religiously-sensitive people. I even lumped it in with Stranger In Lagos but my husband looked at it and said I’d be doing it huge injustice by padding it with something else. He was simply echoing what was on my mind. And now, that it’s out there, I no longer carry the burden of hiding it. People are never going to be comfortable with everything I write. The worst attacks and criticisms I have gotten have been from religious people, and I know they will come for me soon. But if you know me, you’ll know that I don’t give two flying bananas. People who worship their pastors are going to feel rubbed the wrong way. And that’s cool with me, as I worship the one their pastors are supposedly worshipping. We can all carry our kwanta to our Sky Daddy 😂
In conclusion, read, be entertained, learn and tell me how you feel in the comment box. When you talk, I listen. I take in your observations. It helps me. For those of you who have judged the series before it even began, un-judge it and let’s have fun.
If you still need any clarification on the series, please ask in the comment box.