The money that is raised by churches is a lot. It could help schools with their needs, it could help feed those that are hungry, says the writer. File picture: Stefanie Glinski/AFP
After six months of not setting my foot at church, this past Sunday, I felt a great need to go. Perhaps my soul longed for some fellowship because for a good six months, my mind, body and soul were in agreement about not going to church and it was okay.

Don’t feel sorry for me. I don’t need any pitiful messages. Labels such as backslider are really overrated; I can take that.

I have been on this Jesus and church walk for more than 10 years of my life. Although it is the first time I am missing church for 24 consecutive Sundays, I did not feel bad about it. In fact, I regret going to church last Sunday.

Here is the thing, I have realised that it is not about the preacher, it is not about the singing and it is definitely not about the church members.

Over the years, I have quarrelled about the fashion parade that is the church, the vanity of the pastors at the pulpit, the classism that has taken over the church, the hypocrisy that has become part of the service and the judgmental attitude of the people.

Nothing has changed, in fact, it is getting worse. But as a theology graduate from the Johannesburg Bible College, I know the word from Ecclesiastes chapter 1, verse 9: “What has been will be again, what has been done, will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.”

Since I got to Pretoria in 2010, I have not attended a poor church. By that I mean, on a Sunday, with special offerings, tithes, and the normal offering, the money that is collected is no less than R15 000.

For churches that have built good structures, the church’s financial obligations are very little, it’s just electricity and water.

In Soshanguve, the church I went to is built adjacent to a school. With the church having been there for more than two decades, they have not done anything for the school. That school has got kids who don’t have uniforms, at some point the school fencing was so dilapidated and the church did nothing. This is a church that makes more than R750 000 annually.

The question is: after more than 10 years of going to church, paying tithes, special offerings and at times preaching; why did I stop going to church?

I quit going to church because the church does nothing for the poor and needy people.

Our faith is so pumped up with words, but it has got little or no actions. I may have been out of the game for sometime, but I do remember that there is a verse that says: “Faith without actions is dead.”

The money that is raised by churches is a lot. It could help schools with their needs, it could help feed those that are hungry. It could be used to establish tertiary foundation funds for brilliant and excelling pupils from impoverished families to study.

But we are failing the communities we claim to be a part of and serve.

I am tired of waking up on Sunday to go and listen to self-serving men and women who are all about their egos and pride.

Our communities need more than just hearing the polished English accents from tailored suits, telling us about the greatness of God when they have the resources to show us his greatness.

The church is not the body of Christ anymore, because he wouldn't even preach to people who were hungry. He started by ensuring that their stomachs were full before he could preach to them.

However, the church today is about making money, honouring those that bring in big tithes and showing off new cars, clothes and what-not.

As I alluded above, nothing is new under the sun. Because, Paul’s writing to the church in Corinth was all about teaching the Corinthians what real love is, and not this supercilious behaviour. Sadly, it does not look like we will see a church that takes responsibility towards ensuring that the poor are taken care of.

* Kabelo Chabalala is the founder of the Young Men Movement (YMM). Email: [email protected]; Twitter: @KabeloJay; Facebook: Kabelo Chabalala

** The views expressed here are not necessarily those of Independent Media.

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