Friday, April 4, 2014

My Faith is Bigger than Yours

There’s a certain kind of ‘faith’ that has become quite popular among Nigerian Christians. Now this faith has nothing to do with love – forget what the Bible says. This faith turns normal people into assholes, the kind of assholes that will let you know, when you share a problem, that your faith isn’t strong enough, or God just doesn’t love you as much, and that’s why you have all these issues while they, The Lovely Faithful, sail through life unfettered by the troubles of lesser mortals like you.

Image from here

Your daughter was born with a congenital defect? It’s simple: you didn’t pray while you were doing it; and of the nine months after, how many days did you fast? That job you’ve been pining for went to someone else? Obviously, you didn’t claim it loudly enough; besides, what are you even doing looking for a job when you should be an employer of labour yourself? Your grandmother was kidnapped in the village? Well have you summoned the angels to go find her? No? What are you waiting for! Keep this caveat in mind, though – your grandmother is a pagan so she’s probably not worth the angels’ time. (Why haven’t you converted her all these years? But God is merciful sha.)

The other day the COO of Farafina Books shared some information on Facebook regarding the new 62.5% tariff on imported printed books coming into Nigeria and the adverse effects that this will have on publishers, booksellers, readers and writers, and anyone who loves books. One of the very first commenters shared this brilliant response: ‘Make dem come. Na Nigerian masses go suffer, no be me! […] By His grace I am not among the masses…’ Two people thought this made enough sense for them to like it.

This kind of faith feeds the very Nigerian belief that if it does not affect me personally it is not important; and even if I am among the affected, I will find a way to climb over all the other bodies that fall until I emerge on top – by His grace, of course.

Faith is a good thing, an essential thing even. But I cannot be convinced that true faith is supposed to turn us into unfeeling, self-contained, self-involved entities. Trust me, your faith will not be less potent if you mix in a little compassion – even Jesus wept at the death of Lazarus, right before He brought him back to life.

So, dear Christian Brother and Sister, we know you have faith that is strong and mountain-eradicating. But, in case you didn’t know, when someone shares a concern the last thing they want is for you to brandish your faith in their face and tell them how your life is so much better for it, and how they need to become more like you. At the very least they need compassion, a little bit of understanding, and if you have it, perhaps a solution. If you cannot offer any of these, then consider doing the next best thing: shut up. 

I wrote a flash fiction piece for the April edition of Visual Verse, an online anthology of art  and words that posts specially curated artists' images online and asks writers of all stripes to respond with 50 to 500 words that must have been written in the space of one hour.

Please read and spread the love, guys!

Here's the photo for the month, by Marcus Bastel.


  1. Lol!!! True, True!

  2. Kindly visit I'm gonna share this. Nice write up

  3. Omgah! I'm just sitting here chuckling to myself.
    You write really good Uche... I love this space

    1. Thank you! And thanks for being a constant reader and commenter.

  4. Sigh. And in doing so these people just sully the Name of the very One Who came to save us from ETERNAL death (He NEVER promised a life of ease despite what the pastors say). Sigh and sigh, again.