Your God is A God of Silver and Gold
A memory comes to me as I walk across the now empty stadium. My then six-year old son and I read together the story of the Exodus. When we came to the twelve plagues, and to the slaughter of the first-borns, he asked me, ‘Why is God mean and evil?’
‘The Bible says you should love your neighbour and pray for your enemy’ says Makandiwa. ‘It does not say what kind of prayer. I say to you curse, you enemy.’
This not gentle Jesus, meek and mild, this is not the Jesus who said turn the other cheek. This is Jesus is at war. The crowd saying die, die, die, over and over again comes back to me. It is a message that appeals to the crudest side of human nature, the side that seeks to blame others for misfortune, a side that glories in revenge and spite.
I wonder what the man in front of me was praying for. Those swords of fire, swords of fire. Who were they meant to smite? Who were they praying against, all these people? Who is it that they saw standing in their way? In the nine hours that Makandiwa talked, there was no talk of kindness, or love for fellow man. No compassion or empathy. No giving to the needy. Just salvation, and a transactional sort of salvation at that.
At the same time, I cannot help but be impressed by the simplicity of his message of prosperity: your house, your car, your marriage. These are simple human desires that all human beings share, shelter, transport, and love. He is not offering wild riches, but simple things, transport, shelter. A man or a woman to love.