Opinion: The Church: Are we walking the walk or only talking the talk?

Home Focus Opinion: The Church: Are we walking the walk or only talking the talk?

Reverend Jan Scholtz

A famous dean of ST Paul’s Cathedral in London once said that the gospel is a way of walking, not talking.
This statement brings to light the mindset of most people over many years; the impression that the church talks endlessly and that it’s way of life does not always correspond with its decelerations. The church does not always walk as its talks in society and so many areas of our own integrity have been eroded by our silent and subtle acquiescence and our retreat into a spiritual ghetto, in disconnect with the real world.

The church in my opinion has a critical role to play in the building of a Nation. Our country is wracked by a culture of violence (GBV) that threatens to destroy the very fabric of our society. Those who steal, plunder, murder, and rape continue the very inhumanity of putting one person against another which characterised our past. Violations of humans continue, in the form of crime committed by those who know neither morality nor authority, those who have given themselves the right to grant life and to decree death. 

The church, as a critical stakeholder in the Namibian society, has to help the government to find ways to address the immorality in our society which gives birth to crime, lack of respect for life, corruption and the conviction among many that it is only the survival of the fittest that’s matters. Therefore, in a politically liberated country the church must speak out, fearlessly speak the truth, and promote values of empathy, sacrifice and mutual sharing. 

A new moral and spiritual framework must underpin our efforts, to transform our country, to set free the prisoners of poverty and diseases. 

It is one thing to ask members of the church to eschew crime in the broadest sense. But what is actively being done to ensure this call to the members is being adhered to. Many pastors or priests turn a blind eye to “domestic” incidences. At times, the matter is not even mentioned at the funeral of the victim!
The church in this country is huge in numbers but the impact is minimal and therefore the time for talking is over, the time for walking in the ways of God’s Kingdom has come, if the church is to be God’s renewing and reconciling agent in Namibia. 

Domestic violence and GBV must be denounced highly from the pulpit. Where abuse is known, it must be revealed to competent authorities to take action and not something to be assuaged with psalms and sprinkling of oil. Kairos – now is the time, the church in Namibia cannot put off until tomorrow what God is calling it to do today. (Richardson, 316) I am constantly reminded of the words of Fr. Trevor Huddleston who, in 1950, when Apartheid was being developed with passion by the Nationalist Government, looked for the guidance of the church and, when he did not see much, declared, “The church sleeps on, although it sometimes talks in its sleep.” Therefore, all of us must take up the challenges, citizens and churches alike, as we strive together in partnership to build a better life for all.   
Tomorrow may be too late!     

*Reverend Jan. A. Scholtz is a holder of Diploma in Theology, B-Theo (SA), a Diploma in Youth Work and Development from the University of Zambia (UNZA), Diploma in Education III (KOK) BA (HED) from UNISA
(This article is written in his personal capacity.)