Explaining Christianity – a continuing journey by Ade Sawyerr

Explaining Christianity – a continuing journey by Ade Sawyerr

“Why do you worry when your Lord never sleeps…..prayer for forgiveness, should be our guiding staff, and we will sing Alleluia and never never lose our way!”

Ramblers International Dance Band

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Two holiday periods are celebrated by most Christians across the world: Christmas and Easter. Christmas is a period of good cheer and goodwill amongst men and has been widely accepted by both the secular and religious world as a time for festivities. People go on shopping sprees, exchange cards, gifts and greetings as we usher in a New Year that we wish will be filled with hope and prosperity. It also evokes debates amongst the various sects on the true meaning of the Advent and whether indeed the date chosen is correct or merely a convenient one. This long period of nourishment of the body, soul, and spirit always gives way to Easter and its more profound symbol of a Christ who lived a life of example and teaching but who was tortured and crucified and yet rose again from the dead and ascended into heaven.

These festivals present an opportunity to reflect on various interesting schools of thought surrounding Christianity. So, after these festivals, I felt that after several years celebrating these holidays it is time for me to consider how I might explain why I profess and attest to Christianity in the hope that those with a deeper knowledge of this faith will share with me their understanding and help strengthen mine.

Born and nurtured within a Christian family, I was baptised an Anglican and dutifully followed my grandmother to church at St. Mary’s till I was old enough to follow my older siblings to Sunday School at Holy Trinity Cathedral in Accra, to learn about Jesus Christ and the other stories of the Bible. For a while, I lived with my uncle Mr. Mensah, who led the daily devotion for the whole household at the crack of dawn. I also had the opportunity to attend Brother Lawson’s ‘The Lord is There Temple’ at Korle Gonno the Apostolic sect to which he belonged at the time. When we moved to Accra New Town, because there was no Anglican church in the area, I attended the Presbyterian Church.

In secondary school, I spent my Quiet Time reading the Bible, especially the compelling stories of the Old Testament: the story of the creation, God’s relationship with man, the books of the Judges, Kings, and Prophets. These stories were about how living a righteous life would lead mankind to prosperity and yet despite those teachings, man broke all the covenants with God and strayed onto the path of sin that always ended in adversity and destruction.

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CULTURE AND CHRISTIANITY – A Public Lecture by Rev. Dr. G. N. N. Odonkor

This lecture was delivered under the auspices of Gadangme Nikasemo Asafo in London by Reverend G. Nii Noi Odonkor, Chairperson  of the Ga Presbytery on 18th October 2014

ChristianityandGaCulture

Introduction:

Thank you so much for the invitation to share some ideas on culture and Christianity with you. For starters I want to admit that the topic is a bit broad and so narrowing it should be the way out. Culture is a way of life of a people and religion is one of the pillars of culture of a people. Since the context is that of GaDangme I will narrow the reference to Ga Culture. The Christian faith may have its different strands but I will be making general references to it.

Topic:

For me the topic is an attempt at reflecting on –Being African (Ga) and Christian at one and the same time.

How can we be truthfully Ga Christians? To answer this I think we should be guided by two verses in the New Testament:

  1. Paul’s admonition in 1Thesslonians 5:21-22. ‘Use your judgment, hold on to whatever is really good; steer clear of evil in any form’
  2. The Great Question/Confession: when Jesus asked the disciples the question of their life, i.e. ‘Who do you say that I am?’ (Matthew 16: 15)

I am sure God is posing this same question to all people at every turn of life and He expects an answer from all, the English, Americans, Japanese, Hausas, Scots, Ewe, Ga, etc.

Obviously, because of our common humanity there are things that we share with all the people but there are many things that are unique to each group. It is only by bringing our unique experiences of God together that we are able, to some extent, to appreciate what God is like?

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What is Christianity?

I was searching through a file my late father kept for me when i started secondary school. It included in the main receipts for payments that he had made during the period of the sixties and also my less than impressive school reports, a source of much aggravation during the holiday period when he sought to ground me and further pay for me to have extra classes.
I had retrieved this file from the family home the last time i traveled back home. i was surprised that there was a manuscript of a book dating back to the late 1930s that Mr EA Ammah the major authority on Ga culture had put together. I suspect that he must have been asked to review it.
I reproduce the document here for information. Scanning foolscap to A4 is not an easy task at all and it has taken me the best part of the morning to scan these 23 pages.
It is a long read, but it it a good read if you are interested in the vexed question of how the missionaries and the educated Ga sought to trample on our customs in the name of Christianity.
What comes across is that there was a conspiracy of sorts that in order for the word of Christ to be spread among the natives, it was important to turn their educated away from their culture. Sadly the same is happening today with several men of God of different sects, titles and hierarchies pronouncing on the culture of our people.
Mr EA Ammah was bold enough in 1939 to take them on in relation to our festivals and the Homowo.
I hope that other scholarly tracts would surface to inform this debate.
I also think that organisations such as Gadangme Nikasemo Asafo should bring a certain urgency to the work and help preserve some of these tracts for posterity.
Read on!!!!

WHAT IS CHRISTIANITY