I have just read a tweet about an albino boy’s hand being hacked off in Tanzania, for witchcraft purposes. Multiple responses are possible, where I come from, to this piece of news. If I had to share it with family members, one immediate reaction would be: “Ignorance and superstition” (my husband). Other family members, on my mother’s side, would nod sagely and say that that sort of behaviour is EXACTLY why they will not, under any circumstances, identify with black people and integrate into the new South Africa. On my father’s side some would say: that is why we emigrated for more civilised pastures, and others (notably my father) would just nod, shake their heads and smile secretly. One would then be reminded that my grandfather was a great admirer of Hitler. A moderate Muslim acquaintance years ago said about something similar: It is because they have no RELIGION (meaning a religion of the Book).
My only and shortish response is: the Church has failed the world. It is very late, but not quite TOO late, to rectify that. In Africa, specifically, the real, live church will have to separate itself publicly from identification with Western values. Through spreading Western lifestyle along with the Gospel, we have failed to meet the deepest needs of the continent, namely freedom from slavery to dark forces. Some have embraced the Gospel with understanding and subsequent release from these things, but for others the overtly foreign and imperialist associations have been a barrier to this freedom.
This is not a new thought. But what is the church doing, TODAY, to combat our mistakes of the past? Any ideas of how we should go about this? How do we cancel out the associations? How do we speak to the boy with the hand missing, and to those that hacked off the hand? Do we have the power to put the forces that demand hacking off of hands in their place, and if we do, why are we not doing it?