On arrival to the UK, he quickly realised that the family he was staying with had only just arrived in the UK themselves. He thought this was an amazing coincidence and a fantastic opportunity for both him and the family to explore the country together. The Monk was also curious to find out more about Black culture, in particular he wanted to know the Family’s thoughts on the statement made by Kanye West about slavery being a choice.
So, at the earliest opportunity he found, he decided to engage the family in a conversation about black empowerment asking the father of the family, the Monk said “what are your thoughts on that handsome young man, Kanye West and what he said about Slavery being a choice for black people”. “Oh, don’t even remind me about that comment”, said the father, I thought it was unbelievable. How can he say that Black people are enslaved by choice, it’s like saying that everyone in the community is suffering from…. what is that thing called? You know that illness where a victim of abuse identifies and attaches, or bonds, positively with their abuser. “Oh, you mean Stockholm syndrome”, replied the Monk. Yes, that’s it. I’m sorry, English is not my first language so I struggle to find the right words a lot. “It’s OK”, said the Monk. Sensing the topic was a bit sensitive the Monk decided to move the conversation on, in order not to risk causing further offence.
The following day, the family got up early to go to church and invited their visitor to join them. He gladly accepted the offer.
On arrival to the church they quickly settled in. After the songs of praise and sermon, the Pastor invited those with, problems to come up to the alter for prayers. First up was a woman having marital problems, having listened to the woman’s problem the pastor proceeded to tell the woman that the problem in her love life was down to her enemies, some are within are family members and some are posing as friends. “Let me pray for you” the Pastor said. As he started. “Father, lord, I pray that you destroy the enemies of this young lady, father I pray you set them on fire, burn, burn you enemies of this lady I wish you never progress in life, I curse you enemies of this lady and/or children. I pray you never progress. I pray everything you set your hand on shall not prosper. In the name of Jesus Christ I pray. Amen”.
After this lady, came a gentleman whose problem was the fact that he had been away from his family in Africa for too long and every time he tried to reunite with his family something happens to throw the plan off course. Having heard this gentle man’s problem, the pastor said, “Your problem young man is the fact that your step mother and step siblings are witches and wizards and they are stopping your progress in life. Let me pray for you”. “Father lord,” the pastor started. “I pray you destroy this young man’s step mom, and siblings, set them on fire, burn, burn you witches and wizards. Holy Ghost fire. Burn. I wish you enemies of this young man shall never progress in life, I curse you and your children. I pray everything you set your hands on shall never prosper. In the name of Jesus Christ I pray. Amen.”
The prayer request continued in the same vein for a while with the entire congregation shouting amen with great passion. During the prayer, the Monk felt a nudge. When he looked to the right, it was one of the members of the family he was with that was nudging him to join in, in saying Amen with the rest of the congregation. As the Monk had been taken aback with the prayer so far.
Immediately after the service, the Monk and the family proceeded to return home, home was a short walk from the church, although the family needed to get something from the high street first. On their way back, curious to understand the Monks perception of the church service as they were aware that this was his first experience of a church service, they asked him. So…. What did you think? To which the Monk replied well I’ve read a great deal about Jesus, so I was a bit surprised about the content of the prayer today. You know the burn etc… Oh I see, well, it’s because you are not integrated into how we Africans live. This is what we do, when we feel threatened or someone is against us, we escalate the issue to God. Making all sorts of request of what we want to happen to the people that are against us. Offended by the Monk’s question, the father of the family then went on to ask “are you on the side of the witches or what kind of question is this? You are sounding like you are on the side of Satan or….. what’s that thing… what’s the name of that thing that helps the president of the US move about and give it protection?” The Beast? replied the Monk. Yes, that’s it, are you on the side of The Beast. If you are, your time is up. We African’s are on the side of God. How could you say such a thing, replied the Monk. I’m not on the side of The Beast. OK then, I’m sorry if you felt offended by that question said the father of the family. The thing is, continued the father when we African’s feel attacked, yes, we pray to God to attack our enemies but that’s better than say some Western countries. Imagine for a second that that incident of the police killing that black person actually happened in Iran. Say the Iranian police killed an American citizen or perhaps a western citizen in broad day light and the whole thing was recorded. What do you think would happen if the police officers that did it walked free, I’ll tell you what I think will happen, a ton of F16 planes will be sent to carpet bomb Iran having made a great speech drawing up a list of other countries to bomb who are not related to the police incident. They might call these countries the Axis of Satan. They will form an alliance, and call, the tactic the Surprise and Amazement tactic. Ensuring to bomb a number of wedding ceremonies, hospitals, funerals and primary schools that are on the flight part to their targets in Iran for good measures. The world will watch in amazement and clap for them. It’s amazing they will say.
You are exaggerating to make a point right? The father laughed. Ah, OK. Apologies, I’m sorry I brought this up, said the Monk. Sensing he had potentially caused another offence, he decided to keep quiet and so an uncomfortable silence ensued whilst they carried on walking through the town centre.
After a few steps they walked past a group of young men and women who were shouting statements about black empowerment, as they got closer the young men and women started shouting, we hope our oppressors burn, we hope they burn, all of them and their supporters. At this point the family told the Monks let’s cross the road please, these young men and women sound a bit extreme. The Monk was surprise by this statement as the prayers by the pastor earlier and the words of these young men and women were more or less the same, if not better than the pastors. The Monk couldn’t understand why, the family will choose to accept the prayers of the pastor, but repel from the words of these young men. The Monk was tempted to ask more questions but then he thought it was a choice between potentially offending the family again or never understanding the logic behind their thinking. He thought he might need to meditate for 28 days for some enlightenment.