Religious Studies Exam
Chinua Achebe’s Thing Fall Apart (Chapter 8) is written during a period when white settlers have come into the Nigeria society. They come with the intention to colonise the country and the message of Christianity from the missionaries.
The community is introduced to the religion of Christianity. Some of the villagers accept to change their religion from the traditional African / Nigerian religion practiced in the community to Christianity. The main character in the book is Okonkwo who became well known for his wrestling skills and is now an elder of the community. He does not accept the message of Christ because it is going to change their way of life. They have gods which they used to worship and cultural practices which some of them uphold. The coming of white settlers introduces colonialism which is why some of the members of the community cannot accept to become Christians.
In Chinua Achebe’s book the people abandon traditional African religion to become Christians. This shows that Christianity was the right religion to choose maybe because of failure of the traditional religion to fulfil some of the people’s needs. The message of the missionaries also criticizes some of the cultural practices of the community like having multiple wives.
The theme of Jesus’ salvation is accepted by some in the community while others like Okonkwo reject the coming of Christ. As stated earlier, Okonkwo’s rejection mainly stems from the coming of missionaries with the colonialists which means that he may lose his dominant position as a leader in the community.
The book Beyond Rain of Gold (Chapter 1) by Victor Villasenor begins with the funeral of the author’s father. The father had announced his death three months earlier as the year began. The book tells the story of Pre-Columbus America. The author narrates about his endurance to get his first book published.
The author was born in California, United States to Mexican parents. He was born during the 1940s. During his childhood years in Oceanside, California he was faced with segregation and he had a reading disorder called dyslexia. When he returned to Mexico he discovered a lot about himself. He decided to become an author while in Mexico. After numerous rejections he got the first book published. A series of miraculous encounters in the book transformed the author’s life.
The book is about the author’s spiritual journey. His beliefs are transformed by the encounters in his life. The author chooses to believe in the salvation Christ. He fights the many challenges in his life through spirituality.
The author notes the difference between the Christian principles / commandments and the practice of segregation and bigotry by the United States government.
Both Chinua Achebe and Victor Villasenor describe how Christianity transforms lives in both the traditional African society of Achebe and how it transforms the author’s life in Mexico and the U.S.
Chinua Achebe shows how religion transforms the community whilst Victor Villasenor describes a society that is full of segregation and racism. Although most of the people are Christians in by Victor Villasenor’s book, their way of life tells another story.
The characters in Achebe’s book are trying to change their ways of life to conform to Christianity. On the other hand, the society in Victor’s book practices Christianity in name only not by their actions.
The theme of Chinua Achebe is transformation of the community while the theme of Victor Villasenor is soul searching.
In Chinua Achebe’s book the Nigerian community is indigenized to change their religion. The community of Okonkwo take up Christianity. The author shows how the missionaries came into the community opened up churches and began preaching the gospel.
In Victor Villasenor’s book the author does pilgrimage i.e. he goes to his ancestral origin (Mexico) to discover his spirituality and faith in Christianity. In California where the author was born, he did not find somewhere where he could build his faith.
In what ways does the author suggest that the gospel and church should indigenize more closely to the culture?
The author (Chinua Achebe) shows how the missionaries opened up churches and the people changed their religion. They used to practice traditional African religion. The missionaries came preaching to the people and opened up the places of worship i.e. churches and some of the members of the community stopped practicing traditional African religion.
In what ways should the gospel and church be pilgrim to the culture?
The gospel and church can find ways to provide places where believers can practice pilgrimage. Places can be in churches or schools where individuals can build their faiths and practice beliefs.
Achebe, Chinua. (1958). Things Fall Apart. London: William Heinemann Ltd.
Aikman, David. (2003). Jesus in Beijing. Washington, DC: Regnery.
Bedaiko, Kwame. (2004). Jesus and the Gospel in Africa. Maryknoll: Orbis,
Costas, Orlando. (1984). Christ Outside the Gate. Maryknoll: Orbis.
Jenkins, Philip. (2006). The New Face of Christianity. New York: Oxford University Press.
Villasenor, Victor. (2011). Beyond Rain of Gold. Hay House
Walls, Andrew F. (1996). The Missionary Movement in Christian History. Maryknoll: Orbis.