Anita’s Column: Dreadlocks

ANDREW BODRA

In one of our youth meetings, we were discussing identity and somehow, we ended up discussing appearance in general and dreadlocks. Since that day, Anabel and I thought it would be something interesting to look in to.  Personally, I don’t see how having dreadlocks can hinder your worship or relationship with God but of course, I may be wrong.

Now, we all know that hair is a part of us that you can change.  Just a small change to your hair can make a huge difference to our appearance. This change can make you look unrecognisable or just simply enhance your appearance. However, from this same hair, you can make assumptions about an individual (I’m sure we’ve all done one way or another).

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Image credit: Google images

The history of deadlocks is more fascinating than I anticipated.  According to history, deadlocks have been around since 2500 BC.  Hindu scriptures note that one of their gods called Shiva and his followers wore dread although, this style was first discovered on some Egyptian mummies who had the dreads still attached to their head by archaeologists (1). Ancient Romans, Vikings, Nazarites and many more also rocked this style (1). From this, we can see that dreadlocks are worn by various cultures and not just one.

Dreadlocks are commonly associated with Rastafarianism. Rastafarianism is a religion that started in the 1930s by Jamaicans (1). It all began when the emperor of Ethiopia, Ras Tafari (also known as Haile Selassie) vowed not to cut his hair whiles in exile which led to the formation of dreadlocks (1). His followers considered him to be ‘God’ and believed that he was the second coming of Jesus Christ (2). On top of this, dreadlocks are also usually associated with the use of marijuana which can influence people’s view of dreads. This could potentially lead to stigmatisation and fuels the preconception of dreadlocks furthermore.

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Image credit: Google images

End of the history lesson.  Now, when you think about dreadlocks, who is the first person that pops into your head?  Let me guess. Was it Bob Marley? Am I right? Most of us probably think of him when we think about dreadlocks. Bob Marley was a well-known Rastafarian who made dreadlocks mainstream as well as Rastafarianism due to his reggae music (1). These days, dreadlocks are worn for various reasons. They can be worn as a fashion statement, for spiritual reasons, and for many other reasons.

Have you ever considered that the strongest man in history possibly could have had dreadlocks? Samson was a Nazarite who was not supposed to use a razor on his head as part of the Nazarite Vow. Numbers 6:5 ESV states “All the days of his vow of separation, no razor shall touch his head. Until the time is completed for which he separates himself to the Lord, he shall be holy. He shall let the locks of hair of his head grow long.” Samson’s hair was the source of his strength until Delilah cut it off (Judges 16:1-22 ESV).  From reading the scripture we can see that Samson had ‘seven locks/braids’ on his head. Some people imply that Samson had dreads. What do you think?

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Image Credit: Google images

So, does God care about the hair on your head? Since the hair on our head is numbered, surely this shows that God cares about you (even the little details that you might overlook). Essentially, it would be okay for a Christian to have dreads however, there are things that you need to consider.

Firstly, the motive and intention behind why the person wants and/or has the dreadlocks need to be examined.  It is important to note that as humans, we look at the outward appearance but God looks at the heart (although, that doesn’t mean that God doesn’t care about how you present yourself). If your intentions of having dreadlocks are pure then proceed.

Secondly, as Christians, the focus should be mainly being on the internal rather than the external. 1 Peter 3:3-4 ESV states that “Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewellery, or the clothing you wear— but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.”   From this, we can conclude that the issue of having or wanting dreads is a trivial matter, there are other issues which have greater significance.

Finally, Romans 14 has a lot to say in regards to this issue. At the end of the day, the question of having or getting dreadlocks is between you and God. You shouldn’t feel judged by people if the Holy Spirit approves of you having dreadlocks. If you are personally convicted not to have dreadlocks, then please don’t condemn those who do but rather show love to those who do. If God has not judged you about having or getting dreads, then why should man?

Ultimately, you’re responsible for your action. Do what the Holy Spirit leads you.

Sources

  1. Studio, Raging Roots Dreadlock. The History of Dreadlocks. ragingrootsdreadlockstudio.com. [Online] 2017. [Cited: 28 May 2018.] http://ragingrootsstudio.com/the-history-of-dreadlocks/.
  2. Gabbara, Princess. The History of Dreadlocks. Ebony.com. [Online] 18 October 2016. [Cited: 3 June 2018.] http://www.ebony.com/style/history-dreadlocks.
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The practical truth about being a Christian…

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Image credit: google images

OK so being a Christian is actually very very fun. It is fun because I know that regardless of what happens.. come what may, whether I am happy today or not.. God is with me and he is for me and I am for him. It is literally that simple to me and that is what makes it fun. BUT.. (this is a very big BUT by the way) being a Christian can also be very difficult if you still have not found the foundation of your Christianity. it makes everyday life sooooo draining (from my opinion). So in this post, I am going to write about some of the practical truths about being a Christian and I really hope that it helps someone.

Prayer makes it all so easy

Firstly, if you are a Christian and you often feel lazy to pray.. Hmm… then you are in trouble oo. You are in trouble and you will keep being in trouble because everything you do will be based on how you feel and not what God tells you to do. I used to find it so difficult to pray. And it’s not like I didn’t believe in prayer but I just couldn’t be bothered. However, one thing I have come to realise is that- the more I pray, the less I talk. James 1: 19 tells us to “be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.” If you are like me and you have an opinion on everything because you read a lot; you tend to disregard how others feel because you just want them to know what you know all the time. For example; during my undergraduate degree, I couldn’t wait for someone to say something wrong about Africa or black people or feminism so that I can pour all the numerous critical race theory, postcolonial theory and feminism books I have read on them to make that person feel dumb for whatever they said. On the other hand, do you know how it made me look? Yeah you know lol.

I realised that I was becoming really angry at people saying things I thought was wrong even if that was an opportunity for me to listen and maybe offer further explanations or alternative perspectives. So I started praying about it. I remember I used to (and I still do it now) pray so much to God about how he needs to help me use the knowledge that I acquire appropriately and not foolishly; because you can have 10 degrees in political science or philosophy and still sound incredibly uneducated if you do not choose your words wisely.

So If you want your everyday Christian life to be easy.. Pray. Pray about everything every time. I pray when I wake up in the morning, I even pray when I get in to the bathroom because I know perfectly well that there are people who cannot even walk from their bedrooms to the bathroom. Pray and just feel free about yourself and life because God has given you a spirit not of fear but a spirit that gives us power, love and self-discipline (1 Timothy 1:7).

Pray thanksgiving prayers.. ALL THE TIME!

I think nowadays I don’t even know how I pray for things compared to before.. when I was at uni.. I would spend so much time praying for good grades and basically threatening God that if I fail he fails because I keep talking about how I believe in him and all that (woow those were desperate times when you have not revised and you think God is a juju man). Now, I just pray and thank God for everything because I know and I believe in him so much that anything he has called me to do, he will give me what I need to do it and he will also show me how to do it to glorify him.

Of course, when you are in need, pray and tell God about it (even though he already knows all your heart desires). As Christians, we are not told to shy away from telling God our problems. As a matter of fact.. the bible encourages us to speak to God in our most troubling times. So that God himself will direct and guide us in who to go for help or he himself will send helpers your way if that is what you need. The bible says in Philippians 4: 6-7: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Yeah so God himself is telling you to pray to him and tell him what you need. However, the bible says “with thanksgiving”- I understand this part as just exercising my faith- because instead of saying Oh God I need to pass this course or I need to be able to control myself and not fall into sexual sin.. I say: God thank you for being my provider and knowing exactly what I need and when I need it and thank you for giving me a spirit of self-discipline and the wisdom to know that you are better than sex. Yes I said it. GOD IS BETTER THAN SEX. By praying this way.. I end up reassured and fired up because I know that there is so much power in having a conversation with God and putting all your faith in him.

 

Various ways to pray

Prayer does not always have to consist of the conventional way of eyes shut and looking up and saying stuff (when I was young I used to close my eyes so hard because I thought if I open my eyes and I see God or the holy spirit in church I’ll die). Nowadays, I go down on my knees and pray or I will lift my hands and worship or I will lay on my bed and pray till I fall asleep. Other times, when I feel someway (basically when the devil wanna bring himself) I write my prayers down and then read them out like how I write bible verses down so that I can memorise them. One thing I always do is, I pray about the prayer session before I begin because I want the spirit of God to guide me even in my prayer time. I suggest that anytime you are praying just tell God to come and take over even though you have it in mind to pray about something.. you will see that God will direct you in how to effectively pray to him.

 

Lastly, prayer goes hand in hand with the word of God so you can’t and you really shouldn’t spend all your time praying and not studying the bible because  “Everything in the Scriptures is God’s Word. All of it is useful for teaching and helping people and for correcting them and showing them how to live. 17 The Scriptures train God’s servants to do all kinds of good deeds.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17). But I think I am going to do a continuation post and talk about the bible and the role it plays in our Christian lives. I’m gonna stop writing now because even me I don’t like reading articles that are too long.

 

PRAY. IT’S NECESSARY. YOU CANNOT BE A CHRISTIAN AND NOT PRAY.

 

GOD LOVES YOU.

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GOD

God is my strenght
photocredit: google images

I woke up this morning feeling so down and I did not even understand why. Around 5.30 am, I’m lying on my bed and I have no idea why I feel so sad and because of that I do not want to do anything but cry. At 6 am, I get a call from a friend and he asks for us to pray and the answer I wanna give him is “no because I am sad with my life today and I don’t understand why so I don’t want to talk to God. But politely, I tell him that I’m gonna take a shower and call him after.

As I am in the shower scrubbing away the hands of every guy that has ever touched me, I start to tell God that he is my strength and he has done great things and he will keep doing great things. I just kept repeating these words to myself till I stepped out of the shower.

So I go back to my room and I call my friend and I lead us into an opening prayer and then he says to me “I feel like God wants us to pray about our hearts.” He continued by saying “sometimes we feel betrayed in our hearts and that makes us very sad. But imagine how Jesus felt when he chose Judas to be his disciple but still Judas did not allow God to change his heart and he ended up betraying Jesus.”

Sometimes, it is very easy for us to forget that our hearts are very fragile and when we decide to carry our hearts in our fragile hands- it will fall. The great thing though is that when each and every morning we give our hearts over to God regardless of how we are feeling- God takes hold of them and he places them in his secured hands. The word of God says in Psalm 37: 3 that we should “trust in the Lord and do good and dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.” The hands of God are safe and that is where our hearts need to dwell.

After I prayed with my friend, I got dressed and as I was leaving the house I said to God: “father, I know I am feeling sad, but I will not let the devil make me forget about your greatness- take my heart now and do what you do best.” I put my earphones in my phone and I started listening to songs of praise.

I am writing this post to God because sometimes I really don’t appreciate his consistency in my life enough. No matter how I am feeling- his holy spirit always sends me a helper and he empowers me. God shout out to you for always keeping me grounded in you. It is a privilege to be able to subject my body to the spirit of God and win in all areas of my life.

Shout out to you friend for allowing God to use you to speak to me at my darkest hour today. Everybody needs friends who are in tune with the spirit of God whom at all times can be vessels for God almighty to speak through to you.

And shout out to you reading this- don’t ever suffer alone. Don’t let the devil make you think that isolation or time alone can help you through your darkest times. You have people around you whom I really hope are ready at any time to hold hands with you or be at the other end of the phone and pray that depressing spirit away. If you do not have friends like that, pray and ask God to send you some. A few years ago, I prayed that prayer and up until today God keeps sending me amazing people who are not scared to tell me to do the right thing.

God be with you as you give your heart to him to carry in his safe and holy hands.

 

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The year is almost over…

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So 2017 is about to end… Time has gone by so fast during this year and I’m sitting at my desk at work right now wondering if I have been able to do everything I said I wanted to do at the beginning of this year. It’s funny because I am not even sure if I remember everything that I said I wanted to accomplish by the end of this year.

Well I remember going to church on 31/12/16 and I recall praying so much and telling God that I wanted to be able to serve him well in 2017. I said a lot of things to God on that day thinking that I was just going to sail through 2017 with no problems.

Well, I haven’t really encountered any serious problems when I think about it because I don’t really count certain circumstances as problems.

However, i know that I’ve had a really really good year. This year 2017 has given me so much time to do a lot. I had the time to self-develop mentally which has benefited me so much.

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Throughout this year, God has taught me how to be faithful to myself regardless of the situation I find myself in. I mean I have locked myself in my mind where I’ve been so busy trying to figure everything out on my own and trying to come up with my own plan to my success story (you know because I wanna be great so bad lool).

On the other hand, as the year has progressed, God has helped me to understand the difference between being hardworking and trying to plan and execute my destiny. It’s like at some point during this year, I forgot that God has a predestined life for me and no matter what I do, God’s plan is going to prevail.

I mean having a predestined life does not mean I do not have to do anything. But, throughout the year, I’ve been able to rest- like my mind has had rest knowing that soon and very soon, I will become a professor of African studies, A UN secretary General a wife and a mum. Oh and I will also go on holiday to Cuba and Seychelles. There are probably more things I want to do but I can’t really think of all of them now.

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But the whole point here is, I am not worrying about whether something will happen or it will not happen. All I know is that, I have faith in God and I am not going to fail in life. I am going to accomplish everything God has purposed for my life.

If there are things that you wanted to do this year that you have not been able to do – I personally suggest that you write those things down and give yourself sometime to consider the reasons why you were unable to not do these things. After that, please be honest with yourself and see if you can still do anything on the list before the year ends. It does not matter if it’s something little like walking more or something huge like getting a new job.

There are 11 days left in this year so you can definitely walk more and work on your CV ready to apply for jobs in the new year. Just don’t be like “oh the year is over so I’ll just forget about it”. If you do that, time will also forget about you- like how Sheldon forgets that other people have feelings (If you are a big bang fan, you know).

OK I’m gonna go back to working towards becoming great in every area of my life whilst enjoying every single bit of it. Please go and do the same… Unless you are Bill Gates or Oprah Winfrey.

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Being at peace

peace

When I hear people say “I’m at peace with it/him/her/them/myself”, I often wonder what they mean by that because the word peace literally means the absence of disturbance or war. So if there is no war, there is peace. When there are no disturbances, there is peace.

So then to come to the conclusion of being at peace, there must have been some sort of disturbances or war that was ruining your state of tranquility. But then, I also think that there is this idea of being at peace where no matter the situation, you are still OK within yourself and you are okay with life.

Because, let us all be honest, sometimes life just takes us by surprise when crazy things happen and you don’t even understand why. Let me try and give you an example…

So recently, I realized that I was going out of my way to do things for people even though I was not OK with the things I was doing. I realized that I was not OK at all because my state of tranquility (being at peace) was really unstable. So like one day I will be very happy that I’m doing things for people; and then the following day, I will be so upset that I’m doing so much for people but they don’t seem to notice or care.

In order to restore my peace, I decided to pray about how I was feeling (oh and FYI, I PRAY ABOUT EVERYTHING). After praying, I just continued to get on with my day… and then… AND THEN… I had a URIKA moment! I mean it wasn’t that extravagant but I remember just becoming so conscious all of a sudden about my life and the kind of peace I have.

SO… wait for it….

I have the peace of God in my heart. The bible says that the peace of God surpasses all human understanding. Therefore, it is not understandable in our normal human minds. But I know that the peace of God is the best purely based on the fact that it is everlasting; and thus it doesn’t really go away when crazy things happen in life.

Another thing about the peace of God is that, it is present even in times of joy. To have peace when you are joyful is very cool. For instance, when I’m so delighted about something, I just thank God so much for his peace that He has given me because I don’t sit there thinking if I’m not not happy about this thing tomorrow, I will not be at peace.

Rather, I thank God that I am content and I have so much peace with where I am in my life now and I have peace about where I am going in the future.

I think you should try and assess the peace you have; is it temporary? Do you only have peace when everything is okay in your life? Is your peace stable? Are you at peace with the stage you are in life?

THINK ABOUT IT.

 

 

God loves FEMINISTS.

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image credit: Huffington Post

OK.. so before I start being a feminist in this post, lemme just lay down the truth for you all.

I am a christian .i.e. I am a child of God and I love Jesus and I pray every time about everything and my ultimatum is to be able to spend eternal life in heaven with Jesus and God and all the angels. So I am a woman with a super crazy faith in God like mama Gifty Anti would say.

However, being a Christian does not make me blind to social issues. YAAAS! I said it and I’m gonna say it again for the people at the back… Being a woman of God does not make me blind and deaf to social issues.

As a Christian, I am always asking God what my role is in this world because I am clearly put here for a purpose. One of the main reasons why I am a christian and a feminist is because God tells me everyday that I am destined to be great.

So then I’m like but God if I was born to be great… how come I live in a world where my skin colour and my vagina are seen as characteristics of failure?. I literally asked God that question once. From that day, I knew that God had granted me the opportunity to do something about society’s lack of knowledge on women and our God ordained positions in the world.

So yeah, I am a feminist not because I hate men or whatever some people think feminism is about. Firstly, I am privileged to be a child of God and be given the voice to speak up when things are not right. And also as a woman, I don’t think being able to have babies should automatically turn me into a breeding machine who cannot work and get equal pay  to men.

It may sound strange but I pray everyday to God about being a feminist and how I don’t want to be angry about society’s mediocrity; but to make me more and more knowledgeable and approachable to everyone because I stand for equality for all.

At the same time, I ask God for motivation and determination each day to be a great woman by loving other women and accepting their differences, as well as helping them to acknowledge that their womanity is actually synonymous to greatness regardless of what anybody has to say.

Before I finish this post, I am going to say it one more time- I am a christian who is a feminist, who loves men and believe women are great in everything like men.

Now let us take it to church and start taking the tithes and offering from the back!!

W.O.M.A.N.

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Being a woman…..

OK so I am a woman (its sooo obvious). I mean my body makes it very clear that I am a woman (especially when it is that time of the mo.. yeah you know it).

One thing that I am very aware of is that being a woman is very interesting… to me being a woman is like a child’s first day at school. The parents are so excited because it is a new phase in the child’s life and they are going to meet new people and learn new things. At the same time, deep down the parents have to face the fact that their child is going into a world outside the home where they may not have that much control over what the child hears or sees.

Personally, as a woman, I am always so excited because I see the potential that I have to do great things; as well as the opportunities that come my way on a daily basis.

HOWEVER, deep down in my soul I know that as a woman there are certain limitations that society wants me to succumb to in order to be seen as a “good woman”. Even more, as a Black African woman, there are some people in society who think that I have to be eternally culturally bound if I ever wanna make it big in this world.

Don’t get me wrong, being a woman is like the best thing to ever happen to me since rice and spinach stew (one of my favorite foods). Nonetheless, sometimes I just think about how it can be seen as so unusual for a woman to want to pursue certain career choices or not want to do something that are known to be social norms for women.

The thing is, as a woman, I know I was created for a specific purpose and God being who He is will make sure I fulfill that purpose for his glory. But I really do not like how society has been able to turn our God given roles as helpers into some “without men you cannot survive” group.

The position of women has changed immensely since my grandmother was born and I get to benefit by being able to explore my womanity in my own way. On the other hand, women are still not seen as equal to men in many parts of the world and it is very upsetting. The humanity of women NEED TO BE RECOGNIZED before anything else because if God in his greatness recognize us women as human beings.. then who is anybody else to say otherwise.

If you are a woman, I pray that each and everyday you wake up, you get to see the great things you have been called on this earth to do. Whether your life goal is to become a mother, a wife, a pilot, a baker, or a president (just don’t become like Tru.. I wont even write his name).. get to know yourself well as a woman and go out there and be great.