Akua Highly-Favored; A Medley Of Sex, Religion & Authenticity

Let Her Go
August 26, 2017
I’m About To Delete People Off My Friends List & Other Unnecessary Posts On Facebook
September 5, 2017

She goes by Akua God-Creation as the first name and Highly-favored for the last name on Facebook. Catchy, isn’t it? How do you mistake a chick with a name like that for an unbeliever?

She was my girlfriend and a religious freak. The kind of religious freak who attends Friday all night service, shows up for choir practice on Saturday evenings and sits through the four to five-hour services on Sundays after teaching the Sunday school class.

Highly-Favored had a nagging temptation and a guilty-pleasure; me.  The thing is, Highly-favored loved sex.  When she was in my space, she goes by the name Desire.

Highly-favored punches the air with her Bible in the house of praises and Desire punches a hole in a rubber cover with her teeth in the house of her guilty-pleasure.

I keep my rubbers on my night stand next to my Bible.  This arrangement is not a crisis of the conscience nor is it intentional.  I love God and I love sex too.  Highly-Favored never complained about the arrangement.

She found my authenticity refreshing even though she called me unbeliever several times.  Her two worlds presented a dichotomy,  I must say.

Every now and then,  Highly-Favored manages to drag me to church with her.  Four-hour services on a Sunday is just not my thing but I go sometimes and keep an open mind as always.

Permit me to make just one observation about some Christian churches I have entered.  The hierarchical, authoritarian set up of the church and its congregation never escapes me.

The senior pastors, associate pastors, elders and the deacons sitting on a raised platform behind the altar will be all male. The female leaders will be grouped together on the second level as the congregation, the music band and everyone else without an elevated title.

 Am I the only one seeing this? Is there a hint of misogyny and segregation in the house of the Lord?

Christianity is perhaps the ultimate top-down organization in my opinion.   The model in Highly-Favored’s church consists of the men of God on top, the deacons and elders follow, the women of God the next level down and the masses at the bottom.

Leaders in the church seat separately from the congregation to highlight their status. Some leaders get to sit on the nice cushy chairs and the congregation has plastic chairs or hard wooden pews to contend with.

She once introduced me to a dude with these words, “Kwadjo, meet Apostle Mintah.”

You have an interesting first name, I said to him. His smile quickly dissipated only to be replaced with a frown.  Highly-Favored angrily nudged me.

“No, no!” She said, “He is an apostle! He is a man of God.”

“You don’t say?! Good for you, Apostle!” I said with an enthusiatic smile. I said no more.

“So, how does one become an apostle?” I asked on our drive home. “That is a neat title I don’t mind having.”

“Just shut up!” She snapped back at me.

She knew where my sarcastic mind was going with the conversation.

The senior pastor at Highly-Favored’s church was actually quite good.  Speaking purely from a selfish standpoint, he would be much better should he yell less, be less animated and quit stretching the pronunciation of the last word of every sentence he made.

His message, in my opinion, was getting muddied in the theatrics which accompanied his preaching.

I stated earlier that I was making just one observation but I have another.  I struggle to push away a glaring distraction every time the senior pastor preached.

The shiny alligator skin pointed shoes, the Neiman Marcus suit with the brand label still displayed on the jacket sleeve and the 24 karat gold Jesus Fish jewelry around his neck presented a stark image of the man.

The E-Class Mercedes parked in front of the church had a matching gold-plated Jesus fish medallion affixed to the trunk with a license plate which spelled 4-FAITH.  Nice touch, I must say!

I must have read a different Bible, because, in the one I read, Jesus was penniless, dressed modestly and consistently urged his followers to give up everything they owned and devote their lives to helping the poor, the weak and the underprivileged.

I have one more observation to make and I will zip it for good.  I was also struck by the several hours spent for the church service every Sunday.

Hour-long singing praises start the services. Highly-Favored explained that we sing praises as we wait for the late comers and stragglers to fill the church before we start the service.

The service starts with a junior pastor leading a bible study for about 30 minutes, more praises follow,  the senior pastor take center stage after being introduced as the “Anointed One” and a ‘Powerful Man of God” and he preaches for an hour.

Another hour of collections follows with some high-intensity singing and dancing and then my favorite part of the service begins; the announcements!

I said to Highly-favored one day, “Don’t you think the four or five hours we spend inside the church could be better used outside doing charity work from time to time?  She gave me a puzzled look.

“I mean, how many times did Jesus enter a church in the Bible?  I pressed on

I can only think of two occasions when he entered a church in the Bible.  The first time was as a child where he captivated the religious leaders by ministering to them about how they put too much emphasis on the laws of the church but ignore the people.

The second was when he was an adult and went on a rampage over how profit-centric the church had divulged to.

From my vantage point,  I explained to Highly-Favored,  I did not see Jesus punch a time card with God every Sunday.  He was out every day eating with the homeless, healing the sick, preaching and performing charity acts in the community.

The resounding cry for authenticity is being echoed by generations of people like myself, hungry for something or someone who can actually fill the gaping void of realism in religious circles.

In a way, it is refreshing to see a Christian-culture beginning to emerge.  A culture which seeks to be real and authentic about sin and rejects the pressure to conform to the multitudes of man-made church rules.

These group of Christians do not shove their doubts and sinful ways under the carpet for fear of being judged by the men and women of God.  They do not seek to impress men and women with higher church titles by how they live their lives and how they practice Christianity.

Personally,  I take issue with the phrase, “man of God. There are no “men of God.”  There are men made by God.

We need shepherds to lead the flock.  The key word here is shepherds; one humbling title and a servant role with an obligation to serve.

I am a Christian who uses foul language here and there,  breaks some commandments now and then and gets naughty from time to time.  The type of Christianity I relate to is one filled with others who readily admit to the same struggles with temptations like I do.

No one has to conform to my type of Christianity and I am not here to argue as such.  You worship however you want to worship.

The very definition of authenticity in Christianity is the ability to stop thinking others need to conform to your morals because you believe your model of worship is better.  Or that,  you are better because you read from a different book than they do.

If you want God’s love,  you can’t just take it;  you have to be worthy of it.

Highly-Favored and I did not change each other much during our time together.  In a way, she was as authentic about her flaws as I was and that mutual understanding brought lots of harmony to the relationship.

I watched Highly-Favored struggled with morality almost all the time but the sex was not the main cause.  Her struggles centered on her fears of being judged and ostracized by the men and women of God because of her sins.

Her fear of not living up to the expectations of the pastors, elders, deacons and the apostles in the church was greater than her fear of the Lord.

I hope and pray that Highly-Favored stays on a path to seek favor from God and not from the mere mortals in the church.

By Kwadjo Panyin

 

Author: Kwadjo Panyin

Kwadjo Panyin is a Ghanaian born relationship and lifestyle blogger located in Los Angeles, California. He holds three degrees; a Bachelors degree from Rutgers University in New Jersey, an MBA from Franklin University in Ohio and a Masters of Science degree from Northern Kentucky University in Kentucky. Kwadjo is a business professional who blogs for fun. His articles are about the challenges of dating and relationship anomalies. Writing, blogging, world travel, and photography are his favorite hobbies.

47 Comments

  1. Kojo Mensah says:

    Kojo, u have balls to have been able to tackle this subject , though i dont quite agree to all that u said, the biggest hypocrites in the world today are christian. Who are hiding behind Jesus to fuck in church, steal in church and betray Jesus. Anyway nice attempt.

  2. So here’s my take – the excellently written blog does nothing against Christianity – here’s why: it represents one person, one church, one opinion based on one observation… can someone explain how that goes against an entire religion? I think we as Christians need to be careful that we don’t automatically jump to defend… what Kwadjo Panyin has written about is something that happened to him, something that does happen to others; plain and simple if you ask me… now if someone decides to be a Christian or not because of this blog, then it’s the person you should be questioning…

  3. Amazing write up…you’ve written most of what I feel but can’t quite express. I’ve had a couple of “desire/highly favored”. I am all for candid conversation so sometimes I bring up the glaring cognitive dissonance…. Needless to say, it never ends well. I’ve learnt to shut up and enjoy the ride (literally)

  4. PY Ntodi says:

    Nana Otafregya worth a read!

  5. Asamoa Broni says:

    Interesting write up. It however appears you gave your own interpretation to some of the observations you made at the church. I do not know that church, but for most churches I know, including mine, women (if pastors) also sit on the raised platform, or wherever other males performing same function as them sit. Gender does not determine who sits on a platform and who does not. The existence of a raised platform may be a debatable one, but it’s main purpose as far as I know, is not to elevate any group of people above others. Those platforms usually serve as stages on which preachers, etc stand so they can be easily seen by all. So it’s more practical that they sit on or close to the stage. Again, in giving leadership (such as cues to stand or sit, etc) during the service, it is more practical that they sit facing the congregation on an elevated platform (or somewhere in front). I’ve seen those over-comfortable chairs for pastors in some churches and agree it’s often excessive.
    According to Matt 13:54 and Luke 4:16, Jesus did in fact attend the place of worship more frequently than you’ve noted (it was in fact his custom to do that on Sabbath days).
    I agree that there are some churches and pastors who are not living up to biblical standards, but that’s no reason to throw out the baby with the bathwater.
    I agree that hiding sins under the carpet to please pastors is unhealthy, but admitting the sins just so that you can openly practise it also doesn’t please God. The aim of the Christian is to become more like Christ, and Christ was sinless though tempted. The moral standards of Christianity are not set by pastors, they are clearly written in the Bible. so just as by the Bible, you know that pastors, etc should be humble, by the same Bible you should also know that Christians should not use swear words, or engage in fornication/adultery. That standard was not set by the pastor, it is in the Bible. But I agree that if the other is not a Christian, it shouldn’t be imposed on him/her.
    As for the love of God, we are not required to be worthy of it. God loves us, it’s as simple as that.

  6. Opmens Lily says:

    Kwadjo people like us can only attain the title “elder” in our villages ooo, not THE CHURCH, lol

  7. Nice piece. 100% on point!

  8. My brother!, you’re a true Christian.

  9. Rosie Baid says:

    Kingston Alexander very interesting post

  10. Nice write up.. But can you please use simple English for the sake of some of us. Thanks

  11. Write up has a nice ring to it but unfortunately misrepresents what Christianity is in every way- the Bible way anyway not the “church” way. 1st of all, it’s important we clarify that not every church member is a Christian. Christians are people who have accepted Christ as Lord and savior and seek to please and honour Him because His grace is available to help them do so and not because a group of ppl seek to fulfill some self righteousness through their own strength. 2. The love of God is meant to be Taken through faith in Jesus Christ and not Earned when you are worthy of it like you put it. No man can be worthy of His love on their own. Finally, our love for Him and reverence for His sacrifice is motivation enough to abstain from filth-sin. It does not mean we do not fall but it means we change our minds about what sin is, call it as it is and through His guidance discipline our flesh so it no longer dictates our actions . It’s not enough to say I have sins I live with cuz the Bible tells us that He who is born of Christ does not sin! Church is not a guarantee that you’ll go to heaven but being part of a bible believing church will help you grow in your faith as a Christian and help you overcome the little/big sins that have the power to send you to hell. Truth is, it doesn’t matter if one believes in heaven or hell- when eternity begins one will find out whether they are real or not. I don’t know about you but for me, I won’t want to gamble with this since it maybe too late to come back and amend ones ways when you finally discover that hell is real- I’d rather live for him and rule my flesh- deny the flesh its pleasures that could lead to me to hell and find it’s all a joke in the end than find the alternative true if I don’t

    • Thanks for your comment and I appreciate your views and the education. You just taught me a thing or two about Christianity. As alway, I am open to the debate and other views and yours is well noted. What do you personally call the church goers who have not accepted Christ out of curiosity? How are they referred to in the church? Thanks again! @Benita Lois Amanor

    • Kwadjo Panyin Ok so let me put it this way – in english they will be called christians because they have identified with the group/faith that calls themselves as such. Going into the bible however, the 1st christians got the title because they had been with Christ – Christians follow Christ and what He stands for. Again, the bible states clearly that as many as are led by the Spirit of God, are the sons of God. So the question comes in here – One calls himself a son of God/christian based on what exactly? association with a church/creed or because one is allowing the Spirit of God to lead him. Thanks

    • Well said Benita Lois Amanor. If indeed we seek the kingdom, as we should as Christian, we need not be lackadaisical about sin. We all sin, big/small (if magnitude in this exists), but those who truly seek the kingdom would be remorseful, repentant and stay away from the things or situations that lead them to sin…but not say hey, am human/the flesh is weak/we all fall etc and still continue to consistently gratify the flesh. Akua has a weakness, this does not make her any less a Christian than her church leadership/elders. She should however be afraid for she has indeed sinned. Not of the church but of the Lord. Being a Christian is a journey, she should put aside her embarassement/shame and seek help/counseling from those blessed to counsel. From the piece, it is clear She is running the race well and is committed to the Lord. She does not have to struggle with her weakness alone. I am sure she does not expect a pat on the back. She should be ready to receive the rebuke, human judgement or whatever. He does punish you know, using various means. Blessed weekend!!

    • Oh and regarding church leadership and their seeming unchristlike lifestyles/adminstration etc, it may be best to be more focused on the doctrine than this aspect. Each would have to account for time spent here and is responsible for their own salvation…not one for another. But found have some valid points on this.

    • Interesting.. but good and precise commentary Benita Lois Amanor

  12. Thanks for the write up. Let me start by saying motive is everything. Yes you write well and do well to present the realities of relationships as per your interpretation and understanding but what is your motive? Are you making fun of christians, exposing the weaknesses to all in order to be ridiculed, encouraging christians or getting others to accept that Christianity is nothing special? What do you seek to promote? Are you seemingly promoting what Jesus preached or promoting your own opinions? What lessons do your readers leave with? Do they feel challenged to want to live a Holy life or do they leave thinking it’s ok to keep living anyhow?

    • Thanks for your comment and I appreciate you for reading the post and your well constructed question.

      My intent is not to ridicule Christians. I can, however, see how a reader can sense a level of ridicule given the fact that I point out some ironies I observed personally. I do not promote anything in my articles, I state my thoughts, observations and opinions. These are my opinions so anyone is welcome to disagree with me or state an opposing view. I encourage the debate and open dialogue.

      I am not one to advise anyone and I specifically point that fact out in my articles. Every one is free to worship as they please as I pointed out in my piece. I also stated that I am not arguing for anyone to conform to my believes or brand of Christianity. To do so goes against the authenticity I succinctly argue for in the article.

      My point in the article is simple really; fear God more, not mortals. I have observed numerous friends worry about being judged by Church leaders and they end up living a life under false pretenses. In a way, I am the friend they come to if they want to be themselves. In an ideal Christian culture, most can be themselves and own their sins around other Christians.

      As always, I am willing to be wrong. Again, I appreciate your response and I thank you for taking the time to reach out with questions. @Edith K-Maafo

    • Amadu Osmanu says:

      The fear of be judged by “men of God”…

  13. Kwadjo Panyin, I agree with you on this. People should start seeking God’s approval and not that of men. They are pastors, true, but they are human as well !!!

  14. Well written, well said …. !

  15. Kwadjo Panyin we think alike! The reverence and fear should be of the Lord, and not “men of God”

  16. Spot on but get ready fr the attack..

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