Americanah, Jesus and my new favorite phrase

Written by On Friday, 27 September 2013 10:01

Americanah; Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie:
This book was doing its rounds on social media for a while this year, creating quite a buzz that made me feel that I HAD to read; which I did. It’s a great book, I enjoyed reading it. I couldn’t put it down and stayed up late reading it because I just had to find out what happen next.

All the while something was gnawing at my heart that I kept pushing and pushing away. Eventually I had to deal with the issue. The question I found myself asking is; is this it? Is this what life is about? Bear with me if you have not read the book, but I am sure you will follow anyway.

From a mother shackled with religiosity.
A teenagers’ suicidal tendencies triggered by his identity crisis
A girl having to sell her body so that she can pay her rent.
Pursuing a fake marriage to avoid deportation
And infidelity being a running theme in the entire book... and on and on...

Well, there is a perfect Hollywood Nollywood ‘happy ending’. Spoiler alert! They actually end up together but at what expense?
I mentioned to a friend my thoughts and she who is not a believer had a few things to say.
Short of telling me that I was being judgmental which I didn’t get because c’mon this is fiction! ;She also mentioned that I was stuck in my ‘christian’ mentality and if I would open my eyes to the real world this is how things were done. According to my friend.

Christians live in a bubble where right and wrong are clear cut but the real world is not like that;

This made me think about my new favorite phrase from The Saturday PM. Counter Culture.The one thing that has been loud and clear this far in the book of Mathew is our call as Christians to go against the grain.
Granted, I have never experienced the kind of desperation that led to the things these characters did but there must be another way to live this life.

So I asked myself, if I (bible believing Christian) was a character in Americanah (let’s say Ifemelu- lead) what kind of choices would I have made and how would those choices determine how the story ended?

  • First of all, before joining the African Students Association in this new school in this foreign land, I would definitely have looked for a group/club for Christians, because my first need is to belong to a group that knows God and knows how to give godly counsel.

  • In addition, I would have found a bible believing church so I can be a member. (Who knows these are the people who would have sorted me out when I didn’t money for rent or food-because that’s what Christians are supposed to do.)

  • I would definitely not have shacked in with my boyfriends because good Christian girls are not supposed to do that kind of stuff. But then I would have missed out on the high life that the rich white boyfriend offered.

  • I would have frowned at the idea of involving myself with a married man, whether or not he was my high school sweetheart because good Christian girls are supposed to wait and pray for God to send them their own husbands.

I could do the same analysis for all the characters in the book and find a million other ways they could have chosen to live their lives. I would have only one point to prove.

You are not bound to live the life that you see everyone else is living. There is another way.
The only difference is that this is not fiction. This is real life and the stakes are much higher and there is also the fact that I cannot tell you how to live your life. But Jesus can. So what I can tell you is choose Jesus, He will show you a different way of living your life.
Then, you can come for The Saturday PM, because the answers to life’s questions are in His word.

Am I crazy to have these kinds of opinions? What does it mean to live counter culture when the culture is not really black and white but A LOT of grey? As a believer have you ever been in such dire desperation that you ended up doing something ‘unchristian’ or even illegal?

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