After church on Sunday I was chatting with one of the church leaders. I told him we wouldn’t be there next weekend since we will be going away to celebrate our wedding anniversary. (Here it is quite normal practice to have to explain why you didn’t attend if you were away. As it was we missed the week before because of Australia Day celebrations. We were asked in the middle of the service where we were and if we had greetings from another congregation. Ahhh? Greetings from Australia!) Anyway, after telling him I had been married for 17 years his next comments were very enlightening: “And you’ve got nothing to show for it? So what’s the point of being married?”
Enlightening in that this says a lot about local culture. What he was meaning is that since we do not have children (which he knows) we have nothing to show for our marriage. So why should we even be married? What’s the point of being married if you do not have children? After several attempts at giving a rebuttal to this logic it soon became very clear that I was getting nowhere and the subject was changed. The saddest thing about this conversation was that this is a leader in our church, and that ninety five percent of the church would agree with him wholeheartedly. It’s actually not his fault for thinking this way, his perspective is an ignorant product of his culture. He is one of the stalwarts of our church and we have developed a pretty good relationship him (possibly why he feels he can say such things, although Acholi people are as blunt as the back of an axe) and this changes nothing, maybe just a green light to hit him with a few clangers of my own…
Maybe this will be the next topic for one of us to preach on.