With 85.1% of Uganda’s population Christian (2002 national census) and churches bursting at their seams with worshipers Sunday after Sunday, why do we still have European and American missionaries coming to this country?
Exactly what message are missionaries bringing that Ugandans don’t already know?
Do we still need a Gospel filtered through a Eurocentric prism in order for us to accept it? Surely we have learnt something since 1877 when the first missionaries arrived.
I know Jesus said in Matthew 28:19 that believers should go into all nations making disciples and baptizing people, but shouldn’t the missionaries flooding this country first concentrate on making converts in their own countries of dwindling churches and failing faith? Africa is no longer seen as the ‘final frontier’ in the spread of the gospel. We’re leading the charge these days.
Every other Sunday, with a measured amount of self-loathing, I go to a church in Kampala that is full of do-gooders from the West. They are all missionary, humanitarian and foreign service types who are slightly more annoying than the average do-gooders because as Christians, they have an extra sense of superiority. They were really called to go to Africa. They left everything; everything to come to Uganda.
Oh how they miss their families! Oh how they long for roads without potholes and public utilities that really work! Oh how they are dying to eat a Quarter Pounder! Oh how they would give anything for a faster Internet connection! Oh how they want a proper piece of cheese and nice bar of chocolate and marmite! Oh how to breathe ‘clean air’ again!
They moan and groan to each other, but on the sly they sneak smug smiles of self-satisfaction.
Those do-gooders that come to my church barely know any Ugandans outside their work. They preach to a faceless crowd of black, never bothering to invite any of them to church to share in their space. They think the worship of the ‘locals’ is too noisy and too similar to the animistic practices from which they are supposed to be delivered. They evangelize the ‘locals’ during the week, but on Sunday, they revert to their own space to share Jesus with their own tribe.
Of course I’m just like them, but that’s a conversation for another day.