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Prophets leading the faithful up the garden path

I don’t claim to know much about what happens in the spiritual world. Our elders spoke of Nyikadzimu, the spiritual land of the ancestors. They consulted spirit mediums whenever misfortune befell them, for example after mysterious deaths or after a long dry spell to ask for rains. People still tap into the spiritual world and chiefs are custodians of such revered places as the Njelele shrine in Matabeleland, deemed to be the shrine of Mwari [God].

Opinion by Conelia Mabasa

Now there is a new craze, prophets abound on the land, some behind rocks in the vleis or in modern buildings in the cities. Are we not at the mercy of these “spiritually-gifted” beings among us? All sorts of crimes have been committed, especially against women, who have fallen victim to self-ordained prophets.

Zimbabweans are naturally a superstitious lot. If somebody says they can explain what they can’t, they will fall over each other to seek divine intervention. Are today’s prophets, whose spouses become prophetesses by virtue of being married to the “men of God”, taking advantage of our gullibility and fear of the unknown?

Last week two flamboyant and confessed friends and prophets, Uebert Mudzanire Angel of Spirit Embassy and Emmanuel Makandiwa of United Family International Church seemed to be out to outdo each other by mesmerising their congregants with huge doses of miracles and predictions of both misfortune and God’s favour and in the process fed the press.

Angel is reported to have multiplied money in Botswana and repeated the feat in Zimbabwe. Makandiwa on the other hand is said to have predicted that gold would soon be falling from heaven to give reprieve to the poor. But soon after, he sent the nation reeling by predicting disaster in the form of a garment falling off an old woman to spell disaster after a “great wall” fails due to old age.

While it may be true that they are real men of God, they have made God so commonplace and wealth-oriented that I find their type of Christianity revolting. Matthew 6 v 33 says, “Seek ye the Kingdom of God first . . . .”

While hunger should not be synonymous with Christianity and Godly conduct, showing off and capitalist tendencies are also frowned upon. The five loaves and two fish were multiplied and shared. The water that Christ turned into wine at the Wedding at Cana (John 2) was also shared. When he broke the bread at the last supper, he shared.

The avalanche of miracles and prophesies should be a cause for concern. Suddenly God is so common he can take instructions from man at the drop of a pin; that must be a source of worry for church leaders, for qualified shepherds of this world. God is now so common he can whisper your phone number to a prophet; he is so common he can whisper your home address, your ID number, the angel of the Lord can lead his man spiritually to your doorstep and show him where your bed is facing, even the holes on your sofa set! Of what use is information about you that you already know if it’s not to prop the prophet?

Zimbabweans are an educated and a hardworking lot. But they are being told they can wake up with fat bank accounts and sacks of gold nuggets from nowhere. Of what use is false hope? I want my children to grow up knowing that they have to work to survive and not wait for a spiritual father to dish out mysterious money. We need real men of God to guide us properly. God is a peaceful force and anyone can reach out to him. He is not a God of fear and consternation. He is not an alarm and despondency causing God. Wishing you true worship in 2013.

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