It has been quite a long time since we exchanged words let alone words on paper and this being an open letter it is not expected I will or should receive a reply but I feel the letter has to be written. As it has significance to thoughts that have been going through my head for a while and as it concern views I have expressed to more people than just you the letter just has to be an open one. You, however are probably the first person to whom I expressed these views first and because of the way you took them at the time, with much wisdom, it only make sense that you be the main recipient of this letter.
I recall not too long ago at a Kabwata Baptist Church Youth Camp coming up to you, you were the camp chief at the time if memory serves, and I was quite unhappy that for another year in a row the issue of dating and relationships was the main topic of a few seminars. I was not too pleased with that. If you can recall I was not happy with it because it seemed that year after year the same speech was being given, and I was getting tired of it. I thought that the seminar had become mundane and irrelevant because it was given to the same people, pretty much by the same people. And once again after a couple hard hits intermingled with jokes people would walk out and go do the same things that were spoken against.
In hindsight, at the time I was speaking more out of frustration and pride than any actual want or need for change and/or improvement in the system. I had nothing to replace what I wanted removed and to some extent all that was on my mind was getting the satisfaction of being right in my observation. To date I can remember how you let me finish my rant without interrupting and soon gave me some very valid reasons for the seminars to be there. I did not want to listen to the reasons at the time but they made so much sense and in light of a book I read recently I absolutely agree with you. Given that it is an open letter I will fill those who are reading in on your reasons and why I agree before getting into ‘Why I write this letter.’
The first reason was that there are new comers to the Camp who needed to hear this as they had not had the chance to hear such things before. This reason is head and shoulders above the others because a lot of times as regulars who have heard the same message we lose sight of the importance of the message to those who have not heard it before. I am sure a number of people heard it and took it to heart. There are always those people and they should not be overlooked.
The second reason was that there are always messages that should be heard over and over to make them sink in more and more. Understanding increases as we hear the same thing over and over. Eventually even continuous drops of water damage the toughest of rocks. This is another thing that in my pride I overlooked, it is very likely that had I not taken it on me to shut down mentally during the seminars I would have gotten more from them. Alas the pride of young Mwansa can only be rivalled by the headstrongness of this Mwansa but the Holy Spirit is not through with me yet.
These reasons were perfectly valid and in my pride and unwillingness to listen I threw them down and kept seeking different people to run the same points by hoping to find one who would agree and fail to beat my logic, unfortunately for me I found one or two. But you were right all along. This was a message that was and is to remain relevant because to borrow, paraphrase and use slightly out of context the words of the apostle Paul ‘where sin abounds, grace must abound all the more’. That drum must be beat on till the cows come home. Till we see fruit in the listeners and then some. Elijah you were right.
At this point I humbly submit that I was onto a little something myself, I just never knew what it was till a couple days ago. I was tempted to title this letter, Elijah you were right… but I was right too. But that would have reeked of a pompousness I am trying not to have. The thing is I think I was onto something in that to some extent the point of emphasis of a few of those seminars could have been somewhere else. I recently came across a book called Best Friends Forever which gave me a total deck reshuffle in terms of my thinking of “Dating and Relationships” and this last bit is where my suggestion comes from.
I think that whereas the having of the semesters is a good thing and will produce fruit, it would be good if a couple of seminars where put in alongside these with the aim of promoting friendship amongst the sexes. Guys can be friends with girls and relate to each other in a group without any need for things to take a romantic detour. This line of thinking is not common and not especially cultivated among a lot of young people today. Whenever such a friendship rears it’s head one party would think too much of it, romantically, or even the view of it from the outside would be that there are romantic connotations to it. I think this is wrong.
If any place needs to be the vanguard of the propagation of genuine friendship between guys and girls, should it not be the Church? Should the church not preach more of the virtue of genuine friendship between guys and girls than just preaching against dating? Don’t get me wrong, preaching against dating and it’s many flaws has to be done but what is the use of taking away a belief and not replacing it with another. Do we not leave room for the Devil to bring in more nonsense? It is possible that just like last time I do not know as much as I think I know but I am led to believe this Is something that should be looked into.
It is my hope that this may be looked into deeper than the phrase that we will use to mask the same discussion about Dating and relationships. Apologies if proud Mwansa reared his head a couple times in there. God bless,
Mwansa N Mbewe