For those of us who are Frank Ocean’s fans, you would have noticed that I stole the title of his song. Well, what can I say; most Nigerians musicians do not come up with nice ideas of their own (if you think I am just being defensive; take a look at all the people who have won Project fame and how well they are doing now….). I also intended to steal some of his lyrics too; but don’t worry, I would make some adjustments here and there and you “may not even notice”.
I think it starts like this;
‘’ Taxi driver
Be my shrink for the hour
Leave the meter running
Something, something, something
He said Allah wakubar
I told them don’t judge me
Something, something, something
I can never make him love me
Something, something, something
It’s a bad religion being in love with someone who “don’t love you”
To improve the mix, I want to add something from Lana del Rey’s religion this time around I would just skip to the part I need for this article;
“For you, there is only love
You’re my religion
You are how I am living
When all my friends say I should take some space”
Ughhhhh!!!!!! I never knew coming up with an idea of your own was so difficult, why can’t someone just write this article and let me comment. Anyway let me try this. I hope it convinces you anyway.
I noticed something about the two songs; they both referred to love as a religion. I wrote an article earlier that I refused to publish because I criticized Christianity and even Islam and then said that love is the only religion I preach. Well, I got the nickname “the anti-Christ” after that and I didn’t want the Catholic Church hunting me down to kill me so I just passed on it. Back to the point for all of us, black, brown, chocolate, bleached white and real white (Caucasians), love is a universal language. We all want that person that calls us in the middle of the night and says they love us. Some would actually prefer that person who calls in the middle of the night and say they are horny. However we like to interpret it. It all boils down to those three words “I love you”.
I am usually quick to say the words (sometimes, I never actually do just to be on the safe side) but I seem to not really understand what it means and the commitment that comes with all the emotions and the covenant. I want to be in love and yet be allowed to do whatever I so please not minding how the person I am in a covenant with feels. As long as my desires (however numerous they may be) are satisfied then the relationship is perfect. What can I say; I am just an ordinary man with ordinary needs. I am confused and I have misunderstood many situations and have been misunderstood myself. In order to understand what is really required of me then I had to learn to love someone more than I actually love myself (it’s cliché. I know but I really did) and I realized that I have been doing it all wrong. The disadvantage this time around was that I didn’t get the same from the other person. I found myself in Frank Ocean’s position (although I thought I was in Lana’s). For me; as I said earlier only religion I believed in because I was not going to join a group of self-righteous judgmental people (who advise me to go to church but are yet surprised when I do) and call them my brethren or whatever they like to call themselves. I really did experience unrequited love and I learnt a lot of things from that. Someone I know once said; experiences are what make you.
I decided to go through the bible one day just in search of answers or at least so I could mock the so called Christians. Then I came across this passage in Ephesians 3:17-18 ‘and I pray that Christ will make his home in your hearts through faith. I pray that you may have your foundation in love so that you, together with all God’s people may have the power to understand how broad and how long, how high and how deep, is Christ love”. It did not make any meaning to me anyway until I went to church and heard the preacher (that same one I have continued to criticize day after day) say repeatedly that David was a man of love and David loved God with all his heart, he gave God himself first and after that it was no big deal from David to hand God anything he owned and God loved David and literally pampered David every time. So I came across another passage in 2 Samuel 1:26 ‘I grieve for you, my brother Jonathan; how dear you were to me! How wonderful was your love to me, better even than the love of women’ I decided to read the chapters before and then came across this 1 Samuel 18:1 ‘Saul and David finished their conversation. After that, Saul’s son; Jonathan was deeply attracted to David and came to love him as much as he loved himself. Reading from this chapter till the end of first Samuel, I noticed that David and Jonathan made a covenant and time and time again promised to honor that covenant. It beat my imagination why a book of a few thousand pages written and compiled over thousands of years would contain the “love story” between two men. Can they not just write down some of the more important things concerning faith or grace or miracles? After all the gospel of John in its last chapter and verse said that the whole world would not hold the books containing what Jesus did, so why not make more space in the bible for the important things like Jesus’ actions and delete the not so important story of David and Jonathan. I decided to meditate on this and I realized something.
When St. Paul said in his letter to the Ephesians that he prays we should have our foundation in love, he understood that as human beings, we would not understand the things we cannot relate to. Relating this to David’s situation, I then understood that David was able to relate to keeping a covenant with Jonathan and trusting that even if Jonathan’s father was about to kill him, Jonathan would not betray him. He was able to relate to love in its purest from, not polluted by sexual desires or lust and that was why he said his love to him was more precious than that of a woman, for Jonathan was ready to give up his throne to protect David. Because David had his foundation in love and was able to understand the sanctity of love and the terms of a covenant, he was able to love God. David loved God like no other person in the bible and was regarded a man after God’s own heart. David made a covenant with God which was way much stronger than that which he made with man and he honored it. David did things that people will consider stupid for God and God was with him all the way. Even when David wronged God, he went back, he apologized and loved God even more and so God honored his own covenant with David. He blessed David and made him promise after promise which he fulfilled. In 2 Samuel 7 God promised to preserve David’s dynasty and promised that even when David’s son sinned against him, he will not withdraw his support like he did from Saul but he will punish him as a father punishes a son. God kept his promise to David and let his only son come through David’s lineage. For me, this is the true definition of love.
Just as God loved David, God loved the Israelites; Sirach 17:17 ‘he gave each nation its own ruler but Israel is the lord’s own nation’. Isaiah 49:15 can a woman forget her own baby and not love the child she bore? Even if a woman should forget her child, I will never forget you. There was one problem anyway; Israel was a prostitute Jeremiah 2:11 ‘no other nation has ever changed its gods even though they were not real, but my people have exchanged me, the God who has brought them honor for gods that can do nothing for them’. Hosea 6:4 ‘but the lord says; Israel and Judah, what am I going to do with you? Your love for me disappears as quickly as the morning mist; it is like dew that vanishes early in the day’. Hosea 4:18 ‘after drinking too much wine, they delight in their prostitution, preferring disgrace to honor’. Even with all this, God understood that they were human, he loved them and made promises which he fulfilled and we can attest to that. Zechariah 8:20 ‘the lord almighty says; the time is coming when many people from many cities will come to Jerusalem’. Today, everyone wants to go on pilgrimage to Jerusalem and even be addressed as JP when they come back. I gained insight on the meaning of bad religion being unrequited love because God loves me and I don’t love him.
I told myself; I decided to get baptized and become a Christian (on my own), I decided to choose to serve the Lord (although a long time ago) on my own. I knew the implication of the covenant that I made to God and I still decided to make it. If I have decided that, then I must honor my covenant. My love for God did really disappear like the morning mist and I abandoned God the moment I found something I could not do but that was because of my misconception about love, that was because for me love has always been about what I gain from it, no matter what. I have been fighting God all this while when all He has done is love me, even though I had to experience some things to know that. I like to believe that I now know better. I have decided to (instead of loving myself) love God and let Him love me because I cannot love myself as much as He loves me. I have decided to grow in love every day for scripture says ‘where love and charity abides, there God is found’. So; who can separate us from the love of Christ?
AJAYI OLUWATOMIWA CHARLES