Pastor Caleb tries to focus on his meal, but his eyes keep wandering. The waitresses in this restaurant are all skimpily dressed. The skirts are short and tight, leaving acres of thighs exposed; the blouses are also tight, with the necklines cut so low that little of the cleavage is left to imagination. Caleb is trying hard not to look, but it is difficult. And that is filling him with guilt and shame.
Caleb grew up in church. His parents were, and still are, strict Pentecostals. As children, going to church on Sunday was mandatory for Caleb and his siblings Abigail and Jesse. They started singing in the church choir when they were still in Sunday school, and Caleb preached his first sermon at the age of nine. It was a Sunday school sermon, but a sermon nonetheless.
Abigail and Jesse started rebelling when they were in high school. They started taking alcohol, having sex and even smoking. Caleb knew about it, but he kept his mouth shut. Their parents did not have a clue about what was going on until both Jesse and Abagail went to the University of Nairobi. And even then, they only got to know because Abagail, the first born, became pregnant. Their father went mad when he learned about the pregnancy. How could his daughter, his own flesh and blood, embarrass him like that? He was a church elder for crying out loud! He had brought up his children in the ways of the Lord, and they were not supposed to depart from it. So why had she done it?
A family meeting was called and she was given a dressing down. She was called all manner of names by their incensed father. When Abigail finally broke down and started crying, Jesse, the second born of the family, decided that he had had enough. He stood up to his father and called him out for his hypocrisy.
“Jesus himself said he came for sinners. He was dining with tax collectors and prostitutes yet you cannot forgive your own daughter just because she fell pregnant?”
“So now you are the defender of sin?”
“No papa, I am not just the defender of sin. I am the chief sinner. I am a drunkard. I am a smoker and I am a sex addict. Countless girls on campus either have my children or have aborted them. You should be grateful that your daughter had the decency to keep the baby. If I was a woman I would probably have aborted forty one babies by now.”
“How dare you talk to your father like that?” their mother had snapped.
“I am tired of your hypocrisy, both of you. You walk around pretending to be holier than thou but do you even read the Bible you preach? You unleash anger on us and on each other in this house but when in public you pretend that we are this amazing Christian family. Who do you think you are fooling?”
The argument had become heated, and at some point Elder Jeremiah had tried to hit his son, but Jesse blocked the blow. Caleb and Abigail had to intervene to prevent a father-son fistfight. That was the day Abagail and Jesse were kicked out of the home.
Caleb envies his older siblings for having the guts to stand up to their parents. At least they got their freedom. Caleb was always the good boy, hence the darling of his parents. When his siblings rebelled, he stayed in church, becoming a youth leader in their church. He was always in the Christian Union leadership throughout his days in high school and campus, and after graduating with his Bachelor’s degree in Education, he abandoned teaching to become a pastoral intern at Golgotha Divinity Fellowship, the church he grew up in.
He completed his degree in theology and was promoted by the Bishop to become an Associate Pastor. He started out as the Associate Pastor in charge of worship, then he became the Youth Pastor, and now he is the Senior Pastor of the main church. The church has since grown, and has sixteen branches which are called campuses. Bishop Josiah, the man who founded the church when Caleb was only two years old, is the General Overseer of all the seventeen churches.
Caleb’s father sits in the Bishopric Council, the board of senior elders that helps the Bishop with the running of the entire Golgotha Divinity Ministry. He is immensely proud of his son, who sits in that council too by virtual of being the Senior Pastor of the Main Church.
From the outside, Caleb is doing well. At only 34, he is a respected theologian, pastor and family man. He is widely expected to take over the church from Bishop Josiah. Not only is he the senior most pastor of the 41 pastors that constitute the Pastoral Assembly of Golgotha Divinity Fellowship, but he is also Bishop Josiah’s son-in-law.
But deep inside, Caleb is a troubled man. His dream has always been to have a happy family. But it seems that the unhappiness of his childhood will plague him for the rest of his life. His brother Jesse was right when he talked about the hypocrisy of their parents. They have been married for 41 years now, a fact they like to emphasize in marriage seminars and other public forums, but Caleb has never felt love in that house. He has never felt loved by his parents, and he did not feel like they loved each other. He and his siblings stuck close to each other, but after Abigail and Jesse started misbehaving, Caleb found himself isolated.
Caleb wanted better for his family. He wanted his house to be one full of laughter and happiness. He wanted his children to experience love. He wanted to be deeply in love with his wife. He actually came close to achieving it. He had found a woman he was in love with. Her name was Lilly, and he dated her throughout his time at Kenyatta University. But when he introduced her to his parents and the Bishop as the woman he wanted to marry, they made it clear that she would be welcome neither in the family nor in the church. The reason was simple: she had a tattoo of a flower on her left arm, and she had dreadlocks. Caleb tried to explain that Lilly was born again and that she in fact had been the Christian Union secretary at KU, but the verdict was clear: tattoos and dreadlocks are Satanic, therefore he has to find a “proper” woman to marry.
Caleb did not want to have a confrontation with his parents, and certainly not with his spiritual authority-the Bishop-so he broke up with Lilly. It was the hardest thing he has had to do to date. It is did not take long for him to know who the “proper woman” was. It was his mother who started the whole thing by mentioning how beautiful and Godly the Bishop’s daughter was. Gradually, pressure mounted from all quarters for him to marry Dinah, the Bishop’s last born child.
Caleb got married to Dinah four years ago, and it seems that he is going to lead a miserable life just like his parents. He and Dinah make a big show of being in love while in public, but Caleb knows that Dinah hates him with every fiber of her being. Caleb cannot remember the last time he had a lighthearted conversation with his wife. Whenever they talk, it is always about church. Not that they get many opportunities to talk anyway, because Dinah spends almost every minute she is awake in church-her father’s church. Yet Caleb cannot complain; in fact, as a pastor he is expected to be grateful that his wife is so committed to the cause of Christ.
Caleb and Dinah haven’t had sex in three years. Dinah will simply not allow him to touch her. Caleb suspects that that is why the display of thighs and cleavage by the waitresses is becoming almost too much for him to handle. He cannot even dare to stand because the bulge in his trousers will embarrass him. He knows the scripture:
Matthew 5: 27-28: “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”
This scripture causes Caleb so much anguish. He knows he is definitely going to hell. Because he does not get satisfaction at home, he lusts over almost every other woman: praise and worship members in church; TV anchors, supermarket attendants and waitresses like the ones in this restaurant. When he was single, the sexual urges were manageable because he was looking forward to marriage; he knew he would get his release in marriage. But now he is trapped in a sexless marriage, and there is no hope that he will ever get sexual satisfaction without falling into sin. Sometimes he fantasizes about running away to a place where he is unknown and where he will live a free life with a woman of his choice. He doesn’t have any children with Dinah, so if he runs away there will be no guilt of being a dead beat father. But he knows he doesn’t have the courage to walk out of his marriage and his life.
There is another option that is in the Bible, just below the text on lust.
Matthew 5:29-30 “If your right eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell.”
What if he gets castrated? It means he will no longer have any sexual urges, which means he will no longer be sinning in his heart. He can then devote all his energies to church. That is an option that is becoming more and more appealing to him, especially right now when he is struggling with the sexual arousal caused by women he doesn’t know.
Image by Himsan from Pixabay: https://pixabay.com/photos/prayer-hands-church-light-2544994/
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