Category Archives: Religion

How to Interpret the Bible

By Bridget Sengu

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The Bible is God’s word. But some of the interpretations derived from it are unrelated.  There are many Christian groups that use the Bible–claiming their interpretations are correct.  Too often, however, the interpretations not only differ dramatically but are clearly contradictory.  This does not mean that the Bible is a confusing document. Rather, the problem lies in those who interpret and the methods they use.

This also does not mean that accurate understanding of God’s word is impossible.  But it does mean that we need to approach His word with care, humility, and reason. After all, the Bible is inspired by God and is addressed to His people.

On the human level, to lessen the errors that come in our interpretations, we need to look at some basic biblical interpretive methods.  The following list of questions can affect how a person interprets any verse in the bible.

  1. Who wrote/spoke the words in the verse and who was it addressed to?
  2. What does the verse say?
  3. Are there any words in the verse that need to be examined?
  4. What is the broader context in the chapter and book?
  5. What are the related verses to the verse’s subject, and how do they affect the understanding of this verse?
  6. What is the historical and cultural background?
  7. What do I conclude about the verse?
  8. Do my conclusions agree or disagree with related areas of scripture and others who have studied the verse?
  9. What have I learned and what must I apply to my life?

The above questions gives a direction and foundation for interpreting the word of God.  These questions entails looking into the scriptures as best as one can with as much understanding and skill as is possible.

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Spirituality and career counselling

By Pelagia Bhebhe

 

Spirituality can be a unique and often powerful component of an individual’s life, it may relate to the career development process. Spirituality is not considered as important in counselling, yet it plays an integral part in ones’ identity.

It is important for counsellors to ask their clients if they are spiritual or not, if they are spiritual there is need to explore how this component of their life relates to their career process.

It is important to do so as spirituality has a connection with client’s career in the sense that it has influence on career-related interests and values and it can act as a motivator to career choice.

Therefore by addressing these connections, counselors may have a deeper understanding of a client’s identity and also normalize the notion that spirituality may be important in career-related tasks.

Indeed, career counseling today is an ideal dynamic process; through which counselors help clients explore not only their interests, skills, and values, but also their familial influence, work-family conflict, and supports and barriers.

Without understanding the full scope of factors that may influence a client’s career, including spirituality, counselors may be missing information that could be critical to helping clients make decisions and cope with the world of work.

For college students in the process of making career decisions and especially for working adults dealing with career-related stress, having a strong support network can be critical.

Typically, counselors have been encouraged to investigate and draw on the support a client receives from friends, family, and significant others.

These support networks typically provide safety nets to fall back on during stressful times and are sources of advice and guidance.

However, the support individuals may receive through their spirituality has received minimal attention from researchers, and no studies have examined how spiritual support relates to the career development process.

So spiritual support can be explored in career counseling through  recommended that counselors ask clients if they are spiritual and then encourage them to explain what spirituality means to them. As stated previously, spirituality will likely mean something unique to each individual client and can range from a relationship with a higher power or powers to a belief in a general life force. If a client is spiritual, counselors are encouraged to explore if and to what extent he or she derives support from his or her spirituality. For some clients, this support may come from connecting with a higher being, perhaps in the form of prayer or mediation. For others, support may come from connecting with other individuals in their spiritual community who may share similar beliefs and value systems. Regardless of the exact mechanism through which support is received, spiritual support can be powerful, especially for individuals who view their spirituality as a principal component of their self-concept. Without raising the question of the extent of a client’s spirituality, counselors may be overlooking an important piece of the client’s overall support network.

How Should Christians Date

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By Bridget Sengu

There are only two outcomes of relationships: that is to get married or breaking up. The secret is knowing how to handle a dating relationship so you know if the other person is worth marrying or he/ she is honored in the breakup.

Unfortunately, it seems like many young singles struggle to figure out just how to handle dating – and I’m not the only one who’s noticed how weird the Christian dating scene can be. As my friend Natasha, married and in her thirties, recently remarked, “I am sure glad I was not much of a Christian when I started dating my husband!”

I constantly hear old women small groups, murmuring, “My daughter was interested in this nice Christian boy, but he strung her along for a year and a half. The next one did too.” Or, “Buhle acted like they were friends but she told me later that they were hooking up on the side.” With that kind of dismal dating culture at play, let’s consider the options:

First, there’s Duggar Dating (Duggar dating is the modern-day form of arranged marriages). I donot have first-hand knowledge, but thanks to reality TV, I believe it appears to involve asking the woman’s dad if she is available to date, and possibly not kissing until the actual wedding.

Outside the Duggar-verse, there is the less overt but just as prevalent “ideal spouse” dating. This involves judging a potential guy or girl for the 38 qualities you are looking for in an ideal mate—before even grabbing coffee together. It’s like arranged marriages where no one is making the arrangements, and it doesnot seem to work very well.

At the opposite extreme, there is “Faux Christian Dating”—in which young Christians have no idea what to do with dating, so they avoid it. Instead of dating, lots of “hanging out” occurs. “Hanging out”, leads to all kinds of mixed feelings. Does he like me? Is she flirting? What does this text mean? Why did he sit next to me at church? Did she want my sweatshirt because she was cold, or because she likes me?

Sometimes the “hanging out” leads to hooking up, which is another uber-confusing side effect of the Faux Christian Dating cycle.

But what if there was another option? What if Christians just began to date like normal people—not dating toward immediate marriage and not eschewing dating for the less-desirable “hanging out” no man’s land? Here’s what I think it would require:

1) Date indiscriminately

Stop evaluating whether the guy who’s taken an interest in you is strong and tenderhearted enough to raise your future kids.

Stop evaluating whether the new girl at church is hot enough and “low-maintenance” enough for your liking.

If you take notice, if you are intrigued or interested, make a date! Get together—one on one. It is worth spending at least a little bit of time with the person before you decide if they are worth marrying.

2) Date casually

Not every date needs to be a total success. But it’s foolish to think that the way a girl or guy acts in a group of friends is the same as how they’ll act one on one.

3) Date often

Sometimes we all need a little practice with figuring out what we really want–not in terms of our “ideal spouse” but a real flesh-and-blood human.

4) Date toward interest, not toward marriage

“Do you think Christian girls make dating too serious?” I asked several guys recently. “I need a buffer of at least five dates before I’m thinking of any future at all!” said one young man.

What Is Spirituality?

By Pelagia Bhebhe

Nuage de mots - Spiritualité Many scholars view spirituality as distinctly tied to religiousness and define spirituality as the relationship an individual has with a higher power or powers. In general, others define this term as a search for meaning in the pursuit of highest human potential.

In this case, spirituality entails striving to attain or achieve a goal. Still other scholars consider spirituality a general life force that serves to guide one’s decision making and ways of living. Although definitions vary, their commonality is that spirituality, unlike religiousness, tends to be considered unique, individualized, and adaptable. It is likely that no two individuals’ spirituality would be exactly alike, that it may vary within and across cultures, that the degree it influences one’s life would greatly vary, and that many more people would claim to be spiritual than religious. Recent large-scale studies have found that 40% of people report following religious teachings in everyday life, while 80% report an interest in spirituality and 83% believe in the sacredness of life. Research has shown that regardless of the precise definition, spirituality can have a large impact on one’s life, including one’s career.

The study of spirituality in general has recently burgeoned, and in turn additional investigations have begun to explore how spirituality relates to careers and work. A series of theoretical models have been proposed that link spirituality and career development, and each model emphasizes that individuals’ spirituality should be considered in their decision-making process as it may be a critical component of their self-concept. A minimal amount of empirical research has also been completed, addressing the connections between spirituality and specific career-related variables. For example, researchers have found that college students who had greater spiritual awareness or a strong spiritual presence in their lives reported higher career decision self-efficacy and career choice commitment. For working adults, indices of spiritual well-being have been tied to greater job satisfaction. Other qualitative studies with college students and adults have found that spiritual individuals report a greater desire to serve others, that they feel more supported during career-related struggles, and that they are more likely to view their career as a calling. What this theoretical and empirical work suggests is that spirituality may be inexplicably linked to interest and value development, decision making, and coping in all stages of the career process. This notion may be especially important for career counselors who work with clients in helping them both make career decisions and cope with the world of work.

How churches increase mortality rates

By Pelagia Bhebhe

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Some religious sects in Zimbabwe have beliefs that infringe the rights of congregates. With some churches believing that congregants should not seek medical attention as they can be healed via prayer and faith.

This has increased the country’s mortality rate due to high infant mortality rate as children are not allowed to access immunization for the six killer diseases and also the adults are not allowed access conventional medicines.

At one point the apostolic faith members who were diagnosed with HIV were said to seek medical attention at night because they are afraid of being seen by fellow members.

This shows how religion is acts as a barrier to reducing HIV/AIDS related deaths as people fail to access medication due to religion.

Tatenda Kanengoni said “members of the Johanne Marange Apostolic sect officially refuse medical treatment of any kind, even in the most severe cases of injury or illness. They believe that only God can heal, and that their faith in him makes that possible.”

Some churches fail to note that conventional medicines like antiretroviral drugs are a miracle from God which is there to boost the immune system of those who are infected with the virus.

The churches have lost their role in marriages

By Pelagia Bhebhe

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The churches are one of the respected institutions in society, with most people having high expectations from congregants as the assumption is that they uphold high moral standards. Having said this, the church has a role to play in marriages as it applauds marriages and discredit cohabiting which has become a norm in the 21st century. Cohabiting has become popular as a result of high divorce rates, therefore the youths prefer a no strings attached kind of relationship.

With high rates of divorce the churches should be coming up with measures to curb this problem. However, the church leaders seem to be heightening the problem by marrying couples not because of love, but because they want to show off. Some Pentecostal church leaders are said to compete on the number of people they marry per year.

With this being the case surely the divorce rates will sky rocket because some of the people who are married off are immature and cannot withstand the challenges associated with marriage.

Although the president urged couples who are thinking of getting a divorce to seek assistance from the church, extended families and elderly people who deal with such issues.

However, it is almost impossible as the teachings from the church clash with those of traditionalist or other elderly people who attend different churches.

This is evidenced by what mai Angela Matambo said while speaking to new Zimbabwe dot com that when the leaders of family try to speak to their children about the values of marriages they are told that “papa” did not say that.

This clearly indicates that congregants value the perceptions of their spiritual fathers than those of biological parents as they tend to make reference to what is being preached at church.

With this regard churches have a hand in the increase of divorce in Zimbabwe.

Religious institutions should be governed by laws

By Pelagia Bhebhe

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With the rise of dubious pastors in the SADC region who compel congregants to do bizarre things such as drinking petrol, eating snakes claiming that it tastes like chocolate and the recent incident of a pastor spraying congregants with doom, a spray used to kill insects or bugs.

This has led to debates on whether to introduce a law which will govern churches to curb the problem created by dubious pastors. Although it is stipulated in the Zimbabwean constitution on chapter 4(a) that citizens have freedom of religion or belief and right to religious practices, hence some pastors are taking advantage of this.

It is against this background that a law that can govern how churches operate should be put in place so that the notorious pastors who compel their congregants to consume inedible substances can be put behind bars.

These unusual practices that occur in churches show the nature of the religious leaders in the 21st century however, in the past there have been religious practices that were enforcing gender inequality, infringing the rights of citizens to access medical help and even children were not allowed to go to school.

The recent practices are bit extreme as they have the ability to affect the health of individual and hence having long term effects.

Given this a law that can prevent the occurrence of such unscrupulous practices is required so as to save the lives of desperate individuals.

However, it is important to consider that the constitution which governs the activities of citizens in any country stipulates that people have the right to religious practices. Having a law which is not inline will present a challenge as the constitution has completely different provisions from the law which will govern religious bodies.Although it is necessary to have such a law It will be difficult to enforce such a law.