Disclaimer: I respect my readers and their religion and today’s post might offend some people. Don’t take it personal- it is just an expression of art.
I love going to church. It makes me leave the house on a weekend and finally put on some decent dress; not the handkerchiefs I wear during the week. Hypocrisy my people. It makes him think am capable of raising Nasike and her siblings. Above all, it gives me time to feel less sinful. Most importantly, however, depending with the church I will go to, I’ll be thoroughly entertained.
In Kenya we have hold on to religion like it is a matter of life and death. As I write this, am keen not to attract curses. I mean you say one word against pastors/Christians and you risk being struck by thunder and lightning. Or your eyes gouged out like what happened to Pashhur when he made fun of Jeremiah.
When you enter the church, you’ll be met by some sharply dressed and jovial gentleman. An usher. You can almost see a halo around his head. He is christened with holiness. He smiles and the Lord’s joy engulfs you too. Your body takes another form. You yearn to hear God’s word. “Welcome to God’s house sister Rebecca.” The young man with sideburns, anointed by the Holy Spirit, says in a voice that has this gentleness of a lamb. You feel you are in the right place. Ok, lady ushers might also be doing a good job but I hardly notice. Opposite attraction rule. Am pardoned, no?
Then the praise and worship team takes to the dais. They swing their hips and turn their necks with grace. However, not all of them dance with grace. Some are possessed by David’s spirit that makes people dance until their clothes fall off. They yell on the mic, screech and invoke spirit of dance to come down. “Somebady shout for the Lord! Somebady dance for the Lord! Are you ashamed of Him?” incites one lady amidst shouts of joy and songs. As she does this, the congregation recalls how people perished in an accident, how lucky they are to have children, how joyful they are upon getting a job and thus jump with ecstasy at God’s love. The praise and worship team by now, is rising with tempo. They slowly transition from being graceful to shaking vigorously, jumping like Morans and dancing like it is their last day on earth. I must say, had I been blessed with nightingale voices like theirs, I would be shaking dangerously and hold that mic with excitement, like it is something edible.
I love watching self-imposed pastors in buses too. As you sit in one going up country, a middle-aged man comes with full energy, bellowing God’s word. He declares God’s mighty works of sending a shark to swallow Yona and snakes biting Israelites who refused to look at the bronze snakes. Pastor Kamau goes on to illustrate how people despise the word and where do they end up? In hell. He remembers how he preached in one Eldoret Express and people rejected him, only few gave him ears. The bus later was involved in a fatal accident. Then he threatens how we never know our future and especially now that we were going to use a man-made automobile. As a listener, you actually start listening with fear. The climax is when the prayer moment just before offering. He goes ahead to mention the patriarchs and the roles they played. He mentions how the cornerstone was rejected, how the rich man was uncharitable and ended up in hell, how Caesar has to be given what is his. He concludes by thanking the Holy Ghost for warming people’s hearts towards giving selflessly.
In the churches, it is the same affair. The pastors these days assure the congregation of richness and abundance. They promise them manna and quills. “The Lord has heard your cry and you will soon drive a Limo! Soon, you will hold a pair of twins my sister. Soon and very soon, you will get a job paying six digits!” as he prophesizes, the congregation goes gaga screaming amen, some jumping from their seats and waving at the pastor. The pastor’s wife stands and claps with pride. Midway through the preaching, the pastor calls his wife to “say something”. She dramatically, in her head gear and heavy adornment of jewelry, praises her husband and blows her trumpet out of proposition about their blessed life.
Offering time. Some churches have mpesa till numbers, through which you can make your generous contribution. In others, coins are not allowed and if you do, some might announce that whoever gave the one bob to go and collect it/them. True story there. As the tithe is being collected the pastor, amidst the tithe songs of “toa toa sadaka”, will still reinforce, “remember it is God’s. Give everything to him. The hand that gives more, receives more…”
By this time, am too hungry and cannot wait for the usual announcements from some lady with a forced accent, wearing too much lipstick and tight skirt. The announcements are depressing. If it won’t be about a contribution for pastors’/leaders’ conference, it will be a wedding, a funeral or scheduled prayer meetings. And my most dreaded announcement, “kindly, all youths meet after this”
Have a blessed week, brethren.