For the first time in five years, I was taken to church. The circumstances behind this move is not necessary to note; however, I learnt a lot, and did not regret being in church this day.
I had forgotten what a church looked like, I had also decided to forget so many religious doctrines and tenents exhibited by the church; this indeed would tell you what prompted my stoppage to church.
Nevertheless, If I must be honest, I would say it was extremely interesting to have allowed them push me to church today. I had to update my views, and approach towards the church, and religion in the entirety of Africa.
Being driven by an expensive Mercedes Benz was not that fascinating, because of the dilapidated state of the Ohanku road, Aba, Abia State. To be sincere, if I were a resident in that area, I would not be motivated an inch to attend churches nearby. Waking up every Sunday morning, dressing on stunning designer wears, only to have them stained and ruined by splashes of dirty water – that have formed pools – situated in series of potholes along the road.
Reaching the church venue (name withheld), it was a meagre structure, unpainted building of about 100 by 50 meters, in size, with a carrying capacity slightly above 50. Knowing very well that the church was quite small, there were (these) huge speakers that could trigger headache, or even a mental disorder as a result of the hi-sounds emanating from the speakers .
Entering the church premises from outside, you would be greeted by a huge signpost, bearing the name of the church, and a landscape picture of a the church’s General Overseer (G.O).
Staring directly at the ‘Daddy G.O’ on the signpost, I still could not phantom the reason(s) behind the exposition of the G.O on the signboard as the first thing one would see upon arrival. “Well, the ‘gaudy’ display of self-picture by pastors have become a tradition in several churches,” I said to myself. But, why the adverts? Why the promotion? Hypothetically, the ‘Daddy G.O’ has become of great significance than the God he serves.
“Nice songs, nice beats,” I said, as I nodded my head in synchronisation of the music played inside the church. But, would a Church of such scale have such big speakers? Who are they trying to impress? The members inside the Church or those outside? I am yet to understand. I remember in the Holy Book, Christ in Matthew 6:6 said, “But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray and pray to your father who is in secret. And your father who sees in secret will reward you”.
Parking the Mercedes-Benz, and alighting from the car, it dawned on me that I put on a blue jean trouser, and might be denied entrance to the church hall. “Well, I am coming to worship my God, not the Church,” I mumbled to myself. Meanwhile, a lady approached me saying I could not enter the church hall because of my dressing.
Just then, a slim-figured, fair lady walked past me, she was on a very low mini-skirt and top outfit. She walked majestically on a high-heeled shoe straight into the church hall. In all sanity, I was looking more responsible than the lady. I was on a pair of blue jeans, jean jacket worn over a white T-shirt, and a pair of sandals.
“Could it be that God Almighty does discriminate?” I asked myself. “Well, the ‘god’ in this church appears to be biased towards styles and fashion,” I soliloquised. But then, I knew it was borne out of the religious extremism that Africans have imbibed. Ironically, the Europeans that supposedly brought us Christianity do not indulge in such hollow ideology – where a ‘half naked’ lady appeared” holier” than myself on jean-trouser.
Meanwhile, in the second place, my coming to church was to fulfill a pending business, and it seemed I was already losing my business – just because I should apply a religious dogma of a church – which is no different from a business entity too.
At the end of the service, I would go home without pay, whereas the Daddy G.O of the church would be smiling home with proceeds gotten from tithe and offerings.
At that juncture, I decided to sit outside, while I wait for my business associates. I was right outside a church that denied me my ‘rights of worship’ just because I wore a trouser. Having the images of Daddy G.O flaunted ostentatiously; could putting on a pair of trouser be more sinful?
His pictures were right on the signpost, being projected more than Christ; so I concluded, “the Church has fallen in the cesspool of hypocrisy”.
To be continued…
Nwada Ugochinyere Onyechere reporting, Obinwannem News