A fellow job hunting buddy invited me to his church a few years ago. We were chatting about job our job hunting experiences and he went on a spiritual tirade, about how the awesome power of God can solve all our problems and how I should visit his church and go to his pastor for counselling and spiritual advice. I was reluctant at first, but he was persistent, he spoke about his pastor with such reverence and adulation. I gave in after I had exhausted all the tactics I employed to dodge the invite. Besides, I rarely attended any other churches that weren’t mine, so I decided to give a shot…actually, I was curious, I was just going there to observe and to see how things are done.
I arrived early on that Sunday, took a comfortable seat at the back. The sound engineers were putting the sound equipment together, a small group of ladies sat by the corner, their heads bowed in prayer, I spotted my buddy, he was helping to fix up the drum set, he smiled when he saw me obviously elated that I showed up. A young girl pranced rather frantically around the church, she was obviously some sort of leader in the church, I think I noticed her because she was well dressed and she had on nice heels that accentuated her hip and hips movement as she walked hastily. As my thoughts began to drift I realized I was in a church, in the presence of the most high and my thoughts were vagrant and wayward. I quickly gathered my thoughts for fear of being struck by lightning. Another lady came to meet me, She smiled and asked me to please follow her, I hated to sit in front, be it in a church, classroom or wherever but I had no choice so I followed her grudgingly ,trying not to stare at her hips too, My…dem select all these girls? How come all of them gather hips like this? E be like hips and heels na criteria to be worker for this church. She gestured I sat in the front row, I declined, went two rows behind and sat there. She smiled accepting defeat and went behind to usher some more ”backbenchers” to the front.
In a matter of minutes the church wall filled to the hilt, three envelopes were given to everybody in the church, two were brown and one white, I guessed one was for the Sunday offering, the other was for tithe, I gave up on trying to decipher what the third envelope was for. I carefully and discreetly brought out three fifty naira notes ensuring they made no ruffling sounds, needless to say it was futile, that money and the likes can disgrace person sha.
It was time for praise and worship, the lead chorister was decent, she had a sweet and sultry voice that did justice to the touching gospel ballads she sang, the keyboardist and drummer were right on cue. Hands were in the air, some people had one hand in the air and the other on their chest, singing along in unison lost in the worship and reverence of the almighty. Every eye in the church was closed save for mine, they were wandering, as usual. All that deep meditating trance-like mood quickly evaporated as the praise and worship took a different turn, the music tempo was ‘upped’ the church was ‘turnt’ and ‘lit’ who says church goers don’t turn up? Come and see dance steps. There was galala, makossa, suwo and near twerks, etighi was the rave of the moment at the time and there was ample rendition of the dance step. Hips swayed from side to side, bottoms wobbly and voluptuous jerked in the air. Short, figure hugging dresses and skirts were pulled up at intervals because sisters were seriously ‘’going down low’’ it was like a scene from a club, only things missing were the lights, booze and scantily clad waitresses. I almost felt guilty for watching and enjoying all these things play out and making such comparisons.
All this time the pastor was nowhere in sight, I thought he was running late but as I learned much later, he was in his office in the back communing with the most high. The church had to be ‘’hyped’’ up and ‘’pumped up’’ before he showed up like the star artiste of a concert. He finally came on ‘’stage’’ and he was welcomed amidst loud cheers, standing ovation ,whistling, shouting, even drum rolls, the church was boisterous. In my head I’m thinking, if this is your church why do you have to be introduced? But what do I know? I turned to my friend and gave him this ‘’for real?’’ look on my face, and he responded with the ‘’I know…I know’’ grimace. The first thing I noticed about the pastor was his hair, and his expensive looking suit, his hair was glistening, it had enough grease to fry a tuber of yam, and it dripped unto the back and shoulders of his expensive suit. He looked like one very popular preacher, I guess that was his idol and he modeled himself after him.
…To Be continued