Growing up in a Catholic church definitely taught me a lot of things I wouldn’t even know today if I was born in Pentecostal or perhaps a different sect in the religious circle. It shaped my core value system, and contrary to people’s believe and assumption, the church taught me religious tolerance in practical terms, even amidst the fear of me “seeing the so-called light” a lot of people find outside the fold in the Pentecostal arrangement, I think it is more about the message of prosperity as against the orthodox conservative doctrines that tries to keep followers closer to God and not money. Money is a defense, money answereth all things, and the love of money is the root of all evils… I bet the Love of God is better than it all because it makes even money “jara” on the gift of eternal life.
The church I grew up in hard a lot of rules and routine that defied going to the confession box to confess your sins, everything was clear and going against any of it means going against the church in the full flesh. If you know the story of King Henry VIII that led to the breakaway of the first protestant movement, you will know that those rules didn’t spare the crown even in that era when the king could slay at will. That era isn’t so far-fetched; the traditional ruler of my community, a king whose uncle gave the plot where the church was built to the church had to live by the rules when he decided to take a new first lady to celebrate his crown. He moved his sit to the back of the church and never dared to go near the altar when it’s time for Holy Communion, only death resolved the situation. I remember brides were not allowed to wear white gabs if they’ve had issues before marriage or before due to circumstances beyond them, my aunt wore a very cream gown for it, and no matter how powerful you are, the church will never consummate a union with bulgy belly in white flowing gown. That was the church I knew but it seems that something is now complicit or missing within or more, perhaps it’s the new look of cool or maybe the spiritual standards of the church now only applies to the weak and poor here in Nigeria. Far be it that the church is now operated with double standards, the richer and powerful you are, the lesser the rules apply to you. No wonder Pastor B’ got away with the banging experience, I am sure he’s lifting up his holy hands right now, enjoying “a new level of grace” that is technically now available to the rich for a fee and the powerful through influence and control.
Someone just hinted me that President Goodluck’s daughter was not only very pregnant in her white flowing wedding gown some days ago, but also had the honour of having Bishops, Pastors and General Overseers move their anointing down to Abuja to witness her marriage to the “Badt Guy of Life” that tested his bride OK! before marriage. I guess this is another display of a new level of grace, Powered by special anointing from the altar of hypocrisy. This is Animal Farm, some animals are just more equal than the others, and I am glad it’s always the pigs that are “More Equal”, yes they bear our filt. I am happy the young woman got married in such an elaborate wedding with funfair and Iyanya dishing out fresh “Etighi” and Away moves at the wedding, but my anger knows no bound at the amount of value the church as thrown away on the altar of money and hypocrisy.
I remember the rude joke about an Imam screaming “Praise The Lord!” at a mosque fund raising function when he saw a huge check in seven or eight digits, that is where the Household of Faith is standing right now. The rules apply when the situation is between an usher and chorister, it stays firm when the pregnant girl is the daughter of deacon or son of the security man, the stones are hauled in the anger and heat of Sharia but when it’s the son of the elder that funded the new church playground, or pastor’s trip to leadership conference in Yankee or trip to Jerusalem like GEJ did, then the heavens understand. I remember the true story of a RCCG pastor that had to leave the church because he wanted to remarry after years of the divorce and the church said he can’t… He pastors his own church somewhere in Gbagada now. I know a few more supposed ministers of the Gospel that are living a lie just to stay in church and in business and because their tithe is tight, they are ignored or should I say forgiven continuously. We complain of decay in the society, corrupt leaders and irresponsible citizens, I think I’ve the source… It’s the church and mosque, yes! The system and institution that sharpens and shape our believe and core has lost its grip on Morals to Money, and at a time like this, the only thing that comes to mind is that Fela’s tune and famous lines “Pope na enjoyment, Imamu na gbaladun…” we’ve lost it all to pleasure and power, I hope we’ll find it back somehow.
Maybe you can help me solve the riddle, how will a Pastor or Imam that had enjoyed a free ride to Mecca or Jerusalem, collected cows and rams during Christmas and “Ileya”, received alerts for prayers and supplication, attended events organized by this criminals in the name of the church and mosque without saying Nooo! be able to say this is the way to go without getting the stern “Shattap there! You didn’t know that the church does not support corruption when you used the money to build the altar?”
Since Jesus has now been re-crucified on the cross of money, all I will say is “Welcome To Church!”
I am Abidemi Babaolowo Oderinlo
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