I have been involved in a mini church crawl – attended several churches over the past few weeks with the aim of finding someplace to settle. In the process, I found that people in church largely fit into one of the following classes.
- The irresponsible bloke: This bloke dey feel like gangsta for church. Jeans wearing, ear ring totting, chewing gum splitting type, he is often singled out for the sinner’s prayer/ deliverance.
- The scammer: O boy dey scan all the fine babes for the church. Instead of worshipping the Lord, bros is watching the screens -and depending on his confidence levels he might try to catch a wink occasionally. If it is a church where peeps are asked to move around and shake hands or welcome each other, free pass for bros o. He will shake and hug all the fine sisters.
- The Spiri bros/ sis: These types are the real members of the church. They have come to worship God, but sometimes they can over do it too o. Like skabashing very loudly, singing off key, or like one bloke in my non-Nigerian church, sway as though a strong east wind is blowing only him. These types usually gravitate to the prayer group, evangelism, sometimes Sunday school and the money counters – not very visible positions.
- The fine boy usher/ fine girl protocol member: These are the types that cause the most trouble in church. Dem can pose! Bro is usually decked out in a powerful perfume, correct suit and tire, and the phonetics! Chei, wahala! They don’t sit still in church o, always prancing around, so people can see them. I suspect that at least 65% of church members know them by name!
- The choir chic: The typical choir chic can foine! This type is usually decked out gloriously every Sunday, and when there is a need to print a handbill, oh yes, na dem dey dey the front o. Normal songs for worship, become oportunities to showcase their Carrie Underwood-esque voices.
- The groove man/ groove chic: These types are your semi-reformed bubblers. Dem don groove so tey, as soon as the songs start to play, especially in Naija churches, they break out into the latest adaptation of a P-square, Wande Coal or Makossa dance steps (You get the drift). Needless to say, they usually sleep through the sermon as they have over spent their energy.
- The would-be intellectual: This types – usually blokes – think they have heard it all. From Aristotle to Socrates, from Blaise Pascal to CS Lewis they have heard all the finer arguments for and against the existence of God. They usually appear in church once in a while, sit at the back and look condenscendingly at the delusion of others around them.
- The Gizmo Kid: These types are usually blokes again, but I have seen quite a few female versions. Bible on the iPhone or iPod, ear phones plugged in until church starts, dem can pose!
Found this two part story, exploring the difference love can make in the life of someone on my favorite webzine – Boundless. Really touching. Enjoy Part One and Part Two .
I don’t wanna feel like this tomorrow
I don’t wanna live like this today
Make me feel better
I wanna feel better
Stay with me here now
And never surrender
Today, in a bizarre moment of clarity, I realized I had parked my bus for way too long at a bus stop that wasn’t mine… A lot of energy was dissipated, focus diluted and time irretrievably wasted in the process.. Funnily, I knew a year ago very clearly what I should have done – it was reiterated very strongly five months ago – but the deeply seated nostalgic memories continued to keep me deluded, holding me in a mistaken belief that it could work and banishing my usually ruthless streak to the background…
Today, me the pragmatist won, belatedly of course, but better late than never…….. And in a queer way, it feels so right!
Thanks to Seye Kuyinu for tweeting about the Skillet Song Never Surrender, it added fresh impetus to my new direction…
I, like a tired weary pilgrim,
Trudge this earth, these stony paths so grim.
Seeking, with ponderous wandering steps,
Salvation from a marauding death.
I, like a penitent prodigal son,
Cling to the fading final notes of my long lost song
Hoping that someday, somewhere within this earthly dome,
I may find the beaten path that will lead home.
I seek a hidden ledge on which to leave my heartfelt plea;
Some place where my bloodied sacrifice I can leave.
Where my guilt ridden heart can find peace and be held
Close to my father, speaking words only he must hear.
All I can offer are my bleeding blistered feet;
These trembling lisping lips ravaged by a dusty mist,
Cracked by the raging vengeance of the northern wind
And led astray by the quivering of a deluded mind.
I, like a weary tired son,
Trudge this earth, these winding paths so long.
Seeking, with weary wandering steps,
Forgiveness for an undying guilt.
They say a bird in hand ‘is worth two in the bush’… But where do we draw the line between being content with what is in hand versus craving the potential two in the bush……
Sometimes I fear I have a death wish – an inordinate attraction for the eccentric and the esoteric – to the detriment of the normal and available.. When I was younger, I chalked it down to an insatiable curiosity; that essential criterion for a life of continuous learning. Now though, I fear it runs deeper than that, maybe it is a desire to be unconventional, or a longing for the adventure that comes with the risk, or plain old restlessness.. I don’t know anymore….
I think I have done a 180 degree turn, when I review the way the past year to a year and a half has gone. From wanting to resign my job and quit Nigeria in the light of the politics surrounding my last job, to deciding an MSc would afford me the time to sort out the issues, then trying to return to my last role and then finally deciding staying away was the correct thing to do, I think Life has pulled me through several undulations.
Somehow though, I think this time I am headed in the right direction.. Hopefully it is, and I don’t get to waste another few years of my life.
Quite a few changes have occurred around me in the last few weeks… chief of which was moving out of my previous lodgings for a flat where a couple of blokes I have known from Nigeria are staying. All has been fine and dandy except for a few issues namely:
1. The boys can snore! Chei, sometimes it sounds like a contest. Different people all ‘hee-hawing’ simultaneously. The paper thin walls fail colossally in muffling the sounds!
2. One of the men has his wifey around and she is a REEAAAAL talker! Not since my 5 year old cousin have I heard a voice so nasal. It rubs me like the way a restless dog’s chain persistently rubs the ground!
3. One boy dey try form sharp man! One of the boys, we’ll call him Duro, is a real pain. Despite him not being an official member of the house, he manages to get himself the largest portions of food, monopolize the TV remote and generally be a nuisance, plus he is always attempting to regale me with stories of his numerous girlfriends.. I usually pretend to be typing away furiously on my BB, that is sadly not enough of a deterrent!
4.I am constantly pleading the blood of Jesus! I’ve been using a lot of buses and the metro, but the things I inhale, only God knows where they are from. All sorts of coughs – body wracking, gruttal, delayed explosive, chesty and a whole lot of others are being lobbed in my direction. Plus quite a few overly tipsy peeps also use the bus late at night….. How the females manage to stay on their feet in their mega inch heels with all that alcohol leaves me flummoxed!
On the plus side though, I sneaked into London and managed to see Delirious? at the o2 arena! and hung out with some sections of the extended family… Inevitably some questions came up, but I have the perfect anti-dote.. the 5 year plan!
Growing up in my own neck of the woods was an experience. We nicknamed our Pops the Ogbodons – not sure where the term originated from any more but my back side was a living testimony to his varied abilities and multiplied skills in inflicting pain. Mum didn’t help matters as she was was as resolute in hammering our ‘evil’ proclivities out of our systems. I got the opportunity to contrast that parenting style a few weekends back when I went visiting some distant family members in London. Clearly their less than 3 year old daughter has more leeway with him than I do with my own parents at my (huge) age.
In general, the following phrases got you into serious trouble in my house..
- It wasn’t me it was (insert name of younger sibling) – This was akin to adding petrol to a raging inferno. It often provoked a lecture on how you as a senior member of the house needed to take responsibility whilst the parents were out trying to make money to ‘take care of you’.
- Good Morning (without the Sir or Daddy) – This was the ultimate faux paus. You were required to treat your Nigerian father with the maximum amount of respect. I didn’t have to do the whole prostrating thing but failing to add ‘Sir’ to the morning greeting was guaranteed to result in some real deep ish – the least of which was some hours of ‘starvati0n therapy’.
- It is not true o! – This usually occurred when the Ogbodon was narrating to the ‘maternal unit’ your latest mess up which resulted in forgetting money in the taxi or some more public bit of embarrassment. To one’s young mind, adults were eternally embellishing the facts to make events seem worse than they really were, but woe betide you if you interjected. The initial parental reflex varied from ” I am talking and you are talking?” or worse “Are you calling me a liar?”.
- I don’t know – Back in the Abacha inspired days of severe austerity on University campuses, meat was at a premium. When someone surreptitiously invaded ‘Soup Kingdom’ and raided the pot for a choice piece of meat, repercussions were bound to occur. Chaps usually claimed ignorance to no effect. The parental reasoning was that ‘he that is not for us us is against us’ ie if you are not telling, you are implicit.
- I can’t remember – This was usually an escape route from a bad lie. When your father is a stellar academic with an amazing memory, you can’t think up things on the fly mehn. If you were lucky, you would only get a lecture after being serenaded by loads of questions. “What are you thinking of? Abi you have a girlfriend now?” Mumz was the resident girlfriend expert..and she would have risen very quickly to the top of MI6! Believe me.
- She hit me first – Beating up girls was a cardinal sin in my house. Two events stick in my memory. One was at school, a couple of dudes were heckling one of the class tomboys – the whole pinching, hitting, and all what not routine and yours truly was watching (ok… and occasionally adding a knock). We were so engrossed that I didn’t realize that it was way past the time Pops would come pick us up. After waiting for a while, he came to the class to see me applying a few deft touches to a knock. I got a few knocks myself in front of the girl (the girl never let me forget that for the rest of my time in the school!) and I got periodic knocks all the way from Ugbowo to GRA in the school run go-slow of the mid 80s. The other time, I was grounded and made to recite the longest memory verse at the annual Christmas pageant.The plus side was that I got a very cool nickname after the whole debacle… and she and I became best friends.. for a long time..
- My little cousin’s favorite words are ‘Don’t smack me Daddy’ – That would have been labelled down right rebellion – with some serious ‘starving therapy’ recommended for redress!
Have a hit-and-run-less weekend!
Sounds like the only words I can use to describe myself now are all the lousy D-words:
Disillusioned, distraught, disappointed, disparaged…
I am just tired!