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FRIDAY TRACK: Shout your own kind of Hallelujah

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Kilon Sparkles!

I have often wondered if my spirituality is based on my longing to understand the story of man and subsequently myself or perhaps it’s just another symptom of living in Nigeria.

The truth is in other countries where the 3 E’s exist: electricity, entertainment and the environment, it’s harder to squeeze religion into one’s busy schedules. I mean, in between walking up and down the high street hunting for 70% reductions and watching X factor and sampling the next chain restaurant, it’s kinda hard to fit ‘go to church’ in your Filofax. Or to put it bluntly, it is damn right unfashionable.

Tell the truth boys and girls ‘of the abroad’, tell me the last time you said to your NY/LDN/MIA-connect that “Hey, I’ma pop into church tomorrow…” Half of us haven’t woken up sober on a Sunday morning since ChiChi of Africa serenaded us with ‘Don’t smoke’

But it’s a whole different story here at home; we are quick to let the other person know how “God-fearing” we are. Some even think it’ll make up for a lack of IQ as today’s curriculum vitae now carries in bold italics under career goals ‘I’m a diligent and God fearing citizen…’ almost like that’s going to make the HR team propel your handwritten CV from back to the front of the pile.

One of the average Nigerian Christian pastimes is comparing notes about our respective worship houses. The old money opt for Our Saviour’s Church, the ‘I-must-belong’ movement prefer This Present House, the retired Major-Generals, SANs/JPs/CJs who live in the Ikoyi area stay true to Ikoyi Baptist Church, the knot.nine.knot. Maybach owners worships at Church of the Assumption Falomo, then of course there’s the Adefarasin English literature students who swear by House on the Rock.

The ‘Which Church do you go to?’ debate is as inevitable on a married couples’ double date as it is at a Business roundtable. Nigerians talk about their churches with the same level of enthusiasm as the fashion police talks about Gaga’s last ensemble.

Perhaps, this vigorous energy would be comforting if I knew that we are talking about the issues such as the fading or otherwise strength of the Church or the influence of the word of God. Instead, we find that the average churchgoer seems more concerned about telling you about who goes to his/her church. It’s all about dignitaries’ baby. How many times have you heard someone say something equally as obnoxious as “Biko, se you know Aunty Dame Patience goes to my church…”

They say we are a religious nation…yes that we certainly are but has anyone actually asked what exactly we are all worshipping? Because if you ask the man on the street, he’s either so in awe of his pastor that he forgets that he’s in Church to worship God. He’s too preoccupied with the big senator sitting in the front row that instead of praying for salvation he’s focused on praying for money so that the church ushers can sit him too in front row someday. And the pastor himself is not helping matters with prayers and counselling sessions and mid-week bible classes on ‘how to turn your life into a money making blanket’.

When I made the conscious effort to attend Church weekly, I was amused by the large numbers of people whom all week commit every possible and impossible sins in the book but somehow comes Sunday morning, they turn their ‘Open Heavens’ swag on.

Last week, I was given 2 VIP tickets to the Experience concert 2010. For the benefit of those away, it’s an annual gospel concert organized by one of the more popular congregations, House on the Rock. The concert boasts the biggest names in Gospel music at home and away and it takes place in an open air space with an audience of over 100,000. And the best part is…it’s free.

Now if you know me you’d know I like free meals, free owambe champagne, free newspapers…. BUT a free concert….in Lagos…..I’d rather party with Cliff Richard.

However, on this occasion, I was persuaded by my sister. Until we actually drove past the Onikan roundabout, I was convinced that she would chicken out and I’d put on my faux disappointed face and race home quicktime but as we walked further into the Tafawa Balewa Square looking for the seating area, it was clear it was indeed going to be an experience.

Human being resemble ant in this infamous parade ground, hawkers shoved fried puff-puffs in oily nylon down your throat, security guards used tasers to flex muscle and you couldn’t avoid perceiving the ‘gbana’ odour.
As you’d expect, in the middle of this anarchy were enthralled souls seeking divine interventions through renditions of gospel hits. But in this same middle of spirituality were blatant display of bad human behaviour.

Upon arriving at the seating area, whilst everyone pretended to be one with their heavenly father, some found time to avoid someone getting past them or throwing frowned faces whenever someone stepped on their toe, or my favourite – putting a bag on the chair next to them if they sensed someone was trying to sit next to them.

It was just a stark reminder of how badly people behave even in Churches. How many times has one witnessed people making testimonies and shouting ‘praise the lord’ louder than everyone else in church then once service is over, they are fighting and cursing their fellow worship mate in the parking lot.

I hate to ask this but do we go to church to strength our faith or is the whole concept of attending Church an exercise in ‘I do this to abide by the roles and regulations’ of being a Christian in Nigeria’?

Let’s marinade on this for a minute!

This week’s Friday Track is N*E*R*D’s Hypnotize you. By far, N*E*R*D’s best effort in years.

43 Comments

  1. jenifa

    December 10, 2010 at 6:37 pm

    ‘how to turn your life into a money making blanket’–lol

  2. Dr. Dee

    December 10, 2010 at 6:56 pm

    Mr. Omotayo you’ve killed it again, well done! I spend all Friday refreshing my computer screen to see if youve posted the week’s Fridat track. abeg try dey post earlier in the day o!

  3. me

    December 10, 2010 at 6:57 pm

    looooooool…Truth

  4. mariaah

    December 10, 2010 at 7:04 pm

    haha, I like the way you sectioned which calibre of pple goes to which.. BTW bobo I go to church quite regularly including mid-week service and vigils. Hey, I know I am a sinner man(woman) but for all have sinned and come short of his glory..

  5. Kunbistic

    December 10, 2010 at 7:12 pm

    I was just talking about this at work with a ghanian colleague.

    Despite the power of churches or religious houses in nigeria not just churches – the asalatu people know more or less the same thing happens in their mosques.

    But what kills me about nigeria’s craze with religion is that they have not benefitted from it.

    I have seen magnificently built churches in areas of extreme poverty, what does the church contribute to the local community. Does it encourage its members to say enough is enough?

    I dont know who is worse the devout religious people and leaders or political leaders.

    The country is like an ironic satire play that chekhov would have written had he been nigerian.

  6. cherchezlacurl

    December 10, 2010 at 7:13 pm

    And the pastor himself is not helping matters with prayers and counselling sessions and mid-week bible classes on ‘how to turn your life into a money making blanket’. – Hilarious!

    Seriously oga! I delayed heading off to my Friday night yoga class when I saw your Friday track was up 🙂

  7. lalala

    December 10, 2010 at 7:16 pm

    totally true….

  8. Another Ifeoma

    December 10, 2010 at 7:37 pm

    Abi o! My dad keeps trying to convert me to his church. When I remind him that I am quite happy where I worship , he comes back with ” Come with me and see the God of Chosen do wonders. If you are lucky , you can even receive miracles just by touching his clothing or car”. True story! And Jesus wept..all over again.

    • moki

      December 11, 2010 at 4:19 am

      Balling @ “and Jesus wept”…….Lol

    • Hillary Nnoruka

      December 13, 2010 at 7:53 am

      … and Jesu Kristi wept

  9. Tito

    December 10, 2010 at 8:23 pm

    We are human beings, we fall short of the glory of God.We go to church to feel spiritually uplifted and then we fall again and go to church again. Some of us are not pretending,we are just not perfect.

    lol, you are so apt in your church segmentation. I got to Ikoyi Baptist!apart from the Retired Gens na Senator, bank & oil company execs, chairmen and boku the church!

  10. Observer

    December 10, 2010 at 8:44 pm

    I have been visiting this site for a while now, but I have never left a comment but this one. Just wanted to let you know that your pieces are brilliant and to keep them coming. The piece you wrote regarding Nigerians’ attitudes towards each other, with regards to class level, was hilarious. Keep ’em coming!

  11. Nana Bee

    December 10, 2010 at 9:00 pm

    *Kilon sparkles* say whaaaaaat!!!! $%&£$%!!!:lol…@post: Sooooo Sooooo true! God forgive me o cos im in the bargain hunting and *waka waka* category ! Avnt been to church in ages :'(. Dont mean im a sinner tho. Get it right! 😀

    • Hillary Nnoruka

      December 13, 2010 at 7:57 am

      Omada, please start going to church again. Ejo, biko

  12. shade

    December 10, 2010 at 9:39 pm

    Lol @ “I’m a diligent and God fearing citizen.”

    You hit the nail on the head with this post.

    Sadly the truth in naija continues to be this: “Because if you ask the man on the street, he’s either so in awe of his pastor that he forgets that he’s in Church to worship God…It was just a stark reminder of how badly people behave even in Churches.”

    And we are in the house of God o? God help us sha.

    Nice track from N*E*R*D. It has a sexy grown feel to it. Lol @ “touch you girl & i’m inside you.”

  13. Tee

    December 10, 2010 at 9:50 pm

    I too gbadun your write up and you are on point with this one. The thing wey trip me pass na “….since ChiChi of Africa serenaded us with ‘Don’t smoke’” That was a classic. If any one has the song or link, please post.

  14. GOONERBABE

    December 10, 2010 at 10:13 pm

    Most religious Nigerians have been blinded whilst seeking miracles at the expense of their intelligence! Thus the Pastors have become Super heroes & the Congregation have become Hero worshippers and everybody forgets about GOD. I once asked my Grandma to tell me the right church to worship in but she said, my daughter every time you wake up, just say GOD show me the right way to follow.

    • Lagos Boy

      December 10, 2010 at 11:53 pm

      “Most religious Nigerians have been blinded whilst seeking miracles at the expense of their intelligence!”…. This summarizes everything, Love this line. Thanks

  15. Mizchif

    December 11, 2010 at 1:16 am

    Our Saviours Church in the hizzouse!!! Whoop whoop!

    I can’t even lie about this one, half the reason half of the congregation of that church show up dilligently every Sunday is to see and be seen. Plus the fact that all them City people photographers lurk outside church is extra incentive.
    I know when i move home i need to find me a smaller/more “quiet” congregation to worship with if and when i move home.
    You’re so spot on with this post though, it’s sad how people can quote their pastors though they have no idea what God said in the Bible.

    The Experience?
    Not something i would do to myself. My sis was in attendance and she was in tears (of pain) from being pushed about before she found her way to the “VIP” section.

  16. whyudeyvexisityourmoney

    December 11, 2010 at 2:38 am

    Well, personally I don’t think serving God is a location thing to be honest. I feel like the whole going to church because “famous” people are there is everwhere… As always, our God only cares about the heart really.. You are using “african mentality” to view this thing.

  17. mary007

    December 11, 2010 at 3:41 am

    I hardly agree with your write ups on this one you got it 100 percent in my opinion

  18. The Bola

    December 11, 2010 at 6:33 am

    I believe in God. However I must say the many NIgerians use religion as a coverup- some use it to blanket their laziness, some act waaay holier-than-thou and others go to church to acquire bragging rights.

    It’s worrisome that despite the numeorus churches&other religious instituions we have in Nigeria, the country hasn’t developed at the rate that it should have. That in itself tells you that something’s wrong with what majority of Nigerians are doing.

    My guess is that currently- the #ofreligiousinstituions per capita is higher than GDP per capita. Hopefully this will balance out more fairly in the near future

  19. Ready

    December 11, 2010 at 6:49 am

    Ehen, lat’aaro *in best Lagbaja voice*..I been dey wait o, my guy. Insightful piece…the thing tire me sef. Although I’m currently in the triple E enjoyment phase, I still try to build a christian relationship with Jesus since I’m trying to avoid my mother’s wrath.
    The sad thing is that we’re Anglican in my house, have been for generations, but I just educated my mom about the history of the church and Henry VIII’s obsessive hunt for a son.
    I believe religion is the opium of the masses, but it’s hard to say that in a family gathering when asked how your christian life is going…still I say it ’cause I hate to lie, ‘specially when I don’t have to. And then I wait for the “Olorun ma je ki o ri ogun/wahala”…and try to refrain from pointing their hypocrisy out to them. But it’s Nigeria…and it’s fashionable to be religious, no matter how inconsistent.

  20. Adia

    December 11, 2010 at 7:01 am

    As always Mr. Omotayo, you have me grinning. I am now convinced you are MY future hubby.he he
    P.S. -What is gbana odour bikonu? The odour from sweaty deodorant lacking-pits?

    • istidele

      December 11, 2010 at 7:56 am

      indian hemp

  21. Oma

    December 11, 2010 at 2:38 pm

    What Nigerians have not still realized is that being Religious is different from being spiritual.
    As for going for the experience,i have never missed a concert.
    And its being great.
    Praising God for at least 8 hours is not something i will joke with.
    http://lifethroughomaseyes.blogspot.com

  22. Janez

    December 11, 2010 at 3:14 pm

    So true!!!
    ‘Religous Hypocrisy’ is a big issue

  23. Noni

    December 11, 2010 at 3:25 pm

    Exactly! As my dad said; “Europeans have been to space and back and we’re still praying, praying, praying”. The average Nigerian doesn’t want to think, he finds it too tasking. I’m all for conscious spirituality but there is no doubt that “Naija” religion is holding that country back!!!

  24. Ayo

    December 11, 2010 at 4:51 pm

    On point! Well done:)

  25. Neighbor

    December 12, 2010 at 1:24 am

    Err….The Typos got in the way of my digesting this piece…Last time I checked, No one has a gun to their head forcing them to attend church.

    • Ready

      December 12, 2010 at 6:11 am

      No one has a gun forced to their heads…except when asked by their mothers, fathers, or extra unwanted parents we usually get if we went to church last sunday…or when last we went. And upon hearing our reply of no, we get treated to the sermon of hell and how we’re lost souls and we shouldn’t be know-it-alls who think they can do it without Christ in their lives. Absolutely no guns, but societal pressure can be overwhelming.

    • bcgeorge

      December 13, 2010 at 10:31 am

      well said, it is worse when your parents are spiritual heads.

  26. oyinkansola

    December 12, 2010 at 4:51 pm

    ok..ok bobo..you said it all. however i go to church and i am young! the best part, live in london…Daystar however is an amazing church in Lagos Try it! personal relationship with God matters..to many people worship their pastors! Thatsall

  27. NNENNE

    December 12, 2010 at 11:17 pm

    I believe in God and happen to be born and raised a follower of Christ- Catholic, to be exact.Everything around me suggests that there is a greater being.Quite frankly, I don’t believe that one must belong to a particular religion,denomination,to see God.Religion has been commercialized so much it is sickening. So much so it appears the more religious, the more immoral.Nigeria is a typical example-One of the country with the most church going people in the world and one of the most corrupt.This is a fact.Shout Hallelujah all you can,I don’t really care.What matters to me, is one’s relationship with whatever they give reverence to, and one’s relationship with their fellow men.”Love your neighbor as yourself and love God” Chikenaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!

  28. Catwalq

    December 13, 2010 at 12:38 am

    And for those who are not christian, you can imagine how irritating and frustrating to have religion rammed down your throat.
    Our neighbours decide too hold vigils in the middle of the night. Why they exoect me to stay awake with their stomping and clapping is beyoind me. Or how about the fact that every month when the mega churches meet on :agos-Ibadan expressway, hundreds of innocent passers by are caught in the traffic, having to spend the night in their cars. Selfish and inconsiderate. And if you raise this issue, the noisemaker raise hell accusing you of “unbeliever-ism”.
    One would think that with more “access to spiritual truths” the consciousness would have uplifted us but no, instead of figuring how we can fix the problems that we cause, we are now a people of “deliverance”.
    Sure makes for an interesting spectacle for me. If not also somewhat inconvenient

  29. Omada

    December 13, 2010 at 12:48 am

    I totally agree with you.
    on sundays all our churches are full. the biggest church auditorium in the world (cannanland) is here! yet where are the christians? we do not know what true christianity is and that is a sad fact.

    nigerian christianity is very shallow.

  30. bcgeorge

    December 13, 2010 at 11:17 am

    I laugh at the ridiculousness of what our society has conditioned us to accept as being religious. I was sharing with my colleagues in the office sometimes ago why I think it’s improper for a pastor to own a private jet (Jesus rode on donkey even though there were horses then o!), judging by the high cost of maintenance (billions of naira as written in Daily punch last week) @ who’s expense? Tithe &offering- payers of course…Pastors na enjoyment…..Imam na gbaladun (RIP Fela)

    The same church will go to and ¾ of the ladies have ¾ of their boobs starring @ us (both the ones that are fit and those that are injured-for –the-rest-of the-season). This my-breast-in-ur-face syndrome is totally disgusting in the house of God all in the name of being fashion-forward. We see more a,b,c,d,e,f,G,h-strings in churches than Auto lounge these days. Sort it out ladies …gosh

    A large percentage of the men engage in biz chat, last night(or today’s) premiership games(my pastime), some reading the newspapers, bragging about their latest-big-boyz-toyz or pinging away while the pastor preaches( most times same-old-same )or looking for the hottest gurl that has just joined the ushering or choir department….hmmm, may tha good Lord have mercy…

    cos [email protected] the end of the day, one fact we can all agreed to ‘’ Hell will be crowded more than Heaven’’

  31. lizzy

    December 13, 2010 at 12:51 pm

    @ Bobo, am not with you on this one. If you have a problem with the people that hero worship their pastors and co, pls take it to them. All i can say to you is that Christianity is an individual race, and the same bible advices us to remove logs in our eyes before pointing out the specks that others have in their eyes. Do you Bobo practise being a good citizen, neighbour etc????
    No one forces anyone to go to church, trying to put down christianity from today till tomorrow wouldn’t stop it from existing.
    Ps: if you wouldn’t attend free shows like the experience, kindly let it be and stop describing it in such a manner for people who haven’t been there before. I was there and it was far more than what you’re trying to make it out to be.

    • ng

      December 14, 2010 at 1:44 pm

      Thank u lizzy 4ur comment.this write up is so wrong on a lot of levels. Bobo, jst 2questions: what do you think your post would have read if the experience was gate feed(say VVIP #50000, VIP #20000, Regular #5000)? And what do you propose, do people stay bck &not go 2church or go to church their “usual way” &be touched by God?
      If you were a christian I believe that you would propagate the plus and not the minus, and to not forsake the fellowship of fellow believers and you would know that it is by hearing of God’s word that a life is changed and transformed.

    • lizzy

      December 14, 2010 at 6:04 pm

      As in, if there was a gate fee they would have accused all pastors of wanting to enrich themselves. And i don’t know if it was just me but this guy has a thing for Pastor Paul albeit Negative.

  32. wunmi

    December 14, 2010 at 11:17 am

    totally true.. people ve mixed up there priorities n reasons 4 goin 2 church, God help us all

  33. honeybee

    December 14, 2010 at 2:22 pm

    Bobo, considering you talked about religion and christianity, i would have thought you would also highlight a gospel tune as your friday track!! LOL

  34. ablawoman

    April 9, 2011 at 7:57 pm

    one thing some church goers fail to realise is that even the bible says our body is the temple of the LORD,our faith,our spiritual relationship as individuals is with God first before the pastors,congregation and the church [email protected],your write ups give me something to look forward to every friday,you are a wunnerful sombori.jooor.

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