We must respect the other fellow’s religion, but only in the sense and to the extent that we respect his theory that his wife is beautiful and his children smart.- H._L._Mencken
This piece is a harrowing tale of a girl who sought for compassion from the cross but got pricked by the thorns on Jesus’ crown instead. Its a rather long story, but if you have the patience to go through it, you will quickly realize that there is no home safe enough, there is no religion good enough, there is no alter righteous enough, and there is no relationship secure enough. It will come as a revelation to you that you are just setting up yourself for an even bigger fall, and having an incredibly boring time in the process.
Ladies and gentlemen, I give you a story inspired by real events and written by one Mercy Sega…….
“You are an insult to my manhood, a shame to the cross! You are slut hiding behind the veil of religion. Yes, you are not worth claiming salvation. Christ needs to die again to save you. You are an epitome of immorality in this place. Here, take this bible and read your way out of that fiery furnace you will be heading to. You are not clean enough, no not even close to what can be saved. You are not fit to be with Christians like me. No, you do not pray loud enough, and, your dressing, don’t get me started, you will cause me to backslide. Look here, I am telling you, as your authority, that no you are not born again, and no, just a prayer can never atone for your sins. That is too little too late….get out of here….”
These words, said close to a year ago, still rang loudly in my head today. I must have been damaged. Really damaged. I, in all this elegance, still rage at the thought of all the surreal events that welcomed me to the prestigious school of law.
I found my way to all the seemingly same clicks in campus. Maybe, a futile search for safety and for security. Misinformed by a few know-it-alls in campus, I thrust myself into the Christian union, or was it the hypocrites, holier than thou union?? I will not go that far just yet. Being in a deep affair with music, I sheepishly thought i would use a bit of serving in ministry here and there. Well I did a couple of that before, and had loved the feeling of purpose that came with it. So somehow I could not stop with the guitar, or my high keys. And in need for more audience, they immediately took me in, a quick recruitment and i was soon one of them. singing my heart out with fellow ‘believers’…
Oh ‘holy’ grounds, we would sing, hands up high and pants down on our toes and eyes watching for fire, ‘holy’ fire from within or without, we would clap our hands and thighs in praise, oh holy claps, that spanked the very fleshy behinds of the sexy saints and, we would moan, moan loudly with pleasure, oh ‘holy’ moans as we found revelations for the future. The future husbands, the future wives, future mates yes, it was all blessings, it would rain showers of white blessings were shot by the very prayerful male ones, and they shot hard and hot and never missed. White drops of hot life received by the prayer partners, a sign of a satisfied prayer session, then we would lie still, sweating from exhaustion, that was a wonderful intercession we just did. And we were certain; our hard made prayers would be answered. We needed to be still and know he is god, at least which is what he says. We would fast, and keep off from the world and its desires, as we fed and satisfied each other from within our own.
I did not last long; my natural libido couldn’t let me. And even the heavens could not agree more. And soon, the holy joy with the brethren was short lived.
On this fateful day, I did my song. Gracefully, taking my time at each and every note I hit, did my skilled adlibs as the backup singers helped fill in the blanks, and as I swung my lower body in sync with the tempo of the song in a holy manner, the way I was taught. Instantaneously, the tenor and the baritone then suddenly started singing off key, and in a faster tempo, perhaps a transpose and turning my slow worship song into a quicker praise song, I being a sucker for perfection I almost got bugged. I hastily turned to them, and there they were: busy staring at my swinging booty that they forgot to sing, and started drooling.
Yes, you guessed right…Getting aroused and trying to sing a worship song, don’t tango well, one is bound to take prestige. And they were being led by the boneless ding dong, not the bodiless spirit, for sure. I, having learnt the skill of ignorance well, I let that slight destruction pass as I went on with the song…”I call you holy, your name is holy, you are so holy to me…” just finishing the bar, the prayer coordinator was on his feet already. I was excited that I had got Ian (not his real name) on his zone of deep prayer, so dared to keep singing, as everyone burst out in unison declaration. It could never be more spiritual than this. Hands lifted, eyes closed…. winks passing, arms sliding.
Then, abruptly, something snapped. I was sure it was not my bra strap, I had new ones on, that fateful day, so nothing would fall off when I was I was busy praising and worshiping. In a frantic search I realized my microphone had been switched off. Plugged from the P.A, and i was there trying so hard to sing unto the lord. Then the prayer coordinator, the one I had undoubtedly impressed with my love for God stomped out of church followed by his goons, who protect his holiness from being defiled. He, Ian, was the closest thing to God that the CU knew.
He walked along the lanes of campus with a tingling aura of holiness around him, his faded blue tracks and his sandals spoke volumes about his loathe for earthly things, his eyes pierced hard, as if he could see right through you… they were not fiery eyes…no, they were arrow like. They could see hard. Through a lot of things. And he, yes, Ian knew the whole bible off head, and could tell hypocrisy from a distant… they call it spiritual discernment, in the language of heaven.
So, Ian reached the exit, he turned and stared hard at me, that kind of stare that is aimed to insult assault and undress you. He was sweating, profusely. And his bald head was shining through his dark skin like a crown of a thousand black rubies had been bestowed upon him. Then he stamped his feet momentarily, and eventually walked out. I could not piece it all together. Anne (also not her real name), a “friend” who was singing next to me, asked me from the microphone, having noticed it all. She knew what was happening. I, on the other hand did not. It was, as I later came to understand, a “kingdom secret.” By the time I was sitting, the lecture hall that had been converted into a church was half empty, or even less. It was a kind of congregation made up more people like me, and less of the people i was trying to be like. The service was rushed in the kind of urgency of eradicating weeds (me) from a good harvest (them).
Time flew. Soon, hours later, I was motioned to a committee of the Christian union. The meeting was at Ian’s room, a holy ground. And when I had arrived, the whole committee was conveniently absent but for his majesty, Ian. I opened the door and found him lying down, face up, as if enjoying some intimate moment with the good spirits from above. He motioned me to sit opposite him, all the while, staring at my bum as it moved, as I bent to pull the chair, his head slanted too. I could tell this was going to be an interesting meeting. But wait, I did not carry protection. He had the helmet of salvation alright. But i needed the helmet of rubber, to protect me from the darting arrows of the enemy. I hoped i could spot a spare one lying around somewhere close to that pile of trousers that was next to his cups, and plates that were overlapping next to the iron box and his boxers.
“Are you Sega? And are you really a Christian?” That was the opening remark from the small god I was now comfortably sited and staring at. This was the beginning of everything that defiled my self-image and distorted my once very strong beliefs.
“I am disgusted by you. Your ways are evil. How dare you?” he asked in bewilderment. “You talk and even keep the company of the ungodly? How can you spend most of your day, smiling and making conversation with people who cannot see beyond the brown bottle or the hole between your legs? You are yoked with unbelievers. You are crucifying Christ when you keep entertaining the world…”
He went on, telling me of how I do not qualify to gain the title of being a Christian, and how I should never think of saying I am one. And did I mention how he thought my tight black jeans with a round necked top with a red scarf were immoral and perpetuated prostitution. On and on he went on about how I am not a fit candidate for God. How I have too many messes to fix, to many screws to adjust. I just was not good enough…or so he was told by his god.
After close to thirty minutes of having been reduced to nothingness by someone I least expected to, I finally shut out. I zoned off. I was there, but I could not hear no more. I daydreamed of how I would kill him and hang him upside down, naked. How I would revenge. How I would get him begging for mercy from a sinner like me. I thought of how I would poke out his eyes and feed them to the hungry hawks outside the hostel, I could almost see him, a grown ass man yelping for help. It excited me. Made me laugh inside. Unconsciously, I found myself smiling. A wide smile, followed by a giggle. Then it hit me that he had noticed, I was skimming in my head and his discernment had nothing on my brain.
This prompted to awaken the lion or fox underneath this bulge of a man; he ticked off, hard and fast. Angry at how he was powerless over me. He started throwing his hands, toning up and almost screaming, “you are insulting my manhood……today I will work on you…”
By this time, his shirt was off and his was angrily rubbing his genitals. His eyes dilated. He opened his door for a second, shouting my name so that everyone would get his well calculated impression that he was rejecting my offer to get him laid. Then after the tantrum, he shut the door, there I was, frozen to my roots. He lifted the chair I had sat on and threw it over the opposite bed. Somehow I found myself firmly pinned onto his bed. He meant no joke when he said he would work on me. I shut my eyes. Not in fear, nothing would scare me anymore. I wanted him to finish and let me hit the road. The prayer co coordinator found his way…into me…by force. And soon he was spent.
Knowing there was nothing left for him to say about how I was impure and how he is walking with the lord better than anyone else; I picked what was left of me, and dragged myself out, slowly.
The man of the cloak wanted a piece of what he and a few others thought I was giving to the world, and he got it. He got me. All of me.
Numbed, I barely dragged through my days after. I got used to the judging eyes of the same friends I had met in the Christian family. Stories were made in the midst of the prayers; Kamkunji’s were created to spice up the stories. They talked. Not the world, but the heavens, the believers, the holy ones. Even I, did not know my own truth anymore, it was converted and baptized in a sea of lies made by them and any other person who cared for a little gossip in our boring campus. They did not have to throw me out; I gladly found for myself a way out of the righteous click through the basement. I left all my innocence in that cocoon, and i moved past it.
There was no love and I would be a fool to think it ever will be. Days on end I found myself wishing that year would end and that I would have my stolen life back. And yes, when it came to pass time healed me. Ian was out of sight and I had a chance to make my own story, a different one. One of falling to the lowest while among the highest and yet still, picking myself up to the highest while around the lowest. One of knowing what mattered and what did not.
And now, as I have found my best among the crème de la crème of school of law, I stare at a distant. At the fallacies of that glass masquerade, of pretentious fanatics who are faulted in more ways than we could ever imagine. Of sins hidden in long unfitting skirts that are paraded by the “good” girls of God. The inhumane and beastly natures hidden behind the curtains of big black bibles that are swung around proudly every Sunday. I stare at a distant, at the false reality we choose to live in. we are not safe, no, not ever have we been.
As others keep burning in a fire that has burnt me before, I yet watch from a far, that I may myself survive long enough to tell this story, that the fire underneath burns and destroys more than the shots of tequila mixed with cock that we gulp, more than the puffs we take behind the blocks, the unprotected steamy sex we have on those noisy creaking metallic hostel beds. This kind of fire I tell you my friend, destroys to the very soul, while trying to save the self-righteous image that the world gives no hoot about.
Honor should be granted where it is due, and so should respect. If we are created in his image, why is it not showing? Why aren’t those hands reaching or that love showing? Love defies procedures, it is boundless and defiant. So let them that think are standing steady be careful, you just might be sinking. If he be that compassionate God then, we are His perfect candidates, messed up in every way, yet still hoping for perfection. That blood, I hear is enough to clean the most unclean. The unclean ones are many, so the blood will certainly not be in the business of cleaning the already clean houses.
This God my mum prays to, is the type that specializes in picking messed up unqualified vessels like me and you, and making them into something beautiful. On the flip, we really cannot judge, no we cannot. All of us are a working progress in the master’s hands. If there be God, I am convinced He is bigger than the Christian union or any church or denomination and that He is too big to fit in our cute tiny safe boxes of religion.
If you want God in your box, you will have to build a bigger one or none at all.