Friday, July 17, 2009

Church-Hunting, Blog Series

Hey people! Hope life is going great and you are enjoying the summer sunshine! Is anyone going on holiday somewhere exotic? As for me I've had a very busy couple of weeks. Writing and editing is fun, but it can get frustrating sometimes! I can't complain though, it's my job and I don't think I would love to do anything else :)

I did go for the Caine Prize readings (EC Osondu won- yay! See more info here) and I took some pics, but I'm feeling too lazy to upload them right now. I had a good time though, meeting other writers, listening to the readings and networking afterwards.

So we've been back in London for about two weeks, and settling in quite fine. I need to start finding out about transport links in my area, and useful things like the banks, post office, corner shops and so on. Meanwhile, hubby and I are now looking for a church in the area to attend. Some of our friends have been suggesting one church or the other. So last Sunday, we decided to try a branch of Redeemed not too far away. We were a bit wary, as we haven't attended a Nigerian church for five years and we had gotten used to a very different setting, but we decided to try it. Perhaps just the once, so off we went. Then at the end of the service, hubby asked me what I thought. Honestly? Okay I liked the praise worship and the message was good, but I just felt under a lot of pressure. What pressure, you might ask?

I don't know if it was just me, but I felt the pressure to conform, pressure to fit into a certain "type", pressure that people are watching you and they will immediately judge you based on the most superficial things.

For example, I couldn't help but notice the competitive size-ups I got as soon as I entered the church. Seriously, it was like people looked at hubby and I from head to toe, scrutinising our appearance before deciding if we were worth bothering with or not. Now I may be wrong, but that impression I got was too strong.

Then there was the pressure to "dress up". Don't get me wrong, I like looking good, but Nigerian churches take it to extremes when you feel you have to dress a certain way before you are good enough to appear in church. I've heard the argument so many times over that most people give. "When you want to go and see the queen/go to work, you dress well, so you must dress well too when you want to go and see God". Yeah right, I say. Like God is sooooo impressed by whatever I wear to His presence. He is not like us that judge people based on their outward appearance. I also think that kind of implies God only lives in church, and He is not with me 24/7 which is rubbish. God sees me when I'm in my living room, not dressed to impress and He hasn't told me yet that my outfit is not fit in His presence. LOL

Furthermore, there is the pressure to impress/oppress others. When hubby mentioned his job to someone, the first thing they said was, "Is that the car you drive?" Seriously! I found it quite amusing to be honest. Is that what people do - go out and buy cars they can't afford simply to impress people in church? So church is now where we go to show off our latest acquisitions, whether it's cars, clothes, gadgets and what not. Na wah o!
Apart from the pressures I mentioned, there are also some other minor issues of time-keeping, gossiping, looong messages about giving before the offering and so on that I have with the average Nigerian church. So by the time I put all these things in context, I said to hubby that we should either develop really thick skins or continue church-hunting! Any recommendations, good people of blogville?

If you are not already following our blog series, what are you waiting for? Click to read all the posts so far: In My Dreams, It Was Simpler . Yours truly is writing the post for this week (as Lola), so make sure you check it out and leave a comment! We would all really appreciate it.

Here's a little snippet:

I left Maureen’s flat in disgust. Why are the girls looking at me as if I’m just a trouble maker, lying about Dayo to Titi? I told them Dayo was married, I mean, I saw the photos with my own two eyes. Yet Titi is telling everyone that she went to Dayo’s house and didn’t see any evidence of a woman living there.

That's all folks! Hope you have a great weekend ahead!

FG

19 comments:

  1. good that you settling in nicely..asper church i def know what you mean asper naija churches..i visited london once and i was suppose to go to one popular redeemed church with a friend...the day before she called me and told me to baff up o!lol...

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  2. first of all i must say that its nice to see my name as the "topest" commentator on your blog :)

    I feel u about Naija churches..i attend one (HOTR and i love my pastor) but omo somehow I have managed not to let all that get to me..i wear whatever i like to church and i dont even really have friends in church so no opportunity for idle chitchat

    I miss my white church from Uni days though.

    Hope u find a place u are comfortable with soon

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  3. I'm glad u are settling well in London, and u sound a lot better from ur last post.

    As per church,its important you find a place where ur heart will be and ur worship won't be tainted with unhealthy comparisons, rather a place filled with people u can call family.

    takia of u,

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  4. I'm glad u are settling well in London, and u sound a lot better from ur last post.

    As per church,its important you find a place where ur heart will be and ur worship won't be tainted with unhealthy comparisons, rather a place filled with people u can call family.

    takia of u,

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  5. @ aloted: So u dey see wetin i see for HOTR!!!!! Kai kai kai, i weak 4 dem! @ one time i was feeling so conscious, so i wasn't attending church every week. u know, i'll miss church 4 like 2 or 3 weeks, so i'll not be seen to be recycling d same clothes over n over! God forbid.


    My own is 2 b a non-member member n churches these days! Don't want to be noticed, so all d wahalas dat follow u. Talk of pressure eh! e too much. My resolution abt church & nigerians is dat we too like use God!

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  6. You know, I understand where you're coming from. There is always that pressure with certain churches. I had the same issue when I was looking for a church. I finally settled on a Redeemed church that I love soooo much!

    The thing about us (Nigerians) is that we always love showing off et al. That said, as long as you go to church for God, you can totally fashy everyone else. You're there for God, not for anyone else.

    I'm still with my church cos I absolutely loveeee the sermons, and the Pastor is crazy funny!

    I'm so jealous of the literary fun you've been having.

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  7. We Nigerians we tii dey do over sabi. I left my church in north london cos of ''pressure'' so to speak. I was attending a Ghanian church before i left the UK.I love the preaching and i love the people.

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  8. @FFF- HOTR Lagos abi?...i know o...was actually referring to the London church and I prefer it to the Lagos one

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  9. Since you've been attending a church with a more laid back kind of dressing, you'd probably feel 'naked' when you first step in to a church that 'dresses up', hence the dress pressure. Maybe if you attend it a few times, the 'pressure' will stop or reduce, but that may still not prevent the 'side talk' from people.


    Another argument for 'dressing up' for church is this - if you 'dress up' for work, why can't you do the same for church?

    Don't get me wrong though - I'm not advocating that you 'dress up' for church.

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  10. As a scientist, I wear literally "whatever" to work; and am always comfortable with my jeans. However for church, I use it as a time to wear the upmarket scale of my wardrobe. Afterall I don't club or party and have all THESE nice things which I bought, so I wear them to church.

    However, since I've been here in Italy..lol.. I've been wearing my middle "robe" to church.. just jeans and top. The congregation are a different sort of people and wearing my upmarket close, will make me look like a snob :) lol..

    So I just go with the flow me..

    Great to see you are having fun in good old Blighty.. or should I say London.

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  11. Great to read you're settling in nicely cos moving can be such a hassle...

    Uhmm...Nigerian churches..lol..Lord help us uhn?Best you could do is what DTA said "find a place where ur heart will be and ur worship won't be tainted with unhealthy comparisons, rather a place filled with people u can call family."

    I do hope you find such a place...God bless ya!

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  12. Anonymous1:05 AM

    I thought it was just me that felt like that about Nigerian churches

    Glad you have settled in well in London ... I'm sure it hasn't changed much since you left

    I go to Every Nation church when I go to church ... they have a website www.everynation.co.uk, so you can find a service close to you

    I find it a really good church to go

    Hope you find somewhere good for you

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  13. that's why i love my multi-cultural churches, can't beat that<:)

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  14. I've never attended a Nigerian church (except if a Nigerian friend was doing something on a specific Sunday), but I find a lot of what you describe is what I experience when I interact with a large group of Nigerians (i.e. go to Nigerian parties): you feel you are being sized up and judged based on what you look like and it seems to be all about status.

    You're so right that God doesn't look at the same things that man looks at. It's hard to say what you should do, of course, but I feel like it can't hurt to visit other churches and see how those services make you feel.

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  15. It's funny, I go to a Nigerian church and yes you can see that most of the women take their dressing seriously, as for me, I just wear what I feel like on any give sunday. This could be jeans, or all the way with heels and jewelry. I dress for myself and for my mood. I don't subscribe to the whole dress up to meet God bit. God sees our heart not the label on our designer bags.

    There are some wonderful things about being in a Naija church sha and yes a lot of wahala as well, that being said, I take it like I take my family...I be naija and as I am not planning on throwing myself away from my country, I take the good with the bad, including the tactless, supposedly well meaning ridiculous comments to which I invariably respond it is well.

    My dear. It is well with you O!

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  16. Welcome to the land of many with insecurities (even if they are seemingly very well-to-do). Guess what, you simply need to keep youe 'eyes' opened and listening without hearing with your ears.

    You sure will have a lot of fun, most especially if you set your own standards by yourself. They will keep wondering, what makes her 'tick'; she simply ain't like us.

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  17. Came to check for an update. How's you guys?

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  18. Anonymous9:02 AM

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    ReplyDelete

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