We were in the middle of drafting a proposal for the annual non-denominational conference, when Hawa slammed her hand into the table and popped her eyes out, as if she’d seen an evil spirit. An E flat echoed from afar. We were close to the choir room, you could hear the singing and the gentle strumming of guitar strings. I had wanted to stay home and watch an episode of Amandla to learn more about Biko for my thesis on apartheid.
I would’ve preferred to babysit my little cousin, whom I always wanted to choke because his pretentious mother had succeeded in infecting his heart with a level of vanity that deserved a slap every thirty minutes, than involve myself in any extra-curricular church activity of any kind, even if it was an eating competition. And that was saying a lot because nobody adores food as much as I do. But Kess, my half-sister, refused to take no for an answer and promised to get me a new laptop to replace the aging half-dead excuse of a machine I called a laptop if I volunteered to be a part of the non-denominational Christian board. So here I was, after 10 Saturday meetings in 5 months; and I still couldn’t bring myself to be enthusiastic about this group.
Going to church was a struggle for me, but the probability of the sermon, 7 times out of 10, being a compass needle of some sort to my wandering soul was the only motivation that kept me going. On the first Saturday, Kuvi was the first person that caught my eye. His hair was jet black and beautifully shaped, as if an artist had painted him way too perfect for human standard. His protruding eyes were a precise shape of an almond, with a darker tone of an outline around his eyes; God had gifted him with natural smoky eyes that girls would die for. And he had the most perfectly trimmed moustache. I wanted to hand him my panties that very minute, but I restrained myself and just smiled. He was a beautiful man.
But of course, isn’t God just a fucking brilliant artist? Everything that came out of that man’s mouth was horse dung. He was the crown on the head of the homophobic king. He and Mama Anti thought faith could fix everything, including Mama Anti’s 10 year old daughter’s decaying toe. And he thought women had no business whatsoever wearing men’s clothes. He was an accurate definition of a textbook character, except, you’d expect men like these to be profoundly ugly. But he wasn’t. I thought to myself that his face must’ve been God’s compensation for his insistent cling to these absurd beliefs.
I looked around the room. 12 men and women from different denominations. There was Julie from the Presbyterian Church, Asor from Assemblies of God, Hawa from Pentecost, Grace-Marie from the Catholic church, Kweku from the Anglican church, Masai from the Baptist church, Jude from Emmanuel Evangelist church, Mama Anti from Christ Apostolic , Kuvi from the Methodist Church and Kess, Roger and I from 2 charismatic churches.
A bunch of hypocrites and mules. That’s what we all were. Me, at the front of the line pretending to be interested in this group in exchange for a new laptop, Kess, pretending to like everyone with a permanent smile on her face when all she did was cuss them out the minute we got home, Julie with her feet firmly rooted in the belief that God had a blueprint for her life,and that meant sitting with her arms folded till manna dropped from heaven. I was very sure Asor believed tongue-speaking would get her to heaven; there was no other explanation for the eagerness with which she rolled on the floor and screamed her head off in the name of tongue-speaking. Grace-Marie, with her soft voice and demure nature as if she wasn’t sleeping with Kweku, who was married with three kids. Masai, who believes every failure is the will of God. As far as Jude was concerned, the word “change” did not exist, and as such, anybody who seeks to divorce from their partner is going straight to hell. And Roger, blessing the daughters of Eve in the name of God the father, the son and the holy spirit through his manhood.
Pitiful. That’s what we all were.
An argument had broken out. I had been too distracted reading tweets. I wondered what the problem was. They all looked furious. I elbowed my sister.
“What is it this time?”
“Hawa started it. They’re all angry because they want the seating arrangement for the conference to be by denominations, Hawa thinks they can mingle after if they want to”
I looked at them again. They were arguing furiously, you’d think they were fighting over something as valid as a child’s rights.
Hawa slammed her hand into the table again. As if on cue, Kweku cut across in his crisp holier than thou voice.
“People people, please relax. God wouldn’t appreciate this behavior from us. Let us do God’s will”
That was the last straw. A current spiked up in my head, as if my brain had been waiting for one more excuse from these people to spew my wrath on them. Kess must’ve sensed it because she elbowed me sharply. But it was too late. I was already on my feet.
“I am sick and tired of everyone of you. God loves homosexuals and the inventor of flats. He adores babies and wishes he was still a child with not a care in the world. His favorite fruit is the cashew nut in my neighbour’s backyard. He tries to suck his left nipple once a week and he touches himself sometimes. He hates like hell being an orphan and he wonders what his parents look like. He’s proud of teenage parties and mourns every still birth. He’s afraid of heights and sometimes,just sometimes, he gets high too. He farts in church and pretends he doesn’t even have an asshole. He regrets inventing sorrow but is ecstatic about how fucking good an orgasm feels. He completely digs women with short hair. Hell! He’s even caught an std before and he was damn grateful for his doctor’s expertise. Whiles you’re busy disturbing your entire neighbourhood with your loud prayers and tongues, he’s singing in the shower.
God is in you and he is in me. But by God! You all must have spat him out at birth. And if you cannot get your acts together and reason like he gave each of us brains, then none of you have any business calling yourselves Christians.”
The room was silent. Wide-eyed people stared at me. Kess had put her head on the desk in front of her.
I knew I had just said goodbye to the new laptop…