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Tips for survival in the new age churches

Saturday, May 5, 2012 - 00:00 -- BY JAMES MURUA

I went to church last Sunday after many years in which I only attended the occasional weddings and funerals (though that works for me) and found myself playing godfather to one of my friends’ children. Life was so much easier when we were younger and being a Catholic, attending church service was always a routine. But after staying away for so long, I was surprised how much things have changed.

When I was growing up the priest would state, “The Lord be with you.” The worshippers would respond. “And also with you.” In this new system, the response to “the Lord be with you,” is now “and with your spirit.” One of the altar boys looked as though he had the same hangover I was suffering. I wondered what spirit that was; gin, brandy, whisky? Turns out the good church changed the responses a few years back and forgot to send me the memo.

It appears religion has changed over time, not just for Catholics but everywhere else. Decades ago, preaching was done by pastors in black shirts and white priestly collars threatening a hell with unimaginable horrors if one did not take the godly path. Today, these preachers would feel as confused as I was with the new responses as the preachers now focus on “sow a seed and get rich quickly” kind of prosperity gospel. The preachers have the most expensive suits with the gentlemen donning floor-length coats.

Those days, the must watch show for spiritual nourishment was Joy Bringers, a family show on KBC. It included hymns from various choirs and singers laced with serious discussions on how to keep with the Christian faith. Today’s TV shows are hosted by dreadlocked DJs with names like DJ Johnny Celeb, wielding ipads and laptops as they get opinions from ‘congregates’ over Twitter and Facebook. For those who might have missed church services in recent times, here is a guide to leaving the church unscathed.

Helmets: This one has little to do with fears of grenades being lobbed into the congregation and more to do with protecting your body from the preacher. In the olden days, one could sit somewhere in the middle of the church and leave quietly after the end of the service.

Nowadays some of these preachers are demon hunters and will go into the audience as they seek creatures from hell to cast out. Woe betide you if you are innocently sitting in your chair and the pastor jumps into your section, heads to you and shouts, “here is the demon!” He will then proceed to give you an almighty slap that leaves you in a coma on the floor as he shouts strange words like, “riswa!” Imagine how easier the experience would have been if you had carried a helmet?

Ear pads: In days gone by, the faithful would sing praises to the Lord led by the choir which consisted of those who wanted to contribute in the best way they knew how. Most churches today have powerful speakers that make those sitting at the corners pay the price if their ears are not properly protected. To make matters worse, the modern choir always has an overzealous, high-pitched lady or gentleman who is just looking to get a career as a gospel singer but is more likely to be told by Tusker Project Fame’s Judge Ian to keep their day job as they cannot sing.

Money; You need to carry as little money in your wallet as you can. This may sound callous but it’s for your own good. In century-old churches, they are still collecting rounds of contributions known as ‘the building fund’. In new age churches, you will find a snap harambee to upgrade the pastor’s Toyota Prado to the latest Range Rover Evogue as the Lord’s representative must represent his church properly.

Passing by the bank to make a withdrawal may not be advisable as you may leave all of it in church. You are advised to leave your phone with the MPesa and your credit cards at home as contributions are made in all cash transfer systems. Dressing modestly will ease pressure from you as you will not look like a moneyed person.

 

Venue review:

Nyali Wild Waters, Nyali, Mombasa

Some people say when
you are in Mombasa and want to get an experience reminiscent of that of
Nairobi’s Splash Waterworld, the best option would be Nyali Wild Waters. So
last Friday, I carted my family to the acclaimed amusement centre and
forked out a cool Sh1,200 entrance fee to get the experience. The entry
fee can be quite high, especially if you are living the Akuku Danger
philosophy of siring numerous children.

I made my way to the restaurant
and bar area which is under a very high tent. With my stomach yearning
for a meal, I asked for a burger and fries like a true Nairobian and
this turned out to be a very unwise choice as the burger looked like it
belonged to a kiddie pack. I was forced to order for more. The fries
weren’t really much to write home about but my hunger pangs were sorted
and I ordered a cold Tusker, which was selling at Sh200.

After some
time, I decided to give the water slides a try as they looked more
exciting than the Nairobi ones with several twists and turns. However,
the experience was to leave a bitter taste in my mouth. There’s only one
way of using those slides according to the attendants and any questions
are fielded in a very rude manner. Eventually, I got fed up with
arguing and settled down to enjoy my day the best way I knew how;
drinking my cold beers as I watched the TV by the pool. Weirdly enough,
the place was not as full as I expected. It was during school holidays
and I expected the place to be wild with children running all over.

My
partner and I speculated that this was because of a combination of the
high entry fees and the horrible attitude of the slide attendants. I
made my way to the washrooms eventually and they were in quite a good
condition. A fire outbreak shouldn’t be an issue of concern as Wild
Waters has plenty of water. There’s also a doctor on call in case of any
other emergencies as well as lifeguards.

Good: Excellent location, great swimming pools that allows for families to have clean fun, great decor and clean washrooms.

Bad: Their burgers are too small, rude pool attendants, very pricey.

My
verdict:
If you have never ever used water slides, you will probably
get a great experience at the Nyali Wild Waters. If you have, come here
just to have the cold beers as the attendants at the slides won’t let
you have your fun in peace. I won’t be returning to Nyali Wild Waters.
Ever.