Those who go to Kenyan churches these days, say the services are nothing like those of old.
Where before one slipped into church, they had to nurse an astronomical hangover and sober up, and was done with repentance and related stuff within an hour.
These days, a church service is all razzmatazz, bling-bling and show-off. It is a well-choreographed presentation in which the core message of the service — or what is supposed to be the core message — is nowhere to be seen, replaced instead by bright lights, suggestive dressing and outright blackmail to extort offerings from the worshippers.
Church services, these days, begin with high-tech music and well-practiced dancing moves by pretty ladies and well-dressed children.
The groundwork for this will have started well in advance of the service — indeed, some churches virtual run seven-days-a-week operations, in which various disguises are used to rope in members and their kids, and keep them in the church: Women’s fellowships, Bible study evenings, youth ministry programmes, estate outreach, and the like.
Psychologists will tell you that the key to controlling someone is to bombard their minds with imagery, sounds and interactions that all reinforce the central theme that the person is supposed to believe and act out.
There’s a good reason for all the show. TV cameras are always present, and the entire service is packaged and sold as a televangelism programme, with a number constantly running across the screen soliciting donations.
Being a slick operation, they call these donations “planting a seed”, the idea being that giving Sh1,000 or so — the minimum “tithe” in most of the churches — leads to untold blessings from the Most High.
In their quest to outdo each other at making the most money, however, churches have forgotten the message of chastity and giving that their alleged founder first preached. What a shame!