Saturday, March 03, 2007
I saw a link on Mona's to a story about Matthew Ashimolowo, the 'Nigerian-Born' pastor of KICC, a church in England. Ashy as I'll call him here, is under investigation for receiving 250,000 pounds as his annual salary last year. That's about 60 million naira. The British consider church work a charity thing and not a business as Nigerians tend to see it.
According to the story, he was also given 120,000 pounds to celebrate his birthday by the church. I saw photos of that birthday celebration in some 5-star hotel in a magazine and had been taken aback then by its unbridled gaudy opulence (all this grammar...)
A church worker was quoted as saying he deserved more than that salary.
Here's laspapi's view point-
There are some churches that are worthy of being called that name.
There are other Nigerians who take advantage of 'the laws of God' to ask for "first-fruits, tithes and offerings" etc so as to spend on themselves. Church money is for the church, not for the private consumption of its leaders. The orthodox churches here have the advantage of keeping records of sums that come into their coffers and how these monies are disbursed.
I wrote and staged a play, "Rage of the Pentecost" at the Muson Centre in 2002 in which I lampooned "Men of God" who are in it mainly for material gain. Pastors came (that of my church inclusive), Imams too as well as many others. On Funmi Iyanda's live TV show then, where I was a guest, some church-goers (of suspicious churches) called the telephone lines to "attack" me for daring to question the "Men of God". The level of brainwashing that forbids you from opening your eyes worries me.
A friend told me, "laspapi, we know these things happen, but should we make it public? Unbelievers will say this is what we have always thought of them".
I replied him, "the work of God doesn't need anyone's help to stand. It can do so on it's own".
Then the classic statement they all make, "Judge not...". Yeah, right. I can "judge" politicians, governments, the military and society itself, in my plays, but not these self-appointed thieving church leaders?
Foggerrit. I have just started. I've been "arrested" outside Joshua's "Synagogue" by mobile policemen with guns and "church" workers (was on the way to a rehearsal at Taiwo Ajai-Lycett's in December of 2003 when I saw the building and tried to record its exterior on film), and been called names by other adherents of fraudulent churches.
Note that if someone had, had the sense to query the lunatic called Reverend King, he wouldn't have had the opportunity of pouring petrol on his church workers and setting them alight. Or the incestous Jesu Oyingbo. Or Jim Jones before the Guyana Tragedy. Or the Waco Cult.
Pastor Enoch Adejare Adeboye said at OBJ's swearing-in for a 2nd term- "I admit we have charlatans in our midst". He was speaking of Church Leadership in Nigeria. Thank you for that boldness, Sir. The business men who pose as M.O.G.s would die rather than say that.
So I have no problem with Ashimolowo, his bejewelled fingers and his out-of-date haircut but I thank the British for having the sense to check activities deemed suspicious. We should have an E.F.C.C. for churches here.
I have since renamed my play, "The Return of Sogidi" so as to get more people seated the next time I stage it.
ps. I'm a Christian. Don't judge me.