Lies,Curses & A Fiery Gospel...
This past weekend was a rather eye opening one for me and undoubtedly many more around the country as we sat riveted in front of our televisions impatiently waiting for the next instalment in the unfolding tale of Apostle Michael Njoroge and his now infamous Fire Gospel church where as we were to find out last night even more goes on than meets the eye. As I sat in expectation I was told that seeds were planted here, 1000 shilling seeds to be exact now ‘seed’ planting is nothing new as most of us would consider this to be our tithe – the 10% of all earnings made that month that one voluntarily gives back to the almighty- here it is a mandatory thousand bob which is placed in white envelopes that will appear brought to you by a polite – I assume- usher, that poor soul who chose to on this particular Sunday do this small task for God- then be collected and disappear-snugly pressed into the back of so and so’s pocket- once you plant this seed all you want will begin to be put into effect by your faith in the all seeing most awesome God- or so we are taught to think.
If you thought this is where you now sing from the hymnal, went up to the alter to partake in the food of life and the fruit of the vine, prayed then sang a recessional hymn you would be mistaken, at the Fire Gospel church things are just about to get more colourful and slightly strange if not just downright weird, at this church after you hard sweated for money has been carted away in on the collection plate the singers and a seemingly possessed-by the holy spirit- dancer take to the stage for a praise and worship session.
Next comes the wired colourfulness I mentioned before where anointed oil-commonly known as good old fashioned cooking oil, (possibly the vegetable or corn varieties)- is then poured onto a red carpet laid out on the ground and if your feet are some of the ones blessed enough to step on it then hey presto you are healed. Then-probably as you finish your long walk- holy water is sprayed onto your mouth using a regular plastic spray bottle-nothing fancy-and once again, through this seemingly ordinary H2O you are healed.
Finally the time has come for the miracle’ powerful and anointed’ Apostle Njoroge to take the stage and with the eyes or the rapped and expectant congregation and his loyal TV audience the ‘holy’ one proceeds to get jiggy for the Lord smartly dressed in his three piece black suit with gold tie- could this perhaps be where all the congregations money is going?, well there and to the not too cheap advertisements for his upcoming crusade in some corner of this gullible, far too trusting nation. As his Jane Fonda like dance routine comes to an end several of the singers and musicians behind him fall-none too gracefully- back to earth full to their brim with the Holy Spirit.
If you thought this was where strange took a detour back to normal you would be mistaken as next came a huge wooden cross on which more ‘holy’ oil is poured-this guy loves his oil-here the congregants are to take the initiative to go before the cross run his/her hands over the oil then apply the oil onto your face.
But on this Sunday all would not be well in that house of the Lord for the beleaguered pastor as NTV and its journalist came calling to further investigate the claims levelled by Ms. Mwende and for the ‘apostles’ side to this dramatic tale. As they had been threatened and stone walled before this seemed a logical next move. On their arrival they were met by some of Kenya’s finest posted outside’ just in case’ from their prime spots in the front row they witnessed for themselves some of themselves when the ‘pastor’ arrived he hastened to discuss the ape in the room shouting that the ‘Devil be damned’- which devil? The journalists, the public that knows his game or the one that lurks invisibly infesting the earth one wonders?
The good pastor then proceeded to ask his still loyal packed house whether they believed the blasphemous and slanderous lies being written and said about him, to which he was pleased to hear a resounding NO! Believe it or not the Apostle would then dig into the journalists- who (like this con artist of a pastor) were just doing their jobs and earning their daily keep. Several of his fellow church leaders took the chance to profess Njoroge’s legitimacy but also warned of all manner of calamities and deformities befalling their detractors if they ask it of the Lord all while quoting scripture.
Then it was time for the pastor himself to take to the stage and prove his truly holy power having lined up several congregants who testified that the pastor had performed real miracles on them then he visualised-otherwise known as picked before hand- a young boy afflicted with Elephantiasis, while in the ACT of applying ‘holy’ oil promising to heal him in a weeks’ time then send the curse of swelling upon the journalists and their descendants.
The proverbial last nail in Njoroges coffin of lies came in the form of his legal estranged wife who wielding the hammer seemed to do even more damage to the man and his many fake miracles as she proceeded to back up Esther Mwendes claims saying that her not so spiritually inclined husband was indeed responsible for asking for false witness in exchange for some quick cash she also added that her estranged husband is now married to another woman, walking out on her because she wouldn’t play along with his ‘unchristian traits’, saying he remarried without first getting divorced from her first.
What irks me above all else is that mere humans can take to a stage or pulpit in the name of an all powerful force and proceed to straight, and bold facedly lie to their all too believing congregation then once their jig is up continue to most vehemently defend their lies, now I recall a line quoted by my pastor on Sunday morning that maybe just maybe we have truly and finally come to that grey point in our biblical future known as the ‘End Times’.