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THE INVASION OF THE FUNKY PASTORS PART 2:

NOTE: This blog was uploaded here in 2021 because this is a new site. However, it was first published on other platforms in 2016

This, is No Bullshitting!

Depraved Christians have turned Christianity into a huge business franchise marred by mischief. Hatched in the United States of America, this trend has spread like wild fire all over the Christian world. Africa is definitely not left out of this rat race; indeed, she is knee-deep in it! And, who else but Nigeria is the champion of the game in Mother Africa! My series of treatises on this platform, which are based on my explosive book, THE INVASION OF THE FUNKY PASTORS, brings you commercialized Christianity with the “Nigerian Factor.” My story unfolds with some of the intriguing peculiarities that constitute the “Nigerian Factor.’ This is the second edition.

One relevant and fundamental Nigerian Factor in my story is the one that I call the copycat syndrome. This peculiarity explains the characteristic alacrity with which Nigerians have engaged in the global church-commercialization pandemic. The alacrity, or passion if you prefer to call it that, is a cultural trait, and Nigerians exhibit it wherever we are, home, or abroad. It was, for instance, the cause of the notoriety and the consequent persecution of Nigerians in the United States of America over Credit Card and “Green Card” frauds, which peaked in the 1980s. I know all about it because I was right there at the headquarters of the drama in Texas, when it all went down.

Mind you, the notoriety over credit card and Green Card frauds did not mean that Nigerians were the only people that were guilty of those activities in the USA. Indeed, when compared to other nationals, Nigerian perpetrators could actually be said to be ‘small fish’ in the ocean of Green Card and Credit Card crime games. They only seemed to be big fish because they were too aggressive and too loud about it. For instance, they spent the little money they made from Credit Card scam so extravagantly, thereby bringing attention to themselves, in a society where money is not spent so flamboyantly without question. By extension, the entire Nigerian community in the USA became suspect. For this, Nigeria as a nation received all the media bashing, and the consequent persecution of Nigerians in the USA—the guilty, as well as the innocent Nigerians.

I have said all this to get to the point that Nigeria’s traditional copycat syndrome has kicked-in in the Nigerian Christendom; gazillions of copycat pastors are springing up all over the place, and they have taken the game of making money in the name of the Lord to a ballistic height! More grievously, many are making a whole lot of mischief in the process. I would not condemn indoctrinated, ignorant, miracle-seeking born-again Christians who err inadvertently, because, as Christ said on the cross, they know not what they do. My grouse is with the fraudsters out there that pose as pastors or “men of God,” and willfully exploit and extort emotionally vulnerable and ignorant Christians. They are obsessed with money, and some go to any length to extort it from their zombified “born-again” extremists. Many have perfected various intrigues to brainwash their followers into virtual zombies under their spell and command, and the ultimate object is extortion. Stories of stage-managed fake miracles, ritual murders, and heinous sex offenses by pastors abound in today’s Nigerian Christendom. Some of the best ones are contained in my book, a novel-styled non-fiction, titled “The Invasion Of The Funky Pastors: Church Business At War With The African Culture.

My first, introductory treatise on this subject on this platform focused on the secondary theme of “Church Business At War with The African Culture,” and I will continue on that path for now; temporarily keeping in suspense the explosive part of the evil activities of the so-called pastors who cause the war that I speak of. Yes, indeed; a war is apparently going on between Christianity and Culture wherever the former thrives today in all parts of the world. Some commentators have identified this war as “Culture War,” and others call it “Holy War.” I have read numerous commentaries on the subject, and most of my readings emphasized ‘misunderstanding’ or ‘misconception’ of Christ’s teachings and the contents of the Holy Bible as the cause of the war. This is probably because the commentaries came from the rest of the world outside Nigeria, and the authors wrote about the rest of the world, and not about Nigeria. They did not know about the phenomenon called the Nigerian Factor, which makes a whole lot of difference as Nigerians increasingly join the war.

Slightly deviating from the common emphasis on “misunderstanding” or “misconception” as the source of the war, I focus on a third ‘m’ word called ‘Mischief.’ I frown at the fact that mischievous Christians in Africa, Nigeria in particular, are gradually perfecting the art of turning Christianity into a business franchise. However, I probably would not have paid much attention to this, if only they left the African Culture out of their mischief. 

But, no, they had to start annihilating the culture in the most ignorant way, all based on gross misinterpretation of the Holy Bible! And, since Nigerian Traditionalists are not sitting back and watching the assault on the culture of the land, there is truly a war going on between Christianity and Culture in Nigeria.

The “Holy war” is executed on two separate battlefronts. On one front, the battle is raging between Christians and the last-standing adherents of the Traditional African Religions, who are protecting their traditional belief systems against the foreign Christian principles. And then, there is the second battle that is internal among Christians themselves, who disagree on some basic principles of Christianity, especially as they affect the culture of the land. Grievously, mischievous Christians hide behind the confusion to prey on their miracle-seeking, emotionally vulnerable brethren to make a living. 

So, now we have pastors whose money-making specialty in Nigeria is to desecrate all the elements of the African Culture, with very artificially expensive “holy water” and “anointed oil” in hand, and an army of ignorant and destructive followers behind him. The ultimate interest of the funky pastors is m-o-n-e-y! Yes indeed, the pastors in Nigeria get paid for the culture-demolition escapades; and I mean huge fees! The more successful ones do not only make a living through pastorhood, mind you; they live in outlandish jet-paced affluence like ancient Roman Emperors, all in the name of God! You will probably be surprised, and probably condemn me for the names that are mentioned in my book, and the things beyond the annihilation of the African Culture, which I know, repeat, I know for sure that they are doing so, so wrongly, all in the name of Christ!

Well, I guess I can give you a little peep—can you ever explain to me why all the schools owned by Pentecostal churches in Nigeria are priced out of the reach of the ‘ordinary’ Nigerians? I mean, these are the people who actually own the schools through payment of all manner of contributions, including tithe, but they cannot even send their wards to the schools! Nobody can ever explain it satisfactorily to me, so don’t even bother trying, I would say before one starts. The entire defense I have heard so far is total bullshit, and I will present the summary of the argument in my book. But, that’s topic for another day; just think about my point meanwhile, will you! Also think about ownership of private jets by so many “men of God” in Nigeria! Do you really accept the simplistic explanation that it facilitates the work of God, which is commonly offered by the apologists of the jet-age pastors? I ask—how about the popes of the Catholic Faith who travel with the Italian national carrier, Alitalia? Are our pastors holier than the popes; or more hard-working? What do our pastors really achieve with private jets as added value, which the Pope does not achieve? Also, please read Deuteronomy 14, from verse 22 to verse 28, so that you may be in tune with my argument about tithe. But, like I said, all this is just a peep into my topic for another day.

My present interest is the Culture-versus-Religion war, which was kindled in December 2007. I was visiting my remote village in a town called Nnewi, which is situated in the Southeastern State of Nigeria called Anambra State. It all started when a group of Christians woke up one day and decided to put a ban on a cultural element of art and entertainment called masquerade. They believe, and insisted that all the cultural festivities and other elements associated with masquerades, which make us who we are—Africans—are “idols,” and must be abolished, in the name of Jesus. Naturally, another group in the village, all Christian, too, said no to the ban, and…bang! A war broke out in the village, and I was right in the middle of it. The Progressives insisted, and still insist that the masquerades must be retained for their primary purpose of cultural entertainment. And, if any particular masquerade is found to be wanting in any form, then it should be purified, sanctified or modernized where necessary; but not to condemn the entire concept of masquerade. This is called reformation. It goes without saying that I am on the side that said that the masquerade culture has to stay.

The pertinent question in the entire disagreement has to be: How does the cultural entertainment tradition of masquerade go against the teachings of Christ and the Holy Bible? I approach this question starting with the definition of the word masquerade. Various dictionaries and scholars define a masquerade variously as: Impersonate; Pretend to be; Make-belief; Disguise, subterfuge; just picking the five. In essence, a masquerade is what the masquerader says that it is; what the “pretender” says that he is pretending to be, and nothing more. In other words, the masquerade itself (the “make-up”) has no intrinsic value. If we say that a masquerade is an element of cultural entertainment, then that is what it is. There are entertainment masquerades all over the world, and they are made in the likeness of reptiles such as crocodile; mammals such as elephant, and other conceivable creatures on earth, including man. Dragons and some sort of worms are common features in masquerades in Asia.

Indeed, a masquerade may represent or pretend to be a bad deity, but this does not always mean that it venerates the deity. It can be a work of art employed to insult, mock, or ridicule the bad deity as it entertains In this case, a discerning Christian should see it as a positive tool to promote Christianity. And if indeed a masquerade gets possessed by a demon, then the thing to do is to exorcize it, get rid of the doggon demon, and not destroy the masquerade. If it is too bad for reformation, then discard that particular masquerade, and don’t even think about the abolition of the entire concept! Ultimately, masquerades all over the world, in the context of this discourse, are primarily for cultural entertainment.

It is a fact that a masquerade as a concept cannot possibly be an evildoer, because it does not possess either life or power to do anything whatsoever, good or evil. It is also a fact that a person that wants to do evil would always find a way to do it, with or without a masquerade. And so, if indeed masquerades constituted any danger, or did anything un-Christian anywhere in Nigeria, it could never have been the costumes called masquerades. The culprits would have to be the masqueraders (people) inside the masquerades. And, if any particular masquerade commits any crime, then arrest and punish the doggon masquerader, period! As the late Nigerian Afro-Beat music legend, Fela Anikulakpo Kuti once put it in a different context, “Uniform na cloth, na tailor de sew am,” meaning that ‘a (police) uniform is merely a piece of cloth sewn together by a tailor.’ The policeman inside the uniform still remains what he had always been before he ever got hold of the uniform. If he was evil before he picked up the uniform, then an evil policeman he is. And if he was a good man, then he makes a good police officer. In Fela’s context, the man is not a big deal; he is just another guy, uniform or no uniform.

Similarly, interest groups and individuals in the USA who campaign for a citizen’s right to bear arms have popularly and successfully argued that “guns do not kill people; rather, people kill people, using guns.” The point in this argument is that the evil man is our problem, and not the gun. Sure, there are instances where easy availability of a gun can be a factor. However, the argument is that human nature always has pros and cons in every matter, and we cannot go about abolishing everything that has some ‘cons.’ If we do, then we will have to abolish every concept we presently hold as humans, because they all come with good and bad. For instance, the contraption called airplane crashes and kills people almost every other day, but we have never considered scrapping air transport in the world. What we do is keep improving on the concept, including better training of pilots, hoping to perfect it all one day—that’s if we can ever attain utopia!

The American argument, therefore, is that a person that wants to control the rate of shooting deaths in a society should control the people’s attitudes, and not the inanimate gun. Hence, the masquerader is our problem, and not the concept known as masquerade. A person that wants to control witchcraft should control the masquerader, and not a mere inanimate costume called masquerade, which cannot make any move on its own. The way to eliminate evil, therefore, would be to change the behavior of the evildoer inside the masquerade, and definitely not by destroying the masquerade and all its positive values.

Let’s face it, if we destroy the masquerade, the guy inside it, if evil, simply changes his method of doing evil, period. As the saying goes, once there is the will; there will always be a way. If one way closes, then the man with the will finds another way. Sure, there were masquerades in the past that were supposedly very powerful in the hocus pocus world of the spirits and wizardry. But all they did, if and when they did, was to, supposedly, engage one another, amongst themselves, in spiritual power tussle. Now don’t get me wrong when I say “supposedly.” I do understand that such powers exist, and, you should, too, if you do actually believe in God, and know that the devil exists, too. That’s another topic for another day.

The reason that I say “supposedly” is that in the festivals that I personally experienced as I grew up in Nigeria, I did not notice anything out of the ordinary to suggest convincingly, that some spiritual warfare actually went on among the masquerades, but I am willing to accept other people’s ‘claim’ to have witnessed manifestations. Besides, I believe that it probably did sometimes, because, since I believe in Christ and God, and believe that there is Satan, I believe that the spirit world does exist. What I did see and experience for sure, however, were wonderful, memorable moments of exciting, fun-filled cultural entertainment offered by masquerades in my town.

I am proud to announce that the pro-culture Christians in my village won the first battle in the masquerade tussle. We do have the tradition still going on in the village. Following the incident, I paid more attention to the culture-annihilation phenomenon in Nigeria, and I have since come across a few ugly incidents of communal clashes of the culture-religious kind. Most often, all the conflicting parties in the holy war are Christians who disagree on exactly how to be Christian.

My interest in the subject of preservation of culture, any culture whatsoever, led to “Culture Watch Africa.com” non-profit Organization, with the mission to protect and promote the African Culture from the new-wave “born-again” Christians. I must confess that this NGO has not really taken shape yet. As I embark on this sensitive mini-series on “Christianity At War With African Culture” it is imperative to state very clearly that I am a Christian, and I am definitely not leading or backing any campaign against Christianity, or any other religion for that matter, God forbid! Mine is a campaign against misconstrued and mischievous Christianity, which is engendered by ignorant and mischievous misinterpretation of the Holy Bible. I have a lot of patience for the Christians who ignorantly misinterpret the bible; “they know not what they are doing,” said Christ on the cross. My grouse is with those who mischievously, advertently misinterpret the bible for selfish reasons.

Destructive and deadly conflicts between extremist anti-culture Christians and their culture-friendly counterparts abound in Igbo land in South-Eastern Nigeria. One of the notable ones degenerated to the destruction of a local church building in a community known as Nsirimo Village in Umuahia Town, Abia State. It began with a rampage on the culture of the land in Nsirimo community, by a Pentecostal church going by the name Charismatic Renewal Movement (CRM). Their casualties included a couple of peculiar, ancient trees. In most parts of the world where tourism is promoted those trees would have been highly celebrated tourist feature. Indeed, though belatedly, the government of Abia State had already approved the trees for Tourist Attraction development project, shortly before the overzealous born-again Christians decided and succeeded to chop them down. They also destroyed the village shrines. In retaliation, irate youths simply matched to the CRM church on December 1, 2007 and burned it down. The message from the youths was very clear: “You destroy our culture; we destroy what you claim to be your culture.”

Do note that the youths that burned down the church were not pagans, anti-Christ, or anything like that, as the holier-than-thou Christians would want everybody to believe. Indeed, some of the youths were probably more Christian in behavior than many of the hypocrites among the un-appointed Christian Warriors. By their action, the youths were saying that the extremists were/are going too far, and must be stopped, even if it meant or means destroying the church. Under normal circumstances, the youths, just like the Christian culture-demolition warriors, do believe in Christianity, but not at the expense of the African Culture. They are aware that both can coexist, hence, they say no to the destruction of one by the other.

Nigerian national daily newspaper, “The Sun,” had a story on March 19, 2008, which was titled “Spiritual Warfare.” Written by David Onwuchekwa, the story came with a subscript: “Chief Priest threatens church with war for desecrating his shrine.” The incident happened in a village named Umuenem, in Nnewi town. The desecrated shrine, which was named “Udo Enem Shrine,” had been in that village for over four hundred years. Relics carted away by the Christian warriors included an ancient carved door that had secured the shrine from intruders. The Chief Priest of the shrine, David Chukwukadibia Onuchukwu, estimated all the relics removed or destroyed by the Christian warriors to be worth over five million naira (about 42,000 U$D). He reported the vandalism to His Royal Highness, Igwe Kenneth Orizu 111, the Igwe (King) of Nnewi. Igwe (King) Orizu condemned the vandalism in totality, and actually advised the aggrieved Chief Priest to invite the Nigeria Police into the matter. Also with a strong condemnation of the vandalism was the President of Odina Ana Anaedo Cultural Organization of Nnewi, Dr. David Igwilo.

The self-appointed Christian Warriors violate the Constitution of Nigeria when they go on their culture-destruction rampage, and they don’t even seem to know it. They don’t seem to know that they have no right to forcibly dispossess citizens of their cultural artifacts and burn them amidst protest by the owners. This forcible dispossession of artifacts has resulted in another ugly anti-culture trend in Nigeria; Nigerians are selling off all the remaining artifacts of the African Culture in Nigeria. Rather than being persuaded by quack pastors, or forced by their converted brethren in the village to destroy the artifacts, some people choose to sell them off to foreigners who have great values for them. The Afro-cultural heritage of all Africans, which is supposed to be passed on to the next generations for the continuation of history, the future story of our sojourn on earth, is being carted away, piece by piece every day by foreigners. Here’s one interesting irony; some authorities in Nigeria are presently asking Great Britain to return some artifacts that they stole from Nigeria some decades ago; whereas contemporary Nigerians are destroying and selling off more! Notable among the stolen artifacts is the collection from the Benin Kingdom, which are housed in some British museums.

“This work you see here is from a shrine,” said a dealer at Ikoyi Hotel in Lagos, Wahid Mumuni, as he gestured at a carving. “It was brought to me by one woman who said her pastor had asked her to get rid of it.” So, I ask—isn’t it easier now to curtail the selling-off of our cultural heritage, than to try to recover them after the fact? The various governments and authorities of Nigeria may not necessarily have the power, constitutionally speaking, to stop individual Nigerians from destroying or selling their personal artifacts, but the option of mass enlightenment is there, and it is even more effective than applying force anyway! The people of Nigeria need serious and massive enlightenment campaign, not only to stop us from destroying our heritage, but especially to reduce the acute ignorance that makes us zombies under the spell and total control of debased citizens who are emotionally extorting us—all in the name of Christ…let’s stop the bullshit!

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