I once heard that fear is the best way to condition a person’s mind. Instil fears into the hearts of your followers and provide yourself as their only hope and help and they will follow you like mindless zombies.
Bla Bla Blah! Sheep
“It’s offering time!” The man boomed into the microphone.
“Therefore, you must give.”
The instrumentalists and singers quickly marched behind him and began a rendition of ‘Give and it will come back to you.’
The holy man gyrated, stylishly eyeing the donations being inserted into envelopes
“Give and it will come back to you I say!”
“I want you to know that God is in the house tonight!” He did his special dance.
The congregation shouted in response.
“Choir sing that song one more time!”
The ushers went about with collection bowls, passing them along so that the faithful could put in their envelopes.
“I want you to know that it’s the season for your great reward!”
The congregation shouted and applauded.
Gbemi wasn’t used to this sort of crowd.
She had been born in the States and had only come to visit her father’s parents.
They’d insisted that she come to see ‘the Holy man’.
She thought it’s been weird that she was not invited to the Church, or participate in the service, but all her grandmother could chatter about was the ‘Holy man’.
“He wears white because it’s the color of God and only uses purple items.”
“His seat in the church is purple, his cars are purple, customized with purple interiors as well.”Her grandmother had said.
Gbemi fanned herself in the back of the building. She couldn’t bear to use the word church for it.
The Holy man raised his hands again and the congregation shouted and applauded.
“This time, I tell you that God is in the house.”
More cheering and applause.
“Your offering must be no less than N1,000.”He nodded affirmatively.
“What?”She gasped in shock.
What was more bewildering was the fact that like brain washed persons better yet zombies, the congregation cheered on.
Gbemi was in a pained surprise, especially because it was visible that a good third of the congregation were in the lower class percentile.
They didn’t strike her as persons who had N1,000 to deposit in an offering bowl.
On closer inspection, Gbemi saw the saddened pained expressions on their faces.
Made worse with the Holy man’s proclamation that ‘God would not be tolerant of less than N1,000.’
He went on to say that every member should take out the money from their envelopes and lift them up, to be visible by him and no usher should accept an offering less than the amount specified.
Oh Gbemi was incensed.
Her lip quivered and she motioned to say something about it, when her grandmother pinched her.
“Don’t you dare, embarrass me here tonight.” She cautioned severely.
Her grandmother waved crisp thousand naira notes.
Gbemi was painfully appalled and saddened, even worse as she had no outlet to her anger.
In the back, those who obviously had less than a thousand naira sobbed and cried out to God for forgiveness.
The congregation boomed, running to his feet and tossing scrunched up naira notes.
“Bless you!”He smiled in appreciation as each patron tossed their hard earned notes at him.
“This is madness! How can one man make a people feel less than worthy of God because of money?” Gbemi asked no one in particular.
The congregation continued to chant in the background.