Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Now we watch porn in church

My colleagues and I were on our way home one evening a couple of weeks back when we realized that a traffic problem along Kudirat Abiola Way, Oregun meant we had to take the by road hosting Reverend Chris Okotie’s Household of God. I was seeing the church for the second time while, Wole, my colleague was seeing it for the first time.

“This is very impressive,” he said as the church appeared in view. We took in the general ambience around the church, the brightness of the white paint on the walls, the beauty of the trees and flowers adorning both sides of the road and the frontage of the church itself, the colourful ribbons made into fancy designs on the front railings, the decorative lights creatively spun round the trees and flowers, the brand new split unit air conditioners cooling the church etc. The conversation in the car was surely going to centre on the taste of the trendy founder of the church until Wole burst out: “Are those tightly-clad women going into the church?” he asked no one in particular as a band of young women turned into the entrance.

“Of course. What did you think?” I asked him.
“I have heard a lot about how young women dress in this church. But this? This is clearly not proper, or what do you think?”

The only female in our company intervened. She saw nothing wrong in what any of the bevy of beauties walking towards the church entrance wore.
The women in question were in body-hugging tops and jeans. Some were in trousers and some in skirts. Trousers or skirts, they were all close-fitting, accentuating the feminine forms of the wearers. Wole has an Anglican background and has only recently started going to the Redeemed Christian Church of God. This sight was clearly too much for his Anglican mind.
“This sort of dressing cannot in anyway help spirituality in this church?” he fired at our female colleague, Loretta, a student of University of Lagos out on Internship.

“Why not. These are decent girls. None of their sensitive body parts are exposed or anything” Loretta fired back.
“But those clothes are too tight. Some are too flimsy. Particularly the buxom one. How can somebody like that wear trousers to church?”
“Trousers do not defile a woman” Loretta said defiantly.
“That is not the point. The point is, how can a man praise God when a woman like that sits directly in front of him?”
“On the contrary, it is a good reason for a man to praise God. He created all beautiful things!” Loretta said mischievously. It did not seem plausible to me that a man would begin a prayer with “Oh I praise you God for this acutely rounded posterior of this my sister in the Lord”. But I fail to state this. So the verbal duel continued between my two colleagues.
But perhaps, a few more words about Wole. This is a bespectacled, studious fellow not ordinarily given to frivolities. The general impression of him formed from long observation of his conduct and personal lifestyle is that he is more attracted to what women have between their ears than how they package their physical endowments. But his next statement surprised me.

“Just imagine me opening my eyes during a charged prayer session only to behold such a dangerously packaged derriere right in front of me”.

“You can speak in tongues” I quipped. It didn’t help the conversation much but it got the feuding parties to loosen up in a raucous laughter.

Then the argument went into the fine details of what constituted indecent dressing or not. The young women of today have this view, as clearly articulated by Loretta that body hugs are not part of indecent wear. But we all used to think they were. She insisted that this can no longer be so.

“Look, I strongly object to indecent dressing. But sometimes people carry things too far. For instance it is absolutely wrong to say women cannot wear T-shirts. A T-shirt covers every part of a woman’s upper body, yet some churches would object to women wearing one. This is mental slavery that many women like me will fight till we drop”.

“The point against T-shirts like similar body hugs is that they unnecessarily emphasize and amplify the breasts of the wearers, causing many men to lose themselves in lustful longing”, Wole pointed out with the mien of a medical doctor repeating a diagnosis to a dull patient.

“Is it a sin for women to have the shape and body parts that God gave them? We all know that women have breasts, so why would any man be surprised to find them on a woman. I don’t get it. It is not like this is something men do not know exist that therefore has to be hidden so they do not ever know”, Loretta said, now affecting some air of exasperation.

That was a unique defence of nudity I did not know exist before then. I voiced out my thought and Loretta retorted that she was not canvassing nudity. Really? If we were not to bother covering what other people knew existed on our bodies we would all be butt naked. How would the animals feel then?

The truth is that the definitions of morality and immorality, decency and indecency are shifting in our society as in many others across the world. You only have to look into the churches.