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THE JOURNAL: That Other Nigerian Sin

Dear Diary,

I have a confession to make. And I’m just going to say it once.

I don’t go to church.

There, it’s said. Speak of it to no one, diary, and if my Mother sees this and queries me, I’ll deny, Deny, DENY!!!

Anyway, so the last time I talked about that absolute taboo that is forbidden from cropping up in everyday conversations, I mentioned sex. (Read HERE) Well, it turns out there’s another thing you’re not allowed to admit to in public. Know what that is? It is –

Yes, exactly. Exactly what I confessed to earlier. Thou shalt not speak of not going to church to thy fellow Nigerian.

Here’s what happened.

This past Sunday, I did what I usually do on Sundays when I don’t have to go to work. First, I luxuriated in bed for several moments. Then I communed with God using my Daily Manna, and then made a mental note to get breakfast sorted by 11am, before promptly getting settled to the start of my TV series marathon. Sunday’s bingeing was going to be on House Of Cards. House Of Cards Season 2 held me spellbound, with its jaw-dropping performances, Machiavellian maneuvering, and out-of-left-field plot twists I’ve come to expect from the series.

And it was with mild startle that I realized that it was midday, and I was yet to have breakfast. I managed to sneak in a nap sometime in the afternoon, but it’s safe to say that Frank and Claire Underwood commanded my entire day in a way Olivia Pope has never done.

So by evening-time, I was done with all thirteen episodes of the season. And I decided it was time to stretch my legs and perhaps get some dinner.

During my stroll, I ran into a neighbour who lives three houses away from me. We stopped walking so we could gab a little, you know, exchange pleasantries, enquiries about the weekend and each other’s general welfare.

“So how was your Sunday?” he asked.

“Mehn, I was indoors all through, resting and watching one series like that,” I enthused.

“So you didn’t go to church?”


“Why? Where do you worship?”

I paused and looked at him. He had that expression on his face that TB Joshua must have had on before he pounced on Jim Iyke’s evil spirit. For a brief moment, I flirted with the thought of lying; I thought about plucking a name from thin air, like Foursquare or Winners’ Chapel. Then I was like, Whaddaeck! I’m not embarrassed by my non-denominational status. Scratch that, I’m not embarrassed that I don’t go to church. Period!

So I said it.

I said, “I don’t worship anywhere, because I don’t go to church.”

This dude stared at me with eyes so wide, there is no circumference big enough to measure it. First, there was shock, and then incomprehension settled in.

“What do you mean?” he asked.

“I mean that I don’t go to church.”

“Yes, you said that…It’s just…I don’t understand…What do you mean?”

If I’d spoken those simple English words in particularly unintelligible French, I wouldn’t have gotten a more confused reaction from the poor guy. He seemed genuinely incapable of comprehending the notion of someone not going to church.

And then, before long, I…2…3 –

“Look, I want to invite you to my church next Sunday,” he began. “It’s a power=packed service…”

I tried – I really, really tried – not to roll my eyes at that overused word ‘power-packed’.

“…and we’ll be hosting a visiting minister, who is a greatly anointed man of God. It’s a service you just don’t want to miss.”

My dinner was starting to sound like something I didn’t want to miss either. So I quickly disengaged myself from him, and continued on to the Calabar restaurant down the street. Hopefully, the proprietress would be serving a power-packed pounded yam, that’d go down well with greatly-anointed Afang soup.

I am @Walt_Shakes on Twitter

About shakespeareanwalter

Walt Shakes(@Walt_Shakes) is an award-winning Nigerian writer, poet and veteran blogger. He is a lover of the written word. the faint whiff of nature, the flashing vista of movies, the warmth of companionship and the happy sound of laughter.

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  1. You try. :-D. Power packed service meets power packaged Afang soup.

  2. God can forgive you for not going to church, he really can but he won’t forgive you for not giving me my regular Monday series. You see why I don’t get hooked on series? Just when you get invested, the devil would use the creator and tell him to just stop it, just like that, stop it, no warning, nothing.
    Why won’t God now send you to Hell to meet your friend, eekwa?
    Your situation is now peculiar as you can’t even go to church to beg for forgiveness.

    • shakespeareanwalter

      Hahahahahahahahahahahaa!!! Anyi, your grievance has been taken under advisement. Mbok. Epele. No vex. Do not condemn me to this eternal sin, eternal because, you are right, I have no church to go to to ask for forgiveness.

  3. LMAO @ Anyibaba’s comment..

    On the going to church issue, I won’t say anything… before my mum would find her way here and read what i think about being ‘religious’.. So I’ll rather she just sticks to her imagination that I’m a demons slaughtering, fire breathing dragon.. sorry *Christian…

  4. Church?

    God is not in those places! Hypocrites live there who sit in judgement over other people.

    I use Sunday mornings to get some exercise!

  5. Hmmm…
    I won’t condemn or judge. I’ll just assume you haven’t found the place that suits you. I hope you find that soon. Yes you can read your ODM and b satisfied but there’s this indescribable joy in communion.

  6. lol….God will forgive y’all,did I hear Amen?? It’s good 2go 2church cos there are things u may not understand in the bible but when u fellowship wit others,u learn from them. Am not saying tis a must 2go but u can do so even if tis once in a blue moon

  7. Lmao. The sheer shock they exhibit when you tell them you didn’t go to Church on a sunday is something I can never get use to. I actually get shocked for the fact that they get shocked because they think going to church is some natural thing which comes wired in your DNA.

    I don’t even give them the chance to invite me to their “power packed” service.
    People (Nigerians especially) don’t and never seem to respect other peoples choices. They always feel its their right to weigh in their views and thoughts.. Mtchew

  8. So let me safely assume you will give me a treat at that Calabar restaurant on my next visit to Lagos, ehn Walter. Thank you in advance.

  9. Satan pikin

  10. Nigerians & poke nosing

  11. Oh yea…I know that face…as you are starring at the guy and telling him you don’t go to Church…oh yea…I know that face…lol.

  12. Hahaha! Hell needs its firewood though…

  13. Oh my God walter u no go kill me oooo. I don die 4laff. Hilarious piece. Mehn I loved reading every bit of it. Happy I saved reading it till lunch time. Although I don’t exactly av a problem with attending church, I decided 2tk a chill pill 4rm d whole church bizness afta my pastor decided I’m God’s replacement for his current wife. Dem get 3 kids o. Had me going nuts for about 6mnths cos I dint wnt 2av 2leave (I felt really connected in d fellowship); Buh I ultimately decided my sanity nd peace of mind is ultimate for my spiritual nd physical well-being. Mehn! Ds life ehn!

  14. Your body is the temple of God. You are the Church.
    The necessity of the Church as a Structure(worship centers), cannot be overemphasised, however your knowledge of yourself as ‘the church’ determines whether you go to the ‘church’ (structure) or not. JESUS is the way to God, so for me, your conviction on church is between you and Him.

    in any news, hope the soup meet with your expectations

  15. Wali….wat about the series “As the court pleases”

  16. Religion in Nigerian = Sanctioned hypocrisy

  17. Hey Shakes,
    What you experienced is the direct opposite of what I go through here.. they find the idea of religion very ridiculous. Don’t despair.

  18. You read daily manna, I assume you understand some things about God, or you want to. Go to Church. Simple and short; do not forsake the assembling of brethren. We not all perfect, but we can hardly be perfect on our own…

  19. Ermm….but Walter, how did u watch all episode with no power interruption?

  20. I have a confession, I hardly go to church.

  21. Wally you’re hell bound *ROTFL*

  22. lol @ power packed pounded yam and anointed afang soup!
    hmmm…more and more young people are opting out of church, the church is getting it wrong somehow…organized religion is finally cracking at its center….

  23. As far as African parents are concerned u are a sinner and bound for hell

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