One of the many reasons I admire my friend, Eketi Ette, is because she is exactly the kind of Christian I’d like to be when I grow up. Outspoken, assertive, unencumbered by the many bylaws most of today’s Christians appear to be laboring under, and she pushes the boundary just so far that you know she’s just not the kind of person who will buy everything the Man of God is selling.
Very recently, she has been on a social media campaign to get her followers to talk frankly about sex. You know, that very uncommon, unpopular Christian subject – yes, Christian. There’s a reason the Songs Of Solomon is in the Bible. I’d like to think that it is because God Himself appreciates a good sex conversation every now and then. I watched from the sidelines the diverse reactions and illuminating comments that were littered all over Eketi’s sex Facebook thread. However, I knew it was only a matter of time before she would get taken to task by the conservatives over her unrestrained stance.
She must have, because, soon after, she updated the following on her Timeline: ‘Some people are so fake! And it pains me when they cover their fakeness with the Bible or the Quran or Tradition. Some people behave as if God created man and woman, but the devil added the genitals! So sex is not for Christians to discuss, abi? But you’ll sit in your house and giggle and laugh over it with friends, right? Sit there and fool yourself!’
I saw that post and I chuckled. How properly indignant. I also remembered that post in the course of a minor incident that happened during the weekend.
I had gone out to the dumpster close to my compound to empty my trash-basket. The bin outside was already filled to the brim, with bits of refuse overhanging from the edges. The street was quite narrow, and on the other side, trying futilely to calm the tot in her arms was this churchy woman I know who lives on the street. However, it was her shop that stood opposite my compound, and she was multitasking with being maternal to her child and attending to the occasional customer. The other thing about this woman is, she’s dedicated to evangelism – the early morning kind. That morning when I and a bunch of other early morning commuters are hitting the streets, away from the relative comforts of our homes, she’s usually in a corner of the neighbourhood, exhorting her fellow brethren in the Lord about several grave issues, primarily the Second Coming of Christ and the urgent need to be Born Again. I admire her dedication to evangelism, especially in those auroral hours. I mean, in that moment, I’m just self-aware enough to mutter the quick morning greeting to any passerby and my bus stop to the driver; and yet, she is already alert, with an attitude that is rife with indignation at any brethren who would dare not hearken unto her voice.
So back to that day of the weekend and my trash; I’d just upended my basket into the bin, and a number of my garbage spilled out onto the overflowing bin. Pure water sachets, junk food waste materials, pieces of paper, all other forms of used knickknackery –
And some used condoms!
That last bit of waste was at the very bottom of the basket, and landed – plop! – right on top of everything else.
In the first few microseconds of seeing that, I was aghast. Like, WTF! How dare these condoms, in all its ‘wind blowing’ glory, open my nyash and all the knowledge of my sex life to any Tom, Dick and Harry observing me on my little errand?! I was of the mind to reach my hand into that stinky pile of refuse, pick up the condoms and shove them out of sight beneath some pure water sachets.
And then, those microseconds passed, and a small voice within chided me: So you have protected sex, so what?!
Yes, indeed! So What?!
And so I shrugged off my consternation and turned to walk away, only to clash my gaze with that of this shop-woman cum evangelist. She was grimacing at me, dividing her shocked stare between me and the dustbin pile. And then, she opened her mouth and in her coarse, lightly-Yoruba-accented voice, she half-yelled to me, “Are you just going to leave that thing on top there?”
I hadn’t expected that, and the words surprised a laugh out of me. She glared, like my amusement had just stoked her righteous rage, and snapped, “Am I funny to you? Is what I’m saying sounding funny to you? Why will you just leave that – that” – she couldn’t quite get out the words and so she settled with – “that thing there?”
“But, ma, is it not part of trash?” I threw back cheekily.
And she returned in a scandalized tone, “I’ve always taken you to be a nice Christian young man. How can you even be doing the things you do with that thing, talkless of coming here to just leave it there to just – to just…” She didn’t quite know what words to use, and so ended up gesturing with her hand, an expression of her outrage at my ‘insolence.’
I merely laughed some more, shook my head and walked away from her, all the while thinking: What is it about sex sef? What is it about it that makes Christians – and people, generally – cringe when the issue comes up on any forum that is not bolted away behind closed doors? Why do we treat it like it’s such a taboo? Why is the mention of it treated like that’s the shortcut to Hell, and that talking about it would be flouting that last bit of commandment ‘Thou Shalt Not Talk About Sex’, which Moses – Bless his soul – forgot to bring back with him from Mount Sinai? I’ve made acquaintances who never had the talk about the bees and the birds with their parents, simply because they found it too uncomfortable to deal with. Why is that?
I don’t get it.
And about that ‘nice Christian young man like me’ bit, where on earth was the woman getting that misinformation from?
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