Essays / Satiric / The Pontifical Papers


Not Your Granny’s Church

I went to church last Sunday. This is nothing special by itself, the south-western Nigerian society is as church infested as a Vatican street. More than half of the Lagos population are consummate church-goers. Sundays in the modernistic Lagos Island still retain the medieval feature of being the day you put your best dress on. For many, it is the major social occasion for the week, a time to catch up on social networks, catch the latest gossip, and send up a prayer to God for the downfall of your wicked boss in the coming week.

However, for a hardened secularist like me, it was a highly unusual event. I was literally dragged to the venue by a female friend (who also conned lunch out of me afterwards) amidst my protests of irreverence and sophisticated heathenism. The point, I told her in plaintive notes, was that I could not honestly worship in an institution whose rituals I no longer had faith in. it would be, I protested, like an undergraduate attempting a sincere attendance at nursery. I was too sophisticated.

I forgot, however, that Christianity, unlike its counterparts, is a constantly evolving religion (ironic, for a theology that disapproves of evolution), a continuously changing one. It was started over 2,000 years ago by a band of roving fishermen in the hillsides of Judea whose rediscovered faith in their executed leader inspired them to profound acts of courage and missionary works. Their humility was touching, their message was simple: the Kingdom of God is here. Repent.

So with the self assurance only an unrepentant sinner can muster, I went to church and got a rude culture shock. The modern Christians I joined in worship floored my pretensions. They surpassed my secularism. The church had moved beyond my ideas, and throughout the preaching, I felt as old-fashioned and out of place as a Buddhist monk in a shopping mall. By the end of the service, I had made up some helpful guides from my observations. This should help you on how to be a modern Christian.

1. A bible is only as good as its physical condition: you do not want to show up in church toting the worn-out family bible your grandfather got baptized with. Better to swing your empty hands into the sermon than drag along a weary script with half of Genesis in someone’s trash and the books of Jude and revelations hanging on—literally by a thread. Your bible should at all times be clean and minty. Leather bound, gilded edges, with exotic commentaries and fancy footnotes. The pricier the better. Don’t highlight the text, don’t scrawl on the margins and don’t fold the pages. Keep it locked up in a compartment in your car or handbag all week –until Sunday morning. Naturally, to aid in keeping it in its factory condition, your modern pastor is going to make little or no reference to it in the course of the Sunday sermon. That’s why you should keep up with CNN and Business Day—there’s more sermon material in there.

2. Remember the Sunday, to keep it holy: because, practically and theoretically, all other days are ordinary and commonplace. You are granted Monday to Saturday to cheat, lie, backbite, quarrel, keep malice, fornicate, swagger, jamz, party, swear, hiss, curse, get your groove on, ignore people, murder, assassinate characters, those six are days when you are meant to be vainglorious, impatient, arrogant, rude, cruel and generally get on with life. On six days you should labour, send e-mails, make calls, crack jokes, meet deadlines, set more goals, watch TV, read the papers, flirt with the ladies and be coy with the dudes and basically get rich or die trying. But Sunday is a truce-day: on that day you show your respect to the creator by hitting the pause button on your carnal sidekick and acting nice to the co-sinner next door. Monday is another day.

3. Love your neighbor—but not as much as your pastor: because brand identity transcends universal brotherhood. These days it’s all about image. A successful image needs a great brand. Choose your church, revere and emulate your pastor, and fight to maintain the integrity of your church’s brand. A modern church requires a classy and sophisticated brand with a logo designed by Alder and the ad campaign handled by DDB. The pastor must come with a brand identity and his pictures must reflect the values of the modern church—wealth, prosperity, and luxury. God help the poor sinner who call’s your pastor’s name in vain. Remember, even if your pastor cannot say: “In the name of Jesus of Nazareth, rise up and walk”, he should not be heard to say: “Silver and gold, I have not…”.

4. Go ye into the world and beat them at their game: actually, in the original script, Christians were to be a people apart from the world. But that concept is archaic; the world, well, our world, is Christian (and Moslem—but the characters are the same) and since you cannot convert a land where everyone else is converted, the next best thing is to show the power of God in your life by being part of the Jet Set. You can reach more people and show them the way to your brand of Christianity by dressing in tailored suits and fancy gowns. It should be easier for a camel to pass through the eye of the needle than for a street beggar to enter your church—and relax. A failure in earthly riches is a sign that God is displeased. The more successful you are on earth, the more the people of the earth respect you—after all, you are the light of the world and the salt of the earth. How can you trudge around on foot? Even the Lord got a donkey at the end; the least you can do is buy a jeep. Preferably a Hummer.

5. Be cool and trendy and hip and smart: and flow with the latest Hollywood, Nollywood, Bollwood and other woody gossip and news. Feel free to drink (champagne and red/white wine), smoke (cigars), smooch around (occasionally), club (for business networking) and generally be the cool dude or babe on the red carpet. Be a social butterfly—an ice cream boy, a La Casera girl. Say “shit”, and “damn”, and “fuck” when necessary. In fact, you are allowed to use them in the course of a Sunday school lecture. Just be a Christian, you don’t have to be Christlike. You don’t have to ask “what would Jesus do?” before every action—that is being stupid. Not smart. Anyway, there can only be one Christ and you can only be a Christian. Even better, God looks at the heart and he knows you love him.


So, boys and girls, those are a few points for you to digest, I’ve not consulted God on them, but I’m sure he approves my observations, if he doesn’t, then three quarters of the Christians around have frightfully left the narrow path and are massing on the broad way. But if you think these points are too tough for you to live by, I sympathise, these modern Christians scare me too. But, remember, a Christlike life would lead you nowhere—on earth.

Join @ayosogunro on Twitter to get even more scared


27 thoughts on “THESE MODERN CHRISTIANS SCARE ME | By Ayo Sogunro

  1. “send up a prayer to God for the downfall of your wicked boss in the coming week.” I love this statement. It is very funny. I was laughing when I read this. Love the sarcasm in your piece as well.

    I was surprised on Facebook when you made a note that you went to church. My reaction was like “what Ayo went to church” The wind of change is blowing through Ayo.

    Come to think of it, Jesus was not married. He was a man who went around walking with a bunch of men. In today’s society if someone claims to be sent by God and to be walking around with a bunch of men. He would have endured the same ridicule and be crucified just like Jesus.

    Saint Paul was also a man who was unmarried who went around evangelizing with another man. This makes would make suspect that they may have been homosexuals.

    May be Ayo, you have not found the church that fits your personality. Here in the U.S. there are different types of church and the key is to find a church that fits your personality. Personally, I hate long services, but I love the church if the sermon is good. I would recommend dwelling on the sermon next time you go to church. Is the sermon good or not? This is the question that I ask myself every Sunday.

    Love the article though. Go AYO SOGUNRO.


  2. I’m kind of confused on what you are saying. But I would like to say that there is no perfect church. I’m 39 years old and I have always judged the people in the church from the preacher to the lay members because of their faults. But then I read Romans 2:1Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things. This is a individual affair I can’t go for you and you can’t go for me. When Jesus comes back he is not going to accept that the reason why I couldn’t live right Lord was because those people in church were hypocrites and backbiters. Jesus will not accept this. The Bible says live peacefully with all men. IT took me a long time to realize that. But whatever is in me if Christ is in me I can live peacefully with ALL MEN.


    • I also wanted to comment on the individual who said Saint Paul was also a man who was unmarried who went around evangelizing with another man. This makes would make suspect that they may have been homosexuals.I think that this is sad that people can take things from the Bible and twist it around to be something BAD. So I would like to know when this individual hangs out with his or her friends of the same sex does that automatically mean that this individual is a homosexual? It’s just like how people are saying that Jesus and Mary Magalene were lovers. What would you take such a beautiful relationship between a servant and leader and make it out to be a horrible thing. Everything that is good people tend to want to make it out to be something bad. There are still true Christians out there please don’t lump us all in the same bunch. I’m so concern about the souls of so many young people who are getting wrapped up into the sins of this world. We have compromised with so many issues and one of them is homosexuality. It is a sin no matter who it is doing it. And the Bible has not changed and will not change on this issue. The Bible was not just written for those of Biblical time but it was also written for today. People may change but the Bible will remain the same.


  3. I loved your perception of the modern chrstian church. I’m also quite scared of these modern day chrstians myself. I grew up being bullied by self proclaimed Christians. As an adult I kind of pity them actually they are so intent on finding something meaningful in there lives that they are blinded in a way by there own hypocrisy. I wish they could see that not everyone wants and desires to fall in line with there ideals of how to obtain salvation or if salvation even needs to be obtained. I wish they didn’t feel obligated to try and convert me. I dont want to be converted or be told that by being gay I am immoral and going to hell. Especially if I choose to have children I dont want them as role models for my kids. Its quite sad frankly. But your article was very refreshing and made my day.

    Thank You



  4. Indeed its a literary masterpiece on modernday christianity, especially in Lagos. Notwithstanding, there is a remnant who worship Him in truth and in spirit, and not as a matter of socially or politically correct attitude. Quite fine work.


  5. LOOOOOOOOOOOOL!!!! I’m rolling in stitches here!! hahahahah!!!
    Ayo, your religious articles never fail to entertain and enlighten me. Thank you, yet again.

    +1 @ “…I could not honestly worship in an institution whose rituals I no longer had faith in….” You also described me with this comment.


  6. I think you’re fighting what you know so well to be the truth. You know the real thing, but the counterfeits made you want to neglect both the real and the counterfeits. Be the Christlike christian you want to seea and show us an example. Cheers


      • I actually think somewhere in your intelligent mind, there’s an itch that makes you uncomfortable enough to seek Truth. Seek, and you will find…. it will humble you to discover that finding IT does not require intelligence, yet finding IT will cause your intelligence to soar. Seek, I say….!


  7. Afta reading your well thought out write up, I conclude; that some are bad does nt mean all is bad. The prince of this world has succesfuly delusioned many, gays, homosexuals, etc. also many has become satanic evangelist pointing accusing fingers, be warned! Dont look for excuses to condole yourself of your wrongdoings it only leads to hell. AYO SOGUNRO i think u have been deep in christianity sometimes ago and u also had little knowledge about the scriptures. Pls repent before thme run out on you


  8. I think AYO is a confused person,trying to defend is secular believe…I hardly GO to church too…but the fact dat u dont believe something doesn’t mean it BAD…some pple 20years after leaving school still have their notes, neat n clean…So what is bad in using a spackling clean BIBLE….we knw dat dat their are excesses/wastage in 2day churches but even AYO is not using the kind of car his parent used,so don’t think any pastor will use DONKEY to show simplicity….u had a biased mind b4 going to dat Church,this resulted to ur incoherent write up.


  9. Lol. Really Ayo, what do you hope to achieve with this article? A few laughs? Another opportunity to take a jibe at the so called christians who dare to claim an identity in Christ (and with God?)..
    Or you just want to demonstrate your brilliance as a writer and your ability to effectively wield sarcasm as a tool of ‘sophisticated verbosity’?
    You obviously don’t know a lot about the church, or it’s significance in and to the life of the believer.. not enough anyway to lend credence to the potshots you and other ‘sophisticated writers’ like you in recent times delight to take against it.
    If you’re not helping Christ to ‘gather’, then you’re joining the devil to ‘scatter’.. simple as ABC! For the atheist, that’s his ascribed goal.. for former, backsliden or irreverent christians, it’s the evidence of satanic deception that has taken deep roots.
    I guess christianity is an easy target, and the one belief system that just wont let you live your life as you want without reminding you that there’s an accounting to be made someday.. I understand your frustration and I sympathise. I really do!
    It’s funny really.. that modern day atheists, disillusioned former/backslidden/irreverent (take your pick) christians, and well, run of the mill ‘sophisticates’.. tend to be more obsessed with the church than even the christians they constantly criticise.
    They stay trying to belittle ‘the modern day professing christian’, intent on shaming the latter and eradicating their message if need be..
    News flash! You are not the first and you wont be the last.. the Church (which is in essence Christ and His body) is bigger than any new age modernistic mouth frothing thesis.. If you have truly lost faith in the church (Christ and His body), then let it be. Cos, no matter how hard you try, you cant bring its walls down.. that’s as futile as Hitler blaming the Jews for the problems of the world and trying to eradicate the race.
    Likewise, many through the centuries have under the guise of losing faith, tried to shame, belittle, and snuff out the life of the church.. and failed..
    Your article was highly amusing, if completely useless!


    • But, remember, a Christlike life would lead you nowhere—on earth.. guess dts d most insane line I’ve ever read.. The article is useless, and void of the truth..


      • I for one would like to understand how a “Christ-like” life would lead you somewhere- ON EARTH!

        Please is your foundation in Christianity so poor that you actually think the import of Christ’s message has anything to do with your vain existence on earth?

        You think the point of the gospel is to make your puny body feel good by whatever measure you chose arbitrarily?

        You think/believe the accounts of Christ’s life demonstrate ANY direction towards an end on earth?

        your teachers and religious leaders should be shot like dogs.

        @Ayo, good write-up. falls flat in some areas but essentially gets a point across


  10. He’s just showing off hs writing prowress, I dnt see hw different u r frm d chritians you are castigating, u just needed t be heard,n well showing off ur hobbies, what matters most is the lives you we’re able to impart with ur talent,I advise u use it wisely as ul give account for it. If u think som ppl r scattering,then gather with Christ. Speak of a blind man trying to lead blind people,excpt u weren’t evn doin any of such. Such pointless article. Are u for God or against God? Cos I’m preety sure there will be no refree on dt day. Just one JUDGE, the one true God. Look to God for deeper insights on how to bless lives with ur gift, cos u truly r gifted in writing.


  11. Pingback: Opinion: These modern Christians scare me | YNaija

  12. Interesting piece, I happen to be a believer also and among those who stay true to the faith such concerns are also raised as you have. The difference is that they seek the truth from the source of it all. The bible from which the faith is birthed. You can’t weigh the genuineness of a thing by simply ajudging the professors of it…sadly. Its like trying to get the point of secondary school by watching the way most teenagers behave. For a lot of kids,self image,relationships,fashion etc are their first thoughts. So when you listen to kids who don’t go to school talk, their evaluation of education is according to their perception of these societal things.
    Cultural evolution is your proof for biological evolution? You seem also to pass off as an ardent believer of something…the “Anything but God will do” kind. But yeah by and large much of the way people go about holding on to the faith has changed,but its message remains the same, and anyone who has studied the bible knows also that we are warned of such times as these. Seek the truth,it will find you..amidst the changes in culture and above the din of flash and dash.


  13. If you are scared of the modern day Christian, I must take it you are scared of modern day life. Infact you sound like a rather “pious” and “holy” man who would be more comfortable for 21st century Christians to dress, speak, think and act like Christians from the 1950s or maybe even the middle ages. But, ah, you referred to the band of first century roving fishermen who followed their Leader. So perhaps you think all Christians should be fishermen too, and for good measure, you may want to crucify all Pastors.
    Your cynicism and the insulting essence of your article may actually be considered legendary by some, but 2000 years (oops, 2000 days. No, 2000 minutes! heck, even now!!!) from today, I’m curious about its relevance.
    Its a beautiful world we live in where 7 billion people can have 7 billion ideas about a single thing, and it will be even more beautiful when intelligent sounding people like you (I really do think you sound intelligent, I’m not kidding), do not respond to things they do not accept with snotty cynicism that really isn’t based on logical or factual premises. But what is actually exciting to me, is the thought that down through the ages, people like you eventually come to understand the depth and beauty of God’s love for you, and fall deeply in love with Him. I see that happening for you very soon 😉


  14. I’m a Christian but unlike many, I do not allow dogma to cloud my judgement. Majority of the comments here fail to see that Ayo is not talking about Christianity but about the way it is being practiced now. All he has said are true of the modern church. However, the fact remains that there are still Christian gatherings where the Bible is preached and truly followed. Looking at and judging the actions of some and generally applying it to all is faulty Mr. Sogunro but I think I understand where you are coming from because there are times when the ways, actions, appearance and even utterances of some Christians scare me and make me question my beliefs.however, I am constantly reminded by the Bible that I look up to God and not to man and then I heave a sigh of relieve. I also believe that salvation is personal and when He is ready, God will touch your heart. Nevertheless, I am of the opinion that your write-up is insightful and enlightening.


  15. I am a christian but I am able to garner some sense from the article. I agree with Bolakale. Ayo does speak about the way Christianity is being practiced today. I see a lot of Christians today who I would say are under a hypnosis as they fail to distinguish between truth and chaff. Everyday they are fed chaff by people who fail to live by what they preach and they decieve themselves by quoting “judge not my anointed” all in the process of not discrediting their “so called” pastors. I think of 2 For 11: 14, 15 and smile. If Satan can transform himself into an angel of light, then ” it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works”.

    Little wonder then that 2 For 4:4 says ” In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them”

    We owe a duty to ourselves to search the scriptures and find the truth for ourselves early Christians did. Following blindly will not help us one bit.


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