BY Adejoh Idoko Momoh
There’s something about the worship here; the church amazing in its construction: paved rocks like waterfalls leading to doorways that in themselves lead to a really expansive football- field -like arena with very high ceilings of public address systems, air-condition vents and beautiful art.
With arguably the largest congregation of any American church, Lakewood Christian Center seats a remarkable 40,000 people; the building was once Houston’s Compaq Center before the church bought it at $7.5 million and then started an ambitious $93 million worth of renovations, the church as it stood before me, justified every expense.
‘I am a mess sometimes. I might be a mess tomorrow… And you know what? God-says- it- is- okay to- be- a- mess, provided- I don’t- stay- that- way’ Victoria Osteen would say. Picking her words individually, in that voice white people use when they are overtaken by amazement or the sudden realization that whatever troubles they have has been mysteriously relieved.
I would loose concentration, think to my local church: Pastor Biodun Fatoyinbo’s Commonwealth of Zion Assembly, Abuja. His church, much like this: in branding, the motivation- like sermons, the largely youthful, hopeful population with excellent service of songs and praises: the ideal picture of a progressive church.
I would allow my mind wander. Ask what Victoria would do if like Pastor Modele Fatoyinbo, Joel Osteen had an ‘Ese Walters’ leveling allegations of a weeklong affair against him. A weeklong indulgence in fornication which Pastor Biodun fully aware of his actions lured her into, first by asking her to join his pastoral care unit, offering personal spiritual counseling and encouraging her to try alcohol.
His ‘Ese’ would probably say he spoke in his very charming Texan accent, saying: ‘I’m gonna teach you a level of grace mankind doesn’t understand’ his eyes sparkling with the glow of a teacher eager to school his student. He would then threaten just like Pastor Biodun did: ‘I see premonition in which you leak details of our affair to the press. When such a time comes, remember that the bible requires you to hurt not Gods anointed’
Bringing myself back from thought, I would see her. Light skinned and very pretty in her above-knee-length blue dress accentuated at the waist by a metallic black belt, I imagine she would say to Joel, our marriage is for better and for worse, but mostly she would realize that he didn’t just sin against her, but against his church, against the part of Christ’s body he shepherds and therefore owed more of an explanation than the ‘Leave it to God’ posture Pastor Biodun has currently adopted with the people of COZA and the larger public.
For every one worker who would labor every Sunday, every weekday making sure services run smoothly,she would demand that he apologizes. Not because by his apology he admits some form of guilt, but because by his actions, he has brought them embarrassment.
She would probably ask him to take a back seat from church activities, let other pastors who were content with their wives and didn’t see the need to desecrate their flesh with adultery, shepherd the church.
She would know that he is human, probably forgive him after she overcomes her own anger. She would know that because of this humanity, he would make mistakes sometimes and would need the direction a good wife should provide.
She would pull herself together: show that she is a woman in control and not just one who is lingering in the background, gleefully playing the victim of a cheating husband. She would take a stand: publicly stand by her husband, help him find God again or walk away, but all she would do, she would do boldly.