Imagine you sat down and thought to yourself: what would be the best way to cash in on the multi-billion shilling business that is the Church in Kenya?
*Lightbulb moment* Start a New Church!
The historic schism in Orthodox Christianity may have happened centuries ago and led to all the denominations we now have (Catholics, Protestants, Methodists, Anglicans, Baptists etc.. ) but what would be truly novel is a church that will bring together all these various churches under one ‘Grand Coalition’ Church. I know what you’re thinking – What will we call this fantastic New Church? “Finger of God Ministeries?” “Helicopter of Christ Ministeries?” Well, those names are already taken but feel free to use that Kenyan creativeness to come up with an equally appropriate church name. However, allow me to offer a few ideas on how this New Church should be structured.
1. No clergy:
If there is one thing I’ve learnt from the Catholics its that the clergy can be a corrupting force within the church. I’m not even going to go into the
altarboy-f*cking, secret wives, bastard children and consumption of inordinate amounts of church wine details, all I’m saying is that they’re human and when they screw up (pun intended), they make the whole church look bad. Besides doing away with the clergy means you wont have to worry about the costs of training, housing and feeding too many church staff.
In the place of a clergy, I suggest the New Church should have a High Council made up of several individuals elected within the community that will deal with matters relating to the administration and finances of the New Church. As far as grassroots dissemination of the church is concerned, this will be the mandate of all followers of the New Church to spread the word and organise group meetings.
2. No ‘Miracles’:
It’s played out. No Nairobian would spend 2 days non-stop praying in the belief that a corpse will miraculously be raised from the dead. We all claim to be ‘born-again’ Christians but even then, the average Nairobian’s faith has limits!
which exclude fainting aimlessly in church, wailing, hurling and speaking in gibberish (tongues) and repeating jeehovah 13893 times in all our prayers. Besides, this New Church will probably have its headquarters in Nairobi preferably in the leafy ‘burbs of Runda so the caliber of congregants being targetted are the well-to-do, influential but spiritually shallow creme de la creme searching for the new in-thing church to join. So, trivials things such as ‘healing’ people and performing other such ‘miracles’ are considered boring, that’s what their high-priced personal doctors are there for, innit?
3. Harmonised Bible:
This New Church wont rely on the King James Bible. Nope. A Committee of Experts will be formed and its mandate shall be to compile selected passages from all the major holy texts currently in circulation: parts of the Qur’an, parts of the Torah, together with verses from the Hindu Bhagavad Gita, all of which will be copy-pasted in one document together with sections of King James Bible. Once this draft harmonised bible is compiled by the Committee, it will be tabled before the High Council (mentioned above) and then put to a referendum vote by all registered New Church followers and if it is unanimously accepted, it will be approved for use by all the New Church members.
Like every religion known to man, the idea here is to spread the ‘good news’ about the New Church to the world at large, starting with friends, family, neighbours and the whole community. However seeing as there will not be a clergy or any formal church staff members, missionaries shall be enlisted from within the New Church community who will be charged with disseminating the New Church’s message, purpose, bank account details and M-Pesa information to all potential members of the New Church to the furthest corners of this glorious nation.
Ideally the comprehensive 48,654-paged Harmonised Bible (mentioned above), together with the snazzy logo/slogan and the dot.com approach to religiosity will mean that the New Church should essentially sell its self. Ideally. But, like I’ve just alluded to above, the New Church shall also have missionaries a.k.a the best-sales-team-known-to-earth. These missionaries will be a hybrid of teenage Mormon emissaries and pesky pamphlet-wielding Jeehovah’s Witnesses with a capitalist agenda: an unstoppable army of kazi-kwa-vijana-rejectees, go-getting, money-minded, smooth-talking servants of the New Church bringing more
investors followers to this new business venture religious faith.
So, as our esteemed DR readers, I pose this two-part question to you all (jokes and sarcasm aside), what do you look for in a church i.e. let’s say you grew up in a liberal home, travelled around the world then returned home and you were looking to become a member of a church in Nairobi, which one would it be and why? Secondly, imagine someone approached with the
revolutionary idea to start a new religion, what do you think this new church/religion would need to have in order for it to be relevant and acceptable in the present-day world?