Christian Women Organization VS Christian Mothers Association
Othering is probably the only commandment that exists in many religious institutions. It’s a tradition that is now viewed as a Christian practice (or faith if I must go there). Remember to use that wealthy man that sits in the reserved corner in church, you know the one that’s just behind the pastor. Or use that other one that comes to church late yet walks boldly to the front not minding that the sound of his shoes against the tiles interrupts the divine message coming out of the pastor’s lips. Remember to use either of them as a point of contact when praying so God can look favourably on you.
Sometimes, I think it’s unreasonable to argue with people on certain matters and the Nigerian faith is the first on my ‘Keep your distance” list. It’s the divide and conquer rule that doesn’t sit right with me. A lot of things haven’t been sitting right because I unconsciously view words and actions through political lenses. And being nuanced in biblical language can be laced with a lot of the things cancel culture is against.
I grew up Catholic. I still call myself one for easy identification, and to stop the questions from people that ask, are you Christian? It’s easy to say that as I’m either looked at in a certain way if I say, “I’m not anything but I believe in God.” The Catholic Church was my first introduction to routine: wake up at five a.m., wait for my turn in the bathroom and if it’s too late, douse myself in perfume and walk the distance to church in time for six a.m. mass. Sometimes, sermon was lively, other times, it was hypnotic. The Rev. Father talked everyone, well, the ones who didn’t care about being seen as upright to sleep. We stood at certain times, knelt at certain points, shook hands to acknowledge the person sitting next to us as if to say, welcome fellow heir of the chosen church, the only one ordained by God himself.
As a member of the church, it’s expected that you belong to a society. Youth society, Board of lectors, church wardens. The important groups — Christian Women Organization,CWO, Christian Mothers, Christian Men Organization- have asoebis that members show up in every last Sunday of the month. As a woman, you can’t belong to the Christian Mothers Association but as a Christian mother, you can belong to the Christian Women Organization. Yet for some strange reason, no one thought it would be great to have a Christian Fathers Association. Maybe this article can inspire it at least for the sake of the boy-child.
Mothers are celebrated at least three times a year, not counting the daily birthday shout-outs that happen on social media platforms. Every year, it’s a competition for the country’s best mom of the one-down-four-more-to-go award. And people come with receipts, tear-jerking stories, and I, as an onlooker can’t help but feel like shade is thrown my way for not eulogizing my mom.
The church isn’t left out of the fanfare. Everything is handled by mothers. If you aren’t a member of the church or if you are a new convert, you’d think they have been practicing a long time for this day. Everywhere you turn it’s someone in a bedazzled white top and blue wrapper. Some swap the head wrap for geles in bright colours. I could conclude there’s a competition to upstage each other, secretly. Thanksgiving, the time when mothers file out (or dance to the altar)to receive blessings and be drenched in holy water is the climax for Mothering Sunday. And everyone is enjoined to come forward. The announcer always says…”if you have a mother, or you know one, or you’re married to one, come forward.” For sensationalism, the announcer will say, “If you’re an aspiring mom, come forward now ooo…so that you too will get blessings and will wear the uniform next year.” You see, divide and conquer at its finest.
Your identity means nothing; baptismal and confirmation names mean nothing. Barren is the name you’re given. Your body is a desert. Just like in the parable of the sower; nothing grows when planted. This fruit you’re yet to produce isn’t a pawpaw tree that takes years to grow. This fruit isn’t the one stuck in Adam’s throat; it should be in stuck in your belly, Eve. If nothing reminds you of your worthlessness, Mothering Sunday does it better than neon signs on a dark road. This rite of passage is one that you’re constantly omitted from, so you keep coming forward every other Mothering Sunday, perhaps, if you touch the hem of the blue wrapper you too can belong to this club, even though results have shown nothing is wrong with you. The logic of faith is illogical; nothing isn’t nothing as long you believe that nothing will be something. even though you’re a god mother to someone, even though you take care of your cousin’s child, even though you’re someone’s spiritual mother, as long as you haven’t pushed anyone out of your vagina, you’ll sit this out never minding your mental state, the shame, or whispers. This is a test of your faith and you better be a good child of God.