The period when women were told to be silent in the church was over. This was what Aunty thought before returning home to Naija.
Unpacking her luggage, she thought about the foremost thing she wanted to do. She would show up in church, the home church she’d been nostalgic about in the UK.
Life as a working student had not allowed for too much church. She had only attended virtual church gatherings as much as she had the time. Homecoming, she dressed in the only native attire she had, a green agbada and trousers her UK tailor had sewn, ready for the non-virtual experience.
“You’ll like the style.” The overambitious woman had said. Yes, Aunty did like it, but as she passed by the ushers at the door, she knew she had made a mistake.
“You’re welcome,” The two welcoming ladies said as an afterthought.
“Your agbada is nice,” The woman seated next to Aunty whispered into her ears.
“Errm. But it is not church cloth, you know,” It was Ajibike, a friend she had made during her ushering days in the church. She looked like she was a fashion designer already, as that was where her passion lay since those days. As Aunty gazed at the intricate beadwork on Ajibike’s cloth, wondering how much six years had changed her friend, a baby cried in that row. Ajibike stood up to carry the baby outside, cutting short the brief reunion. She was the mother, and that was her third child.
Aunty sighed. It was alarming how much she had forgotten how things were at home. But it wasn’t only a lack of remembrance. She hoped that the church would have moved past some beliefs. And that had a subtle suggestion of having the church become worldly. But she was not going to play the Devil’s advocate.
She wasn’t Chimamanda (CNA) that would speak to a large crowd about how not to view the female gender. Besides, the church mothers who openly condemned feminism believed that Chimamanda was not a Christian. If not, she would write only faith-based novels like Opeyemi Akintunde or the renowned Francine Rivers. So, God could never be in support of the idea of feminism.
Well, the church women had varying beliefs, and Aunty had hers. The stay-home-mums among them believed that they were fulfilling the God-given roles of a woman. Unlike those who furthered their education like Aunty did, to the detriment of getting married. Her mates were already raising godly kids to the Glory of God.
And still, amidst them were some who ignored a part of the New Testament directed at women. It said. “Let your women keep silence in the churches…And if they will learn anything, let them ask their husbands at home,” Yes, they taught Bible studies in Whatsapp groups with names like “Glorious ladies”, “Ladies Gospel”, and “Heavenly-minded ladies.” Some of them look up to Pastor Sarah Jakes, who would have been cancelled if she was in Nigeria, for having a child at 14 years.
These women just weren’t ready to add the title “Feminist” to their resume. Even if they could tone it down with the noun ‘Christian’ acting as an adjective in front of it.
Well, they didn’t trust the meaning of the idea enough. Even Aunty did not fully understand it. Because sometimes, she wants a gentleman to open the door for her, pretend like he has no idea what it means to ‘go dutch’ when it’s time to pay the bill at the restaurant, and simply say “Ladies first” when they have to choose who should go first. She believes that she’s the weaker vessel and wants to be pampered.
But Aunty gets mad when she is not allowed the same opportunities as her male counterparts. She worries a lot about getting paid less than her male colleagues. She also prays that her future husband wouldn’t be coaxed into washing plates and caring for the kids.
“Let us all welcome our wonderful sister Agnes back home with us,” The Pastor said, referring to Aunty. ‘She went for her masters and PhD and is back amidst us after many years,” Aunty uncrossed her legs, wondering if she was to stand up or not, as Ajibike’s mother, the chairperson of the unofficial stay-home-mums Association, was looking up at her. The woman did look like she was judging how fertile she would be now that she had spent her childbearing years reading books.
Aunty swallowed as the pastor kept saying amazing things about her, especially how she was a dedicated usher. Well, Aunty would have a blast trying to adjust and stop looking like a wolf among sheep. She was no longer an acting Roman in Rome. She was back home.
Hopefully, Ajibike’s mum would have added the thirty-year-old Aunty to the marriage intercession list.
Well, that Aunty is me. And my story has made church chronicles 2.
The plight of the ‘woke’ Christian girl. To be here, or not be in a rapidly changing world.
Sorry but not sorry if I was too blunt about the two sides of this coin. I hope you can read past the pronounced sarcasm in this piece to the message.
You can always comment your views too. SHALOM!