RELIGION MOCKED IN IFEDIGBO’S BELIEVERS AND HUSTLERS by Jane Obonomen
While Believers and Hustlers is a novel that spotlights the ills of Christendom, it portrays Christianity in a bad light. Ifedigbo reflects ministry as church business, like a company run by secret investors or a money laundering agency with the façade of a charity organization.
In this book, everything about the church is mocked. Pastor Nick’s Christian books are written by an Atheist.
What a religious taboo! Ifedigbo intelligently uses the comments in Ifenna’s blog to drive home his mockery on the church.
Having gone through several denominations, Ifenna finds it hard to maintain a place of worship because none is worthy of his attendance.
In the adventures of shaming the church and her ministers, Catholic is not spared. Ifedigbo finds a way to shame the excesses of Catholic Priests. A Priest rejects a Camry the Parish gifts him, insists on a better car, then goes ahead to get it himself; an act to show off that he lives independently of their gift offerings. Ifedigbo takes this mockery home when the same Priest announces that the Parish will now begin to take tithes. Tithing is unpopular in the Catholic doctrine.
When Nkechi calls her mother in her downtime, she is comforted by the mention of lighting a votive candle that will inspire solution. Ifedigbo creeps in again in mocking that attempt with the information that Nkechi has outgrown the belief of praying to the images of long dead men but is hopeful anyway.
Having made cunning mockery on churches without specifically mentioning their names, Ifedigbo dares to be particular about the Mountain of Fire and Miracles Ministry in Lilian’s and Ifenna’s conversation. When Lilian asks Ifenna for the name of his church, he replies “Mountain of fire”.
Lilian in shock, says he doesn’t look like a member. She goes on to describe that the members of this church “look solemn, almost sad, in oversized coats and well worn King James Version in their hands”.
Although Ifenna is lying to cover up his unreligious tracts, he does not counter the disposition his girl friend imposes on the beloved members of “Mountain of Fire”. He goes on to express his irritation, “. . . I was not feeling the church like that again. It was choking me, all the enemy fall down and die prayers and plenty fasting. I think I needed a break”. This could be Ifedigbo sharing his true sentiments on that ministry known as ‘MFM’.
The fellowship of the body of Christ, CAN and PFN are not left out in this mockery train. When pastors gather, what is expected is combustion of power and knowledge but in Believers and Hustlers, politics, strife, envy, hatred and terrible gossip are in attendance and given reverence.
The conversation that ensues within the circle of pastors is no different from that of unbelievers in a pub house. Shepherds who keep the flock of Christ gossip like housewives in a worldly polygamous palace, calling one another animals.
“Whatever is making him laugh like a hyena?”
“The guy irritates me”
Pastor Nick asks, “Has he finally managed to roof his church?”
Pastor BIdemi replies, “For where? Who dash monkey banana? . . . He thinks it is by frying his hair and blowing grammar?”
Evangelism done in a manner of bill boards, banners, branch openings and free medical outreaches is regarded as “aggressive marketing” in the Body of Christ. In a fellowship of brethren, pastors advise one another to intentionally condemn the doctrines of another and in order to keep his flock from cross carpeting. Ifedigbo portrays CAN’s leadership in a mundane way, using money as a political tool to gain presidency.
When the pastors talk about “First fruit Offering”, Pastor Nick discusses how he will give audience to only testifiers of “First Fruit” returns “and if no one comes up, we will arrange for . . .” This gives the notion that testimonies are staged.
The only passage the Pastors quote is the one that backs their selfish interest, “First Fruit Offering”. To bring mockery on this, Ifedigbo, through Ifenna’s memory, conveys a story of a cashier who steals bank money to fulfill her religious vows. One may wonder if the point here is to drive home that religion can make you a criminal.
One may agree that condemnation is deserving of Pastor Nick since he is guilty of using the church as a tool for his selfish goals, but what about the other numerous pastors mentioned in the book? None is truly righteous, they are equally guilty. Ifedigbo does not present a single selfless pastor, worthy of emulation, who is ablaze for God and who truly is after winning souls for the kingdom of God.
While many of the stories shared in this book may be real, it must be recognized that the Body of Christ is constantly under attack and there are true men of God who care about the wellbeing of the church of Christ and who condemn these evil acts and will never engage in them.