Oh God!

It must be a huge sigh of relief for non church goers who have since found good reason to continue absconding. Church is simply too dangerous. One could get blown up, shot at or robbed in the House of God. The church is under siege from rogue elements raising hell on holy ground. Only last week, we witnessed a brazen daylight robbery in a church compound thanks to a KTN headline broadcast (Click link to watch)

A group of 15 men walked into a church compound, bolted the gates and proceeded to pilfer and shake down a congregation of cash, mobile phones and stuff. They rummaged through unlocked car boots in the parking lot and methodically emptied the pockets of subdued church members.

The footage was captured by the church’s CCTV cameras. That we even have surveillance cameras in church is a story for a different day. The video recording showed that only one of the thugs had a gun which appeared fake. At some point, the squad leader seemed to be wagging the pistol like it were an extension of his finger. But we will never know because no one was bold enough to rally the numbers and dare the thugs who went on robbing the faithful for over 15 minutes! Some even had time to try on newly acquired wrist watches. All we needed were a few worshippers in church with hardcore street life experience and the thieves would have not operated with such audacity. The church may have to lure back the so called dregs of society, criminals and prostitutes for their own protection.

Even so, I do not find the congregation’s behaviour unusual. They merely lived up to middle class programming as law abiding citizens. See a gun, hit the floor, keep your head down and say your prayers. It is really the height of folly to get shot in church trying to save your mobile phone. This scene should have been funny, if weren’t such a stark reminder of just how far down the slippery slope we gotten as a society.

You know things are getting a little dicey when thieves forget their limits. Whatever happened to thou shall not steal from the church. Fleecing the church members, ransacking and taking off with loot stashed in green plastic bags on a Sunday morning is a new low.

For those raised in conservative Christian households, where Christ was the ‘Head of the House and the Silent Guest at every meal’, church represented refuge. It was where the spiritual connection was rejuvenated and one found a sense of belonging amongst a devout religious community.

That purpose was long forgotten and places of worship became places of business. The gospel of redemption was superseded by the gospel of prosperity. Celebrity preachers’ have turned the pulpit in a platform for self aggrandizement tantalizing followers with the secret of creating wealth. “Give and you shall receive”. Churches have become towers of opulence and the spiritual community has gotten flashier and exclusive. Many churches are in all out scramble for numbers through aggressive marketing and they have taken to promising fast, painless cures to all and sundry. These days you can receive blessings without leaving your home. All you need is an Mpesa account and a TV. Send a miracle request to the number on screen and once the messenger on earth receives a confirmation message, the blessings are set to descend.

It is no wonder then that churches are frequently targeted by criminals because they are simply seen as places with pots full of cash. We now have to be frisked by metal detectors, monitored on surveillance cameras every time we venture into church because it really no different than walking into a shopping mall.

We are doing business with god over altars. It is time for church to beef up security for the streets are getting meaner.


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Oyunga Pala is a Kenyan newspaper columnist. The blog examines the texture of everyday Kenyan life and the challenges of modernity and disillusion. The writings commonly feature the struggle of the Kenyan male to maintain integrity in contemporary society.


  1. The gospel of
    redemption was superseded by
    the gospel of prosperity. Celebrity
    preachers’ have turned the pulpit
    in a platform for self
    aggrandizement tantalizing
    followers with the secret of
    creating wealth. “Give and you
    shall receive”.
    This is so true..i wish every christian will read this..

  2. Church as we knew it has changed completely, apart from this daytime thuggery in church, Pala have you seen the acting of the new “holy ghost fire churches” acting? I used to beat my self up for not going to church every Sunday, I feel better that I don’t get cheated every Sunday

  3. Kenyans are actually peculiar, we gasp when thugs brandish a gun in church but it’s business as usual when a pastor praises his Range Rover in a political rally to pinga our constitution. No wonder pastors now heal mouth-twisters aka Mwende. We are rotten to the core!

  4. Christophe

    So, God is love? And god is the protector?

    Or God is myth propagated by colonialists to subdue the blacks in their own land?

    Did god come our forefathers and present himself as the ever-loving? Or did he send some of the most violent “missionaries” to kill, rape and beat people until they succumbed to his will?

    Whether Muslim or Christian, these ideologies are not African. They were forced upon people by Arabs and Europeans whilst Africans were robbed of their land and their rights.

    Why do so few know basic maths, whilst so many know the “words of Christ” or the “words of Mohammed”?

  5. The Proverbial “Seed” that is to be planted in order to receive blessing…Last year a time like this I was shocked to see a church put up a billboard at the Madaraka/Nairobi West round about. Reminded me of “Kizuri chajitembeza….”

  6. God is neither Muslim Nor Christian!! God is Love period.

  7. zackerberg

    Brilliant as ever! Feel you

  8. So sad but the truth is these unusual days for the church were chronicled 2000 years ago. The end of the age. Period.

  9. Great Piece.Brilliant Stuff.
    A big Shame to all the Celebrity preachers’ who have turned the pulpit to a platform for self aggrandizement tantalizing followers with the secret of creating fake wealth.

  10. i fear going to church….

  11. I can definitely see your enthusiasm within the work you write. The world hopes for even more passionate writers such as you who are not afraid to mention how they believe. Always go after your heart.

  12. my God, i thought you were going to chip in with some decisive insght at the end there, not leave it with “we leave it to you to decide”.

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