August 30, 2010
I’ve been trying for weeks to join one of my friends from the film set at his church, and this week he finally wasn't shooting and was able to take me. I’ve heard plenty about the Pentecostal boom in Nigeria, with mega-churches springing up left and right, and I know that Nigerians know how to get down with their praise music, so I was gearing up for some culture shock. What I got instead was reverse culture shock -- I may as well have been visiting a mega-church in Colorado Springs. Besides feeling like I was in a small city (the sanctuary seated several thousand; the church has a fleet of 100 buses to shuttle them there), everything else was familiar: the same praise songs, the same projector screens flashing the day's Bible excerpt, the same fliers listing upcoming events. The most glaring difference was a gigantic crane camera that zoomed over the congregation and intermittently flashed close-ups of people's faces on the big screens as if we were Oscar nominees. Oh, and the massive gospel choir that closed the service totally rocked it.