When two Pentecostal (or Born Again) âapostlesâ and a âbishopâ speak for nearly three hours starting at 6.30am on Impact FM / Dream TV every Sunday, they roam small personal and family discussions, through the stories in media, or current affairs, to matters of religious faith.
Last Sunday, the trio, Joseph Serwadda, Charles Tumwine and Ronald Mukiibi, spent nearly an hour lambasting the Ugandan media (especially newspapers) for supporting an attack on âthe Church of Christâ.
The sin of the media is to give extensive and sordid coverage of the escapades of Uganda’s stalwart pastors.
Perhaps coincidentally, or because the Covid-19 restriction measures have made them as vulnerable as our newly sexually active but redundant teens, our pastors have garnered a lot of attention.
But first, a rectification. Our Pentecostal or Born Again groups cannot be strictly called “the Church” in the sense that the Roman Catholic and Anglican Churches are referred to.
Ugandan Pentecostals are generally led by thousands of independent independent preachers. They are independent entrepreneurs. They do not have a common liturgy. They pray and preach as they please. They compete fiercely with each other. They are called ‘fake’ or ‘fake’ with no clear references, but when it suits them. Therefore, to the disinterested stranger, they are all false.
The waste of dreams and demons produced by preachers like Serwadda’s protÃ©gÃ©, Pastor Jamada Kikomeko, testifies to the spiritual and intellectual void behind some of these endeavors. But they all read from the same page when they claim to be spiritually and morally superior to Christians in established traditional churches.
Thus, the Impact FM trio would more specifically refer to Pentecostal preachers, or perhaps their churches; not the Church.
After this correction, are these churches collectively really attacked by the media? No. The charge comes from those who seek maximum publicity when their stories make them larger than life, and who believe they are being persecuted when their stories are not glorifying.
Unfortunately, the penchant for being center stage sometimes blurs the judgment of the limits of decent self-exposure.
Long ago, when the balokole (the saved) were for the most part miserable old Anglican lives that had been transformed, before the makeshift Pentecostal outfits (biwempe) multiplied and recruited some, the balokole would often tell stories about their former life that made you marvel at the gamut of human wickedness.
Much more recently, on two occasions, I heard Joseph Serwadda recount on his own radio station how 16 (yes, 16) young women besieged his father, each of them accusing Serwadda of breaking his promise to marry.
It’s a bizarre story, almost from every angle. Even an Elvis Presley, or some other idol of permissive society, or Good Black; anyone should have acted in a singularly shady way, at the risk of being mistaken for a “muyaaye”, before finding themselves in such a situation.
When people fall from heights, they really fall. Scary stories involving pastors have particular appeal to media consumers because the actors are characterized by near pathological self-righteousness. They fall from a very high level of spiritual and moral arrogance.
Announcing that the Church is under attack, of course, has a dramatic effect. But no one is alarmed. If they had a grain of humility, the gift of all other Christian, Muslim, Buddhist or Hindu clergymen who deserve reverence among their flocks and the respect of society in general, Ugandan pastors would quickly understand that this is not the Christianity that is under attack, but their incurable arrogance and hypocrisy.