Lords above and below

The hotel driver who was going to take me to the airport didn’t show up, so the project mobilized its own driver. I was told that one never knows whether the ride to the airport takes 1 or 2 hours (37 km), depending on traffic. I left at the height of rush hour, but we arrived at the airport earlier than expected. It’s an old and decrepit airport of the kinds that were common across Africa, built in the 60s and 70s. I was too early and had to stand outside in the sweltering heat for some time before the gate was opened and we could stream into the small spaces that were designed for DC-3s  and DC-6s rather than jumbos.

In town I had been struck by the number of churches – one on every corner along the Boulevard where my hotel and the office are located – and their colorful names. So I pulled out my notebook and started writing down all the churches we encountered on the way to the airport. The list is by no means complete because I missed several while I was conversing with the driver about life during the wars and Ebola. I did not write down mainstream churches such as the Methodists or Baptists. Here they are, more or less in order of appearance:

  • Church of God, Inc
  • Eagle Kingdom Church
  • Salt and Light International Ministry
  • Harvest of God Church
  • New Life Ministries
  • Divine Destiny Church
  • Highway to Better Living Chapel
  • Temple of Good (not a typo)
  • Redeemed Christian Faith Church
  • True Life Blocks Church (huh?)
  • Kingdom Harvest Global Ministries
  • Kingdom Care Church
  • Crossroads Kingdom
  • Jehovah’s Kingdom Church
  • Life Church of the New Apostle
  • Lighthouse Mission Church
  • Dominion Christian Fellowship
  • Throne of Grace Church
  • The Lord’s Chosen Ministries
  • Wood light Church
  • Solemn Pentecostal Church
  • Calvary Chapel Mission
  • Blessed Hope Church
  • God is Good Church (clever!)
  • Church of the New Beginning
  • Salvation Tabernacle of Faith
  • Christian Covenant Family Church
  • Winner Chapel
  • Zion Intercessionary Church
  • Free Pentecostal Global Ministries
  • Men and Women of Faith Church
  • and many more named after their earthly benefactors.

It’s truly a dictionary of Church names if one were to look for one. There probably is a website with possible church names, alphabetical or by key word (Kingdom, Jehovah, Light, etc.).

I asked the driver how it was possible to have this many churches in a population that wasn’t all that big. I asked him whether some people were member of two different churches. “Yes,” he said, “on Sunday morning they go to one and later in the day to another church service.” These could be entirely different denominations; Pentecost in the morning and Jehova after lunch. People are hedging their bets I suppose, which is understandable given what this country has gone through. The civil war atrocities were barely in the past when Ebola raged around the country as an even more insidious enemy.

I don’t feel I know much about Liberia, having commuted back and forth along one stretch of Boulevard only. I didn’t even see downtown. I want to know more about its history. From the founding of the country until now there are rivalries and old scores to be settled. The freed slaves colonized a country that was already inhabited, much like all the European colonizers did in the US and elsewhere. The newcomers were called Congo men. They looked down on the locals. I want to learn more about how this universal story of lords and slaves played out here, given that the lords were the slaves before they arrived.

0 Responses to “Lords above and below”

  1. Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

December 2016
« Nov   Jan »


Blog Stats

  • 120,962 hits

Recent Comments

Natalie Gaul on A farewell to MSH
Chantelle on A farewell to MSH
Isabella Bates on A farewell to MSH
Sarah Malcolm on A farewell to MSH
Mariah Boyd-Boffa on A farewell to MSH

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 64 other followers

%d bloggers like this: