I did something yesterday that I haven't done in years and years: I brought a Bible to church.
Each Sunday I keep forgetting to do this and then feel, I don't know if the word is "stupid" so much as spiritually suspect when I have come to church and noticed that I was the only one without a book in my hands. It's not that I've seen everyone turning to the Bible passages referenced and so there's a way I think it's more of a proof of one's faith than an actual practical necessity. Still, I haven't seen any books in pews so a prayer book and Bible have their practical uses.
There weren't any pews at the Victory City Church, just stackable plastic chairs set in rows throughout the large hangar-like building. I asked Jesca, the head of Life in Africa's children's program who had brought me, if the church used to be a warehouse; no, it had been built for the church when the previous building became too small.
I'm not sure exactly what flavor of Christian I experienced; mostly it seemed LOUD! There was an hour of praise music, with two electric guitars, bass, drums, and a choir dressed in white shirts and trousers or skirts with some mighty impressive choreography. We Episcopalians may claim to have pew aerobics, but they are NOTHING compared to the leaping and shimmying I saw going on here.
The preacher, too, was LOUD. EVERYTHING NEEDED TO BE SHOUTED! He was also, remarkably, from San Diego, and how he got to Ntinda, I just don't know. He preached the first of a series called "Don't Count Me Out," about Bible characters who stage a comeback. His focus yesterday was Samson, a character I haven't heard preached about since I joined the Episcopal church. The preacher did his best to make Samson noble if misguided, but I think the truth is more that he was as dumb as a rock. And if I were preaching about Samson, I would say so. You know I would.
After an hour of praise music and an hour long sermon, I came home to have a very quiet afternoon. Though I found that holding my hands out as I would if I were saying the Eucharistic Prayer allowed me to feel prayerful rather than foolish in this more physically demonstrative service, I don't think I have the stamina to be part of Victory City Church. It's back to the Church of Uganda for me next week.