Today I went to church for the first time in South Africa. The church was an "Every Nation" church and it was pretty cool. The music was really good. I suppose a few key observations in how it operated differently from the Lutheran, Baptist, and Methodist churches I'm used to back home:
1. Very little liturgy. No chanting or reading of lessons. Basically we sang. Got announcements. Got a sermon. Got gone.
2. White people. For real. I don't go to church with white people. Having a white preacher was a little weird (only other white person I've ever heard preach in person was Father Phleger). This is not to say I don't read white theologians but oral delivery is definitely different.
3. They stand for a long time. Basically the entire time we were singing (about 30-45 minutes) we were standing the entire time with no break. That was definitely different. Most churches back home its stand up read this sit down do this stand up etc etc.
4. People seemed to be more visibly moved in the spirit quicker. It seemed like as soon as the music started some people started crying or shouting or going to their knees. The type of fever pitch that we really have to work to in a church at home seemed to be their default setting.
These are my main observations. There are others but these are the biggest. It was a cool experience. I'll probably go back and maybe try a few other places also.
After church I went grocery shopping and then we went to eat and then to a film festival with my study abroad seminar. The place we ate was called Eastern Bazaar. I had some chicken shwarma. Shouts to Kevin Coval and Idris Goodwin for putting me on. The movie we saw was a documentary about sexual violence against women in South Africa called "A country for my daughter."
The film was really interesting. It highlighted some very grisly cases of rape in South Africa and the way the justice system tends to not work for women, particularly those without resources. Stories that need to be heard but often are not. It was a good film.
I also read some great stuff from Baldwin. He's writing about being abroad and encountering the Africans (who were in France with him). I relate a lot to what he says about the contrasts in the African and Negro experiences. Oh to be a Negro…
"flyers passed out like my mama at revival…hallelujah…"
-phonte of little brother