MIRACLE is a short story by a Nigerian-American writer by name Tope Folarin.
The setting of the story is similar to THE PENTECOSTAL MISSION church, which has made itself the flag-bearer of the Paulian type of Christianity, which not only made forays into the then supposed “pagan” culture, but in the process had to substitute some of those pagan practices with its own innovative ‘non-Jesus-mentioned’ practices to fill up the vacuum created though PAULIAN CHRISTIANITY! Thus was born PAULIAN CHRISTIANITY, and many do believe in it. One has to have a RELAPSE-ABLE PAGAN PAST to be in this Paulian Christian community.
There is no substitute to reading the short story, which is very poignant for any diaspora- even within India, that is if one carries a cultural baggage into another state from the state of one’s roots in India.
The following excerpt shows a congregation which had assembled to receive blessings from a prophet who was visiting the US from Nigeria:
We have come from all over North Texas to see him. Some of us have
come from Oklahoma, some of us from Arkansas, a few of us from Louisiana
and a couple from New Mexico. We own his books, his tapes, his
holy water, his anointing oil. We know that he is an instrument of God’s
will, and we have come because we need miracles.
We need jobs. We need good grades. We need green cards. We need
American passports. We need our parents to understand that we are Americans.
We need our children to understand they are Nigerians. We need new
kidneys, new lungs, new limbs, new hearts. We need to forget the harsh rigidity
of our lives, to remember why we
believe, to be beloved, and to hope.
We need miracles.
The following is excerpted from MIRACLE as to how the Nigerian Prophet starts the build-up to the service:
He remains quiet for a few moments—we can feel the anticipation building,
breath by breath, in the air. He smiles. Then he begins to hum. A
haunting, discordant melody. The bandleader tries to find the tune among
the keys of his piano, but the old man slaps the air and the bandleader
allows the searching music to die.
He continues to hum and we listen to his music. Suddenly he turns to
our left and points to a space somewhere on the ceiling:
“I DEMAND YOU TO LEAVE THIS PLACE!” he screams, and we know
there is something malevolent in our midst. We search the area his sightless
eyes are probing, somewhere in the open space above our heads. We can’t see
anything, but we raise our voices in response to the prophet’s call. Soon our
voices are a cacophonous stew of Yoruba and English, shouting and singing,
spitting and humming, and the prophet from Nigeria speaks once more:
“We must continue to pray ladies and gentlemen! There are forces here
that do not wish for this to be a successful service.
The beauty about MIRACLE is that there is a parallel between Nigeria and the US, even within the borders of this great country of India. The Pentecostal Mission, which was originally founded by one Raman Kutty was from Kerala, who coincidentally renamed himself Paul (remember that Paulian Christianity?) and after a series of turmoil located their HEADQUARTERS to Chennai of the state of Tamilnadu (which demographically is the only major state in India with a higher percentage of Christians than any other religious minority!). This denomination abbreviated as TPM boasts of the largest adherents of any Pentecostal church! For them, Tamilnadu is the US where their revenues roll from but their ‘labour force’ comes from Kerala- and it is sure that all those expatriate Keralite TPMites are in a similar mode as these Nigerian expats!
How universal do rackets get!