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Gospel dance in Africa
by Estee in

Yesterday I was listening to an "All Things Considered" interview on NPR. The interview was with a MTV host from Africa named VJ Kule who spoke about a popular song that is sweeping through east Africa. The song is called "Tobina" and it is a blend of drums and guitar and singing that makes people get up and want to dance. The interviewer, Michelle Norris, asked Kule what the lyrics said and he replied:

"Well, he's talking about praising God when things have gone well, thank God for the beautiful life that you're living, thank God for your health, thank God for your family. And once God has sorted all of that out, the only thing left to do is to dance and to praise him."

This song is a pop culture hit in Africa, and it is essentially a gospel song. Kule said that it is played at nightclubs -- that actually a lot of the songs played at clubs in Africa are Christian. Some people are unhappy about this mix of sacred and secular, but it is reflective of what is happening with young people and the church in Africa. Churches are springing up all over the place, and they are full of young people, who come and spend 6 hours at church on Sunday morning, singing, dancing and praising God. Really?

At one point in the interview, Norris asked:

NORRIS: If I were to drive by one of these churches on a Sunday morning, this [song] is what I would hear rocking out the windows?

Mr. EKIRAPA: You would hear this. You would hear live bands. You'd hear the youth screaming. There'd be it's loud. Churches have become louder than clubs, truth be told. I'd never believe I would see the day when a church would be more jiggy than in the club.

A few weeks ago I preached about young adults in the U.S. who are in the minority of people who come to worship on Sunday mornings. After that sermon, I'll admit I was disheartened at my own words. But this interview gave me some hope. It gave me hope that the Spirit is moving and enlivening hearts in places far away from here. It gave me hope that, if we in the U.S. can learn to live in tune with this Spirit, then our energy might be renewed.

You can hear the whole interview here:


the_Tmac said...

"I'd never believe I would see the day when a church would be more jiggy than in the club." - Awesome!

I'm an NPR nerd, too. Love MEEchelle NOrris.

Estee said...

MEEchelle is great! I wonder if she came up with that pronunciation to distinguish herself from all the other Meh-chelles in the world?

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