, NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 25 – Twerkusifu – a coinage from the Swahili word Twakusifu (we praise you) and the provocative dance move Twerking – was coined on Monday by the ever-creative Kenyans on social media as debate raged over a poster by Mavuno Church titled, ‘Blurred Lines’, inviting teenagers to a month-long sex education program at the church.
The controversial dance moves connotation resulted from outrage at the image of a young man and woman locked in a leggy embrace and the themes of their March sermon series.
‘You can gerrit!’ a phrase from American series Single Ladies being the first in line for March 2; ‘Shades of Grey,’ a reference to the 50 Shades soft porn trilogy comes second in line; followed by, ‘Blurred Lines,’ the title to a popular Robin Thicke single that includes the catchy phrase, “good girl you know you want it,” and finally, ‘Friends with a monster,’ a song by Rihanna.
But despite the Twerkusifu memes, Mavuno Pastor David Kuria, who’s involved in communication and strategy at what has been described as a progressive church, says they have no apologies to make while cognisant that they may have “rubbed a few people the wrong way.”
“If people’s reception to anything is what determines how you’re going to respond then you won’t go very far. I feel as I look at society, anyone who achieves great things often times goes against the grain of society. Would I tone it down? I don’t know. But what I do know is that we need to be bold,” he told Capital FM News on Tuesday.
Boldness, he said, was necessitated by the increasing number of concerns, shared with them by the parents in their flock, of their teenagers’ association with sex.
“A friend of mine called me yesterday about her 14-year-old niece who was caught watching pornography and I think we really underestimate where the teens are today,” he testified.
A point of view shared by insurance salesperson Virginia Kamotho who, unlike many on social media, doesn’t see what the fuss is all about.
“We’re exposed to sex on our screens, either on TV or the Internet. So we can’t then pretend to be appalled. And many parents are afraid to talk about it with their children so I think they (Mavuno) are doing us all a favour,” she said during an interview with Capital FM News.
But not all church going people agree with Mavuno’s, ‘bold’ approach. Reverend Mary Mercy, a street preacher, said Mavuno needed to stay within the clear conservative lines the Kenyan church had hitherto drawn.
“I think it was a terrible decision. Whoever put it there, it doesn’t portray anything good of the church. A true believer would never ever promote the nudity they had on the poster. Can we just stick to Bible teaching? You can never go wrong with it,” she insisted as she banged on her Bible.
Kenneth Wambu who, interestingly, works in branding, agreed with Mary that the poster went too far.
He held that the church should leave sex education to the parents, “We’ve seen what the pastors are doing. We’ve heard of the one in Kirinyaga and the one who died in his mistress’ house in Buruburu. They have no moral standing.”
But such stories, Kuria argued, are exactly why the church should face, head on, issues of sexual morality.
“We’re not just targeting teens, we’re targeting everybody, yes, even children because our sexuality is so broken. It’s broken for all of us,” he said.
And it would be remiss if Mavuno didn’t weigh-in on the other hot point on matters sexuality, “Whether your gay, bi or homo, it doesn’t really matter. What I see consistent with the scripture is a God who says to anyone come as you are, not stay as you are, but come as you are.”
“I don’t know if the solution to problems is to begin to penalise any of those because if we said let’s penalise everyone who’s sleeping around or watching pornography, then where would that put us? Let’s address the issue of our brokenness,” Kuria urged.