Wednesday, February 18, 2009

So I wrote this about my church a while ago, but then the internet stopped working so I couldn't post it and I forgot about it...

I picked the Protestant church over the Catholic church because the Protestants have more written down. In fact, they have everything written down-- just not everyone has all of the words. There are two things you'd actually need for the service to make sense: the Liturgie book and the hymnal. The hymnals are available by the front door, except there definitely aren't enough for everyone to have one. The Liturgies just exist. I don't know where they come from-- they definitely aren't handed out, but some people (usually the older people) just have them. As far as I can tell, the name of the game is to get there early enough to get a hymnal and to sit next to someone with a Liturgie. So far, I have managed this successfully once.

The fun thing, though, is that even though like half of us have hymnals, everyone sings, claps and dances. This makes things interesting for me. I can keep up as far as singing goes, but I can hardly clap on 2 and 4 at home. Rhythm, here, is much more complicated than that. I entertain the entire choir, I think, by my super-concentrated efforts to clap and step in time. I use up more mental energy for the 2 hours I'm in church than the entire week I'm in class!

And that's another thing --my only major complaint about this church-- the service is 2 to 2-1/2 hours long without Communion! The one time we did have Communion, we also had a Baptism and the service was 3-1/2 hours long! This would almost work if the Senegalese weren't such party animals. They leave to go clubbing at like midnight and then come back at like 5 in the morning, as the dawn call to prayer is ringing. This does not work if you then sleep until 10 and rush to 10:30 church and then have to stay solidly awake for a service that lasts 2-1/2 hours in a language you'd understand if you could pay attention long enough to make it through a sentence... You get my point.

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