Saturday, November 1, 2008

The Call Part 1

Today totally exhausted after spending the night in a Kesha with the Chapel Youth... Yes, I said it right... A KESHA WITH CHAPEL YOUTH!??! God is doing big things! It's not like these young people were totally heathen or something, but it's been amazing watching a small bunch of about 30 young guys come together for bible study in the BIG TENT last year at Impala Club, with most barely talking to one another or contributing to the conversation...then going to the BIG TENT which has now become the YOUTH TENT (dubbed CLUB XPRESSIONS...can I get a YEY YAH!) 2 weeks ago and seeing a sea of 200+ faces, with hands raised up to God in worship, dancing their hearts out to "I am a friend of God"...Actually heard an AMEN in the crowd when a sermon point hit home!!!! Then last night, hearing that special sound of sincere heartfelt worship, then that sweet silence, when the entire room was down on their knees, laying down every crown and pretension in the presence of the King...WHOA...God is definitely doing something new...It's a season of accelerated growth, that's like a very cool time warp...the before and after picture looks like one of those 'i used to weigh a 250 pounds, but I lost 120 pounds in just 1 month, thanks Super Yucky Spinach Diet Drink' type things...but this time it's a steady diet of the WORD, that's Sweeter than Honey from the Honeycomb:-)

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Original Sin

So the quest for greater understanding continues...discovered last night that maybe I don't even realise what I am saved from...the law (curses of breaking the covenant- for Jews only??), 'original' sin, death...all the above..I think that maybe being Anglican, brought up Catholic may have something to do with my confusion...the importance of all this being, who I consider Jesus to be exactly..God, man, man-God, God-man, something else..did he have original sin? and if he did then doesn't that make our salvation nought...or on the other hand, what is 'original sin' is it the potential to sin, or spiritual death? Or is there no big concept of 'original sin' perse but rather we follow in the footsteps of Adam and his example (as the Eastern Church seems to purpose..or so I am told?) Many, many questions...guess the search continues tonight...

Monday, September 8, 2008

Every Mans Theology

'Every Christian is a theologian...Genuine theology cannot be reduced to a list of faith statements' (you know, the type you sign below when applying for a job, or a scholarship:)) Whoa! These statements were but a few that stayed with me long after I left my Systematic Theology class today. The teach was intense, the atmosphere in class seemed a mix between fear, wary confusion and nervous excitement, as we were bombarded by this crazy new guy, in his long flowing Indianesque garb, who happens to be something like an Orthodox, Complimentarian, Charismatic, Presbyterian, Paedobaptist, Evangelical, Calvinist, Reformed, Protestant Christian. Ok, he wasn't all that intense, but simply a 'little' overwhelming for some of us on the first day of class...He seemed a man driven to get us shook up out of our comfort zones. Whats so bad about comfort zones anyway? Anyway the point seemed to be 'get them shook up...get them thinking' then hopefully get us knowing and understanding and eventually being able to articulate and defend what we believe, and why we believe what we believe.
Realised, I have been ignorant of my Anglican roots, actually blissfully so...even though I am on the official 'roll'. Roots that I realise (though I often would like to deny it), greatly influence my faith and how I live it out today. Does it matter that much(as he seemed to imply)? When a time of testing comes(this time he did not imply but vehemently declared it would happen..just as it did about 8months ago I guess) will my faith stand...or will I be lost in the tide of confusion and compromise? Hhmm...excited/freaking out about this challenge to come!

Monday, June 16, 2008

New Hope

God has worked through history to fulfil His mission on the earth (to give people the opportunity to know Him, building a new people for Himself, restoring Creation and healing the Nation..as proposed by Chris Wright, The Mission of God, IVP, 2006), through the path of humility. It's amazing that though He is God, with all the power and might to do anything...He has chosen to take the path of weakness, turning what looks like hopeless situations into hotbeds of Hope...Abraham, an aging geriatric with a habitual lying problem to become the channel of Gods blessing the nations...Moses, a stuttering murder, becomes the deliver of the Israelites and leads them out of slavery..the Israelites, a bunch of grumbling, disobedient, rebellious ex-slaves, become the light and blessing to the earth...then eventually God comes into the earth Himself as Jesus, a carpenter…'conceived' out of wedlock, second guessed and disbelieved by many, utterly shamed and crucified on a cross, but later resurrected becoming the saviour of the world…revealing His great unfailing love for man...Peter...a coward, rash individual who was not always politically correct (Galatians 2) but become the Rock on which the church was built...The prosecution of the early and later church, brutal, gory, horrifying..yet acted as the impetus for the rapid growth and eventual Christianising of most of the known world over less than 500 years...The examples are endless, but for me what gives me hope is that if this is God's method, then there is hope for Africa. The ‘dark’ continent, the least of the least, often ridiculed…written off, shamed…could it be that the weakness of Africa gives her the unique privilege of becoming one of the ‘foolish things of the world…the things despised by the world, that confounds the wise..’ (1 Corinthians 1). I have hope for Africa, that from the ashes of suffering, this great continent will become a beautiful light, shinning in this dark world, a display of Gods splendour, a testament of how God can change and transform even the worst scenario. Africa, don’t be ashamed of your weakness, in the hopelessness of it all, the hand of God is lighting a spark. The impossible becomes possible in this place which was once called dark...Hope, Life and Healing are possible in the hand of God.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Time

They say time heals all wounds. Not too sure about that (very shallow I think), time gives us the chance to transform from what we were to what we want to be, but only if we use it to do so..otherwise time actually helps us gloss over all wounds, errors in judgement and mistakes...till we hopefully forget, or they fester and turn gangrene. Its amazing, the gift we have; transformation is a process that time avails us, but transformation is not necessarily deliberate. Like the inevitability of the appearance of wrinkles around your eyes no matter how many 'New and effective' eye gels you use, with the passage of time, transformation occurs for better or worse. We can either choose to be transformed, or transformation happens to us..either way it happens. Time simply passes, and we find we become what we hoped to be or what we hoped to avoid.

Ecclesiastes 3:1, 6 &11. There is a time for everything, a season for every activity under heaven... A time to search and a time to lose. A time to keep and a time to throw away... God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God's work from beginning to end (NLT).

Friday, February 29, 2008

New Beginnings..Part Two

Hurrah! It's been a long time coming, the last two months have felt like...years! But now we not only HOPE, but we have an EXPECTATION of something good, a better brighter future! The deals been signed, the ink is drying, the first step has been taken. Now I pray we have the courage and resolve to take the next steps towards restoration and rebuilding, justice and democracy. This nation always had a future, maybe for some of us, we took it for granted. Now our home is again where our heart are. The pulse of the nation that had flatlined is revived...IT'S ALIVE!

Thursday, February 28, 2008

New Beginnings

This season has been very interesting for me with many new beginnings. First, the new insight I have gotten into the life of Kenya and its people, with all the undercurrents of politcal intrigue, overt social injustice and unresolved tribal sentiment that underlie our community. Second, wrestling with what to do about this new discovery and what it means for me as a student of the bible and theology in Africa. Third, working within the NEGST community through the work study program in the Communications Department writing articles on the Alumni, has brought me into close contact with church leaders that are literally shaping the destiny of the African church, and through this interaction seeking to discover can/do I have my own place within this story of the manifestation of the Kingdom of God in Africa? And finally, just yesterday I was voted in as the new Social Coordinator of the NEGST community, a docket that deals with the Social Welfare of the community - Health, Sanitation, Community welfare etc. After a short, yet challenging campaign period, the vote came in with a win margin of only 3 votes..Thank God its a Christian community or we may have had to have a recount + mass action, toss a coin...etc...(not funny).
Many new things...its an exiciting/scary season....
Father, show me the way...Your way, that I may walk in it.
Psalm 25:4 'Show me the path where I should walk, O LORD; point out the right road for me to follow.' NLT

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Waiting to exhale

With bated breath, I write reviews on Christology in Africa, discuss Semantics and gradable antonyms (what does it really mean to say 'the word of Christ' verses ' words of Christ' in Colossians 3:16? Does it make a difference either way? When we go back to the 'original' language, will we find some profound differences to what we thought we knew that will change our faith forever? Or is it to make sure they(scholars) got it right the first time?...or maybe for African Christianity... continue to explore topics that no else wants to....like Genocide - 2 Samuel 21..or incest and rape 2 Sam 13…ever noticed how King David’s reign was just full of drama?) and cram for Greek tests and explore the meaning of the Kingdom of God and how it is manifest through the church in Africa today (Christianese for how the Kingdom of God is visible or apparent in Africa) with church meaning the people of God rather than an institution....the same church that supposedly makes up 80% of Kenyan citizenry...makes me begin to ask myself some hard questions about the health of the church in Kenya...we're not doing as well as we thought). The thing about holding your breath is that it makes living 100% kind of difficult. You don't really have the capacity to handle the usual weight and stress that life in its myriad of experiences throws at you (find yourself snappish, forgetful...consistently late...or you're just generally not as sweet as you'd like to be). But even in the 50% you’re operating in right now, life continues, and with the bated breath, there lies a glimmer of hope that threatens to kindle out of control. So every night, I watch the news, wondering can I exhale now? Should I be back to life as usual? Should I start celebrating yet? I may not be back in full swing, but with every breath there is a moment I pray that things won't go back to 'normal' but instead, things will change. So for now I live waiting to exhale.

Matthew 11: 28-30 NLT ‘Then Jesus said, "Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke fits perfectly, and the burden I give you is light."

Friday, February 8, 2008

Freedom

It was interesting hearing the minister (Dr. Shaban) of Special Programs (which is dealing with the Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) crises), talking about the evacuation of people from the IDP camps. The good doctor informed the public that it's not government policy to resettle people in their ancestral homes, as every Kenyan has a right to settle and live anywhere in Kenya...yet the government, upon requests of those who have been terrorized out of their homes, is currently evacuating people from the IDP camps to their ancestral homes. It was sad listening to her, because it sounded like we have our policy, then there is the current crises, and the two don't meet...yet considering the pain and suffering that has occured, the decision to evacuate the displaced to wherever they desire to go, rather then secure their homes for them, is painfully understandable. Our policies are meant to guide our actions, yet at this point, they seem inadequate to the situation we now face. So now bus load after bus load arrives in towns and village centers all over the country, returning a disillusioned mass to start new lives amongst 'their own'. Freedom to live and work anywhere in this country is a right that is slowly being eroded to the point that dreams of free enterprise and the entrepreneurial spirit of our young people is being squelched almost irrevocably. Driven by fear, anger, revenge and despair, the average mwananchi is becoming more polarized by tribal sentiment...believing the only way to be survive, to be safe, to secure their future is within the cocoon of tribal based political patronage. As we wait with bated breathe for the political stalemate to be resolved, Kenyans need to begin to rethink freedom and security. How much does it mean to us? How can we resolve our fears and anger without giving up our freedom?

Heroes

Mama Muthoni (a 40+ single mum, with a disabled daughter, who works as a casual worker in my sister’s garden) told us about the chaos that was happening in her neighborhood about 2 km's from my house. Everyone who was not a Kikuyu in the area was being thrown out of their homes in the middle of the night, some suffering more then others with their property burned and even being slashed with machetes in some cases. The attack began with a fear campaign that lasted about a week, when threatening leaflets were poured all over the streets in different estates, warning the people that if they did not move out, the Mungiki would move them out. Having nowhere else to go, many stayed, thinking these were just empty threats...this is Nairobi after all, and nothing had happened all week. So on when the attack came, they were caught off guard. Mama Muthoni told us that she watched helplessly from her window as the Luhya's, Luo's and any other non-kikuyu's in her compound were gathered together, as the attackers prepared their machetes. Not knowing what else to do, she began to pray...pray for wisdom, pray for strength, pray for something...anything to happen. Eventually after listening to the cries outside, the pleading, the wails of anguish, she couldn’t take it anymore. Clutching her daughter in her arms she took a step...towards the door, out the door, into the cold night and towards the men, who looked upon her with disdain (Mungiki after all believe that women should be seen not heard), but she plucked up her courage nonetheless and began to speak, to plead, to cajole, to beg for the lives of her neighbors. Time ticked by, defensive stances were strengthened, no one seemed to be listening, then seemingly out of nowhere someone said..."OK, let them go, but make sure they leave the area and don't come back." Lives were saved on that night last week...not by some strong warrior or clever negotiator, but rather by a simple mum who has heard enough hate talk, and seen enough violence, and decided 'if I don't do anything, who will?' Hiro Nakamura step aside...we have a new Hero in town!

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

A house divided

The threats abound, rumors of Mungiki warriors in the forest, armed and ready to harm anyone who has an inconvenient name ....do we listen to the rumors or do we ignore the threat? If they are true, we rest uneasy, hoping that the combination of fervent prayer, reinforced by Masai steel and iron and double padlocks will keep the threat at bay...and if the rumors are false, all we have is an embarrassing story to tell about our paranoia. But yet, somehow we must keep hope alive, even in the face of machete's and guns, of fire and stones, of insult and hatred. This nation has survived to this day despite the odds...surrounded by strife and unrest, a haven of relative peace. A nation constituted as a result of locational and logistical convenience; numerous tribes, brought together because of enterprise, a producer of raw materials for the industries of the crown. Yet despite our forced amalgamation, despite the continued push towards development engineered (to some extent) to continue to support certain interests, we began to discover interests of its own. So now we are more than just producers, labour, a seat of power for some apathetic force. We are a people, forged together by shared life, shared experience, shared land, even shared ideals. So when they threaten me, my family, my own, they threaten more then just a statistic, a faceless girl, they threaten themselves, for how can a house, divided against itself survive?


Monday, January 28, 2008

Sweet Comfort

The street is busy, the dust unavoidable, kicked up by the thousands of feet treading to and fro, going here and there, making deals, selling things, meeting people, making a living, striving to keep busy in a world gone mad. Walking down the street, I have to weave in between the tight squeeze of people, fighting for space between matatus and hawkers, darting out of the way of oncoming traffic, determined to get to my destination in one piece. Finally I arrive, the smell wafting through the dark corridor a testament that they’re still in business. Thank God, there’s still hope in this dark world! The sweet smell of freshly baked concoctions of flour and sugar, margarine and chocolate, nuts and spices, all mixed into an array of heady flavours that are carried by a dusty breeze onto the sun baked street, tempting passersby to investigate the source, to see, to taste, to fill themselves in the comfort of sweetness, or so the crowds that darken this corridor with me testify.
After the bustle of the street a few feet outside, the silence inside is eerie. At least twenty people fight for space at the counter, quietly jostling one another in a bid to get the attention of the girls on the other side, hoping to be out of the stuffy room sooner rather than later, the faster to enjoy whatever treat tickles their fancy. The silence is uncanny for a tiny shop in the city centre packed to capacity. Everyone if whispering, so when my turn comes, I whisper too, pointing at my choice in the glass counter to indicate my order, then silently stepping back, nodding to person behind me to indicate they can take their turn. Everyone avoids looking at one another in the eye, the tentative smiles usually shared by strangers are gone. I squeeze my way to the register to hand over my cash, watching the girls behind the counter, attempting to remember which one took my order, as they quickly take turns, spooning and measuring at the weighing scale, dividing up the spoils for the hungry sea of customers. Finally the girl with the high pony tail catches my eye, and with a nod of her head directs me to a relatively empty corner of the counter so she can hand over the goods. The cheery thanks I am about to give is halted by the tired, dull look in her eyes; instead I mumble a quick thanks, grabbing my slightly warm brown bag of chocolate chip cookies. I walk out back onto the sweltering plastic bag littered street, looking forward to finding a safe haven to enjoy the sweet bliss of melting chocolate and crumbling sugary flour; as I join the rest of the silent masses in a short reprieve, filling my breaking heart with temporary relief from emptiness, with sweet treats and empty notions of normalcy.

Refuge

As Kenyans have been fleeing for their lives over the last month, many have sought refuge in Uganda. As they are now being moved into refugee camps deeper in the Ugandan interior in places like Tororo, the reports coming through are decidedly heartbreaking. The Ugandan residents of the area are complaining that the Kenyan refugees are busy misbehaving! According to a report on the BBC, inspection of the heavy jackets of some Kenyan teenage boys in the refugee camps revealed cigarettes and plastic bottles containing a strong local brew. Loosely reiterating what the Ugandan authorities said yesterday (not verbatim); ‘Prostitution has been banned, all smoking of Opium has been banned! Alcohol abuse and carousing has been banned!’ As my good friend Shem would say...My goodness! These reports bring to mind the devastating stories I have heard of child soldiers in Sudan and Sierra Leone...stories of children numbed of their pain; able to kill, hurt and maim, time and time again, fuelled by alcohol, illicit drugs and hate speech. There is no escape for the people from the results of violence and mayhem that the people have sought to run away from, these results are still there. The despair of those who have no hope has led them to further degradation, ruin and despair through empty pursuits. Even when we run away and are saved from certain death, we can remain hopeless even in relative safety. Our refuge does not come from the porosity of the borders of our neighbours and the goodwill of friendly states, our refuge must be in something more, for we cannot escape ourselves.

Psalm 91:2 'This I declare of the LORD: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God, and I am trusting him.'
Psalm 119:114 'You are my refuge and my shield; your word is my only source of hope.'

Friday, January 25, 2008

Survival of the fittest

Despite our best efforts to convince ourselves otherwise, we are not in control. Life, in all its complexity is not determined by the individual will and determination. Life is multifaceted in its complexity...interactivity between the individual the environment and community present a myriad of joys and problems as different and unique individuals interact with themselves and one another, plotting and progressing towards various ends.
Some would propose this end being the survival of the fittest (Darwin...satirically portrayed to your left). Personally I am persuaded we are much more then complex multi-celled species trying to off another in order to get more for ourselves. Hearing reports of Luo's hiding their Kikuyu neighbours in their homes for days to protect them from harm; of people vigilantly fasting and praying, day and night in churches; of the rich and poor alike giving generously and sacrificially to those in need....those are not the actions of primal instinct but point to a higher possibilities and purpose for man. So I ask myself, what motivates me?...to what end do I act? just for me, my ego, my comfort, or something more? ..even my Christianity, is it 'opium' to make me happy, providing for my every whim?..or can it be something more? Do my actions today reflect my purpose? Hhmm






Proverbs 4:23 'Above all else, guard your heart, for it affects everything you do.'

Fresh Air

Wow! We've been praying for something to happen...anything in fact, to bring an end to the impasse...After weeks of nothing but politicians and teargas, the despair and helplessness, I don't know if you're like me, but seeing Raila and Kibaki walk out of Harambee house smiling was a breath of fresh air! Watching the ins and outs of the game of politics has made me critically aware of the gift of leadership...and how much those who wield it influence the affairs of man. The fact that a whole nation, even those who do not want to admit it, is one way or another influenced by the decisions of these two people is to say the least disconcerting (let alone the impact on the region, and Africa as a whole). How I long for the time when Kenya will have a crop of leaders who lead to serve and serve as they lead.
Now the question many of us are asking is, what exactly is going to be put on the table as bargaining chips from both sides of this 'great political divide'?
Would give almost anything to be a fly on the wall in that conference room.

Proverbs 11:14 'Without wise leadership, a nation falls; with many counselors, there is safety.'

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Wild Life


Yesterday on Money Matters on NTV the head of KTB Dr. Achieng was talking about the tourism industry and reassured the public that that no tourist had been hurt so far, and that the Wildlife reserves and parks all had heightened security to protect these areas. Not that I have any problem with our government protecting the guests visiting us, or protecting our natural resources and tourism industry infrastructure, but it pointed to a glaring disparity...While our animals are tucked safe and sound in their hidey holes and grass beds, doors are broken as the police search for 'criminals at large', our women and children continue to be attacked and raped by marauding gangs and in some reported cases the very people who are meant to be protecting them, and our men are being brutally cut down by gangs, or shot by the police...so maybe the displaced or disenfranchised need to move into the national reserves, then at least all they have to contend with are lions...and my friend below....

Monday, January 21, 2008

Rebuilding the ancient ruins

Isaiah 61:3-4 "To all who mourn in Israel, he will give beauty for ashes, joy instead of mourning, praise instead of despair. For the Lord has planted them like strong and graceful oaks for his own glory. They will rebuild the ancient ruins, repairing cities long ago destroyed. They will revive them, though they have been empty for many generations."
Noise has been a haven for me...when the world as we know it changed on the 30th of December 2007, personal dreams and ambitions, political opinions, short and long term strategic plans were suddenly shattered when faced with the possibility that even when you have a Plan B and contingencies in place for 'that rainy day', the impossible can happen, the inconceivable can be conceived...our assumptions can be blown out of the water and replaced with a nightmarish reality which is not only hard to swallow, but makes us question if the reality we thought existed was really reality or a comfortable farce we embraced because the truth was too difficult and time/resource consuming to tackle (ethnocentrism, tribalism, poverty, institutional corruption) and we eventually replaced the truth with the lie for long enough so that we eventually forgot what is true and what is false.
So when people began to die, when homes were burnt, when crowds took to the streets....confusion reigned...So like an ostrich who's head is in the sand, I hid...but instead of the earth, I hid in noise; even as I could hear the loud incessant stomp! thump! thump! of rushing steps, hurtling towards me at frightening speed, I surround myself with news, and conversations, and accusations, and rumours...hoping that the breaking of my heart would stop, that metallic taste of fear in my mouth would abate, that the 'comfortable reality' would return and I could forget the nightmare. But today I realise even if I return to the lie, that is all it is, a lie, that is so easily shattered with just a voice ignored, a politicians word, a wave of a machete. So truth wins out, real reality must be faced...life must be rebuilt, but not on a foundation of lies anymore, real change can only result from real introspection followed by real action...maybe I can't change the world, but I know someone who can...now I continue the journey to discovering how I can partner with Him in rebuilding the ancient ruins.