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!