Bench fails the wretched of the earth (plus 666 note)
One evening in 1999, I found myself behind bars at both the Nyayo and Lang'ata police stations (for some 48 hours).
My crime was to have been found by the police walking home – at the time not very far away from Nairobi West – at 6:30 p.m without my identity card.
I had on me some paperwork from the office to indicate that I was no alien, but the cops would hear none of it; they wanted the little cash I had on me at the time (some Kshs. 500).
I refused to pay up, unlike some of the folks I was arrested with, and that's how I found myself at Nyayo and later in the night, Lang'ata.
They claimed I was a foreigner from the Great Lakes region….:-) despite my excellent English, Swahili and a host of other Kenyan languages…thank God I bore no resemblance to one Felicien Kabuga 🙂
No humiliation I went through that evening, including sharing a mixed cell with some men and women in Lang'ata, will ever surpass the utter spiritual desolation and emptiness I witnessed in the lives of the arrested people.
It was at that point that I, as a Christian, got to appreciate the depth and significance of the prison ministry run by one of the outreach teams at the Church I still attend in Nairobi.
When I was freed at 6:00 p.m the following day (just in time for an official trip I had been scheduled to make out of town the same evenning), I determined to read up a little more on Chuck Colson, one of the few evangelicals I respect in contemporary America.
A few documentaries and books down the road, I found myself already in love with the Prison Fellowship he and others still run to date; I began tracking their work a little more closely with a desire to learn more from their experiences in prison ministry.
So it was from that general background that I received a rather sad e-mail from them today, details of which have been helpfully reproduced on their website for public consumption.
That decision in Iowa sits badly with me here, knowing as I do how meaningful the kind of work the court is literally banning is to prisoners.
America needs the allegedly unconstitutional act by the likes of Colson much more than anything else in its prisons at the moment, – my short time in the country as a journalism student taught me as much.
I hope to God Kenya never has to decide whether or not it needs Him in its prisons because the moment it does that, the road between it and a living hell in society shall become very short indeed.
I loved these few lines in an e-mail I received from a correspondent ahead of this date, 6/6/06: "As those who worship evil celebrate the number of the beast on 6/6/06 it is an opportunity for Christians to refuse fear and embrace the power we have in Christ to bear witness of His love and authority….Jesus has given us power over the authority of the enemy, and there is no day more worthy of celebration than that day over 2,000 years ago when Jesus defeated sin and death."
Well put, I would say, even as events around the world continue to shape up in ways that each day make the Bible more believeable than its detractors would want it to be.