Archive for April, 2008
The lord Jesus Christ of Nazareth is warning this Nation of Kenya, he showed me now twice in the vision
and dream, You have set idols in your heart, loving yourself than you have loved me, your country is defiled, it has become a desolation before me, remove your idols and ask of my treasures from heaven you have loved your self more that you love me, you have forgotten about my mercies that are new everyday for you instead you exalt men, I will bring upon you severe draught and famine the whole of this country, will be affected, you will starve and grow thin and seek my face, your livestock will perish your vegetation will be replenished and dried up you will desire to eat leaves of trees, your neighbors will come to help you while they laugh and scorn at you, your deplorable acts have become an
obstacle before me you have loved you broth more that you love me, your leaders are blind guides who do not know me, they know me when they want their own way but they don’t want to honor me, therefore I bring the drought upon your land my children be prepared, I bring upon this country severe famine and draught read Isaiah 17, I bring upon you a draught and famine, that you may learn and turn to me, you will only get the gleaning of the harvest, in your churches I am bringing a spiritual draught and famine of my word and the presence, my glory I will take out of your churches my glory, the glory will depart from your churches, these buildings that have become big and powerless, these
dead churches that preach nothing of my righteousness and holiness this churches that overfeed my shepherds and fleece my sheep, I send to you famine and draught in your churches I send to you a delusion, draught and famine of my glory and my word you will search for the word but you wont find it, you will find preachers that will itch your ears, and those that will please you with empty words, they will tell you about themselves but they will not talk about me, but my bride the new church I raise will rise with more glory in its wings Joshua 3, when you see the new priesthood and the new church rising with the glory of the lord, carrying the ark on their shoulders (responsible leadership) then leave your position leave your stagnant churches and follow that priesthood they will lead you to me sayeth
the lord. There is amass exodus from the mega churches the people of God will follow the cloud in this hour; they will not be moved with crowds.
Bond slave servant of Christ
Opinion leaders in the Anglican Communion’s global North and some in the global South, have suggested that conservative African voices affiliated with Jerusalem 2008 should still go and argue their case over homosexuality at Lambeth 2008. I spoke to ANDREW NOLTE, a commentator on political and religious issues fellowshipping with a pro-Jerusalem Anglican congregation in the United States. Excerpts.
JM: Where do you fellowship?
AN: First, I should tell you that I’m attending an Anglican church affiliated with the primate of Rwanda. So you can quote me, as long as you put in the disclaimer that I don’t speak for my congregation, the Anglican Mission in America or the Rwandan church.
JM: Now that we’ve got that out of the way, what are your thoughts on homosexuality and the worldwide Anglican Communion?
AN: Homosexuality is symptomatic of a much larger problem in the Northern provinces. When a Church primate tells Time magazine that saying Christ is the only way to God is “putting God in a box,” it’s time to ask if part of the church has forgotten the gospel. This to me is at least as troubling as the Gene Robinson business. The Anglican Communion is rooted in a historic tradition which takes scripture, reason, tradition and experience as the four pillars of Christian truth, with scripture as the keystone of the whole. The primate’s statement explicitly rejects Christ’s claim that “I am the way, the truth and the light, and no one comes to the father but through me”, and implicitly rejects and undermines his divinity. The point is that, in Christ, God put himself in a box for us so that we might come to know Him, and if the primate of the Episcopal Church can’t figure that out, what’s she doing as the primate?
JM: Any difference with what Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams has himself said on issues that matter to you?
AN: Likewise, if the Archbishop of Canterbury, the head of the established church in Great Britain, is willing to say that sharia is “inevitable” in parts of Britain, what does that do to the position of those like (Nigeria’s Archbishop Peter) Akinola who’ve got radical Islamists pushing for Sharia in parts of their country, sometimes through violence?
JM: How does Rowan’s rhetoric on Sharia add value to your position on homosexuality?
AN: We have to see the debate over homosexuality in this broader, and I think even more troubling context. The Anglican Church in the US and its fellow Northern provinces seem like an example of Christ transformed by culture: the politically correct, relativistic Jesus, rather than Jesus the Christ. I believe those who support the LGBT (Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered) agenda within the Anglican Communion are well-intentioned and sincere fanatics, who believe that this change is called for by God and are willing to do whatever it takes to achieve it.
JM: They also argue, don’t they, that a conservative like you has his theology incomplete and lopsided on matters of poverty and marginalization.
AN: And certainly, yes, progressivism’s critique of conservative churches–that they haven’t cared enough about the poor and oppressed–has some validity in the Western context. But if this desire to embrace the marginalized is not matched with Christian orthodoxy, it will be not only dangerous but ineffective.
JM: Where should all this talk leave conservatives as regards Lambeth 2008?
AN: Regarding Lambeth specifically, not showing up does not seem like a good option. Even (reformer Martin) Luther showed up to the Diet in Worms, if only to proclaim “Here I stand, I can do no other”. However, I think the Jerusalem conference also seems like a worthy undertaking. Importantly, I can understand why some provinces are unwilling to attend Lambeth, given the failure of the Communion’s hierarchy to follow their own rules vis-a-vis the disciplining of homosexual pastors, bishops and the provinces who appoint them, and refusing to commune with American representatives at the Lambeth worship services might be another option. These are differences of strategy and tactics however, not goals.
JM: But some will accuse you of fanning a schism in the Communion and disregarding the spirit and possibilities for amity and unity between liberals and conservatives in the end.
AN: It’s important to keep in mind that schism doesn’t come from those who seek to preserve the teachings of scripture and the historic traditions of the church, but rather from those intent on pushing their own agendas regardless of these teachings and traditions. This is why the context of the homosexuality issue is so important. Were the issue being broached with the support of serious scriptural argument and a strong reaffirmation of the Gospel, we might be called to deal with it differently, though I remain deeply skeptical that such a case can actually be made. However, in the context of a broader rejection of the truth of the Gospel and an accommodation to elite Western cultural opinion, the church must respond with a firm and unequivocal no, because such change gets in the way of the Gospel.
*The story first appeared in Kenya Weekly, a magazine I contribute to.
In just under eight weeks, over 600 top clerics from the worldwide Anglican Communion shall be congregating in Lambeth, England.
The once-a-decade congregation serves to contemplate the Anglicans’ future in view of its mission to a changing world, as well as formulate policies for its engagement with wider Christendom and the world as we know it.
However, the 600 clerics – representing about 70 per cent of the Communion’s leadership – will be without the remaining percentage of their own, who will have congregated in Jerusalem, Israel, beforehand in a doctrinal protest against the former.
The dissident clergymen, representing over 30 million believers in the 70-million-person worldwide Communion, will be protesting at the continued ordination of gay clergy in the global North and their participation at Lambeth.
“Theological convictions, not bruised feelings, will prevent at least three provinces from attending the 2008 Lambeth Conference,” Primate of the West Indies Archbishop Drexel Gomez was reported as saying by a religious website mid last month.
In an interview, the West Indian stated “there are at least four provinces in Africa that have either said they will not attend or are still considering if they will attend, but there are three who said they will definitely not be attending.”
A few weeks ago, the Anglican Church of Kenya joined Gomez’s list of Nigeria, Rwanda and Uganda to complete his initial list of the African suspects ahead of Lambeth 2008.
Archbishop Benjamin Nzimbi told a recent press conference in Nairobi that the Anglican Church of Kenya still does not recognize gay Anglican Bishop Canon V. Gene Robinson, and would not play ball with Canterbury’s vacillations on the vexing issue of sexuality within the Communion.
And in an exclusive interview with this writer, Archbishop Nzimbi, a leading voice in the conservative wing of the Communion, declared that he has since signed up on the Global Anglican Future 2008, the rival caucus that will be meeting in Jerusalem.
“Resolution 110 of Lambeth 1998, which I attended, was quite clear that homosexuality is incompatible with Scripture. The position of Orthodox Anglicans – of whom I’m part – on this matter hasn’t changed and isn’t about to change,” he said.
The primate said the controversy is a symptom of deeper decay in a Communion he says is now ripe for revival.
“Homosexuals need pastoral care. The word of God offers transformation to their situation, as it indeed does to us all. Lambeth 2008 should have been about a return to God in view of these realities, yet it’s obvious that won’t be the case. Canterbury has sanctioned homosexuality. We cannot be going there to keep up with its theological gymnastics,” he said.
He revealed that he’s among those actively organizing the African protest against Lambeth 2008.
“Anglicans in Latin America are with us. A good number of dioceses in Sydney, England, North America, Central and Southern Africa will also be joining us in Jerusalem. We want to look into the future of this Church. The future is hidden in the word of God, not the revisionism we are witnessing in parts of the Communion,” he said.
In a sign that the controversy could strain relations between the conservative and liberal wings of the Communion even further, the primate warned: “Jerusalem will, for us, be a new way to look at the Communion. We want to grow towards the right direction in light of Scriptures. We want to change the world by preaching the Gospel, not allow the world to change us by us pleasing it. Going forward, repentance on this issue is the only thing that will make us one.”
Archbishop of Sidney Peter Jensen, one of the organizers of Jerusalem 2008, says their decision had become inevitable, following the global North’s disregard of resolutions on Scripture and human sexuality arrived at Lambeth 1998.
“Such has been the fall-out that it is now clear that we will never go back to being the Communion which we once were. There has been a permanent change. We live in a new world. Some American Anglicans are as committed to their new sexual ethics as to the gospel itself, and they intend to act as missionaries for this faith, wishing to persuade the rest of us. The problems posed by the American church are not going to remain in North America,” he says.
He continues: “Several African Provinces have indicated that they will not be attending Lambeth, because to do so would be to acquiesce with the North American actions. They are not ending the Anglican Communion, or even dividing it. They are simply indicating that the nature of the Communion has now been altered by what has occurred. They see that since the American actions were taken in direct defiance of the previous Lambeth Conference, the Americans have irreparably damaged the standing of the Conference itself. They asked without success for the Conference to be postponed. They do not think that this Conference is what is needed now. To attend would be to overlook the importance of the issues at stake.”
And he says: “The Anglican Future Conference (in Jerusalem) is not designed to take the place of Lambeth. Some people may well choose to go to both. Its aim is to draw Biblical Anglican Christians together for urgent consultation. It is not a consultation which can take place at Lambeth, because Lambeth has a different agenda and far wider guest list. Unlike Lambeth, the Future Conference is not for Bishops alone – the invitations will go to clergy and lay people also….It gives an opportunity for many to draw together to strengthen each other over the issue of biblical authority and interpretation and gospel mission.”
Reactions against Jerusalem 2008 have continued to stream in from far and wide.
“The sooner these pre-modern, homophobic provinces set up their own fundamentalist church the better for those left. It’s the only logical solution. A split. It should be welcomed and celebrated,” read a comment on one of the websites trying to rally support for Lambeth 2008.
Another one said: “The tragedy here is that the Africans will look so stubborn and ignorant in the history of Christianity. Much as the Roman church looks in its persecution of Galileo. And our American fundamentalists look in their denial of evolution. And our current President in his refusal to fund stem cell research. What is it about religion in general that makes it so backward for so long after the reality changes?”
Yet another one said: “With regards to the future of the Anglican Communion, I wish we would give far less press to those who are not going to Lambeth and far more to those who are. The future of the Communion is in their hands, not the hands of those who stay away. Let’s not let the non-attendees even think they can influence the outcome if they aren’t there.
In Kenya itself, a consensus is emerging in a fringe wing of the Church’s leadership that the ACK’s interests would best be served at Lambeth as opposed to Jerusalem.
A leading clergyman, who spoke to Kenya Weekly on condition of anonymity, said the ACK should demonstrate a readiness to re-engage the global North on the matter and not shy away from it.
“Lambeth is one of the symbols of unity in the Communion and its resolutions over the years have had a binding effect on us all. We chide the US and Canadian churches for playing fast and loose with such resolutions reached in 1998 plunging the Communion into such unprecedented chaos. But for the Kenyan protest to go the way it has, although it will show the strongest disdain for the actions apparently affirmed by Canterbury, it will harden the position of the liberals who will be at Canterbury giving them an easy time through resolutions that may be more damaging than we already have for no voice of descent will be there should this thought come up again for discussion,” he says.
And he warns: “It will be leaving the communion, allowing the liberals to drive the church where they want. Those not attending will in a way have said that they are out. I would that they were at Lambeth and made it hard for the liberals with reason of their position and votes. They would like they did in Tanzania, who once refused Communion and sought to bring their brothers back from the brink. They will out of their own accord have broken away from the Communion.”
He then asks: “Will the boycott of Lambeth mean refusal of contact with all associated with the liberals’ position? How will the ACK argue the recent welcome and Communion shared with the Archbishop of York, John Sentamu when he visited us, who will be in Lambeth and has had warm fellowship with the US wing? What about our brothers and sisters in Tanzania and Congo who will be attending Lambeth 2008, yet are not in support of its position on sexuality?”
The clergyman is part of a group within the ACK that feels the Communion in the global North would be justified if it considered ordaining rebel bishops in Kenya in view of country’s messy politics in which the Church has come out battered, in retaliation at a similar act by African Anglicans over homosexuality in the global North.
“Sins committed by our own through tribalism and corruption would not give us the moral standing to judge others in the way we have. What if the liberals also chose to make bishops of people here? Our leaders have bundled out of the church bishop-material, some more worthy than themselves. Let us all re-examine the ground of our being Christians – Grace alone!” he says.
Archbishop Nzimbi told Kenya Weekly it does not worry him that liberal Anglicans could ordain liberal clergy in Kenya.
“I know there are some liberals within us, and I am currently processing homosexual allegations raised by an Anglican congregation against one of our clergymen. Liberals here can go ahead and be ordained by their friends in the West, but orthodox Anglicans like me will not sanction the move,” he says.
The Nairobi-based clergyman in issue was exposed by his congregants, who sought the archbishop’s intervention.
It remains to be seen what will become of him – a first in the Anglican Church of Kenya – as both Lambeth and Jerusalem beckon.
*The story first appeared in Kenya Weekly, a magazine I contribute to.
When on September 22nd, 2002 he was declared Archbishop of the Anglican Church of Kenya, Benjamin Nzimbi had just chalked up one more climb in his now controversial life and ministry.
Born on October 17th, 1945 in Kitui District, the primate had began a life of wrestling with ideas early in his days at Ithookwe primary school in Kitui, and Mulutu Intermediate School, before proceeding to Kitui Secondary and Shimo La Tewa School for his “O” and “A” levels respectively.
Between 1968 and 1969, he trained at Kenyatta Training College, these days Kenyatta University, as a teacher, before pursuing studies in religion and philosophy at the University of Nairobi between 1971 and 1974.
He would later pursue studies with various institutions, the most prominent of which would be the London Institute of Contemporary Christianity in 1986 and Hamline University in Minnesota, the United States, where he attained a masters’ degree in management for non-profit organizations.
Concurrent with his progress in academia would be his rise as an educator with the Ministry of Education, in 1984 eclipsed by his appointment as Vicar of St. Francis Parish in Karen, Nairobi.
He would between April 1985 and March 1995 serve as bishop of Machakos Diocese, before moving to Kitui in the same capacity till his appointment as archbishop of the ACK.
In his current position, he heads various Church and para-Church organizations in Kenya and Africa.
In 2005, he was awarded the Presidential Decoration of the Moran of the Burning Spear.
In the time since the gay controversy emerged within the worldwide Anglican Communion, Archbishop Nzimbi has come to be identified with Nigeria’s Peter Akinola as among the foremost conservatives in the Communion’s global South.
“People misunderstand Akinola and me but, speaking for myself, I can confidently say we are standing up for the truth,” he says.
Battered by the Church’s perceived coziness with President Mwai Kibaki in the latter’s first term and the disputed polls in 2007, the prelate says his admission that the Church had been wrong should be a pointer that Church-State relations will change.
Observers point to the post-2007 Kenya and the gay controversy as some of the issues that could well define Nzimbi’s tenure at the helm of Kenya’s second largest denomination.
He has been married to Alice Kavula since August 17th, 1974 with whom they have been blessed with Martha (1975), a student of leadership in the United States; Paul, a youth pastor; Neema, a secretary; Peter, a curate in a parish and Andrew, a worker at World Vision.
I have enjoyed Yakuti content enough to get to contribute to one of its sections.
Yakuti now also has a discussion forum, which should make for an interesting reference point for reflections on issues concerning Christian women (and men).
Wendwa’s initiative should interest anyone keen on a sustained meditation on issues concerning the African, Christian woman.
She writes with flair, passion and an intensity that is both exciting and reassuring.
Those apprehensive about conservative Christianity will find in her an interesting prospect for study; rub you the wrong way she might occasionally, but you will find it hard to ignore the claims of the God she proclaims.
I commend her to you unreservedly.
Whether or not Kenya is a liberal democracy any more is a matter we could debate days on end.
Whether, on the other hand, the future of freedom within it is guaranteed is a matter am now getting quite uncertain about.
I got the opportunity to be more uncertain about that today following some developments back home over some twin issues that have concerned me in recent times.
Beyond this blog, I got to make my views on both situations clear through two press releases (appended at the bottom of this post).
Both releases, used by broadcast media back home, are now brewing some controversy.
Apparently the new MP now believes I’m out to fight him.
Today, one of his aides, in conjunction with Sitatunga Location Chief Joseph Wayele, summoned my dad for interrogation on my whereabouts and politics.
This, even while my cellphone line is the most publicly available in the constituency.
It turns out Mr. Wayele had christened the meet a “consultation,” and hadn’t let out what the agenda or the attendance of the “consultation” would be.
The general tenor of the “consultation” is that I should not “fight” the new MP, the CDF committee he has put in place and decisions they are making.
It was also posed by both Mr. Wayele and my MP’s aide whether or not I would be keen on meeting the legislator (the assumption being that I have been speaking out with the hope of being “rewarded” the Kenyan way).
Apart from the illegality of such a “consultation,” the issues raised by myself are matters of public record, and over which there remain serious concerns not addressed thus far by the MP.
The MP is my contemporary (in fact only a year older than I am), and many had expected that he would begin his tenure with a little more grace and sensitivity around issues compared to his predecessor.
The fact that he is also a university graduate (political science) had also made some of us believe that we would be dealing with a more open-minded leader.
I’m beggining to question all this, even as I contemplate the future of personal freedom (and security) in such circumstances.
A.O.B 1: March 30th press release
Kiongozi wa Chama Cha Uzalendo katika eneo bunge la Cherangany Bwana Jesse Masai amependekeza kugawanywa kwa eneo bunge hilo ili kuhakikisha usawa katika shughuli za maendeleo.
Bwana Masai amesema idadi ya wakazi wa eneo hilo imeongezeka tofauti na miongo miwili iliyopita, na mahitaji yao kuwa mengi na tofauti pia kwa muda huo.
Wakati huo huo, Bwana Masai amesema hatua ya hivi majuzi ya mbunge wa eneo hilo kuhamisha afisi za mbunge na hazina ya maendeleo toka Chebarus hadi Kachibora itapanua pengo kati ya tajiri na maskini Cherangany.
Bwana Masai alisema kuwa tofauti na Chebarus, Kachibora ipo mwisho wa upande mmoja wa Cherangany, na itawagharimu wananchi wengi hela na muda mwingi ili kuweza kunufaika na huduma za afisi hiyo.
Bwana Masai alisema hatua hiyo itawafaa wachache na ni kinyume na sera maarufu ya ugatuzi wa mamlaka na rasilmali, na kuwataka wananchi wahusike katika uamuzi wa ni wapi asasi muhimu za serikali zitakuwa katika eneo hilo na Trans-Nzoia nzima kwa ujumla.
A.O.B 2: April 2nd press release
Kiongozi wa Chama Cha Uzalendo katika eneo bunge la Cherangany Bwana Jesse Masai amependekeza kutungwa upya kwa kamati ya hazina ya maendeleo ya eneo hilo.
Bwana Masai amesema orodha ya kamati iliyotungwa na mbunge wa sasa haizingatii sura ya mchanganyiko wa jamii zinazoishi Cherangany.
Orodha kutoka kwa afisi kuu ya hazina hiyo jijini Nairobi yaonyesha kuwa kumi na tatu kati ya maafisa kumi na tano wa hazina hiyo wanatoka katika jamii moja.
Bwana Masai alisema mbunge wa sasa ana jukumu la kuhakikisha kuwa hazina hiyo haifaidi jamii moja au marafiki na jamaa zake pekee.
Kiongozi huyo pia alisema kuwa uwazi na uwajibikaji katika usimamizi wa mifuko mbalimbali ya eneo hilo itakuwa muhimu haswa kutokana na hali ngumu ya maisha inayowakumba wananchi wengi kufwatia zogo lililofwatia uchaguzi wa mwaka uliyopita.
This day, several years ago, MLK was assassinated.
In the days and weeks following the post-poll violence, I wondered how best I could stay engaged with the people in Cherangany and the wider North Rift.
I recalled a few items I had returned with from my student days across the pond, most precious of which are the MLK materials I got after a visit to the MLK centre in Atlanta, Georgia (listen to the powerful introductory audio as the site opens) in early 2004.
I took time off blogging, locked myself in and recorded some radio programmes on my computer (thanks to the little I still recall from my audio production classes at campus and the generous help of Larry) for transmission back home.
The result was some high quality programmes which have been airing on Imani Radio, Kitale, for several weeks now.
Efforts to upload them on this blog have, thus far, remained a pipe dream but hopefully I shall succeed some time.
In my first programme, I hosted a young man whom I put in the dock over the situation then unfolding.
In my next, I hosted a Kikuyu friend who had wavered between RO and MK much of the time, and who also had family and friends in Nyanza and Rift Valley.
The interviews, as a matter of policy, were done in Kiswahili.
I dedicated the following two to lessons we could draw from the I have a dream and I have been to the mountaintop MLK speeches in our own context.
The 15-minutes programme, dubbed Kioo Cha Jamii, has since acquired a life of its own.
I no longer host it, for lack of time.
I have since passed it on to other helpful hands, and I’m looking at ways of decentralizing it further so that it becomes a grass root reference point for sensitivity on discussions on issues that matter to us today.
I’m also weighing how best to sustain it in the longer run – organizations I sought assistance from kept asking me to make formal applications as an NGO entity (I own and desire none).
I have less time for NGO politics; I decided to sacrifice from what I had to get started and going.
Going forward, MLK remains a great inspiration to me, disagree as I do with some aspects of his life and times.
Pretty soon Hillary Clinton, John McCain and Barack Obama will be participating in a major forum on faith and public policy at my alma mater the across the pond. I so wish I could be there!