The problem of thinking and writing about suffering is that you begin to notice it everywhere. The last few weeks have particularly been heavy for me. It is like my ‘suffering antennas’ have been elevated and now I see it more than before. Most news on TV have elements of pain and injustice, newspapers are filled with sensational headlines screaming about worsening conditions almost everywhere, it is as if the media outlets are measured by how much emotion they can stir up from the audience.
But still the question doesn’t go away; suffering still remains one of the most difficult and complicated life questions that anyone can pose. In part 1 (which you can read here) we looked at ‘reasons for suffering’, justification for goodness and how atheism has exploited suffering to skew many to their side.
One question still needs to be answered, what is the response of Christianity to suffering? If we call our God good, just and Continue reading
image courtesy: https://www.thoughtco.com/prayer-to-my-suffering-god-700938
The problem of pain and suffering is age old. It cuts across generations, classes and cultures. It is no respecter of status or religion. Through it we come into this world and without our consent it enters into a contract with every one of us, making impromptu visits at will.
It is in the cry of a baby, in pain of injury and sickness, separation, loneliness, abuse, overwhelming regrets, embarrassment, and hopeless situations. Some are visited too often; they know it too well, like an unwelcomed guest who refused to leave. You may call it trouble, problem, pain or evil but at the end of the day the result is the same, suffering to the visited.
Suffering ‘catches up’ with you one way or another; it can make you feel like the devil himself has left hell and pitched a tent in your house. Even when you are able to overcome it, one question always remains; why is this happening to me?
Why me? What did I do to deserve this? Often without answers to these questions, we quickly find out that Continue reading
Image courtesy: beginningandend.com
About mid 2017 I was called by a family member who asked me to look into a certain preacher on TV. He wanted me to investigate the preacher and recommend whether he should take a close relative for healing prayers to the preacher’s church. The vibrant preacher is based in Nairobi and runs a 24/7 TV station with dramatic church services that would put most Naija movies to shame.
I had watched the preacher on TV before and already had an opinion about him but now that I needed to give a report, I had to delve deeper. I knew that I had to listen to a number of his full length sermons in order to understand his doctrine. Typically, he would read a bible passage, preach on it for a few minutes then manifestations begin. People in the congregation, mostly women, would begin to shout and act out. The ushers would rush and bring the person to the front and the good apostle would deliver them, after they have confessed their evil and said something great about the preacher. It is mostly about witchcraft and spells, which is basically the central theme to the church.
Like many believers, it bothers me deeply that the gospel is blatantly butchered and Continue reading
I have always thought of going to prison, not to be locked up but to visit someone who is. The curiosity of knowing how it looks like behind those high walls and how inmates perceive freedom has always intrigued me. Maybe I have watched too many movies, but, that’s me.
So I got an opportunity to visit Kamiti Juvenile prison with James Ouma. I wrote an article about his work a year ago and I was keen to catch up on his progress. What better way to do that than to walk his path; accompany him and his friend Ernest to the juvenile prison. James runs Lifesong Kenya, an organization that mentors boys both in prison and outside by teaching them character, accountability and how to give back to the community.
James picks me up at Kona, along Ngong Road, at 7.45 am. We are supposed to pick Earnest at Allsopps on Thika Road but he is late so we proceed; he will catch up with us later. We stop at Maziwa Gardens near Kamiti for breakfast; James insists that Continue reading
The faith one holds should be able to answer the bigger questions of life in order for it to be authentic and true. It concerns me when Christians and church leaders present a watered down gospel that only appeals to the physical and emotional psyche of the followers; a gospel that does not answer life’s most important questions and cannot be relied on when people face the true tests of life.
When we go for evangelism and we present a gospel that promises good life according to our understanding, then we misrepresent Christ and set up people for disappointment. Salvation is the most important thing that can happen to the life of an individual, it is the event that ushers them from darkness to the kingdom of light. The miracle of being raised from the dead is lesser in Continue reading
The Friday night when President Uhuru Kenyatta was announced the winner of the presidential election was a conflicting night for me. Even before the certificate was given, I heard screams and cheers of celebration on the street outside our apartment. The celebration became louder once the final announcement was made. I went to the gate to witness the celebration and it was intense.
I have never seen so many people on our street at night, most of them in red. They shouted, screamed, sang, made all kinds of noises to make sure the message was heard, that their candidate had won. Motorbikes, lorries, matatus hooted as they were driven up and down the street. I did not realize that I live in a Continue reading
Non-Christians in Australia behave better than Christians in Kenya. Those are not my words but the observation of an elderly Australian man I met recently who has lived in Kenya for the past 8 years. He has been frustrated by county and government officials and so far he has not been able to do what he came here to do. It was a coincidental meeting at a seminar in Nairobi. I sat next to him and as we talked during the break he mentioned that he lives in Kitale which is my hometown. My curiosity was aroused and I wanted to know more about him and what he does in Kitale.
So, this guy came to Kenya in 2008 with a friend who was doing some projects at Moi’s Bridge, Trans Nzoia County. He enjoyed his visit and decided he wanted to settle in Kenya. He went back home, packed his bags and a few months later he was in Kitale.
Most things were planned. He works with metal and so he wanted to use his skills to build footbridges in Continue reading
Is the future written? Is our life’s path decided or do we have a say in it? For most of us, being at the right place matters, we are always at odds of whether we are where we should be.
But there are times in life when you know that you know that you are at the right place. One of those times for me happened in the summer of 2010, when a trip to a small town in the middle of European Russia changed my life. It is definitely one of the ‘wow’ moments of my life and that is why it’s fresh in my memory as I write it seven years later.
First of all babushka is grandma in Russian. Russian grandmas have to be some of sweetest people you can ever meet. They somehow have food to Continue reading
Does one year of marriage make you wise? Yes it does but it’s not the conventional wisdom, it is the wisdom that leaves you more reflective and silent than assertive and confident. It’s the kind of wisdom that makes you more tolerant with your views about marriage; makes you less judgemental of other couples. The ‘aha’ moments kind of wisdom, where you begin to see your parents in you in the way you handle issues, how you react, and you realize the apple might have fallen nearer to the tree than you thought.
In one year you learn things, about yourself, about your spouse but most importantly you learn that there is nothing ordinary about two people living together in harmony, peace and love. It is beyond ordinary, Continue reading
Has God decided who will be saved and who will not? Are people predestined to hell or heaven prior to their existence? Do people have any say about their destiny?
Most people will argue that if God knows the beginning to the end, it means he already knows those who won’t choose Him; in that case do they have the will to change their fate. It is classic predestination vs free will which is too big a theological debate for us to handle in one article.
But God has opened the window to his word just enough for Continue reading