BLACK PANTHER: THE MOST UNIQUE CONTRIBUTION TO BLACK THEOLOGY

God works through me, the same as you. There is no feat I achieve that you are not capable of.”

-Black Panther

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As fascinating and as unexpected as it may sound, the Black Panther is indeed a very important figure in comics. This exception of the Black Panther does not exclude other significant black superheroes of authority and influence such as the Blue Marvel. But, the Panther takes first place because he came before the rest. His impact on African American thought was revolutionary. At a time when the African American community battled with self identity, Marvel Comics showed that they could rise up to the occasion and create a character who would be the image of African Americans. The Black Panther, though unassociated to the group that went by the same name did something unimaginable. It not only changed how African Americans saw themselves, it also demonstrated that though they originally hailed from Africa [which had been christened the ‘Dark Continent’ in the sixties], that they and their homeland were not so ‘dark’ after all.

In a manner that must have stunned DC readers at the time, the Black Panther was a point in and of himself. Unlike DC’s Cyborg, the Panther was not a sidekick, he was his own authority. He has remained, since the time of his creation, a king, a genius of Marvel’s top cream, a superhero and a priceless contribution to the Avengers’ team on panel. Now, here’s where some of you may ask some questions like, “Wasn’t Marvel just trying to capitalize on a present issue to earn some extra income?”. The answer, a resounding “No”, here’s why; Stan Lee had pointed out that he did not like his character being ‘shadows’ of the so-called ‘main hero’ because he felt that they took something away from this main hero. He later on went to state that he would not do to any of his characters what DC had done to Batman’s Robin and subjugate them.

At a time when comic books themselves were seeking relevance, Stan Lee and Marvel Comics were on the right path. Seeking to create characters of substance, and relatability; meaning that the selling point of the characters would not be on their power or abilities but on their diverse personalities, weaknesses, challenges and ability to ‘rise up’ as it were after being knocked down several times over. This, if I must say, is a strength. And as recent comic news is showing us, Cap’s history has been re-written. He is now a triple agent and a HYDRA project?? Anyway, many fans are a bit confused about this reveal but this story is bound to be one that may lead fans to respect the Captain even more. Some of you might be skeptical but watch this space…

Now, to the issue at hand, Black Theology and Black Panther’s contribution to the same. Black theology has had a very powerful influence on American society as a whole. Be it loved or hated, it is a force to reckon with. Seeing the likes of Martin Luther King Junior, pardon me, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. springboard the revolution in the U.S. that shook the very core of the rest of America we got the best comparison to the Black Panther character. We got Barack Obama, an educated African man who made African American history through his dual heritage as a Hawaii-born black man. It’s this point that makes me respect Marvel; they looked into the future by being great analysts of the present. I speak and express myself in these posts as a young African man of black descent and I have grown up reading comics. Not only do I love them, I relish their perspectives on several events. As an African theologian, I am thrilled to see the parallels that can be made from the comic book/fictional realm and the realm of theology. If some of the greatest ministers advised other preachers/theologians to hold a paper in one hand and the Bible in another, then comic books qualify right there near the newspaper.

Kudos Marvel on bringing the character to the big screen in Captain America Civil War!

“The more different we are, the more we find that we are the same”

-Chinese Proverb

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MORALISM VERSUS GODSPEAK

WHY GOD’S KINGDOM IS A FAR CRY FROM WHAT MORALISM PREACHES

“Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on; you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently He starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make any sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of – throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were being made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself.”
C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

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Oftentimes, I tend to hear both friends and strangers alike ask me about why I study theology. Nearly nine times out of ten, I am also asked-in the same breath-why I did not want to pursue another occupation and ‘top up’ to my theological studies. These queries, though distressing and frustrating at times, are in my opinion, vital to bringing clarity to my innate affinity for all things God. It is this very thing that I’d like to tackle today in hopes that it will shed light on some critical issues that vex the heart and trouble the mind in matters regarding the divine.

I’ve grown up in a Christian home, with a godly family–all of whom are devoted followers of Jesus. My parents have always tried their best to ensure that my sister and I lived morally acceptable lives in the sight of God and men. Whereas I do not have any qualms with this perception-primarily because parents have a special kind of wisdom when it comes to handling their children-I still struggled with this matter. And struggle with it did I do, for a very long time. You see, I understood then as I understand now that parents’ intentions reflect their hearts. They are wired to ensure that their children flourish, prosper and become people of good-standing and repute in the community.

Now, my struggles came in a two-fold manner; I did not know what it really meant to be good and how that was accomplished, and secondly I did not understand what God’s big deal was and what he intended/desired from me. In all honesty, growing up, these two struggles gave me a warped view of what the very definition of good and evil was! For example, if I never drank alcohol or slept around, I saw myself as a ‘better’ person than the ones who did these things. As though to add insult to injury (as old as this cliche expression is), I would judge these people by my own moral standards. What a darkness I lived in, and I did not even have a clue of how wrong I truly was.

The other struggle manifested itself in my life when I realized that I really liked moralists/teachers of moralism. The televangelists who belted out fire and brimstone on the television screen would quickly receive a huge, thundering “Amen!” from me. Yet, in my deepest, darkest hours during those times I sat alone with no one watching me, I struggled in silence. As Lecrae once rightly put it (God bless his heart), “I was sipping on some secret scene, [believing that] no one would ever love you [i.e. me]”. I really did not get it and these problems really began to show up in my high school years. I really did not know what I was doing or what I had believed in was truly something I could call “Christianity” (How many people right now are masquerading under this identity but are doing ill and hurting many in the process? Is it possible to pray for them and hope they encounter the Living God of whom they claim to represent?).

This dark veil over my eyes began to break over my eyes in those very high school years. I sincerely did not know that I, a kid studying to become a physicist would end up desiring to study something else entirely, theology/the Bible. It was during this period that, although I still struggled with my holier than thou disease that I truly met God. No, it wasn’t through some moralistic teaching on how to behave and how to do right but by God, through his Scriptures speaking to me. He addressed my selfishness, my weaknesses, my errors and began to use me in school.

One of the most important things to ever happen to me was seeing a friend of mine fully have his broken arm healed and restored, although it was due for surgery just three days away from the healing! Wow! Not only did this blow my mind entirely, but it flipped my world. This was NOT what I expected. Since then, I have been learning. Yes, I do make mistakes and sin, but I do not resort to my old moralistic ways. I have simply learnt to submit. I am humbled by him because I have realized that it’s his mission, not mine to save the world. He is the Judge, not I. He is the center of my faith, not I.

Living free is what I have come to experience because I have learned to hear his voice over my own. You know what’s even better (especially for you out there who have been hurt and wounded by those professing to be ‘Christians’) it really doesn’t matter what you are struggling with. What matters is your heart and your willingness to hear from him and be healed, be restored. For in this his reign is made manifest in your life and mine. And as the Apostle Paul once said, “The Kingdom of God is not merely a matter of eating and drinking, but it consists of right-standing with God/right-living, peace (restoration of your person as well as peace with others, including enemies), and joy in the Holy Spirit.

May healing flow,

Peace to you…

 

 

ODD VISION: MARVEL CINEMATIC UNIVERSE THEOLOGY

WHY THE MCU IS ESSENCIALLY A THEOLOGICAL PLAY

“Finally, I’ll do it myself.”

-Thanos

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The MCU; this franchise has got to be one of the largest and greatest franchises seen on earth in history. Since its inception, it has given comic book lovers as well as newbies to the comic book lore plenty to think about regarding the comic book genre. Initially-and some of you might not know this-comic book companies such as Marvel and DC struggled for a long time to have their material taken seriously among the general populace. This was a phenomenon that could not be blamed on the wider youthful audience who devoured their content so much so as their parent/guardian influence who largely opposed the comic book industry as soon as it began to tackle real-life problems through metaphors and allusions in their highly illustrated pages. This was a great turn in history according to many comic historians as it saw the rise and prominence of the comic book genre as a serious category of literature.

Who knew that comic books once struggled with such things? It’s child’s play, isn’t it…or is it really? There is plenty of history concerning this matter and I wanted you to get acquainted with it before we moved on to my point today. [I sincerely hope that the great minds behind the MCU do not forget this]. If this history is not clear enough, another thing to be established right off the bat is the fact that the series, as well as the movies follow specific themes; a matter that Anthony and Joe Russo alluded to in their interviews about the films. If this is anything to come by, we can all agree to a great extent too that the MCU has been stupendously successful in executing this plan.

Whereas Marvel heroes and stories tend to be incredible as well as tragic, heart-wrenching, uplifting…basically human at its core, the emphases in the comics echo the same things. It is not the power-set/skills/abilities that make the hero but their character and person. Who over what is the main point preached in the pages of the comic books. If this point is in any causing doubt; Iron Man, his caption was ‘Heroes are Made..’, with Daredevil, his caption was ‘The Man without Fear’, and with Spider Man, his caption is ‘With Great Power, Comes Great Responsibility’. Each of these captions summarize the characters as well as their stories.

Extending the heart of the comics into the MCU as Marvel has done so far is nothing short of incredible (no pun intended, sorry Hulk). Each of these characters have become more relatable as their worldviews, goals and aspirations, as well as their deepest desires and stances are communicated to fans and newcomers alike to the big and small screens. It is with this in mind that I want to make my point.

With all that’s been said about the comics, the characters, their development, as well as the MCU as a whole, it is clear that there’s something else intended to be communicated to the audience from the midst of all this knowledge. Think about it for a second; the success of a good story relies on the development of the characters, the story as well as their own as well as the greater external enemy. I know that right now some of you know who I am talking about. This is Thanos (I couldn’t use his quote and not discuss him now, could I?).

Thanos in the comics is supposed to be to the Avengers what Apocalypse is supposed to have been to the X Men in X Men: (Age of) Apocalypse the 2016 film. Although the movie was a let down, I have to point out that this was not due to the characters’ power set but because of lack of his development in the story and this robbed him of his menacing personality as we know him to be in the comic books. Thanos on the other hand is odd, he, like Apocalypse views himself as a god, but his aspiration is not mere power for the sake of it but for love.

Yes, essentially the MCU is about the extent of a being who fancies himself a god, demonstrating his love to mankind. Not in the Judeo-Christian manner of self sacrifice of the deity but of the sacrifice and manipulation of others to achieve a single goal; ultimate power. Some of you must be like, “Waaait a minute, are you saying that the MCU is actually something akin to a divine tale?” The answer, “Yes. Yes, it is”. The downside as well as the beauty of this lies in the fact that audiences get to see that the Infinity Stones do not reveal Thanos’ power in the end, but rather his greatest weakness. Kinda odd, right? But that’s the point. It’s kinda like a reverse biblical Tower of Babel scenario. The ‘god’ is brought down by ‘mankind’ (i.e. the superheroes who are ‘Earth’s Mightiest Heroes’) when he seeks to disband them and ruin their already-strained interpersonal relationship. In the end, the ‘god’ is shown to be powerless as the highest tower of humanism and auto-soteriology is built. The message? Well, I’ll let Nick Fury say it from the first Avengers’ film;

“Yes, they [i.e. the Avengers] are dangerous. Our world knows that…every world knows that (now”

 

 

 

MOSES AND THE STRUGGLE OF DOUBT: WHY FAITH IS NOT A SMALL MATTER

WHO AM I VERSUS I AM WHO I AM

“Why send me?”

-Moses (paraphrased)

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Recently, an interesting question was raised in the middle of a conversation I was having with a close friend of mine. It went a little bit like this, “We live in a very interesting world, where the question of faith in the marketplace is a taboo. It is virtually impossible to be faithful to my God when everyone else isn’t like keeping it straight?”. Something that caught my attention was the hidden intent behind the question. My friend wanted to serve God in her profession. This isn’t odd in the least bit, strange as it might be to the modern day Christian. It is fundamentally essential that some points are made about this matter because truth be told, the faith Christianity offers the world isn’t cheap, fairy-tale based magic, it is special indeed but it is of an entirely different nature.

Enter Moses, a man who was a prince of Egypt. He was a man whose heritage was questionable considering his true lineage, that of the slaves that worked under the same pharaoh that ordered the deaths of all his peers from his toddler years. Moses was saved because of the god-given wit and wisdom of his mother, Yochebed and it was this very act that led him into the courts of the pharaoh as a child of the royalty. In this place of privilege, Moses grew up. He was trained in the knowledge of the Egyptians, skilled in battle as well as made an authority and prince over the people who were Israel–the prince with God. An odd contrast ain’t it? But how far is it from the truth that each of us are currently living out today?

It may not be clear right now, but our current setting is a set up for something more, regardless of our diverse backgrounds. Now, back to Moses; this man, raised to be prince, commander and ruler is later a shepherd of sheep. His sustenance is no longer coming from the state through taxes, but through the sweat of his brow among livestock. If anything, this transition is greatly humbling. Everything Moses never once thought would become his world, is exactly what has become his reality. What’s more, he has married into the home of a religious leader; a priest to be exact. From his biblical resume, he seems to be the leading priest of his land.

All these things began to redefine Moses’ new identity and peculiar as it might seem, it’s at this stage of transition that God approaches Moses. Appearing at a time when he could be least expected-a time when Moses is pursuing a lost sheep-God appears (I really do think that there’s a powerful message in there somewhere; did Moses demonstrate God’s heart as a shepherd and thus prompt him to intercept him at this point?). God appears with a message and a mission and Moses “(now) go tell pharaoh…”. This is an amazing message indeed! But, did Moses realize it?

At the time of of his call, Moses goes through a spectrum of emotions. At first, he is astonished looking at the burning bush that burned and wasn’t consumed by the fire that had engulfed it; secondly, he is fearful when God talks to him from the midst of the fire and lastly, he is in complete awe as God addresses him by name from the midst of the fire. He is amazed by what he sees, but dismayed by the message he is given. This is the essence of a calling from God; a divine message. As some of you might know, Moses knew exactly what it meant for him to approach Pharaoh with the command of the Lord; he was fully aware of the fact that Pharaoh was considered a god. Oddly, this is not a fact that is far from the truth today, we have modern day people who are/consider themselves ‘gods’.But none of these quite compared to Pharaoh. He was the embodiment of the divine, ruling on earth as a god king according to Egyptian belief.

When YHWH appeared to Moses and he did not have a form, Moses did not know what to make of it. All he had was a word of authority from God, and although this was sufficient because Moses understood divine authority, he knew that Pharaoh did not acknowledge the authority of the God of Israel–considering that he had subdued his people. He merely saw this God as another (pardon my language) pitiful god of the weak. Such deities were not given time of day, for such were not seen as possessing any true authority. Hence, when we see Pharaoh’s reaction to Moses’ message, he says, “Who is the Lord that I should obey him?”

It wasn’t just a matter of pride but a matter of what the Egyptians valued over and against what YHWH valued. Here is the crux of the narrative, God knew that it was not an easy task for Moses but he hoped that Moses understood in the middle of his self-doubt and worry that he (YHWH) was implying that he was a King unlike any kind that he (Moses) had ever known and that Moses’ was essentially God’s ambassador–implying another kingdom other than Pharaoh’s. This paradigm shift was probably something Moses may have seen but had difficulty acknowledging initially. He saw that YHWH truly was strange and that he, unlike the gods of his past, cared for the weak–cared for his people.This God was declaring his greatness to one of the world’s greatest kingdoms and powers through sending his agent to it.

His message? My rule is the true rule. I am the true God. I am the life-source of all things. No man, no system is greater than Me. I made all, therefore I am King, God and Master of all creation. This is what the believer is called to embody as truth. Not, merely by sweet intellectual talk, but by dynamic, active ‘doing’ in the world. It may seem difficult but the God who called Moses, is the God who preserved him. He is the same God that redeemed an entire nation plus some Egyptians and made them one. He is the same one that God used Moses as a leader for the people. He is also the same man that became a type of Christ.

So, how mighty is this faith we are called to? Let us reflect carefully upon Moses’ words, as well as our own limitations;

“11 But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?”

12 And God said, “I will be with you. And this will be the sign to you that it is I who have sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you[a] will worship God on this mountain.”

13 Moses said to God, “Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ Then what shall I tell them?”

14 God said to Moses, “I am who I am.[b] This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I am has sent me to you.’””

He is with you,

Stay blessed!

TEARS OF A SISTER: THE POWER UNSUNG

WHY THESE WOMEN ARE MORE THAN JUST BLOOD, THEY ARE GOD GIVEN EXAMPLES OF STRENGTH

“She’s my sister, break her heart I break your face”

-Unknown

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Why we have these treasures in this life, we shall never truly know. One thing is for sure though, they are here for a reason. I don’t know about you, but I have one and I would love to appreciate mine as well as every other sister out there with this post. There is much to learn from your wit and wisdom, your love and your insight, you are more than a relative, you are an adviser, a friend and a source of joy to us all. I doubt that many can disagree with this one fact; sisters rock! If you doubt this, well, I hope you’ll take a keen look and see it for yourself, she is a gift.

This is a personal story, I know it’s kinda easy to say all sorts of wonderful things about one’s fellow family member without demonstrating how she earned her respect and praise. As way to demonstrate my praise, I want to be clear and dedicate this to my sisters, Bertha ‘Kaka’ and Sharleen. Both of you are walking wonders. How you have been with me and supported me all this while, I shall never understand. For never giving up on me, I am truly indebted to you. Keep being such shining examples of what it means to be women of influence and impact. I believe you both to truly be embodiments of the feminist ideals that your hero, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie speaks of (wherever you are, Chimamanda, I hope you are hearing this! You are a sister too so this article is for you).

When I was going through a cycle of my life as a guy, a cycle of low self-esteem, self-doubt, fear…just to name a few, I didn’t have many people that I could count on. There weren’t many people who knew me that well to support me and help me up on my feet and help me become who I am today. Being the first child in my family from both my paternal side and my maternal side to study theology, I had my share of challenges from the very start. I never though much of it initially, but until I went through a long stormy season that rocked me to my core, that’s when I truly understood. Dealing with a calling in this day and age is not easy, sometimes it feels easier to fall away and be someone else–which is exactly what I sought out to do during this dark period in my life.

Trust me, it may not seem like it right now but having that one family member, especially a sister (even that one cousin/family friend), helps. It’s even much better, several times over, if she prays; that is the one thing that astounds me to this day. For when I began to push people away, when I began to act different, when I no longer so my call as being of any worth, my sisters understood and stepped in to pray for me as well as provide counsel. And it was at this very time that I realized that I was merely falling short of the example I had been since the beginning. I did not see it myself until I got out that I sank real low. I wanted to be ‘that’ guy, the kind who could go out, the kind who could be ‘a ladies man’, the kind who could say all the right things but not commit to them. Yeah, ladies, gents, that was me. If you are at this point disgusted at this, I do not take offense, I was filthy, an ingrate.

There are many things guys like me go through, especially ministers and its largely due to one’s own insecurities. Lead a mega-ministry, but be weighed by an equally mega blemish. It is not unheard of. I, do by no means intend to belittle my actions, but intend to make it clear through this story that I am a human being with numerous faults and that I fess up to them and own them. Because of my sisters and their support, I have been able to find my way back to the Lord. I am not fully perfect but I cannot let a day go by before praying for these mighty women of valor. Kaka, Sharleen…I honor you. May the Lord increase, sustain, guide, nourish, provide and hunt you down with his favor and blessings always!

Sisters, we might have grown up with them, but we don’t know what the word means until the crisis comes. May I sincerely be blessed with a wife of such mettle as you.

In tears, I write this. I honor you sisters around the world. Keep making a difference, especially in the lives of your fellow siblings.

X-MEN APOCALYPSE: THE LADDER OF GREEK ARISTOTELIAN PHILOSOPHY

DARK PHOENIX V. APOCALYPSE

“You are all my children…”

-En Sabah Nur (Apocalypse/The First One)

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X men: Apocalypse, the title of this X-month’s box office release from Fox Studios. Bryan Singer’s new film promised to bring fans to the edge of their seats in the cinemas as they were treated to the story and visuals from the film. Although many critics right now have not really been impressed by the movie since its release this month, it still carries some elements that are worth examining as far as adaptations of comic book story lines and themes are concerned. Let’s begin, shall we?

In the intro of the film, we are treated to the first elements that introduce the movie as something of a theological thriller; this can be credit to the fact that the film begins by showing a time sequence going through major historic events. One of the surprising ones was Jesus’ crucufixion. Odd as it might be the pace of the ‘history montage’ as I would like to call it, at the beginning of the film briefly poses and slows down before quickly going through other significant events that lead up to the modern day (i.e. the 1980’s). This is after a brief introduction of Apocalypse’s introduction is given at the very start. Though highly suggestive, there’s room for argumentation.

Later on in the film, hints and blatant remarks and on-the-nose commentary on Apocalypse’ role in the movie are constantly made (just in case we, the viewers forgot). From comments about Apocalypse being ancient (McTaggart [whose character is something of a background character]), to his role and greatness rivaling biblical power and authority, even down to the constant reminder from Apocalypse [the main antagonist] that he is (or has been known in history as) “Yahweh, Krishna, Elohim” has shown the movie to be somewhat equal in essence to DC’s Batman v. Superman which was released earlier on this year.

Although I do agree that in the comics, characters such as DC’s Superman, Dark Seid, Wonder Woman, and Marvel’s Apocalypse, (and soon to be seen on screen’s) Thanos are shown to be characters with either a god complex or a god-like power or authority. Even though such is the case, the movie, X-Men Apocalypse has some elements introduced into the main atagonist’s character that remind us of Greek Philosophy. One of these elements has got to be the one made by Christianity, Islam and Judaism regarding the First Cause and the Power Inconceivable (as I would like to call it). The first argument basically states that nothing comes into being in and of its own volition and as such everything visible and invisible has to be attributed as coming from somewhere–more precisely, from someOne. The second argument implies that if a person can conceive of a being with greater power than the ones that he/she knows, then there is a likelihood that such a being to exist by the sheer fact that we can conceive of such a being; this ladder goes on until we arrive at the intellectual conclusion that there is a being greater than all who must himself be God, as the argument goes.

What brings these arguments in cohesion with the film, is that Apocalypse is narrated/presented throughout the film as being extremely powerful. An aspect that is shown to have come to be through his stealing of other beings’ powers that were more powerful than he. This is the way in which Apocalypse is presented through the second argument to truly be a god. So, to further his claim to godhood, he seeks to take Charles Xavier’s gifts of telepathy and mind control to quote en quote ‘have the power to be everywhere and anywhere at any time, and to be able to bend the will of men to his own’.

What’s disturbing about Apocalypse desire is that it parallels another Greek story about Icarus who ‘flew too close to the sun and perished’. Apocalypse builds a pyramid to echo his glory and further throw at the viewers his ‘deserved’ enthronement above all mankind so that he may rule over them all. The problem is when, like in the arguments (referenced above) are introduced into the picture, we see that Apocalypse was truly a mere mortal and was capable of death. This takes place when Jean Grey channels her ‘true’ power, the non-mutant, cosmic power of the Dark Phoenix. This is what destroys the foe and turns him to ashes. And for anyone who would like to creeped out a little bit, it is a few seconds prior to this that Apocalypse whispers, ‘Finally, it is here to complete my work’ (my paraphrase) [his true ‘child’ has come to be!].

Bottom line, there is much to be reflected on from this movie. Apocalypse is a good reason why the claim to divinity is unattainable by any mortal. On the flip side, the cosmic dwarfs the mortal abilities of men and is the superior form of power. It is in this realm that we see  that room is created there for another being with greater power than Jean’s in the X-verse (X-men Universe). With that being said, what do you make of these comic book characters and the themes behind their various natures?

Be blessed as we continue with the journey into theology and nerd-dom!

 

WHAT ‘GANGLAND’ HAS TO SAY ABOUT KENYA’S POTENTIAL

WHEN ALL WE NEED IS A CAPABLE GROUP OF LEADERS FOR THE NEXT PHASE…

“You know originally, the gangs were created to protect everybody in the community. There was lynching and bombing going on and the gangs were there to protect. What people don’t understand is that a lot of the leaders died. Medgar Evers (has been shot), Bunchy Carter (has been shot), Fred Hampton (has been shot), MLK (has been shot in Memphis Tennessee). These youngsters didn’t have any direction. No leaders to look up to so they imploded on themselves”

-Lecrae

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Lecrae CC3…When the Christian Artists Get Real

It’s amazing how personal this song is, personal in the sense that it speaks from the heart about the heartbreaking effects of the difficulties being faced by many in the U.S. right now. Many of these difficulties are not recent as many of us would think because each and every single one of them have caused strains in inter-ethnic relationships. These strains are presented as being brought about (primarily) by a quest for identity–an identity in a new land/time period. Whereas in the past great leaders emerged who helped make a difference and level the grounds for those from diverse racial/ethnic backgrounds, the need to progress, evolve and adapt is urgent.

So much crime has taken place because of hatred and indifference. These things, as the song would point out, have not helped lessen the burden being borne by either side of the conflict. Although these things are of great concern, the song would rightly point out that “it was a crooked system like this that left the King of kings bloodless”, a straight up nod to the fact that the systems in place that deny us the rights to be treated as human beings, regardless of race/ethnicity need to be acknowledged. Not only are they to be acknowledged but undone altogether.

Kenya’s current interest in advancing the nation falls under one oddly similar situation as the U.S.; it needs to accept and take advantage of its diversity. With over 40 tribes, each possessing sub-tribes of their own, Kenya’s diversity is as beautiful as the view of a rose in a kaleidoscope: Each mirror reflection interacts with another reflection from another angle and thus creates a beautiful view.Why tribal politics lets us down is yet to be understood, but the fact is, the power has been and always remains in the hands of the people to change things. Although, like the U.S., there were those who came before to fight the oppressive laws and systems that denied the people equal rights as the rest, Kenya can build right now and today from that great history and become greater.

Although there are issues that have kept many suppressed and kept under the feet of oppressive powers and laws, there still remains a great chance that they can rise up again and produce amazing people. As though things couldn’t get any stranger, Obama was Kenyan and became the president of the U.S. for two whole terms. Whereas some disagree as to his heritage, they should remember that Kenya, like the U.S. had great leaders that suffered to give the people freedom. No one bred from this beautiful land is without worth and value (forgive me here, I am letting loose on my patriotism here. I am Kenyan after all!).

Hence, if Obama can lead, so can any one in the world, but it starts here. No more crime, No more violence. No more pitiful fighting and squabbling. No more lying. No more corruption and stealing. No more negative tribal politics. No more extortion. No more robbing the people. As Lecrae and Propaganda’s ‘Gangland’ rightly point out, Jesus is the best example to learn from regarding leadership and making a difference, as well as living a life worthy of God in the midst of difficulty. This, I believe is what the Gospel of Jesus offers my people and the world today.

Why don’t we make a difference by tackling our issues differently?

Why don’t we dare to be better?

Why don’t we dare to love?

Why don’t we dare to share when it hurts?

Why don’t we dare to be different?