KENYA’S MASHUJAA DAY: WHAT THE KENYAN CHURCH NEEDS TO NOTE

HEALING THE NATION

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Hey everyone, how are you all? I am so happy to be back here. I just hope that for those of you who’ve been following me, will take the time to forgive my absence. I have been trying to re-adjust to school life and I am so glad that I can now use this blog to impact, challenge and motivate my followers. Please do not feel left out or neglected, I am back and I’m here to be that blessing to many who read my posts. Remember, feel free to hit me up so that we could share and discuss these issues at a personal level. Love you all!

Now, here we are, Kenya is celebrating yet another Mashujaa Day. The air is filled with excitement as every citizen of Kenya rejoices in the fact they are still an independent country thanks to its heroes. These heroes are what are known in Swahili as “Mashujaa”. These are the men and women who fought for the country’s independence from the British colonial rule…every one of these men and women are revered for their roles in the struggle.

The country’s heroes suffered greatly. Not only were our country’s beloved heroes beaten up, flogged, thrown in prison and persecuted, they endured! Give them credit where it is due, they never backed down even opting to lose their lives rather than live under oppression. And whether or not the country today realizes this, these great men and women defined the nature of Kenyan pride, philosophy and identity. We are undivided. We are one! We refuse to live under the yoke of oppression even that which originates from our own people. This very point, the church in Kenya understood.

In the second stage of gaining Kenya’s freedom, key church leaders stepped up to challenge unjust systems in the country’s governance. Not only did they rise up to speak, they, like the Heroes before, made a scene about it and suffered greatly for it. They did not relent, but they stood for one truth: The Gospel’s message was freedom from sin and injustice and the mere existence of the church in the country ought to reflect that fact. How incredible?

Here were a class of senior, revered ministers of the Gospel who did not esteem their positions higher than their true callings as followers of Jesus but let themselves suffer for the rest of the country to experience true freedom. It is no small feat to achieve such a treasured thing as freedom, but it is sad when the heart and values of those before are not seen to trickle down into today’s crop of leaders and ministers. But let it be said now, There is hope and someone reading this might agree and find him/herself to be that hero that the Kenya today needs.

The struggle is still not over until we are truly one in heart, mind, agenda and identity.

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

LECRAE FT. PROPAGANDA: GANGLAND

WHY THIS SONG SPEAKS VOLUMES…HAVE WE FORGOTTEN THE PAST?

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[Intro]
We not playin’ out here, it’s for real. We livin’ out here for life, we tryna to get it. Ain’t nobody finna take our life. I keep my young homies out here with these things, my big homies keep handlin’ me. And we keep it crackin’. My other name should’ve been Jesse James cause I stay with my cannon. I didn’t have no choice, I was raised right around the corner from where we standin’. Hollow points in it and all of that, I’m ready. We gang bangin’!

[Intro: Lecrae]
My cousin *beep* was a killer
He done pulled a lot of triggers
He done made a lot of mamas cry
And if you ask him why he do it he’d just say, “I’m young and foolish”
Bang on you right before he made them bullets fly

[Verse 1: Lecrae]
He ain’t have no sense of dignity, his daddy was a mystery
He’ll probably end up dead or sittin’ in a penitentary
And tell the judge he can go to hell for the sentence
And it probably make no sense to you but listen to the history:
The new Jim Crow or the old one
People out here fightin’ for equality and honestly I think they owed some
Back and forth some
Cleaver got a message for the people
Bunchy with ’em and they tryna stop the evil
And they cliqued up with they fist up
The whole neighborhood feelin’ like they meant somethin’
Then it was a mix-up, fed’s got ’em fixed up
End of the movement, back to the bricks, bruh
And Raymond Washington about to start the Crips up
They gettin’ bigger every day and tryna fix stuff
They saw Geronimo Pratt dodgin’ bullets from attacks
Guess they figure, “We don’t really want it this much”

[Break 1: Lecrae]
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

[Verse 2: Lecrae]
They say that Crip stands for Community
Revolutionary Interparty Service
Way before the genocide and the murders
A little after integration was the verdict
When bombs might go off at the Sunday service (baow!)
They protectin’ they community
Then it turn into diplomatic immunity
Then a fight against oppression was the pressin’
Now they keep on losin’ battles and they started losin’ unity
Now they beat each other blue-black
Force fed self hate ’till the truth crack
Got they own folks hidin’ on the rooftops
They ain’t finna take no more, they finna shoot back (baow!)
Now they bond like a family they all bloods
From the concrete jungle to the small hoods
Throwin’ signs up, now the crime’s up
We was meant to kill oppression now we loadin’ 9’s up
But never mind us, grind us
Factory done closed, now a lot of people jobless
Now they got the drugs comin’ in from Nicaragua
Government done turned a blind eye, or they liars

[Break 2: Lecrae]
It was a perfect storm. I mean, we’re talkin’ post-segregation. And what are you gonna do? The factories have closed and no one’s hiring anybody from the urban community because of what you look like. And now there’s a war going on in Nicaragua and drugs are being imported into your community. Are you gonna to sell drugs or are you gonna be homeless? Cause the government’s not paying attention

[Verse 3: Propaganda]
Huh, man you tell me
What’s a reasonable man to say?
There’s a high school in Alabama named after Robert E. Lee And it’s 89% black, you don’t see the irony?
What it do to a psyche, it’s simple, you don’t like me
What I’m ‘posed to do now?
Delusional calling that system criminal justice
Where the rich and the guilty are safer than the poor and the innocent
Why would we listen?
When American churches scuff they Toms on our brother’s dead bodies
As they march to stop gay marriage
We had issues with Planned Parenthood too
We just cared about black lives outside the womb just as much as in
Young man gon’ find purpose somehow
And a nation was at least around
And when them vice lords told him he was of royal descent
And that war on drugs felt much more like war on the poor
He figured forget it
So why don’t you come stay a while?
Tell us that the son of man walked on Egyptian
And Eastern soil and wasn’t just a Western construct
Or master used to control us
But what the Master used to free us
And it was a crooked system just like this that left the King of Kings bloodless
Yeah, we are truly a descendant of a King
Only his reign is infinite
And being right is a distant second to the joy of compassion
Why don’t you come stay a while?

GENESIS: BEAUTY’S TRUE NAME

WHY BEING MADE IN GOD’S IMAGE AND LIKENESS IS THE PRIME ACHIEVEMENT OF OUR SPECIES, AND THE ASPIRATION OF THE ‘TOMORROW’

“Adam, where are you?”

-God to Adam

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I have no idea how this topic came to me, but ever since it dropped on my lap I have had this pressing feeling that I have got to do something about it. What is that something, you ask? Blog it, of course! Ha ha. I think every blogger out there appreciates the thrill of sharing from their various fields of interest as they provide insights that were never before witnessed and/or shared by others. To all my fellow bloggers out there, I salute you and appreciate you for the work you do, keep the fire burning. For it was because of you that I gained interest in this art and for that I remain forever grateful.

So, down to the subject of interest, the creation of man in God’s image as the ultimate objective of our existence. What I love about this post today is its uniqueness as it is both the example and the hope of mankind. Our starting point on this subject? God’s question to Adam. When the the first couple experienced the effects of the catastrophe that was the¬†identity changing Fall, they were not prepared for what came next. “Adam, where are you?” Are the first words that the first man heard from God after eating from the tree of good and evil. These words were timely as they were a reflection of concern; they were not words that came from God immediately after the disobedient act of the couple, but rather, later on.

What could Adam have been thinking at this point, as he was being sought after? “Oh no, I’m a goner. That does it, Eve, we are through; we had this coming…”, he, together with Eve probably riddled themselves with guilt to a standstill, with the guilt eating into their conscience. But what’s more peculiar about this is that, although we tend to ask why we as people are in trouble over an issue in life, we often look at the one who confronts us rather than look introspectively at ourselves. If we take the latter option we find that we gain more of our personal identity and character and we actually do become better people in the long-run, an option that the first couple did not consider.

Here’s where I wanted to take this discussion for today; whereas the story of Adam and Eve has been one of the most debated narratives of all time, it offers profound insight into the first sign of our loss as human beings. This loss being the very first sign of the shortcomings¬†of our new identity, person and being. No wonder the name of God, I Am, is of such significant value when it comes to cracking the message of the Bible especially as far as humanity finding its being is concerned.

Although we are at present imperfect, we should be able to understand imperfection as a gift of mortality. We do not live forever, but we can’t surely conclude that it’s Y.O.L.O. either (catchy as the slogan might be). We are limited, we have various flaws and imperfections but we are not hopeless, neither are we useless. We are each of us one of a kind with a journey ahead of us. I’d like to propose that the fullness of this being that was once lost has been regained and that it is attainable today-and right now. God wasn’t concerned about destroying Adam, because as the texts show us, he was looking for him. He wanted to restore him and not merely finish him off.

His mercy is amazing and his greatest desire is that we rest in him in the midst of our failures and crowning achievements. Because, at the end of it all, what defines is not the material but the immaterial. And so begins the search for human beauty, the restoration of being to humanity; filled with purpose, drive, enthusiasm, joy, wholeness, love and peace.

May we truly unlock our potential in His name.

THE CHRISTIAN HOPE AND THE CONCEPT OF AN UNENDING TOMORROW

WHEN TOMORROW CAN NEVER DIE...

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Hey y’all! I hope that your week has gone well and that Friday the 13th didn’t give you the spooks, because what I have for you is something to give even the dead hope. It’s been such an amazing journey so far with you and I do hope that these posts do make a difference in someone’s life. If you have been following my posts, I thank you; if you have just gazed upon this post and thought it worth the while to read it, I thank you too: These posts are made for your benefit and interest. I gain nothing from these posts by the way, just a smile or two…:-)and sometimes that’s all we hope our words do to others. We are people after all, broken and flawed but still possessing so much more beneath the surface that can be tapped into if we only transition.

What’s odd about the concept of transition is that it truly is a longing deeply rooted in the human soul and psyche. Buddhism describes the best transition as being likened to that of the butterfly that has emerged from a caterpillar; the Greeks described transition as sacrificial, likening the process to a snake shedding off its skin and today, people are finding meaning behind a full gender change. What these three entirely different worldviews show us is that although we have the need, we do not–as of now understand why we do have this urge. Something I would like to point out at this time though is that we have dealt with this issue from a moralistic point of view as Christians and done a lot of damage in the process because we do not fully understand what our faith is about, and that is, transition.

The idea is, what Jesus has done for man is so beautiful that the best way that the Apostle Paul could frame it in the New Testament is, “Now we only see (this thing) dimly as in a mirror…but we await the reality”. It is too hard to give it a natural equivalent. In short, the message that Jesus gives us from both his life and teachings are phenomenally radical. He offers a full transition to the Kingdom of the Light and to a new nature, life, worldview and Kingdom. But here’s the twist, it isn’t a new idea. Way back in Genesis, when God was creating and ordering his work, he structured the days as night transitioning into the morning.

It was thought that this move echoed the life of the free Hebrew when he/she had been brought out of Egypt. What’s even more peculiar is that although some make it seem like it was so glum for all Israel, it really wasn’t in the eyes of the modern reader: they argued with Moses that they ate well, that they had enough for themselves (and no one comes up to deny these claims, you can actually check it out), finally Moses is described (although he was a prince, as living a life filled with the pleasures of sin). It doesn’t look so bad now until we look back and see that darkness isn’t just torture or some deep magic or evil cult worship or stuff like that, but serving our appetites and doing what pleases us. This is the one thing makes us stuck in a loop and makes transition a fading thought.

Then it hits us, perhaps there is more going on in our lives than we realize! Please don’t mistake this post as being hateful and moralistic but as a theological expression of what’s truly going on with the human condition. After all, is it not written that God gives us the ability to will for good according to his will? Why then do we do things as we want, not as he directs us? I too fall in this category, I am by all means no exception. But there is hope. Hope that refreshes us. The movement of the days from darkness (night) into the day (morning) is a reflection of what God does with us when we follow him…whether sprinting or with baby steps, we transition.

That’s where the Bible makes it more interesting when it points out that the act of following God is not some cut and dry religious experience. It actually breeds life, “Though weeping may endure for the night, joy comes in the morning”…our pain is relieved; “His mercies are new every morning, great is your faithfulness”, he gives us what we need most and never forsakes us even when we slip, slide or fall. That’s the transition that Jesus offers each and every one of us. It is a reflection of what we as human beings are desperately crying for, change, identity, purpose, belonging, meaning and peace. It is an echo of what is to come when Jesus comes back tomorrow…

CULINARY THEOLOGY: WHY FOOD AND SCRIPTURE ARE RELATED

WHEN BIBLICAL THEOLOGY APPEALS TO MORE THAN JUST A HEALTHY APPETITE

“I desire that they might be one…”

-Jesus Christ’s final prayer

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I have to come clean guys, I love food! Not a day goes by when I haven’t either googled, cooked or searched for some recipe online or on T.V. Although I have a fine appreciation for food and the culinary arts, I haven’t encountered many who have done an article on food. I am also a native African, and I can tell you, food is a part of the African culture and it speaks in volumes what a few words and statements cannot.

An invite to an African home is directly co-related with a family’s kindly gesture of invitation to dine with that very family. It is odd though that this warmth is what got lost over time and distanced Christians and Jews in the early church period. For although there were differences, there was fellowship and room was created to share each other’s beliefs regarding Jesus of Nazareth. And I think most of you who do host or have taken part in hosting will agree, it makes an incredible difference when sharing and discussing ideals/theologies/worldviews over a meal.

Why there is no discussion going on about this matter, I will never know. But this post has come to be because of my close friend and colleague Seblewongel M. Wolde from Ethiopia who is very much into food as she is into theology and people, so I owe this one to her. Thanks Seble! Looking at symbols and gestures of hospitality in the Judeo-Christian Scriptures, I notice an odd trend: Those who shared exercised something that the rest of society wasn’t willing to; they also demonstrated another way when the culture didn’t seem to offer any good alternative views and they also showed beyond a shadow of doubt that humanity is redeemable.

As odd as it sounds, yes, sharing and not merely giving food show more than just pity. They show LOVE, compassion, unity and equality. This is what the setting was of the first church; slaves sat with nobles, farmers dined with officials, Christ dined with all. He was seen and witnessed as being alive in their midst. And that is what culinary theology does, it blends together as the spices and condiments do to the food materials and one incredible taste is made.