Friday, November 5, 2010

Ajwaa …… as usual

In the recent past, I have heard numerous people complaining about our education system. Some say we should do away with what we already have while others don’t really care about a thing. I don’t know where I stand on this matter but one thing I am sure of instead of de-schooling our society, we would rather DECHURCH it.

The other day I was talking to a bunch of teenagers and I liked the discussion because we got to agree on this. This is unlike teenagers who most of the time, think they know everything and don’t want to be told a thing. And as the discussion went on, I was reminded of a joke my friend Gideon shares about his mothers’ church.

Just being hypothetical and playing around with your imagination, which day do you think is God’s most boring? Gideon says he would rather miss a Sunday service than attend one at the mum’s church. He says, ‘they should be going, and after the opening prayer they tell God…. as usual”. I kinda agree with him. Why go to church to do the same thing over and over and expecting something different?

I once took worship leading classes and the instructor said; our prayers don’t get to God as voices. Instead, all the petitions, requests, praises and adorations are picked up into a bowl and they are burnt before God. He said, the burning ‘stuff’ is supposed to get to God as a fragrance of Christ and that’s the only acceptable sacrifice before God. But with the kind of humans we are and the churches we are seeing, God’s housekeepers must have a tough time cleaning the odour.

I kinda feel sorry for God every Sunday, that stench! The way He gets ready with anticipation that his people are up for some worship and time with him, just to prepare the outside without a thought for the inside. The drama He has to withstand and the pain he has to bear when He sees people who have nothing to do with him doing so many unnecessary things in His name. Wa, Sunday is such a day for Him.

On the other hand am reminded of people like Abraham who interacted with God in their daily lives. They didn’t have a set day for Him, they truly portrayed the thought that says… we are the temple of God. God’s dwelling had a place in such peoples’ daily lives through the ups and downs of it. And that is what I desire. a place where i can confidently stand and say; In him I live, in him I move and in him I have my being.

So next Sunday, give God’s house helps a smoother time. When you get there just say AJWAA…meaning as usual and you will minimize the amount of stuff in the bowl or else lets’ just up our game and give God what He deserves. Or have we so easily forgotten that as much as His mercies are new every morning, He is a consuming fire.

Thoughts by Josef Munuhe

Status Update

Curiosity killed the cat. I have burnt my fingers because of curiosity. Naturally I love being informed, being in the loop and I love unwrapping secrets. Humans are very fascinating to me. Just looking at the way people think and behave spices my life.

One thing I like about Facebook is the application that allows me to read what people are thinking, doing or just saying. The usual yapping yapping of people looking for attention and an audience so that they can get a sense of belonging or to just escape from their lonely lives.

The status update application can at most times tell you what is happening around your pals and the best thing is if you miss the updates for some time you can get to see them all at once on their wall. Meaning that all their status updates find their place on their wall.

Last week I attended the Congress Corporate seminar and the reality of status update come more clearly in me. One thing you have to agree with me is that our education system did not develop in us the capability to think. By thinking I mean the production of new thought lines from our world or even from our imagination. What we are good at is recalling which we tend to say it thinking.

God’s mind contains everything. And when we access God’s mind we can’t access everything we only get a dominant thought from him. Our work therefore is to track that thought line and allow it to dominate our thoughts. This process should continue until that thought finds a place in the walls of our hearts.

This is such that if you have been tracking God’s mind for a week, on checking the wall of your heart you should be able to see those inner transactions. In essence the word gets to our mind, it’s processed until it becomes a part of us. The word became flesh.

What is your status update with God? What has he dropped in your mind? Track that thought consciously. This process allows us to get new insights in God and we are able to get clarity on issues that God brings into us.

Now that you are dead

Every family has something they are known for. Good or bad. It’s the thing that distinguishes one from another. For some it’s the ability to thrive in business while for other it’s in wrecking their spouses. For some it’s the ability to educate their kids while for others it’s their first nature to drop out of school.

For this particular family they are known for their hair. It’s dark, long, thick and shiny. It’s evident in all the sisters and wavy on the two brothers. Their color complexion is dark and smooth. No wonder I had a crush on the elder sister. Actually I don’t know what happened. I’ll just say we grew up. If I had a chance I would exchange my hair for theirs. Not that I don’t like my hair, but in my family we are not known for our hair.

Hair is not everything. You need a head, a smart one for that matter. Being fortunate is having a smart haired head. This is what attracted me to this boy. Young, playful and collected was Macharia. I have known him from his childhood. And all his life I always meet him at the roadside looking after the sheep. He would wave at me and sometimes smile. That was all we shared.

I have had a deep liking for this boy. First as I said his hair was wavy. Second it’s because he seemed responsible, bright and joyful. And as much as I didn’t have a personal relationship with this boy, I feel like I have known him all along. I have seen him grow up into a handsome young man, and one thing he was known for is tending his mother’s sheep on the roadside.

But Macharia had to leave us too soon. Only fourteen years old. And for some reasons I can’t get him out of my mind. I think he is the first person who even without having a personal relationship whatsoever I have mourned this hard. I wish I made friends with him. I wish he knew me personally. I wish I had personal memories or even memorabilia out of him. But now he is gone.

I couldn’t even attend his burial. It would have been awkward traveling from far to bury a kid. Someone am not even related to, someone who is not family. And for your information, one thing am known for is for not going for burials.

On an afternoon two weeks ago, Macharia and his small brother were riding a bike down hill towards the only dam in the village. That was to be his last ride. I don’t know the details of the ride but they fell and he never spoke since. Just to die five days after the incident.

On my teenage life I had rode on the same downhill severally enjoying the scenery and the feeling. Most a time against my mother’s instructions, however, she always had a way of getting to know how I was riding my bicycle. And I always got my beatings. If there is one thing my mum is known for, it’s how she raised us.

But now I don’t understand this pain. Why is my heart tormented? Why can’t I stop thinking about Macharia’s death? I know in my heart that when young people die I hurt, but I think when a smart haired boy dies, it hurts too much.

Macharia, now that you are dead, life will go on. But it will not be as usual for me. Because I know I have lost a friend in the making. I will miss you so much. I wish I knew you well.

News…. Facts, information and statistics.

When old people die, I celebrate. When young people die, I mourn. I think about all they would have become and I get into tears. Unfortunately most time you hear someone is dead, you feel sorry for them and continue living your life. They say life must go on. That is the saddest thing. Life must continue.

Last Saturday in the evening, I sat with my mother in the kitchen as we waited supper to get ready. Then the radio news presenter announced about a tragedy that had happened early that evening killing a hundred people. The news was just news. Mere facts, information and statistics. My heart was not moved by the news. I remember commenting and say the way people should be taught a lesson not to touch other peoples’ things.

At that instant my mum was just praying for the families and friends of the deceased. She went ahead telling me how someone will not see their husband again. That someone will not see their wife again. She was sad. She was feeling the news. She heard them beyond just being information.

Later the next day I was going back to the big city. I decided to choose the matatu I want to go with, something I learnt from my dad. He told me to be checking the state of the tyres and the condition of the seats. And on realizing the matatu on line did not qualify to carry me, I ducked out of the queue and went my way looking for another matatu.

Later that night as I listened to the evening news, I was in tears. The radio presenter read out the news about a matatu that had a head on collision with a small car on Nyeri-Nairobi highway killing two people on spot and seriously injuring others. At that time those were not news, they were a reality I had seen with my own eyes.

After getting another matatu to the city we left peacefully until after Sagana when we found the matatu I had refused to enter had had an accident killing two people on the spot as others were ferried to hospital. The two dead men lay lifeless on the roadside. Passengers on other matatus were looking all this in horror.

As usual the evening news must have been facts, information and statistics to most listeners all over the country. But that evening I did not just hear the news, I felt them. I just knew someone would not see their dad again, coz I had seen him lying lifelessly on the roadside.

That weekend my attitude was transformed. My perspective had expanded.

Love conquers all

Gossip is sweet, spiced gossip is sweeter. When you get to know someone’s secret or when you get to peep into their closet and have a glance at their dirty laundry, how does it feel? It’s sometimes sweet and tends to come with some powerful feelings especially if the victim is a friend who keeps you out of the loop. The best part is when it itches. When you want to share with someone else and you are fighting with your conscience whether to keep it to self or to tell someone else.
But what happens when you discover someone’s problem or weakness that they have been keeping away from everyone and deep down you know it’s killing them slowly? Most people tend to do nothing or worse still share it out with the rest of the brethren behind someone’s back and watch the show. Am not pointing fingers, it’s an observation I’ve made. And everyone else will know your problem behind your back. Especially when they say you are not living right.
I have been a victim. Where I was not living according to the set standards and I later came to discover most of my friends knew about it and no one came forward to ask me what was happening and walk with me in my mess. People watched me dance in my own mess and kept the normal holier than thou face that everything is alright spiced with some weird looks of ‘I know what you did last summer’. It’s sad.
I was entertaining the verse where Jesus was telling some guys that He was naked and they gave him no cloths. And that pierced my heart. Amazingly the guys were like, when master? When were you naked and we ignored you? The truth is, if you discover a brother is not living right, that is his nakedness. Why do you want to expose his nakedness? Be compassionate and give him some clothing. This means if you can, speak to him, enquire, empathize and bring him out of the mess. If that is difficult, pray for him secretly and if you must tell someone, the motive should be to bring the brother into the light.
Love covers a multitude of sins. Everyone has their own shortcomings but Jesus accepted as us all while we were sinners. But if the people of light won’t accept me the way I am where do I go? No wonder when someone is struggling with sin or some weakness, most people retreat to themselves. They stop showing up for church meetings. They fear asking for help because they will not get some and soon they get worse and worse. Remember everyone is looking for acceptance. Receive sinners in love. Be compassionate. God is love and He dwells in love. No wonder they say love conquers all.

Beyond The Experience

Four blind men sought to understand what kind of an animal an elephant is. They decided to visit the animal orphanage so that they can have a chance to ‘feel’ the elephant instead of relying on the unadding stories they had heard from other people. One thing that stuck from all the stories they had heard was that; an elephant is a massive animal.
On the day of the visit, one of the blind men was not feeling well. And so he was left behind as the rest went ahead to the orphanage. On arrival, each man had an individual chance to feel the elephant. The first one got the stomach. He stretched his hands all over and he could feel the massive stomach.
The second man found the leg, he moved his hands round and round the elephant and sure enough, he couldn’t agree more how massive an elephant is. And the third one found the tail. He was so amused at the flexibility of this massive animal. It was a dream come true for the blind men. True to what they had heard, they all agreed that elephants are massive animals.
On arriving home, their friend was waiting eagerly to get a description of the elephant from trusted sources. He knew since his blind friends understood his physical challenges, they would be the best people to give the most accurate description.
The first man started, “wah! the elephant is a massive wall. So massive I overstretched my hands to feel the end with no success”. Even before he had finished, the other two had intruded. The second one shouting disagreed with the first one. “How can an elephant be like a wall? Stop playing with our friend’s mind, an elephant is like a huge tree.” I felt it with my hands, round and round I could not even hug the massive tree with my hands stretched.
At that point, the third blind man was so angry he felt betrayed. “Why can’t we be fair to our unwell friend? He at least needs to know how an elephant looks like.’’ He then continued to say, “an elephant is like a rope.’’ The first blind man fainted.
The fourth blind man was even more confused. What kind of an animal is this elephant? A massive wall, a mighty tree or is it a rope? He could not understand as the two other men tried to give first aid to the first man.
And I think that how blind we are before God. He desires that we may come to the full knowledge of him, but some three blind men from the orphanage called religion has all of us divided, confused and scattered. It’s time went beyond the experience. Let’s press on to the knowledge of the fullness of Christ, and then we may come to the unity of faith.

Feeding the fireplace

A good friend of mine keeps on telling me that I can never be a good human rights activist. And I think he is partly true. I sometimes fail to understand how I can go on hunger strike to force the government into action. I also don’t believe I can chain myself at some gate shouting loudly and wailing for action. I think I love myself too much.
Without questioning the genuineness of an activist, the concept of self denial works well at time. The principle of choosing to deny one self’s basic rights for the good of a larger family. Yeah, I may not be a human rights activist, but I am an activist in my own right.
As a young man I have gone through the university of life and at some level I have had to do some things to call for action. For example I have had to deal with some kind of addictions. And for some of these habits to cease I’ve had to actively deny myself some basic rights in regards to the said habit to bring out the desired output.
Let me use the analogy of feeding the fireplace to explain. For one to keep the fire burning, one is required to keep feeding the fireplace with fresh firewood. As the firewood burns, more fresh firewood is required. They also say, where there is no wood, the fire goes out.
For us to get off sinful habits, we must stop feeding ourselves fresh firewood that propels them. For example if one is struggling with addiction to pornography, one stopping to watch new porn and stopping replaying the stored images in his head, is in essence not providing fresh firewood and thus the fire goes out. But the moment fresh firewood is provided, the fire keeps burning.
The same applies to things like worshipping God. When we constantly feed ourselves with fresh wood such as the proceeding word of God, the fire keeps burning for God. And when we leave the fireplace unattended, the firewood finishes and the fire goes out. And we wonder what happened.
Yeah, you too can be an activist in your own right. It just depends with what is your fireplace? Call yourself into action.