Archive for June, 2006

A Quick Acknowledgement
June 21, 2006

Subtract the cosmos, and you have nothing left, except for one small detail: God, a being, a life, a mind, a heart, an inteligence, a creative personality, an essential goodness, an inexpressible beauty, a light beyond all seeing, an infinite song that by its very being gives meaning to meaning, gives glory to glory, gives life to life, a pure consciousness – pure in every since of the word.

not me

The Kenya Chronicles: Worship & Prayer
June 10, 2006

I had the opportunity to tag along with Scott to the class he was teaching at The Kenya Baptist Theological College. After the class each day of the week, the bible students would assemble in what could only be described as a “mess hall” to participate in their daily chapel service. I was incredibly blessed to be able to preach during this chapel service one day, but what I observed from the Kenyan culture in relation to their worship & prayer is what really stole my attention.

We had a brief time of worship (or singing…if your a Sokanist) before the preaching would commence. I was forced to merely observe because the songs were in Kiswahili. I watched as my African brothers and sisters truly gave glory to the Father through song and music. It was humble and rich. Honestly, it was unlike anything I had ever encountered. Not to say that I haven’t been a part of great worship experiences in the states. But it is an amazing thing to hear a different culture lift up the name of Christ in a different language with no band, lights, or sound system. They worshiped with all their might. Some danced, some clapped, but all were engaged. It was truly beautiful.

An African prayer sounds much different than an American. They had such a reverence and humility to their conversational encounters with the Almighty. They poured out their hearts proudly, yet still preserved a dynamic respect for the One receiving their words. I think we are sometimes guilty of loosing that reverence that we see demonstrated by guys like David and Abraham, Noah, and Moses when verbally addressing our God. In our attempt to make Him as personal as possible (which is not a faulty endeavor) we sometimes misplace the reverence and ultimate respect that our Creator deserves. It seemed that my brothers and sisters at the KBTC knew their position in front of Yahweh. Their prayers were as beautiful as their worship. I guess it is a little easier to understand and demonstrate your status in front of Holy God when you are faced with that life and reality. I don’t fully understand being in a place where God must come through if I want to continue in my reality. While listening, I had such a peace that the God of Africa heard those prayers and was moved.

I am blessed, but cursed. I am cursed, yet blessed.

The Kenya Chronicles: Kibera
June 2, 2006

I saw more social injustice in the first two days of my stay than I have in my entire life. At Kibera…I saw enough to last a lifetime.

Kibera is one of the largest slums this world possesses. Home to more than a quarter of Nairobi’s population, the slums of Kibera house over a million people in approximately 2 kilometers squared (1.6 kilometers = 1 mile). The average home of Kibera is about 3 meters by 3 meters (1 meter = approx. 1 yard), occupying an average of 5 people per dwelling. Living conditions are atrocious to say the very least. To be honest, when I looked out over the Kibera landscape…I had a difficult time mentally and emotionally processing what my eyes were capturing. It was like something you only see in a movie. The sight, and smell, and sounds were devastating to preconceived ideas of reality. I was far beyond being speechless…I was thoughtless. I wish I could boast of having a brilliant thought or idea, maybe a poem or inspired quote, or a passage of scripture to go alongside the socially detestable images…but I could only stare. It cannot be described, only experienced.

Despite living in squalor, the children were beautiful. Thier eyes were weary from existence and their feet were calloused from dirt packed harder than cement, but their faces glowed. It is difficult to see God in a place like Kibera. I managed to locate Him…in the faces of the children. They wave at you. They wave like everything is okay. To them, it is. That is all they know…and all they will every know. They don’t yet comprehend that there is another world full of health, potential, success, futures, and luxury. It’s better that they don’t realize it…I think. Seeing a mzungu (white man) is a rare and exciting experience. Burned in my mind are the voices of the children of Kenya chanting “mzungu, mzungu, mzungu…how are you, how are you, how are you.” As they chant for a simple acknowledgment, they wave. I waved back and smiled as if everything is okay. I know better…but, thank God, they don’t.

The day I saw Kibera would have been emotionally bearable if I did not see the children…if I did not hear them ask, “How are you”…if I didn’t see them chase after the car and try to jump on…if they didn’t beg me to take pictures of them…if they didn’t reach out and grab my hand just to walk a few steps with a white man…if I didn’t see them barefoot…if I didn’t see them hungry…If I didn’t see them. But they were there…exactly where God had placed them.

The sights did not cause me to resent America or my reality (more on that in a later post). But they did cause me to ponder God’s sovereignty. It caused me to intensely wonder why God’s sovereignty placed me in Kentucky and not Kibera. I am completely deserving of that life, but I did not receive it. Why will my child (July 23) have the life he is given. Is Africa a scapegoat? Is there a solution to the poverty? Why me? Why them? Why America? Why Africa? I will attempt to unpack these questions in future posts with things that God has taught me in the past month.

Why Kibera?

It cannot be described…only experienced.