Book Review

A preview of the book I Married You by Rev. Saul Omulama
Leadership is one very critical area in any institution that the progress and success of any institutions is directly dependent on the quality of people that control it. This topic has been addressed in my book “I married you.”
The thought of writing this book came to me five years ago when I realized the need to engage young people, those who are considering marriage and those who are in the early years of marriage. I married you is a call to love commitment, it is a call to leadership.
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The Bible calls us to be transformed in our mind. The mind is a key area that is a target for the enemy of marriage. In the book I have taken a common approach to selected areas that are crucial to marriage and relationships, it is a reflection on marriage. Successful marriage is not by coincidence, it is a product of hard work; this is the message I want the young reader in the society to appreciate
The book has 10 chapters. Chapter one is an appreciation of marriage from a biblical perspective. Chapter two deals with what it means to be successful in marriage. Chapter three addresses what I consider to be important tips to stay in marriage; Chapter four is about the things that lovers do. I included chapter five and called it the Ten commandments on marriage; Chapter six is about leadership tips for marriage, chapter seven focuses on the stages of marriage; chapter eight deals with the fake brands of marriage; chapter nine has a collection of Luhya sayings and the tenth chapter concludes with the all important topic of conflict resolution.
The book has the prowess of combining and bringing out biblical truth in both a scholarly and common sense approach. It is written in easy to understand English making it ideal for both the scholarly mind and the lay readers. The book will be available at selected Christian resource outlets in Kenya or one can place an order by calling 0711 776 510 or email: saul.mulama@gmail.com
Rev. Saul Omulama is currently a lecturer at Kima International School of Theology. He studied at Kima International School of Theology (KIST) and at Africa International University (AIU). He also serves as the senior pastor at the Church of God Cathedral. He is married to Nelly and they are blessed with three children, two sons and a daughter.

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Chapter 3 S.T.A.Y in marriage
“Brothers, each man as responsible to God should remain in the situation God called him to.” (1 Cor. 7:24 NIV)

We like to stay in situations and positions that are of considerable comfort to our lives. Many mothers have to device tricks to help keep their children to school when they start preschool. When we get onto our carer path we want to stay and advance our skills so that we can receive promotions and improve our earnings. words cannot describe the gap that that we experience when we are forces to separate from our colleagues due to some circumstances. As i have seen our son grow i have realities that there has been a significant change as he grows up. We keep encountering newness as we continue to parent and care for him. even though our son continues to grow and change he has remained to be our son and we keep loving him and becoming more and more dear to us. The same could be said of marriage, there is a lot that changes as we stay together yet i wish to propose five points that can help us remain together.
S – Serve in marriage.
Husbands must climb down the ladder of male bigotry and come to a level where they can embrace their wives as real friends in marriage. In Jn. Cc 13 Jesus has demonstrated to us a perfect example of servant hood that must be embraced by all. When Jesus came down from a position of honor and put a towel around his waist and started cleaning the feet of his disciples he was not instituting a ritual practice to be engraved on our church calendars. He was setting a graphic example to emulate in all aspects of life: that the secret of greatness is humility. DL Moody has put it well when he said that “the beginning of greatness is to be little, the increase of greatness is to be less, and the perfection of greatness is to be nothing.”
For our families and marriages to be stable we have to come down from that mindset that tells us that we cannot be on the same level with our spouses. Paul has highlighted the example of Christ that we are to follow in Philippians 2:5-11. Jesus being in the very nature God he did not count equality as something to be grasped. He took that position of a servant and humbled himself to death even death on a cross.
Exaltation follows true humility and not vice versa. We cannot go against the principles of the Bible and expect that we can receive anything from God. The principles of God never changes
When the husband is called upon to dethrone it does not mean that he lost his position as the head. It is rather God’s way of letting us to fit well into our position. Haven’t we been told that he who thinks he is something he is nothing? And that none of us should think of himself more highly than he should.
When we pray as we do in the Lord’s Prayer that “may your kingdom come,” we are indeed admitting that we are not the kings: that God is the king. Yet many want the kingdom of God to come somewhere out there. And that the will of God to be done somewhere out there – in the church. We pray for God’s kingdom to come outside there but our families remain small sovereign states within the kingdom of God.
Serving your partner involves going out of your way to do those things that your partner may not ordinarily expect you do. Go out of the routine. Well it is normal for the wife to be the cook in the house to prepare the meals, do the washing and be the one to take care of those house hold staff.

Some parents pervert the home, so that it is the last place family members want to go when they are tired at the end of the day, this group included women who constantly criticize their husbands and men who demand of their wives such submission as is only due to God. Such uncompromising attitudes will boomerang in the long run. No sacrifice is too great to create a home that both parents and children want to rush back to at the end of the day.
I think that going out of your way to serve your spouse reminds the two of you that the reason why you have come together is to support each other and not to fight or rule over the other. Remember the best way to teach anybody anything is do it with that person, the best way that my wife can know that I am a servant leader is not for her to see me doing it out there, it for me to be serving with her in that little world that is our family that we are building together.
Service to one another is the surest way to ensure that we stay in the marriage. It causes us to realize on moment by moment basis that we all need each other and that we have a responsibility to each other beyond that defined husband- wife roles. When we serve one another we help our children to overcome some of the traditional stereotypes and therefore inculcate in then the proper ideals that will see them go out there seeking to serve.
It also means that we have to be willing to do good to the other even when we feel they don’t deserve it. It means doing the right thing all the time. Serving your partner means that you cannot allow your emotions dictate how you treat your spouse. I have to give to my spouse the best service at all times unconditionally.
I have found it very refreshing those moments that I have stepped in the kitchen to prepare a meal while my Nelly is busy watching her favorite program on TV. Sometime in the evening I just slide there in the kitchen and make a cup of coffee for her. One thing that happens to me and the truth that often comes to mind when I do such small acts of kindness is that my wife is not my house girl. And again when I do this I see her beam with joy and really what else matters in life that to cause someone to have a little heaven down here, even if it is just for a few minutes
When I talk about service to one another I do not mean doing things for one another during those distressing moments. I mean that service can become one way to celebrate our marriage on a day to day basis. It is important that we just do to our spouses what they need done when they are tires or sick. But is important to get out of our way and just perform acts of kindness that the other does not expect but we know will be a source of joy.
Garry Thomas is right when he observes that A man might be able to preach a sterling sermon, write inspiring Books and quote the Bible front to back, but if he hasn’t learnt how to be a servant to his wife, to respect her and to be considerate of her then his spirituality is still infallible. His prayer life the lifeblood of his soul will be a sham.
The other aspect of serve is that we as families and as couples are called upon to serve the community. One way to grow strong and to receive blessing from God is to serve his people. That way we begin to realize how important our marriage is not only to our selves but also to the community. We can serve in the church together by getting involved in the programs of the church. We can also identify the needy families in our neighborhood and invite them to celebrate Christmas with our or donate something to them so that they can also find relief.
No one of us has anything to give. We have so much to give only if we are going to stop being selfish. The difference between big and small giving is that big giving is always from the heart.
Your marriage must remain to be that big institution that is giving support to the community make it so and begin early. Remember your family will be the biggest source of nourishment and comfort; it is you home that you will always come back to for the rest of your life. Don’t get married in order just to produce children in as much as that is one desirable aspect of it. My council to those that are intending to get married is please look for those traits of leadership in your mate that you think can compliment yours so that you two can complement what is lacking in your surroundings.
The other most important way that we can serve one another is just by feeding each other on the word of God. The word of God is real food and as Jesus put it well in his word “man does not live on bread alone” (Luke 4:4). We also note that all scripture is “God –breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking and, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work” (3 Tim 3:17).
Family life is challenging, there are many decisions and many issues to be dealt with. You get married and get children, the children becomes an issue. When you get employed that becomes an issue in marriage. The children grow up and you have to provide direction for them. At the same time there are other social responsibilities to deal with at each level. We can benefit more when we get enlightenment from the word of God. The Psalmist put it well when he said “your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (Psalm 119:105).
Marriage is the foundation of the any society; a peaceful marriage is a strong foundation for the nation and for the church. Strong peaceful marriage is one that is founded on the word of God. This does not happen by chance we must regularly fellowship with the word of God so that it becomes part of our lives.
Talk about talk I mean what you are hearing people say. What are you hearing from God? Talk about what is in the news. What is out there in the streets in printed media, social media, over the radio? People are saying very interesting things some of which we don’t take time to reflect about yet when we do we find they some to be so interesting. Yet this demands that we have to be very critical and keen so that we don’t end up being rumor mongers.
We have to be people oriented for us to know what people are talking about. We have to have an ear to the ground so to speak. This means that we have to value people and stand to greet and give a word and join their conversations without necessarily being carried into “Godless chatter”. When doing that we have to obey the biblical instruction to be quick to listen but slow to speak.
Adventure Be explorers together in the marriage live. There are moments to be adventurers and just explore new places and things. Doesn’t stick to the same places for this will cause you to run dry. Plan to Go out together at least as your income can allow this will cause you to begin to look at life very differently and bring to your mind new things to discuss apart from the regular issues to do with the children and finances. Such issues can cause a strain in marriage if all that you are talking about is children and blaming one another for one thing and another.
Talk about life. How do you see life? Give your evaluations and perspectives. These are very interesting and it opens that other to a whole new dimension. Discuss and review your past and present experiences. Discuss about how you have watched your children grow and what you have learned from this experiences as person. Review the events of the past year together and note the improvements that need to be put into place. Discuss how you can be able to achieve better in the days that lie ahead of you. Talk about your feelings. When you don’t feel like talking you can let the other know. Don’t let anything obstruct you from talking to each other. Talk about the children if you have them, how are they fairing in school. Do they have any special needs? Bring each other to speed on the social, academic, and spiritual and physical needs of the kids. Don’t let each other in the dark about any detail that pertains to the children for this will be detrimental to the growth of the children as well as your relationship

Talk about Kenya Your country is very important. Discuss about the event are taking place in your country at eh national and at the local level as well. Make your own observations and note that you need have a big responsibility to play your part as a good citizen. Above all as Christian families we are called to pray for our nation and leaders. Reflecting on the issues of your country is away to demonstrate patriotism. Don’t be a naïve citizen families are the key elements of the country and as you discuss this things together you open yourselves to a meaning full engagement with the national issues.
A admit your weaknesses and allow for weaknesses. We have to admit that we are helpless without God and that we need gods help in our lives. Admit also your mistakes and when you are wrong don’t waste time trying to prove yourself right but ask for forgiveness quickly and commit not to repeat the same again.
This also call for us to open ourselves to our spouses regarding those areas that we know are our weak points and that we need support. Admitting is one way of breaking the strongholds in our lives. Such strong holds may include hot temperedness, if you are a hot tempered kind of person admit it to your spouse and ask them to pray with you. This could be hatreds towards men or fear of something. Some have strong mistrust for men, you believe that men are all not faithful and therefore we live in suspicion suspecting that our men up to something fishy, be free to share some of this things.
For some men it is this high ego that a man cannot humble themselves to the point of seeking for forgiveness before the wife. There is this young man who was admitting in church that actually admitting that he is the one that is wrong was such a big deal to him. He could shut up and wait for the wife to be the one to come and apologize.
Admit where your relationship is. We cannot hide forever; if you need help do so as without hesitation because it is better to seek for help that to keep on hurting inside. Don’t play hide and seek games, we can always tell when things are not right. We need not to pretend as if nothing is wrong, point the issues and sought it out with prayer. God knows where we are and even thought we may not tell, he wants us to come to terms with our issues and deal with them.
When Adam and eve had fallen into sin they went into hiding. God came calling Adam where are you. This is to show that God wants us to resolve issues in our lives. He wants us to come to terms with ourselves and to leave in peace. To achieve this it means that some painful steps have to be taken including accepting the consequences of our action and words. And this is what many people want to avoid and some will just want to hide things under the carpet and pretend to have forgotten.
What are some of the weak areas in your life that you feel needs some help and support and prayer? Share this with your spouse.
Y yield
Yield means giving the other the right of way. Don’t be a rigid person that cannot change your mind. It has been said that a wise man changes his mind. You have to be the kind of person that cedes you ground to allow the other person to have the right of way. What is that you hold to so much that you allow coming between you and your spouse. Don’t ever hold back anything be it money, or ideas or rights. But it also it means that our lives must be yielded in the right direction that is to God. You can only give to the other the best of you and you are at your best when you give yourself to God.

GOD BELIEVES IN DEVOLUTION

GOD BELIEVES IN DEVOLUTION

The current constitutional dispensation brings a lot of prospects for the Kenyan people. One of the greatest aspects is the concept of devolution that promises to make opportunities for every Kenyan. This must be appreciated as a great milestone in our country’s governance system. We must count it as an opportunity to deal with the injustices that have bedeviled us for decades.

Even as we do so we need to appreciate that God has his hand in the history of every nation. Therefore we need to be aware that God as the King of the universe guides and leads the affairs of his people. God will always exert his power for the liberation of the less fortunate. When we closely consider our history we cannot deny that he has been in charge of the cause of our nation. No single individual should brag for the landmark achievements that have been noted so far.

That God believes in devolution is evident from the very beginning of biblical account. Humans are naturally clutchers, we are born with our hands clutching onto our destiny, and we like to hold on to that which is our own. God on the other hand wishes that the least one among us must have the best.

Our sinful nature always tends towards self preservation. We always want to make sure that we have enough for ourselves and our children before we can think of another. This explains the reason why we have had some areas of our country richer than others. This also explains why very few take home millions when many cannot afford a meal.

In Genesis is the story of creation of man. Before God brings man to the scene he makes sure that he has everything that is necessary to sustain humanity. He ensured that there is a conducive environment and atmosphere to support Adam and Eve. He made sure that everything was good and left nothing to chance and unattended.

Man was given authority to take care and control that which was created for him (Gen.1: 29-30). This is the first level of devolution that I see in the story. This is at the level of governance and administration. God provided man with the capacity and opportunity to excel and use his potential to advance: multiply and fill the earth. And when he realized that Adam could not do all this alone he provided a helper to make sure that there is increase in the garden. What a pity that we have taken decades to come to a point of realizing that we cannot achieve much when our women are not empowered. God begun affirmative action at the very beginning; that was part of his initial plan and strategy. That is why it has worked.

When we encounter the story of Abraham, we realize it is all about sharing and making the best of all that God has for all us. When God called Abraham out of the land of the Chaldeans, he took his wife Sarai, his nephew and all the possessions that he had accumulated (Gen. 12; 5). In the account of Abraham and Lot there is an interesting development. It is reported that the land could not support them as they stayed together (Gen. 13:6). There was frequent fighting and quarreling among the herdsmen of these two gentlemen. They agreed to move to separate locations and when they did the Bible records that God promised to bless Abraham greatly. Quarreling stops and blessing increase when we distribute or share.

Devolution in our country must not be seen to be a bother to anyone of us. It is surely an opportunity to increase the blessing of God and open new horizon for our people. This will make it possible for us to see the things that we had not seen. The spirit of God dwells where there is peace. This cannot happen when we are fighting over the little resources that are squeezed in small spaces.

Devolution is the key, when we move to separate locations with enough riches for each one, we receive an increase of the blessings of God. We have more space and capacity to put our skills and talents to the test. We also are able to appreciate other people and develop stronger relationships as we work together. It is no longer them vs us but all of us pulling together.

Jesus demonstrated it further when he left the riches of heaven to come to us here on earth. By his coming we access the rich blessing of God. When we dispatch the resources in terms of finances and human capital to the counties then the people in those places will be able to appreciate that they too are loved by God and appreciated by us. Let us therefore be good champions of devolution for it is God’s will that each one of us must have something to share.

Open letter

AN OPEN LETTER TO BONIFACE

Dear Boniface

I observed what happened on the Labour Day celebrations at Uhuru Park and later listened to your interview with your friend Larry on NTV. I have some insights to share with you and I request you to have a look. I applaud your ability to take note and desire to take some action when you see things are going wrong in your country. Your zeal and courage are surely admirable. However I think there are some things that I consider are going to be your undoing unless you give them a quick check. It is good to be zealous when you are zealous in the right thing.  You need not to rely on your peers when you are pursuing your mission. Such mission requires that you have to be able to stand and die alone.

1.       As a country we have moved on. As much as we have had a dark history there are a number of areas in which a lot of gains have been made. At this point in our history in my view it is nobler to emphasize the great strides that we have made rather than focus on the negatives (I am not saying that the faults must be ignored). The realization of the 2010 constitution has made possible for Kenyans to have relief in many areas and therefore we can have the assurance that sooner or later we will discover that the rules of the game have changed and that we are playing a different field altogether. We must also acknowledge the sad reality that inasmuch as we have made those changes real change will only be possible once this generation (which includes you and i) has passed.

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2.       We must acknowledge that the current tussle between parliament and the SRC is a direct fruit of the constitution. This kind of discussion must therefore not be dismissed for it is part of what Kenyans voted for when they allowed themselves to be governed by the new laws.  This kind of engagement is helpful as the country is in the process of enforcing the law and it reinforces the culture of openness that is crucial for any open society. Let us not embrace a narrow view of this debate but rather it will do us a lot good if we can have a broader perspective and use this opportunity to engage on how to end inequality and narrow the gap between the rich and the poor. This  calls upon us to shift the topic from narrowing the wage bill to narrowing the gap between the rich and the poor.

3.       I need to let you note that wisdom dictates that you don’t bring disorder in the presence of the head of state. “Fear the Lord and the King, my son, and do not join with the rebellious for those two will send sudden destruction upon them, and who knows what calamities they will bring “(Proverbs 24:21 NIV).  Remember when you show disrespect to the King that is a direct disrespect to God as well. There are some things that you don’t do when in the presence of a head of state, and again remember that the king is the agent of God’s wrath and the only person that can rescue from the hand of the king is God himself. If you are going to oppose the king then you must be very sure that you are being guided by God to do so. Otherwise be sure that you are alone and you will face the full wrath of the king and the King of Kings. You may argue that this was Atwoli’s meeting but I must tell you that you are wrong if you pose that type of argument. The very fact that the president was in the meeting and a national event at that makes it a presidential function. The president must be respected and honored by all the people for he is God’s servant for the people and any attempt to bring disorder in his presence will be interpreted as an attempt to black mail the Kenyan people, an attempt that won’t be tolerated at all. It behooves upon us to hold the office of the presidency with all the honor, esteem and virtue. Also remember that there is more than one way of dealing with this issue and the best thing to do is to follow the avenues that have been provided by our constitution to address whatever grievances we may be having against each other. Remember there is no need to become violent if you don’t agree with someone. It is only an educated mind that is able to tolerate an idea without accepting it. Many other Kenyans don’t agree with Atwoli or the parliamentarians.  If every time we don’t agree with one another we have to resort to heckling and rioting we would end up only as a nation of fools.  “A fool gives full vent to his anger, but a wise man keeps himself under control” (Proverbs 29:11 NIV).

4.       Boniface you have an illustrious career in journalism, that is a good thing that you can pursue and you can use that avenue in an ethical and professional way to let your concerns and grievances known. Moreover you have a young wife and children that don’t want to lose you. For the love of your family and nation you would concentrate on your work and support your family than resorting to activities that will bring a lot of pain to you and to your family. Father more even if the treasury does not give that Ksh300 000 to the MPs, they won’t revert it to your account. Our work as Kenyans is to seek to excel in whatever that we are doing and set a high standard of patriotism and commitment to our nation. Even as we do so we must trust the institutions that we have created to do their work and only remind them when it is very necessary to do so within the confines created. When we do so we will emerge as a progressive nation that is ready to take her place among the great nations of the world.

leaders or imposters

LEADERS OR IMPOSTERS

Early this month as the New Year sprung forth Kenyans were treated to shocking news of a man that has served five years yet posessing no proper police training not having been procedurally conscripted into the force. Joshua Waiganjo, the man in question is said to have even accompanied top police officers on crucial security missions to hot spots in this country. The man had been paid a salary not to mention that he adorned full police uniform and served in an influential police post. This revelation has left many unanswered questions in the minds of many.

But a much more critical question that this has raised in this election period is the security of our country in the hands of the people that are posing for positions of leadership for this country. The people that are elected and sometimes appointed into this influential positions that are crucial to the nations.  Are they the right people that over forty millions of us should ever trust the security of this nation with.

When I look around I see there are many posters being posted on every wall, post and space in the city. This are portraits of the people that are presenting themselves as the leaders that Kenyans should depend on to provide leadership for this country. As I look at these pictures I ask myself whether this are true leaders or imposters. I wonder how many of the poor souls behind some of this kiosks or shops that bear this pictures will ever see the impact of this leaders once they are elected or not.

A leader is leader whether is in office or not in office. It is not an office that defines a leader. One of the principles of teaching and of leadership is that you live what you teach. And so as a leader those values and principles that you teach are the ones that should mark you as a leader whether you are holding office or not. And therefore you must continue to let people benefit from your leadership whether they chose you for a particular office or not.

When I look at Kibera for example I expect to see the impact of the numerous leaders that have been posing as leaders over the decades. Many have come up to vie for position of councilor or Member of Parliament. I am left to wonder what happened to them after the elections. I see the people continue to struggle with no proper housing, water, electricity, roads. There are no proper schools or medical facilities and the NGOS continue to be the source of hope for this people despite being faithful voters.

The people here continue to pay rent to unscrupulous land lords. Open sewers and ever growing mountains of waste continue to decorate the landscape in the neighborhoods. Not to mention frequent fires that are caused by the illegal power connections.  The people continue to endure the scorching heat of the sun as they work tooth and nail to either sell roast maize or sell scrap items in order to earn a shilling to guarantee them another day.

Yet the same abusive, finger pointing  character assassinating rhetoric that almost plunged the country into a failed state continues to mark the political campaigns only five years after we lost over one thousand Kenyans. Tribalism, name-calling and hate speech, continue to occupy over half or prime time news time in our TV screens as we watch our leaders repeat the same mistakes that were committed only five years ago at a great cost to our mother land.

The attempt by these crop of Politian’s to award themselves hefty send offs as they exit testifies how low our standard of leadership has fallen in this country. Yet as we look at the Bible we need only not be surprised. Samuel spoke of this thousands of years back when he warned them of what the king they were crying for will do to them. “This is what the king who will reign over you will do. He will take your sons and make them serve with his chariots and horses and they will run in front of his chariots and horses. Some he will assign to be commanders of fifties and others to plough the ground and reap his harvest and still others to make weapons of war and equipment for his chariots. When that day comes you will cry out for relief from the king you have chosen and the lord will not answer you in that day.” (1sam 8-18)

As we enter into the electioneering year we must not put our hope into leaders. We must chose to be the leadership that we want to see in this country. That means that we must work hard and do the best we can in our capacities. We must learn from our past, the greatest mistake is when we don’t learn from the past and this is clear for us that we cannot afford to put hope in this politicians. As Kenyans we must embrace the spirit of prayer that is a hall mark of our national anthem and ask God of all creation who is also the father of our lord Jesus to bless our land and nation. Let us ask him because he is our shepherd, he is our rock our fortress and deliverer.

Who is the real imposter? We need to realize that when a person poses himself as a leader when he/she does not have the qualities of servant hood, consistency, integrity and goodwill for the people he leads this is the real imposter. And imposter is the person that comes through the back door, that will do anything including maligning others in order to obtain advantage over them. This is the real danger to the future of our county and we must stop them come March 4th.

HOW I WILL VOTE ON 4/3/ 2013

HOW I WILL VOTE IN 2013

The voter registration exercise came to a close on 18/12/2012. The electoral body (IEBC) did not realize the target of 18 million voters. At least 13 million Kenyans came out to register. We need not to look further than the previous elections in this country to find a possible reason for this.

When institutions charged with performing certain duties fail to measure up to their mandate, people have a right to shy away. This must remind us of the damage that can be done to people consciousness when they perceive that their rights have been taken away.

In 2007 the Kenyan people exercised their democratic right to vote for the candidates that they preferred to lead their country. They did it in confidence that their voice will prevail as they filled the polling stations in masses. However the outcome of their efforts was a form of violence never witnessed in independent Kenya.

Nevertheless we have moved on as a country and several achievements have been realized. We have more access to information than we were a decade ago. This means that we are able to make more informed choices than in the past. We no longer belong to the dark ages.

A commendable job has been displayed by our current elections guru. I applaud the effort that has been put in place to ensure that we have a new voter register. But we must not forget our recent history. We are standing on the heels of a botched election. The very people that were instrumental in that mess are vying for leadership office today.

Kenyan voters deserve nothing less than a credible election that is transparent, fair and just in all aspects. Those charged with overseeing the election must be prepared to give us nothing less.

We need a break from the past. And those seeking elective office must help us move forward. For anyone to ever claim that they should be elected simply because they are young demonstrates that they are out of touch with reality.

We need leaders who have values and who have the determination to take this country to the next level. Leaders who will build on the gains that have already been realized are  needed. We need a leader regardless of age who will give us an agenda that will put this country on the same plat form as countries like Botswana and Malaysia.

We need leaders who will tell us how they are going to move our economy forward.  A leader that has concrete and clear plans on how to deal with youth unemployment. Healthcare has continued to be a luxury for many Kenyans. We need a leader that will introduce a strategy that will ensure that any Kenyan can afford good healthcare when they are sick. Leaders like Joseph who will ensure that our people do not suffer from lack of food while we spend billions to purchase luxury cars and pay hefty allowances to those elected to serve us.

I will vote for a leader who is a servant of the people whether he is young or old. We already have come out of Egypt. Now what we need is a Joshua. A person that will make sure that every tribe, family and individual in this country gets that which is rightfully theirs. This means that we have to reduce inequality among our people.

I want to challenge my fellow countrymen to be very careful during the next two months. We need to conduct our own vetting for any leader offering themselves for any of the elective posts (president, Member of Parliament, governor, senator, women representatives). We must not be tempted to vote for person on the grounds that he/she has come from my community or your community. Our tribes do not matter when it comes to delivering to the people. Neither should  we be deceived by any form of bribe or enticement. I will vote on the basis of the following four points.

  1. The role played by the aspirant in the realization of the 2nd liberation. The role played towards the realization of the current constitution, how they have championed the cause of justice and fairness and their contribution in liberating the country from the forces of oppression and neo-colonialism.
  2. The candidate’s development record. How they have handled CDF money. How they have facilitated implementation of projects. How they have participated in the growth of the organizations, ministries, and whatever capacities they have served? Have they been keen to initiate projects that cater for the welfare of Wanjiku?
  3. We have to elect leaders who have ethics. Here chapter six of the constitution will guide us. If we elect a leader who does not measure to the tenets of section six then we as the citizens of this country will be violating the very laws that we have made for ourselves. We need not to put into office a leader who has unresolved cases in any court of law. If any of these leaders have got any allegations against them in relation to human rights violations, be it in a local or foreign court, such a person should not be allowed to rule us.
  4. A leader who fears God.

Remember we are over 40 million Kenyans. We have a wide choice from which to choose only the best.

BEYOND THE “TELL THEM” CHURCH

Christians must at all times guard against the ‘tell them’ temptation. This temptation is seen in a congregation where the pastor is preaching and the congregation gets overexcited and begins to clap and cheer when he refers to a particular clique of people in the congregation.

This is true especially when the politicians walk in to the congregation and the pastor rebukes then for their pride or something including driving on the wrong side of the road.

The Bible is very clear. Not anyone of us is righteous. We all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.  If we say that we have no sin we lie and there is no truth in us. In fact it cannot be clearer than this “Brethren if someone is caught in a sin you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch your selves that you also may be tempted. Carry each other’s burdens and in this way you will fulfill the law of God” (Gal. 6: 1-4). And it concluded by saying that each one should test their own actions. The Lord Jesus put it well “when you yourselves fail to see that plank in your own eye? You hypocrite. First take the plank out of your eye and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brothers eye” (Luke 6: 42 NIV).

When we go to church we all must humble when the word of God is being proclaimed. The word of God is a double aged sword, it cuts back and forth. We must avoid the temptation of seeing the message being preached as if it is for ‘them’ no matter how much we perceive it to be so. There is something for each one of us in a well prepared and delivered message. To one it may be rebuke, to another a correction or an encouragement.

People need to know what manner of attitude they must embrace in relation to the word of God. Leaders are the ones with the responsibility to teach the people on the way to behave in relation to God’s word. When we point our fingers at anybody don’t we know very well that it is only one finger that points? We know that it is God who judges and our judgment is only but futile.

And who knows if anyone of us were put into one of those big positions in government whether we would be able to behave any different. How many pastors do we know of who when they got elected into parliament they have become like one of them: inaccessible,

No sin is worse or better than the other. Whether bribing a police officer or grand corruption, lying or stealing the church offering, pride or arrogance, boarding excess matatu, driving on the wrong side of the road or throwing litter on the road while in the bus. All this are the evil things that we do across the city.

We point at the sins of others yet we blind our eyes to our own sin. How many “men of God” will spend their time with the poor and less privileged in this city during this Christmas? How many will make a donation to those prisons and children homes. How many do we see driving fuel guzzlers across the city worth millions of cash yet some in their congregation cannot afford a meal or school fees for their children?

Some families will be spending their Christmas inside a tent while men of God go on holiday at the beach. The money they use on those mission trips could help change the lives of thousands who don’t have a decent life or job today. How many of these men of God earn thousands of shilling every month and yet the deacon of the church earns nothing in the name of serving God.

Many of these men of God mean well in their word yet not in their actions. I would rather that preachers spent more time touching lives with actions of grace than giving rhetoric from those pulpits in the city. Our pulpit must be down there where the people are aching and feeling the pain of live.

Jesus left the riches and privileges of heaven so that we may have it. Our own saying goes that actions speak louder than words. Jesus did more works than words. He did speak but he at all times was with the least in the society: the fishermen, the tax collectors, the women and the children. Our concept of executive pastor or bishop is a slap in the face to the teaching of our Lord.

Let this Christmas therefore be about service to others. Let us mean it and do it. Let it be about lifting those who are left out.

This particular Christmas is surrounded with a lot of politics and therefore the dirty language; betrayals that are being aired on TV seem to be more visible. Let us remember that we all need this Jesus. Christ came for the visible and the invisible among us. He came for the shepherd and the king. He came for the alien and the native; he came for those in the palace as well as those in the dungeons.

Let us therefore not become a ‘tell them nation’. We need to ask God to talk to us. the question that we must ask is ‘What should we do?’ This we must ask ourselves whenever we hear the word of God preached to us. Let us desire that we will hear what he is saying. Let us maintain an attitude of brokenness and surrender. And remember to pray for all our brothers and sisters even as we correct one another with humility.

Post referendum reflections: a word for the clergy in Kenya following the passing of a new constitution

The passing of a new constitution in Kenya has brought to a conclusion a long period of tussle between the church (or more accurately some churches) and the state hitherto unprecedented in Kenyan history. This has brought to the fore a host of issues so far that have not been considered in the past. First is what I call the tendency of the faithful to disregard spiritual authority. Second is the apparent disconnect between the clergy and the faithful. Third is the need for a level playing field for the clergy, the state and the faithful. Fourth is the need for the church in Kenya to reevaluate her position and place in the country. At this stage I wish to state that the multiplicity of denominations here in Kenya play negatively toward the meaningful participation of the church in the national agenda.
A lot has been said and there have been claims that the church has lost its credibility and moral authority in the country. I wish first to state that those making such claims are being shallow and presumptuously generalistic. It must be noted firstly that a big section of the Christian fraternity was on the side that supported the draft. There were segments of the church represented on both sides of the debate.
Secondly we must ask ourselves a very fundamental question. Who is the church? Do the pastors or bishops constitute the church? Is the church the building where faithful gather together to engage in an exercise called worship? We need to get a clear understanding of what the church is because once we have gotten this one right then we shall be able to move forward.
As we seek to answer these questions we must keep in mind that it has been said that Kenya is 80% Christian. This could as well be stated that Kenya is 80 percent church. Before we make any misgivings about the position of the church it would be important to consider the statistics on how people voted bearing in mind their faith. I want to dare to predict that if such a statistic was availed to us we would note that a large percentage of those that voted for the constitution are members of the Christian faith.
In my own opinion it is to diminish the essence of the church when we presume that the bishops that have been seen on TV screens are the church since the outcome of the August 4th exercise disqualified such an assertion. I want to boldly state that the bishops represent only a particular function of the church and in no way are they close to the embodiment of the church or her opinion thereof. The church is bigger than the bishops and the opinion of the bishops may not necessarily be the opinion of the church though this has been presumed to be the case for a long time.
It is very unlikely that the bishops ever had consultations with their faithful in order to come up with an agreed position on the draft. Most of the positions that have been promulgated by the bishops were at no stage arrived at after a consultation with the members of the congregation but simply originated from the meetings of the bishops. Moreover we know that in most of the churches women are not recognized as being fit to lead and are left out of the decision making meetings of the church. Women are a force to reckon with when it comes to issues affecting our life be it in spiritual or temporal matters especially with the current emphasis on affirmative action. Moreover, women form a big potion of the voting population of this country. Surprisingly many churches have not woken up to the realities of the need to include women in position of influence.
It is a pity that we have seen men running around claiming to be speaking for the church and yet keeping the voice of the Kenyan woman out of the picture while on the other side the woman is being promised that with the passage of the new constitution she is going to receive more social emancipation which many of the churches have denied women for centuries.
I wish to point out here that it is high time the churches reconsidered the position of the women in the church. You walk into the halls of many churches in Kenya you will find that the pews are filled with mostly women. Yet very few of these churches have women in their pulpits. If this very people can not have a voice in our Christian circles then I want to caution my colleagues form the clergy that when they have an opportunity to teach us a lesson they will do so with the slightest iota of hesitation.
Let me return to the points I set out to bring to light at the beginning of this discussion. I must state that in setting the position that I have outlined in the foregoing discussion I am a ware of what I will call the tendency of the faithful to disregard spiritual authority even when the issuing of the alarm is to their advantage. We don’t need to go further than the pages of the Bible in order to clarify and justify this statement. For the Bible is full of examples where prophets sounded warning to people regarding certain issues in the nation of Israel but the people chose to go their own way. I however find it hard to accept that what happened on August 4, 2010 is a repeat of the Israelite situation. This scenario however is not applicable to the Kenyan situation although some have tried to use this as a consolation.
I voted yes to this constitution. I voted yes because I had the chance to read the document and also to listen to what other Kenyans were saying. I realized that there are many merits to us getting the new constitution. I voted yes knowing that as a Christian my responsibility is to pray for the national leaders and not to keep arguing with then (1 Timothy 2:2). I voted yes because I know that with God all things are possible and with God’s help the necessary amendments will be done at the proper time and they may not be necessarily the ones that I want. I am a person who likes progress and I realized by voting yes I would have helped to bring progress to this country and today I am eager to begin seeing my leaders beginning to effect those changes. I hope that they will not betray the hope of Kenyans as they did in 2002 when they failed to deliver on the dream the Kenyans so hopefully voted for. Kenyans therefore let us prayerfully embrace the dawning of anew reality in Kenya and seek new ways of moving forward. Let us not focus on what divides us but on what unites us.
I find it quite surprising that immediately after the referendum the bishops find the strength to speak to the media and to speak to the public. This to me is no less than a sign of arrogance and mischief on the part of the clergy that does not auger well with the biblical call to humble servant hood. In my own considered opinion the post-referendum period is not a time to seek to defend our positions or to blame the flock for failing to heed the prophetic voice. Neither should this be a period for cracking whips on ‘errand’ member on the side of the party leaders
The post referendum period must be a time for soul searching for those of us who are truly Christian leaders whether in the church or in political life. Let us ask ourselves and investigate the possible area where we may have gone wrong. I honestly see many areas that the clergy have gone wrong in this whole process. One of the areas we have been wrong is being unaccomodative. I am not in any way implying that we should compromise with evil. I see that in the whole of the debate we have not been open to the views of others. I find this level of rigidity to be very misplaced in to day’s society where all of us are prone to be wrong at one time or another and we cannot presume to have our position to be the most correct one of all. As members of the clergy we should not forget that we are living in a fallen world and no matter how much we illegalize certain behavior we cannot guarantee that it will be stopped. We need to learn a lesson from the deaths that have recurred in the past few months due to illicit brew. There was one person in Kibera who is on record as having vowed to continue drinking until his time to die comes. Notwithstanding that several of his colleagues had lost sight and others lost their lives due to the same substance. We need to put these issues into the larger picture if we want to have an adequate response.
In an earlier post in this blog I had hinted at the need for the church to reevaluate its position and image in Kenya today. I had then foreseen a problem for the church to come up with the sufficient force to push the amendments that they were proposing in the constitution. The church needs to reevaluate her position in the society today. A kingdom divided against itself cannot stand. This statement is hundred percent applicable to the church in Kenya owing to the numerous denominations in the country today. One wonders how it can be possible for the Christian fraternity to speak with one voice on matters that are not directly within her mandate such as the constitution if on such matters that are directly within her ranks there has never been in agreement.
I am totally against the continued denominational fragmentations in the country. We like to be led by leaders who have the resolve to pull in one direction and this time the two principles in charge of the country scored well. The church leaders continued to pull each in their own direction causing confusion in the sheep as to which shepherd was pulling the rite way. It is high time therefore that we do a thorough review of our positions as the leaders of the faithful in this country if we ever do dream of having our voice heard in the shaping of the destiny of this nation.
Finally I want to challenge the clergy in these country to do there work well. Let us feed the sheep. Hungry sheep will not follow the shepherd. We have to properly impart the faith in the faithful and let them to work out ways to apply this faith as they go about their daily lives. Let us not think and imagine that we are going to be able to manipulate the people just because we have spiritual oversight over them. The words of Wamugunda are informative for us here
Obviously after one has empowered an individual to whom they have imparted good morals and a value system by which to live, there is really no need to try to micromanage such an individual’s decision making process as they go about their lives. It may indeed constitute a concession to failure if one tries to do so. (Wamugunda Wakimani, DN. August 8, 2010, page 28).
The fact that some of the clergy are fighting tooth and nail over the moral issues in the supreme law shows weakness in the commitment to their mandate or lack of any awareness of such mandate. The role of the church should be to empower the Christian to make proper moral judgments for themselves. This we must do well if we are to dispel of the fears of wanton immorality in the coming days.

The phrase Jesus is my personal savior and such staff

Have you ever wondered the theological significance of the phrases like Jesus is my personal savior, I am born again, I am saved and the like. Well, you are not alone. These phrases have been on the lips of modern day Pentecostals for quite some time. And you may at some stage have found yourself uttering these phrases without having an idea of the meaning.
In many Pentecostal churches a testimony from a ‘brother’ or a ‘sister’ on a Sunday morning will typically go something like this; “praise God, praise God again, this morning I am saved and Jesus is my personal savior” and them whatever else to be included in the testimony will follow.
Still in some churches I have come across a pastor who during the alter call will ask ‘who wants to be saved?’ and then those who come forward will be ‘led to the lord.’ The typical way is to let the sinner repeat a set of words after the preacher or the evangelist. The prayer will often include words such as: “I ask you to be my personal savior, come into my life now; remove my name from the book of judgment and put it in the book of life.’ After the sinner has said such words she is told that you are now saved. After this experience is when you will hear the now sinner converted ‘brother’ or ‘sister’ go ahead and say ‘I am born again’
The question that I want to raise in this article is whether Jesus is “my personal savior” as it has been stated by brothers and sisters is of any significant meaning. Is this a phrase that we in the larger body of believers can add and use to express something that the lord Jesus has done to us. To what extent is Jesus a personal savior to those who say so? Is it not enough to say that Jesus has saved me? Or is it some super spiritual jargon that is meant to scare some and paint a picture of the hyper spirituality of those that use these terminology?

For our purposes here I would like to begin by looking at the dictionary definition of the word ‘personal’ of which the thesaurus on my computer gives the following synonyms; individual, private, own, special, not public, special, delicate. Since these are synonyms i would substitute them in the statement and let it read thus “Jesus is my own savior” Jesus is my delicate savior, Jesus is my not public savior, Jesus is my private savior, Jesus is my individual savior and ask how does that taste.

The New Shorter Oxford Dictionary has this explanation for the word personal. As an adjective  (a)“pertaining to, concerning, or affecting a person as an individual (rather than as a member of a group or of the public, or in a professional capacity,(b) ‘applicable or belonging only to’ present or engaged in person, of or pertaining to one’s person or body. Of or tending to refer to person’s character, private concerns etc, especially in a disparaging or offensive way. Having oneself as object directed to oneself.  This word and definition may in a way allude or suggest something that Jesus does in the salvation process.  I do not want to dispute and refute their use outright; they may contain some element of truth. The question is why emphasize these personal thing. Jesus has saved my life, he has changed my heart and i no longer live the way i used to. The salvation that Jesus has achieved in me is for the community for the church.
My intention in this article is not to suggest that the usage of such phrases is wrong, my purpose is to try to place the usage of the word in a larger context and then suggest possible alternatives to word.
To move a way a little from the dictionary definition let me try to illustrate the use of the word; this is my personal computer, my personal car, my personal library, my personal assistant, my personal address, and in relation to Jesus personal judge, advocate, teacher, friend, my personal healer, personal salvation
I believe that Jesus’ salvation office is inseparably linked to his other offices such as kingly and judicial office and in that regard I want to believe that if he is a personal savior he also is equally a personal judge and king, and high priest. These offices both in their functioning have no personal touch in the sense of private, individual and not public.

To what extent is it true that Jesus has saved me individually, private. In what sense is Jesus salvation for me just my own and not public in what sense is the salvation “pertaining to, concerning, or affecting a person as an individual (rather than as a member of a group or of the public.” These are crucial questions that we as brethren must interrogate ourselves as we make this popular claim. Why cant we say like Paul that Jesus has called me by his grace (Gal 1:15), I have died and risen with Christ, I have been freed by , I meant this are very powerful confessions that help the saints understand and connect with Christ rather that this personal thing that nobody else can identify with

According to the NIV Eexhaustive Concordance of the Bible the word ‘personal’ occurs only seven times while the word savior occurs 55 times. Of all the 55 appearances of the word savior none of this appears in connection with the word personal. In the references that contain the word savior God is simply referred to as savior, my savior, our savior, your savior and their savior.

David refers to God as ‘my savior’ and not as my personal savior (Psalm 18:46; 25:5; 27:9; 38:22; 42:5). The reference to God as ‘my savior’ is more prominent in the Old Testament than in the New Testament. I think this could be because God dealt with individuals more in the Old Testament than in the New Testament.  Example includes Adam, Cain, Abraham, David, Moses.  In the Old Testament God dealt with the community through given individuals. Abraham’s intercession for Sodom in Genesis 18: 18-33 is best illustrative of these truth. In the New Testament God is working through the community of the church to bring about his purposes. He is more concerned with the community of believers in the new covenant.  The phrase ‘our savior’ is used 9 times in the New Testament whiles the phrase ‘my savior’ is used only once and that is in Luke 1: 47 when Mary says that ‘my spirit rejoices in God my savior’.

Does this bring out any point? I would say that the point here is that Jesus salvation work in the New Testament is more of a community thing; Jesus is no just my savior as if he were some personal servant or talisman. The correct New Testament understanding would be to see him as Jesus our savior.  The fact that he is “our savior” in my view brings more glory to Jesus than my personal savior. on and individual level i think that it is and overstatement for those that keep saying that ‘Jesus is my personal savior’. I would like to read your thoughts and comments on this issue.

The moment of reckoning

The current constitutional process in Kenya seems to bring to light again the issue of the influence of Christianity and more specifically the church on the people of Africa. It also is a test of the authenticity of Christianity in Africa in general and Kenya in particular. It is true that Christianity has been on the continent for almost two thousand years now. We know from the biblical narrative that when Mary the mother of Jesus faced the threat of her son being killed by Herod she fled to hide in Egypt. Egypt is known in history as the cradle for christian civilization in Africa and is credited with being the home to significant figures in the history of the church.
Kenya is known to be 80% Christian. This means that the rest of the population which is 20% is divided to Muslims, Hindus and other religions including those who do not ascribe to any religion at all. This also means and it can well be substantiated by the numbers in our parliament that a large part of the Kenyan parliament is Christian whether nominal or committed. Less that 1/4 of the current members of the parliament are Muslim.
The current debate in Kenya causes me to begin to wonder whether the adage “a mile wide but an inch deep” should and can be applied to Kenya’s Christianity. Reverend Wamugunda the dean of students at the Nairobi University observes that “the line between religion and secularism, worship and entertainment is so thin in Kenya.” People do not see clearly the role of the church in society these days. They can go to the church to be entertained and to release their emotional stress just as they would go to pub or any other social place for the same purpose.
This is a moment for reality check that should cause us to ask ourselves very important and fundamental questions today. It is the moment to pose as Christian leaders and begin asking ourselves very crucial questions regarding the state of Christianity in Africa. Is Kenya a Christian or secular state. Has Christianity had any real impact on the face of this continent? What is the future of Christianity in Africa?
For people like Jenkins the threshold of Christianity is shifting from the global north to the global south. William Jenkins holds that Africa will become more Christian and thus become the source of missionary activity to the rest of the world in the coming decades. Jenkins seems to suggest that countries that have been sending missionaries to Africa are going to have Africa sending missionaries to them due to the rising influence of secularism in those countries that has wrecked the influence of the church in those areas. How practical and possible this could be remains to be seen.
A second look at Africa generates a different picture all together. Kenya is just recovering from an ethnic conflict that threatened to bring the country to its knees. The church has been blamed here for having failed to give direction to the country at a very critical moment. It is now sixteen years since the Rwandan genocide that killed almost a million people. The church has been blamed in Rwanda for participating actively in the genocide. Nigeria is involved in a vicious inter-religious conflict between Muslims and Christians that has continued to see the loss of life for her citizens. Sudan is also not yet out of a bloody conflict that claimed the lives of two million people and displaced another four million. There has continued to be conflict between the Christian south and the Muslim north.
These are just but a few examples that appear on the African continent that show the state of Christianity in Africa. It appears and it indeed is the case that Africa’s have lost track somewhere. Whereas for scholars like John Mbiti Africa is ‘notoriously religious,’ the realities on the ground speak more to the negative in regard to this assertion. The church in Africa has the task to redefine itself and to assert its position in shaping ideals and values in the lives of the people of Africa and the world as a whole.
At this point let me turn back to the issues around the constitution making process in Kenya.
Church leaders represented by the National Council of Churches of Kenya (NCCK) the umbrella body for all the protestant churches in Kenya has been of the view that abortion should not be permitted at all in Kenya. The church also is of the position that the Qadhi’s (Islamic courts dealing with matters to do with marriage and divorce among others) should not be allowed to appear in the constitution that purports to treat all religions equally.
Concerning abortion the church has further been of the position that life begins at conception although these has been disputed by many with some saying that life begins even before that. On these ground then any attempt to terminate a pregnancy becomes a murder which is a violation of the principle of the sanctity of life. The life of any human being whether it is born or unborn is sanctified and should at no cost be taken for granted. The constitution should then take on its account the responsibility to protect life at all costs and not to leave any loophole for interference. The right to life is at the base of all rights.
On the matter of the Qadhi’s courts a lot has been said. But even as we reflect in our various versions on the import of the existence of Qadhi’s courts in the constitution, I would like us to ask ourselves as Christians why should taxpayers money be used in serving issues of a particular religion when we need money to hire teachers, repair our roads and improve service delivery to the people of Kenya. It is only good that all religions find means to deal with their issues out of public moneys. If these courts are only for Muslims then why should they run on public funds? This is fundamental questions dealing with the equality of Kenyans and need not just be brushed aside so easily.
I am not at all an enemy of Muslims. I love peace loving Muslims and my best friend in my early high school years was of the Muslim faith. However it is my humble opinion in these blog that there is need for an open forum between Muslims and Christians on this issue. I also do feel that the Christians in these country should rise to the occasion and speak with one voice on this matter.
These matter needs to be looked at from a very close perspective. It is not just a matter of constitution making but is a test of the value and impact of the church in the society. This is one of these societies that need a lot of firmness to handle and carry through. The church is the salt and the light of the world. However in this debate the light is being ignored and the salt is being trembled upon.
The other fundamental question is whether at all there is any connection between the Kenyan people and their leaders. I raise this question in light of the fact that I have heard some people ask ‘who the church leaders are speaking on behalf of.’ Kenyans seem not to trust their church leaders. Is it not suggestive to see people disconnect themselves from their leaders? That their religious leaders cannot speak on their behalf on matters that are of national concern and importance.
This is a wake up call for the church to reevaluate and re-examine herself. Has the church had any real impact on the society today? Why is it that the masses are not listening to the voice of the church? Could it be an identity crisis? Who is the church in Kenya and who are the Christians? Is it the NCCK, the Catholic Church, the Nairobi Pentecostal church, the Pentecostal Assemblies of God, the Anglican Church of Kenya, the Holy Spirit Church, the Church of God in East Africa Kenya, the Friends Church or the masses of the Kenyan population? Will the real church stand up in Kenya today?