Making a difference

Three of my colleagues were on the radio for two hours today discussing ethnicity – the topic we’ve all been studying for the last year and a half. Karita, Jackie and Nelson did a phenomenal job, and there were so many questions, that they got asked to come back next week for a follow up session. They also got asked to produce a little booklet or manual that pastors and other leaders can use. We had already talked about doing something like this.

We had no idea how relevant the subject would be when we started studying it. Maybe I can do a post or two on it when the situation here calms down.

Uh Oh. Another opposition MP shot dead. Love triangle?

We aren’t sure what the details are yet. The police are saying it was over a private love triangle. Either way, the timing is not good.

The Daily Nation has just released the following:

The Orange Democratic Movement MP was shot dead in Eldoret by a policeman today, in what local security officials said was a love triangle. The policeman also shot a woman who was rushed to hospital. Eldoret police boss Muinde Kioko said their reports showed that “an officer had shot a civilian over a love triangle”. The incident took place shortly after 10am in the outskirts of Eldoret town. Mr Too is the second ODM MP to be shot dead in as many days following the murder of the Embakasi MP Mugabe Were on Wednesday morning. There is panic in Eldoret and Kericho towns as news of the MP’s death spread.


The ODM leaders have also addressed a press conference where they condemned the killing of the MP.

BBC quotes ODM leader Raila Odinga as saying to AFP “The second killing of an MP belonging to Orange Democratic Movement is part of a plot to reduce our majority in parliament,”

By the time you read this, details will be more clear. Already NYTimes

Links of the Day:

Vigilante Journalist reports on the violence in Kenya. [Warning disturbing photos.] Thanks to my old high school classmate Lars for this link. Check out his peacetiles for peace website.

A midnight rescue

Late yesterday morning, Richard dragged into the PhD study room above the library. “How are you?” I asked. This was his answer.

Well . . . At 10:30 last night, I got a call from a friend from church. He was on his way home on the other side of Nairobi, when the matatu [taxi van] he was in came up on a roadblock where young men were pulling people from different ethnic groups out of vans. Knowing he was the wrong group for this part of town, as soon as the matatu stopped, he fled into the bush with several men in hot pursuit.

“Where are you?” “I have no clue. I’m in the bush, and these guys are circling in closer and closer. On just walked by, inches from where I am hiding.” “What is the last landmark you remember on the highway? . . . When you got out, did you run to the right or to the left?”

I called the police station in that area across town only to be told that everyone was already out, and the only two officers left had to hold down the fort. His wife called pleading with me to do something. So I jumped into the car and raced across town, picking up my brother on the way. Maybe we could plead for his life even if they caught him. I just kept praying the whole time, “Lord, make them blind. Make them blind.” We raced up and down the highway until we found the abandoned road block, but there was no sign of my friend.

We tried to call again. “The mobile you are calling has been switched off.” We feared the worst. His poor wife. They’ve only been married 29 days, and she lost her first husband in a freak carbon monoxide poisoning accident on the 29th day of that marriage. She was so distraught that she started having seizures.

An hour later as we were racing up and down the highway at top speed, my cell suddenly rang again. It was him!! He still had no clue where he was, but his pursuers had moved away and he could see some lights . . . “it looks like a gas station.”

Yesterday morning, the wife was still so traumatized that she had to go to the hospital for treatment.

Now about that dissertation proposal.

How can you possibly study when . . .

How can you possibly study when . . . your phone rings in the morning and you hear a woman screaming on the other end.

“Pastor!! Save Us!! Pastor, they are going to burn us!! They are going to kill us!! Please, please come quick to deliver us!! You are our only hope!!”

That’s how yesterday started for my colleague Phoebe, who pastors a church across town. Mobs had surrounded the house of a family of nine, including a two-week old baby from her church. After listening to the pleading for a minute or so, Phoebe switched off the phone, and took a deep breath. There’s no way she could do anything for this family all the way across town. She prayed quickly then called the police station for that area of town, urging them to rush to the rescue. Then she called an elder in her church who lives in that area. Finally, she called the family back and just prayed with them, pleading “God, restrain them.” The glass in all the windows had been broken, all that was left was for the angry mob to kick the door down, torch the house, and end the lives of these poor, innocent people.

Suddenly without explanation, the mob left and the family fled to safety. They left everything behind.

No sooner had Phoebe hung up when her phone rang again.

“Hi Mom”

“I’m officially engaged!!”

Links of the Day

US Embassy Situation Security Update

Simon, an American MDiv student here at NEGST posts on his feelings about yesterday’s events.

Details on the MP killed yesterday – “Would-be Peacemaker Killed in Kenya”

Ebola is wrapping up in Bundibugyo

One of my favorite seminary profs reflects on another favorite seminary prof.

Scott McKnight is reviewing NT Wright’s Surprised by Hope.

Ethnicity in America

Ethnicity in Australia

Bill Gates calls for a kinder, gentler capitalism (Thanks to Michael Kruse for this link.)

Are we safe from the post election violience?

Since many old friends and new acquaintances have written and asked if we are okay, I thought I would go ahead and post a response.

The quick answer is that we’ve been totally safe the whole time on our really secure campus. If we didn’t follow the news, we’d have no idea that anything was wrong. Until this weekend, much of the country was fine and peaceful with business as usual. Horror stories continued to trickle out of other regions, but not nearly as bad as when the violence first broke out. Things seemed to be calming. Continue reading

Local Heroes

When the violence first broke out in Nairobi, a little over 3,000 people fled out of Kibera (a slum about 7 miles from where we live) to the fair grounds next to our tented church. Wanting to help, our pastor sent out text messages to all the members asking them to pray and help in any way they could. A University of Nairobi professor and his wife, who is doing her PhD in biochemistry, went down to the fairgrounds and set up a makeshift kitchen. For the last month, they have been making three meals a day for about 1,000 people, holding a daily service, and generally befriending and counseling people.

A great personal story from Kenya

I first received this in an e-mail from one of my colleagues. It was written by her friend’s boss, and was was published on the front cover of my church’s bulletin yesterday. I think the story speaks for itself.

I would like to briefly share with you my own personal experience during these troubling times in Kenya. Just before Christmas, I traveled in the company of my wife and two children to visit my mother who lives in our home in Lugari, Western Kenya. This is the place I was born and brought up.

During this visit, I could sense the high political and tribal tensions and feared that it could explode if things went wrong during the elections.

Lugari is largely inhabited by the Luhya community and are immediate neighbors to the Kalenjin in the close by North Rift Valley Region. Even though I am ethnically Kikuyu, I grew up in this neighborhood, speaking Luhya and Kalenjin-only learning the Kikuyu language at university!

Only a day after the election results were announced, I learnt that my mother’s home was looted and burnt. This action was largely because she is Kikuyu. Last week, we moved our mother back to her ‘rebuilt’ home. Her neighbors pooled together resources and rebuilt her main house. My siblings and I have sent in non-food item and neighbors have been giving her food.

Then, last week I learnt of the most amazing thing. When the raiders attacked my mother’s home, they took away all her cows, sheep and assorted household items. Late last week they returned them all! At 77 years, my mother is now overwhelmed by the kindness of the people she has lived with for 42 years. On a phone call to her this morning she told me that she wants to live the rest of her life with them and express her gratitude to this community where love and sacrifice for each others sake has always been the way of life.



Links of the Day

Believe it or not, the world is getting better . . . at least with regard to poverty, health and peace. (We’ll leave the question of morality for another day.) Thanks to Michael Kruse for pointing out this Economist article.

Check out Kruse’s final (of 25) post in his series on “Living Simply in Abundance.” He gives eight thoughts worth thinking about.

Jesus Creed’s weekly meanderings. (A weekly favorite with thanks for the next two links.)

There are too many PhDs. (And I’m trying to become one more.) This is however one of the reasons I’ve chosen to do mine here.

Liberian ex-warlord “Butt Naked” confesses to 20,000 deaths.

A half-baked beginning

I’ve written this post many times in my own head. I’m the kind of guy that should not be blogging.

1.) I have no real clue what I am doing.

2.) It has too way much potential to come back and bite me. Jim West’s warning continues to ring in my head. [Should I have a warning label with any link to West’s blog?]. But see this response.

In response to these two posts, I’d say I’m in a totally different league. At best I’m an aspiring E-Rate scholar (not as much to lose).

  • A – Big names who really are great.
  • B – Big names who make you wonder how they made their names.
  • C – Those who are really smart, hold their own, write a few books, but are not big names (at least not yet).
  • D – Those who are on the way, doing things as they are supposed to be done, publish a few articles, etc.
  • E – Guys who enjoy study, bumble along and are working towards their PhD.

Still, in some of the circles I move in, someone could hold something I write here against their own litmus test of orthodoxy. I’m gambling on the fact that most of them won’t know what a blog is.

3.) I’ve been a chameleon all my life. Liberals think I’m more liberal than I am. Fundamentalist think I’m more fundamental than I am. Pentecostals think I’m more Pentecostal than I am, and so on. I just hope my dad never stumbles across this blog. I am sure to be disowned ;-).

3.) It’s better to be quiet and considered a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt. I’m not a particularly sharp thinker or eloquent writer (or spellr). My brain always seems to be on tape delay. I just try work with what I’ve got.

4. There are way too many blogs in biblical studies and personal life that will always be far better.

5. Most of my subjects of interest are interesting mostly to me: my dissertation topic, the latest antics of my kids, and any recent news article that struck my fancy. So specialized that no one cares. But maybe that’s my saving grace. (See West’s warning post again.)

So why start?

  • I’ve got thoughts that feel like they could use a somewhat-structured outlet? (Whether anyone actually reads it or not.)
  • to spare the e-mail inboxes of all my friends?
  • to help me think and write better?
  • to end the hypocrisy?

So here goes a half-baked start. We’ll just see where it goes and how long it lasts. When it peters out, I’ll shut it down.

The best way to learn is to start trying. I’ve heard it said somewhere that you learn more from your mistakes than your successes. Let the trial and error begin.

So much for disclaimers.