Money, Power, and Radical Incarnation—a model for missions (Muriu, Urbana 09)

A little over a week ago, Pastor Oscar Muriu spoke at Urbana–a giant (16-20,000) missions conference for American college students.

[Vimeo vimeo.com/8450561]

Money and Power: Oscar Muriu from Urbana 09 on Vimeo.

For more Urban09 videos, click HERE

(We had the privilege of hearing most of it at Nairobi Chapel earlier in the year—just an average Sunday sermon for us ;-).

Muriu begins by saying that if he were God, he would have brought Jesus as a powerful ruler, or a wise sage. He would have employed the the best marketing and branding strategies for all the world to see. The way God did it was to slow, too low tech. While the world waited desperately for salvation, God sent his son as a poor helpless infant.

His point is that before we go for missions, we must undergo an attitudinal incarnation. This incarnation has four doors:

1. From pride to humility.

2. From power to powerlessness (Phil. 2:6)

3. From privilege into poverty

4. From the harmony and the unity of heaven to the brokenness and dysfunction of the earth.

Side Note: I haven’t been able to locate a smaller MP3audio. I understand that this is directed at a young, American audience, but I couldn’t help noting that the very nature of the video link (124MB by my count), means that many Africans—even many with “reasonably good” internet access—won’t be able to see or hear this message. Just another way that Africans generally can be marginalized (by the missions infrastructure) from “missions” thinking and discussions…even when Africans speak. At least Americans are hearing their voices now; I commend the speaker lineup.

[More detailed notes]

1. From pride to humility.

The incarnation of our attitude is more fundamental than geographical relocation. Your attitude should be the same as that of Jesus Christ (Phil 2). Before you go, we must undergo an attitudinal incarnation; consider others better than yourselves. Leave your pat answers, your degrees, your learning…and take on the attitude of a humble servant.

By way of illustration, Pastor Oscar talks about

Continue reading

African values and violence

On the Msfara blog, Pastor Oscar Muriu (Leadership; Urbaba speech) of Nairobi Chapel describes the inspiring healing services in Eldoret. Please read the whole post (here). For the moment, I want to draw attention to one particular paragraph for my fellow Westerners.

Bishop Tuimising, a Kalenjin Pastor with high credibility, followed and named the sins of his people. The Kalenjin had certain rules that governed how they shed blood. It was taboo to kill children and women. It was taboo to kill someone if they took shelter in a house, climbed a tree or lay down clinging onto the grass (sigh of total submission), but in these skirmishes they killed indiscriminately – innocent women and children, and torched houses with people still inside. He said that even under their own laws they stood cursed, and in need of repentance.

The point has been made elsewhere, but it bears repeating here. The post-election violence that occurred in Kenya was a breakdown of traditional African values, even in cultures that used to prize warfare. Gangs took over.

Note also how the church leaders engage the African cultural traditions. These leaders are true African elders.

Healing tour (Mombassa), cell phone Bible, etc.

The Bible on cell phone
– This is a series of posts in lingalinga early March

For those of you who followed the tragedy of the Ebola virus in Western Uganda. A happy moment a very happy moment – baby Jonah Muhindo.

This quote from the cover of Lancet (British Medical journal):

Africa carries 25% of the world’s disease burden
yet has only 3% of the world’s health workers
and 1% of the world’s economic resources
to meet that challenge.

Follow the the “Wheels of Hope” – Kenya healing tour.

On Day 1, Pastor Oscar Muriu writes: We have just gone through about the most amazing prayer day ever. The air was sizzling as over 200 pastors prayed together and confessed the sins of the city of Mombasa. I stood briefly in a corner, watching, and could feel the hair on the back of my neck rise with excitement! The passion, the excitement, the tears, the cries of prayer. It was overwhelming.

. . . if Mombasa stands judged before God it would be for the 3 sins of idolatry, witchcraft and promiscuity. Mombasa is known in Kenya for being the most active center of witchcraft in the country. It is also known for it’s sex trade, now mainly sex tourism.

As we prayed together the story of the coming of the gospel to Kenya was told. The first missionaries to Kenya were a small team of Catholics who set up a chapel in Malindi in the 1500’s. Though they tried they were however unable to penetrate the interior. Finally they gave up and left. The next attempt was 350 yrs later in late 1800’s. This time it was an Anglican mission. They landed in the Miji-Kenda land (Miji-Kenda (9 homes) are a tribe made up of 9 clans, who have a different dialects, but common traditions. They occupy much of the coastal strip). As the story goes (and this is folklore – happened 150 yrs ago), the Anglican missionaries met the elders of the tribe and requested permission to build a church. The Elders then met together and discussed the matter, recognizing the missionaries were about to introduce a new god to them. This they did not want.

But they also recognized they could not say no. So they slaughtered a goat as a sacrifice to their gods, and made a spiritual covenant that the territory of the new god would be limited to the size of that goat skin. They buried the skin in the ground and then gave that piece of property to the missionaries to build their church on. This is the Anglican church at Rabai. To this day the gospel has not penetrated the Miji-Kenda tribe even though it has been there for over 150 yrs, and only a handful have become Christians over that time. Most churches at the coast are full of inland people, but not Miji-Kenda.

[Read the rest of this entry.]

History of the Easter Calendar

The question of the proper date for Easter—the most important festival on the Christian calendar—is another of those fascinating and complicated odysseys in the history of Christianity.

10 reasons I don’t read your blog (Lingamish), with a response from Jim West. (Insider stuff.)

Lots of great stuff from biblioblogs that will have to wait till tomorrow.

An update from my pastor: church healing/prayer tour about to start

oscar-muriu.jpgHere is a letter from my pastor Oscar Muriu updating what the church is doing in Kenya this week. [For background information on him see the Leadership Journal interview – Spring 2007, Vol. XXVIII, No. 2, Page 96 http://www.christianitytoday.com/le/2007/002/3.96.html

Transcripts, Audio and video of his landmark message on Global Christianity at Urbana 2006 are available here.

Hi all, We are just getting ready to begin the Msafara this Friday. We have done all that we can . . . and the time has come. To prepare for the Spiritual warfare, we have engaged a strategy of 4 levels of prayer Continue reading