The problem of thinking and writing about suffering is that you begin to notice it everywhere. The last few weeks have particularly been heavy for me. It is like my ‘suffering antennas’ have been elevated and now I see it more than before. Most news on TV have elements of pain and injustice, newspapers are filled with sensational headlines screaming about worsening conditions almost everywhere, it is as if the media outlets are measured by how much emotion they can stir up from the audience.
But still the question doesn’t go away; suffering still remains one of the most difficult and complicated life questions that anyone can pose. In part 1 (which you can read here) we looked at ‘reasons for suffering’, justification for goodness and how atheism has exploited suffering to skew many to their side.
One question still needs to be answered, what is the response of Christianity to suffering? If we call our God good, just and Continue reading
image courtesy: https://www.thoughtco.com/prayer-to-my-suffering-god-700938
The problem of pain and suffering is age old. It cuts across generations, classes and cultures. It is no respecter of status or religion. Through it we come into this world and without our consent it enters into a contract with every one of us, making impromptu visits at will.
It is in the cry of a baby, in pain of injury and sickness, separation, loneliness, abuse, overwhelming regrets, embarrassment, and hopeless situations. Some are visited too often; they know it too well, like an unwelcomed guest who refused to leave. You may call it trouble, problem, pain or evil but at the end of the day the result is the same, suffering to the visited.
Suffering ‘catches up’ with you one way or another; it can make you feel like the devil himself has left hell and pitched a tent in your house. Even when you are able to overcome it, one question always remains; why is this happening to me?
Why me? What did I do to deserve this? Often without answers to these questions, we quickly find out that Continue reading
Image courtesy: beginningandend.com
About mid 2017 I was called by a family member who asked me to look into a certain preacher on TV. He wanted me to investigate the preacher and recommend whether he should take a close relative for healing prayers to the preacher’s church. The vibrant preacher is based in Nairobi and runs a 24/7 TV station with dramatic church services that would put most Naija movies to shame.
I had watched the preacher on TV before and already had an opinion about him but now that I needed to give a report, I had to delve deeper. I knew that I had to listen to a number of his full length sermons in order to understand his doctrine. Typically, he would read a bible passage, preach on it for a few minutes then manifestations begin. People in the congregation, mostly women, would begin to shout and act out. The ushers would rush and bring the person to the front and the good apostle would deliver them, after they have confessed their evil and said something great about the preacher. It is mostly about witchcraft and spells, which is basically the central theme to the church.
Like many believers, it bothers me deeply that the gospel is blatantly butchered and Continue reading
The faith one holds should be able to answer the bigger questions of life in order for it to be authentic and true. It concerns me when Christians and church leaders present a watered down gospel that only appeals to the physical and emotional psyche of the followers; a gospel that does not answer life’s most important questions and cannot be relied on when people face the true tests of life.
When we go for evangelism and we present a gospel that promises good life according to our understanding, then we misrepresent Christ and set up people for disappointment. Salvation is the most important thing that can happen to the life of an individual, it is the event that ushers them from darkness to the kingdom of light. The miracle of being raised from the dead is lesser in Continue reading
Has God decided who will be saved and who will not? Are people predestined to hell or heaven prior to their existence? Do people have any say about their destiny?
Most people will argue that if God knows the beginning to the end, it means he already knows those who won’t choose Him; in that case do they have the will to change their fate. It is classic predestination vs free will which is too big a theological debate for us to handle in one article.
But God has opened the window to his word just enough for Continue reading
‘I’m just wondering why this is happening to us, what did we do wrong? Didn’t we pray enough?’ Those were the words of one of the members of our small church group after we were kicked out of a public park as we were having our picnic. I will tell you how that happened.
As part of our activities we decided as a group to go outdoors to have fun, discuss some topics and just bond. So we went for a picnic in one of the parks in Nairobi. It was a beautiful sunny day and we found ourselves a good shade to enjoy the day. As we relaxed and got comfortable after our lunch, a guard came by and he asked if we had paid for parking fees (one of us had a car). We showed him the receipt and he went his way.
Barely two minutes later he came back; asking if we had paid for the meeting. ‘Pay for a meeting in a public park?’ Continue reading
Christians in South Sudan. (photo credit:REUTERS)
In one form or another most of us have encountered this question; that Christianity is not an African religion, that we Africans abandoned our gods in favour of the white man’s religion, that our traditional religious practices were good enough but then we embraced Christianity because of the goodies it came with.
My real encounter with this question came when I was a 1st year student in Russia. The few Russian friends I had made kept inquiring about my religion and when I mentioned that it was Christianity they would feel like the answer was not complete. They would comment that Christianity was the religion brought by the white man and so I should tell them my ‘African religion.’ I could not, Christianity is what I knew and still know to be my faith. From their comments I could tell that they could not reconcile the fact that I was a Christian, and I later realized that ‘being a Christian’ meant different things to us.
But it is a fair question and it deserves a Continue reading
Getting married comes with its changes and adjustments, like having breakfast at home. I always had my breakfast in the office prior to the ‘friendly invasion’; am not a morning person and that means that I used to wake up just in time to refresh and be at the office just barely on time. Having breakfast at home means having all that is necessary for a good breakfast and honey is one of them. One morning as I enjoyed my tea and honeyed bread, I took the honey bottle and started reading the sticker. I noticed the halal logo on the sticker and wondered why it was there. I always thought halal was about meat since I have seen it mostly on restaurant posters in town and in butcheries.
Questions welled up in me; what really is halal? Is it some kind of Islamic spiritual cleansing? Have Islamic prayers been spoken Continue reading
It is amazing how some simple things can elude even the brightest of us. Only after carefully thinking that you realize how close or far we can be depending on how we initiate our thought process. OK, let me cut the chase and get to the slaughter.
Sometime back I visited an uncle of mine and found my cousin watching some program on Discovery Science channel. The program had been running for like 5hrs in a row, thank God Continue reading
A few days ago I was watching on preacher/pastor being interviewed in a TV program. They were talking about different stuff; politics, church history, the bible and so on. Then after some time into the interview the presenter said something that made me alert, he made a statement and followed it with a question. He said ‘I went to catholic school and so I studied the bible and I also studied with some Jehovah witnesses and I always thought that the bible stories were to be taken literally, but as I grew up I realized that most of the stories are just there to give us a moral lesson, it’s not like those things really happened’, then he asked the preacher ‘do you believe that Jonah was in the belly of a fish for three days?’. The preacher man answered very plainly ‘I don’t believe Jonah was in the belly of a giant fish for three days’. I was surprised, I expected Continue reading