Pure Madness

My thoughts on the "behind the scenes" of life. You will find inspiration here. Share it generously


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In God’s Name

A lot has been done in Kenya in the name of God. The other day, a pastor in Machakos is said to have been caught praying for naked women in the middle of the night, as if clothes have been known to hinder answers to prayers. In the name of God, a group of gun blazing youths recently left an entire nation wounded and 148 promising Kenyans dead.

This is not the first time “shameful” activities are done in the name of God.These days, the miracles promised in the Holy Books to anyone who believes, are now on sale on the pulpit, in parks and in buses. In pursuit of these seemingly elusive and expensive miracles, many a people have sold their shambas and other possessions only to be robbed of the hope that put them on that journey. Others have in the name of God refused to take their children to school for education or to hospital for treatment. The list is endless.

Christianity isn’t the only religion that has had its fair share of challenges in the name of God. Our Muslim friends are now looking for ways to deal with the radicalization of the younger Muslim generation into religious militias that have seen Kenya lose many lives, the recent Garissa attacks still fresh in our minds. We have seen Mosques turn into battle grounds as the police raid and disband suspects hiding inside the mosque.

Religion is personal maybe that explains why most people are very defensive when it comes to matters religion. But does that mean we ought to turn the other way when religious injustices are going on unchecked? Where do we draw the line? Do we have to wait for lives to be lost for us to act? Do we have to wait until an entire generation has been radicalized before we say its needs to stop? Or an adherent who will not take his children for immunization and chases away health officers? What must happen for us to start talking about the danger of “unchecked religion?”

What can you and I do anyway? I believe the answer lies in very uncomfortable quarters -cleaning up our places of worship. Christians already have a perfect example on how to clean their places of worship. Jesus once went into the temple and chased out the people who were doing the wrong business in the temple. Our places of worship, just like during Jesus’ days, have become “A den of thieves.”

Pakistani Muslims Form Human Chain To Protect Christians During Mass. (Photo: www.huffingtonpost.com)

Pakistani Muslims Form Human Chain To Protect Christians During Mass. (Photo: http://www.huffingtonpost.com)

The government has intimated that they want to start regulating religious institutions. My suggestion is we do it ourselves; if we don’t and the government authorities do so, I guarantee you there will be an uproar. We will feel as though our holy places are being intruded by outsiders and most likely we will be up in arms.

I believe the religious umbrella bodies like the National Council of Churches of Kenya (NCCK) and Supreme Council of Muslims (SUPKEM) need to be empowered especially by the religious groups they represent to play a more active role-in monitoring what happens in their respective groups. These umbrella bodies also need to have powers to shut down religious institutions that do not adhere to their code of conduct.

There should be registration procedure put in place before one is allowed to start a church. All activities happening in the Churches, temples and Mosques should be privy to their umbrella bodies. If any doctrine is being taught in any religious institution that is not in line with the Holy Books, action should be taken against that institution. This way, the government authorities will only need to deal with the religious bodies as they do with unions.

Religious leaders will need to do what they preach and be humble enough to submit to their umbrella bodies just as the congregants submit to them. Their finances need to be audited by an independent professional auditing company. This way, if any activity is noted in a religious institution that is questionable, the umbrella body will be asked to account for them. If that institution is not registered then the government can close down the institution and take legal action against them. If it is registered then the government deals with umbrella body who in turn takes action against the individual institution that is “out of line”.

Muslims pray while Christians form a protective human chain around them in Nigeria's capital Abuja, January 10, 2012. REUTERS/Afolabi Sotund

Muslims pray while Christians form a protective human chain around them in Nigeria’s capital Abuja, January 10, 2012. REUTERS/Afolabi Sotund

Sadly (and God forbid), if status quo remains and we don’t put some controls to our religious institutions. Religious intolerance will soon soar and cause religious institutions to form militia groups to “protect” themselves from the other religion or fellow religious institutions. Worse still, religious leaders might start aligning themselves with political leaders who promise them “protection” once they are in power.

Pirelli, the world’s fifth largest tyre manufacturer have a slogan, “Power is nothing without control” and a common phrase from the Spiderman movie is “With great power comes great responsibility.” Friends, our religion and our faith need to be checked for our own good. The latter (faith) is personal responsibility. You and I have the great responsibility (are mandated) to live our lives as the Holy Books we subscribe to dictate.

Libraries are a great resource to help us add knowledge and complement our education. Spending time in the library reading is beneficial to our education but it does not guarantee passing exams. In the same way, Churches, Mosques and other religious facilities are just aids to complement our faith. Regular attendance helps us increase our spiritual knowledge but these institutions should never replace personal devotion and effort required to grow our own faith.

Power is nothing without control and with great power comes great responsibility.

Edited by Wanjiku Kimaru

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Kenya Bowed.

“Kenya Unbowed!” “We Are One” and “#147NotJustANumber” were some of the headlines during the Easter weekend after the terror attack in Garissa that led to the loss of over 147 lives. Yes, one hundred and forty seven young and promising lives. This was the saddest Easter season in the history of this country.

weareone.co.ke

Photo courtesy of http://www.weareone.co.ke

The same disaster that brought this nation to its knees also made Kenyans and the world over take a stand in solidarity with the victims. I am sure that is a card the selfish terrorist had not thought about. Kenyans donated blood, gave foodstuffs and offered counseling to the victims and their families for days. The social media went viral as the world over condemned the attacks. In anger, images of the slain terrorists went viral and so did the photos of Kenya’s security elite squad, Recce as they put to an end the standoff at the university.

The Garissa attack is still a very sensitive issue to the affected families and Kenyans at large, however there is need to pause and reflect on how we are handling the entire situation. I love the fact that we are very resilient as a nation. We have an extra ordinary drive to pick ourselves up and continue with our lives. This is a good thing but only if we learn from our mistakes.

So, was Kenya really unbowed that weekend? Are we unbowed today? Who said we are unbowed? Is it the victims of the attack, their families or the rest of the country? Who wasn’t on their knees that weekend? Whose heart wasn’t shattered as the number of deaths increased every hour? Who did not pray that terrorists would burn alive without the option of death? Who did not wish that they had certain supernatural powers to rescue the innocent university students? Then how is it that our headlines were “Kenya Unbowed?”

kenyan-families

Photo courtesy of http://www.cctv-africa.com

I cringed at the thought of what the students experienced that early morning; terror, panic and confusion with nowhere to run for hours!Calling your parents and hearing their voices for the last time, soaking yourself in a pool of blood so that you can appear dead when the terrorist walk on your throat, hiding in the closet and under the bed for hours and hours on end, kneeling waiting for your turn to be shot as bodies drop one by one next to you, gathering the courage to save yourself and running because your life depended on it. Unbowed? We are One?

Parents must have been looking forward to see their children during the Easter season or at least hear from them. Some parents had taken loans to take their children to the university; a sacrifice worth making. Some parents had exhausted their lifetime savings so that their kids would have a chance of a better life. Their children were full of dreams and vigor to change their lives and that of their country. A phone call from the terrorist as they mercilessly shot the students is not human in anyway. Those parents will never forget the screams of their children or the voice of the terrorists. Some will forever blame themselves for taking their children to the institution. Kenya Unbowed?

How dare you and I say how unbowed we are? What do we know about pain and terror?  Many parents would not even identify their own children’s bodies because they were disfigured while others will have to live with a traumatized child without an idea of what they can do end the misery. How many of the victims have contemplated suicide maybe that would stop the nightmares they have in broad day light? Do we still think Kenya is Unbowed?

Let’s not forget that the terrorists had families too. They were born and nurtured by a mother and father somewhere. They grew up within a family of brothers and sisters who will forever suffer for the selfish actions of their siblings. Their parents are hurting too. We all probably think it’s their fault that their children turned out to be terrorist but they too are in as much pain probably even more because the flesh of their flesh went against everything they sacrificed for them to take innocent lives. They too need comforting and validation that it’s not their fault. Imagine what the look on people’s eyes and their whispers are doing the terrorists families? No one is telling their story, they too are victims but do we think they are unbowed?

behance.net

Photo Courtesy of http://www.behance.net

What about the leadership of the country? Are they unbowed? I am sure our leaders are all too familiar with the security situation in the country but none of them ever thought it would cost the country so much. Neither did you and I. We are a nation in pain. A nation with so many questions. A helpless nation not hopeless but helpless. Helpless that we cannot turn back the hands of time and save the young lives that we lost that morning. Helpless that no matter what we say or do even though important, will never bring back the lost lives. Nothing we can ever offer compares to the loss these families experienced. The lives of the survivors will never be the same again. They will forever bear wounds and scars that only eternity can heal, if it is meant to.

So dear brothers and sisters, we are not unbowed. Far from it. We are crippled by pain and questions. We are on our knees. Our hearts are full of anger, hate and we cry for vengeance. We are bowed. But just for now. Tomorrow beckons. Even though we are wounded and have lost so much, tomorrow brings hope. This hope however needs not to be a false sense of calm. This hope should be a promise to our country that never again will we (citizens and the government alike) leave our posts unattended. This hope dictates that You and I become vigilant to secure our own future by securing our country.

We are bowed. Yet we rise. We rise.

Edited by Wanjiku Kimaru