Kenya: Be the Church!
With horror i watch the unfolding violence in Kenya; specifically in Nairiobi's Kibera slum and the western city of Kisumu. We were there in February in March. I was asked to teach pastors about preaching. And in both cities our seminars were filled to overflowing, with 500 pastors in Kisumu and 1,0000 pastors in Nairobi, in a large church right on the edge of Kibera.
One piece of information we were told over and over again was how many churches and denominations there are in Kenya today. That the christian faith is strong and growing (though young). We observed little church after little church along the roads and highways we travelled on our way between Nairobi and Kisumu. Now today I read that 50 people were burned alive in a church in the Rift Valley!! What? Is this a repeat of Rwanda and Burundi? Is the church so shallow that it cannot rise up and say NO? The long-term impact of the failure of the church in Rwanda and Burundi is the loss of credibility to the upcoming generation. Does faith in Jesus transcend tribal loyalties? Does Jesus reconcile enemies? Is forgiveness real? Do christians really live by a law of love? Is faith transformational or just ornamentation?
Now is the time for the church and those pastors I know to muscle up and declare a love-zone where violence will not be tolerated. Make their sanctuaries true sanctuaries and not crematoriums. Speak loudly and clearly about a stronger mandate than an election outcome. In the words of the late Dr. Glen P. Anderson "Let the church be the church!"