Three strange conversations provided a lot of food for thought last week. I thought I would share them with you.
I had a long conversation last week with a Muslim convert to Christianity who is completely disillusioned with Kenyan Christians. He has experienced pastors that steal from orphans, believers that have sued him, and people with a complete lack of integrity working in the church. He’s often considered returning to Islam because Christians have failed him miserably. His only hope now is Jesus. It makes me wonder how can Christians act like this. These aren’t just nominal Christians that go to church on Easter and Christmas, these are pastors and elders stealing from their own congregation. As I have noticed, there is sadly a lot of hollow religious talk in this country. There seems to be a pervasive lack of integrity at all levels that isn’t being addressed.
I had a second interesting conversation with a long-term missionary in Kenya. He’s been robbed, beaten, and threatened too many times to count. Last year he and his friend were mountain biking through a rural area when thieves attacked them with machetes and took everything they had. Now he just carries a pistol around with him all the time and will shoot to kill if necessary. Unfortunately that is the reality here. You have to think about your own safety first because if you don’t you won’t survive for long. I know that’s controversial for Christians because of verses like “Turn the other cheek”, but you have to be in a similar situation before you can judge another person for their actions. If it’s between your family and the thief, I have to believe that I would choose to protect our family, no matter what the Bible says.
Finally, I had a ridiculous conversation with two Kenyans about the way to treat women. They were telling me about this show “Cheaters” and how much they liked it. Basically the premise of the show is that people who think their spouses are cheating on them can call in and ask the show to spy for them. Quality entertainment I know. Anyway, the only problem these guys had with the show was that women could hit men when they found out about men cheating, but men couldn’t hit them back! “In Africa”, they told me “you have to give your wife a proper beating”. They even told me that beating your wife was a sign of love, just like you would discipline a child to keep them from getting spoiled. All that to say, this conversation was definitely a moment of cultural realization for me and understanding how different this place really is.
So far I’ve been safe from any Al-Shabab attacks. I’m trying to avoid crowded public places with lots of foreigners and stay on the down low. Thanks for all your prayers and concerns.