Last week Bishop TD Jakes apologized for remarks he made at his church which rubbed off some Kenyans the wrong way. He had previously been reported as saying “The natives all over Kenya drink water because of this ministry. And the hospital in Nairobi survives because of this ministry.” When the video of his comments surfaced, Kenyans on social media were up in arms with many demanding an apology from the Bishop. Many saw the comments as an exaggeration of the Bishop’s work in Kenya. We actually do have waters even without this ministry you know.
The enigma that is Africa
This saga reminded me of a different statement another high profile pastor made a few months back concerning Uganda. She said that her ministry was involved in providing homes to many children who are homeless in Uganda due to the raging war there. I wondered which Uganda she was referring to. Uganda has not been in war for ages. Are there places that have rebel related incidences; of course. However, these places are such a small part of Uganda.
That is the thing about Africa that many do not seem to understand. The world is used to black and white, yet Africa is a bit of both, more grey actually. It is not possible to put Africa in one box and be correct. That must be a rule of thumb for anyone who is making an African related statement.
This is the reality, Uganda has sections of the country where incidences would easily erupt; however, the wider Uganda is at peace. Kenya has sections where water issues are very prevalent with many going for days without water for long; however the wider Kenya actually has water. We are not a black and white kind of people.
The other day I read of how Kenya has had such high airtime on international news this year. We had elections earlier in the year, elections that were closely followed following the post-election violence in 2007. We then elected a president and his deputy who have been indicted in ICC for such heinous acts, and no we were not forced into electing them. The ICC cases then became an enigma that the world is involved in; where else do we have a president being elected with such cases hanging over them. Then we recently had a terrorist attack. All these spell such a gleam outlook of a country.
However, the reality on the ground is it is not as gleam as it sounds. The lives of many are as normal as it come, not too different from the rest of the world. So any attempt to place Kenya into one bucket of anything would not work.
This is the reason we got offended by the Bishop’s statement. And we get very offended everytime CNN talks about Africa in just one light. I get very offended when I watch a movie which the only time they bring Africa scenes it is to insinuate we live in war and poverty.
But he is a preacher!
But that is not the point of this post. For whatever reason, that this statement was made by a preacher seems to have gone down the wrong way even more with many other people. It seems Christians are generally put in a pedestal that is higher than the rest of the world and so when we goof, well, the beating is a notch higher.
I am sure we all have heard statements like OMG, she is a Christian and she just did that. Or how comes it is Christians who bash the gay the most. Or how is it that the guy is a Christian and at his workplace he did that or the other. It seems it is okay for people to goof if they are not Christians. When you wear the Christian cap then you best be perfect. The world seems merciless towards us, no room for mistakes Bishop Jakes!
But nothing would be further from the truth. Paul says something that I know to be so true over my life, and perhaps over all Christians; that the things I do not want to do I do, the things I ought to do I do not do. This is the tug line of the war that is a Christian’s life. We are as clueless as the next person. The only difference is that we are in the hands of a clue-full (if there is such a word) God.
And truly that is what the bible is all about too.
It is story after story of clueless people in the Hands of a Clue-full God. Abraham had been handpicked by God, this guy had a lot of one on one encounters with God. However, when shove comes to push, he sleeps with the maid so as to sire a child. At another instance, he labels Sarah his wife as his sister, a backup plan. This guy who is called friend of God was not always faithful!
Then there is David, I do not need to belabor just how clueless he was. Yet God calls him a man after God’s heart. And yes this guy committed adultery and even murdered a friend, totally clueless!
Then there is Jonah, dude thinks he can outrun God. He gets into a ship taking him away from where God has sent him; yep clueless. I could add Jacob, the guy who the chosen children of God are named after, Israel. Yet this guy conned his brother off his inheritance.
And let us not even talk about Moses or even Peter.
Peter has walked with Christ Himself, yet when shove comes to shove, he denies him, not once, not twice but thrice! And yet this is the guy who Christ has this conversation with “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven. And I tell you that you are Peter,[a] and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades[b] will not overcome it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be[c] bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be[d] loosed in heaven.”
Christianity is not about perfect people. Cluelessness 101 is what it is; it a battle that involves dying to self-daily. We are a people in the hands of a clue-full God, a people being sanctified, being made more like Jesus; and this is a lifetime process.
So when we goof, know we are work in progresses, know He is at work in us
The saddest thing is that even among us Christians; we lack the grace to hold each other up when we fall. We are also busy getting disappointed with each other. We have expectations of who we should be, and when we do not live upto these expectations, we are quick to throw stones at each other.
I hear of people saying that if she was spirit filled she would not do that. Peoples, it is not possible to be more spirit filled than Paul was, if ever there is such a thing as a Spirit filled barometer. Yet he says the things I do not want to do I do. We struggle to extend grace to each other, perhaps because we are still work in progresses.
My prayer today to this clue-full God, please teach me to extend grace to my fellow Christians most. Teach me not to be the first to stone the Bishop for a mistake that we all can make, teach me not to stone Christians because in their cluelessness they bash other non-Christians, teach me to extend grace to my fellow Christian who are as clueless as I am.
Teach me to extend grace because if You can have us, if You who is so holy can still love the clueless people we are, if You Lord can forgive, who am I not to. So Lord, I am a very clueless lady, in your Hands.