The Journey of a Christian Agnostic Theists: Thoughts on Christianity

Today Is an Interesting Day Because……

….behind the scenes I have about 4 or 5 articles I am working on that are on their way to being done but need elements out of my control to come into place before they can be complete. I have a podcast that I am yet to edit and I have sent out quite a few invitations to interview people over the past week.

The End Result

The end result is that I have a wonderful back log of articles and podcasts and things in process, too much for me to want to move forward but little enough that it shouldn’t take me too long to clear up.While this vacuum exists I thought I would give you all some more thoughts as I have continued along my spiritual journey.

Why I’ll Never Leave the Church

One thing that I can predict with a fair level of confidence and certainty is that I will probably never grow disillusioned with the church and/or with Christianity as I did in my teenage years and I will never leave the church. There are a couple of reasons for that:

1) I never got taught, or rather never had sink in, the consumer mentality to Christianity: Growing up, I was taught about the immutable, unstoppable, never changing power of self-determination and that all through my life, I should always use that power to create my destiny. I guess I am one of those people who preachers would label, “That arrogant young man who thinks he can do everything himself.”

I don’t know if I can but I certainly know that I am going to take responsibility for the results I achieve in my life.

2) Christian people are hands down, the most loving and silmultaneously nicest people I have ever met: A lot of people who become disillusioned with the church do so because they feel condemned, judged, unloved and unwanted by Christian people. I have never ever felt that. Until I was an adult, all my real-world (as opposed to celebrity or fantasy heroes) were Christian African women.

If you look through my heroes list, you’ll notice that one of them is Erwin Mcmanus (if anyone knows how I can get an interview with him….do share) and I just love to consume and reflect and act on his podcasts and his ideas.

To put the full stop on this point, I don’t know if I have told this story before but what the heck, I will tell it again

She Listened, Really Listened

It’s amazing how one moment can mean so many different things to different people. I don’t think my aunty knows just how special that day was for me, and whenever I tell my mother the story, she always remarks:

That’s nothing special

Or something similar, but that truly was, one of the greatest days of my life.

Disposable Teen

So there I was, 16 years old, scared and angry. I remember walking into my aunty’s home for a visit. My aunty did something that no human being had never done before. She didn’t try to advise me. She didn’t try to give me solutions to my problems. She didn’t engage in discussion or debate. She just listened.

She listened as I talked about my crazy plans about buying a fleet of matatus (a fleet of mini buses) and using the revenue generated from this venture to fund a school where the poor and marginalized youth of Africa would learn not only about the political process but would be equipped to answer the question:

How can I use the current global and political system to the benefit of my community and myself?

I don’t remember if that was the exact thought I told my aunty so many years ago, but whatever it is I said, she listened. I remember she fed me delicious sandwiches and tea and for a couple of days just let me talk. It’s amazing how the Angel Gabriel’s love for Mary can be felt just by his merely sitting next to her………..

Don’t worry if you read this and don’t see what’s so special either, just know it was truly one of the best days during one of the best periods of my life, and she was there.

She was in that moment, the salt and light of my world.

Where this Spiritual Journey is Going?

I know I am not alone on this one, but I often fantasize about being interviewed. My favourite platforms are either a town hall meeting, a speech I am making to thousands of people or an appearance on Enough Rope with Andrew Denton, and many a time, I have fantasized about being asked that very question in the sub-healdine.Here now is my smooth-as-Taye-Diggs-eloquent-as-MLK answer:

The way I see my life headed, I will probably end up the born again founder my own church dedicated to two things:

a) The upliftment and dignity of young African  boys and men

b) Taking action: Every sermon will end with everyone either doing something to improve their lives or the lives of the members of the community or it will become compulsory with attendance that you must take action after every service and are accountable to other members of the congregation.

I would weed out all the passive watchers and remain with just passionate people committed to taking action and being angels among men.

Hey, I have been asked to lead my bible study group this Thursday so that might be the begining of all of this…….watch this gap in the time space continuum.

My oddly tired brain is telling me those are enough ideas for now.

Have a fantastic week,

Mwangi

No Comments

  • By kenya.fm, July 30, 2008 @ 5:13 am

    Sorry to burst your bubble with reality check. You say:

    “Hey, I have been asked to lead my bible study group this Thursday so that might be the beginning of all of this…….watch this gap in the time space continuum.”

    Hey, you told me you are not born again, don’t you think it is a bit difficult to accomplish that task ( leading a bible study). No offence, but Christ once said of the teachers of the law who did not understand the law they taught, that :

    “..If a blind man leads a blind man, both will fall into a pit.” Matt 15:13

    I think, the first thing, is to start off with a fresh eye (be born again ) then you can see well to lead a Bible Study.

    But all the same, even though i fear for you, just lead it, and tell us what you discover.

  • By Frank, July 30, 2008 @ 6:45 am

    Don’t let anyone discourage you from leading that bible study, go for it!

  • By Mwangi, July 30, 2008 @ 5:01 pm

    @kenya fm: How are you? Hope you’re week is going well. I actually subscribe to the school of thought that wisdom from the mouth of a fool is still wisdom and believe in the verse that God uses all things for the good of those who serve him. Who knows, the words of this misguided young man may be all someone needs to achieve a revolution in their life.

  • By Mwangi, July 30, 2008 @ 5:02 pm

    @Frank: Thank you sir, thank you very much. I really appreciate even small words of encouragement at the moment

  • By kelly, July 30, 2008 @ 10:12 pm

    I’m sorry if this sounds combatant, but what kenyafm said right up there is what puts me off about some ‘born again’ Christians. God uses all jars, be they of clay (sinners like me) or golden (the non sinning lot).

    You go for it Mwangi, and I pray that God uses that opportunity to speak to you. I don’t think one needs to be a super Christian to lead a Bible study, just open yourself to God, and he’ll guide you.
    Leading a Bible study, which is a discussion and standing at the altar to preach I believe are 2 different things.

    Can I tell you an interesting observation. 60% of my church population is made up of women, but 100% of all the pastors are men. How comes these men are not ministering to fellow men?
    All the best with your action oriented church. I attend one that is the most action oriented church I have seen in Kenya so far, and it’s beautiful.

  • By Mwangi, July 30, 2008 @ 10:39 pm

    @kelly: Now that I think about it, that was the case everywhere. The world is still a very patriarchal place, especially in church though women are the VVVAAAST majority. Which church is this in Kenya that’s so action oriented?
    Thank you for the blessings….now to go read the book of Job

  • By kelly, July 30, 2008 @ 11:15 pm

    How comes, even with the Christian leadership being so male oriented, the church doesn’t minister to men? Ama women are just gullible? :)

    My church is called ICC. so far it’s been a great place to be, and IMO, it has a perfect mix of making societal difference and leading us to heaven or wherever we’re supposed to be headed.

  • By Mwangi, July 30, 2008 @ 11:21 pm

    @kelly: Women are just more open and trusting in general. I remember hearing people who organize personal development seminars here in Oz say the same thing. Men are more cynical, less emotionally open and hate being told what to do. Women on the other hand…..I just love women.
    Is ICC the church on Mombasa Road in Nairobi Kenya?

  • By kelly, July 30, 2008 @ 11:44 pm

    Yeah! It’s the one.

  • By Mwangi, July 30, 2008 @ 11:47 pm

    @kelly: You know that aunty of mine in the story above……that’s her church. God isn’t in the business of coincidences is He?

  • By kelly, July 30, 2008 @ 11:58 pm

    Yeah! It seems he isn’t!
    That’s one church that is totally different from any other place i’ve been. A place where you don’t feel judged regardless of how dirty you are, the pastors are within reach and so humble, and most people seem focused on making a difference to someone next to them, as opposed to the way many churches are a self contained cocoon of contentment, frowning at and condemning everyone on the outside. Not that there are no other great churches in NBI (I’m sure there are), just sharing my experience.

  • By Mwangi, July 31, 2008 @ 12:03 am

    @kelly: If it produced people like my aunty, and she and my Uncle had nothing but nice things to say about it, I believe you.

  • By kenya.fm, July 31, 2008 @ 2:16 am

    @kelly

    There is actually a difference between being a christian and beign born again, where i define the terms as follows:

    Christian- christian as in i am not a muslim or budhist or traditionalist. I attend church, though i would just be Ok if i did not. I do not believe everything the bible says, i believe their interpretation depends on the circumstance. I can live any life i choose- sinful or not, but still make it to heaven or whatever there is.

    born again-i was a sinner, i believe Christ died for my sins, i believed Him, repented and now i am a new person, i have the holy spirit who teaches my how to live life. I am not sinless, but i daily become a better person through a deligent study of the Bible and fellowship with my heavenly Father.

    Are you born again? If not, then i understand why what i say would not make sense to you. If you are a Christian as per the above definition ( BTW the same same definition that makes Kenya be 80% Christian – christians who still demand/give bribes, steal, hate, kill their neighbors ), then do you even read your bible? What does it tell you? If not, how do you hope to make it?

    You say you go to ICC. What do they teach over there? Here is an ICC pastor ( http://lifession.wordpress.com/ ), ask him. If he agrees with you, that anybody can lead a Bible study, i will rest my case

    Now, i did not ask Mwangi not to lead the Bible study. I simply warned him on the dangerous ground he would be walking by doing so.

    You do not need to have a PhD or even primary school education to lead a bible study, but you absolutely MUST BE born again first, otherwise, as Christ said ( Christ, not I, in Matthew 15:13) , you and those you seek to lead would all fall in a ditch of confusion.

    @Mwangi

    Mwangi my friend, i could choose to be just nice to you ( after all this is the net and i do not know you personally,right?) and not tell you the truth. But i would rather tell you the truth that saves you from destruction. Be a wise man and do not seek to teach on things you do not fully understand. Why not learn them first, then you will be able to see clearly and to help others out?

    Mwangi, i noted before that you have a zeal for doing right. Channel it correctly, otherwise, you may end up being derailed and doing things you could never imagine you were capable of.

  • By Pink M, July 31, 2008 @ 2:50 am

    @Kenya fm, in response to your comment in my blog,no, I do not dislike you, we just have differing opinions, and surely if I disliked everyone I differed with, then I’d be alone in this world.

    I don’t know what Bible studies are like those sides, but in my Church, they’re like discussions, during and the leader merely moderates. And no, they don’t ask you if you’re born again before asking you to lead, after all, anyone can say they’re born again. In my church we believe that by including even those that are not born again, then gently correcting them, is more effective than asking everyone if they’re born again before leading the Bible study. Well, I could be wrong, so I promise to ask my Pastor and get back to you on Monday.

    In answer to your question, I believe I’m born again, but like I’ve said before, I struggle, more often than not I fall, I sin frequently,sometimes I find it hard to believe, but through it all I am real. If anyone asks me if I’m born again, I tell them what I just typed. Again I could be wrong but well…

  • By kenya.fm, July 31, 2008 @ 6:30 am

    @Pink M

    I may appear to be harsh, but let me ask you:

    There are two doctors. Doctor A is easy going. He examines you, finds that you are have cancer at its early stages. But, he is optimistic, and says “hey, do not worry about it. It may go away or it may develop further” Doctor Z is the serious, type and and he tells you “you must remove this tumor immediately. if you leave it, it will grow and it will kill you one day, before you are 35″

    So, which doctor would you rather have as your doctor?

    So, would you rather i told you it is gonna be well with you, when i know, based on the word of God, that it is not? Would you rather i said nice words to you that made you feel okay, and made you forgot the things that may be wrong that needed correcting, or that i told you “Pink M, if you do A,B and C, you are going nowhere”.

    I may appear to be hard and judgmental ( which really i am not), but i say such things because i care enough to warn you and Mwangi, just like doctor Z. Think about it: you do not know me, i do not know you. How will your believing what i say /turning to the things i say, for example, benefit me? I am not even asking you to join my church. But you, you stand to gain, in that you may avoid being an enemy of the Lord. But i care enough to tell you the truth. I have harsh words, you may think. Another easy going preacher X may, confronted with what is obviously a sin situation, overlook everything and says ” Hey, no one is perfect. We are all sinners and we make mistakes. Do not worry about it”.

    While what preacher X says has a lot of truth in it, he fails you by not telling you “Pink M, while it is true that we are all sinners, and the Lord is willing to forgive us anytime, many times, if you continue doing A,B and C, you shall surely perish”. That is exactly what Christ was telling people.

    Again, anyone can lead a Bible study if they wish, but please do consider that the bible says that those words in the Bible are not just mere words, but the Lord’s and that it is only His Holy Spirit who can tell you the truth about them. Now, you cannot have the Holy Spirit speak to you unless you are a believer who is born again or saved. Being born again is not just a mere tag to be used to differentiate oneself. It is a description of something that has happened to an individual that makes him know that he/she is indeed different from what he/she was before that defining event.

  • By Evan, August 1, 2008 @ 7:49 pm

    Hi Mwangi,

    I really hope to see an action oriented church.

    On the born-again/not born-again question: when a scribe enters the kingdom he brings out of his storehouse old and new. The nations don’t go into the New Jerusalem but the glory of the nations do, Moses took advice from those beyond Israel and made sensible innovations in Israel’s governance; in short: the children of this world are often wiser – and there is nothing wrong in listening to wisdom.

  • By kenya.fm, August 2, 2008 @ 12:58 am

    @Evan
    ” the children of this world are often wiser – and there is nothing wrong in listening to wisdom.” : In matters touching on basic life on earth, yes, listen

    BUT In matters touching to real LIFE and DEATH, NO. Listen at your own peril ( 1 Cor 3:18)

    ” Stop deceiving yourselves. If you think you are wise by this world’s standards, you need to become a fool to be truly wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness to God. As the Scriptures say,

    “He traps the wise
    in the snare of their own cleverness.”

    And again,

    “The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise;
    he knows they are worthless.””

    Evan, how many of the Nuclear scientist would invite a Turkana herd boy to assist in design the next nuclear weapon? Not that there is anything wrong with being a herd boy. it is just that in that domain, the things are way above his head. Same way, you do not ask a child of the devil to give moral advice to sons of the Father.

    He who has an ear let him hear.

  • By Mwangi, August 2, 2008 @ 4:30 am

    @kenyafm and Evan and Pink M: Let’s continue the discussion…..I lead the bible study and soon I will be posting up my notes and some quick thoughts that came out of it.

  • By kenya.fm, August 2, 2008 @ 5:03 am

    @Mwangi

    Thanks for the posts that bring discussions…. i am out of here. I think i am in the wrong place. And i think i will be hurting people’s feelings, and challenging their beliefs, so it is better i leave.

  • By Mwangi, August 2, 2008 @ 5:07 am

    @kenya fm: No, no ones feelings were hurt my friend. It is a friendly spirited debate. I can show you what hurtful, unfriendly discussions look like and here on tDA its for the most part positive discussion, do don’t worry about it, stay and let’s continue by discussing my bible study.

  • By Evan, August 2, 2008 @ 9:38 am

    Hi Kenyafm,

    My feelings aren’t hurt if it’s me you’re worried about.

    I just want you to address the contradictions in your position. Please address how you plan to integrate Jesus word’s and Paul’s. I take the position that they are both correct. The distinction of sacred and secular is not a Biblical one. The point of Jesus saying is that the secular is taken up by the sacred. This was the point of the glory of the nations going into the New Jerusalem.

    The distinction between the sacred and profane is not the sacred and secular. The difference in the profane and the secular is not a particular kind of activity.

    In your example the christian can be a herd boy as easily as a muslim or secularist or atheist (this is the point of Jesus’ saying).

    As to the children of the devil advising the sons of the father: this is exactly what Jesus advised. I don’t see any distinction in scripture between life and death on earth and real life and death. Jesus saying seems to cut across this distinction to me.

  • By kenya.fm, August 3, 2008 @ 5:04 am

    @Evan
    I am sorry i can not continue with this. As i said, i am clearly in the wrong place.

  • By kelly, August 3, 2008 @ 9:06 pm

    Mwangi, waiting for those notes! I just came from our sister church, Nairobi Chapel, Mavuno, and I loved it. It just reminded me that the reason I believe is not out of fear of going to hell but because believing makes me a better person here on earth.

    @kenya fm, I don’t see why you should feel like you’re hurting people, this is just a discussion, nothing’s personal.

  • By Mwangi, August 4, 2008 @ 7:53 am

    @kenya fm: I really don’t want to hold you here if you feel this place is not right for you. I think the only words I would leave you with, is I would ask you to conduct a mental exercise and reflect a little bit about the life of Jesus and just how many arguments,disagreements he had over the course of his brief life and how often he was the only one going against the grain and doing something different.
    The initials are WWJD (What Would Jesus Do), correct? Me thinks if you read the Bible the answer is pretty clear…..JC was many things but a diplomatic politician isn’t one.

  • By kenya.fm, August 5, 2008 @ 12:26 am

    @Mwangi

    Thanks for the opportunity.

    My service is to give bread to those children who are hungry. If i come upon grown-ups who have eaten, but whiling away time discussing what is better for desert ( e.g Evan), then i know i am in the wrong place.

    So any time i am here and i see such said children (e.g. Kelly.), i will offer bread.

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