By George Kimando
When Christianity first came to our shores and hills, it was clearly heralding civilization with education and health taking precedence and root. Even as it was used as a tool of subjugation by the colonist, the benefits of its progress cannot be gainsaid.
To this day, some of the best educational institutions and health facilities in Kenya are run by the Church. Indeed, there are parts of this country where the Church is the only ‘government’ people know. How else do you describe a Church that runs an educational institution (all the way from primary school to a technical college), a hospital, a solar power system, a water drilling and distribution system, irrigation and agricultural facilities, etc in one locality?
This is the reason why the Church was traditionally viewed as a trail blazer in progress and civilization.
So how did we end up with Churches that only take from the faithful?
Here is the thing. Even as we talk about freedom of worship, there’s need to rationalize Churches and worship in this country. We can’t have Churches sprouting up all over even where we don’t have a single establishment that can offer education or employment to our citizenry.
Essentially, we need to decolonize our collective national mind from the irrational indulgement in matters religion at the expense of our socio-economic development and progress. Religion cannot be a substitute to economic activities that translates to collective and individual progress, the well being of a people.
There must be a way to weed out the operations of religious outfits that are detrimental to people.
The authentic Church must take up its role in harnessing virtues and good sense that leads to a people’s progress.
The problem we have is a growing populace of ‘faithfuls’ that believe all they need is prayer and fasting, and God will resolve all their challenges with one ‘breakthrough’.
A colleague publisher asserts that the manner in which Christianity has been sold to Africans over time, thereby influencing their thinking, has been an economic trap. The religion tells us we should not worry because God is in full charge and will solve our problems.
Yet the problems are worsening. Families are breaking down, marriages collapsing, crimes increasing, rape, murder, cheating and corruption normalized, while preachers continue yelling, calling God to intervene.
People are dying of hunger. Leaders are stealing shamelessly. Morality is falling fast. Is God not listening to our prayers?
There’s an evident and direct correlation between poverty and religion in Kenya. It is outright Mental and Moral irresponsibility for any Church to continue preaching a prosperity gospel that numbs people from the reality around them, promising them miracles which they have to pay for even if it means with their last coins.
We need the Church that takes the lead in articulating the ills and challenges that the country faces, and practical solutions in mitigating them. There’s a reason China is less religious and more prosperous than us. And if their money is that bad, we won’t have any business borrowing it.
We need a Church that prioritizes education, health and economic well being of its faithfuls, while at the same time promoting morals of virtuous work, decent living and interaction with integrity and simplicity.
We need a Church that will be intolerant to corruption and forthright with the political leadership; and perhaps even being intentional of having many of their own to take up elective positions to lead by example from within government.
We need a Church that is concerned about bread and butter issues before it even seeks to nourish us spiritually.
Faith without action is dead. Preaching of heaven to a hungry, homeless and naked man is not only insulting, but also stupidly so.
Just like calling for national prayer days in the morning (where millions are consumed in high end establishments) and holding press conferences in the afternoon bemoaning loss of several billions a day in corruption we have the capacity to stop.
And then we put up more Churches to pray against the vices that makes us poor! Sigh.
Have a pragmatic Sunday, and a great week ahead.