The next church we tried had megachurch ambitions and few principles. Aside from running an expensive private school on campus, that church did literally nothing for the community AT ALL. No food bank, no clothing drive, no toy drive for the holidays, just glitz and show. Once I had to help a disabled newcomer in and out of a bathroom stall; I was blessed to assist him but unhappy that he had to endure that embarrassment in the first place. On and on and on it went: too little Christ, too much agenda that avoided or directly contradicted what Christ Himself taught.
It was about four years ago that we dropped the church altogether. I decided if I was going to be a Christian, I had to be a red-letter Christian because without following the specific teachings of Christ, that title is worthless. My faith in Christ has never changed, but I actively hate the state of the Church in general and will never return. I feel your pain, Todd. My husband and I were in some really bad churches and were terribly hurt more than once.
I almost gave up hope but I knew I needed the fellowship of other believers. I have since found a church home where I am comfortable, but I am not highly involved, too much pain mistrust still lingering to allow myself to get overly involved, but I enjoy the worship services, I think the pastor and others who teach there are Spirit-inspired for the most part and I see them reaching out into the community in many and varied ways. I hope you can find some sort of community of believers at some point.
My prayers are with you. This was a great article. The Church continues to live in the past and pretends that women are not holding down full time jobs outside the home. Would love to hear things from your perspective Virginia! Shogren, I beg to differ. We do have a place in the body of Christ. I have to conclude that you completely misunderstood me, Mildreanne, or else I did not express myself clearly.
Of course women have a place in the Body of Christ. Half of the people I train for Christian ministry are women. Nor would I sit still if someone said there there is a monolithic manly point of view.
We are all individuals, that is to say. Virginia, I do find that there are churches that are less hostile toward women who work outside the home and recognize their needs, though they may be hard to find. The problem I have is that even most of these churches see women having divinely decreed roles that are subordinate to men, both in the church and in relationships.
A growing number of Christians, including myself, see this as an error, with the verses commonly cited at restricting women from certain roles in the church and the home taken out of context. I for one like to consider my partner an equal partner. This is one thing I do see driving some people away from the Church. I have needs and those needs were not being met by the Church.
I was supposed to give and give and get nothing in return but shame and guilt. Not all of them can be stay-at-home moms. It isnt fair, and it certainly isnt what i think of as love becoming of a group of believers who claim to emulate the God of love. Steve and Rueban, obviously not Virginia, my spouse was cheating regularly, church said I had to forgive, he moved in with his lady friend, I had to forgive.
Work in the church? Taught 2 classes, did the funeral lunches, worked the food pantry, the homeless week, food drives, sat on committees. A young man was beating his child and abusing his wife, she was told to forgive even as her spouse was sent to jail. Where is the compassion for the woman? To forgive is a conscious decision to not hold something against someone weather they ask for forgiveness or not.
Forgiveness does not mean you must continue in an abusive relationship. Matthew explains why we must forgive. If we walk with an unforgiving heart we are not walking in the fruit of the Spirit and we allow the devil access. Also the body of the church people with Jesus as the head should be showing compassion for any of their brothers and sisters that are abused and for that manner helping anyone that needs help.
Scripture in Hebrews specifically tells us to be kind to strangers. Scripture in Corinthians specifically tells us to help widows and orphans. In all things we must act out of love. We must always forgive for our own sake. But that does NOT mean we have to maintain relationship with unrepentant or dangerous people. Any Church or Pastor that would recommend staying in those relationships you described does NOT understand the love of God. What a Pharisee. This is the reason churches have become void of the work Jesus and Five fold ministry is supposed to.
Approved by God unashamed.. The religious Elites. That seems to ring a bell. The only time the Jesus ever woed anyone. And you profile them. They never had a chance be loved by Christ loves us. Through you and your religious rhetoric. Your job is to love them, and if you truly love God and had the power of salvation? Yes, you can hang out with whoever you like. The mind of Christ. To obey Jesus and the words he said. Is what a wise Builder does.
Read Sermon on the Mount. The poor, of spirit. Those who mourn. The center, and those who love Jesus the most. Those who are forgiven much. No they have much to be forgiven for. With my long hair. My background, and the homeless people I work with every day. They smell like urine. They do meth.
They received the gospel, and they love to be loved. Your problem is your love is superficial. I read and you made so much sense.. It was the time of holy laughter and churches passing around huge baskets where women threw in their wedding rings and we said Glory Halleluja and suddenly I knew in my knower I have to get OUT!!! A man or woman should not put away his spouse except for the cause of fornication. This is a direct teaching of Jesus Christ that is in the new testament.
Jesus understands the breaking of the solemn bond of matrimony and what mental damage this does to the relationship, which is why this is the only exception made. Blessed be the woman who can forgive a spouse of this. But yea, unto you is also given permission to leave upon the breaking of this bond. Sorry where does it say blessed be the woman who can forgive a spouse of this????????
Where women have married devils, it is a certainty that God was not in it in the first place. Same with men who marry devils. It can happen. Looking forward to your reply, Virginia. Pressuring her even though she had Type 1 Diabetes, which had been destroying her body, since childhood. Wanting the mothers to marry the same kind of jerk they divorced in the first place, just to be married. If after tabulating your needful expenses and paying those things, what is left over would be your increase. If you are barely paying your bills, then you owe no tithes.
THIS is the way of the Lord. If however you voluntarily pay more than a tenth of your increase, then blessed be ye. And if you are a needful recipient of tithes through your church, then also may the Lord bless you. But this is why people do not want to attend church. My sister decided to leave this church, but she felt she had not right to go to another.
There are good churches. Focus on worshipping the Almighty God, not finding wrong in the church. Find a church where the Word of God is being taught and attend. I agree! There are many God seeking churches out there, we just hear about the not so good ones. If your heart truly wants to find a good church, God will send you there! Not really. If a shepherd had less flock one year than he had the last, he was operating at a loss, and therefore had no increase. Eventually your flock would dwindle away.
This would be bad accounting and makes no sense. It is also important to interpret needful things and expenses, not optional luxuries. If you split hairs too much with the Lord, he will split hairs with you. And also any extra milk gained in excess of the family needs would be tithed too.
When he has that, it all works out, giving, living, loving, etc. Now you are actively redefining your definitions. In your example, going from 10 sheep to 5 sheep, there is an increase or an income of 5 sheep. That increase IS your entire income from sheep anyways. Saying elsewhere that you only tithe on net and then claiming that to be increase shows a lack of understanding. Do you think anyone is claiming that what you already have and have already tithed on it income for a second time? Please examine the heart with which you are approaching these conversations.
You appear to be very willingly seeking confrontation, but at the expense of being dishonest. Even in the LDS faith is this how you believe you should act? Does this fall under milk before meat lying to non-believers in order to convert them? Do you believe your spirit in these conversations is choosing the right? That you have done all that you could do? For if you are seeking contention, then have you not sinned? And if you have, have you done all that you could do and made all of the right choices?
Per the LDS faith, your approach is very likely affecting your faiths idea of salvation. All the costs in maintaining the herd and household are base costs. Sorry, no time to go into it. Have fun. Like it or not the church has expenses. In the years following the ascension of Christ to heaven, followers of Christ provided the needs of the apostles. We should be doing same now so the pastor can pastor instead of selling coffee to make ends meet. The LDS church seems to function fabulously. The LDS works well because it is a corporation which owns gigantic business ventures and funds its chapters from its bureaucracy.
It also deviates from true scripture and adds its own heretical apocrypha to its teaching. Remove the beam from thine own eye, before the mote from thy brothers, that ye may see clearly. Such hate is clearly rooted in evil. Judge a tree by the fruit it bears. Quick question for you. And just exactly how would the resurrected Christ visit them? Much as he visited his disciples? To believe that his disciples in Israel were the only people on the planet he visited is quite closed minded, and clearly contradicted by his own words. Gal Paul, an apostle not sent from men nor through the agency of man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised Him from the dead , Gal and all the brethren who are with me, To the churches of Galatia: Gal Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, Gal who gave Himself for our sins so that He might rescue us from this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, Gal to whom be the glory forevermore.
No Other Gospel. Gal I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel; Gal which is really not another; only there are some who are disturbing you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. Gal But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed! Gal As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed!
That is what the bible says no Book of Mormon needed, when Christ sets you free you are free indeed and will look and assist others with compassion since they received the love of God, and are forgiven on the basis of faith alone. Do you even know what the Bible is? It serves only the arrogance of surety that you would accept only the one compilation The Bible and no others. I smile widely in disbelief also knowing that the included gospels of the old and new testament were hand picked and groomed to the tastes of King James by the autocratic servants of the monarchy.
Such ignorance to think that it is by any means the complete and only truth. What a total lack of understanding of the origins of the words you and I both hold so dearly. I know. An angle presenting a different gospel from plates by mr smith with no archeological evidence found in the us saving a different gospel does no make it. You know little of what you are commenting about. The evidence is strewn about the Guatemalan and Yucatan peninsulas. One only needs to look.
Tradition and the Church
The plates were commanded to be carried for many months and buried where they were in upper state NY. It says this in the book itself, which is a compilation of many authors testimony of what happened. It is becoming more and more clear that these were the pre-mayan peoples.
The main reason I am disillusioned with the church is because of the corruption. I could go on and on. The reason to be disillusioned is their own apologies. Excuse me! That was written before Mormon plates and it is different gospel altogether based on a false christ whom Mormons say is created and not the Real Christ who cheated the universe man who left his Heaven to become man and died for our sin. Col To trust in a different christ one that was created , is no christ at all. And in the end, whoever trusts in the christ instead of the Living Chirst will still be in their sins. Which is why the correct Christ Deity not the plate man made one christ who as created Is pivotal to where you will spend eternity in heaven with God forever forgiven by Christ Deity who paid the price for our sins or hell paying you your sins yourself, without God, forever.
Because the created mormon christ can not forgive sin. The mormon may spell the same but eternally different. Still sounds like you are taking it wrong. You still seem to know little of what you are talking about because what you are spewing is really confusing. You must have gotten this stuff from some hateful evangelists. What are you talking about? The teachings of Christ in the book of mormon are almost a perfect mirror of those in the new testament.
Who told you these lies? If you would like to ask some basic questions about our beliefs, then I will answer them for you. Not confusing at all I know a lot of Mormon there lives look better cleaner than mine they are knowledgable and a lot of good works. The thing is that has nothing to do with sin how good you are. His birth He was born of a woman and by Gods Spirit. Isaiah ; Matthew ; Luke , 34 which make Jesus able to give salvation to those who call on his name by Faith alone and not works.
Works will never save anyone because works can not erase sin. And I do not disagree with your words or quotation so please tell me exactly what it is you think you are saying about mormons? Of course everyone sins. Who told you we believe otherwise? You need both. Jesus said I am the way the truth and the life no man comes to the Father but by me.
If any man is in Christ he is a New creation Titus God gives us the desire to do good works to please Him and gratitude for what he has done for us. We will want to do good works God puts His Holy Spirit into our heart to know him. I pray that He will you insight into this. Salvation is found in no one else their is no other name by which we must be saved. This site explains it better. That branch of my family believes they are the only Church because Joseph Smith is the only one who got the right temple plans, the right doctrines and covenants and the best testimony ever from the angel, and confirmed it all with the burning in his bosom that it was the right way.
Because all the denominations around were false and displeased God so much he appeared to JS. So if it is indeed the only church, why frequent a site not even talking about the LDS church. Seems strange, the missionaries that have come to my door tell me your Church is growing leaps and bounds, so why are you coming to a website for Church plants, that are not being done by your church. The BOM is not based on Biblical christianity, because remember JS was given the right gospel and doctrine because the current ones were lacking, right.
And he had more revelation for going back to taking more than one wife, because that was what was done in ancient days, right? Even though the actual temple ceremony has NO origin in Hebrew culture but in the occult practices of ancient times, that were heathen and paganistic. Messiah never had a brother, in Satan. The fact is Joseph Smith had a whole different occupation, something quite contrary to ALL scripture.
He created a new religion based on some obscure notions, and tried to pawn it off as the new deal. He got quite the following and it is still going. LDS build churches and perpetuate a very large real estate venture adhering to good moral principles. Jesus Christ, Messiah, came to build a Kingdom not of this world, not associated with Kolob, but to have a Bride saved by grace, by HIS shed blood, period. Not rituals, not works, not anything that man can do gets them to the spiritual Kingdom.
The Body of Christ is the Bride, the only heavenly marriage happening there. No extra planets, no need for anymore priests as He alone is our high priest. No need to create more spiritual progeny. Do you feel like you grow more spiritually by helping a stranded motorist or by looking at wrong images on the internet?
I would adamantly say the former. By practicing righteousness we strengthen those spiritual muscles. If we fail to take action, the next time it will be easier to do the same. Faith is all that is needed for salvation. Jesus died not just for original sin, but for ALL of our sin. We can only accept his offer of salvation. All of our works are but as dirty rags so that no man may boast that his salvation comes in any way from his own effort. If it were, how then did the thief on the cross go to Heaven? Either Jesus was wrong not possible or the belief that baptism would be required for the thief or anyone to go to Heaven is wrong.
But back to your point, Jesus said you will know a tree by the fruit it bears. A dead tree bears no fruit. A dead faith bears no fruit. But the act of bearing fruit doing works is not what makes the kind of tree works is not what makes a Christian , it is how they are identified. In addition to this, many people also make the mistake of thinking that all works have to be outward. This very egregiously overlooks the most important works, those of growth and change in the believer.
Many of these works will not be observable at a casual glance, but only through detailed retrospection and an examination of your past vs your present self. Faith and works go hand-in-hand as one responds in trust and obedience to God. It is obedient faith that saves. LDS go around baptizing dead corpses. The Gospel of Christ is for the living — not the dead. Once you are dead its too late to accept Christ. Bethany was near Jerusalem, about two miles off, and many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary to console them concerning their brother.
So when Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went and met him, but Mary remained seated in the house. But even now I know that whatever you ask from God, God will give you. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this? Not what you assume….. Just to clarify, LDS do not baptize corpses. And never have. It is proxy baptism performed by the living in behalf of the dead. I agree with just me, you dont need works for salvation.
Many a man have confessed on their death bed, were baptized and saved. Does that mean they dont receive the same reward? The problem is thier version of the Bible changes the words and tus the meaning of referenced verses. You cant get through to them. No Holy Spirit dwelling on the inside of them. And no, the claim that they both draw from the same source material is not an answer.
This is text that was added by the KJV translators to clarify passages that did not easily translate into English. In other words, they are additions that had to be added during the act of translation, they were not present in the original text. It tries desperately to please the political climate as far as possible. First is was sanctioned as what God intended, so the brethren needed to get more wives, then in comes the government sanctioning it illegal for impending statehood, and gee, it went away mostly.
Dud you are a clown, that is destined to an eternal he l if you do t denounce your pride, repenting of your sins to the living God that He mat extemd salvation unto you. You can perhaps infer it from the text, if you are so inclined, but there is no question that understanding is not taught in the bible, if so, will you show me where? To the contrary He reaffirmed the teaching of one God in Mark Jesus kept dietary laws AND the sabbath before and after His resurrection, but modern Christianity uses weak verses to abandon those.
The problem with this idea is that Joseph Smith himself claimed that upstate New York was the site of the climatic battle. I understand that since then, as no archaeological evidence is present, the church has revised the location to the Guatemalan and Yucatan peninsulas. The problem this presents though is that Joseph Smith made these claims based on divine revelation and was a prophet i. However, the need for revision shows that he clearly was fallible, therefore his claim to be a prophet is shown to be false.
The Bible is very clear on this for how we are supposed to test a prophet. Additionally, that is not the only instance in which Joseph Smith was wrong when claiming to speak in his role as the prophet. Or any number of other issues, claims, doctrines that the church has since had to revise.
They are not of faith, they are false, they are crazy, etc. Why because if you are LDS you accept and believe and are convinced that he alone was infallible on such matters. It is JUST that the rest of the world is hateful towards the true church, right? I challenge you to read the Book of John, chapter one. Sue, I think you lost translation somewhere. She is a Christian with LDS family members. Read the posts toward the top.
And Joseph Smith tells us God came from the planet Kollob, almost spells something else in reverse. Please know this. You cannot serve GOD with your head, you serve him with your heart. Serving GOD with their heads is the main cause of division in the church today. Serving GOD with your heart requires faith, requires love, requires grace, mercy and all other fruits of the spirit. If we, as a church, unite in serving JESUS, in spirit and in truth, then we will impact the world more effectively and our intentions, for the world to be saved, will be effective.
GOD bless you all. None of us including you my friend were there but you choose to believe that. And for that matter, why are you on here trying to argue the facts using what is in our own opinions a false doctrine? I am sure you know by now that you are talking to us as if we were part of the LDS community. None of us except for you are LDS. I know that I am not.
I live with my LDS friends too. We definitely are family to each other but we are and always will be in separate churches. I will be straight forward with you and tell you right here that us Christians do not believe in the Book of Mormon. Most of us see the Mormon church as a cult and false religion.
Now I personally say that you really should see your way out of this conversation since we are not going on your mormons blogs and trying to prove our point there. My friends and I have a solid respect for each other. We agree that we all believe in God. But we also agree that we have completely different beliefs. I am a Christian and they are Mormons. And that is how it will always be. Of all the places Joseph Smith mentioned, not one trace has been found. He also mentioned items,such as swords that have not been found on this continent. His writings are so obviously a fraud, that I wonder anyone is fooled.
Grace means unmerited favor. It has nothing to do with being righteous. We are saved by Grace not by our works. When we are in Christ Jesus, we have a rudder where we know in ordinary things what is right or wrong. So in this life we will have troubles. Also we repent very quickly and go to bed forgiven in mercy. Jesus is the only one to follow….. Jesus said….
Remember he still has a thorn in his side…True! You said…. If not check with G-d…….. No one comes to the Father except by ME…. Your Church nor your Pastor is the way…. Bless you. That hardly seems fair to anyone except your group. It is called the Fires of Faith and is freely available. It very clearly disputes your ideas that the books were handpicked and groomed to the tastes of King James.
If you are LDS then you should know that your opinions on this differ from what your church officially states…. Oh that your eyes and ears could receive the revelation that your religions serves man and NOT a Holy God. Jesus is the Head and the church is His body. What happens when the head is severed from the body? Jesus and His church are one. The church is also the bride of Christ. There is so much more. The Bible as we know it was actually determined in CE with Constatine and the leaders of the various factions of the Church.
King James was the one who got the Bible translated into the KJV as it was before all the other various translations of the Bible came to be. He only commissioned a translation of the very same books translators had been rendering in English since the beginning of the Reformation starting with Tyndale, continuing through the very popular Geneva Bible, etc.
The four gospels we have had been recognized throughout the church from very early on there is strong evidence in the second century. Some creative revisionist history being spun there. King James hand picked the books to be included huh? Do some actual historical research. What a foolish man you are, that you have placed your trust in your intellect. How sad it will be for you on the Great White Throne Judgement, if you do not denouce your pride and arrogance, falling to your needs with a broken and contrite heart, that the one who saves, may receive you into his blossom, remembering your sins no more.
You clearly have no revelation of what that scripure means. This means we judge another in light of what the Word of God says. So, you my friend stand guilty as charged. Your intellect means nothing to Jesus! Few have understood what the significance of this Scripture. The translation model was also preferred over other model; for example the translation model tries to preserve the Christian identity while still attempting to take culture, social change, and history serious. Bevans: This should be the emphasis of any Christian theology. The research was done in a comparative plus critical contextual approach on the subject, whereby Christianity and traditional religion was brought into dialogue, since this is the initial approach that the early missionaries failed to do.
But despite the advocacy for the dialogue, the researcher shares the same view as those of the work done by The Lutheran World Federation on Spirits, Ancestors and Healing Wulfhorst , whereby I did not uncritically suggest that the church should adopt and apply spiritualistic elements. The research does not endorse the religious veneration of spirits or the focus on spirits but rather it proposes a dialogical relation with those who hold these beliefs and engage in these practices.
This is based on the understanding that the Christian faith is dialogical and grounded in biblical theology of creation Wulfhorst ed 8. The analysis focused on the past, present, and future of the Meru way of worship, before and after Christianity. The theoretical approach was both emic and etic,6 emic since I participated and belonged within the culture of the study, and etic because I acted as an observer in other aspects of the research. The data were from two sources, primary and secondary,7 the primary sources concentrated much in anthropological data collection, while the secondary sources dealt with theological systematic and hermeneutical reflection of the previously-collected data.
Observation this happened as I attended different denominational services in order to learn how they are handling the challenges of African spirituality in their churches and how different denominations do teach and approach Spiritual challenges. But in different circumstances involving different denominations I tried to incorporate myself within their context in order to be a participant. This is because, despite the fact that I belong to the community where the research was conducted, I was not part of various denominations.
And as a researcher, I ought to be more of an observer. And as Hansen states while using James P. While Bailey refers to the above as participants and nonparticipants observations as previously used Bailey: All the above types of observation were applied as far as this research is concerned. The observation was done covertly8; this does not go contrary to my research ethics of observing the people without their knowledge since the researcher assumed that what was happening was ethically and morally right as it was done by them that were observed.
As far as the observation was concerned, I limited myself only to the worship services of the observed group; I did not get deep into all the detailed account of what happens in the group. The way of my observation was unstructured observation, this is whereby I was flexible, concentrating on what I deemed important on every particular time.
My main focus of observation was actors the people involved , acts single action that people did , activity a set of related acts people do , events a set of related activities that people carried out , goals 8 Observation can be either overt or covert; by overt is where the people are aware that they are being observed, while covert is whereby they are not aware they are observed.
I was also keen on the language used per every single event and action. While trying to come out with a theology that is purely African and also orthodox, the approach was to examine the theology of the local spirituality read through the theological reflection. This means that, the research begins with what people know and believe, while later it was incorporated with what ought to be practiced as true and authentic. Traditional Igembe religion and culture were emically and etically described in the light of the perspective of both Christians and non-Christians who also belong to the same community.
The secondary source included the Bible, as well as pertinent reference materials including books, journals, newspapers, websites and church documents.
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The approach was hermeneutical in its review of the major differences that exist in spirituality between the two religions. This is exemplified in the New Testament writings of the early church, as it spread to new cultures, challenged with different new cultural contexts.
As a member of the community, I knew some of the participants and anonymity was not possible. This actually arises from the fact that being born and raised in the community where the research is being done one may tend to give a biased statement and record of the information. Research is anonymous when the researcher is not able to identify the participants in the study.
Some people, who have claimed either to be involved in sorcery and any kind of magic were clearly against the idea and will not be mentioned directly as far as the research is concerned. While for the informants who felt they should be held anonymous, the personal integrity was maintained. In some cases as well some information were withheld, especially where the researcher felt that by exposing the persons interview it may have damaged their good will intentions on what they were doing to help the society. While other informants had no problem if there identity was revealed as far as this research is concerned.
In most cases some would agree to be taken some photos, which the researcher as the option of using them or not using them. The researcher is working on personal experience, that some of Igembe Christians when confronted with calamities in life they are more likely to consult mediums, diviners or perform a traditional rite than approach it in the Christian Biblical way, many feel that the church cannot tackle their personal problem as earlier alighted in the introduction and out of this the church has been reduced to personal prestige level, and not as the true way of life for Igembe people.
Interviews were conducted during July and August , Geographical and time restraints required that, along with face-to-face interviews, some interviews be conducted by phone. Eleven face-to-face interviews were conducted; some took almost hours. One of the challenges of the data collection was the sensitivity of the subject. It was important that I have general talks with the potential participants, as it relaxed them and made them more likely to be open to a formal interview. Some Christians and non-Christians alike were reluctant to answer some questions, especially those related with Christianity and sorcery.
An additional challenge to the research was that according to the Igembe traditional norms, not all groups and traditional practitioners can respond positively to everyone unless you become part of the group or fulfil some conditions. For this study, doing so, would have been wrong and made the core perspective of doing the research futile.
Thus, an emic study of practitioners like witchdoctors and groups like Njuuri, are not fully included in this research. I attended these different denominations in order to observe and experience how their liturgies, sermons and the entire service tried to approach and address different spiritual and physical problems that their members faced in daily life. My role was as observer, both as a part of the group and distance observer Hansen: In this case, the two observation approaches were applied, since despite being an observer from a different denomination than the one attended, I could still identify myself with the members since we come from the same community.
Language was both an advantage and a challenge for me; I had an advantage of doing the research in Kimeru in my local community, and a third party was not required for the face-to- face interviews. The questions were written in English, but the interviews were carried in Kimeru language. Because of the language status, certain professions required certain use of language. The age difference also was a factor that brought limitation as far as the language of communication, as well as the approach to communication was concerned; this is because Meru is a society where age-gap is so much maintained and respected.
So the language and the approach were very essential, and may have limited the openness while seeking some information which are vital to this research but culturally deeply rooted, hence getting less information as far as data collection is concerned. In this particular case I will be dealing with Igembe people, who happen to be one of the Meru sub-division. The Meru region spans the equator, and is rich in fertile soil and blessed with adequate rainfall; thus its main economic activity is agriculture, including coffee, tea and khat. This is particularly true for the geographical area of miraa, some of sub-divisions of Meru region engage in animal keeping, especially Tigania and Tharaka in which has a lower average rainfall.
Despite being a heterogeneous community, all share common ancestry and myths. They also speak the same language, Kimeru, but there are some slight regional differences in accent and local words. Igembe people live on the Nyambene range11, a great massif in the Northern part of Meru in the present Igembe district. The district lies within the latitudes 0. Igembe district boarders Tigania district to the west, Tharaka to the south, Isiolo to the Northeast and Mwingi boarders the district to the southern eastern side.
The Nyambene range creates the diversity of the physical landscape, it also affects physiographic and the environmental of the district. The range is elongated from the southern to the northeast and rises sharply above the 9 The major source of the geographical information of the Igembe region is got from, Kenya National Mapping. District Map. District study, District population Survey: March These mountains are regarded with reverence as great places and mysteries symbolic of God Kihara 2.
The climatic condition of the district is determined to a large extent by its topography. The highlands reduce the effect of high temperatures and the rate of evaporation. The annual mean temperatures are The lowlands receive low rainfall as they are on the leeward side.
The rainfall pattern is bi-modal with the long rains coming from March to May and short rains, October to December. Rainfall ranges from 1,,mm in the eastern and the southern slopes of the Nyambene range, to mm annually in the leeward side. The upper areas have friable clay soils, which are deep in most areas and suitable for coffee and tea growing while in lower areas, soils are sandy and generally poor quality, suitable for cotton growing and ranching.
The administrative centre of the district is called Maua. Maua is a municipal town, with a population of around 40, people, with whom 9, live within the urban radius.
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It is a town with a beehive of activities. Igembe people are mainly farmers even though some engage in keeping animals. According to the government statistics the present population of Igembe people is , Kenya population Census The population is spatially distributed, such that in the high- density areas have average farm sizes of acres while in the low-density areas, the average farm sizes are acres. Majority of Igembe people are Christians, with major religious group being; Methodist, Roman-Catholic and Pentecostal Churches, other minority religions are Muslim with her majority from Somali origin and tradition religion followers.
Igembe is known to be the place where the famous Meru national park is, being the former home of Joy and George Adamson and Else the lioness. The area is crossed by numerous permanent streams draining from Nyambene ranges flowing parallel south eastwards towards the Tana River. There are cases of high absolute levels of poverty in the district.
These includes the landless mostly found in areas with high population density and the settlement schemes where they live as squatters; urban slums dwellers who are found in towns and markets centres such as Maua, Laare, Mutuati and Kiengu, child labourers persistently found in miraa growing areas and town, with high level of school drop- outs and street children and orphans. The plant as made the place famous, since it fetches a lot of money in the market.
Majority of people normally use the traditional charms ndaatho to protect it from illegal harvester. The churches are also divided over the Christians planting, selling and chewing miraa, but since this research is not concerned with the church attitude towards miraa, my main concern was to highlight the role the plant is playing in the perpetuating the beliefs in the African charms of protections, which is affecting both Christians and non-Christians. This chapter discusses Meru history of migration and spirituality and religious belief.
Meru religious beliefs are very much a function of migration and history, more so for older than younger generation. The Meru tradition story begins from Mbwa or Mboa; it is fascinating with similarities with Jewish mythology, even though it was narrated much earlier in time than before the encounter with the Christianity or any religion with a Jewish background. During this time, they did not cultivate because there was no eating or wearing of clothes. God created a boy first and out of boy loneliness he created a partner and that is how they grew into a larger community, Bernardi After creation story a temptation story follows, this explains why human have to die and suffer.
The importance of mugwe, Muaa and iroria these are all traditional office bearers, mugwe and iroria may stand for prophet, and Muaa can be termed as medicine people or witch doctors is based on the Ameru story of their exodus from captivity. The Ameru were under captivity by ngua ntune red clothed , in the Island of sea called iria intune red sea Before the Ameru left Mbwa, their persecutors put them through several tests. First, the Ameru were told to produce a sandal of leather from skin, having hair on both sides.
Koomenjue, who was a wise man, helped them to make a sandal from dewlap. After this first test was passed, the persecutors put forth a second test to the Ameru, to produce a bull giving white dung, and again Koomenjue, suggested that the calf should be feed with iraa diatomite and milk. After feeding for some period the calf produced white dung and this second test was also passed.
There was a third test; this was to make a spear that can reach the sky.
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This third test defeated even Koomenjue, yet the Ameru people planned on how they will escape. In their attempt to escape they had to cross the sea. Koomenjue asked for a volunteer and Gaita the self destroying was the first to volunteer, and Akiuna the bellies followed and Muthetu the soil. Gaita was killed, while Muthetu was the base for sacrifice or the altar, and Akiuna was to stand and watch with his belly shaking as was the one to take turn in case the sacrifice was not accepted. Gaita was killed and his entrails revealed as he was the only man who could help people out of captivity.
He was sewn back together, rose again, and with his staff, he struck the water which divided into two and the people passed. Koomenjue plays a secondary role of Muaa diviner. Bernardi explains, the main role was filled by Gaita and assistants, and that why after them there were clans named after them. These three clans are considered to be related and are said to possess special powers of praying and of cursing Bernardi Before the coming of the European missionaries and colonialism, these traditional leaders were the custodians of the society traditions by providing continuity.
As colonialism and assimilation to alien ideas gained strength, these people Mugwe, Muaa provided a room for reinvigoration in order to stand against the social, political, spiritual and cultural changes. The traditional witchdoctor Muaa , diviners Mugwe became the bridge between the traditional religious culture and the modernity, they provided to Africa a place to identify and feel at home. These leaders of African traditional religions ATRs stood with the people in times of hardship, foretelling them what was to happen and what as befallen them, Boahen A result of western missionaries work was that the societal structures were destroyed, which resulted in two myths, Boahen stated: 1 the belief in the white superiority and 2 Christianity Welbourn and Ogot According to Methodist minister and church historian Nthamburi, Methodist missionary activities started in Meru in September at Kaaga Nthamburi 59 , through the efforts of pioneer missionaries Griffiths, Mimmack and Rev.
T Worthington. Nthamburi 60 and Fadiman These three missionaries and their colleagues all faced challenges; social, cultural, spiritual, political, and environmental. My emphasis will be on the spiritual aspect since that what is dealt with in this paper. As earlier seen, Meru was a religious community, where they believed in supreme God Murungu , and he was manifested either through ancestral or other spirits. The missionaries teaching conflicted the local understanding, especially while defining what was sacred and profane.
It is estimated that 25 per cent of the population died. A lot of people flocked into the church as a result. The church had become a refuge for the hungry and the destitute. The Methodist missionary activities in Igembe took place in through the building of the hospital at Kiegoi, which was later moved to Maua and was fully operative by Nthamburi They also established a church and schools at Maua. According to Fadiman, the Roman Catholic missionaries come to Meru approximately the same time period that is near , as the Methodist missionaries.
Fathers J. Berlagnia and T. Gays were sent by Perlo in to explore Meru. But Horne who was the administrator of Fort Meru, being an Englishman and member of the Anglican Church favoured Methodist over the Catholics who were Italians, especially those unable to speak English Fadiman Therefore, through Horne directives, the Catholics were then settled outside of the district headquarter at Kiija and also Igoji, on the banks of Mutonga River Fadiman So, in order to occupy the missionaries used force to evacuate the original inhabitants, especially at Igoji where residents were killed to coerce others to accept the negotiation terms Fadiman After these hardships, the missionaries again requested Horne to allow them to move closer to the district headquarters, so that they may remain under the British military protection between Meru and Embu.
But Horne refused their proposal, but soon after his decision was overruled by colonial authorities in Nairobi. He allowed them to settle at Mujwa mission which occurred in January In through the same colonial administration permission, the catholic mission was allowed to extend in Igembe and Tigania. Missionaries in Igembe, similar to many other African societies influenced by Western culture resulted in conflicts due to the fact the goal was, rather than developing Christianity within African framework, but simply ignore, deny, or eliminate both ATRS and African culture Boahen and Mugambi These missionaries, irrespective of motives, ultimately preached against and even denied the existence of gods, witches and any kind of supernatural powers which African believed in- to be Christian required rejecting what centuries created as to what it meant to be an African Boahen The Igembe accepted the Methodists and the Catholics not because of theological conviction, but to increase their power in respect to their sister clans of Imenti Fadiman , hence their willingness to accept Christianity without any theological convictions.
This situation might have arisen from the fact that most of the initial missionary activities were carried mainly by evangelist and catechists, among these majorities were local, lay people. Many missionaries, as Mugambi says, had no theological training or those who where trained had western theological understanding, which denied the very core of the African spiritual realities. This resulted; one can claim that the people become Christians while still clothed in their traditional beliefs and customs even though some may have changed gradually.
But this change can not actually be more of theological, but social, an idea of becoming more westernized, which was thought to be the ideal Christianity. Even though Fadiman , traditions have been the greatest challenges as far as Christianity is concerned in both Igembe and Tigania, more than their sister clans of Imenti and others. The two missionary groups, both Methodists, and Roman Catholics have had weaknesses, albeit different in nature that escalated the loopholes for Africans to rely more on the spiritual realities.
There is greater emphasis upon the Holy Spirit within the recently established Pentecostal churches in Igembe than many of the mainline churches throughout Igembe district. That is why all the Christian groups in Igembe experience the challenge which is build within the Meru spiritual worldview, which is detached from all what the churches are practicing and teaching in the area.
In this subtopic, I discuss the Pentecostal churches together with African independent churches since they share so many things in common. Pentecostal churches are tremendously growing in Kenya since then. The churches have many denominations within their bracket which sharing the name Pentecostal. This church is often viewed as being both a Pentecostal and an African Instituted church. Many Pentecostal churches also have had a radical reaction to African spirituality and calamities, and they are much more willing to challenge them just like the mainline Churches.
For example, American evangelist T.
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Osborn, while visiting Kenya, he established a healing mission on the Kenyan coast, with an emphasis on healing and its readiness to confront issues like witchcraft attracted many followers. This as been a primary characteristic of many Pentecostal churches, even though sometimes some normally ended up being one sided in their theological teachings and practices and as well many Pentecostals have taken a very antithesis stand towards African theology Bediako It was through mission and outreaches were many people were saved in s, and thus the church spread to other places like, Maua in Igembe Onsrud , whereby East Africa Pentecostal Church EAPC was registered in Kenya in Onsrud Since their arrival to Igembe, Pentecostal Churches have brought great influence to major mainline Churches.
The characteristics of the Revival movement are more of Pentecostal than Protestants; with conversion experience associated with visions and dreams, public testimonies, and confession Onsrud The independent churches, often referred to as African instituted churches AIC , can be viewed in two main dimensions: first, those that separated from the mainline churches due to the teaching and their stand towards African religion and practices, and secondly those which sprang up independently of any group. In Igembe, as other part of Meru, the independent churches are as old as the culture of nationalism in Kenya is Nthamburi Just like Pentecostal, African independent churches have taken seriously; singing, preaching, and praying for the sick, exorcism, giving money as one of their main practices as well as sharing testimonies and speaking in tongues.
The coming of independent churches provided a place of African nationalism, and a place for African spirituality, which was provided through local idiom, language, songs and customs.
This idea is the one that is still attached in the peoples mind even to the present time. The term spirituality as it is read in this chapter and the entire research entails the integral of all what pertains to the Meru life. Spirituality incorporates the spiritual, ethical, religious and all social values including moral and counselling values. This idea goes beyond the human being to incorporate other non-human beings and also non- living things spiritualism. Spirituality as read in this research is not the same thing as religion, this is because religion is one way in which persons express or experience their spirituality, but not to mean that religion can be equated to spirituality.
Igembe people originally followed the Meru traditional religion and beliefs. These are the beliefs associated with the society since the day of their migration from Mbwa. In this chapter I will highlight Igembe tradition beliefs prior to the coming of missionaries and also after the coming of Christianity. In this case, I will analyze those beliefs that are still active, as they are practiced and still remain a challenge to Igembe people.
It is also in this chapter where I will describe Igembe people understanding of what causes the calamities. This is one part of spirituality that has been a challenge to Igembe community. It determines how Igembe people relate to traditional medicine people, as well as their Christian spiritual stand. His origin is never defined in any myth of Origin, which means He remains everlasting. The above statements by Mbiti, Metuh and Harjula try to explain that God names were given with particular meaning in them. God was manifested by many phenomenons around individuals. African naming was not just a normal identification mark, but every name had a meaning in it.
The above names of God in Meru had different meaning defining who God actually was. Murungu is the key name of God in Meru which is also shared by a number of some Bantu communities. According to Meru, Murungu, which means it was full of meaning in defining who God is, is not a very descriptive word, literally meaning the originator and the source of all things. Other names are given to attribute his name, like Ngai which is also shared by Kikuyu tribe. This may refer to rain in literal since, but in reality it means the giver, Gitiije is a Meru word meaning all knowing or great one.
Mwene iinya means all powerful, Baaba weetu means our father. And the last Muukuna rukuu is a name that defines the creative aspect of God; but Murungu remains the central name of God in Meru. God was considered good and, could never harm humanity. God provided and watched over the humanity. He lives in sacred and holy places. The Igembe, like other Meru people believes it is God who delivered them from the nguu ntune red clothes through his prophets the Mugwe.
This is because God sometimes cannot be approached directly, but through some intermediaries like the ancestral spirits and other deities but this does not make their belief polytheistic. Moon mweeri , sun riua , stars nyonyooni and animals like python ndaatu were viewed as sacred or which revealed God presence to the humanity. Sometimes they could be viewed as God manifestations to the human beings.
Spirits The Igembe people, just like other Meru sub-tribes, believe in the existence of spirits nkoma. This belief do not undermine the idea of God being real Supreme Being, all powerful, all knowing, sustainer and judge of the humanity. The first category, ancestral spirits, are of the physical ancestors nkoma cia bajuuju beetu.
These kinds of spirits are believed to be in touch or interaction with human beings. They also do retain there character, whether good or bad. Their reflection is how they lived here on earth. The Meru people have to interact through sharing of meals which entails, libations pouring some drinks to them and dropping some food. The second category is the evil spirits malevolent. These are referred to as nkoma, and they are supernatural forces. They are not human, and they never have any touch with any human realities, therefore they remain unknown and unpredictable.
These are believed to be the main cause of evil to the world. They are believed to live in forests, and these forests are feared and avoided. In some cases malevolent spirits can also be form of ancestral spirits and in particular people who lived immoral life, like wizards, sorcerers and murderers. Also people, who died untimely deaths, may sometimes come to haunt people; these deaths may be caused through bewitchment, suicide, and through violence. Unlike the benevolent spirit, who can be appeased by pouring drinks and dropping foods, the malevolent spirits requires blood 13 Kirinyaga and Nyambene are all Mountains in Meru.
These evil spirits are believed to be the cause of all calamities, all disasters, diseases and even deaths. These spirits cannot be predicted, as they can attack and possess a person at any time and in any place, especially in their inhabitant. These spirits protect people from the invading calamities. These protector spirits can acquire many forms, sometimes they can even become goat or cow.
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If there is a calamity intended by an evil person or evil force to befall a human being, then that particular goat or cow in that family will be the one to die or suffer. So in Igembe when an animal died, people would sometime say, ikuriaria bungi it as protected us from another [calamity]. There is a close link between these spirits and the python ndaatu , which is considered sacred in Igembe community.
The presence of ndaatu signifies that the rain was around the corner and actually sometimes rains come. The village that the ndaatu appear to is supposed to be given honey and green grass, as a sign of a blessing. If in one way or another the ndaatu is not offered these gift or killed by the people, calamity will befall that community until something is done.
There is also a clan in Igembe Mwiria jwa Amakuu that as a kinship relationship with these nature good spirits, in the form of hyena. Among this clan, the hyena is a brother to them who can protect them and also protect their animal without attacking them. These spirits can be viewed as part of nature spirits. Among nature spirits there are those which are malevolent. But in most cases people can enter in working relationship with these spirits in order to be protected from evil spirits.
According to belief, it is a good thing to become possessed by good spirits; these good spirits are loved by those possessed by them. Some of these good spirits will bring power, good fortune and wealthy to them. People try to tap power of these spirits, either good or bad. Some will acquire that power through meditation and offering gifts to the spirits. And as earlier seen now in the form of an agreement, the person will continue to offer sacrifice to the spirits. Prayers are also very important in tapping the fortunes of the spirits; through prayers Igembe people ask for anything from the spiritual world.
Prayers are used to communicate with spirits that are close and intimate to them. The prayers are offered to deity in reflection to the dwelling place. God is prayed to and thanked for various purposes, and his various attributive names as earlier seen are invoked for the differing purpose of prayers. But in some cases God is addressed indirectly, and some prayers could be addressed to spirits and the living - dead.
Igembe people prayed when they had sickness, when preparing for farming and when going hurting, as well they thanked God for rain, harvest and after grazing. These prayers were mainly communal and they involved the traditional spiritual offices of mugwe Kihara While nowadays they may involve church ministers and pastors. They may not be communal but individual prayers.
Mugwe prayed for the community, a group, or even an individual. The office of Mugwe,14 according to Bernardi, has faded away in the entire Meru Bernardi It was one of the most respected and sacred offices, to the Meru people. The Igembe Mugwe was expected to have these moral virtues, 14 Mugwe is a person who held the office of Ugwe, and the office is described in past tense because the office as ceased to be in Igembe, as Bernardi explains the office was undermined by the increasing effect of education in the society Bernardi Mugwe served as both prophet and spiritual leader even though in Igembe these offices sometimes operated separately; with Mugwe proper and visionary diviner Kiroria , could, also be referred to as Mugwe Bernardi Mugwe, led people to God, through sacrifices when praying for rain or good harvest , like a song which was common when people are going for rain prayers, which is now days sung as a sacred song in schools music festival.
He also led people in expiatory sacrifices; this was when the community needed spiritual cleansing. Mugwe was believed to have direct contact with God. Mugwe was also popularly known as witchdoctor, he could combine knowledge in medicine, incantations and rituals with his ability to divine. His ability in this domain was called uroi witchcraft. Do not do any harm to them, but lift your arms to them in welcome. If they ask for something we shall give it to them.
No one must resent that. Because of his ability to foretell the future, Mugwe could be consulted by people to solve marriage problems, warfare, and harvest or trade issues. Mugwe was also consulted by elders Njuuri and even Muaa could not perform some function without the blessings of Mugwe Bernardi According to my interview Mugwe and Muaa16 were quite different offices.
Mugwe was more of a diviner due to the fact that, he was carried by the spirits and sometimes he could be ecstatic. Muaa was the one involved with witchcraft uroi , even though his uroi was not to be used to cause death without a purpose. One of the known traditional medicine men Muaa claimed that Mugwe was more of a prophet interview carried on 20th July Fadiman states that Muaa office grew out of the very existence of ritualized cursing, as this required the development of equally potential rituals to counteract its effect Fadiman The office of Ugaa17 according to my own person interview, is the only active and existing office as far as Igembe is concerned, even though it as changed to acquire some modern elements.
The curse remover Muaa heals all the diseases. Muaa is contacted for healing, both physical and spiritual attacks. Muaa is also visited to revoke the curse Muiiro , as well in case of calamities and give advice. The entire process of divination kuriingia is done in several ways, chatting, and throwing beads, sticks and pebbles. In other words, the office is still significant within the entire Meru community Bernardi In the matter that elders Njuuri, which is still an active office in Igembe would deem important to consult Mugwe, they now turn to Muaa for consultation.
The current Ugaa as combined the science in trying to get herbal medicine as healing tool, while still retaining some traditional elements. Today, however, the office has changed, such that many are claiming to be Agaa without any lineal attachments. Sacrifices Igembe people used the idea of sacrifices as declined in Igembe; initially it was done before any initiation ceremony, after any hardship or calamity While many writers who have diagnosed the same problems in the church have prescribed a return to the early church model, "The Nature of the Apostolic Church" shows that this solution is defective as the first century church was itself imperfect.
The solution, the book explains, lies in fixing the eyes of the church on Jesus and Him alone, thus moving the Body of Christ beyond restoration and into perfection. That is the church that Christ desires, one without any spot or blemish. Born into a Catholic family, he later moved into a Pentecostal denomination for several years before leaving it to follow Jesus outside the religious establishment.
He is now part of the growing house church movement. He has written one other book, Poisoned Well of Tradition: Baptism and worthless rituals in the church. He lives with his family in Juja near Nairobi. Learn about new offers and get more deals by joining our newsletter.