An Asian Christian woman living in London blogging about the everyday issues of religion

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Another prayer in climate change week

God of creation, the earth is yours
with all its beauty and goodness,
its rich and overflowing provision

But we have claimed it for our own,
plundered its beauty for profit,
and grabbed its resources for ourselves

God of creation, forgive us.
May we no longer abuse your trust, 
but care gently and with justice for your earth.

Jan Berry 

Monday, 30 November 2015

A prayer for our fragile earth

Father, we confess that we have been blind
to how our lives impact others, 
and especially the poor communities.
We confess that we have taken the earth for granted,
using fossil fuels without a second thought
and failing to recognize our part
in the problem of climate change.
We turn back to you
and ask you to help us to live simpler lives
and to be much more careful
with all the resources we have
-because it is your earth

Sunday, 18 October 2015

Insights from 15 US Soldiers Who Fought in Afghanistan

The following question was posed to US Soldiers: "Soldiers who've fought in Afghanistan, what preconceptions did you have that turned out to be completely wrong?"  The responses were shocking, revealing, and incredibly insightful. Everyone should read this, there is a lot to learn here.

1. It is hard enough taking the life of an absolute enemy wearing a uniform. Now you need to kill someone who may or may not be a real enemy, or may be one part time, or may be one because some other asshole has a gun to his kid's head. It is a sad cluster-f*** of a mess.
- BoBoZoBo

2. They told us we were going to fight the Taliban. But it turns out, there is no way to know who is Taliban, or what Taliban is, or what they look like.

A guy will be bringing his kid to your clinic one day, then shooting at you the next. You'll make friends with a kid on an airdrop, then see that kid slit another kid's throat on patrol a week later. There is no "enemy" and no goal. The people don't even understand who you are or why you're there. Many of them believed we were invulnerable demons. One elder tested this theory by sending a small child to try and stab me in the back with a knife, which was made by welding a blade onto an old .50 cal casing. Kids dig up mines, bouncing betty's, and old russian munitions and set them off like firecrackers.

The place is a f***ed up maelstrom with no conceivable sense of morality, justice, benevolence, or community. Every single person is just trying to survive.

3. That they had any idea why we were there. We'd ask them if they knew what 9/11 was, and they had no idea. We'd show them pictures of the World Trade Center on fire after the planes hit, and ask them what it was...their response was usually that it was a picture of a building the US bombed in Kabul (their capitol).

Kind of mind blowing that they're being occupied by a foreign military force and have no idea why.
- Xatana

4. That Afghanistan was an actual country. It's only so on a map; the people (in some of the more rural places, at least) have no concept of Afghanistan.

We were in a village in northern Kandahar province, talking to some people who of course had no idea who we were or why we were there. This was in 2004; not only had they not heard about 9/11, they hadn't heard Americans had come over. Talking to them further, they hadn't heard about that one time the Russians were in Afghanistan either.

We then asked if they knew where the city of Kandahar was, which is a rather large and important city some 30 miles to the south. They'd heard of it, but no one had ever been there, and they didn't know when it was.

For them, there was no Afghanistan. The concept just didn't exist.
- gzoont

5. I heard of an Australian Special Forces patrol that went out into the mountains and came across an isolated Afghan village. They thought the newcomers were the Soviets. No idea that one war had ended and another one had started.
- lookseemo

6. About the fighting we did. I had in my mind that it would be these organized ambushes, against a somewhat organized force. It may have been like that for the push (Marjah), but once the initial defense was scattered, the fighting turned into some farmer getting paid a year's salary to go fire an AK47 at our patrol as we walked by. I mean, no wonder there was so much PTSD going doesn't feel okay when you killed some farmer for trying to feed his kids, or save his family from torture that next night. It feels like shit actually.
- Xatana

7. Most afghans are polyglots. Many of the most rural, uneducated, near medieval living people could speak 3 or more different languages.

We were briefed that there were two languages spoken in Afghanistan: Pashto and Dari. In fact there are dozens of unique languages. Each isolated valley and village had their own language. Some sound very persian. Some sounded like archaic greek. There was a village in the north that sounded like a tone language. My team tried to record an many local languages as we could. We had terps ask questions in pashto and had them answer in their local language. Unfortunately cultural mapping was considered intelligence gathering and all our recordings were classified. So somewhere at the NSA there are recordings in soon to be dead languages asking a village Elder to share the oldest story they could remember about his village.
- llvihearsevil

8. I expected everything to be desert and mountains, but I spent as much time in orchards as I did anywhere else while I was there.

Also, a lot of the people didn't want us there any more than they wanted the Taliban there. Ultimately they just wanted to be left alone to live their lives.
- m_k88

9. That we would be fighting the Taliban. The majority of people we managed to detain had been coerced into shooting at us by the "Mujahideen" (which is made up of all sorts of people) who had kidnapped or threatened their family.

The most glaring example of this was when our FOB (Forward Operating Base) was attacked by a massive VBIED (truck bomb) that blew a hole in our wall. Suicide bombers ran into the FOB through the hole and blew themselves up in our bunkers. Every single one of them had their hands tied and remote detonation receivers (so they couldn't back out).
- ciclify

10. Soldiers tend to train for fighting at sub-500 metres. At least I always had. Not being able to see the enemy wasn't completely out of the norm for training, but they were usually within the effective range of our small arms.

Come to Afghanistan and we were getting fired at by invisible enemies on the side of mountains a kilometre + away. We hardly knew we were getting engaged, let alone went into contact drills.
- Tilting_Gambit

11. Their concept of food. In their culture if anyone had food they were to share it with everyone around them. This is even if you only have enough for one person to have a snack. It was almost as if they didn't believe food could be owned by a person. Some of the Afghans I worked with would be offended if I ate anything and didn't offer them some.

I guess also that I would actually be working with some Afghans. I didn't expect that to be a thing.
- turbulence4

12. That it was all arid desert. At one point in my deployment my team had to dig irrigation trenches because our tents were flooded past our ankles. At another point in my deployment I was trudging through what was essentially a jungle.
- Monster-_-

13. That everyone was going to be dirty and poor like in those "help a poor starving child" commercials. I remember being really suprised to see kids running around playing in dirt roads and everyone was clean. No dirt smudges on their face or anything.

Also there were these 2 little girls with the most unbelievably white dresses I have ever seen standing by the side of the road watching our convoy roll by. Very surreal.
- Maikudono

14. That it was really a war. It's just people sustaining other people, with a lot of nothing actually getting done. As someone who was a gunner for most of my tour, we mainly did transportation missions from Kabul to the eastern province. We never saw any action, and to this day I thank God for that. The fact that a lot of my time outside of convoys was spent either sleeping, eating, or gaming surprised me I suppose, but in the end, we're just there to provide presence, and not expected to actually accomplish anything.

The amount of awards given out back in Kabul for people simply hitting a high quota of maintenance repairs threw me off to. There were times when I was looked down upon for not working everyday in a shop and instead being on convoys. The worst part of it all was losing a friend to suicide after returning home safe. That was something I never expected to see happen and it still messes with me to this day.
- windwhiper

15. I was mortuary affairs in 2008 during my first deployment to Afghanistan and I really had no idea what I was getting myself into. I never had to fight, but I was constantly dealing with the remains of 18-22 year old soldiers that had been blown into pieces or burned alive due to HMEs and IEDs.

Seeing your fellow soldiers and countrymen brutally killed in such a way that is easy to see as cowardly turned me into a budding racist pretty quickly. I hated the Islamic religion and the people in Afghanistan and I had an opinion similar to the whole "just nuke em all" mentality.

But one day we were called to the hospital on base to remove a dead civilian local national (which we often did if they died in our hospital or on base) and it turned out to be a 3 year old little girl that was shot with AK-47 fire at a fairly close range. Her father followed us to the morgue as we had to get his permission to take her into our care because we were males and all that, and he didn't seem particularly bothered by his daughters violent murder imo.

It wasn't until we placed her into a hand-made casket and draped the Afghanistan flag onto it that his emotions came out. When we began to load the casket into the back of a truck to transport her off base, he lost it and collapsed onto the casket containing his little girl. We were holding her at the time so we nearly lost it, but were able to set her down as he gripped the flag and the casket and wailed louder than any wailing I would ever seen.

I don't know if you've ever seen a grown man truly cry as if he'd just lost everything, but it's surprising how much it affects you.

I realized in that moment how wrong I was about everything.

Doesn't this make you wonder about the merits of war? 

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

The Baking Test Which I Fail

Image result for I cant bake

I have lived in this country for 34 years and I am completely exhausted from jumping through hoops and shooting imaginary balls into moving goalposts to prove that I am a worthy ethnic minority. Sometimes it is no fun being an ethnic being. In fact, it takes a terrible toll on us. Witness me writing this blog on a Sunday evening while I leave my curry to burn on the stove.

The rules of engagement in a majority white country requires people like me (ethnic people, in other words) to constantly evaluate ourselves, our likes and dislikes, our loyalties to such an extent that we feel like we are filling in a Japanese HR form. Everyone knows that Japanese corporations extract their pound of flesh by requiring workers to do exercises in the morning at their desks and to sing songs that pledge undying loyalty to the company.

Paying one's taxes isn't enough. I have never even claimed benefits eventhough I am a proponent of the welfare system because I was born and brought up in Asia where I saw people live in shanty huts who could have done with a leg up in life if a welfare safety net had existed. On top of all this I am remarkably tolerant of the white majority who appropriate our culture by turning our normal staples of rice and curry ( I only speak for Asians here) into a treat such as a 'Friday night curry take away' or the wearing of a Sari to an Indian friend's wedding because "Saris are so exotic".

Years ago Norman Tebbit, a former Minister in Thatcher's cabinet, proposed the cricket test. This went something along the lines of if you were an Asian watching a cricket match between England and an Asian country whom would you be cheering on? This test proved to be a non-starter when Asians started playing for England and Asian spectators cheered these players on. It left everyone feeling so confused that I am not surprised that Asians didn't give up cricket and play some other game like Badminton.

Then we had the 'British Values' test whereby Asian immigrants had to somehow prove that their values co-existed with the British ones. This hit a solid wall when debate after debate took place about what 'British Values' really are. Answers ranged from people scratching their heads and declaring "Dunno" to high intellectual debate about the meaning of citizenship and the rights of it. Ofsted stepped in in November 2014 and declared that schools had to promote British values. I asked my daughter who takes PSHE very seriously whether she had learnt about British values and her answer was "I have no idea". Seeing that we pay a lot of money for her to attend private school her articulation of the negative brought some relief than a "Dunno" would have.

See where I am heading here? No? and you expect me to know the rules of the game.

Lastly, we now have the baking test. I have not watched a single episode of the Great British Bake Off. I only know about the presenters because they are featured in the press so much. My only worthy knowledge of the programme is the fact that Paul Hollywood had an affair. I read it in The Guardian, my daily newspaper. However, as soon as I heard that a Muslim head scarf wearing woman called Nadiya Hussain had won my prediction was that it would be turned into a race centred pivotal point for multiculturalism. Voila! it has. You see Barack Obama's middle name is Hussein and he has been harangued endlessly for being a Muslim even though he is not.

Rather predictably the Daily Mail waded in pronto and has accused the BBC of social engineering. To be fair, white contestants of the programme have been pilloried for not adhering to some British stereotype who bakes lovely cakes.

I will never cut it, personally speaking, and I am not talking about slicing beautiful cakes up either. I don't know how to bake. My daughter has always gone into school on cake days with one bought from a high-street supermarket. I don't understand cricket and don't watch any of it. As for British values, I stand some chance here because I read Law and Ofsted defines 'British Values' as 'democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, mutual respect for and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs and for those without faith' but I thought these were universal moral codes.

I give up. 

Friday, 4 September 2015

A guide for any Christians who wish to help refugees

Like many others I was moved by the picture of the dead toddler on the beach and have been doing some research into what we can do to help. Here is a list: 

1. The Independent newspaper has published a number of ways to help. 

2. Calais Action on Facebook has postings from people who are actually driving to Calais and are looking for donations. Below is a list of things that are currently needed. 

3. CalAid on Facebook organises drop off days for people who want to donate things

4.  Should you wish to house a refugee you can put your name down with a German organisation that is co-ordinating accommodation all over Europe. The form for your details can be found here

5. Donations of money

Thursday, 6 August 2015

Please Pray for Peace on the 70th Anniversary of Hiroshima

Image result for hiroshima bomb

Events in history which involve mass killings and destruction always elicit calls along the lines of 'never again' when these events are recalled on anniversary days. Today is the 70th anniversary of when America dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima which destroyed five square miles of the city and killed between 90,000 to 166,000 people.

Peace movements have been vocal in their condemnation of nuclear capability and have called for disarmament. There is more than enough evidence of Hiroshima to show leaders and policy makers and the global population the destruction that nuclear weapons can cause so why then is the world still facing a growing threat of nuclear conflict?

Russia spends more than a third of its defence budget on nuclear weapons. China is increasing its stockpile. Pakistan is buying battlefield nuclear weapons. North Korea, it is alleged, has 10 nuclear warheads. The question is not about which country has a bigger nuclear stockpile but, increasingly, becomes one about which country will push the button first?

Six years ago President Obama spoke about the dangers of the world becoming complacent about nuclear weapons. Today is a good reminder of why we cannot be complacent.

Saturday, 11 July 2015

Please Pray for This Little Boy and Others Like Him

A viral image of a 9-year-old Filipino boy attempting to do homework in the street, under the dim light of a nearby McDonald’s, has prompted an international outpouring of donations, according to his stunned and delighted mother. “We’re overjoyed,” said Christina Espinosa, a grocery store worker who makes less than $2 a day, according to AFP. “I don’t know what I will do with all of these blessings.”

The photo of the diligent student, Daniel Cabrera, went viral shortly after a passerby posted an image of him on Facebook last moth. The image was shared nearly 7,000 times and drew the attention of local reporters. One month later, the family had received schoolbooks, clothing, a reading lamp and a college scholarship fund. Espinosa described her son as “studious” and determined to obtain an advanced degree.“He would insist on going to school even without his lunch money because I have no money to give,” Espinosa said.

Saturday, 20 June 2015

A Prayer on World Refugee Day

A Prayer for Refugees

Almighty and merciful God,
whose Son became a refugee
and had no place to call his own;

look with mercy on those who today
are fleeing from danger,
homeless and hungry.

Bless those who work to bring them relief;
inspire generosity and compassion in all our hearts;
and guide the nations of the world towards that day
when all will rejoice in your Kingdom of justice and of peace;

through Jesus Christ our Lord.


Friday, 19 June 2015

A Comment on Race

I don't understand why the Americans are getting all upset about some woman telling everyone she is black when her parents were both of north European lineage. In England, half of our white teenage lads and pretty much every one of our Asian teenage lads seem convinced that they are black, gangster youth straight outta Compton. If you want to hear a proper English accent in one of our inner cities you have to go find someone newly arrived from Nigeria.

Courtesy of my favourite Priest:

Background to the story featured in the blog post can be found at:

Thursday, 4 June 2015

When You Feel Cut Off From God

There is a regular pattern to my faith, I can go for a year without having my faith shaken and then just as I start to feel pleased about it something happens and, just like that, my faith is shaken. In this case my faith has been shaken by something earth shattering.

I keep reminding myself that being a Christian does not mean that we have a 'Nothing Bad Will Happen To you' card. Just sometimes, though, I do feel mighty racked off that non-Christians seem to have it easier in many ways. An illusion? A reality that we as Christians have to live with? I don't have any answers but I am looking and praying.

The picture below represents a state of faith that I hope to return to, very soon, which is one of purity and beauty.

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Anti-Gay Pastor Discovered On Gay Dating App Grind.

queerty screenshot 5
A married, father-of-five pastor who espoused anti-gay rhetoric has been exposed for allegedly soliciting sex with men on Grindr.
Reverend Matthew Makela – from Midland, Michigan, U.S – has been extremely outspoken with his supposed views on same-sex relationships. On his Facebook page, he frequently posted anti-gay and anti-transgender opinions. (see above). He has since resigned from his church. 

gay pastor WEB

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Manchester Vicar Challenges PM To Experience Life on Poverty

Dear Prime Minister,
I don't know if you will ever read this, but I have some things I wish to say to you.
You have won the General Election and command a majority in the House of Commons, and as such will feel you have a legitimate mandate to govern. However, you must also know that you don't command a majority of the British people.
Although our political views are very much at odds on many issues, I'm willing to believe that you are a good man, as sure of your ideals as I am of mine, and believe your plan is what's best for us all. You said today that you will govern for the whole country and bring back together that which has clearly fractured. I hope you will.
But Prime Minister, though you can obviously see your party did not win the confidence of Scotland and huge swathes of the north of England, I'm not sure your party quite understands why. It's not because we're all 'loony-left' or extremists and nationalists, it's because so many of us are scared. Scared of what your policies will do to our communities and families. Scared of what will happen to our health service and our schools. Scared of losing our family homes for the sake of a few quid saving from the bedroom tax, or not being able to heat our home and have enough left to buy food.
I don't disagree with you that the best way out of poverty is to work, nor do I think that people should get something for nothing and expect the tax-payer to support people indefinitely if they are able to work. Who would think that that was ok and fair?
But your party's policies on these issues, couched in terms of reducing the deficit and balancing the books, don't seem to take into account the social and human cost of such actions. The country isn't a business, it's its people. All its people. And you are everyone's Prime Minister whether we voted for you or not.
You said today you will govern for everyone and unite the country. I hope you do. But to be able to do so you need to make it a priority in your first 100 days, to spend time in Scotland visiting people on zero hours contracts. Come to Manchester and talk with those who have been sanctioned for having a spare room, but have nowhere else to go. Go to Liverpool and meet people with disabled dependents who can't afford even one nanny, or to Newcastle and talk to people still living in poverty due to the demise of the coal industry. Spend a week or two living on the minimum wage, or volunteer in a food bank for a whole day.
Then Prime Minister you might begin to understand the cost of your policies from the other side, to see people as more than their net contribution to the economy, or as deliberate drains on the system. If you do that, then maybe you can heal some of the fractures in our society. Without this I just don't believe you can see just how crucial these issues are.
So please Prime Minister, leave Westminster for a few hours a week and truly strive to govern for all of us.
Rev'd Mike Walsh
The United Reformed Church

Sunday, 10 May 2015

Russian Spam is Driving me Mad

Is anybody else getting large amounts of viewing figures/stats on their blogs from Russian sites that vary from those of a pornographic nature to furniture shops? I am sick of it and have looked into the issue extensively on Google and the solution seems to be that nothing can be done about it. Does anybody have any ideas as to how to deal with this unwanted spike in my stats?

A Shopkeeper's Notice Post Election

Embedded image permalink

Saturday, 4 April 2015

Is Easter about hard work?

The meaning of Easter this year has, not surprisingly given the Election, become entwined with politics. While, normally, Easter for the masses is about eating Easter eggs, Easter egg hunts and feeling grateful that another holiday bonanza is here after the long wait post - Christmas, for once the meaning of Easter is being debated outside the churches and Christian circles.

This came about because of what the Prime Minister, David Cameron, said: "...all people can celebrate the values of Easter...compassion, forgiveness, kindness, hard work and responsibility".  This statement has been met with some cynicism, notably from The Guardian newspaper. In an editorial The Guardian argues that the list of values 'have nothing distinctively Christian about them'.

I must admit to struggling to reconcile that list with my own Easter experiences as a Christian. Easter is hard work, no doubt, what with Maundy Thursday service which finishes late at night with a vigil to the early start the next day for the Walk of Witness and then dawn breakfast on Sunday but is my brand of hard work more generally a result of my Christian values? Can a lazy person be a Christian? The Guardian points out that the criteria for being a Christian is about believing in God as the saviour. 

Saturday, 21 March 2015

Indian Bishop Calls for Protection for Christians and Not Just for Cows

India has often been accused of caring for cows far more than it seems to care for humans and this line of debate has been used most recently by Bishop Baselios Cleemis, the Major Bishop in India, in a plea for the sanctity of Christian life to be recognised.

Last week a nun was raped in West Bengal and, since then, a number of churches in India have been destroyed by Hindu nationalists who don't see the virtue in a plurality of faith values. In February a large number of Christians were arrested for protesting against the violence meted out to them.

Cardinal Cleemis said that India had a duty to protect the people and not just cows. While some states in India have banned the slaughter of cows and/or the sale of beef there is little evidence that hardline violence against Christians and churches is being given the same consideration. The nun who was raped was in her 70s and while violence against women is another problem of epic proportions in India, there seems to be an accepted view that this rape was motivated by religious hatred.

Please pray for our Christian brothers and sisters in India in what seems to be an ever increasing tide of persecution against them in parts of the world.

Demonstrators shout slogans as they hold placards during a protest outside a church in New Delhi, India

Sunday, 8 March 2015

On International Women's Day an Article about Gender Equality

Truth Discovered

Truth Discovered: Biblical Equality in the Kenyan Context
By Domnic Misolo
Rev. Domnic Misolo
Rev. Domnic Omolo Misolo
Founder/Executive Director

This year, my wife, Christine, and I celebrate four years since we discovered biblical equality. God used this simple discovery to teach us a radically different understanding about his will concerning the relationship between women and men. It has changed our lives and it is already confronting the patriarchy of the culture and church in Kenya.

I was born in a traditional, male-dominated, polygamous family that held to common cultural convictions that depict men as superior to women. Our culture views women as inferior in many ways. We have common sayings that refer to men as pillars, great bulls and buffaloes, heroes, and lions. Meanwhile, women are referred to as mongooses, because the mongoose belongs not in the home but in the bush. This is a reference to the belief that a woman’s destiny is determined in marriage. She does not truly belong with her birth family but with her future husband. If she grows to marriageable age and dies unmarried, burying her at her place of birth is thought to bring bad luck to younger siblings and a curse on the community. Thus, every girl must be married. Once she is married, the husband is considered the protector and provider of the family, and the givers of children. Women are simply the bearers of children, and are to be housewives and help their husbands raise the children. These days many women are educated and act as bread winners, but are still expected to perform the traditional duties at home. This background and cultural orientation influenced me very powerfully, and I grew up believing the lie that males are superior to females and should have power over them.

The Truth Concealed
In the Kenyan context, this is the cultural lens that informs ministry, both in preaching and interpreting Scripture. For this reason, I strongly believe that church ministers have contributed greatly to the creation of unjust societies and structures that destroy and harm females. Even before European missionaries arrived in Kenya, traditional religious beliefs did not allow women to be priests and diviners. They were perceived to be unclean, especially during menstruation. The church has brought much healing to our culture, but still upholds patriarchy by misinterpreting the Bible.
Scripture has been misused to affirm male superiority. Eve, it is said, was created from Adam as an afterthought. Then, she was deceived by the snake because she was the weaker sex and because she was not an original creation (because she was created from Adam). Even worse than her original sin is the sexual intercourse she makes available to Adam. This is blamed for bringing down humanity and causing the suffering of the world. In the New Testament, Paul’s commands for women to submit to their husbands to be silent in church are taken out of context to prove that inequality is God’s ideal.
Teachings about marriage often enable domestic violence. Since the Bible teaches that marriage is God-ordained and valuable, many churches teach that no marriage should be nullified. Thus, even badly abused and battered women cannot walk away from a marriage. And because sex is a taboo subject in our culture, churches do not address sexual abuse. By teaching that the Bible upholds patriarchy and by failing to address domestic abuse, the church has contributed to a culture that allows women to be violated and beaten, even to death. For many years, I did not recognize the problems and injustice of these teachings.
By the time I began to attend university, I was already an ordained priest with four years of experience, and I had completed a diploma course in pastoral theology. Yet, I must confess that despite my training and experience, I held to these mistaken interpretations and theologies and believed very strongly in the supremacy of man over woman as natural and God-ordained. The idea of biblical equality was foreign and unknown to me.

The Truth Discovered
In 2009, I was in my first year of studies at Saint Paul’s University. I was searching the library for books and journals for class assignment when I came across Priscilla Papers, the academic journal of Christians for Biblical Equality. As I read these journals, I became curious and interested to learn more. They critically challenged my traditional worldview with facts about Bible, faith, and society. I continued reading Priscilla Papers not only for academic adventure but as a theological document with great potential to change my life and ministry. Before long, I was convinced that the Bible demands equality of males and females. This conviction led to immediate changes, which God is already using to heal many people.
The news of biblical equality transformed my relationship with my wife, and also challenged us to engage in new kinds of ministry. I no longer see my wife, Christine, as just a housewife; now she is a close partner with potential, skills, and the ability to chart her own destiny and to support our family. We are now able to discuss important issues maturely together as equals. When I told Christine about my dream to spread biblical equality, she told me, “I feel the need to stand by you on this journey, and my call is to look into the practical, daily challenges faced by poor women in the community.”
We concluded that to follow this vision, Christine should attend university and get a bachelor’s degree in education. In addition to being a very smart and gifted, God is already putting her gifts to work in the community. She has formed a group called the Gender Alliance for Community Health and Development. The group, made up of women from several local churches, explores ways to empower women through farming, poultry-keeping, savings and loans, and basic education about human rights.

The Truth Brings Healing
Biblical equality is currently confronting patriarchy and its devastating consequences. As we preached biblical equality through projects and Bible studies across churches and community groups, we saw God is releasing his people from oppression, abuses and injustices. We decided to make this ministry official by registering a new faith-based, non-profit organization called Ekklesia Foundation for Gender Education (EFOGE). EFOGE has become an African leader in championing gender justice and equality from a biblical perspective.
When we first began speaking publicly, some priest and church leaders argued that our teachings were heretical. Others believe that we are like several popular feminist groups in Kenya that have caused harm to families and marriages by creating a battle for supremacy between men and women. But there are others, such as Bishop Johannes Angela of the Anglican Diocese of Bondo, who recognize our mission to free people from injustice, and offer their full support. Thanks to support from many partners and friends around the world, we are at work on many projects geared toward justice and equality.
We are working for equality for students and for church leaders. Through partnerships with seven schools in the Bondo and Rarieda districts of Kenya, we are training youth in biblical leadership, gender justice, and equality. We’ve been able to help pay the school fees of eighteen needy students, and we are providing feminine hygiene products to girls so that they can continue to be in class during menstruation and therefore receive the same education as their male counterparts. We are planning an annual pan-African leadership conference to emphasize biblical equality among leaders, and we are helping to coordinate emerging egalitarian groups in Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, Ghana, South Sudan, and Nigeria.
We see great potential for the healing power of biblical equality in the Kenyan church. We have seen churches ordaining women and raising them to influential positions. Recently, the Anglican Diocese of Bondo installed the Venerable Monica Owiti as archdeacon. She is the first woman in all of western Kenya to hold this office. Two female priests have been promoted to the office of rural deans, who have authority to oversee many churches and parishes. More and more female priests are being considered for ordination, and our neighbouring churches are opening up to women in leadership. Currently we have more than fifteen churches that are applying to partner with us in doing the work of biblical equality.
The church is one of the strongest social institutions in Kenya and in many parts of Africa. In the past, this has meant that it has been able to harm women by teaching patriarchy. But today, this means the church has great potential to change people’s attitudes on gender and shape cultural values to heal communities, families, and individuals. We are already seeing this take place when churches embrace God’s truth about gender. Women and men are being healed and released from oppression. Biblical equality is real and we are witnesses. It is through this ministry that we can true show our love to one another and bringing healing to humankind.

The Reverend Domnic Misolo is an ordained Anglican priest in the Diocese of Bondo, Kenya. He is the founder and president of Ekklesia Foundation for Gender Education ( He studied theology at St. Paul’s University in Kenya and currently pursuing master’s degree in project planning and management at the University of Nairobi, Kenya.

Sunday, 22 February 2015

A Simple Explanation of What Lent is About

The following was printed in the prayer sheet at Church today and I think it's the most succinct and simple explanation that I have ever seen on what Lent is about:

Lent is the period during which we prepared for Easter. 
At this time we are encouraged to practice self-examination, 
penitence, self-denial, study and generous giving
 to those in need. 

I have found a website that lists prayers for the whole Lent period. This is today's prayer.

Lord God, 
you who breathed the spirit of life within me.
Draw out of me the light and life you created.
Help me to find my way back to you.
Help me to use my life to reflect your glory
and to serve others
as your son Jesus did.

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

CoE Touched By HSBC Scandal

Noam Chomsky Quotes Moral Agent

The long arm of Capitalism has managed to pull the CoE into the scandalous immorality of tax evasion perpetrated by HSBC. The Guardian newspaper yesterday broke the story about how the Swiss branch of HSBC was helping rich people from, among many countries, the UK evade tax. The bank under declared accounts which meant that 7,000 wealthy British people were allowed to evade tax that, collectively, amounted to £27.1 billion. 

Central to this activity is a man called Lord Steven Green. He was in charge of HSBC private banking and later became the Chief Executive. Crucially, Green was in charge of the bank during the years when tax avoidance was a rampant activity. This is the part that will be of interest to Christians. He is an ordained CoE minister and published a book called 'Good Value: Reflections on Money, Morality and an Uncertain World'. I am sure that the irony of the inclusion of the word 'morality' in the title will not escape you. The book actually contains the line and the advice to go beyond "what you can get away with" in the context of how business leaders should legally and ethically behave. 

I wonder how many public service people (doctors, nurses) could have been employed with the money lost? 
I wonder how many firemen who have lost their jobs could have stayed employed at their now closed firestations? 
I wonder how many A&Es could have provided better services?

Sunday, 1 February 2015

Are Women More Religious?

The British population expert, Professor David Boas, undertook a survey of 9,000 people and found that 34% of women are either atheists or agnostics, compared to 54% of men. Professor Boas does not offer any reasons as to why a big gap exists between men and women when it comes to religious belief.

Deborah Orr, writing in The Guardian argues that women are more likely to see themselves as being a part of a much bigger plan, are more open-minded, more imaginative and are more likely to think that anything beyond their comprehension can still have value. It is worth reading her article especially on her conclusions.

I do notice that more women than men attend church on a Sunday and it is the women who tend to volunteer on a regular basis. Men may take on the one-off jobs of organising an event or shifting/moving furniture but the women have proven to be a sustained and steady stream of help to draw from. In my humble opinion this is because women have a wider sense of what stewardship involves. Arranging flowers, handing out the service sheets on Sunday and helping out with the offering maybe administrative tasks needed to keep the church going but women place another dimension to these tasks and it is stewardship.

From a personal point of view, as a mother, I wanted my daughter to grow up in a religious space which would imbue her with values and a belief system. Deborah Orr finishes off her article by stating that women believe in God because they can't believe in football. That maybe so but I don't see any comparison between anything on earth that can inspire hope and listen to your woes and worries like God does. 

Thursday, 8 January 2015

Does this satirical cartoon of the birth of Christ offend you?

Following yesterday's tragic events in Paris when a group of talented journalists and cartoonists who worked for the French satirical magical Charlie Hebdo were killed over a cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad there have been numerous debates over the legitimacy of publishing religious satirical pictures/cartoons.

As a Christian I don't find satire over Christianity offensive. The front cover of Private Eye's Xmas issue (see above) draws modern life into the birth of Jesus. There are political references and parallels drawns which turns a sombre occasion of the birth of Christ into a rather funny moment.

I am interested to hear what other Christians think.