NEWS MID AUGUST 2016
I recently came to look up some stuff about Candomblé. That’s Afro-traditions as practiced in Brazilian settings, where people dressed in white beat drums as they dance and perform ceremonies. It had remarkable parallels to things happening around me here, I discovered! Candomblé has mystified scholars for decades.
Such practices are incredibly mystifying to Westerners. It’s like, people get together to dance and sing. There is life in the same. The dancing/singing connects one with being. In the cases I see in Kenya, there are no drugs or alcohol, but big drums, and loud cymbals. White clothing is preferred, especially robes. Gender roles differ; male and female are both needed. Women acquire therapeutic help from men’s more powerful ‘being’. It can be noisy, sweaty, a bit crazy, but yet organised and controlled. Relationships involved in these communal worship activities become foundational to community formation. Participants tend to be in the lower economic classes.
These groups, known around our way as ‘Roho’, are Christian. They base what they do on the Bible. The Bible is their text. They re-live the lives of biblical heroes, like Abraham, Moses, Peter. They seek salvation. They pray in the name of Jesus. At the same time they are often pre-occupied in helping people fulfil traditional rites connected with death, burial, illness, bereavement. I am busy reaching out to many of these groups.
I have provisional plans to be on the road from 13th to 18th August, visiting some ex-children and ex-students, and participating in some seminars.
My local school is wanting to have a clamp down on illegal abortion. Here in Kenya as things stand, girls who get pregnant are allowed to return to school, but abortion is illegal. It appears many girls are having abortions.
I value your prayers for a novel I have started writing. The novel will hopefully be a way of teaching people about mission work. It is to be non-academic, so telling lots of stories. It is of course to be based on the life and experiences of Jim Harries. People willing to be readers to give comment, please get in touch. Making it a novel means that I can try to make it more interesting, and sidestep some of the sharpest intercultural issues.
We are having a lot of visitors to Coptic at the moment. We have people from Canada, UK, Holland, USA, and Egypt (and probably a few other places). They go out to visit different churches most days. We have fellowships and Bible studies with them in-between times. Give thanks! Give thanks also for a couple in my home church who came to Christ on Sunday.
Here is a review of my latest book (number 6). The review is published on Amazon. Good news: my latest book (number 7) has been accepted for publication by an internationally renowned academic publisher!