How Can We Sleep?
January 1st, 2008 by Sonja

When our beds are burning?

I’ve been reading the reports out of Kenya with increasing agony and sense of shame. I read the latest and wept inside. People were burned inside a church. They had fled for sanctuary to a church and it was burned. There is something about the idea of being trapped inside of a burning building with dozens of other people that scares me skinny. It seems like the worst form of torment.

Africa is crumbling. In the West we will be held to account for this in some form or another. It is on our shoulders that this mess lies. And it all brought this home to me. I’ve seen it before, but BlisteringSh33p gave it to me again yesterday:


We gave them our creeds. Then we tried re-writing those creeds for them:

Masai Tree of LifeWe believe in the one High God, who out of love created the beautiful world and everything good in it. He created man and wanted man to be happy in the world. God loves the world and every nation and tribe on the earth. We have known this High God in darkness, and now we know him in the light. God promised in the book of his word, the bible, that he would save the world and all the nations and tribes.

We believe that God made good his promise by sending his son, Jesus Christ, a man in the flesh, a Jew by tribe, born poor in a little village, who left his home and was always on safari doing good, curing people by the power of God, teaching about God and man, showing the meaning of religion is love. He was rejected by his people, tortured and nailed hands and feet to a cross, and died. He lay buried in the grave, but the hyenas did not touch him, and on the third day, he rose from the grave. He ascended to the skies. He is the Lord.

We believe that all our sins are forgiven through him. All who have faith in him must be sorry for their sins, be baptized in the Holy Spirit of God, live the rules of love and share the bread together in love, to announce the good news to others until Jesus comes again. We are waiting for him. He is alive. He lives. This we believe. Amen.

But … have we done the work of understanding the other? Of knowing who they are? Of truly becoming One with them as God asks us to? Or do we simply wrap our culture on top of theirs like a blanket and hope that it takes?

How can we sleep while our beds are burning?

13 Responses  
  • Bill Kinnon writes:
    January 1st, 20081:17 pmat

    My first experience of Kenya, shooting a medical missions documentary, was in Eldoret, the city where people seeking refuge were burned to death. I am in shock. My son Rylan (who was with us in Kenya in 2002) cried out when he read this news on the BBC’s site. God, forgive us! Help us. Save us.

  • Sonja writes:
    January 1st, 20081:26 pmat

    Lord, have mercy …

  • Jemila writes:
    January 1st, 20082:06 pmat

    What can we do? God, my God, why oh why? And again, what can we do? If anyone knows anyway way we can help heal…

  • Sonja writes:
    January 1st, 20082:20 pmat

    Christ, have mercy …

  • Erin writes:
    January 1st, 20082:42 pmat

    Thanks Sonja, I hadn’t heard about this. Wow. Is nothing sacred anymore?


  • Sonja writes:
    January 1st, 20083:00 pmat

    Lord, have mercy on us…

  • lyn writes:
    January 1st, 20084:18 pmat

    It’s really awful. I’m struggling with the plight of so many people/countries at the moment – Kenya, Pakistan, Iraq, Zimbabwe, to name but a few. I really don’t know what to do. I pray, but there must be more. There is so much turmoil in the world. I pray that the Lord forgives us for our part.

  • Sonja writes:
    January 1st, 20084:21 pmat

    Christ, have mercy on us …

  • Lori writes:
    January 1st, 20086:50 pmat

    I hadn’t seen this until today on the blogs, and then read about it on the internet. Christ have mercy indeed!

  • Adam G. writes:
    January 2nd, 20088:08 pmat

    For a week or so now I’ve been mulling over the situation in Africa, especially where Christianity and missions are and have been concerned. It’s terrible. In a few days I may have more to say about it on my blog. For now I can only say I’m making a commitment to pray more regularly for the nations and tribes of Africa.

  • Janet writes:
    January 3rd, 20087:51 pmat

    I don’t believe the missionaries are the worst offenders… the Colonial powers drawing up national boundaries based around geographical features rather than tribal identity or ancestral lands hasn’t helped. Nor has economic systems of trade that advantage the West. Nor has political covert interference by Western nations… especially in the cold war era by Russia and the U.S. Nor has impositions of political / military systems that work in the West but haven’t perhaps been translated to work with cultural realities. Nor has the world community’s tendency to tolerate the utterly intolerable as if African nations are a special case… we seem far more willing to ignore civil war, genocide and famine there than we are if white people are involved….

    As you say Sonja… Christ have mercy…

  • Steve Hayes writes:
    January 5th, 20086:39 amat

    My Kenyan colleague is in the USA at the moment, so I can’t even ask him if his own family are safe. What can we do but pray?

  • Calacirian » A Kenya Primer writes:
    January 8th, 200812:30 pmat

    […] wrote about Kenya the other day. I was a little passionate and perhaps obscure. I’ve had time to sort out my […]

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