Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Forewarned is Forearmed

Zdravko Logarusic. I first heard of him shortly after he was presented as Gor Mahia FC’s new coach a while back. In an interview that aired on prime time while I lazed on the couch, he complained bitterly to a swarm of sports journalists about the quality of players he found at the club. “Some players can’t think and run at the same time,” he said, clearly underwhelmed by the players affected. The way he said it, angrily and with an air of disgust, I fully expected an avalanche of rolling heads at the club.

But the guy shook me up a bit. I sat up. You see, in those days, I still dreamt of playing soccer at international level, or national league level at least (a boy must dream!). But along comes Mr. Logarusic, foreign coach with high credentials, complaining bitterly about soccer players who imagine themselves to be established. About these ones, Zdravko is saying “when they run they don’t think, when they think they don’t run.” What scared me most: that was the first time I ever thought about my in-game running in terms other than speed/pace. The instant he said that, I perceived that he was a tactician of such a high order that he even expected tactical running from his players, rather than people just taking off like lately beheaded chickens let loose. Anyway, thanks in part to his unabridged criticisms of the players he found at Gor Mahia, I began to work on my tactical game even if I am only playing soccer recreationally at grassroots level.

The acrimonious manner in which Logarusic parted ways with Gor Mahia FC was an anticlimax for me. I liked the guy from afar (which is not to say I have anything against current coach Bobby Williamson). But I’ll be listening keenly for whether any valuable criticisms that I can apply to my game will be forthcoming from Bobby.

Monday, December 30, 2013

M.I.S.T.A.K.E.S - Embrace Them

What are mistakes?
Messages that tell me I still have many steps to make in life

Interruptions that should cause me to reflect and think

Signposts that direct me back to the road

Tests that push me towards greater maturity

Awakenings that keep me in the game of eternity

Keys that I can use to unlock the next door

Explorations that let me journey where I have never been

Statements about development and progress

Mistakes forewarn us, but only if we learn from them. The fear of making mistakes is crippling and limiting. Reality is, challenges and tests show us who we are. If we face them with boldness and courage, our honest mistakes end up as valuable lessons first and foremost.
If a slight mistake makes you think you are beaten in life, then you really are beaten!

If you think you dare not, chances are, you will not!

Be courageous. You'll make some mistakes, but that's part of life. Cheer up, take heart, forward march!

Set me free

Write me off
and get it over with!
Sneering at me
taxes your face muscles,
staring daggers at me
corrugates your countenance.

So sorry to have
sparked off your
contempt good fellow!
Kindly deign to dismiss
me from your mind
For I must be about
my business.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Breaking the Silence

I attended a week-long Youth Congress last week. It being held at a secondary-boarding school, dormitory accommodation and lacklustre meals were complaint-worthy. Frankly however we did not pay the paltry Congress registration fee expecting to sleep and feast like emperors, no. Bible study was the chief incentive, pursued closely by the youthful urge to network widely with like-minded potential mates.

I emerged from the conference challenged on multiple levels. Now I regret not inviting everyone I know to come along. I was burning with longing on my friends' behalf as one inspired pastor undertook to unpack relationships and their role in history, going on prophetically to the last days, all Biblical, of course. I wished everybody was there to hear it. In short, they taught us a bunch of good things from their own experience and from the Bible. It always surprises me how whatsoever it is that one needs to live a good (righteous, blessed) life is clearly spelt out in the Bible. All themes are covered.

What a thing it is to be young! We take it for granted, unwisely try to rush through it in haste to be thought grown-up, but all we young and young-at-heart oughtta stop a minute and appreciate what being young entails if we are going to make the best use of it. I'm speaking foremost to myself here because my cynicism has led me into the dark alleys of despair far too often.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The Lying Heart and the Carnal Mind

Let’s face it - the bulk of romances today are heavy on sentiment and thin on substance.

I know, from experience, that I may set out fully intending to truly love someone. However, the good that I want to do I end up not doing, and do instead the bad thing I am determined not to do. That is inevitably what happens when a man sets forth in his own power to do good – because fallen human nature only yields bad fruit from the abundance of the heart. One’s own heart lies to one.
Jeremiah 17:9
The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?
Severally I have allowed trust in my "self-inherent goodness" to thrust me forward. It was a grievous error. The problem is, we are imperfect, flawed human beings, more easily disposed to vice than virtue. Left to our own devices, we would ruin ourselves by our own imprudent ways. This unsavory truth of fallen human nature runs counter to the humanistic philosophy prevalent in the world today, which alleges that people are pretty awesome so long as they follow their heart. The movies preach this heady stuff all the day long. But what is the truth?
Psalms 118:8
It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man.
This begs the question: is the believer supposed to distrust his every move, and lack self-esteem or confidence? No, on the contrary, a Christian’s self-esteem and confidence thrive in the certain knowledge that one is doing the will of GOD. To be a child of GOD by faith is, by itself, an inexhaustible supply of self-esteem. There is no higher privilege in our pilgrimage than to be always empowered, instructed and led by the living GOD. Study the lives of the prophets of old and Christ’s apostles; you will find that in the direst straits, they remained steadfast and courageous in the face of scorn, opposition and persecution. They could do so because they did nothing in their own power but only as the spirit of GOD led them.
Zechariah 4:6
Then he answered and spake unto me, saying, This is the word of the LORD unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts.
My own experience has mostly been a warning to others thus far, with good examples hard to find. This blog’s earlier posts are the evidence of what damage was done by a deluded belief in my "inherent goodness". Remember the Bible says that compared to GOD’s righteousness, the goodness of men is as filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6). My much vaunted “goodness,” my belief in my own knight-in-shining-armor narrative resulted in tempestuous relationships, ignominious break-ups, dramatic flings and awkward reunions with exes – so much for that. These are the fruits of a deceitful heart colluding with a carnal mind.
Jeremiah 17:5
Thus saith the LORD; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the LORD.
The issue after a break-up of who is at fault or who is the victim ought never to arise. Ideally, breakups are not supposed to happen. The problem sprouts when, at the very beginning of the relationship, both parties dive in hastily, without first checking what GOD’s will in the whole arrangement is. The eventual inglorious collapse is just but the maturity of this bad tree’s fruits.

Subjective Much?

I read a lot, all the time, on wide range of interests. But I try to keep it all grounded with the Holy Scriptures as my ultimate frame of reference.

Anyway, my readings led me to this article about Margaret Thatcher, in which the author traces the academic roots of her neoliberal policies in Britain while she was Prime Minister. Boring stuff. Now consider this excerpt:

"Hayek, like his co-thinker Ludwig von Mises, was an exponent of the backward and primitive Austrian school of economic theory, which had been concocted by feudal-reactionary quackademics in the Habsburg empire..."

Although I laughed, it's not objective. Translating to sheng, it would read as follows:

"Hayek na von Mises waliaminia madwanzi wa Austria, wenye walishikilia mateachings za washamba wengine watiaji kutoka pande za Habsburg..."

A disastrous verdict.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Such a time as this

Every historical epoch has had its special truth that has defined the period.

These are spiritual truths whose revelations have always been unpopular and whose propagation has always been resisted by the powers of darkness.

The gospel is an inexhaustible supply of living water. As the years progress, ever more abundant spiritual treasures are revealed by its brilliance. The Book of Daniel foretells that in the last days knowledge shall increase; more so spiritual knowledge out of the Holy Scriptures.

In this end time era, we too have truths entrusted to us to examine and declare. GOD has a final warning to the inhabitants of the earth. I strongly believe that this is GOD's purpose for why we were born into this last-day generation. Everything else is secondary at best.

6 And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people,

7 Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.

8 And there followed another angel, saying, Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.

9 And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand,

10 The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb:

11 And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.

12 Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Potential New Species Discovery

I don't believe all creatures have been assigned unique scientific names. This possibility arose in my mind one afternoon as I chatted with Jas, who frequents the shores of Lake Victoria.

As we talked he mentioned that at the lake there are "many things." Immediately he fell to whistling and shaking his head gravely. That was my cue to press him: "What things?"

(Now, to any scientists reading this, listen carefully to what he said, so that you may go "discover" it and name it after yourself.) He said "Paka mwitu wa bahari." I exclaimed with incomprehension. "A wild cat of the lake" is a creature whose existence has never occurred to my mind. The way his description of it goes, it looks just like a wild cat but it has a snout just like a rat and is as big as a dog. I too, dear reader, was startled at the description. Maybe Jas was pulling my leg, I suspected, as the mutant he described struggled to maintain credulity in my mind's eye.

Nevertheless, Jas instantly jumped straight into a description of its hunting habits. "It lives in the water and on land," claimed he, "but if it sees somebody approaching, it quickly hides under water and looks at them from thereunder."

That perfectly explains why it has never been seen. The chills seized me; what a diabolical animal, and ugly besides! But the worst was yet to come.

Jas continued, with an alarming expression . "Everybody who goes to the lake must go in jeans. If it sees you exposed, it comes stealthily under the water, bites off your privates and swims away while eating it."

I laughed. I couldn't help it. To start with, a swimming cat. But my laughter, rather than silencing Jas, transposed his tone a few notes higher and accelerated his tempo. "It comes quickly under water - you know how it has a long snout like a rat - and just opens its long mouth and grabs them and goes with them."

As I was still laughing, he continued. "Even if you buy new jeans they get old within one or two months because of the mud and water and you must replace them." I beheld; indeed the jeans he wore were worn ragged.

I stopped laughing only with a great internal effort that shredded my abdominal laughter-brakes.

Then I asked Jase, simply and directly, how many people had been attacked by this creature within living memory. He answered immediately. "A long time ago they used to be many. In those days people used to come to the lake and remove their clothes. One of them, in fact I'll show him to you one day, would come from home, fold his suit and set it aside in a plastic bag, having cheated his wife at home that he is a teacher at a primary school. In reality he was fetching reeds from the lake and selling. So he would leave home in a suit to fool his wife. But one day, when they already had two children, his wife saw him carrying reeds. She was surprised, but the people at the market informed her that he usually does that work. So she just decided to stay in the marriage."

Silence. End of story.

Seeing there were no substantive leads to any empirical data on victims of the underwater-swimming wild cat of the lake, whose mouth looks like a rat's, I opted not to pursue it if he would not volunteer it. Besides, hadn't Jas promised to introduce me to his friend who used to fold his suit on the shores every morning? Perhaps that was the person better placed to furnish me with data on the animal.

If I find out anything, I'll tell you scientists all about it, just hang in there. (But I wouldn't keep my hopes up. In all likelihood, all this jeans-wearing by the animal's prey has probably driven it to extinction. Just like man-made climate change will shortly kill off the polar bears. Still, "finding" a fossil would earn us some serious cash, don't you say?)

The afternoon heat did not abate. "If she decided to stay in the marriage, then she decided well." I opined. Jas laughed in agreement.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Big City Blues

Kisumu is officially a city. Prolonged exposure to this fact has inured Kenyans to the absurdity of it. Time has erased the memory of the expedient political circumstances in which Kisumu Town was promoted to Kisumu City. The details escape even me. I can only humbly opine that the lately constructed malls that dot Kisumu’s landscape do little to shake off its small-town feel. One main street constitutes the bulk of the city’s Central Business District, and the rest of the place exhibits atrocities of urban planning. Most appalling for me is the fact that the city’s Industrial Area is right on the shores of Lake Victoria, polluting the waters, last I heard. But I love Kisumu despite all her faults.

On the other hand, Nairobi City, as big a capital city as it is, and East Africa’s regional hub to boot, just does not rock my bones. Every time I go there the saving grace is the people I know, when I meet them and catch up. With the passage of time I have become a social relic - I socialize with fewer and fewer people. So Nairobi seems colder and more distant every day, a place you go and do what you’ve got to do, hopefully before your head explodes from pressure accumulated in traffic jam.

At one of our rare meetings, I told Anita that I would be going to Nairobi, perhaps to stay. I wasn’t excited about it at all, indeed I, who bottles most feelings in myself, was only saying it because I can’t discuss the weather forever. Her reaction surprised me - she half-pouted, half-frowned, and changed the topic. It wouldn’t have meant so much if I hadn’t convinced myself that Anita was just another valued friend who would naturally sink out of my radar, just like a ton of other valued friends I had alienated by moving around the country. The rest of the conversation was awkward, thanks to the dawning realization that she actually cared enough to make a face at the prospect of my departure. Heartwarming stuff.

My stay in Nairobi wasn’t half as dreary as I expected it to be. I stayed on track with Bible study, never had to skip a single day of soccer practice, chatted with Pearl, met Mercy, and most memorably, reconnected with my high school best friend, Joseph, one day in church. Great guy, I’ll certainly blog about him - later. But all too soon I was on a bus back to Kisumu.

My next meeting with Anita promptly followed my arrival in the lakeside city. When we are not being unaccountably passive-aggressive towards one another, she likes fries and I like to pick her mind. So, over late lunch, in sweltering afternoon heat that only Kisumu can conjure up, she asked “Why did you come back so soon?”

“You were 25 percent of the reason,” I claimed.

“Yeah right. And the other 75 percent?”

“Other people,” I deadpanned, opaquely, as if it was obvious.

Instead of pushing me to list the Other People, she shrugged, a very apathetic shrug, and hoisted a loaded forkful of fries to her lips. Talk of mixed signals.

Or am I reading between nonexistent lines?

Tuesday, November 12, 2013


Looking back, many years hence, will I see me now?

Will I remember the state of my heart, the fear, the long hours tottering on the brink of despair, peering down at wraiths of failure?

Will my dead ends come to memory, my dark alleys of doubt, in wich to go forward or to retreat in haste both promised as much as they treatened?

Will my ignominious surrenders, white flags hoisted prior to the faintest effort, reveal themselves to foggy nostalgia?

Will today's tears. recalled. once again run down their long dried grooves in my heart? Or shall forgiveness, of self and others, salve the wounds? Will memory cast grief into oblivion?

Looking back many years hence, will I remember the deep pit, the miry clay, from which I was snatched, and give thanks to my Savior?

Friday, November 1, 2013

Happily Never After

Media is a beautiful Kenyan damsel. But if one aggressive suitor called Government has his way, when he marries her, she will be gagged airtight, and her movements will be severely restricted. Her opinions will have to be filtered through Government's prior analysis, her self-willed exclamations will be punished by whippings, confiscations and dark lengthy detentions. The only way Government will be able to thus ill-treat Media will be by making her his lawfully wedded wife. But Government, though fully set in his mind to be a controlling, sadistic and exacting spouse, is also wily and calculating.

Some years ago it seemed that Government's plans were thwarted, when a new Constitution appeared to give Media freedom to stay single and speak the truth as freely as she saw it. Everybody seemed to like the idea, so Government grinned and swore under his breath all through the party. For a while life became unbearable for Government as Media went around declaring his underhand scandalous lucrative gettings-on in graphic detail. Turning red with embarrassment at home and abroad, Government revenged by casting aspersions on Media's patriotism.

Yet, quite unexpectedly, the tide turned in Government's favor. It all happened too fast, a haze of activities, major events in dizzying quick succession. All what Government remembers, vaguely, is that, there was an election. Somehow, amidst the nitty-gritty of keeping his ears cocked for hate speech, while diverting funds to various factions to influence the outcome, lo! Government woke up with a hangover one morning to find a groggy Media beside him in his bed. 

It was awkward at first, but government liked the arrangement, and Media afterwards was not so keen to gossip about Government's dirty linen anymore. Shortly, the rumor mill buzzed with claims that Media had been severally spotted hand-washing Government's dirty linen. But these things were said in hushed tones at watering spots on the Information Superhighway, while Media herself strenuously denied everything. At the end of the day rumor is hearsay.

The election results came and went, with Media afterwards helping to propagate a conciliatory "Accept and move on" message to try help assuage whatever lingering  resentments still festered in the losing demographic. Then she congratulated herself for keeping the peace, not finding Government's surreptitious winking at her inappropriate at all.

Nothing definitive would have been known, had some horrific event not occurred. Suddenly, foreign combatants, terrorists, attacked, killing indiscriminately. Rumormongers alleged that in the haste of quick response, Government's right arm and left arm shot one another in the leg. Media waited outside to hear how the battle went. Government's contradictory progress reports came in quick succession, but Media parroted them nevertheless. The contradictions pursued one another with Media asking very few clarifying questions, betraying either an unfortunate gullibility or a convenient mental vacuity. Perhaps she was afraid, maybe anxious. #WeAreOne

However, at length, after the siege was ended, CCTV footage of it appeared, reviving Media's conscience somewhat. She started to ask belated questions. Government didn't like that. "Women should know their place", he muttered aloud, "Making me look bad, that unpatriotic tattletale. I'll summon her, that'll show her!"

This attempted Government gag against Media, indefensible as it is, can be explained as follows. Government is moving swiftly to formalize the erstwhile illicit union with Media, once and for all, in broad daylight, before the pregnancy shows. But now the unwitting bride rouses her mind from her drunken stupor, only to find herself in the thick of a shotgun wedding. Panic grips Media: she knows Government too well - he is generous (read "wasteful and unaccountable"), hence perhaps good for a fling, but certainly not marriage material. It's not too late, it seems, there may be hope yet; it appears the vows and rings have not been exchanged, nor the reluctant bride kissed yet. She determines to move heaven and hell to weasel her way out of this tight spot. Somehow. "Look," she imagines, "This officiating priest seems like a sympathetic fellow…"

For our own sake, let us help her succeed this time. Let us plead to the president to intervene for her. In the name of the not-so-new-anymore Constitution, let him not declare them man and wife.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Musical Musings

Having dabbled in the occasional spot of songwriting, let me share some firsthand views from experience.
I admire songwriters and hymn writers with a great admiration. It takes genius to condense sublime spiritual truths into rhyming poetic phrases. It is quite another feat of talent to weave said phrases into rhythms and melodies that stir the spirits or sooth the soul. The inspiration that attended to Reformation-era Christian hymns is of a higher order, simply heavenly. It’s easy to take a finished work for granted, but I implore you to look again, closely. For example:
Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
Let me hide myself in Thee!
My amateurish efforts at composing music continue. It’s nowhere near the scale of mastery attained by the inspired labors of the hymn writers, nor even that contemporary soulful song "Imela". Still, I thank GOD for the inspiration. It’s fulfilling to see the tracks taking shape, the melodies, harmonies, all that. Plus, I have a close friend who gives my oft-flagging encouragement the occasional kick-start via her infectious enthusiastic personality and encouraging comments. I thank GOD for her too.

PSALM 103:1-8
BLESS the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me bless His holy name
Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits:
Who forgiveth all thine iniquities, who healeth all thy diseases;
Who redeemeth thy life from destruction, who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies,
Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
The LORD executeth righteousness and judgement for all that are oppressed.
He has made known His ways to Moses, His acts unto the children of Israel.
The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger; and plenteous in mercy.

Sing a hymn of praise today.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Raw Nerve

My maternal grandma’s palms are so calloused that when she’s cooking on firewood, and one glowing ember strays from the flame, she picks it up and puts it back in the fire. Sometimes she even squeezes a red hot coal between her knotted fingers - as if to feel for its temperature! I tried that stunt one day and the resulting burn was too painful to describe, yet I hadn’t even raised the coal yet.

That’s the kind of unexpected shock that jolts me whenever I run into The Ex. Long absences convince me that I am truly over her, until I trick myself that I have forgotten. But a single chance meeting resurrects swarms of butterflies in my stomach. Her inscrutable expressions upon spotting me don’t give anything away.

Usually when we meet it’s around five pm; I’m rushing to the soccer pitch and she’s walking from work. It’s plenty awkward. The eyes are the window to the soul, but staring contests are not my forte. In the spirit of stoicism, much goes unsaid. Every sort of uncertainty breeds in the nuanced tones of voice, to say nothing of undetected residues of resentment over ancient grievances. The dialogues are nothing to write home about - perfunctory greetings immediately succeeded by relieved goodbyes.

When we part I go my way unsettled, with my thoughts profoundly disturbed. I wish I could effortlessly pick up my hot embers too.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Celebrating heroes, spurning their values

Kenyans, collectively speaking, our fathers fought for independence. We know all about it; we are enjoying the fruits of that independence today. So we declare national holidays and build monuments in their honor (if budget permits). But we don't do as they did. It is a tragedy of Biblical proportions.
Matthew 23:29,30
Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! Because ye build the tombs of the prophets, and garnish the sepulchers of the righteous,
and say,” If we had been in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets.”
We collectively declare dead people heroes, while neglecting those principles by which said heroes lived. The problem is, the dead are dead, not somewhere watching to see whether and how they are being remembered. They’re unconscious of it all. The real question is “What do the living profit by the memory of the dead?” Were they examples or warnings to their survivors? Does the late heroes’ example and sacrifice inspire similar high ideals in the beneficiaries of their struggle?

Mention of heroes gives any speech a patriotic sheen, so we are certain that we will hear about them interminably. In the meantime, living people who actualize these dead heroes’ principles are ignored. Will they be remembered when they are dead, who while they live are ill considered? Will their flag-waving descendants perpetuate their principles, or merely rally around their monuments?
Matthew 23:34
Wherefore behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes, and some of them ye shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute from city to city.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

The Original Tyrant

Early in my university days we students were presented with two opposing theories on human nature. People are by nature either inherently good, thus government should treat them nice, or inherently bad, thus government should suppress them. A big deal was made of the controversy that rages between supporters of the philosophers responsible for these contrary assumptions. I got caught up in the liberal faction of the squabble.

But I had forgotten one thing. Christianity has always known that one of the planet earth’s many aliases is “the realm of Satan”. It is his by usurpation, not by right. Anyone who challenges the claim that Satan is the king of this world need only discern the spirits, powers and principalities for themselves. Scripture records the fact that Satan offered to Jesus Christ all his world kingdoms if Jesus would only bow to him - Jesus Christ, to whom it rightly belongs, twice His, by creation and then by redemption with His blood, who will in due time take back His own in righteousness and judgment. AMEN.

The enemy Satan comes to steal, to kill and to destroy. In his work he is aided by unwitting dupes who know not that their evil master deems them expendable, hates them as much as the people he uses them against. They do not know that no human can make a covenant with death – the inevitable penalty of sin. Those misguided fellows who consider Illuminati membership a glamorous association are twice blinded: “success” thus purchased is, first, no success at all and second, too costly. To quote Jesus, What shall it benefit a man to gain the whole world and lose his own soul? (After all, we take nothing to the grave with us.)And this was the principle by which Jesus would not bow to Satan: only GOD is to be worshipped.

The devil must resort to tyranny at the last. Simply put, all tyranny is of the devil. He wants to be worshipped undeservedly whether the worshipper likes it or not. As time runs out on him, it ill suits his designs to let his case argue its own merits in the public square. In an open contest, the Gospel, the WORD, far outshines whatever allurements doctrines of devils may try to bait men with. Many faithful ones refuse to be seduced to sin, so Satan, enraged, strives to force them into sin. Failing that, to destroy the saints. This is the true background of religious persecution – to make conscientious obedience to GOD illegal and punishable by civil laws and the force of government. ]

Quite naturally, arms array themselves on the side of the rebel. Satan resorts to manipulation, deception, brute force to get his way. The way of peace is foreign to him. He hoped by battle to unseat GOD from His heavenly throne. Such pride and daring met ignominious failure and banishment from heaven, he, along with his rebellious angelic followers, now called demons. Since then he has battled against mankind, to obtain the supremacy over men by keeping them in bondage to sin. His success in martyrdoms of the saints constitutes a great death toll, but these have escaped his power, for the grave shall yield her prisoners. Far more devastating is the sum of multitudes he has deceived into spiritual ruin since time began, who await condemnation in the Judgment.

The devil’s ruin is sure, his judgment is only a matter of time.

“Wherefore take unto you the full armour of GOD, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.” Ephesians 6:13

Good Read - Paradise Lost, published 1667

Methinks John Milton took some extravagant liberties with his rendition of the fall of man in "Paradise Lost." All the same, it is a true  classic, well worth the time spent reading it, if you can stomach long sentences held together by innumerable semicolons. I recommend it even if the English in it is harder to digest than Authorized King James Bible, and even though I roundly reject the idea of immortality of the soul as unbiblical. Nevertheless the narration details the fall of Lucifer from heaven after his rebellion led to a war between the angels, the creation of the universe, the temptation and fall of man, in short, Paradise Lost.  Every page turned the plot thickens, tragedy and victory. Even though the reader thinks they know the plot in and out, knows exactly what is going to happen next, the details and spiritual principles breathe life into the whole tale. I especially liked Milton's rendition of the perfect relationship of love and trust between Adam and Eve before the fall. Made me jealous I admit. More importantly, Milton's words trace as close a sketch of Satan's character, cunning, wickedness, pride etc. as I have ever encountered. Last but not least the reader's knowledge will be stretched to the limit in trying to make head or tail of references to a host of other classical works and legends which pepper the book. By all means read Paradise Lost. Even if it was once banned - it remains o the internet as a downloadable PDF. I'm not even done reading it but here I am waxing lyrical.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Abbreviating Emotional Distance

Intimacy presumes trust. Sadly, trust, though it ought to be inviolable, is too often broken instead. Broken trusts are fatal to relationships, a cancer that prevents and kills emotional intimacy slowly but surely.

The formerly firm friendship between Anita and I has stalled, if not regressed significantly. “The small stuff matters,” Anita tells me, “First people trust you with little things; if you prove yourself, they give you slightly bigger responsibilities.” She says it a lot of late. It may seem lost on my carefree spirit, but I can discern a heartfelt warning when I hear one. It’s a hint - my side of the friend bargain is a sorry sight.

In the past I have lost friends who were good, interesting people to hang around, due to a little neglect by me or by them. Ultimately, why do people drift apart? It’s the insignificant things. Alone, they are truly microscopic; but they pile up. Just like an individual speck of mud does not hold itself entirely responsible for a pig’s filthy state, neither does that ignored text bear all the responsibility for collapsed correspondence. One too many tiny slips and trust is clean chipped away.

As Pearl unapologetically puts it, flaky people are simply irritating. Many agree. According to Pearl’s impassioned arguments, if you said you’d do something tiny and didn’t do it, you’re not likely to be depended on next time, nor required in the long run. If you come late to the first day at work, you’ll not be expected early on subsequent days, and at long last you’ll be unburdened of days at work altogether.

Thus, trust is a fragile abstraction to sustain: besides being imperiled across a wide spectrum of situations, it thrives when it is both “given” and “received” together. In other words, the perception and acknowledgment of trust strengthens the trust. For the optimal running of any relationship, trust is an integral program in the software. Before two build a life together, the foundation must be laid in trust, trust must be laid on the foundation. Trying to salvage a valued friendship teaches me: on the way to trust, there are no shortcuts. If you simply are not there yet, the journey continues.

And once one is trusted, it’s just the beginning. Guard that trust jealously, lest it slip away.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Serikali Tafadhali: Population Infantilization

Modern times are a study in the black arts of reducing thinking feeling people into selfish automatons. Thus, the “serikali tafadhali ingilia katikati” (government please intervene) demographic is gaining proportional ascendancy. Gone are the days when do-it-yourself was the best way to get anything done well. As soon as problems crop up, these people lay them at the feet of government.

But this is only to the people’s detriment. The government understands that adopting the people’s shirked problems is really a grab of increased power over the people. Continued over-reliance on government breeds an unhealthy patrimonialism in the governor. Democracy’s power is supposed to reside in the people for the people’s benefit; but the “serikali tafadhali” criers make the government think they are demigods. “Look! The confused rabble prays to us!” And the fruits of such bootlicking ripen in election year, when the candidates compete in giving rambling boastful speeches full of grandiose hot air – promising “favors” their government will do for the people, favors to be purchased by their votes.

No government, not even a democratic republic, drives around in Jeeps distributing constitutional rights to bystanders and passers-by on the street. The people have to know their rights, to take their time and know that government is limited in means and scope, and to keep government from infringing on their rights. However most MPigs and Kenyan politicians believe the best approach to take in any hairy circumstance is to throw money at the problem. To them, the powerful are those who man the tap. Subconsciously this betrays their love of money, that they worship it so, to esteem it omnipotent.

But the love of money is the root of all evil. Because we see our leaders in love with money, we too lust after it. Greed begets corruption, moral and fiscal. And then society becomes merely some people the national boundary enclosed, the national flag labeled and the national anthem satirized. Why? All because some people couldn’t stop saying “serikali tafadhali” about problems they shouldn’t have relinquished to anyone. They made themselves babies and begged the government to be their father and mother.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

What Meaneth This Bloodshed?

Words fail me in the aftermath of #WestgateAttack. I suspect that others like me are dumbstruck with shock. Yet I am a mere armchair witness - I can't begin to comprehend what the survivors, the injured and the bereaved are going through.

Nevertheless my immediate gut feeling is that my country Kenya has been irrevocably dragged into a new chapter, a more advanced chapter than "August 7 1998," both chronologically and substantially. Things will never be the same again. Parallels with 9/11 are inevitable. Just like 9/11 opened a new chapter in the history of the United States, so did the violent Westgate mall attack proclaim a new era for Kenya, by adding a new literal and ideological battlefield to the heap of issues on our plate. Historical injustices and current affairs at home and abroad were enough of a headache before this; even the sweeping of these peeves under the rug must now be put on hold to address the incarnate nightmare.

Before, vague and formless ghosts of insecurity and crime haunted the Kenyan psyche. Now appears a brazen demon called Terrorism, which, in the Westgate Attack, has shattered the average mwananchi's previous mental threshold of conceiving the limits of gratuitous violence. For a few hours at least, the field of play was thrown wide open, the rules turned out to be obsolete, the law of the jungle prevailed.

It's a bad look, it won't sit easy in the mind. Kenyans are already united in grief. The damage is done, the trauma inflicted, closure will surely be sought, beside assurances that worse is never to come. Outrage and indignation, recrimination and retribution must surely lie ahead. Patriots will hector and the media will broadcast it. The sum of it demands some type of efficacious reaction. Somebody will step forward to provide it.

Such an odyssey once already embarked on will unavoidably chart a course for generations yet unborn, a legacy whose meaning we would do well to search out early.

What does this mean? Only time will tell.

Friday, September 13, 2013


Too often during recovery, the survivor of a traumatic experience ends up nursing the pain instead of the person. The same applies to grudges and grievances: by constantly mulling over the turn of events and the outrage of victimization, one keeps a bygone event alive, it loops endlessly in memory.
Granted, certain injustices, heartbreaks and betrayals do not lend themselves to easy forgetting. However, at the same time, "A man that studieth revenge keeps his own wounds green, which otherwise would heal and do well." 

Fortunately, time heals old wounds. It wouldn't take so long if the wound was left to heal, rather than poked, peeled and prodded at every idle moment. Far better for the soul's health to forgive all wrongs as soon as possible, if not immediately. Whereas many there are that would never humble themselves and ask for forgiveness, nevertheless for such I find that forgiveness works like a text message: once sent, it hangs in the air until the intended recipient turns on their cellphone.

To err is human, to forgive divine. Indeed. Our Lord Jesus Christ, even whilst he was being crucified, prayed for his mockers, accusers and murderers. "Forgive them Father, for they know not what they are doing." And then He died, but when He rose again, He picked up that line of forgiveness right where He left off, by extending the gift of salvation to every sinner who believes in Him, washing away our sins in His own blood.

We couldn't find a better example if we searched all history.

Monday, September 9, 2013

A Slap in Time Saves Nothing

Once a slap is let slap, there is no purging it from the memory. It is violence, even if in microcosm. A slap may betray a halfhearted expedition towards someplace that’s anywhere between corporal punishment and barehanded, homicide-minded assault. Doubtless it is a decided abandonment of words as a means to exhaust or satiate wrath. A slap says to its victim that the regard in which they are held by the perpetrator is subterranean, nay, below sea level. An inevitable insinuation of spite accompanies a solid slap, not to mention flushed cheeks, hot ears and perhaps moist eyes - balancing tears.

But men who slap women are not to be encouraged, lest other injudicious barbaric habits gain the ascendancy in this alleged civilization we live in. Besides, all breeds of feminists are waiting in the wings, crouched amidst the foliage, poised to pounce upon whatsoever imprudent purveyor of “gender violence” may happen to pass by. Fade to black, then to a courtroom scene, in which the complainant delicately sobs “and then he slapped me!” so that an outraged hiss escapes the jury while a stern judge refuses to peel her withering glare off the malignant defendant. The man may swear the woman cornered him, invited the beating and insisted upon it, but it’s still defies the code of chivalry and runs afoul of a few constitutional clauses and plain old political correctness.

Yet all is not lost for such brutes. Certain ladies like “bad guys” who break every rule in the book. I always thought that this was a manifestation of “self-destructive tendencies,” but I finally understand: it’s the movies what’s done it. Far as I remember, mothers warn their daughters to avoid associating with such characters. But the movies portray them in leather jackets and slovenly shaves, to the backdrop of grating electric guitars trespassing on the limits of harmony. Or take the “gangsta rapper” character, whose gun and x-rated language are fashion accessories more than anything else, and a hip hop beat underlines the utter daring in his every swaggering step.

I’m not being flippant here. One recent high profile slap in Nairobi’s corridors of power merely coincided with similar events in the lives of somebody close to my heart. The parallels are however too many to bother narrating both of the tales. Let it suffice to say my buddy’s girlfriend spent an inordinately long time murmuring discreetly, and later laughing suspiciously and uninhibitedly, with a strange-looking bad boy in a dark corner. My friend, who had been stewing in his insecurities the entire time, waited passively some distance away while the apple of his eye had a merry old time with a ne’er-do-well. Eventually it turned out that while he brooded, he had also been preparing his palms for a sequence of hot slaps all the while. So loud were the slaps, and so fast did they succeed one another, that it is still a major scandal to this day among all witnesses and overhearers, and a bit of a relationship dampener to them both. But I’m advocating reconciliation.

The moral of the story is, bad guys are overrated and not worth slapping a woman over. In fact, there’s nothing worth slapping a woman over, even if she “deserves” it.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

The surreal truth

The days would be comparatively prosperous if they merely dragged on uneventfully. For one, News Hour would then feature a clueless newscaster blinking sheepishly at the cameras. But nowadays even idly daydreaming of such a dull existence would be asking for too much: these are the last days. Every new day is “more last” than the previous one was; as darkness descends upon humanity, violence, wickedness and upheavals multiply, the drums of war acquire a decidedly martial beat.

The hour is late. The nations are angry, only getting angrier at themselves and one another. I can feel it within my country and outside it as far as America: populaces tenuously straddling crumbling internal fault lines, while maintaining aggressive postures towards other nations. Everything is poised for an all-encompassing conflagration masked as competition for resources.

Certain friends I admire give me hope that all is not lost. These people remain principled, placid, positive and inspiring in this cruel world. But I fear for them: they are liable to become victims of the predatory wickedness that roams the earth today, a heated zeal whose wrath does not discriminate between innocent bystanders and belligerents. Even now the destroyer works to whip up chaos against the children of GOD. But such has ever been their baptism of fire, since the time of Abel’s murder, through the crucifixion of Jesus, and the martyrdoms of saints to the time of the end.

The truth is that majority of the world has believed a glut of lies – the wine of Babylon’s fornication. The clean air of truth cannot mix with the smog of lies and yet be breathed in healthfully. Look, many pastors would have us believe that one can be homosexual and be in GOD’s good books at the same time. That’s called strong delusion. Those who stand for truth eventually disagree irreparably with the established order. Being unwilling to compromise with the devil, they get labeled “intolerant” etc. And then the civil government oversteps its bounds to prosecute such conscientious believers (read religious persecution). But this is the inevitable consequence whenever the laws of GOD and the laws of men contradict. Men will compel the observance of their laws, but GOD values free-willed obedience and liberty of conscience.

Suffering is a constant for all. It is better for us to suffer for doing good than to suffer for doing wrong. If history teaches us anything, it is time for humanity to stop and examine our ways, for individuals to look around them and ascertain which side they are standing on. GOD certainly requires it of each of us, at least while we have His Word within our reach and eyes to see. And it is up to individuals to do this for themselves.

As wickedness continues to part ways with simple decency and common sense, every other day convinces me that we are living on borrowed time. It has been GOD’s grace to give us extra time to seek Him and repent. But the world is fixed in its ways, the world is mad, lost, sick and naked; yet proud, stubborn, unwilling to go to its Healer and be healed for free. The patient refuses to admit that he is mad. Won’t the Healer at length surrender such a headstrong patient to his beloved Babylonian drunkenness?

Monday, August 26, 2013

The Call of the Wild?

There is no boredom like rural boredom. The heat avails little entertainment.

But certain wild pigeons which live in our roof amuse me greatly. During the day the resident couple go flying around with other wild-pigeon-friends of theirs, often returning to array themselves in a line on our roof,scanning the landscape, cooing commentary to one another. The amusing part is, whenever they see a person walking towards the house on which they are perched, they get all upset and fidgety, like "what's that human being looking for in these quarters?" Any sudden movement makes the whole flock of them fly for their lives. At any rate, they always take flight before anyone gets close enough to demonstrate how harmless he/she is. In their heads, it is THEIR house, we are the unwelcome pests.

It just goes to show you. All those travel brochures talking about tourism as a response to the call of the wild? They don't know what they're talking about. Take it from me: the wild is not calling you, or anyone. In fact the wild doesn't even want you anywhere near it, or even looking at it for that matter, because you're probably up to no good, and it's not going to be grateful for any good you may attempt. And if you mess with certain wild, it'll kill you.

Mid morning. I hid from the harsh sunlight and struggled to stay awake by reading outdated newspapers in the verandah.

Along came a lizard too big and too fast to be a common gecko. The very look of it spelt "wild." The alert eyes in its raised head depicted a decidedly predatory creature. Its rough scaly skin was at once beautiful and alarming. Using clawed feet at the ends of squat legs, the animal moved in sharp bursts of speed, coming to sudden dead standstills in which it seemed frozen on the spot, only flashing its forked tongue at the world.  I was oddly entranced by this ugly and yet rapacious hunter, entranced for a brief instant.

And then I realized that the animal was closing in on a brood of grazing chickens with each burst of speed. So I got up to chase after the animal, it raced towards a nearby tree, and that was the last I saw of it.  As I circled the tree to try and see it so I could know where to aim my missiles, it too was circling the same tree, ensuring it kept the tree trunk ever between us, climbing the trunk the whole time! I could hear its claws scraping the trunk on its upward way, it could hear my feet running about in circles around the tree. Soon it was too high up to follow, and I hadn't even seen it, so I gave up. Let's just say that lizard outwitted me entirely.

Nature is the artwork of GOD. The birds, the fishes and all the animals are of particular beauty, with minds of their own besides, to think their own brand of intelligent thoughts, to live their lives and bear young after their own kind.

We serve an awesome Creator.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Hope Ever Springs Anew... Hopefully

What is hope but a thought in the mind, entirely divorced from grim reality?

Having too much time on my hands, I went strolling in my former neighbourhood, in which I transitioned from childhood to adulthood. Nostalgia propelled me from one event landmark to the next: the stony soccer pitch that scraped my skin and bruised my body almost every weekday, old friends' former residences, the café at which we often hung out and learnt early to spend money we didn't have, trees we met under and occasionally climbed, the dusty streets on which cheeky children played non-stop, random mad wanderers.

My walk inspired some good memories, like all the years The Ex and I shared in these places, alternately 'single together' (that's what we told people) or in a relationship. Mostly "it was complicated" as we circled each other like butterflies in hot pursuit, or spied on one another like CIA and KGB. We relied on informant networks - family and friends - all the while we acted, and claimed to be, disinterested/disillusioned.

Certain bad memories stood out as well, especially of alternately running and hiding in long misadventures, searching for food during the seige that post election violence (December 2007) turned out to be. Angry faces scowled everwhere, raging fires lit spontaneously, columns of thick black smoke poured skyward, gunshots rang out from near and afar. Mobs of livid men and women held sticks and stones aloft as their eyes looked to destroy something. Often, stampedes of panicked runners swept into view and vanished round the next turn as they fled from either of two known dangers. First, there were wild-eyed dedicated looters in those days who roamed about, raping and robbing. Nights were nightmares of apprehension. I had the misfortune of spotting the bloody corpse of one of their newly-killed victims, laid out in the street in grisly display. Twisted. Secondly, one could cross paths with armed cops wound up tight after running battles with these young Kisumu louts, self-styled Ninjas. The cops were said to disregard all bystanders' pleas of innocence, their modus operandi was allegedly to shoot key suspects, arrest the rest and then clobber only a few lucky survivors who escaped on foot with a furious dog hot on their trail. Either way, if a stampede in the open street came your way, you tried to outrun or overtake them - the danger, whatever it was, was at the back.

The few retailers who dared to trade in such a battleground quadrupled their prices.

One did well to stay indoors, even if the TV exclusively broadcast images of angry political lieutenants taking hardline positions in the face of eminent international mediators.

Yet even in those dark days I had hope. I was just starting university: one semester down, nine to go. The electoral fracas found me in Kisumu on holiday. The Ex and all our friends were available as well. Amidst the violence all around us, we found that we had too much unsupervised time on our hands. We managed to make an instrumental album, despite hunger pangs from skipping meals as a food rationing measure. One couple went the family way during this period. But those were happy days in our little enthusiastic perhaps ignorantly relatively carefree corner of Kisumu. (We were not demonstrating, peacefully or otherwise; just waiting it out.) The fracas would pass, the future would shine again with alluring prospects.
Six years later, when nostalgia lured me back to the scenes of my adolescence, I found that the biggest change that had changed was me. I have finished my undergrad only to get disillusioned with myself, the future don't look too bright no more, I'd probably go out and demonstrate for democracy and human rights now.

I forget: what is hope?

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Length of Days

My paternal grandparents both died before I was born. However, I do have a "step-grandmother" - my grandfather's second wife. She is a jovial and likeable old lady, plump, sparsely wrinkled, very boisterous and enthusiastic, and simple in her tastes. And wise. I suppose becoming a widow decades ago toughened her some, having already gotten a head start in the school of hard knocks by growing up in the tough colonial era.

It took me a while to get to know grandma personally, because my ineptitude in speaking Dholuo made our conversations awkward. I was stuck to my city ways and languages like they were a badge of honor. But even in my younger days she often ventured to meet me halfway by struggling to speak Swahili. Over the years, however, my dholuo improved, and we have come to know and understand one another better. She often calls me aside to chat, most often on a certain bench, in her compound, under the shade of trees. From there we are sure to see any potential overhearers while they are still a long way off. I am still not fluent in Luo, but most of the time I'm only required to listen.

Humor usually crops up.

Grandma is not afraid to confess that she never once stepped in a classroom. She laughs about it: "In our days girls did not read. We were just herding cattle every day, every day herding cattle, until one day someone came and married you."

Talk of marriage quickly turns on me. "Take care not to marry a girl who knows too much. I have already instructed your mother that if you bring a girl here who crumples her nose at her or talks back to her, she should slap that girl's cheek and let her go back to her mother. You hear? And you should not bring for us a girl here who will make us struggle to speak a lot of Kiswahili. Just look for a good Luo girl who we can tell stories with. See your uncle, he married outside, now he never comes home, never sends money..."

At length her concerns turn to members of the extended family over which she is the matriarch. It is an empty title; few accord her the respect. Out of the blue, she questions me about why one of my cousins is "becoming hard-headed". In halting Dholuo I attempt to explain to her that the lad is merely in the hormonal doldrums of adolescence, that he will eventually pass that phase unscathed. The idea annoys her deeply, she dismisses the concept out of hand. "So that is how he wants to grow up? With craftiness and crookedness?" (Her exact words were "ojanja gi okora!" I had to suppress laughter, especially when she bent forward, lowered her palm to the grass and while raising her hand to the level of her head to signify a child growing up, chanted "ojanja okora ojanja okora ojanja." And then indignantly asked me, "what kind of adult will that one become?" Clicked her tongue. "And he has already begun this business of girls. The other day he went and bought lunch for himself and two girls at the market! He is okora! Why didn't he take the money home to buy soap?"

I nod. Everyone could use some soap at home.

Grandma continues: "Even nowadays when he is told something he makes his face angry. He thinks people are his agemates. Even if somebody's parents are good or bad, you have to persevere and obey them. That boy wants to get spoilt. He has grown horns like a bull. You should go and talk to him or he will become like [another cousin] who can no longer be helped now because it is too late."

I promise to advise the lad to leave craftiness and crookedness behind.

Grandma's opinions bear a certain practical wisdom, at least from her perspective and experience. Therefore when she speaks I listen, if only because she speaks with the absolute certainty of one who knows exactly what she is saying.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The Narrow Way

If God has called you to really be like Jesus in all your spirit, He will draw you into a life of crucifixion and humility, and put on you such demands of obedience, that He will not allow you to follow other Christians, and in many ways He will seem to let other good people do things which He will not let you do.

Other Christians and ministers who seem very religious and useful may push themselves, pull wires, and work schemes to carry out their plans, but you cannot do it; and if you attempt it, you will meet with such failure and rebuke from the Lord as to make you sorely penitent.

Others can brag on themselves,
on their work, on their success, on their writings,
but the Holy Spirit will not allow you to do any such thing, and if you begin it, He will lead you into some deep mortification that will make you despise yourself and all your good works.

Others will be allowed to succeed in making great sums of money, or having a legacy left to them, or in having luxuries, but God may supply you daily, because He wants you to have something far better than gold, and that is a helpless dependence on Him, that He may have the privilege of providing your needs day by day out of the unseen treasury.

The Lord may let others be honored, and put forward, and keep you hid away in obscurity, because He wants to produce some choice, fragrant fruit for His coming glory, which can only be produced in the shade.

God will let others be great, but keep you small, He will let others do work for Him and get the credit for it, but He will make you work for Him, and toil on without knowing how much you are doing; and then to make your work still more precious, He will let others get the credit for the work which you have done, and this will make your reward ten times greater when Jesus comes.

The Holy Spirit will put a strict watch on you, with a jealous love, and will rebuke you for little words and feelings or for wasting your time, which other Christians never seem distressed over.

So make up your mind that God is an Infinite Sovereign, and has a right to do as he pleases with his own, and He will not explain to you a thousand things which may puzzle your reason in His dealings with you.

God will take you at your word; and if you absolutely sell yourself to be His slave, He will wrap you up in a jealous love, and let other people say and do many things that you cannot do or say.

Settle it forever, that you are to deal directly with the Holy Spirit, and that He is to have the privilege of tying your tongue, or chaining your hand, or closing your eyes, in ways that others are not dealt with.

Now when you are so possessed with the living God that you are, in your secret heart, pleased and delighted over His peculiar, personal, private, jealous guardianship and management of the Holy Spirit over your life, you will have found the vestibule of heaven.

William Marrion Branham

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Off with the Movies

Life is often best appreciated by recognizing the futility of a whole bunch of hyped-up things. It doesn't do much for motivation, at least not in the ways motivational speakers make it out to seem. But too often, light bulb moments release you from the dilemma at hand instead of solving it. Yeah, I know, it sounds escapist, but wait until you realize you can switch off the TV instead of deciding between a sleazy ("passionate") soap opera and a violent ("action-packed") gore-fest.

Life is also often about realizing that one is a less-than-perfect most of the time and an idiot the rest of the time, sorry to say. The movies make it look like everyone is basically a good guy in a bad circumstance, except of course the evil-laughing/mean-scowling bad villain. This is humanist philosophy at play: everybody's good and if everybody does their best the universe will be perfect. But its a lie they put in the movies in direct contradiction of the fact that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of GOD. They even go a step further with the latest breed of sympathy-for-the-devil movies, in which the lead actor is a social misfit with a taste for blood, heathen manners and versed in obscene vocabularies; but the director goes ahead to weave the criminal's tale so as to elicit the viewer's sympathies.

I read somewhere that when one enters a movie theater, his/her guardian angel waits outside. I can't say I've abstained from watching movies of late but I must confess I can see why that would be the case. The danger with fantasy arises when it distracts its addicts from real and present dangers. While daydreaming about fictional superheroes saving the world or them-against-the-world-type highfalutin romances encountered on screen, the enemy as a roaring lion walketh about seeking whom he may devour. Indeed, the very act of watching the movie is the enemy mauling your vigilance. One begins to say "Peace and safety" whereas sudden destruction could suddenly fall upon one. And even the blind can see that sudden destruction in the pipeline: the ascendant despotism disguised as democracy, the decline of economies everywhere, increasing militarization, assaults by our governments on human rights and freedoms, the sacrifice of privacy for security, the resurgent political church... the movies aren't preparing us for any of this.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Arrested Development Theories on Relationships

This blog is full of personal views; it oscillates wildly between redacted narratives of my life, philosophical musings, spiritual discussions, Biblical passages and critiques of just about anything. In keeping with that erratic trend, today I delve into introspection.

DISCLAIMER: The world is still ending. Stay focused.

According to certain psychiatric models, I may be suffering from arrested development at a critical stage of my social progress. Allegedly, we all reach an age when the dilemma is "interaction versus isolation;" just when the last noxious fumes of adolescence are clearing off, yet overlapping with whiffs of the coffee scent of adulthood. "Isolation versus interaction" must be a bigger dilemma among introverts like myself. It seems like that is just the stage where I am stuck at like a college senior who is afraid to graduate because college is more lively than corporate conformism. But the same psychiatrists say failure to overcome "Interaction vs. Isolation" an increasingly common epidemic in this era of social media and I can see why.

These academic deliberations would have meant nothing to me if I hadn't already identified trends in my own life that support their claims - I think psychiatry is a meddlesome scam, but this once they seem to be on to something here. Correlate "Interaction versus Isolation" with the dating game and one quickly comes up with a theory for the plunging marriage rate (citation needed) and the skyrocketing divorce rate (confirmed). Stay with me.

I've been in a few relationships; each time I imagined myself the star of the show. But here comes the arrested development part: the minute we come to the edge of the precipice, when things become real, and it's time to take a dive, then the Isolation vs. Interaction dilemma fills my mind - and then I see problems and run away. I chose isolation. So say the shrinks.

Or... Perhaps there's another way of looking at it, which a friend of mine's love experience exemplified. 

Courtship is designed in such a way that the man is supposed to hunt the lady - ideally. You can tell me about this being the 21st century but its still men and ladies in it. Now my buddy Baddy liked a certain beauty and pursued her diligently. Men are strong because they are supposed to survive hardships such as rejections and embarrassments. Courtship is such that often one party - the man - does aggressive self-marketing towards another party that is inclined towards raising roadblocks in the way of love, however enthusiastic about the whole prospect of an eventual relationship she may be. She protects herself by stringently testing him in a fiery crucible. Maybe nowadays not so much but a few good girls are classics like that.

Just bear in mind that at this stage the lady has got the power. Like Eveready. But eventually, as in my friend's case, love won the day and she fell for him. Problem is, "I got the Power" was still echoing in the head of the lass. So she strutted into his life with the airs of a colonialist; "You wanted me here and here I am, let's see what you're all about then." Begins to scrutinize his mannerisms and impose curfews. And those intrusive calls asking where he is and what he's doing and who he's doing it with. 

Unaccustomed to being subject to anyone, Baddy the eternal bachelor's nerves frayed suddenly, and he opted for Isolation, ditching the lady in an unspectacular series of deliberate acts of neglect. And I understood why. Us men, some of us like to be free and unattached; unaccountable to no one but GOD and ourselves. But now I could see the problem from a fresh perspective, since it did not involve me directly: these teething problems are hardwired into the format of courtship. Thus I advised him to go back and market himself all over again, and this time to be patient with the new tyrant in his life, because he's the one who filled her head with those undemocratic ideas in the first place.

"Once you bring a woman into your life, she will attempt to dictate it. Don't fret. While she is still giving orders, quietly close the door, ensuring she remains in your life, and then you can have your power struggle."

I could use my own advice.