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?