If you keep calling the devil, he will pay you a visit: He also answers prayer!
A wife had developed a constant practice every time there was a family discourse to tell her husband ‘shindwe’. According to the husband, every time they disagreed or had a domestic “meeting” she would bust out into accusation of how he was representing the devil. He begun also to use the words against her. If your wife or husband has the devil, are you not sleeping with the devil?
African historical culture involves the spirit world. I visited a village near khumsalaba. I spent the night in one of my grandmother’s house. It is always great to go to these villages and see these wonderful innocent people. The taste of real kienyeji chicken properly cooked by an expert. The organic ugali made from unga maize harvested in the shamba and ‘siagaard’ at the local posho mill. ‘Sogaard’ by a lady who knows the true meaning of mashing. You cannot find that in Orlando, Florida. We sat in the living room lighted by a taa. They told me about nightwalkers. These “spiritual beings” walk about at night naked within the village. Scary stories even for a well educated Christian philosopher. I kept waking up wondering whether there was someone standing next to me! Love the village though and Kosiria, Nandi.
It has become a common practice to invoke the devil in every event. Recently after an accident involving two matatus, a woman was explaining the course of the accident. It happened that two dogs were fighting on the road and while the drivers were trying to avoid them, the accident occurred killing several people. The woman claimed it was the evil spirit. She called it supernatural: That meant the devil.
The devil has been evoked in many natural events and credited to everything from un-wanted pregnancy to a date gone badly. The place where he gets most credit is in matters that are seen to be evil but humanity cannot find an explanation. If you do not believe that people have the devil walking around with them, attend one of the Pentecostal churches in Nairobi. In fact, attend a political rally and you will hear people evoke the name of the devil. Kalonzo Musyoka implied that the prayers on Saturday the 5th of July at Uhuru park were witchcraft: a working of the devil. Visit a Kenyan home and fellowship while watching the devil on Nigerian movies.
The Genesis narrative injects the devil out of nowhere. Genesis chapter 1 and 2 presents creation of all things. Then in Chapter 3, this character presented as a serpent appears and all HELL breaks lose. St Paul explains his origins. “For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by Him (Christ) and for him.” (1st Colossians: 16ff)
It is here that the existence of the devil is presented as part of the greater scheme within Divine process and purpose: Nothing is without the Hand of God. The difference as seen in Genesis 3 is the willful and rational decision by man to follow the devil. “And the Lord Said to the woman, what is this that you have done . . ?” Then to the man he said, “ . . . because you have . . .” (Genesis 3:1ff) ADAM could not claim ignorance. The biblical theme is that man can chose to invite evil or denounce it. St Paul argued that the Divine I AM has revealed himself clearly even outside the biblical narrative. Before the entry of Christianity, the remotest of man feared some spiritual forces. In Kenya, the concept of the devil is not just Biblical it is a historical and cultural reality.
There was a meeting in Heaven. God as the creator had called all his soldiers and workers to present their cases before him. God sat on the throne, the Son on the right side, the Spirit on the other. Behind them were all the angelic bureaucracies. Then, a general by the name of Satan appears. He also answers to God. “And the Lord said unto Satan, where are you coming from? Then Satan answered, ‘from going to and from in the earth, and from walking down in it.’ ” (Job 1:7ff) No matter how scarily I believe this is, Satan is Divinely authorized to walk about the earth.
What is expected of man is to know that he is, know what he is up to, and like Job, refuse to invite or submit to his works. The secret is to sit at the dinner table with the family and beg the Lord to, “deliver us from evil.” Kenyans need to stop invoking SATAN. The ‘prince’ is around. He will respond to you, and you know the result!
Teddy Njoroge Kamau (PhD) HTBluff Associates @HTBluff