Photos: Female Circumcision – The Right Cultural Initiation

Photos: Female Circumcision - The Right Cultural Initiation.
Photos: Female Circumcision – The Right Cultural Initiation. cadets/Courtesy Photo

Every culture has its own traditional values, taboos, norms, and ideals: These guide its identity. For those of us who were born in tribal groups, our process in life involved initiations. These processes were carried forth from generation to generation. Though we did not know their origin, we were ‘baptized’ into them by our parents. Like many men in my tribe, we had to be circumcised! This was the way young boys in my village became men. Kenya is fighting against female circumcision. This war did not start now. In 1920 there was a falling out between the Protestants. Those who supported female circumcision abandoned Kijabe mission forming the Independent church movement. The rest remained Evangelical!

At a youth conference near our village, we were confronted with the issue of female circumcision. Although we were young pastors, the priesthood gave young people confidence that we could answer their questions. One young girl came to me and inquired whether as a Christian, she should be circumcised. At that time, the issue had not been taken over by feminists and western political theorists. The question was plainly my biblical perspective: The un-mutilated biblical view! The young girls felt torn between the biblical call for parental authority and the call by Christ to be believers. For the young teenager, the decision was not as simple as ABC. Rather, it was a psychological warfare!

Within the biblical conception, “Honor your father and mother . . .” Ephesians 6:1-4 is absolute. The responsibility of bringing up children is left to parents. The Divine I AM established an order within the created world. He decreed that woman and man be the basis of procreation. God decided that He would not create a system of human multiplication outside of the human body system. Therefore a woman carries the egg and the man carries the sperm! That which is brought forth from the interaction of the two is matter that grows into what we call ADAM. The phenomenon of this process cannot be under-estimated. Imagine watching the baby at birth protruding from the woman. Imagine the miracle of this miserable being growing to maturity! Imagine that we just feed it and it grows. How? We do not know. We just marvel at the process.

Given the intricate nature of this new being: It’s inability to feed itself. It ‘s vulnerability in matters of life. The need to hold a child’s hand while starting to walk, and the difficult responsibility of guiding them to maturity was given by the Creator to parents. It is them that are obligated to feed, cloth, educate, and guide these unto faith and belief unto eternity! However Parents do not raise them in a vacuum. Rather, within their culture: Children just obey! They are innocent.

The question that must be asked is, “How does God expect parents to bring up their children”? The foundational principle is this: Bring up your children in honor of God. To understand what it is that pleases God, He gave us the example of the Hebrews. The Old Testament is God’s order as He guided the community of faith towards the redemption of humanity. Therefore, it is true that, in order to know the will of God in the life of parents towards children, the Old Testament process is fundamental: It was parents raising their children on Faith. The faith was their culture.

The Old Testament commanded the Hebrews to male circumcision. However, St. Paul in his protest against the Judaizers and Peter’s insistence that the gentiles must be circumcised mutes this requirement. Galatians2: 11,12,13. Albeit, not to erase circumcision, but to elevate spiritual “circumcision” which to him was more important than the physical Old Testament initiation. The argument is that a man must be initiated into belief in Christ. That this initiation is much greater in its spiritual blessing than physical.

As per the traditional female circumcision, it revolves around the same philosophy of culture. I do not believe the Bible condemns cultures and traditions within tribal societies. What the Bible emphasizes is submission of the cultural norms to the spiritual “circumcision”. In this, Christ is Lord of life and of Culture. The Bible does not come to erase culture: The bible purifies culture to submit it to Christ! Believers must always ask whether a taboo, an initiation, or a norm is consistent with the Cross of Christ. If not, then it must be made to submit to the Norm of Christ.

Traditional female circumcision had a role to play in our societies. The western feminist theory intends to force it out of our culture for their political agenda. This is wrong! My take is to follow the mode of Africa Inland Church Naivasha: They bring girls up in what they call cadets. They teach girls to be followers of Christ.
When they mature, they join “Women of Faith”: This is spiritual circumcision and it is pleasing to God. Pastor John Mbugua Kariuki of AIC Naivasha, Kenya, has it right!

For an intellectual Christian Circumcision, read Carl F. H. Henry: God Revelation and Authority Vol. 1. Word Publishing. 1986. (Or read the whole 6 volumes if you dare).

Teddy Njoroge Kamau (PhD) HTBluff Associates. An EMG Consortium #HTBluff. (Diaspora Messenger Contributor)



women of faith


Photos: Female Circumcision – The Right Cultural Initiation

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1 Comment
  1. Next Level Intactivism says

    No GOD never told any of you to attack children’s genitals. ALL children including boys and girls should be left alone and protected from this sick psychopathy abuse.

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