Before anyone condemns the violence in Kenya, one must define what violence is. This must include the historical violence that is presented in most of the biblical and Judeo Christian history. There is no nation in the world that has existed without violence. In fact, nature itself can testify on the necessity of violence in its ‘reconstruction’ and ‘renovation’ that sees volcanic eruptions, hurricanes, drought, sand storms, and even the belief by scientist that the dinosaurs were made extinct by a violent encounter between earth and meteorite! Therefore, let they without a violent history be the first to through a stone.
United States is founded on violence. Brothers killed brothers and sisters saw their brothers and husbands mutilated by a belief that the only way colonialism was going to be defeated was through violence and the shedding of blood! The Maji Maji rebellion, the Mau Mau movement and most freedom fighters were guided by a passion against perceived injustices here and there. Abraham Lincoln, a believer in the God of Abraham, Isaack, Jacob and Ishmael oversaw the American Civil War! (Visit his Monument). Violence is divinely instituted.
One may wonder whether I am suggesting that humanity must let violence be! In fact, those so afraid of truth would declare me a sadist or a dangerous voice of non reason. But those who succeed in creating peace are those who first accept the fact that human life is violent. Every negotiation for peace in Kenya has been contributed to by religious leaders. President Uhuru Kenyatta is on record arguing that it is the church people who advised him to negotiate the removal of the first IEBC commissioners in the name of peace. We can conclude therefore that the violence we see in Kenya today is as a result of the church getting involved in matters outside of its jurisdiction, and in a myopic interpretation of divine imperatives!
You see, the Christian church represents the kingdom of Christ. Christ advocated for the elimination of violence. But his methodology was not through natural but spiritual means. Christ as God and the creator through whom all things in heaven and earth were made, are sustained and will be consummated knew that violence was His decree. He said, “You shall surely die.” (Genesis 3:16ff). He did not give humanity a specific methodology or system through which death will find him. Rather, he activated the power of violence that involves all things. Listen to what Christ said to Adam. “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife and done that which I commanded you not to, Cursed is the ground because of you. . . “
Notice that He did not curse man as many have historically preached erroneously, rather he condemned the ground. The lady, Eve got a direct condemnation, “in pain (violence) you shall give birth . . . and this man shall rule over you.” She not only got personal rebuke, but also suffers under man. The ground is the foundation of all things, even life. Food, shelter, all providence for all living things depend upon the ground which is cursed. Therefore, all matter is cursed and since existence depends upon matter, it is cursed. (On the side note, it is for this reason matter cannot inherit the Kingdom of God. There will have to be a new body, new heaven and a new earth).
Therefore, when the church tries to implement the “peace that surpasses understanding” as a matter of natural processes and methodologies, it falls into the trap of misrepresenting divine order. The peace that Christ advocates for is Eternal Peace: A return to the dwelling upon a Kingdom devoid of the curse, The Kingdom of God. This dwelling is not possible on this earth. Even Christ suffered from His own decree and did not try to implement a negotiated peace devoid of decreed process! His death on the Cross was violent and his solution to this violence was, “father forgive them for they know not what they do.” He submitted to his own absolutes because only in following the decreed order would eternal peace be absolute: Salvation.
The violence in Kenya cannot be stopped through negotiated spiritual processes that ignore the absolute. In this case, the absolute is the constitutional mechanism that “We the People” have decreed as the eternally agreed system of existence. This system is mandated by God through St. Paul. “Let one be subject to the governing Authority . . .” (Roms:13). In this case we the people decreed that the constitution and the laws that emanate from it are the “eternal” decrees. We cannot negotiate out of these by invoking unrelated biblical mandates.
The Church in Kenya erred in advising the president to negotiate the ouster of constitutionally mandated officers under Isaak Hassan! The president erred in submitting to the churches’ request, contravening the decreed processes. They should let the decrees stand and if violence erupts, it should be dealt with within these decrees.
But sometimes fire fighters in California have to let the fire burn until the brushes are clear!
Teddy Njoroge Kamau (PhD)
Diaspora Messenger Senior Columnist
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