Tag Archives: proverb

The church in Africa deserves to be heard

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Africa Study Bible contributor Bishop Raphael Okeyo from Tanzania

I believe that the voice of the church in Africa deserves to be heard.

We don’t need imported sermon illustrations about “Prayer is not like a vending machine” – what’s a vending machine anyway?

We need stories from African pastors and teachers that give us a new perspective on familiar Bible passages. We need the story about trapping monkeys in the Kalahari desert. Monkeys know where water is found, but they want to keep the secret to themselves. So people catch a monkey and feed it salt until it becomes thirsty. Then they follow it to the water source. When we hear that Christians are called “the salt of the earth,” it can also mean that we lead people to the source of living water (Matthew 5:13).

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Photo by Craig Shaw from ForestRescue

Pastors and teachers from 50 countries have written 2200 notes like the one I mentioned as part of the Africa Study Bible. On the page next to the Bible text, notes and essays connect Scripture to African contexts to help people live out their faith without rejecting their whole culture.

This is not your typical study Bible, written by about 50 American scholars. 345 people wrote notes, edited pieces and reviewed the theology and relevance of each piece.

These writers were dedicated. Some authors were dealing with civil war, persecution as Christians, malaria, or family funerals. All of them wrote alongside their normal work in churches, theological schools or businesses. Nearly all wrote in their second language – either English, French, Portuguese, Arabic or Swahili.

But as I managed the first half of the editorial process, I saw their commitment firsthand. They believed this was crucial work for God’s kingdom. As contributor Dr. Issiakia Coulibaly from West Africa Alliance Theological Seminary (FATEAC) said, “Like Philip explaining the Scriptures to the Ethiopian eunuch (Acts 8:31), so will the Africa Study Bible be to thousands and thousands of African Christians today.”

The writing is done, and the editing is nearly complete. The church in Africa is ready to speak – we just need to give them a platform.

If you want the voice of the church in Africa to be heard, this week is your chance! Invest here through Kickstarter. Your giving enables the writers to give everyone their “rich resource for the church in Africa and the world” (in the words of contributor Bishop Dr. Isaiah Majok Dau from South Sudan).

Then be salt and lead people to the water. The Africa Study Bible is published by Oasis International Ltd to satisfy Africa’s thirst for God’s Word. Would you join me in spreading the word about the Bible for the last 7 days of our fundraising campaign? Share this overview video on social media, email or in-person.

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Instead of me telling you any more about the Africa Study Bible, listen to a Kenyan World Christianity scholar. Dr. Wanjiru Maggie Gitau shares how the Africa Study Bible reflects the exciting things God is doing in Africa today. Or, check out this sneak peek of the book of Genesis, where the authors’ notes speak for themselves!

Let’s hear what the church in Africa has to say to us.


Labyrinth: A Patchwork Psalm for the Road

Birthday card (from Amani ya Juu in Kenya)

Birthday card (from Amani ya Juu in Kenya)

Exactly 22 years after

crowning at my dawn birth

and nearly a month after

cap and tassel crowns me an adult

 

I stand at the crossroads and look.

 

Behind me are

the jobs I turned down and the ones that turned me down,

the housing offers I passed up

because my gut wouldn’t settle.

 

Ahead of me is

where the sidewalk ends

and before the street begins.

 

I used to walk

hoping the length of my strides

would project strength I didn’t have on the inside.

 

This time I humble my pride,

silence myself to seek the ancient paths.

 

A ring tone

an editor

tells me my writing will be published.

a coauthor

quotes Antonio Machado

“Caminante, no hay camino,

se hace camino al andar.”

 

In Walden’s solitary naturescape

feet padding to the pond

wore a groove through the grass.

 

A ring tone

a stranger

calls me

to work on the Africa Study Bible team.

the job

calls me

to move to Nairobi.

 

I wanted to settle

two more years at least in Minnesota

but my gut

freed me of job or house ties.

 

There is no reason I couldn’t.

 

A ring tone

my pastor

calls me

to read Isaiah 42:16:

“I will lead the blind by ways they have not seen

Along unfamiliar paths I will guide them.”

 

For my birthday my parents give me

a card from Kenya –

flipflops and a proverb:

“The path is made by walking.”

 

I will be collecting proverbs

connecting them with scripture’s wisdom.

 

I have already started.

 

New things shown

God

calls me

“This is the way, walk in it.”

 

I have already started.

 

Sing into the unknown

I

call out:

 

“If you will be with me

   On this journey I am taking

If you will give me food to eat

   And clothes to wear

So that I return safely

   To my father’s household.

Then you, Lord, will be my God

   And I will follow you.

 

“Like in blindfolded partner dodgeball,

Your voice will tell me “This is the Way.

Through a shadowed valley,

    Your word is my streetlamp.

I wait for your direction

I listen to your commands.

If I do what you want

   You will make certain each step I take is sure.

You hold my hand

   So if I stumble, I still won’t fall.

Knowing you will never forsake me,

    I walk with grace and confidence.

 

“You go before me,

   You hem me in behind.

I trust in you,

Because you are the path-maker.

I step inside your footprints

You have already pressed the snow smooth.

 

“Your ways are higher than mine,

You see the labyrinth’s end from a bird’s eye view.

Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,

   Too lofty for me to attain.

 

“I will give thanks to you, Lord, with all my heart;

    I will tell of all your wonderful deeds.”

 

I have already started.