Friends with A Rocha and World Renew (both excellent Christian NGOs) managed to get us an extensive meeting yesterday with top leaders of the Kenyan National Council of Churches. It’s hard to say what a privilege it is to meet with Peter Karanja, General Secretary, and Chris Kamau, Sr. Officer for Social Services. These men are top leaders representing the biggest church denominations in Kenya.
At the end of a wide-ranging discussion about creation care and environmental challenges, one of our fellow North Americans asked our Kenyan hosts: “We want you to be totally candid with us. Please don’t pull any punches. What should we tell our churches back in North America?”
They paused for a brief moment. I had the sense that they were torn between Christian hospitality and the Christian honesty we were asking for. But they chose – I think – the route of candor. I wasn’t taping their narrative, but scribbled in my notebook like mad. Here’s a smattering of what they said: Continue reading
We creation care advocates, we’re pretty sure of ourselves, aren’t we? Let’s face it. We’ve listened to the National Academy of Sciences. We’ve read the research on global changes. We know all the “parts-per-million” data. We’ve seen the melting glaciers, and the shrinking ice cover. We know about sea levels, ocean acidification, and runaway species extinctions.
But let’s face it: most people out there aren’t nearly as alarmed as we’re pretty sure they ought to be. After all, some say, scientists have been wrong before, no?
Then we talk to field workers on the ground, as we did yesterday in Nairobi. World Renew leaders in Kenya told us story after story of escalating climate shocks and related human suffering. It’s pretty credible stuff, and deeply alarming. But still, NGOs are in the crisis business, aren’t they? Maybe they’re dressing things up a bit for the visitors from North America?
So today, we got a totally different perspective, and I hope you’ll stick around to hear it. We took a long, muddy bus ride to one of the 300 churches in the Mount Kenya South Diocese of the Anglican Church here. Where I come from, Anglican churches are all granite and stained glass. This one, home to a rural Kikuyu congregation, let the daylight shine in through plastic panels in a rusted tin roof. It was pretty humble, to my Western eyes. But I thought it was a perfectly lovely place. Continue reading