I get it. “Africa” is mysterious and enticing to those who have never been there – who have only viewed the continent (yes, it is a continent, not a country) through sensationalized narratives written by television and movie producers. And of course, there are certain eccentricities to be found, just as there are in any geographical region, among any culture – yes, even (or especially) American culture.
A Powerful Motivator
It has been said that fear is a powerful motivator. Certainly, when it comes to feats of superhuman strength and acts of bravery, the adrenaline and endorphins pumping through our system are most readily driven by fear. In a normal situation, I probably wouldn’t say anything at all to a wild-eyed guy with a knife, but if he puts that knife to my throat or to the throat of someone I love, I’ll be compelled to say something and/or to do something to eliminate that threat.
Last week, I watched as my friends in Kenya went to the ballot box, then waited anxiously for the results. I watched as the vote broke largely along tribal lines, as it always has. And in the fray, some of the brightest candidates – candidates who refused to play tribal politics – were unable to garner enough votes to triumph.
The first day back is a momentous occasion. It’s a time when we reflect on our break, reminisce on our past engagement, and often apologize for our absence. Whether it’s coming back to work after a much-deserved vacation, returning to church after football season (come on), or jumping back onto your blog after a year (*raises hand), the first day back offers both a fresh start and a reminder that there is no such thing.
There is a long and raging battle in the church and missions world regarding the value of short-term missions trips. Since we’re in the middle of mission team high season here in Kenya, I get to watch a lot of teams come and go. Some are genteel and some are pushy. Some are question-askers and some are solution-speakers. All are thoroughly convinced that the time, effort, and money they are spending is not only worth it, but is accomplishing good.
And some of them are right about that.
Who could blame him for being angry?
Here’s Jesus – a perfect person with a perfect perspective on the world, a perfect relationship with his Father, and a perfect understanding of justice and righteousness (how things should be). Jesus walks this earth for roughly three decades and sees all kinds of brokenness around him.