CHURCH ETHOS

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Church ethics have evolved over the years and so have our guts. Religious leaders have been met flat-footed by the world advancements in technology and other fronts. The leadership has found itself in the wobbly and ugly underbelly of the synthetic headways. It’s not a secret that many men and women of the cloth have been caught pants down with their flock’s spouses. Many more have fashioned themselves as the high priests of impunity and daylight soft robbery. Legions of them have cases in court for grave reasons such as murder. These days you can’t board a matatu in peace without some so-called pastors sneaking in to sell and extort money for just making a prayer to the passengers. How unfortunate that many of them have thrived through taking advantage of the gullible and naive people in the society.

Many church ethics and etiquettes have been cannibalized, defiled and left for the dead from the high and mighty preachers to the low lying congregants.

Dress Code

When we were growing up, we used to have Sunday best attires. You wouldn’t wear such outfits anywhere else not unless it was a special occasion. Of course, times have changed and so has our view of what Sunday-best was. As we speak, that’s an old-fashioned mentality that has grass grown over it. We are in a different dispensation altogether. Our lifestyles have sort of ‘improved.’ At least many households can afford the luxury of not hanging on the illusion of Sunday-bests. Additionally, we have a generation that is cool enough and spontaneous in the sense like – it doesn’t attach too much glorification to the formal looks.

Consequently, the high regard to church has so much degraded. The spontaneous looks have come with their fair share of challenges and dicey moments. I saw a guy in my church dressed in solely a vest and was like; Okay, what to say! Perhaps I’m too reserved. But come to think about it, many of us dress extremely badly to church than in the workplace. That old pair of jeans that you’ve not worn in ages and the faded polo shirt bestowed by a former employer in a workshop in Mombasa somehow finds itself in church.

The contemporary church has gone so liberal and complacent to uphold and adhere on decency, especially on matters dressing. We are dressing far worse than several decades ago for reasons best known to us. It’s an open secret that women are doing far worse than men as a far as church dressing code is concerned. If it’s not dressing in attires that are too seductive and revealing for church environment then it is showcasing their flesh for-god-knows-who and for what purpose. Makes me wonder – if one is not breastfeeding what justification is there to have your cleavage sunbathing or better put; distracting a poor fellow who has no control or rather struggles on some aspects? Okay, put it differently, which male adult wants to breastfeed in church? Fact – there is a massive decline in dressing standards in the church, today.

If just maybe it’s a question of flaunting, who wants to be carried away in church, surely? Now, why would you wear a miniskirt that you’ll keep pulling down or sitting awkwardly just to discourage the prying eyes dashing up and down? Why parade your thighs to the rest of us and seat with your bare bum and expect the man seated next to you will concentrate on the sermon? Interestingly, some women will still dress erotically and sit indecently. We are only human and men are tamed beasts for crying out loud. And by the way, there is a reason some body parts are referred to as ‘private parts.’  You see, you can’t have your cake and eat it. And if you’ve got to eat it, at least don’t do it in the House of God.

In a nutshell, self-respect and value to oneself should help you decipher as to whether what you wear to church is decent or not. The overriding point is – what powers your intention to dress in a certain way to church! Is it to jump-start your self-esteem or draw attention or just to feel good when congregants eye bath your upper legs and boobs? And to you who sag in church giving us unwarranted glance at your inner wears and if unlucky, your bare bum please cut the slack – For heaven’s sake, it’s 2018 man!

Phone Chatting

I once sat next to a couple who seemed like they were in a situationship or some sort of speed dating never mind they were in church. Why am I saying so? See, for the entire sermon, they spent it on phone chatting and in social media and clinging on one another like one of them would just evaporate before the sermon got concluded. It’s sad that we can’t shut off social media even for 2 damn hours just to listen to a sermon. But who chats on Sunday at 9:01 am surely? And can we stop side-shows in church? Is it much to ask?

Ringing Phones

Many church sermons have been rudely interrupted by horrible and loud phone ring tones many a time. Followers are alive to the fact that, it’s unethical not to have their phones on silent mode, airplane mode or off but they will still defy. Some even pretend that it’s not their phones buzzing and only happen to react when the congregation appears disturbed and starts wagging necks.

Sitting Arrangement

Is it just my church where congregates jostle for the few available seats. It’s not like they are really few, no. The number of fellow-shippers is exceedingly high. Taking that into account, some parents will defy taking their children to Sunday school or catechism classes and have them occupy places meant for grown-ups. It’s even worse when one tries to find a space when toddlers occupy the same seats fidgeting with their parents’ phones, while the parents seem unperturbed.

Rich Kirkpatrick a writer who specializes in spiritual content best summarizes this topic: “There is no one single answer to church ethics. This takes humility and heart to make it about values and principles, rather than rules and laws. We should hold ourselves to be righteous Christ-followers, not legalistic rule followers.”

Photo credit – catholicsun.org

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PLATTE-LAND 012: MATERNITY WARD

Image result for maternity wardThe first EDD had slipped away with nothing much to write home about. There were no unusual feelings or mild pains to trigger any heedful reaction. They called Dr. Angela and she reassured them nothing was amiss. She however, emphasized that they should report to the hospital if the second EDD came by, with no labor symptoms being witnessed. The gap between the two EDDs was one week.

On the eve of the second EDD, Anastasia started experiencing irregular contractions, after midday. Being her first time pregnancy she had vague clues about labor. When the orange-ball was setting on the other side of the city, sinking beyond the horizon and consequently inviting the night as it compelled the bogged city dwellers to retire to their rented apartments, the contractions became a bit regular. Mongoose suggested they time their interval span. They ranged between 30-40 minutes and as the day wore the pains cycle narrowed to 20 minutes. Soon after, it became unbearable.

It was dreadful pain. Pain that came with its extended family and girlfriends. Pain that was a dozen times worse than a toothache. Pain that could make you pee on yourself. Simply put – An agony that makes you wonder, why you became pregnant in the first place. A poor Anastasia wrenched in a biting misery, helplessly. Mongoose couldn’t wait for 8-10 minutes as advised by Dr. Angela, not even 12 minutes would do. He had never watched Anastasia in such kind of twinge. It was inordinate. She had not left her seat for an hour or so. When the wave of contractions would commence, she’d put her arms in between her legs, droop her head and sigh off out of bruising anguish. The pains would crumble her down, and squeeze out any energy left behind.

Mongoose called his main man – Euty, cut from another mother. In no minute, he would pull off at Mongoose’s place. They put the basin and the packed bag right into the car, assisted Anastasia hop inside and sped off to Zion City Nursing Home. Meanwhile, he called Aunty Bobo, who naturally had a heads up of her niece’s fate. She promised to board the first matatu from Kaibaga to the city the next morning. Waithiegeni was on her way to the hospital, never mind it was past 11 pm.

***

She is put in a waiting room next to the maternity block awaiting to be booked for admission. At such an hour, the hospital is busy receiving droves of other expectant women overwhelmed by labor pains. Some are accompanied by their husbands but majority are chaperoned by women – be it their mums, mother in laws, or female friends. Euty whispers to Mongoose that out of strange reasons many deliveries occur at night since that’s when labor contractions worsen. Is it a coincidence or pure fallacy? Euty spoke authoritatively, having been in Mongoose’s situation twice. He is a dad to two high spirited boys – 3 and 1 year respectively.

In my community, they say an ailment worsens in the night.

Two nurses pop up, one be like: “Ehe msaidiwe aje?”

Mongoose jumps in.

“She is in labor.”

“How did you tell?”

“The contractions.”

“What about them?”

“They are a bit regular and quite strong and we’ve timed them for the last 4 hours.”

“And?”

“The span is about 15 minutes.”

“So?”

“Dr.Angela told me to bring her if it nears 10 minutes, but the pain was too much.”

“Any blood spots?”

“No.”

“Is she a first time?”

“Yes.”

“Okay. Excuse us.”

Mongoose is ordered out.

Seated at the ice-cold bench along the busy corridor, they stare at helpless would-be husbands moving up and down clinging on their phones if not keeping up with the buzzing phone calls, while some peep at maternity doors to lift their hopes regarding their wives’ fate. They grapple with ridiculous anxiety. The weather is horrible. It’s approaching midnight and the temperatures are below 10 degrees. Aunty Bobo calls as Waithiegeni arrives.

The nurses examine Anastasia. They establish the contractions are genuine labor pains but sadly the cervix dilation is not adequate. They need 10 cm and she is at 3. She is however admitted at the prenatal ward, only to meet other women in different stages of labor. Some lie on the floor while others bite the metallic beds just to trick the grueling pains. Meanwhile, Waithiegeni and the boys remain outside watching over any news from the nurses walking up and down. Most of the them are below 28 years. A sizable number seem passionate on their job. Some pull warm faces and appear receptive while others feel like their work is demeaned and consequently appear very intimidating.

Two hours pass by with no word from the hospital and Mongoose walks to the Admission room demanding to know the fate of his woman. No one is in the mood of listening to his pleas. He calls Dr. Angela but the calls go unanswered. He stops anybody he spots at the corridor be it the cleaners, interns, students on attachment and patients in their oversize gowns. The information he gets is too economical and doesn’t add up. He however learns that Dr. Angela is on off duty. As he ponders for the next move, they get rudely interrupted by women yelling in the labor ward. Could Anastasia be one of them? They wonder, helplessly.

Mongoose is called in after ages of waiting. He meets Dr. Muchemi and he is like;

“Hi, we’ve established the cervix dilation is quite sluggish. She has only managed 3cm more after injecting her with Synthetic Oxycontin to fasten the dilation bringing the total to 6cm. We need 10cm for her to undergo normal child delivery process.”

Moongose sighs off.

“How is the baby?” He asks.

“The baby appears to be in good spirits but he/she might tire soon since the labor is over 10 hours which is not recommended. We were buying time since the infant’s head was at the tip of the pelvic bones, but the progress of the dilation is not very good.”

“What are the dangers?”

“If we prolong the labor pains, Anastasia could be vulnerable to fistula complications in future. But more pertinently, chances of amniotic fluid bursting are high which could end up harming the infant’s skin and the digestive organs. The baby and the mother may also tire out and run out of oxygen.”

So, what are you suggesting Doc?

“You need to make a decision Mr. Ezekiel. The thing is, in as much as Anastasia was set to deliver the baby via the natural method, I’m afraid we’ll have to book her for an Emergency C-section operation. This is the most prudent action at stake if we are to guarantee the safety of both the baby and the mother.”

“Can I see her before I make the decision?”

“Unfortunately, we can’t grant your request at this point in time. But I can assure you she is alright. You are her next of kin. You’ve got to authorize us by filling and signing this form or else you could consider getting a second opinion from a different hospital.”

“Just give me minute.”

Mongoose walks out to brief Waithiegeni and Euty. He also calls Aunt Bobo.

The C-section operation is given a nod by Mongoose. The theater room is prepared and in a short while, Anastasia is wheeled inside. She may or may not come back alive – that was the spirit of the form Mongoose signed.

It’s past 1am with no word from the hospital regarding Anastasia. It’s extremely cold and the winds are blowing rudely. Mongoose and his company are impatiently resting at the waiting room. They’ve been served lukewarm black tea which does little to bail out their freezing bodies. Meanwhile, more patients battling labor continue to arrive at such ungodly hour while in the labor ward, distressful yells and wails seem to curse the heavens. Clearly, nature has a sense of humor.

Mongoose recalls a story told by Anastasia regarding how her biological mum passed on while delivering her. The same complications seem to haunt her. Could it be genetic? A cold sweat runs down his underarms.

2am…

The C-section is successful. Anastasia gains conscious half an hour after. It’s a baby girl. The tag reads Female – Kendy Karimi. She is cleaned by the nurses as she makes her first reaction to the world by crying faintly. She weighs 3.2 kilograms.

Photo credit: Sheknows.com

Previously on Platte-Land Series

Next on Platte-Land series: Lechery

By the way, do you have a kid of up to 15 years, these folks have something for you Nanyuki Toy World

WHICH WAY OUT: FEW OR MORE KIDS

Image result for A photo of a beautiful african family

Early April this year, my family and I embarked on a trip to visit my Shosh, up in the hills of Othaya. A green desert of tea farms, and dwindling coffee plantation, up and down we were, taking sharp corners underneath unbothered deadly rivers making their way to distant lands. Othaya, a very fresh environment courtesy of the unrivalled abundance of rare indigenous trees, tall and gigantic, placed on top of hills and down south along the slopes, bending and singing smoothly – what a purified air! And this journey is never enough without passing by Tums. Well Tums is a small getaway, sandwiched by weather roads, red in colour and inside a sleepy village called Giakaja. Here, the best of kuku and mbuzi choma invites you from the parking bay, and soon you spot the busiest of waiters speeding like rally cars, balancing their trays with the dozens of orders playing in their heads. Tums being a gazebo-like layout, the laughters from happy people enjoying every bite of the meat and ambience waft easily all across. Normally, Nairobians who live for discovering hide outs, will be found here on a Saturday afternoon, flanked by their glossy wives, and their beguiling looking, smooth skinned girlfriends with sweeping elegant weaves, and their boys in expensive pants while some will still insist on puttting on coloured shorts in the year of our lord 2017. Usually, their tables will be dotted with Tuskers and silver-like melting meat. They will smoke arrogantly, speak louder, laugh more and ask for more beer and choma.

Now, we make our way to Shosh’s place, eat, drink, chat and then by coincidence happen to meet a number of my cousins who have also checked in for other engagements here. So, as the evening gets weary, one cousin rises to give vote of thanks but sneaks in an interesting conversation. That as cousins, they are considering awarding whichever family that will reach the target of having at least five kids. Currently the top contenders which is a tie of a few, has four kids each. Actually they are three families out of thirty something. SADLY, SHOSHO PASSED ON RECENTLY AND IN FACT LAID HER TO REST ON 16TH JUNE 2017. Rest in eternal peace dear pillar of my heritage.

Moving on…Our generation is breeding far fewer kids. Two utmost. Three if one is damn rich. Some one. Well the commonest reason being the “harsh economic times”. Quite logical. I mean how and why should one agonise over raising more kids when Unga is neither affordable nor available. When you can’t place food on the table, why more? Dear Andreaders, can our economy encourage contemporary parents to get more or few?

Well, I sampled a few of my friends asking them: Given a choice considering the status of our economy, would you go few or more kids? Kindly give reasons. Only one out of twelve respondents was for four to five kids regardless of the economic status. Three respondents were for very few kids. The rest had no clear answers. Simply put, they were nor here nor there. Just a bit confused. Sometimes back, my siblings and I visited mum by surprise. She was extremely happy and sensational. One thing I fondly remember her saying was; “Assuming I had one or two kids, would I be this happy?” You can imagine a family of slightly many siblings , armed with their spouses and curious teenage-like kids, and few more delicate and restless ones less than a year old, who can cry all night. We were scattered in one house, unbowed by the crying ones annoyed by the new environment they were not used to and the laughters and dealing with not-so-familiar faces plus the undoing of low temperatures of Nyandarua. Kids can be sensitive? My mum now savouring the beauty of watching her grandchildren whirl up and down while the shy ones sat attentively as they gazed at the hearty conversations. The shy ones in this instance had to be the teenagers getting acquainted to adolescence stage of life.

While working on this article, I stumbled on a research report named, Kenya: The Demographic of a Country in Turmoil which gives a chronology of Kenya’s population. Digging in, between 1970s and 1980s Kenya had one of the fastest population growth rates in the world. It experienced an economy slow down thereafter, which prompted the government to advocate for family planning to lower fertility rates. In 1960’s an average family would have 8 – 10 kids. As of 1990’s, that dropped to about five kids. With the AIDS epidemic which eroded health and mortality progress, Kenya has had to review life expectancy from an average of 60 years in 1980s to 53 in 2007.

But while the poor are having more kids, the middle class are siring few! Seemingly, the former are putting up with a fight of survival while the latter are toying with pro-westernized ideologies where getting more kids is no longer fashionable and worse still – very demanding and expensive, so to speak. But demographic pundits have it; that with an effective government and stable economic environment, population increase leads to steady economic growth.

The worry is, many alike, in our classes of life are bringing up fewer and lonelier families. Where, a couple gets two kids, educates them and by the time these children join University at about 19 years, the parents being anywhere from 45 – 51 years, are left to live alone while the kids run to Nairobi. These are the same kids who never get married nor visit home. So the closest these parents get to meet their grandchildren, unfortunately, will be in their sorry state – feeble and draining their family savings to medical bills besides dealing with two kids who haven’t stabilized in life. Forgive me for entertaining the thought that, there is fun in more numbers.

Thinking rationally, clear advantages of having relatively more kids include; Family projects become easier and attractable to finance based on the numbers, the few less-fortunate in life get pulled up by the rest of the siblings, the diversity of careers and lines of incomes brought about by different interests for each sibling increases chances of survival, such a family has a bulk of knowledge and forum to exchange ideas and increase business networks. Moreover, economies of scale have never been more plausible than in families – Utility bills are far cheaper in a house of more, than of few. Clothes and toys can be passed on to the younger ones. Parents who are pro-more can be in a position to enjoy freedom earlier since the teenage kids can be left to guard the little ones as they attend a dinner date, or rush for urgent issues out of the house, and can be caught up in traffic without worry of house girl drama.

Medical researchers have disclosed that growing up with a brother or sister can reduce food allergies, multiple sclerosis and some cancers. Obesity and depression is potentially reduced by exposure to more siblings. Parents with one or two kids, spend lots of money in Day-cares while the pro-more can have that aspect taken care of easily. Research have shown that ‘siblinged’ children will have stronger soft skills and keener emotional intelligence than single children. In most cases, siblings make up the best of friends. Mistakes and confessions are first told to close siblings meaning a good support system can be nurtured within siblings. Further, one or two kids can choke from over attention and pressure. Relatively more kids dilute the attention awarded to each kid hence aiding in making a child mature quicker.

Few or more, the jury is out.

 

SOCIAL MEDIA: THE BAD HABITS

Image result for social media addiction

Social media craze has swept across our minds like bush fire, breathing life to introverts, tumbling on the extroverts and on the flip side killing our century old socialization aspects. Our reference point has to be on the social media. We compete to report first, to show off, to stalk, to break unverified news, to parade our imaginary wealth and to explain to god-knows-who, of what we are up to, travelling to, or where we are savoring sumptuous lunch with whom.

More annoying, we share images of our hours-old kids, never minding that kids are not to be displayed to anybody who cares to see them. Kids are sacred and sensitive and not everybody in social media is happy for you who got blessed with a one. Sorceress and humans who don’t mean well for you are on social media too or at least their agents. In fact they make part of your three thousand friends on Facebook and follow your every move on IG (Instagram). But why would one share a pic of her kid on social media even before she steps out of the maternity room?

We even go ahead to create social media accounts for them. Is that not encroaching on their rights? Whose consent do parents have when they create these accounts? You see, not every kid would be comfortable to learn later in life that virtually all their life was shared widely on social media. A parental expert will tell you this violates a kid’s privacy. Ultimately, we will go down in history as a generation that has not only over-photographed our kids but also over-scheduled for them. We have to come to the realisation that our children are separate human beings with perhaps different tastes, beliefs and personalities from us which ostensibly, should be respected as well. In a nutshell their autonomy and privacy should be accorded the necessary respect. A research done in UK recently revealed that contemporary parents will have shared about 1,000 photos of their kids online before they turn five. Is this fair?

I’m sure you’ve followed on the story of the famous – Kim Kardashian after she was tied up in her luxury bathroom in Paris and her hotel room ransacked and robbed off 9 million pounds worth of jewelleries. Of course no robbery should be justified however; some school of thought would refer Kim as a publicity junkie. In fact one columnist put matters into perspective as far as this American reality television personality is considered, in this form;

For when you live your life as a shop window mannequin, parading the spoils of your success, you cannot be surprised when one day someone smashes down the shop window and lunges at your baubles and bling. Kim Kardashian has built her global fame – and gargantuan fortune – on exposing her life to the public.

Seemingly, Kim is a victim just like many of us who belong to the millennial generation that hovers on approvals, showing off syndrome and rogue competition. To a large extent, social media platform mirrors our inadequacies, insecurities and the gaping emptiness in our lives. That unless we get those staggering likes and double taps, we seem not useful to the world.  Interestingly, we have to let the world know what is taking place around us. There is nothing wrong about it, however, when we overdo it, then it begs a lot. When total strangers get to know all in your wardrobe, or where you can be usually spotted, or how you kitchen layout looks like, then there is trouble.

Speaking of which; you and I know of these IG bigwigs who literally go on the spree, over sharing about their hoods, their family and all the pettiness in between that you can imagine of. In fact, some of you can go round their digs with much ease based on the hundreds on pics uploaded daily about their high end mansions. Just why should we parade all our possessions online?

I was taken aback the other day when I happened to find a photo uploaded by a dude who is supposedly my friend on Facebook, regarding a dowry invitation (read financial help). So the photo had the image of the couple, inviting (soliciting money) Facebook friends to their dowry ceremony. My thinking was; this was an act of desperation. I mean, who shares dowry invites on Facebook? It appeared like soliciting. Please don’t invite people to your dowry or wedding by uploading invites on Facebook for all who care to read them. It somehow dilutes these ceremonies. In fact one appears, ridiculous, laughable, selfish and full of shortcuts. Kindly invite specific people to these ceremonies, not a mammoth of complete strangers on social media who perhaps have never and will never meet you in person.

Further, don’t flaunt your air tickets to Coast on social media; the world is not safe anymore. You never know who might break into your house. And if you have to share them, please let it be after the trip is wrapped up. You just never know. You recall when the infamous Ezekiel Mutua vaunted about his diplomatic passport only to emerge he shouldn’t have been issued with one, in the first place. At his age, was this appropriate? Cut the slack people. Genuine success doesn’t announce itself. You simply can’t have your cake and eat it!

There is an untold rule or is it a memo that should be passed around; That social media is a double edged knife. It is an incredible platform for networking and reaching up to your friends. On the other hand, if a line is not drawn between sharing and oversharing; one can antagonize family and friends, breach on privacy, expose loved ones to unnecessary attention and possibly attract fraudsters.

And by the way, let’s drop this hullabaloo of ‘checking in’ here and there. Who said you should report to social media on every corner you dart at! While at it, stop selfies at funerals. It’s rude and unbecoming. Come to think of it, do we need to be briefed on how your honeymoon is coming along?

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