Judging and not judging Kenyan churches

The beauty in Kenya

I was wrong, well careless really, in a remark in my previous post on Kenya.

I said: 'It is too easy to condemn from a distance - and wholly inappropriate.' The first phrase I stand by, the second I wish to modify. (Not to mention the spelling.)

Of course it is reprehensible to engage in sectarian violence, to encourage others to do so, and to purport to give the churches (God's) blessings to violence. It doesn't matter how far away you are it remains wrong. It may be possible to argue necessity in some instances of violence - but at least that still has the good grace to acknowledge that the violence is wrong, even if it is thought to be a lesser wrong than some other. To the best of my knowledge, however, such considerations were quite irrelevant to the post-election violence in Kenya.

What I had intended to convey was that none of us can judge with clean hands. My guess would be that all churches are liable to be swept up in a public frenzy that can consume any society. Churches are not immune or exempt from such movements, especially if they are driven by locally powerful politicians. British churches may be complacent but they have no grounds on which to be holier-than-thou. Clergy are as suseptible as any other member of the community to share communal violence.

There is no vantage point in this world uncontaminated by complicity in violence.

And the press reporting I picked up began from the confession of sin by the leaders of the Kenyan Churches, by their repentence and their search for ways to amend their communal and public life. May God be with them and bless them.

I have, on occasions, worked and spent time with people I know have killed and, so far as I could see, there was no essential difference between me and them. Judgements must always be made - of ourselves as of others, from the perspective of fellow humanity not from superiority, and from within the faith community of which much is demanded and in which forgiveness is made real.

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