Tag Archives: pastors

THE BIBLE SAYS

Many a false prophets have used the phrase “the Bible says…” in order to promote their personal will and deceive the masses. Such prophets are now using “the Bible says…” to amass personal wealth by extracting money from members of their congregation.

Recently, KTN Kenya aired an investigative piece titled “Prayer Predators” (English version)/ “Makri ya Injili” (Swahili version). It looks at one Victor Kanyari who purports to be not just a preacher but a prophet and a doctor. The piece shows how he manipulates his congregants and others members of the public into bankrolling his “ministry.” He gives sermons but his walk is evidently kilometers away from the Bible he quotes so often. He says that God has given him a message about person ABC who is suffering from disease DEF and character GHI who has issue JKL. It turns out he has staff members who source these stories from unsuspecting congregants. The stories are then written in a book that Kanyari references while preaching. He claims to be able to cure cancer and HIV, among others. In reality, his staff members give false testimony that they had diseases that were cured due to Kanyari’s prayers and the financial seed that they planted.

What Kanyari does is disturbing and shocking. He preys on people who are struggling to make ends meet, searching for hope to cling to, desperately trying to find a cure, and in some cases looking for a way out of their current situations. He does it with such brazen confidence too, like that’s the price people have to pay for his existence on this earth.

Kanyari isn’t the only one. There are many others like him who have and continue to capitalize on religion. It’s not just in Kenya either, we see it happening all over Africa. These so-called prophets and preachers are trading “miracles and prayers” for money. If you want to pray for a person, just pray for them. Why do they have to part with money for that to happen!? The same applies in the case of miracles.

These crop of preachers constantly take from worshipers, and when there is no more left to take they bang on the pulpit, evoke “the Bible says…,” and ask people to dig deeper into their pockets. Obviously they are the only ones who know what to do with the congregants’ money. Obviously they are the only ones who need it. Obviously these preachers are the only ones who need to buy luxurious cars and live in mansions. Obviously they are the only ones who should be seduced by, and protected from the elements of nature by wearing custom-made outfits. Obviously they are the only ones that deserve to be able to afford to be pampered in spas and beauty parlors. Obviously they are the only ones who should be able to pay for their children’s education. They are, after all, (wo)men of God. Why should anyone else be able to do such things!? Why!? Especially when you don’t sacrifice your time to master the Bible and share it’s teachings with the rest of the masses. Why should the rest of society get a slice of the good life!?

Such preachers keep prospering though, and they are not shy about letting the public know just how many ways they have been “blessed.” It doesn’t seem to matter to them that worshipers in their churches continue to struggle physically, emotionally, mentally and financially.

Unfortunately, a number of the faithful members of such preachers’ churches don’t have the opportunity to watch or read the investigative pieces that expose the shenanigans of their leaders. There are also those who suspect something is amiss but are afraid to speak out against the (wo)men of God because “the Bible says…”  It doesn’t help that there are really no life-changing consequences for such preachers’ actions. Sure, there is the public shaming and ridicule, and meme-sharing on social media, but after that people move on and eventually forget.

The worst thing that happens to such preachers is that they become the running joke and their names are turned into verbs. The best case scenario is people writing pieces about business lessons that can be learnt from these strain of preachers. Yeah, the people who faithfully give their hard-earned money every month to these preachers are really curious about business lessons they can learn. Sick people who give financially in the hopes of being cured would really love to know more about these business lessons. The people who are groped, and asked for a small donation in the name of healing  would really appreciate your insight on the business lessons they can learn. Seriously, turning lemons into passion juice is good and all, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves here. If you look hard enough, you will find business lessons from a seasoned car thief too. How long will we continue to applaud and reward such behavior either overtly or covertly?

There has to be an effective way to stop these predatory preachers. Does anybody know of one!? Maybe throw the same “the Bible says…” quotes at them when they ask for a small donation in exchange for a prayer or miracle. The Bible does have a lot to say about money, healing, false prophets and deceit, after all.

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On Churches and Policing Women’s Bodies

I happened upon this hashtag (#finderskeepers) on Twitter yesterday. It is based off a similarly named series that Mavuno Church, in Kenya, is doing on how to find and keep the one/that great everlasting love. Now, I am all for love and all its greatness, passion and power. However, some of the statements that have been tweeted from Mavuno’s account as well as comments made by the pastor on his Facebook page with regards to the topic are worrisome and disturbing.

There was a discussion about defensive barriers to help people win the war against sexual temptation. As per the tweets, one of these barriers is your body. Here is where the plot left the building and the default it-is-your-fault-woman came in. (Read each screenshot from bottom to top…you already know of course)

mavuno 1

We do teach people how to treat us, that much I agree. But do we really do that by how we dress? If I wear shorts and a t shirt, does that mean you should treat me with less respect than you would if I wore a suit? Aren’t you supposed to treat people with respect simply because 1) they are human beings and 2)that is how they treat themselves!?

If you dress like a cute little plaything and present yourself as a toy, then boys will be boys and try to play with that toy. Even if not physically, then with their eyes and lust.” Wait…huh…what!? What exactly is dressing like a cute little plaything? Sometimes cuteness is in the eye of the beholder. There have been times when I have dressed in what, to me, is casual attire only to meet a friend and have them tell me I have a cute outfit on. Even when I deliberately set out to be cute that did not mean that I was looking to be a “plaything”. I simply wanted to be cute. Period. The end. How does one present themselves as a toy anyway? Women, whether dressed in a Kitenge complete with the headpiece on or as “cute little playthings,” are NOT toys. Referring to women as toys is cosigning that women-are-objects message. Really church!? Is that how you view women!? What happened to honoring women as the good Bible says!?

And of course they had to throw in the escapist “boys will be boys” phrase. That phrase should be banned. Unless you are trying to say that boys are genetically engineered to be so basic that they can’t look at a “cutely” dressed person without lusting after them. It is such phrases that embolden men who assault women. This tweet implies that if women dress in a certain way then they are asking for whatever “play” comes there way. Seriously!? I am appalled that a church would make such statements. Whatever happened to preaching self-control to the men!? It is a fruit of the Holy Spirit no!? Or are men exempted from the fruits!?

 

mavuno 2

Again, reference the preaching self-control to men bit. Only men can control their own feelings and emotions. Women cannot do it for them, neither should anyone expect them to. If you are stimulated at the sight of a scantily clad body then you ought to figure out a way to handle that issue internally. Alright godly men, if you want to honor your wives then do so. Do it because you love them and are committed to them. Keep your eyes on them. Other women are not there to keep you faithful and stray-free. Ala! They have their own lives to live. As for the Lupita dress…ha! Are you acting selfishly or lovingly? Abeg…so women are supposed to choose their outfits based on men’s stimulation potential!? Oh…I can’t wear this plunging neckline dress because I might encounter godly men and I don’t want them to stray. Can you imagine having such monologues every time you are getting dressed!? Women can be covered from head to toe and the straying eyes will stay doing just that. So in response to the question, it is men that are acting selfishly by thinking they have the rights to women’s bodies.

 

mavuno 3

Apart from how you dress it, please also guard your body physically around men.” Ati nini!? Eh! Like I said before, dressing has nothing to do with it. I remember once I was walking home wearing a knee-length winter coat, knee-length boots and a scarf. I was as covered up as could be to deal with the brutal cold. This guy, old enough to be my ancestor, asked me where I bought my coat. I gave him the store’s name. He told me I looked nice. I thanked him and kept walking. He proceeded to yell out to me, “I bet you are glad you aroused me today.” I was covered up. I was minding my own business. I was aware of my surroundings. I was alert. Then here came this “boy being a boy.” Should I start walking around in a sack!? Or maybe wear a baggy coat!?

“…guard your body physically around men.” This statement implies that men are simply beasts constantly ready to attack. Also, men, don’t you get tired of being classified as such!? As creatures that people need to protect themselves from!? Apparently you can’t even be given warm hugs because your body systems will go into some ecstatic overdrive levels.

Come on churches…you can do better than this. Society already places the blame and burden solely on women. Churches are supposed to be safe spaces, I thought. So why would you engage in the same women-blaming, shaming and burdening game!? When will you start holding men accountable for their own feelings, emotions and actions!? More importantly, when will you stop policing women’s bodies!?