Category: Systems of Belief

A Cursed Life

…By Wambui

I’ve always wondered about curses from God, and how they manifest themselves in the 21st century. I’ve read about the locusts, plagues and boils thousands of years ago. How about now? How would you know if you are cursed? I got an idea of what a curse looks like when I heard a story that made me shiver. These are all pseudo-names.

The tenth plague of Egypt...

John was a god-fearing man. He lived a quiet life with his wife and three sons. However, his youngest son Peter was particularly rebellious and trouble always seemed to look for him. One night Peter came home drunk with a teenage girl hanging on his arm. John was outraged and gave his son a thorough tongue lashing. Peter, incensed at being embarrassed in front of his new catch, hit back, with both words and blows, and left his father writhing on the floor in physical and emotional pain. John, in his anger, told Peter that he shall never name any of his sons after him.

Ten years later, John had passed on, and Peter was on his second marriage. He had been trying for a son for almost five years, but had only one daughter, Susan. Peter’s home was a picture of poverty. His wife, thin and frail from years of physical abuse, hardly spoke any more. She didn’t sing as she used to, or dance to her favourite songs. Peter was happy when Susan finally found someone who would marry her, and who could afford to pay a handsome dowry. That was one less mouth for Peter to feed.

Susan settled into her new home and bore three sons and one daughter. Her eldest son James, now twenty-three years old, was very frequently away from home. He seemed to have developed a liking for a girl from a neighbouring village. One sunny Saturday afternoon, James brought home the girl, so his parents could meet her. Susan took one look at the young girl and screamed. She held her head in her arms as if she was in great pain, then fell to the floor wailing, “James, what have you done? What disgrace have you brought upon this family?” James tried to get his mother to explain what she meant, but she only wailed louder. Her frail body could not take it any more and she fainted. James’ father came out to see what the commotion was about, and casually greeted the young girl by her name.
“How are you, Linda?” he asked. “You know Linda?” asked James.
“Yes, she’s your cousin,” came the reply.

One month later, James committed suicide. He could not marry the girl he thought was the love of his, and who was pregnant by him. He could not live with the disgrace he had caused his family.

In order to take care of the young Linda, who was now three months pregnant, Susan and her husband decided that Linda he would be married by James’ younger brother Oscar. However, Oscar would hear none of it, and when Susan threatened to disown him if he did not comply, he disappeared. His body was found two days later hanging from a mango tree on the farm. When Linda was six months pregnant, her blood pressure shot up without apparent reason. She miscarried a baby boy who would have been named after his great grand father.

What do you think of this? Have you heard of similar stories?

…By Neemo

I wanted to share this beautiful traditional prayer to Ngai, The Kikuyu God of the Mountain. It has been translated to English from Kikuyu. The first time I read this I pondered the question: Did salvation come with the missionaries who brought us the Word of God, or were we, in our own way, already saved? I will leave it to the readers to decide after reading the prayer:

O my Father, Great Elder

I have no words to thank you

And with deep wisdom

I am sure that you can see how I value your glorious gifts

O my father, when I look upon your greatness

I am confounded with awe

O great elder

                                                                        Ruler of all things earthly  and  heavenly

                                                                                            I am your warrior

                                                                                  Ready to act according to your will.

…By Neemo

I once told a saved friend of mine that Professor Gale would go to heaven before she did. She thought not.

 Now, Professor Gale was our political science lecturer and a self confessed atheist. He thought we were all deluded to believe in God and we once had a one-hour argument about it in class. But Dr. Gale is the most selfless person I have ever met. If anyone lives by Christ’s example it is he. He cares nothing for himself (you should see the way he dresses) and everything for others. Especially disadvantaged women and children. He even once tried to get our University to donate some land towards building a shelter for abused women. He cares nothing for material possessions. The guy lives at YMCA and used to lecture at University only to get enough money to live by. He teaches for free in the slums and in fact he encouraged use to spare the time to do so. (Though he told us one day that one of his former students waved to him from a prison van so I don’t know how much success he is having with that!)

 My question is. Why do we get stuck over membership and not the membership values we should espouse? Gale is not a Christian. Neither is he a Muslim or a Hindu or any other religion. He is like Mahatma Gandhi. He espouses the values of all these religions. Which is what we should all try to do.

…By Neemo

Someone once said to me; we should be meeting up in church. So I responded, I don’t really go to church. And you should have seen the look of horror that crossed their face. So they ask me why? And I respond I am not a Christian. And at that they almost collapse. Coz they know I am not a Muslim (apparently the lack of a Hijab or an Arabic sounding name disqualifies you from that). They immediately assumed I am an atheist and don’t believe in God. In fact, that’s exactly what they said with a sneer, “So you are an atheist!” (And what’s wrong with being an atheist? I will discuss that in a later post)

 It was not the shock that disturbed me. It was the look I was given. The look said I was of a lesser value. Less of a person. Less moral because I do not go to Church. My integrity was called into question. I know that there is a relationship between morality and religion. But as we have seen from the thinking of terrorists, morals can be twisted in the name of religion.  From that conversation I understood why atheists in the UK have felt a need to form an association(s). I guess they felt they needed support. I found it particularly funny when they responded to some Christian posters/adverts that were appearing on buses. The Christian posters went something like “God is coming soon so now is your chance.” And the atheists countered, “There is no God so stop worrying about it.” Atheists founding an organization with people that adhere to a particular belief. Hmmm.  Kinda sounds ironic don’t it? But now I see their point. Given it is Europe that is a lot less religious than anywhere in the world, I think they felt that they needed some support system or structure. To meet with like-minded people. Because if they were getting the same response I was getting (and I am not even an atheist) then I don’t blame them.

I have never felt anything other than appreciated, loved and supported by all of you. Whatever my beliefs.

Then I thought what a joy it is to have the friends that I do. We appreciate each other’s beliefs and encourage learning and interaction without belittling anyone. I have never felt anything other than appreciated, loved and supported by all of you. Whatever my beliefs. Why can’t the world be more like us?

…By Neemo

I watched this stand up comedy show the other day. This short black guy. Don’t know his name. For those of you who have watched the Denzel movie John Q he is in it as the guy with a broken arm.

 In the show he said he doesn’t understand what all the conflict about religion is. Christ said this, Mohammed said that. I’m right, you’re wrong. To him: “You are arguing about the messengers, but did you get the message?” For a guy who uses the F word like in every other sentence he made a solid point. Do we really get the message? It has always been the same message. From Abraham to whoever is the latest messenger from God. Love. Unity and Love. Simple. We are all one ethnic group. One tribe. The human tribe. In order to move civilization to the next stage, we all need to realize this.

"The earth is but one country, and mankind its citizens”… Bahaullah.

…By Mandii

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn’t serve the world. There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We are born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us, it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

–Marianne Williamson

A.U.R.A. has an interlinked dual meaning, firstly, as the acronym of ‘Are U Really Awake?’ which challenges us to ask ourselves whether we are in truth, conscious beings, sentient of our identity and potential; or living our lives in a state of oblivion, unwittingly, almost mechanically, going through the motions. Are we aware of the brilliance that lies within each of us? Do we slumber as our astounding promise lies dormant?

With time I have learned the most significant lesson in my life- there is greatness inside of every one of us. In the words of Juan Arias: the extraordinary is not the birthright of a chosen and privileged few, but of all people, even the humblest. That is my one certainty: we are all the manifestation of the divinity of God.

This ties in with the second meaning of A.U.R.A. – an aura being the subtly pervasive quality emanating from a person; in this context, emanating from their core, their spirit, their true aura of greatness. People make a lot of effort not to acknowledge this, not to accept their colossal magical potential. The world may have told us in one way or another that we are weak, ugly and incapable. Many have been led to believe this is true. We need to forget what we think we are, so that we can really become what we are. This journey of actualizing one’s potential, of awakening one’s magnificence and unearthing one’s true aura is one that requires strength, bravery and faith. Along this journey we sometimes experience disappointment, defeat, and despair. But we must realise that God uses these trials to show us the way and to encourage us to have the courage to make mistakes, to risk failure and disillusion, prompting us to keep searching, keep looking for our aura.

This journey of unearthing one’s true aura is one that requires strength, bravery and faith.

Through this blog we hope to gently shake some awake and help others who are already on their voyage of discovery, by sharing our experiences and insights.