If their desperation for spiritual nourishment is anything to go by, then it is fair to conclude that Kenyans have increasingly become an overly religious lot. However, beneath the worship facade, the country has been witnessing stuff that borders on the bizarre, crazy and outright stupid by some ridiculously religious types.
From those unsuccessfully attempting to resurrect the dead, to those who strip and sing naked in the name of worshiping, giving conventional medicine a wide berth, some loonies constructing underground bunkers in readiness for end of the world, and letting pastors fondle their breasts and testicles in the name of blessing them, some religions seem to be losing it.
This madness began with a certain ‘House of Yahwe” in Kinangop almost two decades ago, when they asked members to construct underground houses for the world was ending.
The prophesied doomsday never came to pass. Just when you thought Kenyans have had enough of the madness and are now wiser, nutcases emerge from nowhere and do the unimaginable. Well, the Bible, a holy medium of communication, employs many forms, or genres, of literature.
We, for instance, have historical narrative, prophesy, poetry, apocalyptic writing, and epistolary literature, among others. What’s more, in the good book, many literary techniques are used— similes, metaphors, imagery, allusions, parable, irony, paradox, personification, and hyperbole.
But when some people, like members of Simeo Ondeto-led Legio Maria sect read that ‘prayers can move mountains’, they took the imagery and hyperbole to heart. Even with available scientific proof that prayers can’t curse vegetation into oblivion, the church members recently went and camped for hours along Lake Victoria shores on their knees, with hands raised to curse away the stubborn water hyacinth weed that covers over 10,620 hectares of the lake!
A female sect member, who opened up to a persistent journalist at their prayer shrine on Dunga beach testified: “Whenever we are out on serious prayer mission like this of cursing the Hyacinth to death, we take vow not to communicate with mortal human but our creator alone.”
This was before she stoically walked away, perhaps after remembering she had broken the vow not to speak to fellow earthlings during such a sacred mission. As expected, the Dunga beach hyacinth remained intact. They walked away a dejected lot.
It is the prerogative of pastors and other enlightened members of society help ignorant readers of the holy book and remind them that some literary techniques are only used so we can properly interpret the word of God.
Yes, Christ cast demons out of possessed individuals, resurrected the dead and performed all manner of miracles. But surely, that was Christ. One wonders, what made one Robinson Karumba, a church minister with members of his Eagles Wings Prophetic Ministry in Embu County recently storm a morgue with the intentions of resurrecting his dead wife? What powers did he think he has to perform such a miracle?
Perhaps desperate to re-enact the biblical miracle where Christ resurrected Lazarus who was dead for three days, Karumba led a battalion of faithful to pray for his dead wife, Pollyrose Ng’endo in a bid to bring her back to life.Shocked morgue attendants allowed them in as they insisted that the deceased was “merely resting” and they wanted to pray for her to wake up.
“We have come to awake the sleeping woman,” exclaimed the man of God, as the morgue attendants opened the freezers for them to pray for the deceased to wake up. They prayed as they anointed her body with holy oil from 11am, telling curious doubting Thomases who had milled the mortuary that the woman was to ‘wake up’ at 3pm.
“To show how much conviction they had and how strong their faith was, they even carried clean clothes and a pair of shoes for the deceased to wear on her way home,” a local who witnessed the incident told local press. Of course, the 38-year-old, who had succumbed to TB, never resurrected.
The resurrection business is now new. It was tried and tested in 2010 or thereabouts by the Kingdom Seekers Ministry but, sadly, yielded zilch. The Church had gathered ‘prayer warriors’ from across the country, with more travelling all the way from Uganda, so that they could fast, pray, curse and shame the devil who was in the habit of killing members of the church through road accidents.
Apparently Patrick Wanjohi and Francis Ndetei were the latest victims of road carnage and besides condemning the devil, the church members had gathered to pray with the intentions of resurrecting them.
All manner of antics went on during the prayers. Some members went and shook the caskets perhaps to awaken the deceased in vain. There was, however, a heavy downpour that saw the church members disperse unceremoniously.
Claiming that he had visions in sleep and talked to God, Pastor Daniel Wechuli of Temple of God church in Mbande, in Kakamega County visited Webuye hospital in neighbouring Bungoma County with an odd mission months back.
“Our mission at the hospital is to heal the sick, pray for some and resurrect the dead in the mortuary wing of the hospital. No place shall be left untouched,” announced Wechuli in a group of five prayer warriors, three among them women who claimed to have “healed many other people including at Malava hospital in Kakamega.”
It’s important that the faithful are taught not to misinterpret Bible verses or ignore the context. Take, for example, when Jesus Christ, in Mathew 17, says strong faith can move mountains. Contextually, there is high probability the ‘mountains’ in question are the demons that were afflicting human beings or tough tasks.
Faith that can move mountains is not meant to mean a faith that can literally move literal mountains. The point Christ was probably making is that even a little bit of faith can help in overcoming mountainous obstacles in our lives.
Just the other day, drama ensued at a church in Ukambani after police stormed the institution to rescue a victim of road accident. Apparently, the man’s broken leg had begun rotting, after members of his church refused to take him to hospital, insisting that prayers would heal him.
Further afield, weird churches have also been reported. A perfect example is ‘the Church of Maradona’. A sect created by fan of legendary footballer Diego Maradona whom they believe to be the best player of all time.
Reportedly, the count was over 80,000 members at the footballer’s peak, spread in 60 countries around the world. These are just samples of many unreported cases of bizarre faith. One wonders, for how long will the faithful continue doing this?