Arguing With God - Reflections of a Young Man™

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Arguing With God

About seven and a half years ago, I picked a piece of newspaper with the intention of using it to wipe myself after answering a call of nature in our old, wooden latrine. That was me in my primitive days when neither I nor my family could afford to buy a tissue paper.

But then as I squatted ready to excrete a small brick of waste matter, I happened to read what was written in the piece of newspaper. Alas! I was suddenly captivated by what I read; so much that I immediately postponed answering my call of nature so as to save the piece of newspaper.

The newspaper was reporting briefly of a prisoner who wanted to sue God for committing some crimes which I felt God had also committed on me. I therefore plagiarized the prisoner's complaint and posted it into my Facebook wall as follows:
"I, the undersigned Thuita J. Maina, currently struggling to lead a successful life, request legal action against the Almighty God, Creator of the universe, resident of heaven and represented here by so many religious groups for committing the following crimes: concealment, taking bribes, traffic of influence, abuse against my interests and not responding to my prayer requests."
Some of my Facebook friends were amused by my intention to sue God. Others however unleashed a torrent of criticism.

Like there was Edwin, a friend of mine then at Cornell University, who instructed me to delete that complaint from my Facebook wall. Then there was Charles, a high school classmate, who bluntly asked me, "Are you on drugs?" And then there was William Esikhaty, an elder and lay-reader at All Saints Cathedral in Nairobi, who wrote to me, "This is blasphemous. SEE ME!"

I however don't think I committed a serious crime by posting that complaint as my harshest critics put it because I think God appreciates humour. Doesn't the Bible say God loves cheerful people?

More importantly though, I also think God values people who argue with Him provided they are honest. The best friends of God as narrated in the Bible were those who complained bitterly to Him over His actions. Even Jesus when He was dying on the cross, blurted out, "Eloi, eloi, lama sabachthani? (My God, my God, why have You forsaken Me?)"

Let us therefore argue with God once in a while in our moments of pain and need. I think God will be more impressed with our honesty and understand our grievances. Or what do you think?


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On Friends and Friendship

Seated and second from right in the photo above is me together with several friends I made in my high school days at Starehe Boys' Centre. Three of the friends in the photo (Eric Kibet, Taita Towett & Collins Biwott) have made it into my list of FOTs (Friends of Thuita).

In his best-selling autobiography, Bill Clinton narrates that when he was a young man fresh out of law school, he set a goal to make great friends. He did with time succeed in making great friends, the now legendary FOBs (Friends of Bill) who helped him ascend to the presidency.

I have noted that Raila Odinga, a prominent politician in Kenya, has emulated Bill Clinton by coming up with FORA (Friends of Raila). As to whether FORA will ever succeed in helping Raila ascend to presidency is something only time will tell. And time is running out for Raila Odinga who has already vied for the presidency thrice.

Anyway, I have also borrowed a leaf from Raila Odinga by emulating Bill Clinton's goal of making friends who in my case, I have nicknamed FOTs (Friends of Thuita). That sounds cool, doesn't it?

Of the numerous people I have tried to befriend over the past couple of years since I became inspired by Bill Clinton's autobiography, only 24 people have made it into my list of FOTs so far. Before I list them, allow me to expound on the criteria I have used to come up with the list of FOTs.

First, I have examined a person's willingness to help me. It dawned on me recently that some people have advised and criticized me a lot but they have never gone out of their way to help me at my hour of need.

Secondly, I have looked at a person's willingness to listen to me. The best friends, I tell you, are not those who offer much advice but rather, those who are there to listen, who can tolerate not knowing and who can grant you the peace to mature at your own pace. I like the way Henri Nouwen put it:
"When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives means the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving much advice, solutions or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a gentle and tender hand. The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend who cares."
Don't get me wrong - I don't mean to say that you always have to listen and compliment me for you to make it into my list of FOTs. I also value criticism. Like there is an 82-year old Canadian named Norman Brown who once sent me 500 Canadian dollars (approx. Ksh. 38,000) for starting a farming business which failed for reasons I have explained before in a story accessible by clicking here. Norman Brown never shies from telling me things I don't want to hear. He regularly inquires from me whether I am still living with my parents. For his support and unending concern for me, Norman Brown has made it into my list of FOTs despite the criticism he hurls at me once in a while.

Thirdly, another criterion I have used in coming up with my list of FOTs is a person's character. Let me give two examples of acquaintances who have failed to make it into my list of FOTs because of unquestionable character.

There is Onyango X [not his real name] who used to compliment me once in a while in the emails I used to share with him. He even donated to me a quality winter coat he bought in England. But imagine Onyango X advised me last year to have sex with as many women as possible before getting married. For giving me that advice that encourages me to be immoral, Onyango X has failed to make it into my list of FOTs.

Then there is Onyango Y [not his real name] who has always been a good friend of mine. He was among the few people who contributed financially to my unsuccessful campaign for a political seat in Kenya's 2013 General Elections. But imagine Onyango Y advised me a few years ago to visit brothels as a way of relieving sexual pressure. Can you imagine I, Thuita J. Maina, having an affair with a prostitute?

Or let us reason it this way: a prostitute sleeps with thieves, tricksters, drunkards as well as with drug addicts, and then I sleep with her - aaiiiiii, no! I have been stupid many times in my life but my stupidity has never shot to such stratospheric levels as of me sleeping with a prostitute. So for advising me to visit a brothel, Onyango Y has failed to make it into my list of FOTs.

Now that you know the criteria I have used in coming up with my list of FOTs, here are the members as of today:
  1. Jesus Christ
  2. Mum & Dad
  3. My siblings Joe, Bob, Paddy & Symo
  4. Uncle Gibson Mwangi
  5. Norman Brown
  6. Prof. Charles Nyamiti
  7. Mrs. Susan Moore
  8. Fr. Peter Assenga
  9. David Mwakima
  10. Moses Mutoko
  11. Agnes Sabata
  12. Lawrence Sikuku
  13. Boniface Muia
  14. Prof. Paul Njoroge
  15. Wilson Chira
  16. Fr. Anthony Vadakara
  17. Samuel Njathi
  18. David Munene
  19. Stephen Okoth
  20. Michael Njeru
  21. Prof. Martin Njoroge
  22. Eric Kibet
  23. Taita Towett
  24. Collins Biwott
There you have it; my list of FOTs, that is. As you can see, as of today, the list has only 24 members but I hope the number will continue to grow as I strive to make loyal friends across the globe.

I challenge you to also come up with your list of friends. Give it whatever name you may deem fit. We surely need friends to succeed in this turbulent world. Over to you!


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The Preaching Style I Like

While revising for the SAT exams a decade ago, I came across in Barron's SAT revision book a passage that aroused my interest. It was actually an excerpt from Jane Austen's The Watsons in which an elderly Mr. Watson discusses a visit to church. The passage read as follows:
"I do not know when I have heard a discourse more to my mind," continued Mr. Watson, "or one better delivered. He reads extremely well, with great propriety and in a very impressive manner; and at the same time without any theatrical grimace or violence. I own, I do not like the studied air and artificial inflections of voice, which your very popular preachers have. A simple delivery is much better calculated to inspire devotion, and shows a much better taste. Mr. Howard read like a scholar and a gentleman."[1]
The above passage aroused my interest because it seemed to explain the preaching style I like in a way I can't express better. As in, like the character Mr. Watson, I also prefer preachers who appear natural, honest and humorous. That's all I am saying.

[1] I have extracted this passage from page 637 of Barron's How to Prepare for the SAT by Sharon Weiner Green and Ira K. Wolf, published in 2006 by Barron's Educational Series Inc.

If you've enjoyed reading this short story of mine, you might also enjoy a story in which I wrote that salvation is free and another one in which I proved God exists. Just click those links in blue to jump straight into the stories.


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