Thursday, August 25, 2016
Colouring Outside the Lines
Pastor Steve Shirima, the leader of Jesus Is the Key of Life, a Pentecostal church, explains how his church was painted yellow. The church is deep within the shacks of a slum. RNS photo by Fredrick Nzwili
Not only do some people use their supposed love of God as the justification to hate others, in certain instances Christians perpetrate violence against other Christians, Muslims kill other Muslims. It is enough to cause some to become atheists.
An encouraging story out of Kenya caught my eye because it is about people of faith moving in the other direction. Even though Kenya has significant issues with ethnic sectarian violence, some faith communities are choosing to boldly identify themselves as places where love and acceptance are celebrated:
Colour in Faith encourages expressions of acceptance and tolerance, and reaching out beyond one’s own church, temple, synagogue or mosque. So far two churches — one Anglican and one Pentecostal — and one mosque in Kibera have been painted, out of a planned total of six churches and four mosques that will be primed for the yellow paint. Nationwide, 25 churches, temples and mosques are planning to turn yellow. “The yellow color symbolizes our openness. It indicates that we can work together as people of faith,” said the Rev. Albert Woresha Mzera, of Kibera’s Holy Trinity Anglican.
One Sunday a group of Muslims attended worship at one of the churches as a statement that they are not terrorists.
Here in Canada we don't engage in violence against our religious neighbours but we are inclined toward stereotypes, competition, and even "bearing false witness." It should embarrass us, but it doesn't. Perhaps we need to be looking for a paint sale ourselves.