Place of the Bible in Our Lives
A True Story
on Jul 11, 2023
Last week, I read a 2002 "U.S. News & World Report" magazine that gave information on the best graduate schools in America. According to the magazine, back in 2002, Yale University was the best in law, Harvard was the best in medicine while Massachusetts Institute of Technology was the best in engineering.
The magazine reported that medical schools in the U.S. have a rigorous curriculum that can make their students less empathetic to people's problems. And I think the same goes for law and engineering schools.
With such rigorous curriculums offered by graduate schools in America, it must be easy for their students to negate the Bible as a trivial book. I mean, how can reading the Bible compare with the gruelling studies required in law, medical and engineering schools in the U.S.?
But a casual look at our modern world reveals that we need the Bible as much as we need the knowledge offered in universities. Let's analyze, for instance, the news that is reported in the newspapers every day.
Over the past two years, I have been ardently reading the "Nation", Kenya's leading newspaper. In my readings, I have noted that even though the news change every day, the underlying themes remain the same, day in and day out.
The underlying themes? They are what politicians are saying, how government funds are being stolen, what tragedies have taken place, how people are killing each other, how women are raped, which children have been defiled, how businesses are faring, and how some folks are succeeding in their endeavors.
All those reports in the newspapers are enough to make us fearful of the future. They can also make us sick with jealousy. And we can't successfully deal with that fear and jealousy with only the knowledge offered at the universities. That's where the Bible comes in.
The Bible has advice on every issue we humans face during our time on this planet. It talks about theft, corruption, leadership, and human rights. And it also talks about how married couples should live with each other and raise their children.
Personally, I have seen the relevance of the Bible in my life. In April 2007 when I was leaving Starehe Boys' Centre where I had my high school and college education, I was laden with a lot of knowledge and a number of skills. I could, for example, create a website and play Mozart's "Sonata in C" on the piano.
Yet even with all that knowledge and skills, I struggled with timidity and confusion. I could hardly look people in the eye, something that made me an easy target of slander, bullying and suspicion.
Besides struggling with timidity and confusion, I was also prone to feeling bitter, guilty and jealous. And in 2008 when I was a second-year student at the university, I turned rebellious. Then I became slothful and gluttonous - bad habits that took me over a decade to overcome.
Those experiences, unpleasant though they were, have made me appreciate the Bible more, for I have found in it the solutions to overcoming my bad habits and negative thinking patterns. And that appreciation of the Bible has made me subscribe to daily devotionals on the internet. These days, I delight in studying the Bible as much as I do in eating.
Now that I understand the Scriptures more, I agree with whoever said that the Bible is God's great love letter to us. You'll also agree with that if you've studied the books of Isaiah and Jeremiah.
Although the books of Isaiah and Jeremiah are not as easy to digest as the books of Psalms and Proverbs, they have some inspirational passages worthy of memorization. Who hasn't heard of Jeremiah 29:11 which talks of God's wonderful plans for our future? My favorite passage though, is the following one from the book of Isaiah:
So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with My righteous right hand. (Isaiah 41:10)I like that passage so much that I sometimes recite it in my thinking, especially when I find myself worrying about the future. It often soothes my soul with its assurance that God is directing my steps.
My beloved reader, I encourage you to also include the Bible in your reading repertoire. Read novels, yes, and books related to your field of endeavor. But don't neglect the Bible since it has the potential to set you free from guilt, worry, jealousy and bitterness. It can also heal you, comfort you and feed your soul. Adieu!
NEW! NEW! NEW! If you missed my social media update three days ago, let me take this opportunity to inform you that I have produced a new hymn titled "One Day". Just click on that link in blue to listen to the hymn.
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Remembering My High School Classmates
A True Story
on Jul 6, 2023
I sometimes find it fun to reflect on my past experiences and the people I have interacted with. Recently, I couldn't help remembering some of my high school classmates and how they influenced me. Among them was Lawrence Sikuku, a disciplined chap who impressed me with his consistent stellar academic performance.
Sikuku was always either position 1 or 2 in our class, right from Form One to Form Four. But what I liked most about him was his warm personality. Apart from a time in 2003 when he commented that one could easily tell my brother Paddy and I were siblings because of our confusion, I don't think I ever heard him utter an unkind word about anyone.
I will never forget the afternoon I saw Sikuku working at a certain bank in downtown Nairobi while I was queueing up to be served. It was in December 2006, a year after we had finished high school. When Sikuku spotted me in the queue that afternoon, he stopped what he was doing and came to me. He greeted me in his characteristic warm manner and after I informed him what I was doing in the bank, he served me, thus saving me time.
The other classmate in my high school class who had a personality as pleasing as Sikuku's was Wilson Chira. It must have been due to his pleasant personality that Chira was selected in 2004 to represent our school at a conference in the United States. To be frank, I am glad Chira was the only one in our class who attended the coveted conference. He was really a nice guy.
Another nice guy in my high school class was Rocky Mbithi. Rocky and I became good friends in December 2005 after we finished our high school career. We would go to a certain cyber cafe and surf the internet together. And during our first weeks at Starehe Institute in 2006, he would beg me for small amounts of money which I gave him.
Later on in 2013 when I was running for a political seat in the General Elections of Kenya, I requested Rocky for some campaign funds. And wow! He promptly sent me Ksh. 1,000. I am not sure if he recalled the instances in 2006 when I had given him small amounts of money but I am gratified to notice his financial situation had improved in a span of seven years.
Then there was James Wakyumbu, a classmate who was epileptic. I will always remember Wakyumbu for clarifying something that used to befuddle me: that is, why the Earth looks flat yet it is spherical. Wakyumbu explained to me on one afternoon in 2005 that it is because the Earth is so huge that its curvature appears straight to the human eye. Unfortunately, Wakyumbu passed away over a decade ago, probably due to his epilepsy.
During my four high school years, I had several deskmates. The first one was John Njiru. Even though Njiru was not a star in academics, he had an eye-catching handwriting and a good command of the English language. When I started developing an interest in girls in 2005, I sought Njiru's help in crafting compelling love letters to the girls I admired.
The deskmate I had for the longest time was Martin Wamoni. We used to laugh boisterously, Martin and I, at silly jokes when we were junior boys in high school. Unhappily, our friendship diminished when we were at JKUAT, a local university where we both matriculated in May 2007 to pursue engineering degrees.
One day in 2011, I sent Martin a lengthy email, reminding him of our high school laughs and lamenting the way we drifted apart at JKUAT. Martin, who was then in London, was kind enough to reply to my email. He told me friendship is a two-way process, so I was as much to blame for our diminished friendship.
Throughout my high school years, I never managed to defeat five classmates in academics. Of course one of the classmates was Lawrence Sikuku. Interestingly, none of the five classmates were into girls. The ones who had girls swooning over them were Wilson Chira, Rocky Mbithi and another classmate named Charles.
Given the way I keep remembering my high school buddies, I think a classmate called Stephen Ngaruiya was on the button when he remarked on one afternoon in 2004 that we would miss each other after we left Starehe. I truly miss those classmates. Their humor, brilliance and friendship have remained uppermost in my memory. Ciao!
RECOMMENDATION: If you've enjoyed the above story on my high school classmates, you might also enjoy another one on "Part 2: High School Memories" which I wrote about four years ago. Just click on that link in blue to dive straight into the story.