By Alex Kamau
A letter sent to all PCEA churches in Kenya cautions its members against what its General
Assembly views as satanic cultural practices; among them polygamy and the highly held
practice among the Gikuyu men of Mburi cia Kiama.
Mburi cia Kiama was/ is a process through which Gikuyu men are moulded to become
community elders of good standing with the highest expectation of conduct and behaviour.
It rightly encourages the men to remain true to their community and culture; including the
God their ancestors worshipped long before the Presbyterians arrived in Central Kenya.
Members of Kiama play an important role as arbiters of disputes, ensuring justice at local
level, including to the lowest in society. This contrasts sharply to many churches today
where crooks with money can bribe their way to the ear and perpetual favour of the pastor.
The Kiama process encouraged hard work and aspiration to genuinely acquired wealth as
the Gikuyu abhorred thieves and dishonesty; while prizing leaders, warriors and the
wealthy (Athamaki, Njamba na Itonga). Those versed with the Gikuyu culture understand
too well the important role the elders of Kiama play in marriage and dowry proceedings.
The PCEA church is wrong on this. Churches must understand the calling God invites them
to – compassion, love, forgiveness and reconciliation. Nowhere in the defining Chapter of
Mathew 25: 31- 46 are any of the issues the church has warned against mentioned. The
way to heaven Christ advised 2018 years ago was love they neighbour- NOT stopping Mburi
cia Kiama!! For the PCEA to castigate a practice that seeks to develop the best qualities in
men shows a church so out of touch with reality. Issuing edicts against a harmless cultural
practice shows a church blind and deaf to the aspirations of those it serves, the majority of
who are Gikuyu; and who I imagine will just ignore the General Assembly.
Like the Pharisees of old, many churches today (PCEA is not alone) have placed burdens so
undue on their members, from endless financial demands- tithes and offerings (with little
or NO accountability), to dictating how members should run every aspect of their lives;
oblivious to the fact that humans are diverse and entirely different. Those challenging the
church leadership are judged as sinners awaiting eternal hell with Lucifer their Master.
Indeed most of the parables Jesus Christ gave drew from the cultural practices of the Jewish
people. Sad that the church of Reverened Dr. Gatu, Dr. Timothy Njoya, Reverend Musa
Gitau and the Reverend Dr. Jessee Kamau has been reduced to this. Reverend Gatu rightly
saw no disharmony between the best of the Gikuyu traditions and the Christian faith. Mburi
cia Kiama fits that category. How tragic that the misguided views of those that followed
him now believe we should discard with the traditions of the proud Gikuyu people who had
previously worshipped God for hundreds of years before Christianity arrived in Kenya.
There are those who will see this writing as an attack on the church. It is NOT. There are
those who will seek to pray for me to see the light, wrongly labelling me as a heretic- I am
NOT!!!! Those people need to direct their prayers at the church, that it may at all times
NOT be an obstacle to people living the full lives God has invited and promised those who
seek him in humility including sinners such as myself!!!!! Thaai thathaiya Ngai Thaii.
Alex Kamau© firstname.lastname@example.org