A Blog from Kenya: “Who Will Save Kenya?”

Kenya's Rev Michael Kimindu (right) with MCC Church Elder Rev Pat Bumgardner in front of the new ministry facility in Mtito Andei.

Kenya’s Rev Michael Kimindu (right) with MCC Church Elder Rev Pat Bumgardner in front of the new ministry facility in Mtito Andei.

Three photos and several hot links are included in this blog! Based on a sermon from Rev. Michael Kimindu, Neema Metropolitan Community Church, Mtito Andei, Kenya

As an American who is doing community development work in Kenya (read about those efforts via this link), I published a provocative blog in September titled, “The Problem with Kenya – And My Hope” addressing the corruption and discrimination in that country. I received a large number of “Facebook Likes” on that blog as well as words of support, but also some criticism for speaking as an “outsider” instead as a native Kenyan. Therefore, I am reproducing this recent sermon with permission from a long time clergy leader (Rev. Michael Kimindu) who was born and has spent his entire life in Kenya. He expands on the themes of my recent blog.

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Text: Judges 9:1-57

A comparison can be drawn between Shechem of the Old Testament in Judges and Kenya today. Looking at the two, the following observation standout:
1. Corruption
2. Death

Gideon was the ruler of Shechem and all was well until his death. We are not sure if he had prepared an heir to the throne. He had seventy sons. One of his sons, Abimelech, murdered almost all his 70 brothers so he could take over power. He shed innocent blood and become king. Only one brother, Jotham, escaped to the city of Beer. Little is known of him in Beer

Shechem went down sinking in Corruption. It became a land of bloodshed. Kenya can easily pass for Shechem if the current situation is anything to go by:

The current leadership came to power to protect the two principals from the ICC (International Criminal Court) where they are accused of being the ones bearing the greatest responsibility for the 2007-08 Post-Election Violence.

Several years after the post-election violence of 2007-2008, displaced people near Eldoret were still living in tent camps several years later.

Several years after the post-election violence of 2007-2008, displaced people near Eldoret were still living in tent camps several years later.

Under their administration, the country is running downwards. Corruption is the order of the day, killings of innocent Citizens by Al Shabab and the Police have left families groaning. Those who are supposed to be the voice of the oppressed, the Religious Institutions, are part and parcel of the rot and killings.

Where are the Prophets of Old Testament, the John the Baptist’s of New Testament, and the Martin L. King’s, Nelson Mendela’s, Archbishop Gitari’s of today? Why has the World Council of Churches turned a blind eye and deaf ear to the cries of Kenyans under the watch of National Council of Churches of Kenya (NCCK)?

When will the UN speak against Corruption as loud as they speak about security? Developed countries in Europe and the USA have withdrawn funding to countries where human rights, i.e. those of the same sex orientation people are abused. Why can’t they do so to corrupt Countries?

Kenya's Anti-Corruption Campaign has been giving away these cool coffee mugs - but are they serious about address corruption, or simply paying lip service?

Kenya’s Anti-Corruption Campaign has been giving away these cool coffee mugs – but are they serious about address corruption, or simply paying lip service?

In Kenya today, the archbishop of the Anglican Church is the chairman of Kenya Anti- Corruption Campaign (KAC) yet his effect is never felt. The Sunday Nation of 1st November page 8 reported him calling for referendum instead of mobilizing Kenyans against Corruption. No one has ever been arrested under his watch. How did he accept such appointment in the first place? On page 6 of the same paper the Nairobi Pentecostal Church (NPC) aka Christ is The Answer Ministries (CITAM) admits a scandal involving a former Bishop and two officials where 260 million shillings is in question. Has money become the answer? We need loud voices from within and without against corruption.

With the coming in of China as a development partner, our wild life, especially elephants, rhinos and wild dogs have become more endangered than ever before. Sub-standard goods flood our markets.

Where is the voice of Jesus? Where is the servant leadership? Where is integrity?

Kenyans die in their numbers from poisoned brews, others have become cabbages and zombies due to drugs brought into the country by known barons who are untouchable.

Why Does the West – USA and EU continue to do business with Kenya and other corrupt countries? Are they allies to the oppressors or the oppressed? What is the church in those countries telling their leaders who are supporting corrupt governments?

Where are the whistle blowers? What stand do we take as followers of Jesus at home and abroad? Can we pass the test of omission and commission?

Yet Jesus is banking on our fruitful obedience to his commands of
1. Love
2. Making obedient disciples

Where do we stand? Are we looking the other side to avoid the injured like the Levites and the Priest in the Good Samaritan story? What motivates us as follower of Jesus? Is the Spirit upon us as it was upon Jesus to free captives, to open the eyes of the blind and announce the acceptable year of the Lord?

Look at the corruption and killings at home and abroad and make up your mind. Take a stand for the poor.

May Jesus be with us as he promised, till the end of the age, Amen.

Workplace Blog and Resources for 2015 Transgender Day of Remembrance

Rita Hester, transgender woman murdered in 1998

Rita Hester, transgender woman murdered in 1998

This blog is loaded with links – please do use them!

The Annual Transgender Day of Remembrance, November 20, started in 1999, about a year after Rita Hester, a transgender woman and activist in Boston, was found murdered in her own apartment. It is very sad that transgender people are murdered or physically harmed at an extremely high rate compared to the general population, often fueled by hatred of this misunderstood segment of our community. Just this year alone, 2015, 70 new names have appeared on the Transgender Day of Remembrance site (link).

There are now a lot of resources available for people to learn more about the general plight of transgender people, and some are included within and at the bottom of this short blog. As a workplace diversity consultant, I want to focus on one area that can really help our transgender brothers and sisters; equal opportunity in the workplace and the ability to make a living. Transgender people often have the same education, skills, and work ethic as all other people companies employ, and deserve the same chance for gainful employment. Providing equitable opportunity for work is one way we can assist in helping everyone see transgender people are totally equal human beings.

Certainly this workplace journey has just begun, and according to recent statistics, much more focus and work is needed. A comprehensive survey from The Taskforce reported that 15% of US transgender people are living in poverty compared to 5% of the general population, and that transgender people are two times likely to experience assault or discrimination at work.

Here is a quick list of things companies can do to support transgender people in the workplace:
• Add “Gender Identity and Expression” into the corporate non-discrimination policy
• Provide appropriate benefits for employees undoing gender transition, including counseling, hormones, surgery…
• Including transgender information in diversity training that should go out to all employees.
• Appropriate handling of employee record changes, new email addresses, new badge, etc.
• Management coaching for managers who have transgender employees
• Trained Human Resource practitioners to respectfully case manage employee gender transitions
• Trans-supportive handling of the restroom configuration and policy.

As an HR diversity consultant, I am a strong advocate for corporations and organizations taking the lead to provide full respect and opportunity for transgender people.

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Additional Resources:

North Carolina’s LGBT community newspaper QNotes has their early November edition focused on the transgender community.

Trans-supportive religious material from Metropolitan Community Churches.

A blog I wrote earlier this year called “The Perfect Trans-storm” highlighting the increased focus I have seen around transgender people.

A more comprehensive outline on Human Resources for Transgender Employees that I wrote for the Workforce Diversity Network.

A blog I wrote last November: “Five Things to Never Say to Transgender People.”