Let's not panic here. I doubt Verah's internet has been cut off, other than you must remember that it's not cheap to go on-line in Africa. Quite likely she has to wait until she can afford it to check back in. We run into the same problem over in the African Worship Leader's Group. Also, Verah lives in Naivasha, not as cosmopolitan as Nairobi - i.e. internet may not be as easy to find (cheaply). Also, she mentioned that she had been sick lately; maybe she still is.
Having lived in Kenya before, I would say that her church situation is not oppressive in the way it would be in a muslim country or perhaps in China or North Korea. But it will be oppressive in the sense of being male-dominated, and those men hold a lot of sway. Problems can come in the form of abuse of the money entrusted to them, abuse of women and children for sexual pleasure, abuse of authority to gain things and priviledges for themselves or family members, and the like (yes, I'm talking church leaders that I have known). It would be a rare thing in Africa where a young girl could safely stand up to her elders without fear of reprisal of some sort, even if it was only being kicked out of the group. Not saying there aren't good churches out there, but Africa is Africa.
I have tried to engage the African members here on WTR to dialogue more about what life is like over there, but for many reasons (lack of money for internet, power outages, poor english skills, etc) only one or two have been able to take part (and I'm so thankful for them). So we really need to be careful about our advice and "answers" that we post on issues like this. Remember, "we're not in Kansas anymore, Toto."
Yes, I don't mean oppressive as in Muslim countries. Thanks for brining that up.
Your description of Kenya is about what I was thinking - very male dominated. Of course we can't know what her situation is, but it really looks very African to me. My only experience with it is through Ethiopia.
As for the internet being cut off, I was thinking more in terms of being told not to use the internet and/or being restricted to a place that doesn't have it.
I've communicated with Verah before. It can sometimes take days for her to return on a correspondence. However, there are connectivity problems with that part of the world, so getting cut off isn't outside the realm.
Pray for her, she lives in a brutal world.
"recently I tried a little fashion that got me kicked out of my ministry"
This tells me the Venah knew what she was doing and did a fashion change that was unacceptable in her church. That means she knows how to fix this issue without upsetting anyone, except her own belief she did an ok thing. Whatever the beliefs or attitudes are there, I hope that Verah, can return to the ministry that God has inspired her to, soon. Stay well.
Just supposing here, but I think that if she knew that she was taking a risk, the sentence would read more like "I tried a little fashion that might get me kicked out of my ministry."
There is, of course, no way to know.
On this board, somebody has spent some time talking about how wardrobe is an important factor if you are going to be allowed to participate in the Church for many churches in Africa. That could be what is going on here.
Hey everyone. Its so interesting to read all the posts/comments on this issue.I just want to say that to me this has nothing to do with African culture or male dominance or even whether dreadlocks are associated with negative connotations. I remember back in the day Christafari was just about the first christian group i know of to introduce the wearing of dreadlocks into a pretty conservative christian music scene. we got acess to church stages that we probably wouldn't have been given if we weren't nationally known christian artists. and even then we got frowns, weird questions and challenges from church leaders right here in the US. One story that comes to mind was being asked to be guest performers at Franklin Graham's two crusades in Jamaica. At the time my locks were about 2 ft long and we were making national news everywhere. After the first crusade the pressure on the Billy graham Evangelistic Association was so intense from church leaders there that i was asked to put up my dreads in a "tam (that's a dreadlock cap).i was also asked to remove my nose ring. I willingly did this to protect the integrity of the mission and the reputation of my hosts.
to me this is a small issue because our focus as worshiping artists is not how cool we can "represent" but how much of a servant's heart we can develop. I think its time to move on from this subject and allow Verah to decide how much of a representative of the lord jesus she wants to be. As for me since those days I shaved my head bald because I grew to realize that their was more attention being given to my "natties" than to the Jesus in me. And i still get to rock the mic on stages all around the world as well as lead worship before my church family every week. Guys lets just try to see how much we can die to ourselves so Christ can effectively radiate through us. You feel me! (marky rage aka Rokstedy)
We all agree that it's wrong to make this kind of distinction, but you seem to agree that it's not worth it to insist on a particular style if it diminishes your witness.
And truly, you have to know what it can be like in Africa. I wouldn't want to give any advice that is likely or possible to invite abuse or punishment. My best buddy in the US adopted an Ethiopian kid and we have since learned that his father regularly beats his wives. And he's a believer.
I've got one almost as good.
I'm 60 years young now and have worn a beard and shoulder length hair since 1970 (been playing rock/metal all that time)
when my wife and I joined another church in 1971 the pastor came to me and said that I could not participate in any church activities until I shaved and trimmed my hair to a "biblical" length.
I asked him to please show me the scripture that set the "biblical hair length for males".
He asked me to leave "his" church.
I left gladly
So that's cool, you have long hair and I respect that. But it seems like you missed his point - he willingly changed his appearance for the sake of "the mission". Instead, you seem to have abandoned the mission for the sake of your appearance. Am I missing something?
Now between you and I, beard and shoulder length hair is pretty cool, so that pastor was out to lunch. Here in the US, you have a choice, and I would have done the same thing. And truly, if you really want to know what biblical hair was (as it was in Christ's time), I'm thinking that it was generally shoulder length with a beard...!
This sounds like a basic anthropological problem. It would be interesting to see if she ever gets a chance to explain the rationale that was given or that she suspects.
There are certain things that I do as a risk. Wearing a hat in church is generally thought of as being rude. I did it on accident one day, on stage, during worship. Totally forgot that I had the sucker on. Once I realized my oops, the leadership said that there was no problem.
WELL! I like a stylin' hat. So now I wear them more often than not. It is a lot of fun for the men at church and has actually started to build some friendships where there weren't any before. Apparently there are a lot of hat enthusiasts out there (I had no idea).
Even more interesting, I don't go a single week without the outreach pastor seeking me out to tell me how much he appreciates my hats. Every week he brings somebody new to church, every week that I play, the people he brings want to talk about my hats. The particulars of the discussions vary, but I'm left with the impression that this helps people to see that we are people too, and pretty relaxed.
So wearing hats is a risk in America's churches. So is drinking a martini. That isn't a risk I would be taking as I think I'd get kicked right out the door.
In Vera's church, is dreads the hat or the martini?
Yes, well this is the stuff that news broadcasts are made of. I love to speculate in the absence facts. It seems that the truth is sometimes not as spectacular.
Verah - Keep us up do date and thanks for sharing!