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Published:September 3rd, 2011 22:19 EST
Kenyan Women and Religion

Kenyan Women and Religion

By Sophie Akinyi

Kenya has for the past four years seen a new revolution in terms of spirituality. This trend slowly crept in especially after the 2007-2008 post poll violence that rocked the county. This revolution is evident from the rising numbers of gospel artistes and coming up of new churches.

Currently, the country`s National Council of Churches is registering good number of churches with the hope of recording ever more. This is good news especially to spiritual persons. However, there is a great concern over the rate at which Kenyan women are changing their churches.

Allow me to use the term pastoralism to define peoples` behavior of moving from one church to the other in search of `better things` Kenyan women have become so pastoral in their religious ways such that you may find one person having moved to a minimum of four churches in a span of one year. This is so unlike their male counterparts who most of the time stick to one church or avoid it altogether. This begs the question: Why the continual change of denominations? I sought to find out why most women in Kenya keep migrating from their mother churches to new ones and my findings were as follows:-

Marital Problems: Women tend to have various problems especially marriage related. I don`t know if it is our weakness or something, but most of the time we tend to talk about our problems especially to anyone who shows interest in listening to them. This in turn makes most women ready to change their churches when the church option has been offered as a solution. For some faithful`s the results are almost immediate, but for others it takes quite some time. Depending on how desperate one is, she might move to a new church if the solutions seem to take too long. This is however not practical as most of the times solutions lie within us, although spiritual intervention is always necessary.

Televangelism: There has been a vast increase in the number of televangelists who promise viewers of big things. Truth is Kenya is grappling with tough economic times and whenever a solution is presenting itself, majority run for it. These servants of God promise people good life, wealth among other things most especially things that touch on their physical and financial well being. When one does not see any of these, she changes to another religion with the hope of finding it there.

Ideological Differences: For some reason there are people who will always feel that their religion is better than anyone else. For that reason they will keep criticizing and ridiculing other peoples religion; maybe with an aim of making them change. If one is strong enough, she is shaken by whatever is being said about her church. However some succumb and leave their faith for another for fear of being ridiculed or mere confusion.

Religious Conflict: this occurs mostly when a woman gets married to someone of a different denomination and he isn`t comfortable with hers. This will make the woman leave her faith and join another with the mind of ending the tension between them.

Need for Miracles: People have different opinions pertaining to miracles. Some choose to believe in them while to others they are meaningless. This does not really matter to a majority of Kenyan women; at the end of it all they need a miracle. The quest for miracles has seen them move to different churches depending on what they have seen or have been told by their female counterparts.

Mere Dissatisfaction: You may find some women uneasy with a few routines or people in their churches. Some find the service too dull or the congregants may be dreary, and so on and so forth. Need for Spiritual Intervention: It`s funny how most of the time people only turn to God when everything else has failed. According to His scriptures, He asks us to ask and it shall be granted unto us. The urge to rush to new churches creeps in when women are faced by challenging situation. They will join various churches which they will leave if they don`t get encouraging outcomes; momentarily it turns into a vicious circle.

Hypocrisy: We are humans and are bound to slip ups, many a times though we try to appear good to others yet we might be so evil on the inside. Many women find themselves cornered when they make a mistake and members of their churches go talking about it. This demoralizes them and at some point they might move to a new church where none knows a thing about their past. If at some point the story gets to her new church, she may have to defend it or leave altogether. An individual might change his or her religion for whatever reason, which is okay since we leave in a free world; so let`s not fuss about it.