I went back and reread the article about the leopard and hyenas, the gazelle and the jackel. I used the words “nasty and brutish” and I am not sure that I conveyed what I wanted to. I do not believe that a rustic or “pasturalist” life style is nasty or brutish. I don’t believe that walking to the stream or a pond in the twilight to fetch water is nasty or brutish, it may be quit pleasant in the soft Kenyan evening.
What I am trying to get at is that in a growing economy, and Kenya’s is growing, as the middle class move up the less fortunate tend to move down until the society catches up and a gradual upward movement carries everyone along. Our politicians like to say that a rising tide lifts all boats, but some of the boats have holes in them. Until the holes are repaired they may swamp or even sink. As more and more people reach “middle class” status, more and more of the poor move to the larger population centers impoverishing further themselves and the villages and areas that they left. The mother that we met that abandons her children for days at a time to work in Nairobi is a prime example. We were told stories by a government official of babies being abandoned in the bush or in the garbage dumps by mother’s that simply could not cope with the stress of trying to feed them anymore. That is nasty. We were told of young ones being sold into a form of slavery to pay for drug addicted parents. That is brutish.
These are the people that the Evangelical Lutheran Church In Kenya works with and ministers too. Every time I see them i n action I am reminded that in our life together mitigating the nastiness uplifts everyone. The Old Testament is full of references to God’s concern for the fatherless and widow. Christ’s compassion on the widows that lost their son’s is quite touching. With them their lives would be nasty and brutish. His concern for the “little ones” is so obvious it hardly needs to be expressed. But we need to express it – here in Kenya, and back home, and around the world.