Doctor of Leadership in Global Perspectives: Crafting Ministry in an Interconnected World

From a Pre- Literate to Modern Society

Written by: on April 22, 2013


The Boston Marathon was an event that was of great importance to Kenyans as it was to Americans. Kenyan runners have gained prominence through their participation in the marathon. When the bombing happened at the event on Monday, it drew interest in the Kenyan media especially the social media. The world watched as the USA government was able to catch the suspected bombers five days later and continues to probe into the investigation as to why the two men set to participate in the violent activities. Jardine states that the moral crisis that the world experiences are due to the misunderstanding of technology and his proposes that Christianity has the answers to combat the crisis. Africa is still largely an oral society. Books are hardly read. Newspapers are discussed rather than read. The mobile phone industry has flourished because of the love of verbal communication. Most profits have been made among the low income earners who buy credit for their phones worth between twenty shillings to one hundred shillings ($.25-$1.25).

Many people who have grown up in the African context especially in the rural areas have lived from an illiterate community to one which have experienced technological advances in one generation. They have not had the privileged to go through classical philosophical ideas. All they want is a gadget that can be aligned to their cultural beliefs and will not disrupt their way of life too drastically. The mobile phone enhanced the oral traditions and it has been embraced positively. In areas where more than half of the population lives on less than three dollars a day, a consumerist society is not a reality. Reading Jardine book which reflects on the western culture was not relevant to a large population of African people apart from those who are exposed to the western culture. The most popular movies are not necessarily from Hollywood but from Nigeria, Philippines and Mexico which carry with them themes of witchcraft, family feuds and tribal and clan allegiances and syncretic beliefs of Christianity and traditional religions.

So how has Christianity affected the influence of technology in our society?  The capitalist ethic is gaining prevalence and the church can learn how to avert negative influences in society by learning from the west. The rise of individualism may also make people use technology not to build relationships but to exclude others from the society which they live in. Cultural values are still very strong. Family values are also upheld. Even with the market economy, there is a possibility that the traditional values will withstand the moral failures associated with technology. The same adherence to biblical values can still be seen among many churches even at the leadership level.

Many African would identify with the father of the suspected Boston marathon bombers who believed that his sons were incapable of committing such heinous crimes. The family stood with the two brothers and the family values were upheld even s the evidence mounted that the two bothers could be terrorists. Many African have had to live through preliterate worldviews, to the conquest of colonialism and the rise of democracies and nation states consisting of tribal alliances. Negative ethnicity is the greatest moral failure in Kenya today followed by corruption which is justified if it is practiced along family or ethnic lines. The church must deal with this scourge of tribalism and use technological advances to deter the negative spread of these vices. Unconditional love of all humanity as the greatest commandment in the bible would be a good place to begin to counter the vices.

About the Author

Joy Mindo

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