An Efficacious Response towards Faith and Modernity
By John Abraham Ayieko
Is it possible to be present in our enthralling world and still be fully and truly available to God? How possibly could we enjoy fruitful and joy-filled lives without anxieties over our preparedness for the next? Every single day, as the intimate realities of our human nature unfold, we continue discovering that nothing in this life can guarantee us perfect peace and joy. There is something we wish we could have; something we cannot place our fingers on or give a name; but something real all the same.
It is real, and yet it is best described only as ‘emptiness’. It is a void. It is some yearning that fails to go away even after we have experienced the fullest extent of pleasure that is humanly possible. This void is most certainly something intangible and spiritual. Something eyes have never seen; something beyond sensual grasp, and yet still perfectly real.
Many have sought to fill this emptiness in orgiastic preoccupations. Some have tried drugs or even cults. Quite a number seek it in transcendental societies, hoping to experience stillness of the heart and deep peace through controlled breathing, vegetarian diets, yoga and other exercises like them. A few give up and take their lives.
In my honest opinion dearest friends, another name for this elusive key to true peace is ‘meaning’. When all is said and done, what is the meaning of your life and mine? After the daily – even hourly – routine that defines our daily living, what can we show for it? Yes, life is by all means a precious gift that we must enjoy to the marrow, but what next?
This “What next?” it is, that in the psyche of a pessimist could be worse than a weapon of mass destruction. I am aware of fellows who are in every sense gifted with some of the most precious human endowments, but they have the tragedy of a negative chatter box that ‘mocks’ every achievement they near; and that injects some dosage of guilt in every beckoning enjoyment. They cannot even treat themselves to a moment of little pleasure. For them, life is like a funeral procession. They probably even lack friends because most guys in our age appear a bit wicked. And so they pray and fast and pray again and begin imagining that a life of faith is such an ordeal. This is not true.
It is possible then, to actualize the best of our dreams and partake of the little joys of this life without denying God? It is possible to rediscover the true meaning of our existence and grope successfully towards God’s exact will for us. It is possible to enter into a wonderful marriage and live it fully, even if all marriages around us do not seem to be working. Am I right to follow my heart towards the Catholic Priesthood in the face of all forms of sex scandals dogging the celibate life in our time?
It is by all means possible. God alone avails to fill this void and to grant peace and contentment this world can neither give nor take away from us. How then do we attain this? The secret lies in a spirituality I have chosen to call GUT-LEVEL FAITH. It is also true that this life is really something akin to a wrestling match with such a smart stranger. A miereka of sorts!
This spirituality (or Philosophy if you want) is a fruit of my own experience, developed – without consciously intending it – over a long period of time. I actually had to look back to discover it along the path I have trodden with such joy!
In this website, we create a forum through which we will interact as friends with a common objective of making our lives worth living. We hope that as we share the mosaic of stories that define our various existences, and as the threads created by our experiences will be fed in the loom of time, we will be led (each in his/her own way) to a unique pattern there from. This pattern will hopefully give meaning, not only to our lives, but also to the lives of those about whom we care.
GUT-LEVEL FAITH is a radical way of living our spiritual lives. It is meta-denominational and trans-religious. It basically flows from the mere appreciation of the human condition and the reality of God. It is a lively way of letting God be God as we celebrate our human condition. It is a way of enthusiastically seizing our part in the cast of this life’s drama. It is a spirituality through which we will ‘catch ourselves’ mourning with those who mourn and laughing with those who laugh. Through gut-level faith, we will be thrilled by the world of young lovers; have our hearts throbbing with theirs and see the need to say a prayer for newly weds. We will not be strangers to the world of the destitute. We will gladly lend our ears to the drunkard’s midnight song. Then, we shall be able to peer into the worlds of those we love. It is a way through which we will allow ourselves to be seduced by God into a friendship that will give us a whole new way of looking at things; a whole new way of availing ourselves for human love and of loving; a whole new way of being. We will also gradually grow in the art of walking the talk of faith. In this way, it will be possible to translate every single moment’s existence to a faith-filled moment.
You certainly want to come with us! You are also welcome to interact on our face book group, “Why I Call You Friends” (ICUF). Or invite me with the intention so I may invite you to the group.
ü To help each other grow in faith more radically and to relate with God in a fashion that is more close, intimate and refreshing.
ü To grow in holiness without straining. This will be made possible by factoring God, every inch, in the process of that growth
ü To be able to purify our own human friendships and appreciate the glorious wonder of our being
ü To introduce the spirituality of GUT-LEVEL FAITH to my friends and everyone who visits this website
To be an interactive site through which we will rediscover the full and true meaning of our human calling, and to be channels of faith, love, hope, peace and God’s providence in a world increasingly drifting towards individualism.
To share in charity my own lived rich experience in Gut-level Faith as a disposition towards relating with God most fruitfully, and to journey with my friends along its truly enriching path.
- Faith in God who created the universe and all that define it, visible and invisible
- A firm and constant conviction in God’s merciful love
- A honest appreciation of the human condition and the ability to be a dependable companion to one who feels weak and afraid to hit the road towards growth.
- Belief in the reality of the absolute power and freedom of God to reveal Himself to humankind in uniquely different ways, and that He has revealed himself in some way in all religions.
Some Memorable moments…
The pleasant times as a Red Cross volunteer in the University. Among the many things we accomplished, I often recall with nostalgia, the hikes, picnics, clean-up campaigns, charity walks, but even more, the task of coordinating an Inter-University Essay Writing Contest on “International Humanitarian Law (IHL) as enshrined in the African Culture”, a competition sponsored by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) Nairobi in 1999. More recently, the risky business of distributing relief to members of two warring communities as a Red Cross Action Team (RCAT) member under Migori branch of the Kenya Red Cross Society.
When I dared to speak in Kiswahili while addressing a very large funeral audience. I ran out of Kiswahili words, had an open blackout and resumed my seat in the heat of that shame. The fact that the whole affair was videotaped still haunts me. I should not have pretended that I could speak Kiswahili.
A regular columnist in The National Mirror, a Catholic Church monthly magazine published by the Catholic Media Trust of the Kenya Episcopal Conference (KEC) between April 2008 – November 2009.
Presented a Position Paper on “
St Paul’s New Vision after Conversion and its Impact on the Universal Church” at the 11th Interdisciplinary Theological Session of the Catholic University of Eastern Africa.
v Philanthropy and Humanitarian assistance
v Meeting new people and making friends