MERU, KENYA

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AFRICAN TRADITIONAL
RELIGION
Ninkubukehia antu
baria bakweja kiri
mucemanio juju narua.
Thaa iji nikaritana iguru
ria antu ba Meru nuu
bakaraga akui kirimana
kia Kenya. Nkaritana
iguru ria njira Ameru
baturaga. Antu baba ni
mugango jwa Meru.
AFRICAN TRADITIONAL
RELIGION - ATR
Why African Traditional Religion Title
• Primitive carries negative and demeaning
connotations
• Basic implies simple or low on evolutionary
scale of religion
• Traditional refers to emerging from the
cultural development
• Religion is rooted in tradition rather than
scripture
CONTINENT OF AFRICA
AFRICA
•Size: 11,608,000 sq. miles;
second largest continent
•% of Earth’s Land: 20.2%
•Population: 855,000,000
•Number of Countries: 53
•World’s Longest River: Nile
•World’s Largest Desert:
Sahara
•4,900 people die daily of
AIDS
Map of World Religions
ATR World Status
• ATR: 190 million
• 3% of world population
• Seventh largest group
•
•
•
•
Christianity: 2 billion
Islam: 1.3 billion
Hinduism: 900 million
Secular/Nonreligious/Agnostic/Atheist: 850
million
• Buddhism: 360 million
• Chinese traditional religion: 225 million
Traditional to Christian
Growth of Christianity in Sub-Sahara Africa
Population of Africa - 855,000,000
1900
1970
2003
8,756,000
117,069,000
360,059,000
It is estimated that by 2025 there will be
600,000,000 professing Christians
MERU COUNTRYSIDE
Mt. Kenya
•Height: 5,199 meters
•Meru: Along the east side north to
the desert
Nyambene Hills
•The Nyambene Hills run from
the eastern slope of Mt. Kenya
northward about 20 miles
•The tops of certain hills are the
traditional sites of sacred places
of worship.
MERU COUNTRYSIDE
Looking out north from the
Nyambene Hills to the open
savannahs and desert
MERU COUNTRYSIDE
Meru at sunset and in the fog of
the Nyambene Hills.
MERU COUNTRYSIDE
Among the Meru, Nyambene Hills
where most of the people live on
small farms
Crops
•The main food crops are corn, beans,
potatoes, cabbage, and some fruits.
•The main cash crops for export are Tea,
Coffee, and Miraa
TOWNS & MARKETS
Mutendwa (Meru Town) is the center
of the Meru District and the largest
town. Its population is around 40,000.
The town has three main streets and a
large market area.
Meru Town Market
Today there is now cell phone service
and even an Internet Café.
Downtown Meru Town
MERU HOMES & VILLAGES
Meru Thatch Roof Huts
Meru Mud & Dung Homes
African Worldview - Meru
Supreme Being
Murungu – one God
Worship
Spiritual Realm
-Evil spirits
-Ancestral spirits
Religious Practitioners
-Agwe (Prophet Rulers)
-Diviners/Medicine Men
-Sorcerers
Physical World
-Elders/clans
-Age sets/ceremonies
-Sacrifices
God
Distant
Ancestral
Spirits
Spiritual/Physical
World/Nature
ELEMENTS OF ATR
• Recognition and worship of one High God
• Importance of good relationships with
ancestral spirits
• Importance of rites of passage and age sets
for an organized society
• This worldly concerns and present spiritual
realities involved daily
ATR POWERS
• God (Murungu – Meru; Ngai – Kikuyu &
Maasai)
• Associate with the sky (Yaruba – Olorun, owner
of sky)
• All-powerful
• All-knowing
• Eternal spirit
• A being
• Good but sometimes capricious and/or distant
• Creator of the world
• Provider
• Lesser gods in Yaruba and some others
ATR POWERS
• Ancestor spirits (living/dead)
• Assist living
• Need to keep happy by maintaining traditions
and family values
• Sometimes shrines (Giriama)
• Mainly feared
• Nature spirits – could be evil ancestral
spirits
• Evil spirits – could be evil ancestral spirits
• Kikuyu say an epidemic is caused by them
• Meru generally think God is behind epidemic
Meru Practitioners
• Medicine man
• Shaman or Diviner – medium for the
spiritual powers
• Sorcerers
• Some ATR have good and evil magic
• Agwe – Prophet Rulers (no longer active)
Meru Medicine Man (Muga)
Terms & Traditional Religion
• Taboo – something untouchable because of
God’s holiness is present or untouchable
because it is pervasively evil.
• Totem – clan seeing themselves related to a
particular animal or some other life form
and enjoy the special traits of that animal or
life form.
• Protect against inbreeding
• Food distribution because cannot eat your totem
• Some have totem feast where they do eat but rare
Meru Culture
• Historical Tradition
• Red cloths people
• The prophet and Exodus
• Rights of Passage
•
•
•
•
Birth
Adulthood
Marriage (bride price, polygamy, family unity, patrilocal)
Death (strength to ancestors, unity of family
• Social Structure
•
•
•
•
Age Sets (circumcision group)
Marriage (gukuraga)
Meru leaders (warrior, marriage, jr. elder, sr. elder)
Njuri Ncheke (council of elders)
Meru Physical Realm
• Age-sets
•
•
•
•
•
Child
Warrior or Marriage for women
New Elder
2nd Level Elder
High Level Elder
• Clans
• Organization (Elders)
• Sacrifices (Holy places and offerings)
Traditional Male Circumciser
Mutaani
Boys Circumcision Group
At the Gaaru
African Worldview – Batutsi,
Bahutu, & Batwa
God
Distant
Ancestral
Spirits
Spiritual/Physical
World/Nature
Missions, Africa,
and the Unreached
Sub-Sahara Africa
&
the 10/40 Window
Africa/Asia
North America
Other Continents
World Population
4,800,000,000
315,000,000
1,585,000,000
6,700,000,000
60% of all the
people groups
are in Africa &
Asia
There are 12,000 ethno-linguistic groups (nations)
Most are in Africa and Asia.
72%
5%
23%
10/40 Window
▶The term “10/40 Window” describes a rectangular shaped geographical area that is
10 by 40 degrees north of the equator.
▶It includes 60 countries with more than 2 billion people (over 1/3 of world)
▶The majority of the unreached people live in this area (less than 2% evangelical)
▶It is home to the world’s major non-Christian religions – Islam, Hinduism,
Buddhism
▶The poorest of the poor live within this window
▶Only 8% of the missionary personnel work in this area
10/40 Window
Unreached Peoples for Which Jesus Also Died
Brahman - India
Burmese - Myanmar
Chamar - India
55,000,000
30,000,000
48,000,000
Jat Muslim - Pakistan
Han - China
28,000,000
36,000,000
Japanese - Japan
122,000,000
Other Unreached Peoples
•
•
•
•
•
•
Shaikh of Bangladesh – 130,000,000
Shaikh of India – 70,000,000
Yadava of India – 55,000,000
Turks of Turkey – 50,000,000
Rajput of Inda – 40,000,000
Hakka of China – 34,000,000
Unreached Areas
10/40 Window
Primary Locations of Muslims
Primary Location of Christians
Sub-Sahara Africa
Why
Emphasize
Sub-Sahara Africa Missions?
God is Giving the Growth in Sub-Sahara Africa
Sub-Sahara Africa
• The number of churches and Christians continue to grow –
1,400,000 of a population 855,000,000 (1 to 600)
• U.S. Membership – 1,300,000 of a population of 300,000,000 (1
to 230)
Church of Christ Membership:
Africa
1400000
1200000
1000000
800000
600000
400000
200000
0
1989
1992
1994
1997
2000
2009
Church of Christ: U.S.
1,800,000
1,600,000
1,400,000
1,200,000
1,000,000
800,000
600,000
400,000
200,000
0
Members
Adherents
1980 1990 1994 1997 2000 2008
Sub-Sahara Africa
Togo
Meru, Kenya
Tanzania
183 Missionaries Serving in Africa
Population of almost 1 Billion in 55 countries & 2,010 languages
Sub-Sahara Africa
• Christians from Sub-Sahara Africa have the
potential to become the evangelistic force for
the future to the unreached areas of the world.
• Philip Ganta in the Middle East
• Kenyan missionaries to Sudan
African Christians’ Advantages
Work in Sub-Sahara Africa
• Continue to plant churches in other people
groups
• Assist in the training of leaders
• Assist in church maturation
• Assist in providing self-supporting trades
• Provide opportunities for higher education
• Assist and partner for mission outreach
Purpose:
Raise-up missionaries for unreached areas
COOKING
Meal Preparations
Meals:
Usually Corn, beans, potatoes,
onions and greens boiled
together
Nkima – Millet cakes and
greens
TRANSPORTING GOODS
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