Thursday, June 28, 2012


Somebody called me a Universalist. I took it as a compliment, because one thing I know about Universalists is that they take God’s love to the extreme, even though sometimes it is screwed up. And I have always longed to be accused of taking God’s love to the extreme.

Now for those who are wondering whether I really am a Universalist, rest assured I am not. I don’t take any labels.

I also want people to know that I am not a heterosexual. Neither am I gay.

I am not a Pentecostal, Evangelical, Anglican or any other denomination man has ever cooked up. I don’t subscribe to any religious affiliation. I am not a Theist. And that doesn’t make me an Atheist.

I am not a chef. I am not a writer. I am not a musician.

I think I should also add this: I am not Ugandan, though I am very patriotic. I don’t litter on our city’s streets.

I am me. And I guess that’s why I don’t fit.

I have dropped all labels, even the ones that would look impressive on a certificate or plaque. I don’t want to be put on a pedestal.

I am just me.

Very many people fight for my attention, and when they realise that I don’t belong to their clique, they drop me like a hot coal. I know I would have more friends if I wore the same tee-shirt like them or stood up for the same causes as them. But I have dropped all labels.

If anyone ever remembers me, I want them to remember me as someone who was himself. If anyone ever accepts me, I want them to accept me for who I really am, not because I am just like them.

Heterosexuals throw stones at homosexuals. Homosexuals throw stones at heterosexuals. Muslims hate Christians and the Christians retaliate with false humility. One political party squashes another. And it’s all because everyone is proud of their label and don’t want to drop it.

In today’s world, a label is worth everything. People will kill for labels or die for them. That’s why there are suicide bombers. No woman would abort an unwanted child if she didn’t fear the label that would be pasted on her if society found out about it. Another would refuse to abort because she fears the label she would get from society if they knew her intentions.

Prada, Versace, Nokia, Microsoft and other labels wouldn’t be leaders in the market if undue importance was not subscribed to labels.

South Africans would not have endured Apartheid, and the Rwandan Genocide would never have happened if there were no labels.

That’s why I dropped mine, even at the expense of being shunned and ridiculed. I left the camp at the risk of losing friends or ever gaining new ones. And I am content where I am.

So next time you see me, and realise I am naked, just know that I don’t care. I’ve stripped myself of all pretences. Nothing matters to me. Only one thing really matters: Christ. For “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20, NKJV)

Does anyone want to join me in my naked parade? Can you risk being naked and not ashamed? Drop your labels!


I haven’t blogged in quite a while now. It’s not that I have been dealing with writer’s block. I’ve been thinking. And asking questions. I have read a few books and watched a few movies. I even watched a documentary about gay people. The last two weeks have been great for me. So I thought I should share with you something that has been gnawing on my heart lately.

Questions. Big, hard questions.

Have you ever realised that we all have some dearly held beliefs? Some of us are so attached to our world views so tightly that we would kill or die for them. Have you ever stopped and asked yourself, “What if I’ve believed wrong all my life?”

Some of us have grown up in church. We’ve been fed Christianity without questioning anything. Actually, the only questions we would ask would be so we could get the pastor’s opinion about a subject so we could know what to think about that subject. We were only allowed to ask the simple questions like, “Is it ok to go to church on Sunday?” “Is drinking a sin?”

Most of the questions we were allowed to ask only needed a simple answer of “Yes” or “No.”  And we were not supposed to ask “Why”

We cannot ask, “Why would a God of love send people to hell?” “Why is it only the pastor who is supposed to stand up there every Sunday?” “Why is homosexuality bad?”

Of course a few of us asked such bold questions. We were given instant, pre-packaged answers, which, when opposed, got us kicked out.

We asked, “Why can’t we go out to the nightclub?”

The pastor said, “It’s a sin.”

“Why is it a sin?”

“Because the Bible says so.”

“What if the Bible is wrong?”

You don’t want to know what happened afterwards.

But what if we are wrong? What if the pastor is wrong? What if the professors and philosophers are wrong? Can we swallow the fact that our world view could be wrong, that we could actually be practical atheists?

What if our idea of truth is shutting our mind from learning something new? What if we always quickly discount something because it doesn’t line up with our dearly-held beliefs, even without searching it out for validity?

Arthur Schopenhauer, a nineteenth-century German Philosopher said, “"All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as self-evident."

Have you ever stopped to ask yourself whether your version of truth is actually wrong, and what you are ridiculing or violently opposing might actually be the truth?

Proverbs 18:17 says, “In a lawsuit the first to speak seems right, until someone comes forward and cross-examines.”

Here is some homework: Cross examine what you believe.

"The unexamined life is not worth living."—SOCRATES

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Gaining Perspective Through Painting

My friend Ericson and I spent a week painting. We painted pictures on the walls of a nursery school. And I think we did a pretty good job, although this was my first painting job and I didn’t have any time to train. I learnt on the job.
There is something Eric did that kept nagging me. Every few minutes, he would step away from the painting and look at it from a distance. I thought this was a waste of time. He didn’t have any right to enjoy watching an unfinished painting!
So while he stepped back and watched his painting take shape, I would crouch over my painting, concentrating on a face that was having a hard time looking human. Then I would complain that the shade of brown I mixed wasn’t right for the face. But Eric didn’t look concerned at all. He would mix all the wrong colours and I would chastise him for it. But he would go ahead with his experiments.
On the last day of the job, I stepped back and looked at our paintings for the very first time. My jaw dropped! I was looking at the best painting I have ever made! Of course it was the first painting I’ve ever made, but it looked beautiful—much more beautiful than it looked while I was fussing over the face that was refusing to look human.
Then I looked over at Eric’s painting. It was a profusion of colour. And it looked magnificent!
That was when God spoke to me. He said one word.
And it dawned on me. I looked at the paintings, and all I saw was my life. I realised that I had wasted a lot of time fussing over the little things in my life that refused to line up with my expectations. There were the frustrating relationships, the unfulfilled dreams, the little time, the overwhelming schoolwork, the little money, et cetera, et cetera.
I was spending too much time focusing on the unimportant.
That day, God showed me the right perspective. I stood back and looked at my life from a distance. I saw all the friends around me who loved me like crazy. I saw the manuscript that’s completed and waiting to be published and my renewed interest in fine art. I saw the many more years that stretched ahead of me—years that were far more than the ones I had lived so far. I saw the less than 365 days of schoolwork that were remaining. I saw the money that was waiting to be harvested from my writing, cooking and maybe painting. And I saw life. A great life!
So from that day forward, I purposed that whenever life tries to bog me down, I will stop looking at one ugly square centimetre on the painting. I will step back, and see the whole painting take shape. I am pretty sure I will always like what I will see when I step back.P

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Where Is God?

I sat on the steps leading to the Uganda Martyrs’ Shrine. The whole place was crowded. It was my first time to come to this famous place in Namugongo, Uganda, on 3rd June, the Uganda Martyrs’ day, a day when the Church remembers the martyrdom of the Uganda Martyrs for their religious zeal.
Earlier, I had tried to participate in the mass that was underway, but I realized that there were people who loved God more than I did and they had secured themselves all the vantage points. The only option I was left with was to sit in the sweltering heat and try listening to the proceedings from the mass on the speakers. Of course it was not as interesting as watching the men of God in their priestly colourful garb and the choir with dancing women. Soon, boredom kicked in and I welcomed it by looking around to find something to feed my active imagination.
I didn’t have to look further than the doors of the Shrine. They are heavy wooden doors on which the faces of the martyrs were sculpted. It is an impressive sight if you are a tourist, an artist or one who appreciates good art like I do. But this time, it was not the art that I was appreciating, because, a throng of pilgrims (did I tell you everyone around was supposedly a pilgrim?) were pressing against the doors.
Now this aroused my curiosity.
I stood up from the dusty steps, dusted my rear, and inched forward for a better look.
Most of the people pressing themselves against the door, I realized, were middle-aged and old men and women. They held handkerchiefs and rosaries which they rubbed against the faces of the martyrs. This intrigued me.
Then a gentleman left the bunch. It looked like he had wiped the martyrs’ faces long enough. I noticed that he had tears in his eyes. But it was not only tears. There was a look of desperation on his face.
As I looked at this middle-aged gentleman, dressed in non-descript trousers and a shirt, it dawned on me that this must not be his first time to wipe the faces of the sainted martyrs. And it looked like this time his faith was wavering. My heart went out to him. Whatever his problem was, he had faith in the intercession of the martyrs. And apparently, they had let him down a number of times. He hoped this time they would be considerate.
As the gentleman got lost in the crowd, my attention was drawn to another sight. This one was of a wooden sculpture of one older martyr (Matia Lwanga) baptizing a younger martyr (Kizito Omuto), most probably before their martyrdom. Many people surrounded this one too. They touched the sculpture with Rosaries and other pieces of clothing as they whispered memorized prayers.
One thing was common with all of them: there was desperation in their eyes.
I did not know any of the people around personally, but I could not help but guess the problems they had. That old lady holding a large rosary must be having a chronic illness. That slim gentleman must be suffering from acute poverty. Maybe the young lady over there had a problematic marriage. And who knew if that well-dressed woman at the corner with a plain countenance didn’t have a relative dying of cancer in an Indian hospital?
If God could only hear their pleas!
 Couldn’t a God of love see that they had suffered enough for whatever sins they had committed? I was even tempted to ask myself whether there can be a God who loves us, given the pain and suffering in the world. If he really was there, he was not showing it. For goodness’ sake, most of these people had made pilgrimages—that is, walked—from as far as Burundi to come and make their petitions through the sainted martyrs, again.
I am not very sure whether all of them received answers to their prayers. Maybe I’ll never know. But I was very sure that many of them were not making their prayers for the first time. The despondency on their faces showed that they had prayed over and over again and God either seemed not to hear them or was too busy doing other more important things.
It was a hopeless situation for most of them.
All I could do was wonder: where was God?

(Excerpt from What If God Doesn't Really Love You?)

Saturday, June 2, 2012

I Will Remain Me

A raging storm
Thundering noise
My heart beats like a drum roll
My brow’s wet with a cold sweat
And my eyes are saucers

A four-stringed quartet
Beautiful symphony
A bow kisses a violin string
A lullaby steals my alertness
And my eyes are slits

A silent whisper
A cool breeze
Your hand brushes over mine
Your lips kiss my cheek
And my eyes are closed

Whatever may come
Whatever may go
At all times
I will remain me
I will remain me