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Biblical ‘mazematic’ is not normal math, no need to hide good pastor’s name

The good book is not the right text to learn maths, as we know it. One scribe reports that Jesus fed 5,000 people with five loaves and two fish. The kind of division and multiplication at work here makes sense only in biblical ‘mazematic’, not in the arithmetic kids are taught in school. Not clear either how anyone could speak to a gathering of 5,000 people centuries before invention of the public address system.

So, it is perfectly understandable that a man of God using biblical ‘mazematic’ can end up with puzzling calculations. It happened in Tana River County.

A member of the congregation fell ill and underwent surgery in Nairobi. In the spirit of brotherly and sisterly love, fellow worshippers raised Sh530,000 to settle the hospital bill. They gave the money to their pastor to deliver to the family.

The man of God did his biblical ‘mazematic’ and deducted Sh92,000 from the sum raised.

We learnt about it when the family told us that the hospital had refused to discharge the patient due to a pending balance of Sh51, 000. What shocked us was the amount they said they had received from the church, which was short of Sh92,000,” church treasurer Anne Musyoki told the Nation (September 26, p.3).

When the man of God showed up to lead service, the congregation told him they first wanted to know what happened to the money they raised. The preacher, Nation reported, “was forced to flee” after his flock threatened to teach him, er, proper math.

When asked about the huge deficit, the preacher told the congregation that it was meant to cater for tithe and other matters that he would account for later. As the congregation grew furious, the pastor left the podium promising to return with the money, only to disappear.”

A member of the family, Celestine Wagure, said they had used all property they had to treat their relative and sought help of the church. Worshippers were planning to raise more funds for the children of the ill member who had been withdrawn from good schools for lack of fees.

What is the name of the man of God? What’s his church called? The Nation hid the identities, essential elements of this story. Why? The paper did not say. But they reached him for a comment on the saga.

Man is to error,” he said. “I am cultured differently in terms of faith and that is why I tithed the amount, but I am going to refund and settle the matter with my members,” he told the newspaper.

Pastor is cultured differently in terms of faith, which means his biblical ‘mazematic’ is not the same as the normal arithmetic his flock understands. And that is all fine. But why did the Nation cover him with a blanket of anonymity? The paper didn’t say he requested it and why.

Are there any ethical issues in this case? None that we can see. The Code of Conduct for the Practice of Journalism in Kenya requires that all sides of a story be reported. And here we have the church, the family and pastor telling their side. Fair enough.

Comments shall be sought from anyone who is mentioned in an unfavourable context and evidence of such attempts to seek comments shall be kept,” the Code decrees.

Did the Nation do this? Yup. So, why hide the identity of the pastor and the church? He admitted “error”, but not theft. His biblical ‘mazematic’ is not normal math. He is going to return the money because people just don’t understand this.

Why then was the honest man of God carrying out his divine mission not named in this story?


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