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Would Jesus Climb Mt. Kilimanjaro?

I have to admit, I am not religious and personally don’t approve of missionary work in Africa. Sure, they build orphanages and hospitals in the community, which are wonderful and do great things, but they are also responsible for decimating many indigenous religions that survived for thousands of years, probably long before Christianity.

I stumbled across this interesting link today. It’s a Climb For Christ event where people climb Kilimanjaro, and then talk about how God could better serve the people of the Kilimanjaro region.

You have to be kidding me, right? I hate to say this guys, but the missionaries came about 200 years ago, and did a good job of converting most people (except the Masai) to Christianity. When I wandered the slopes of Kilimanjaro for more than a year – I received too much Jesus talk. It’s all people really have. Everyone asks you if you love Jesus, and everybody goes to church. If you are not in church, then the whole village wonders what you are doing. Church is a mandatory life for the average person; it’s kind of like watching American Idol in America.

The Climb for Christ event is looking a missionaries who, for two years, will be “working with guides and porters who climb Kili to teach about the effects of high altitude and to help equip guides and porters with better gear for conditions on the 19,340-foot mountain. Through relationships developed by living in the community, there will be opportunities to share the Gospel and witness to locals.”

How is a missionary, who may have climbed one mountain, educate a porter that only speaks Swahili, about altitude sickness and Jesus, when the porter has climbed Kilimanjaro for 10 years – over 400 times – and already goes to church 300 times per year?

By Peter Baxter | Permalink | 3 comments | February 14th, 2007
Tags: Climb For Christ, Jesus, Mount Kilimanjaro, Opinion
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By Jeffery | February 14th, 2007

I think you make some interesting and valid points. I just got back from Kili 2 weeks ago and the most amazing thing to me besides summitting was the people. They are so warm and pleasnt. I am a little uncomfortable, however, with the dismissive tone you use regarding religion. I am Catholic and definitely not evangelical or “preachy” but if these good people are happy going to church then I don’t think it wise, cool or sophisticated to make fun of their, or anyone’s religion, as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone. Frankly, I think there is too little spirituality in the secular world these days. That’s one reason I went to Kili. To reflect on life, nature and God. Actually, when I got to the top, instead of some epiphany…I just wanted to get my pic by the sign and get the hell down. Peace. Jeff

By Donovan | February 15th, 2007

Jeff – Sorry this came off the wrong way. It’s not meant to poke fun of religion. It’s to question how a missionary can provide any value to an already extremely religious community. There is no secular world on Kilimanjaro – or in much Africa.

By Jeffery | February 15th, 2007

yeah, I hear you…I think there is something distateful about the idea of Westerners going and pushing their beliefs on other societies. I do think you’re right, from what I saw they certainly seem alot more “devout” than most of us. I think it is the arrogance of our culture that we have to go and “instruct” other cultures how to do things whether that be poitical, economic, religious, whatever.


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