Sex, Christianity, and Technology.
It’s not often that these 3 hot topics converge in one steaming pot of scandalous controversy; indeed a combination of any two is enough to result in serious consequences, not the least of which is public outcry. Recently, a story that hits the trifecta has been simmering online: Daudi Were, the former Executive Director of one of the most famous and successful tech companies in Kenya, Ushahidi, has been charged with allegations of sexual harassment by a former colleague, Angela Kabari. That’s the sex and tech part. The more saddening part, is that he is apparently a church elder at Mavuno Church, and has even been a leader and mentor in their Man Enough program.
Obviously, this is low-hanging fruit for #KOT.
— Netía Shiundu™ (@NetiaShiundu) July 20, 2017
It is at times like these that the cynicism many people feel towards Christianity openly comes out because yet again, another professing believer has been caught with their hand in the cookie jar—and in this case, not just any believer, but a church elder!
Daudi Were, a proven sex pest, abuser and pervert, claims he’s committed to Christ and part of Mavuno church. Why am I not surprised?
— Phil (@BigPhil03) July 22, 2017
What shall we say to these things?
I personally reserved my comments until now because I had only read Angela’s post. I don’t know Daudi personally, and even though I know and have worked with 2 members of the Ushahidi board (Juliana Rotich and Erik Hersman), I don’t have the kind of access that justifies my seeking their immediate explanation concerning their handling of the matter. Erik is actually one of my business mentors (who has been very helpful and honorable in all my interactions with him), but because we usually talk in person every few months, I can only ask him about all of this face to face at the next opportunity.
My aim in writing, therefore, is not to defend anyone involved (except Angela, of course). I only want to specifically address the fact that a professing Christian man, who is also a husband and a church leader, has been charged with multiple allegations of sexual harassment and gross misconduct. The reason I can write this now is that regardless of the processes followed in pursuit of justice, the Ushahidi board has finally fired him. The dishonorable discharge validates the accusations, and that’s a terrible place for a “model” Christian man to be in.
So I ask again … what shall we say to these things? How are Christians to respond? How are Christian men, especially, to respond?
The answer: we must be man enough for Daudi Were.
How? 5 things:
1. Remember that God Hates Such Sins
Even though Daudi’s sexual harassment of Angela (and others who chose to remain silent) had not escalated to physicality, his behavior was vile, to say the least. It’s disturbing to read the very crude and overt verbal overtures he made to women, as well as, believe it or not, sending them photos of genitalia.
Jesus said in Mark 7:20-23:
What comes out of a person is what defiles him. For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.
The fact that Daudi didn’t do anything physical doesn’t change the fact that the things he said and sent indicate lust, adultery, sensuality, and pride in his heart. Now, as a man, I will not pretend that these things do not lurk in the shadows of my own heart. The difference however is in what a Christian does when they notice that the sin is present and growing, which is clearly commanded in Romans 8:10, 12-13.
We must realize that God condemns Daudi’s actions. There are numerous passages in both the Old and New Testaments, but it doesn’t get more explicit than Ephesians 5:
But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints. Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving. For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience.
— Ephesians 5:5-6
2. Realize that You Ought Not to Remain Silent
As at the time of writing, I have not seen a single tweet or article with a Christian perspective on the matter. The conversation and pressure has been from the secular world with an interest in human rights and the fair treatment of women. Surely, that’s not right. Christians ought to be at the forefront of the fight for justice, especially when the perpetrator is a well-known professing Christian. I hope that the silence thus far has been in order to allow a decision to be arrived at by Daudi’s superiors, but there’s no excuse going forward.
The passage quoted above goes on to say:
Therefore do not become partners with them; for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret.
— Ephesians 5:7-12 (emphasis mine)
Isaiah 1:17 also says:
learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause.
Angela is not a perfect person, and I have no reason to believe she’s a Christian, but Christians connected in any way to the issue should plead her cause simply because she is made in the image of God.
3. Acknowledge that the Distress of Women is Real
I’ve had various opportunities to preach in high schools and universities. By far, the issue that most often comes up in one-on-one counseling after the preaching, is the issue of either sexual addiction or sexual molestation. It breaks my heart when I remember how various ladies have expressed the devastating effects of either being sexually abused as kids, or discovering erotica through a family member.
We cannot allow ourselves to simply assume that women should ignore sexually suggestive language and behavior from men and just move on with their lives. Our over-sexualized culture poses a threat to everyone. For men, it’s mostly moral. For women, it is emotional and physical as well. Psychosomatic. Far more distressing than most men care to imagine. Here’s some of what Angela says she experienced as a result of Daudi’s words and actions:
“Over the next two weeks, I started to experience migraines whenever I went to the office. I did not want to leave my bed, yet I was sleeping poorly. I had experienced some periodic stomach upsets prior to and during the team retreat. However, after the retreat these became worse and more frequent.”
Men ought to protect and cherish women. When they instead act as sexual predators, it is not only devastating to women, but is also dishonorable to the God who intended the one-flesh union in marriage to be a reflection of Christ’s self-sacrificing love for his bride (Ephesians 5:25-26).
4. Seek the Brother’s Discipline
Even though the phrase “Man Enough” has been mocked because of Daudi’s failures, the truth is that this moment is the very one where he needs men who will man up to exhort, rebuke, and discipline him. This is especially the role of the pastors, friends, and the honorable men of Mavuno Church on behalf of the whole congregation.
Jesus’ instructions in Matthew 18 are foundational.
If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.
This has obviously gone beyond private confrontation, it is now in the public domain. As such, he ought to repent to his church, and commit to working on and restoring his godliness and trustworthiness under the accountability of his church and family. If he doesn’t, then he ought to be excommunicated.
If this sounds harsh and you’re afraid of judging, please hear God’s word through Paul in 1 Corinthians 5:11-12.
But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler—not even to eat with such a one. For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? God judges those outside. “Purge the evil person from among you.”
5. Love the Brother
Sometimes, excommunication is the only way to love a brother. But that should only happen if it’s the only way left. What we can thank God for even now is the fact that Daudi’s sin has been exposed, which gives his church and family and friends the opportunity to deal with it. At the same time, you and I should be grateful for God’s mercy that our own secret sins have not been published online for all the world to see. An incident such as this should cause us all to examine ourselves, thank God for mercy, and pray for the one caught in the midst of it.
Think of Were’s wife. What turmoil she must be going through! Surely she needs our prayers and encouragement. Think of Daudi. What shame! And yet, it is possible for a Christian to fall in this way. Shall we simply distance ourselves from him? Give him condescending glances at church? Act like we’ve never even met? And worse, castigate and throw stones at him as though he is more wretched than we are? Be careful if you think you stand, lest you fall.
Either Daudi is a masquerading Pharisee, or he is a Christian, albeit one beset with sexual sin. If he was never truly a believer, love means seeking his salvation and true repentance. But if he is a true believer in our Lord Jesus Christ and has been born again, saved by faith, then we as fellow believers ought to be strong but gentle, stern but kind, truthful but loving, just, yet patient and merciful. This is that moment when he needs us the most. Now is when he and his family need genuine, Christ-like, steadfast love.
Will you be man enough?
Let me leave you with these words of Scripture. May every word hit home.
Now if anyone has caused pain, he has caused it not to me, but in some measure—not to put it too severely—to all of you. For such a one, this punishment by the majority is enough, so you should rather turn to forgive and comfort him, or he may be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. So I beg you to reaffirm your love for him. For this is why I wrote, that I might test you and know whether you are obedient in everything. Anyone whom you forgive, I also forgive. Indeed, what I have forgiven, if I have forgiven anything, has been for your sake in the presence of Christ, so that we would not be outwitted by Satan; for we are not ignorant of his designs.
2 Corinthians 2:5-11
Indeed, we are not ignorant of his designs.
So please pray and reach out.
— Huston Malande.