Steve Van Nattan
THINGS IN GENERAL
Tennessee music We are not based in Eastern Tennessee...
Home of the VOLS and the Great Smoke Mountains.
If you will be passing
through East Tennessee,
plan to stop for coffee.
ahead of time
Some folks have asked about the
three stars in the Tennessee flag--
They represent three kinds of
Southern Baptist tobacco:
Smokin, spittin, and dippin :-)
"Politicians and news reporters are always looking for a bug under the chip...
It is a case of 'the mote and the beam'." Harry S. Truman
This page should give all cynics a bug to play with--
And a chip to chew on.
Our CEO is a former
Carpenter from Nazareth--
The Lord Jesus Christ
Asst. to the CEO: Steve Van Nattan
World traveler - Author
No Mail Order PhD :-)
Missionary to Ethiopia and Kenya
Pastor's Training School Headmaster in Kenya
Youth camp ministries
Pastor to four Bible believing churches in the USA
Master Web Surfer :-)
Servant to all but slave of Jesus Christ only
© Whole Site--
Copyrighted by Steve Van Nattan-- 1996-2004
To Make an Omelette....
The following is politically incorrect, definitely NOT the
heaviest stuff at this site, but it IS the truth-- well, sort of.
I really have NO respect for Americans who insist on being hyphenated, but, with due disrespect for all of you
American-Americans, I give you here my qualifications to also be hyphenated.
I am an African-American
I was born on the south side of Los Angeles, California, which is African-American
My early days of scholarship included a stint at 79th Street Elementary School in Los Angeles.
That's hard core African! To add a bit of hubris which will date me for sure, I'd like you to know
that on one occasion I represented the Third Grade class at 79th Street School at Art Linkletter's
Houseparty. I was given a cardboard horsie and a set of Golden Books, and I messed my pants on
the way home. Aren't childhood memories a blessing.
Mount Longonot (left) and
Kijabe Hill (right)--
Kenya-- Rift Valley
I hiked across the bottom of the crater of Longonot.
I also hiked to the top of Kijabe Hill-- just a stroll
This was the view I had as I waited for the dinner
bell to be rung by Allan Hovingh.
The dinner bell is just to the right
outside of the picture.
of Longonot, on left, and Kijabe Hill, on right,
taken by Mike Steeves, AIM Ministries.
The valley is the Rift Valley, and the Kidong Valley in this scene.
Large Background size version of this graphic.
You may use this but not sell it.
At age 11, my parents took me to Africa, where they were missionries for many years. Having taken a slow freighter to Mombasa, they took the train to Nairobi, Kenya, and they left me in at Rift Valley Academy, in the Kiambu, right in the middle of Mau Mau territory. I never saw Vietnam many years later, but in grade school I was guarded night and day by the King's African Rifles, including an African member of the Queen's Royal Bodyguard. He was a stocky Mjaluo who had a bren gun mounted in a shoulder stock-- honest. Punji sticks, barbed wire, and sand bag bunkers were my play ground. From that era onward, I lived in Kenya and Tanzania (then known as Tanganyika), a total of eight years while I was growing up.
The badge at the left was worn on our school uniforms. The girls' had a strange British type uniform which is really impossible to describe without a picture. The boys wore khaki uniforms, with an Eisenhour jacket. The British boys' schools in Nairobi, Prince of Wales and Duke of York, were said to envy us guys for being allowed to wear the well known Eisenhour jacket rather than a dress blazer. A red tie was only required when a British colonial official or a big shot from the USA was on campus. The younger boys traditionally wore baggy walking shorts like the British, but once a boy was in about tenth grade, he would wear "long bags" of long trousers.
Jan. 25, 1998-- I am very pleased
to see from my stats that I am getting a good number of visitors from Kanya.
Punda moja anasema, "Karibu." Huna kazi siku hizije? Si kitu-- Sukuma wiki hapa rafiki :-)
OLD FRIENDS FROM KENYA: Old friends of ours from RVA and our days in Kenya and Tanzania are encouraged to Contact us by E-Mail. We are eager to learn where you are and how God is using you.
Swahili was the language I learned by mixing with African neighbors. I can also greet you (and, I am sorry to say, cuss a little) in Luo, Kijita, Nandi, and Maasai. I can get by in Kikuyu in any circumstance with two words- "Niwega mno." I played with African kids because I liked them, and, much of the time, I had no other playmates. I argued politics in the shops and union offices (eat your heart out Jesse). I ate in dung plastered houses and cafes that your average American civil rights light weight would find terrifying. I learned to savor fried flying ants, cartilage and potatoes, ugali, and I bet I can eat chili pepper fire with any Alabama Cajun fakir (try my Habañero Salsa). I can also eat Indian curry as hot as Jaliwal Patel can serve it. Also, try the lime pickles.
The fellow above is running for Parliament from Narok.
They tell me that when he speaks no one misses the point. :-)
Kenya's new President, Mwai Kibaki-- 72 years young. Kibaki is on the right, and Raila Odinga is on the left. Odinga is the son of a very colorful father, Oginga Odinga, who was a member of the Kenya African leadership at the time of Kenya's independence. President Kibaki was one of Jomo Kenyatta's youthful roust abouts in the days before Independence. Kibaki will probably be Kenya's last man in office who participated in the birth of the Republic. He is a real gentleman and a man of honor.
Before I left Tanzania, my parent's home, I marched in Tanzania's first Independence Day parade. Later, while in college, I helped Kenyans celebrate their Independence Day at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles. Meanwhile; my Mom back in Kenya, was leading the choir in her home town in singing their new national anthem.
I've hiked across Mt. Longonot- across, I said- it was still an active volcano. [See Mt. Longonot above on the right-- left peak] Read about climbing Longonot as a rite of passage. The line of march Bob Capen and I took would be right across the middle of the photo on the Web site linked. I have found Mau Mau hide outs. I have been stalked by leopards. I have talked labor union dandies and Kikuyu rebels out of thumping me-- we ended up the best of friends. All of the above WITHOUT Bud Lite!
And, I have sung the songs of Zion with real "reverends"-- Black African pastors whose faith in Christ was tested severely. They had to watch helplessly as their babies were hacked in half, by their own Mau Mau countrymen, because they would not denounce a Jew named The Lord Jesus Christ. Reverend Jesse, baby, that's just awaaaaaay beyond your brand of religion, sir. I am sorry if you had to ride in the back of the bus once-- I am sorry if they made you pee in a "Negro" urinal-- I am truly sorry. But, Rev. Jesse, you cannot understand what it feels like to really suffer "unto blood" for the Gospel of Jesus Christ at the hands of men of your own color. You are too well insulated to allow for that option. My African friends had no Rainbow Coalition watching over them-- only Jesus. Indeed, you haven't even learned to suffer yet on the south side of Chicago and on Michigan blvd. in Detroit. Your "walk throughs" are a cheap gesture, friend. But I digress-- back to the point...
The bird is a roller
We have a strange friend named Jay Crosby who decided we needed to be
made members of the Jackson Rainbow Coalition. :-)
Not bad photo editing, or shall we say, hacking?
Left to Right sans Jesse: Mary, Ruth, Elizabeth, Dan, Mike, and Steve Van Nattan
Years later, in 1973, my wife (who was born in Tanganyika), and I went to Ethiopia as missionaries and added another African culture to our African-American heritage. We lived in Eritrea (fantastic site-- please visit), Debre Birhan, and with the Arussi Galla. Tenestelygn Zemedochay. The Arussi clan in our area received us into full clan membership before we left them. And, we didn't take our clothes off and run through the bush naked to receive that honor, like your garden variety National Geographic or Peace Corpse (yes) twinks.
We were at Lake Langano in Ethiopia during the Marxist coup (eat your heart out Jane Fonda), when Heile Salassie was murdered by Communists, and we woke every morning to the sound of gun fire while those tender hearted Marxists killed most of the businessmen in Addis Ababa. Don't tell me I don't understand Liberals and Marxists, friend-- I was there when Stalinist Menguistu Heile Mariam's mob destroyed Ethiopia with US jets and money supplied to them by Kissinger and Ford. Ask former US ambassador Ross Adair how it felt to watch our best friend in Africa, Heile Sallassie, be ravaged by Henry Kissinger and the Rockefeller gang.
TAKE NOTICE: President Kibakii, Musaveni, and all democracies in Africa-- Beware of men from afar bearing gifts (IMF "loans") and guns.
Heile Sallassie refused their bondage, and note what they did to him. Any African leader who refuses the loans and financial advisors of the New World Order should double the palace guard at once. Also, if you find oil in your country, don't tell Harlan Oil Company in Texas. You might get "liberated". I keep wandering from the point, right?
Being American and known as "Imperialist Running Dogs," we felt it would be prudent to leave Ethiopia and move to Nairobi, Kenya in 1974 :-) After arriving there (kind of like going home), we were asked to go to Eldoret, Kenya to teach. Kipchoge Kinyo, the Olympic gold medal winner, also called Eldoret his home town.
I taught in the African High School where my boss was an African Headmaster-- good man too. On the side, I taught teachers to teach in a night school run by a Baluya friend. We lived with four gasoline cans ready because that gentle Muslim soul in Uganda, Idi Amin, claimed that the area we were living in was his territory, and he intended to invade it. The Israeli planes that rescued the Jews from Entebbe, Uganda, flew right over our house. Hubris in large portions, all around, to you who read. Hey, you Zionist boys in Jerusalem, I know about the deal you cut with Jomo Kenyatta ;-)
Click the image of the Emperor, and read his life story.
Now, I don't want any wana-be African-Americans to get on my case about my attitude. I do NOT believe in equal rights. I have no rights myself. You may think you are free, but I am a slave of Jesus Christ, and no self-server is going to have space on this Web Page- be he Black, White, Green, or an ET rubber head. Indeed, if Uncle Tom were a King James Bible believer, we would give him all the space he wanted.
I would also like to humbly offer my services to the NAACP as a consultant on African affairs. After all, I am more "African" than all the civil rights leaders in America rolled together. All I ask for my services is half as much salary of Jesse Jackson gets. I could probably get along fairly well on that. My offices would be in Loitokitok, Kenya on the slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro, and I would insist on a guest house or two where African-American civil rights leaders could stop for a visit.
This is a "matatu."
You must hit the link!
The inside of the vehicle is packed full of passengers, and the ones on the outside are paying customers. One of them is a "tani boy." His job is to collect the fare and push as many passengers in the back door as he can. He is also responsible for loading the luggage on the top, which often includes an occasional goat and basket of chickens. The "tani boy" will not get on the vehicle until it is moving, which is some sort of show of zeal and bravado. The vehicle is a Peugeot of course. That is the ONLY vehicle which can take this punishment. This photo was taken in the Eldoret area of east central Kenya. For the record, I never heard of
a Peugeot breaking a rear spring. Which is why
the French car company is world famous.
Just north of Eldoret:
Going and coming from home to boarding school I rode a train like
this on the East African Railways and Harbours.
We spent all of two days on the train, and then we took the lake steamer
around Lake Victoria, which is the size of Ohio.
The "Lunatic Express" moved at a roaring
slow trot. You could hop on the moving train above our school and ride to Nakuru to
visit the shops. The grade was that steep. Coming back, you jumped and
rolled into the bushes. Beware of the wait-a-bit thorns.
The train had to go somewhat slow downgrade to prevent a run away.
The trian we were on was once arriving late to board the lake steamer in Kisumu
on one journey from school to home, and the engineer gave it full throttle. We did a bit of
math by clocking mile markers for ten minutes, and came up with a whopping 54 MPH.
We could look out of either side of the coach and see flames coming out of the fire
box in the engine far up ahead. The whole train was rocking around violently.
The stories were many and weird from those days. One derailment was included.
PHOTOS OF ETHIOPIA
Ethiopian flag from the era of Emperor Heile Salassie
Addis Ababa, Capital of Ethiopia
The national bank is on the right in foreground.
National food of Ethiopia
This looks to me like siga'tibbs, roasted spiced meat.
Ethiopian Airlines offers this dish for breakfast.
Eating doro watt at a road cafe
The way you can tell someone has eaten well in Ethiopia is that their fingernails will
be turned red from the chili in the gravy. One eats with the fingers of the right hand.
You can see from the deep maroon color of the gravy dish how much chili is used!
The clay griddles are drying in the sun.
They will be used to cook the bread of the national dish.
The trees are Eucalyptus brought from Australia in the 1920s
Yelamlam Amba-- A green high place
Ethiopian homesteads are usually on a high place "amba". This is not so much for
security as to build on high rocky ground and leave the good ground for crops.
Solid stone church carved into the
ground at Lalibela
Tigre girls singing--
These are Semitic people who came
from the land of Sheba (Habashia)
in South Arabia long ago.
These people may well have a more
Semitic look than most Jewish people today.
They may look very much like Solomon's daughters.
The stone churches are still in use. They include a baptistry at the
bottom of the area where babies are plunged into algae filled water.
Immersion is after the Eastern Orthodox tradition.
Danish site: The photos are exceptional
I am a Dutch-American
My ancestors came to America from the Netherlands in 1695 and settled in upper state New York (condolences accepted with thanks), and they promptly got into a family feud. Mario Cuomo's clan was still rolling out pasta in Venicci long after my American roots were established.
The old patriarch of my ancestors came home one day and said that my great, great, great grandfather was not sired by him, and the kid walked out the door and promptly changed his name. That's the kind of nice story you get from checking out your family tree. Do you see why I prefer to be known as an African-American?
One redeeming note. Our Dutch gang produced five Civil War Chaplains. We know how to keep out of trouble when Yankees and Rebels get their noses out of joint.
I have made the pilgrimage to Amsterdam. I am a Haji Hollander. I have walked the charming streets and floated down the canals, and I think Amsterdam stinks- physically and spiritually. Volendam was nice, and there we ate Pelinge (smoked eel)-- it gives you bad breath. But there is a limit in returning to one's roots-- I could eat fried flying ants in Africa, but the sight of dignified Hollanders tipping their heads back, precisely at 4 PM every day, and sliding raw slimy fish down their throats was hard on my zeal. Having seen the Netherlands up close, I prefer Arizona, Tennessee, or Sultan Hammid any day.
I lived through 17 years of Western Michigan winters where thousands of real Dutch high browed Calvinists live, yah? I have resisted their cold Dutch theology and I am still born again in spite of it, Praise the Lord. Calvinism is like mackerel in the moonlight-- it shines and it stinks. My favorite Dutch writer-- one of the late Christian era's genuinely godly thinkers-- is Leonard Verduin-- Anatomy of a Hybrid and The Reformers and Their Stepchildren.
I have seen Amway's New Jerusalem, in Ada, Michigan, and I worked for that famous Hollander, Rich De Vos-- autographs on sale in the foyer. Am I not a Dutchman of the Dutchmen? My wife cooks banket and olie bollen, and I love to drain puddles and plant tulips there. Do you know why the Hollanders wear wooden shoes? Answer: To keep the wood peckers away from their heads. I can tell Dutch jokes because I am a Hollander :-)
Dutchman, Dutchman, belly full of straw; when he laughs, he goes Yah, Yah, Yah.
I am a Native-American
My Grand Daddy on my Mom's side was about a quarter Cherokee. He worked hard from Los Angeles, California to Jacksonville, Florida taking care of his family. He never asked for special treatment, and his mother was skinned out of some prime real estate in downtown Muskogee, Oklahoma by a shark Gringo. You White folks owe me one. But, never mind, you can keep Muskogee if you like. Just give me fishing rights if you please.
I am an Irish-American
My Dad's side, though partly Dutch, also included a bunch of potato chewing Irishmen. They were the usual Roman Catholic bigots, and went to Mass every day if it didn't rain. They weren't smart enough to recite The Angeles in the evening, so when the church bell rang at 6 PM, they joined right in saying, "Bong, bong, bong..."
They moved to America, kicked the Pope, and turned Methodist. They tried to raise sheep in Colorado before deep wells were invented. One relative, Harry Castle, ran the rodeo in Grand Junction, Colorado so that he could cheat at the horse pull event. He trained his horses to back up and jerk the big sled. He was the nice guy-- the rest of the Castles were hard rock miners! You better keep an eye on those Irishman, eh?
I am a German-American
I am a true WASP. Saxony is in my blood-- just like Colin Powell. Does that explain some of my tender hearted editorial? Probably. One of our cousins on my Mom's side was out of work, and, as is want to be done by those who live on "unemployment," he decided to follow back the family tree. When he called me one night and gleefully announced that we were related to the Kaiser Wilhelm, I said, "Ach tung, turkey. Stop before you get to Der Fuhrer already."
of the above is pure vanity
And will get me nowhere with God.
If it charms you, go ahead and copy it, and sign your name to it. At 60, I couldn't care less. I am a true gong and trinket man. My time in Africa, and my living room walls, validate my story, so you will have quite a time trying to counterfeit the heritage God has given to me.
What am I proud of? Nothing. It is only by the Grace of God, and the Precious Blood of The Lord Jesus Christ, that I am what I am.
Brother Martin Luther was a real tiger when he nailed his complaint against the Pope to the church house door. He cried, "Sola Scriptura, sola fide, sola gratia, and sola Cristi." But, brother Martin forgot one, "Sola Hema"-- Only by the Blood. The Reformed Church never has finished the job of Reformation of the Church of Rome. Indeed, they are returning, on the run, to Mother Church. The Baptist zeal of Roger Williams was the true message of the Gospel, and the Blood of Jesus Christ was his message.
That is the message which saved me when I was seven years old. Through the witness of my Dad and Mom, and through the children's radio broadcast of Theodore Epp, I heard that I was a lost sinner, and that the Lord Jesus shed his precious Blood to wash away my sins. I believed that, and my Mother helped me confess my faith in Jesus Christ, and I have been saved ever since. Since the day I was born again, I began to have an eternal history in Christ. Do you have a history? If not, you can repent of your sin and confess your faith in Jesus Christ for your salvation, and your living history will start and last for eternity.
1 Corinthians 15:10 But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain;.......
I am also a bigoted "racist." I believe that the only "race" that is right is the Royal Priesthood, the Chosen Generation, of saints who are in Christ Jesus (1 Peter 2:9). I sincerely hope and pray that you, whatever your human heritage, are also in that "race" of the Redeemed. If not, why not? When you come into Christ, you come into the only non-political body on earth that will truly love and nurture you without racial or tribal prejudice.
But then, your soul's destiny is YOUR choice. True Bible based Christianity is the only religion in the world that invites you to choose, and if you reject the Gospel, you can go right to Hell, with bells and whistles, without any of us standing in your way.
So, believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and tell Him so NOW,
Or agree with Him later when the prospects are hotter than you will like.
"This is my story,
To God be the Glory;
I'm only a sinner,
Saved by Grace."
BACK TO THE MENU OF THE YARNS SECTION