Below is a continuation of the history of the late Prophet Johanne Masowe (PART 2).

African clergymen and chiefs, prompted by jealousy on account of the multitudes faithful to Father John, complained to the authorities to the end that father John should be stopped preaching. He was, as a result, several times arrested and imprisoned. This led to a wonder which people and especially the wardens witnessed; for behold although he was securely bound in jail with others, the wardens would next find him outside the prison in the open air like a free man.

"In 1932 Johane Masowe first drew the attention of the police in Mashonaland towns, mines, and commercial farms. By making borders of landscapes sites for prayer, he pointed to the displacement of Shona people ... Johane was arrested at least five times during the 1930s for walking around preaching repentance for sins of adultery and witchcraft and offering baptism for those who repented. ... He repeatedly disturbed the peace by turning up on unoccupied land, which whites wanted to remain empty to create borders between the different pockets of the city landscape.

This sacred wilderness, located on the fringes of worksites, residential neighborhoods and highways is the source for the Masowe Apostles' name. John the Baptist, the voice that cries in the wilderness near the river Jordan, is the biblical image from which the Shona name Johane Masowe and this pattern of ritual behavior were derived.

Johane Masowe breached colonial norms by calling people out to pray in places that Rhodesian administrators wished to keep empty and then vanishing, only to surface in another place whose fringes could serve as sites for prayer."

FURTHER LESSONS CAN BE GLEANED FROM THIS ANALYSIS, INCLUDING: Just how important is the Bible anyway? Does the Masowe Apostles' prioritizing of The Holy Spirit over and above the written word have anything to say to Western Christians? Again, rituals are important. One of Mukonyora's major findings is that meaningful rituals heal and empower people. Has this aspect of spirituality been especially neglected by the Protestant churches of the West?

Our churches may contain marginalized groups (be it women, immigrants, the working class), who those in positions of power may find it easy to overlook. But those groups may be pretty adept at adapting the Christian message in ways that are surprising and empowering. What do we miss when we don't stop to listen to them?