THE RISE OF CHRISTIANITY IN  JAMAICA – A BRIEF HISTORY

Christianity  was introduced to Jamaica with Roman Catholicism through Spanish plunderers. In 1655, the British plundered and Church of England (later called the Anglican Church) became the state church. In 1754 the Moravians landed in Black River as the first missionaries, and devoted themselves to the conversion of Jamaica’s non-white population. They were followed by other groups – Baptists in 1783, Methodists in 1789, and Presbyterians in the early 19th century.

Because these non-conformist denominations preached a message of equality for all men, they met with extreme and at times violent opposition from the slave-owning class and the state church. 
In 1860, there was intense religious activity called the Great Revival. It started in the non-conformist churches, using vibrant evangelism to spread Christianity throughout the country.
In this time of religious fervour, African elements and rituals (whuich were still entrenched in the lives of the ex-slaves) intermingled with Christian beliefs, and the outcome was a genuinely Jamaican religion called Revival. It features spirit possession, and music as a central feature of the worship experience. The two branches of Revival are known as Revival Zion and Pukumina (Pocomania).
In 1872 the Church of England was disestablished as the state church. Newer denominations such as Salvation Army, African Methodist Episcopal (AME Zion), Jehovah’s Witnesses, the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, Mormons and Bahai came in the late 19th and early 20th century.
The largest single denomination in Jamaica today, the Seventh Day Adventist Church, came to Jamaica in 1894. The Pentecostal movement started in Jamaica from about 1918. It blossomed in the 1940’s when missionaries from America came to the island during an upsurge in American Revivalism.
Pentecostalism appealed to the poor who had been alienated by the established churches. It encompasses many fundamentalist groups that interpret all of the Bible as literal truth, and emphasise the experience of the Holy Spirit.
Throughout the late 20th century and into the 21st century, many more churches and denominations have been established. These are often movements that break away from previously established churches. Many start out as Crusades, held under a tent. 
Although the Seventh Day Adventists (who worship on a Saturday) are the largest denomination, they are far outnumbered by Sunday worshippers, most of whom belong to the Pentecostal movement.
  
NeoMakeba 

YOUR RELIGION IS YOUR REALITY.

namaste A friend of mine wrote this little thought on her blog and I thought I would share it . It speaks of religion. Yes it is a topic a lot of people run away from discussing or even contemplating. Lets face it, from birth we grew into our parent’s religion, told to go to church on sundays, participate in the annual Christmas plays and if you are like me  in the Caribbean, the experience is extended to bible knowledge in schools. We were throughly brainwashed  to believing that growing up with some faith and religion was necessary to salvation and a passport to heaven. And oh yes, the deity we are praying to and following is white. I have no offense or prejudices, but who says Jesus was definitively white? Where was it written?

As we get older we get wiser or dumber, depending on the side of the scale you hang unto, and as adults we decide if we will continue in faith  with the “whitening of our soul” or you take the chance and dive deep into whatever you consider your religion. Its called growing up. Many of us do not.

For me religion is simple- it is within me, period. Me, my body, my whole self, the way I interact, what I do daily in the presence of others determines my religion. And yes I have an anchor that I need for reflection, enjoying the calm, listening to the voice that speaks within me. I call that anchor Father, others call him by whatever name suits them. So my religion does not need the vast temples, the need for celebratory sunday worship or the so called communion with others. Call it selfish, I call it loving and understanding me.

My friend’s thought is a reminder of this simple truth- your religion is not encased in temples or pretty frocks or sunday worship. Your religion should give you faith, should give you comfort, should give you strength and should give you peace. If it doesn’t then you are only a follower of a fad, one that will only lead you where all fads take you – nowhere!

Namaste: Paul.

LUCY LEWIS on RELIGION: 

“Our conscience determine our religious realities whether they reflect reality or not…” Andy Stanley. The way your religion was presented to you when you were young basically tells you your wrong and right. So if it was presented without value, without that super duper thing called love and instead with all the fanfare of sacred space and memorized verses and the bow down, thou are holy and they are sinners, then it will be kind of hard for you to build peace at any level. Most of all, it will be difficult for you to love anyone else but yourself.

If your religion doesn’t make you feel free, you are lost. The ‘temple model’ hasn’t worked for any religion, not even Christianity!

There you have it. Thing on these thoughts for a minute. Enjoy your day.

Namaste.

namaste 1

CHURCH, THIS ONE’S FOR YOU

Thought i would share this with followers of the blog. Written by a pastor he states clearly why he thinks the church is losing its members. In essence the church has not changed . It still excludes those that are poor, dirty, hungry, forgotten, the homeless, the criminals, the ungodly, those sexually different, the drug users. In other words everyone the bible said Jesus hang out with, the exclude.

It is never easy to ask Man to be like Christ. It is too much a burden to bear. Man, that being of complexities tries and fails everyday in their quest to be like the big man. Meeting every sabbath is an attempt to muster up the faith to be like him but there are those that see this church going as a show, a big show that only the faithful are convinced that showing up weekly will somehow change them to be like Christ , while the unbelievers laugh at the comedy of errors, choosing to live their faith without the hypocrites of the good word. Interesting read. I invite your comments.

CHURCH, HERES WHY PEOPLE ARE LEAVING YOU

THERE IS ONLY ONE CHRISTIAN

THERE IS ONLY ONE CHRISTIAN

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This Pope is here to set fire to the years of hypocrisy and double standards that the Church has enjoyed for years , controlling the fickle minded and calling down abomination to the indifferent. Who gives them the right or anyone the right to cast any stone? All those preachers in the so-called churches that are jumping and pumping the so-called gospel of hate are nothing but modern-day pharisees, taking the people’s money and they willingly give them with their tongue hanging out of their head. They are creators of strife, conflict and division in society saving not one soul.

We are human. I recognise that. But frankly I am tired of those that wear their christianity on their sleeves, jumping and praising the Lord for saving their soul. If you are such a christian , save another soul but not by your method, by the one that you follow . If you say you are a christian then try this- go and eat, drink, talk and love the person that you hate the most. If you say that you love christ then give away half of your wealth to the very poor. If you say you are a church leader, dress as a dirty mad man and go to your church on a sunday and watch how your sheep treat you looking like an undesirable.

No human has the moral authority to cast any stone..NO ONE. There is only one Christian. He died on the cross many many years ago. Everybody else is trying to be like him. Lets work on that shall we? The only fire and brimstone you need to worry about is the one heading for your own soul.

 

HOW TO BE A CHRISTIAN WITHOUT BEING A JERK

If ever there was an interesting read on this subject this is it. Elizabeth Rawlings writes a no holds bar piece on what can be considered the biggest grievance to mankind. Please share your comments. 

By Elizabeth Rawlings

 

Dan Piraro so often gets it right.

Dan Piraro so often gets it right.

A few weeks ago, the marvelous Lindy West over at Jezebel wrote an excellent post called, “How to be an Atheist without being a dick about it.” As someone who has been the target of my fair share of dickish Atheists in my life, I really appreciated it. However, the behavior of dickish Atheists pales in comparison with some of the behavior of my Christian brothers and sisters. So, ladies and gentlemen, here I give you some instructions on how to be a Christian without being a jerk and turning everyone off to not only Christians, but to Jesus. (I’m going to try to cut back on the language in the event that some Christians who need to hear this are turned off by the swears. Let’s see how I do.)

1) Stop threatening people with hellfire and damnation. Nobody likes it. It achieves approximately nothing so far as spreading the gospel is concerned.

I don’t even know where to begin with this one, and I’m not going to get into my thoughts on hell and the existence thereof. I have no idea what threats of hellfire are supposed to accomplish. It’s like screaming at someone, “I think you’re ugly and awful! Date me and I’ll fix all of your flaws!” Sign me up? Not to mention the fact that most people who don’t believe in the Christian concept of God DON’T BELIEVE IN HELL. Therefore, your threats are meaningless. How does threatening someone with something they don’t believe in do anything other than make you (and by extension all Christians) look silly? That’s like telling me that if I don’t behave, Santa, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy will boycott stopping by my home with their treasures.

“Oh, you think I’m going to hell? Well, then I’d like to be a part of your community and worship your God!” said no one, ever.

2) Stop “speaking truth in love” or whatever you call it. This includes love the sinner, hate the sin (which sounds more like hate than love every time).

Let’s be honest, the most often I see this line used is in the attempt to “correct” the gays, so that’s my primary focus here. Look, I get that for many Christians, correcting someone on their behavior can be a soul saving act. But, let me be clear: speaking the truth in love just about never feels like love. It feels like judgment, anger, hate, prejudice, bigotry, evil, immaturity and a bunch of other negative adjectives (and often times, that’s because that is what it is). Now, there may be times someone needs to be called out on their behavior, like when they are being a total jerk (see this post) or when they are harming themselves or others. Usually, it is best when someone has given permission to have truth spoken into their lives. That means they are ready for it, and what you have to say is valued. Proceed with caution and love. It is important that, in the event you feel the need to correct someone on their behavior, you ask yourself some things:

A) How well do I know this person? If the person you are about to “speak truth in love” to isn’t a close friend, stop yourself right there. Just stop. The phrase “speak truth in love” comes from the letter to the Ephesians, a worshipping community of the early church. These were people who lived in community together, not random people shouting at each other what they were doing wrong.

B) Is anyone getting hurt by this person’s behavior? And by hurt, I am not talking about the state of their everlasting souls regarding eternity in heaven or hell (which is up to God, BTW, not you or me). Drugs destroy bodies and relationships; abuse of a partner or child is life damaging and soul killing. Have the talk. Someone’s sex life (unless they are cheating, knowingly spreading a disease, or engaging in super risky compulsive behavior or their partner is not willing or not of age) is not hurting anyone.

C) Have I thoroughly examined my heart to make sure I am acting out of love, not fear, prejudice, or wrong teaching? If I am not engaged in a regular prayer practice that involves looking into my own heart and confronting my own sin, I am are in no place to correct someone else. And I don’t know about you, but I still have a lot of confronting to do. A lot. Try thinking of what love is according to 1 Cor 13: 4-7:

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Which brings me to #3:

3) STOP WITH THE JUDGING ALREADY

In the gospel of John, Jesus comes across a crowd of people about to stone a woman who was caught in adultery. He says to them, “If you are without sin, go ahead and cast a stone. If you have sin (which face it, is all of you) go ahead and stone her but make sure you throw some stones at yourself for good measure after you stone her.”

Wait, that’s not the story.

All too often I hear people talk about other’s sins, convict others of sins, then add at the end, “But, I mean, I’m a sinner too, I know that.” Dude, that’s not what Jesus said to do. Jesus said to stone her only if you were without sin. How about instead of stoning/judging each other, we love each other? Real, deep, compassionate love that sees the brokenness and aches to see it healed with love.

4) Stop saying that God is acting in destructive ways because of the gays, feminists, abortionists, communists, socialists, Obamacare, liberals, pornographers or whatever. I’ve already written about it here. These storms are happening at an increased rate not because of our private “immorality” but our corporate sin of degrading the environment and acting like we’re just gonna get another one.

5) Get right with science. I don’t even know how to explain this one. Climate change is a thing. Evolution is also a thing. The ancient people who wrote the Bible would have looked at us like we were nuts if we told them we were taking their stories as actual fact. The United States is falling behind in global education ranking because of our math and science scores. Kids from very religious households are going to college unprepared for intro science classes because they haven’t learned about evolution and they think the Earth is 6,000 years old. There are plenty of scientists who are people of faith and believe that there is an unmoved mover behind all of this. In fact, many people believe that knowing more about science actually makes God all the more wondrous.

If you can’t get right with science, try to understand that there are very valid reasons to believe in science (I really can’t handle that I just typed believe in science, like it is a choice). We would do a better job of spreading God’s love and salvation if we listened and loved instead of shouted and judged.

6) Understand that there are people who are never going to believe, to whom the idea of God makes no sense whatsoever. Faith, according to the Bible, is a gift of the Spirit. Some people don’t have it. Be cool about it. Be friends. Love, laugh, chill and talk. Have conversations about ultimate things, come to understand why a person wouldn’t believe in God. Even for those who have been given faith, it is a hard thing to sustain in this world. Know someone who doesn’t believe in God? Love her up. Be salve to his wounds. And let up on the witnessing.

7) Empower women. Paul had women working with him. The woman at the well (who had many husbands yet was not slut-shamed by Jesus) brought her village to belief. Women are smart, strong and equipped for leadership at home, in the workplace and in the congregation. Our bodies are not made to be ogled at, commodified or make medical decisions about. How someone else feels about my body is not my fault. I will show others respect and Christian love. I don’t owe anyone fielty or subservience disguised as complementarianism, and I don’t have to wear long skirts or cover my head, TYVM.

8) If you know someone is being molested by a church member/leader, report it. That’s just a big old duh.

9) Stop trying to legislate using the Bible as your main argument. The Bible can’t be used to make public policy. It can certainly influence reasoning for supporting or opposing a policy, but it must not be the sole reason. Evidence, studies, cost effectiveness, and constitutionality — these are reasons to make or take down laws. Not because the Bible said so. Even in situations when we must allow out moral compass to guide our way to end an injustice, we must (as people living in a democracy, not a theocracy) find reasons to supplement/complement our Biblical reasons for legislation.

10) Focus more on corporate sin than personal sin. Care more about racism than whether a person is being slutty or not, get more outraged by war and poverty than something scandalous and/or titilating on tv. Worry more about the melting glaciers than who is marrying whom.

When I was going to church camp, we used to sing a song with the refrain, “They will know we are Christians by our love.” I want that to be the truth. I want to know that when I tell people I’m a Christian, they will think of all the work my people do on behalf of the poor and outcast. I want to be proud not only of my God, but of my people. But that’s really hard. Because, right now, our public image is more like, “They will know we are Christians because our leaders say weird things about AIDS and storms and we yell a lot about who can marry whom.” So, let’s cut that shit out, shall we?

A TRUE LEADER WILL COME

A TRUE LEADER WILL COME

Martin-Luther-King-Jr-Wallpaper

I read the piece and ML King would have concerns  on certain social and economic standards that exist in the Black community but the difference is he would not just be talking about it he would be leading the charge and so he did and what did he achieve – his death. That’s the difference between his leadership  and now. You see MLK knew he had a calling , he knew WHY he was born. not to be rich, not to be famous but to die for what he believed in. How many present day so-called leaders KNOW why they are here? The politicians are hopelessly corrupt, the wealthy black men that can make a difference are too busy making money at the expense of the blacks, the family unit is in shock so crime prevails and as for the religious leaders- well the least say about them the better.

How many will lead in the face of threats? We can count on one hand.  Yes there have been progress-but look at the cost. Our own people kill each other,  grudge each other, back stab each other  and that has gone on before King and certainly after King. King could not have stopped that. He would fight for the killers and back stabbers because he is a leader and leaders don’t choose who to lead.!

What does that say about our society. It is a flawed entity made from sin and no one person or thought (Christianity & other religions) will ever create the perfect society. Religion and leaders  controls some of the people some of the times.  The black man’s weakness of morals and unity among each other is his constant. What is also constant is every generation there comes a true leader that will take us further to the utopia.

So the writer , like all of us frustrated beings should be  patient and don’t use the  MLK experience to draw any comparisons. It’s the same people, but 2 different worlds, cultures and morals.

Coming generations will learn slowly but surely what MLK meant in his “I Have A Dream speech”. MLK generation had their war. So too  is our generation. We must keep marching. We must keep hoping. We must carry on.