Sun | Nov 18, 2018

Unwarranted attack on Pastor Glen Samuels

Published:Thursday | January 28, 2016 | 12:00 AM

Last week Thursday, Glen Samuels, Seventh-day Adventist pastor, in delivering the sermon at the National Leadership Prayer Breakfast, stated that some women have $5,000 hairstyle on $5 head. This statement has not gone down well with some persons, so much so that there was a discussion on RJR's 'Beyond the Headlines' hosted by Dionne Jackson Miller with Samuels defending himself, while Professor Verene Shepherd took exception to the statement, saying that both are required.

At first hearing of the clip I had some concerns because in my understanding one's head was worth more than $5 by virtue of being made in the image of God. Being made in the image of God means that every head has within it a mind and conscience. We also have the capacity to reflect on what God is and what God does. We can be reasonable and innovative. These are intrinsic values and virtues and we do not enhance our money value of the head by accomplishments and education.

However, Samuels' parable was that women should not spend money disproportionately on appearing good-looking compared to education. A woman should not spend more on a hairstyle to the detriment of educating the brain. It was not an attack on women because prior to that statement he said it was not enough for men to be sperm donors.

Perhaps Samuels had in mind persons who spend so much money on hairdos that they have nothing to spend on their children's education. He is saying to men and women, get your priorities right and be responsible in the care of self and children.

This is a profound point of putting the non-material above the material. It is not the Christian church alone that advocates such a philosophy.

Kiwanis International has one of its six objects as 'To give primacy to the human and spiritual rather than to the material values of life'. That object has driven its members to be donating time and money to help children to fulfil their God-given potential.


Jesus says 'Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and all these things will be added'. The challenge is to focus on the will of God for our lives with a desire to have God's will being done on earth as it is done in heaven.

It is all well and good for Shepherd to say that both should be done and she is an example of doing both well. However, there are many women who will have to make a choice between hairstyle and education.

Last Sunday, as I remembered the 20th anniversary since my father, Willard, died, I made the point that my mother and father made the sacrifice so that their five children could get an education.

Between both parents they did not spend more than two terms at school gaining education at the secondary level; with dad spending one term at St George's College and my mother, Cynthia Gordon, spending one term at St Simon's.

But, they made the sacrifice and sent all five children to board with their cousins Inez and Samuel Jackson, then principal of Glen Stuart Primary School, from where we all went to secondary school and later on to tertiary institutions. It was all possible because of sacrifice of parents and getting their priorities right.

For the next two years, the theme for member churches of the Jamaica Baptist Union is 'Living the sacrificial life'. For those among us who have to make a choice between hairdo and education, it would be good to make the right decision, and later, enjoy the fruits thereof.

- Rev Devon Dick is pastor of the Boulevard Baptist Church in St Andrew. He is author of 'The Cross and the Machete', and 'Rebellion to Riot'. Send feedback to columns@