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Michael Aiken | No darkness of evil over Jamaica

Published:Tuesday | May 10, 2016 | 5:18 AMMichael Aiken

‘CHURCH GROUP says darkness of evil over Jamaica.’ So said an Observer headline on Saturday, May 7, 2016, referring to the brutal and unbelievable murders of the two missionaries from Teams for Medical Missions in St Mary.

Absolute nonsense! I angrily disagree with this analysis by the Jamaica Umbrella Groups of Churches general secretary, the Rev Gary Harriott. There is no darkness of evil over Jamaica! At least, not in relation to the awful incident to which the headline was referring. It is this kind of pseudo-spiritual analysis and blame-game response by some pastors and politicians that quite often keeps us from subduing what some refer to as our crime monster.

What we have ‘over’ Jamaica are abused and abandoned children. What we have ‘over’ Jamaica is an apathetic and actionless Church.

FOOTBALL AS A SOCIAL TOOL

Some years ago, when I returned to Jamaica as a young(er) vibrant ordained minister and social advocate, I used football and outings to make friends with children in the community in a deliberate effort to teach them who God is and what He requires of them.

My approach met the approval of many unchurched community members, especially those from the disadvantaged communities from which many of the children came. Many church persons viewed my actions with disdain. Sometimes people would approach me and encourage me to take a particularly wayward child in hand. One day, I was stopped as I was travelling with a group of children, and, much to my surprise, told that a certain child should be taken out of my vehicle because he was evil and wicked. Considering that the child was only six, I was very curious about this particular pseudo-spiritual analysis, especially from a non-cleric.

“Last night him bruk every window inna him tenement, Pastor,” was the reasoned reply. “An a nuh di firs'! Every month spirit tek him, an him throw stone thru every window inna him tenement! Is a likkle evil and possessed pickney," the untrained spiritual analyst concluded.

Instead of removing the little boy as requested, I dropped the others off and took him on an outing, to talk with him and see if my training and ordination could discern the mystery of a six-year-old child being evil, wicked and possessed. The story he told was heartrending! “Coach,” his trembling little voice said as he ate his ice cream, “every month my mother man come stay, an she put mi to sleep under the house bottom. But mi can't sleep 'cause something always a bite mi an scratch mi." Tears filled my eyes as I realised the root of his ‘evil, wickedness and possession'.

The little child was, each month, disadvantaged by the visit of the mother’s man friend, around payday, when the man had to bring part of his 'little much' to his woman. The attention-getting response of a little six-year-old was to throw stones through his neighbours’ windows in an effort to get some relief!

I deliberately befriended mom before the next month rolled around; spoke to her and allowed her to send him to my home in times of her personal ‘crisis’. Immediately the evil, wickedness and possession displayed by the six-year-old ceased. I am not discounting that evil, wickedness, and possession are real. However, before we engage in pseudo-spiritual analysis and 'blame-gaming', perhaps we should check ourselves.

Imagine for a moment if that child had grown up from six years old to adolescence and in his teens under those awful monthly ‘house bottom’ circumstances. He is now a balanced young man, but imagine if his six-year-old circumstances had been allowed to continue. What would his current view on the sanctity of life be?

Responses to my intervention fell into two basic groups. A) Dat deh pastor different sah. B) You are accommodating the mother’s life of sin!

Regarding response ‘A’, consider the recent writings of Dr Morais Guy, MP for St Mary, and the Rev Al Miller of Fellowship Tabernacle, as they responded to the missionary murders.

RAISE OUR CHILDREN PROPERLY

Their writings highlight the fact that we can no longer just have one or two of us as action-oriented enigmas. It’s time all good people raise our children properly, whether they are ours by blood or not, or we may wake up to more than just broken tenement windows – blood in the streets.

Regarding response ‘B’, my reaction is: No, I was not accommodating the mother’s life of sin. I was delivering a precious child from a grievous situation. I was saving a valued child from a future of internal anger and hatred that would probably blossom into real adult evil, wickedness and possession – of a firearm or machete.

Do you want to really chase the ‘darkness of evil over Jamaica’? Take action! Save a hurting, disadvantaged child today!

- Michael Aiken is a pastor. Email feedback to

columns@gleanerjm.com and mandrewa@aol.com