Sun | Sep 24, 2017

Patria-Kaye Aarons | Yet again, I’ve given up church for Lent

Published:Tuesday | March 28, 2017 | 3:00 AM

Church poses a real difficulty for some in my generation. Suspended disbelief is a theory I was exposed to in literature, but never have I had to put it to more use than in my spiritual walk. My generation asks questions - perhaps too many. And when our elders and the doctrines of our traditional churches are challenged by 'how' and 'why', logical responses come to a roadblock.

In the same way we tire easily of boring jobs and passionless relationships, Church has lost many young people to monotony and routine. And the more the Church inspires young people to feel nothing and to do even less, youth attendance numbers will continue to dwindle.

The story of the 13-year-old girl raped by her pastor shook the foundations of my faith. A lascivious monster preyed on a family when their father was in hospital. Under the guise of taking the children to Bible study, he removed the girl and her brother from the security of their home. He bribed her five-year-old brother with cornflakes, put him outside, and raped that little girl.

That girl is scarred. Her five-year-old brother who saw the act and reported it to his family is scarred, and so is their mother, who some in the church and community have attacked for bringing down the 'Man of God'.

How can that whole church not come to her defence? To all their defences?

Three sisters in St Elizabeth fell prey to a minister. According to one sister, there were occasions when his penance was a bag of groceries. Now that the minister has been charged, and is to face the courts, how many members of that church congregation have visited the hurting family with a bag of groceries - no charge?

 

MINISTERS TOO GOOD TO SERVE

 

We hear stories of unreachable ministers too busy for their congregations, too busy for the people who pay their salaries. They delegate counselling and healing prayer to junior ministers and drive around in their BMWs because "God mus' look good".

Too often we hear of people going to church and praying for Jamaica seven days a week, yet never stepping outside the church walls and actually doing something to make the country better. Without getting too Kumbaya, it irks me that some only have strength for what goes on in people's bedrooms. They jump at every opportunity to regulate morality and then back to the pews they retreat.

Church and its relevance need redefinition. Get over yourselves, the pretty clothes and fancy walls. Redirect the proceeds of the church building fund to actual poverty alleviation. Do more good.

I want a church that spends more time outside of the church walls. I want a church that does more than win souls (and collection) for Jesus.

The sequence of events that is my life has not been logical. Too many things have gone right, when they shouldn't have, for me not to believe in a power greater than myself. I just strongly doubt that power is what I was taught him to be.

Until that power begins immediately striking down the rapist pastors; until it causes more killers to die before their victims; until vengeance is swift and congregations are kinder, service to my fellow man will continue to be my church service.

And if that's going to earn me a spot in hell, I'll sleep well at night (and on Sunday morning).

- Patria-Kaye Aarons is a television presenter and confectioner. Email feedback to columns@gleanerjm.com and findpatria@yahoo.com, or tweet @findpatria.