Tue | Dec 6, 2016

ALTAR CALL!

Published:Sunday | December 28, 2014 | 12:16 AM
Norman Grindley/Chief Photographer Reverend Father Sean Major-Campbell, offers communion to worshippers at the Christ Church, in Vineyard Town, St Andrew. Major-Campbell sparked controversy when he washed the feet of two lesbians during a church service.

Outspoken clergyman, the Reverend Karl Johnson, has chided the local Christian community over its approach to several national issues this year and called for a rethink of its approach in 2015.

"Inasmuch as the Church in Jamaica still ranks as one of the most trusted institutions, I am of the view that the year under review was one which could have benefited from more thoughtful and insightful engagement with the wider society," says Johnson in a contribution to The Sunday Gleaner's feature 'Looking Back 2014, Looking Forward 2015'.

"The Church needs to reaffirm and/or rediscover its commitment to constructive engagement with, and in, the society," declares Johnson, as he argues that the Church does not have the luxury of disengagement from the world.

"This year, the Church upped the ante on certain issues, especially ones reflecting a focus on marriage and the family. In so doing, we earned the criticism of being one-track minded and predictable," says Johnson.

He argues that sections of the Church, like any other group in society, should feel free to take a principled stand on that which they deem important.

"That said, I must admit that, in addition to positing less than cogent arguments, the show of might methodology adopted by Jamaica Cause, triggered primarily by the (Professor Brendan) Bain/University of the West Indies issue, didn't resonate with me.

"The 'puff-up-chest' approach to grappling with issues has not served us well in recent times, and I believe we could accomplish more by educating our members about what it means to live in a postmodern/post-Christian age.

"It is time sections of the Church realise that Jamaica is not a theocracy and the days when the moniker 'Christian Country' applied to us have all but disappeared," says Johnson.

The hard-hitting clergyman charges that, "Our prophetic voice as Church begs for a sharper edge, informed by the embedded, institutionalised issues which prevent the vast majority of Jamaicans from being and becoming what God intended for them.

"Let the Church raise her voice in alarm and disgust at the statistic that describes Jamaica as one of the most inequitable countries in the world," says Johnson.

He argues that the Church is failing by not speaking out against institutions and business leaders who are unfair in their dealings.

"Our voice lacked that prophetic edge, this at a time when so many Jamaicans have been impoverished and marginalised, while companies and organisations are allowed to trample on them.

"Sadly, too many of the 'captains of industry' are allowed to sit comfortably in our pews while they suck the very lifeblood of the poor and needy. We are too often, quick to sanitise their profile in exchange for their patronage of certain causes."

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