Sun | Dec 4, 2016

ALTAR CALL! - Church must act now, says clergyman

Published:Sunday | December 28, 2014 | 12:00 AM
The 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. - Norman Grindley/Chief Photographer

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.

NOT A
THEOCRACY

"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."