Sun | Jul 22, 2018

No, The Church is not a sanctuary

Published:Monday | April 24, 2017 | 12:02 AM


On April 22, 2017, The Gleaner carried an article by Cecelia Campbell Livingston entitled 'Is The Church Still A Sanctuary?' The article opens with a quote from Proverbs 22:6: "Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it."

Now, this exhortation was meant for the parent(s) and not for the Church. The Church was simply an adjunct of a greater entity - the community. Humans are gregarious beings. Therefore, moulding a human child requires a multifarious approach that can only be accomplished by a community.

Back in the time when we had community, in addition to the primary parents, every other adult was a parent. Most important, within this community, there was homogeneity of values. Whatever a child could not do at home, he/she could not do abroad. Whatever was taught to him/her at home was taught to him/her at the schools and churches and vice versa. Therein lies the effectiveness of the upbringing of the child, not because he/she grew up in the Church.

Over time, the community ethos has attenuated and has been replaced by individualism, where you now have a gaggle of people with competing values. In this setting, the child is faced with a bewildering array of differing values, and supervision of these values is almost always absent.




Can you, therefore, imagine the turmoil of a child's mind in such a confusing scenario? In this new dispensation, parents, either out of ignorance of their role or dereliction, have delegated the parenting role more and more to the schools and churches. The unfortunate consequence of this is that it is assumed, de facto, that in order for a child to be properly brought up, he/she must attend a church. Not seeming to understand the dynamics at work here, we clamour for children to be hauled off to church as the best, if not the only solution, to our social dilemma.

However, given how the Church is now perceived to operate and the dismal picture Dr Bayne, associate pastor and member of the American Association of Christian Counsellors, has painted, doing this would only exacerbate the problem.

In the Church, the child will now be taught self-deprecation, intolerance, divisiveness, judgementality, and most damaging, he/she will now be taught not to think. He/she must now subjugate his/her thoughts and accept blindly the teaching of the pastor in the name of faith. Can you imagine the devastation the child who witnesses the atrocities Dr Bayne has pointed out and not to mention the child who actually had these hellish acts visited up on him/her by the man of God?

The Church is no longer a sanctuary. I, therefore, implore parents to get back to supervising their children's behaviour to ensure that they are becoming the men and women of a better tomorrow. As everything else that seems to have changed for the worse, so has the Church and to, therefore, delegate your role as a parent to it is grossly irresponsible and borders on abuse.

E. Elpedio Robinson

Red Hills PO St Andrew