Get rid of double standards in the Church - youth specialist
LUCKY HILL, St Mary:
According to youth and gender advocate Tameka Hill, double standards in the Church and the redundant veneration of religious leaders are two of the biggest issues presently facing Christians in Jamaica.
As the daughter of a pastor, Hill grew up in the Church and remains a member of the Pentecostal City Mission in her hometown of Clarendon, while also attending the Transformed Life Church in St Andrew.
Nevertheless, the dynamic youth specialist admits that she is often frustrated by the insincerity many serving in the Church hierarchy exhibit. Hill told Family and Religion: "In my opinion, the biggest religious problem in Jamaica is hypocrisy (laughs). The thing is; I have a problem with some religious leaders.
"I understand that we all have personal issues to battle, but if you have a particular issue that is a very big demon, do not take up public office or leadership in the Church, wait until you've sorted out your issue. There's nothing wrong with declining an offer to spend time working on yourself.
"Homosexuality, paedophilia, whatever it is, try and work on yourself and become a better person before you start ministering to others. Personally, I think the glorification of leaders is at the root of the problem. When we start to glorify and see them as more than a person, we see certain actions and think 'Oh, I can't say anything about it.'
"Yes, people are people, just like you and me, and everyone makes mistakes. But people in those positions do have an impact, so if they are doing something wrong, speak out against it. It doesn't matter who they are or what they do. Don't be afraid to go to them and say 'Look, I know what you've done, you need to step down or I will mention it to the church and make this into a big deal.'"
AGENT OF CHANGE
As the country's youth population continues to grow, Hill says she will keep motivating children and young adults, partially through the Tameka Hill Foundation, which recently established an initiative to increase literacy among young people in Clarendon.
Hill explained: "I established the foundation because when you don't see the world from a selfish point of view and realise that it's not just about me, you will want to be an agent of change. I don't recognise the world as being just about me and my family. I see others, their stories, their hurt and pain, and I'm always looking at ways to reach out to them: how can I be someone that touches their lives?
"My favourite scripture is Deuteronomy 8:11, 'Be careful that you do not forget the Lord your God, failing to observe his commands, his laws, and his decrees that I am giving you today,' and that's because I always want to remember the God who I serve, and where I'm coming from.
"Once I remember that, I'll always be there to help and give. I've never forgotten my community, so I'm always trying to give back, even if it's in a small way because one of the things I hate most of all is ungratefulness (laughs)."