Diary of the Ghetto Priest | Church, pastors, Christianity under attack
Whenever you go to the streets in the ghetto, to prisons, to the market place, to churches, to our homes for the destitute, there is talk about God. Whenever I go to the United States, Canada, or Europe, there is little talk about God.
The pastors are the soul of Jamaica. They carry Christ and the Word of God with them. They preach with such power and conviction. To them Christ is the meaning of life, which He is, He is the yeast, He is living waters. But we are made of clay, we are weak - but every pastor I know, and, I know many, are seeking holiness and conformity
The person of Christ, the commandments of Christ, His ways of life, carry all Christians through this valley of tears. In general, pastors are good men, holy men, they are weak men, but they desire the beauty and perfection of Christ. And they have the obligation and goal established for all Jamaicans: Be Christ-like, be godly, build family, teach ethics and morals, work hard, and pray while you work, and work while you pray. Do everything as though it depends on yourself, and pray as though everything depends on God.
In every school, except the few that forbid it, in every church, and even in business places, there is reverence for the Lord, prayer and respect for Christ and the Church.
I believe there is a real attempt today to attack the Church, to attack the pastors, to attack Christians, and to establish a secular, materialistic society. In other words, there is an attempt to bring about the death of God, which cannot be. It is a real attempt to establish [a situation where] all that matters is this material world and all its values.
It is among young high-school students and university students. It is also in the media. It is stylish to say there is no God or to be agnostic.
This derives from the powers that - the huge financial agents; International Monetary Fund, USAID, World Bank, international family-planning agencies. What they want is the global concern for nothing else but a material world to exist. Under the pretence of eradicating poverty, they want to annihilate morality, and therefore churches, which stand in their way for spiritual values, such as life after death, and the commandments of God.
... That pastors have faults and
weaknesses does not make them evil
My fellow pastors and priests, I want to encourage you to face up to trials. I know that men like Rev Burchell Taylor, Andrew Henry and Glen Samuels, and others whom I had mentioned in my last week's article, have awakened my soul and that of the entire Jamaican family to the life of Christ.
Christianity is centred on Christ. Christianity takes us beyond concern for this life and towards concern for other, especially the poor. We are taught to live or die for Christ. I know that I am willing to live or die for Jamaica. And all of us Missionaries of the Poor (MOP) are willing to live or die for the poor and for sinners.
We MOPs live in the ghettoes purposefully, we serve the poorest of people, we want to be like Christ, though we are weak and sometimes fall, but we will not stop trying.
Throughout Jamaica, the good Christians who run schools and churches and businesses are one with us in this attempt. They want to honour Christ and the poor as they help us with our works also.
Christianity is a wonderful force in Jamaica. Do not make an enemy between the good or the best. That pastors have faults and weaknesses does not make them evil. We are all made of clay! Christ is the soul of Jamaica, and we are his representatives. Let us do better, let us go forward with the ministry God has given us. Let us be faithful unto death in our ministry.