Missing the point ...
The Editor, Sir:
I read with interest two articles in The Gleaner of Monday, December 28, which were in response to contributions made by two of my clergy brothers. The were in direct response to articles by Rev Devon Dick on bleaching and Rev Earl Thames on the flexi-week being proposed.
While I respect and appreciate the issues raised in these responses, both of them fail to understand the philosophical basis that informs and defines religious belief systems.
Religious beliefs and Christ-ianity in particular are based on a relationship with the divine being. It is this relationship that defines our self-understanding and self-acceptance. Bleaching therefore is inconsistent with the levels of self-appreciation that this relationship facilitates. To draw reference from some extreme cases of religious misunderstandings, simply misses the point.
To argue that the church needs to adopt a moral code that is consistent with contemporary reality, and facilitates the productive agenda is also to miss the point. All religions involve the use of sacred space and sacred time. These features of religious systems are intended to focus specific encounters with the divine being. To invade sacred space and misuse sacred time is to undermine the quality of the relationships with the divine.
I wish to remind those who relegate religion to moral codes, that it is our relationship with the divine being that determines our ability to pursue the divine will. Incidents of religious misdemean-ours occur when we seek to pursue a moral agenda oblivious of the centrality of the relationship with God. History suggests that when this relationship is not focused, morality becomes defined bythe agenda of interest groups, communities and nations. The examples drawn by both responses demonstrate this very forcefully.
My hope and prayer is that we will all strive to deepen our relationship with God. It is this relationship that will ultimately avoid us falling prey to what was pointed out in both responses. It will also lead to a greater understanding and appreciation of the ideals highlighted by both my brothers.
I am, etc.,
EDWARD JENNINGS (REV)