In Esther 4:12 - 14, Mordecai challenges his "niece" [more probably, cousin] -- who, by "virtue" of being seized and taken into the harem of the King to replace Queen Vashti (who by refusing to parade herself before the drunken lords of the realm had displeased the Persian King), and by impressing said king was the Queen of Persia -- to act at a decisive time to save her people from genocide. Her brave response: the now famous "If I perish, I perish."
Today, I am convinced that we the peoples of the Caribbean are at a decisive and perilous time for both our region and the world at large. For, I can see bearing down on us the dechristianising tidal wave out of the North,and the radical Islamist one from the Middle East. However, at the same time, we are the world's first cosmopolitan region, and can culturally bridge peoples of the North and South, East and West -- a potentially redemptive result of our sad history of colonialism, slavery and oppression, relieved in large part by the blessings brought to us by the gospel.
So, I think t is time to turn to the focus on the third global tidal wave, the church of the South, and our potential role in the Back to Jerusalem vision mentioned in earlier posts in this series.
A good place to start is with a modified excerpt from a recent email response to a wonderful sister in the Lord, who shared with a circle of us a report on a young teen's frustrations with the Caribbean church in the early C21and her ideas and hopes that better can and must be:
Hi Sis X . . .
As someone who was part of the last major spiritual earthquake to hit Jamaica, back in the 70's - 80's, I hear a very familiar lament in this report. If you check out the roots of the Charismatic renewal in Jamaica, you will see that (for all its flaws and controversies!) it came from a search for authenticity, which was perceived to be -- and in some cases, quite frankly was -- blocked by the systems, agendas and structures in place.
So, in the end, we -- yes, I was blessed through this movement and openly acknowledge it -- went back to the sources in part [I recall that contrary to perception, Bible study and issues tied to it were a big part of the ferment], and to new streams that then were bringing a fresh, in large part renewed, vision and a fresh way -- despite of course the inevitable mix of Peter Hocken's "the glory and the shame" that marks any such renewal-revival movement.
I will sum up several major conclusions I reached over time and have used in my work with university students and then the wider church and community across the 1980's and onward since; once I had become a leader/influential person [most often, informally]:
1] We lost sight of the foundations of Heb 6:1 - 2. That is, we need to get back to repentance and faith, a radical covenantal identification with Christ and his people, in the power of the Spirit, recognising the fact that while it is our hands, it is his initiative and power, all in light of the further facts that we serve the objectivity RISEN One, in resurrection power, and that we all shall account before him so must live from the viewpoint of eternity. [I found that even basic vocabulary like what repentance, faith, prayer, praise, etc mean was very fuzzy at best. The crucial significance of the resurrection as the anchor-point of the Christian faith was also often not well understood, much less having the capacity to s=answer for our hope based on it when intellectually and personally challenged.]
2] In that context, we lost sight of the body of Christ, a doctrine as taught in Rom 12 [ff], 1 Cor 10, 12 - 14, Eph 1, 3, 4 -6 etc etc. The core issues there are:
* Through the broken body and spilt blood of Christ, we who are many are one, whilst not losing our diversity -- indeed God uses that diversity in the ministry of the corporate whole, even as the many diverse parts of the human body function as a united whole through what each separate part provides, and as one hurts all hurt, as one is helped all are helped. [This is itself a powerful element of the Christian worldview: its ability to handle the one and the many! In turn this ties in the hidden power of the doctrine of the Triune God.]
* Taking in Jn 17, to disrespect that fundamental unity, personally, doctrinally, institutionally, in praxis, is to betray the gospel, as the world only will understand that God loves them and sent Jesus through the demonstrated love of those who belong to him in Christ. We must therefore mourn our divisions and divisiveness and repent of them as TREASON agains the one who shed his blood to redeem us.
* Next, From Eph 1 [and Col 1!] God has purposed to unite all things in heaven and earth under one head, Christ. That is what it means that Jesus is LORD. This immediately implies that all things, all nations, all peoples, all families, all institutions need to rethink, renew and reform under the message of the Gospel and in conformity to the Spirit and work of Christ. Or else, as [bro Y] -- himself a case in point of one driven out -- once pointed out to me on a Bridgetown street, go out of existence, in the end. [BTW, Matt 28, the Great Commission and discipling mandate speaks to discipling the nations, and leading them to obey the mandates of Jesus; i.e. to profound reformation under t he core principle of love int he Golden Rule. Further to this, the buzzword sustainable development,and the associated Bruntland principle, are in fact when properly analysed, derived from the Kantian Categorical Imperative, a secularised format of the principle in the GR. From Ps 127, truly sustainable development and security are in light of God and his word. ]
* Each and every believer is called to ministry, and indeed it is through the proper functioning of the Church the Body of Christ, "the fulness of him who fills everything in every way" as we execute the discipling mandate in all spheres, that we see more and more a fulfillment of Jesus mission: he came, descending and ascending in order to fill PANTA, thence, he sent apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors-teachers, to equip God's people for works of service who in turn ultimately work to fulfill the work of the Body reflecting the image of its head.
* In this light we need to put behind us the dogfights over gifts and the like [there is no properly defensible biblical or historical ground for claiming they have passed, at any point prior to the culmination in the parousia], and come back to a proper discernment of the body of Christ, or we will continue to be sick and worse.
3] Consequently, we are missing sight of the huge strategic potential we have in God as the world's first cosmopolitan people, largely descended from the peoples of the 10/40 window and culturally tied to those of the North. So, we are bridging people who are descended from the first victims of imperialist globalisation, so we are not tainted with the geopolitics of power agendas. That means that we can help reconcile nations and civilisations through the Gospel of peace; whilst recognising that there are issues of justice and protection of the weak from those who would prey upon them that are a principal duty of the civil official as a servant of God [even when he does not acknowledge God] -- often in the name of righting wrongs and liberation.
4] Thus, there is a call to repentance, renewal, revival and reformation in the Caribbean as the church re-awakens to the continuing mission of the Church of God to and in the Caribbean region.
5] At the same time, we have never been as blessed, educated, accessible to travel, or resourceful as we are now, in an era of global threat and challenge. Thus, we face a call at such a time as this to be a part of the mission of the church from the region to the world, especially in the lands of the 10/40 window [including the Islamic world] and in the North that are so rapidly falling victim to a tidal wave of secularist, post-Christian/apostate pseudochristian and neopagan dechristianisation.
I am sure that a church fired by such a vision will most certainly not be a "boring" place!
I invite your response . . .
Indeed, I would love to hear from you all on this one. END
PS: I have continued to visit over at the ID in the UK blog, and the back-forth there has slowed down my pace here. Hopefully, that will now be settling down. (I felt it important to at least give some balancing perspectives and highlight the resort to abusive rhetoric on the part of evolutionary materialism advocates through insistent misrepresentations and slanders; whilst dodging tor dismissing the issues on the merits. That is telling. Also, a careful look at Mr Shapiro's recent Sci Am article on Origin of Life will be fruitful for the discerning reader, as I note in my comments today in the blog thread.)