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Three Finger Jack

Posted on: March 12, 2008

The ineffectiveness of the Church in Jamaican/Western Society

The thought of it sent shivers up my spine. Boy meets girl, have sex on school stairs, watched by other children as young as eleven, act is recorded and uploaded to the web. This story was one of the many that greeted me when I arrived in Jamaica a little over a week ago. I was speechless. As I reviewed the news daily, it became apparent that the worst elements of western culture were festering in my fair isle at an alarming rate.

So as usual when stories like these break, the same cry is echoed: “Where is the church” “What is the church doing” blah blah blah. This is the empty rhetorical bleating of a lost flock. The question should be, in a country that has one of the highest concentrations of churches in the world, why do we have one of the highest crime rates.  Why after centuries, the church has been so ineffective in creating a more civil, peaceful, moral society. The answer is so simple it eludes us constantly.

True love is absent in main stream religion.

Love, the most basic tenet in the teachings of Christianity has been replaced by zeal that is focused on keeping the flock in line and less on loving the sheep. The judgment dimension of Christianity has been a dark shroud that has covered what little love is left in the pews. This lack of love has resulted in a perversion of religion and has done much to destroy the relationship God would love to have with His children on this planet. We walk around with sticks of scripture strapped to our bodies ready to blow anybody up that disagrees with us as Christians.

When we are quicker to invoke condemnation on the teen mother, damn the  gun-man to hell , and “sus” the adulterer into exile we have lost Jesus’ golden example of love. When churches are quick to protest at Heath Ledger’s funeral and less concerned about showing true love to those whose behavior go against our religious grain we have lost Jesus’ example of true love.

This perverted behavior has turned religion into a whitened sepulcher. It may have filled some churches but it has thoroughly emptied this Jamaica land we love of any desire to be like Him. There is no true example to follow, there is no real pattern to share, because deep down, we have none. When our love is empty and non-existent. Church becomes nothing more than Saturday morning cartoons.
A show.
It leaves us like a Three-Finger Jack. We still have a hand with three digits, but missing love and compassion for our fellow man. The greater population has no reason to be like us when we are like this.

This ineffectiveness is also the curse of every Western nation. A long history of church presence but a society given in to an unbridled satisfaction of self. As things get worse, and they will, there will be religious factions that will seek to break down the wall between church and state and seek to legislate religion…force-feed God down the society’s throat.

 This is not the way.

We will only be seen as a “Eliot Spitzer-Lite”. Hypocrites. This method is not spiritually sustainable. The erosion of morals in society will NEVER stop until a true change is realized from the heart of every believer outward. God’s law is written on our hearts not to judge our fellow man but to: love, to be compassionate, to hate the sin but to love the sinner with an unconditional love that knows absolutely no bounds.  That is the method of  Jesus that loved  the foul mouthed Peter, the prostitute Mary Magdalene and the pitiful human that I am.

Show true love today…the world needs it.

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9 Responses to "Three Finger Jack"

Jamaica is certainly adept at mimicing the vices of its powerful northern neighbor. Of course we have added our own “special” touch to that which is already despicable. I agree that the church is not making the impact in moral education as it should, hence the pervasive decadence. It should be noted that the society listens selectively to the church; it accepts what it wants and rejects whatever it feels like. Often the church is ridiculed for its insistence that society should be governed by a divine norm. Even if the church is perceived as failing in its responsibility, I am convinced that things would have been a lot worse were it not for the engagement of the church in national life. The church must committ itself to the business of speaking and keeping the word of the Lord. Outcome cannot be guaranteed, but then there was Niniveh. Keep up the good work.

You are absolutely right….I fully agree with you on all your points! By the way, how did you find this post?

Yorkali,

What a beautiful post. I must disagree with Renzo’s comment “The church must commit itself to the business of speaking and keeping the word of the Lord”. I submit that the problem today is that very thing. To attempt to keep the commandments of the Lod without God’s love in the heart is to attempt an impossibility. We must first learn to love God. When we do that the whole world will follow. We won’t have to “tell” the world that we love God. They’ll know it by looking at us. All we have to tell them is that He loves them just the same.

Yolanda…I think I have rethink my previous post. You especially when you say. We won’t have to “tell” the world.

genius

Maybe we need to rethink our approach. Maybe it’s time to practice… “viral” love. A love that can do nothing but spread from person to person. What do you think?

For years, we have clung to that same line of thinking, “We won’t have to “tell” the world that we love God. They’ll know it by looking at us.” My response to that statement is simply “HOW????” If this approach were true, Jesus wouldn’t have touched, talked to or physically helped a single person when he walked this earth. The world would have “known HE loved them by looking at him.” That is a direct contradiction to the commission to “Go ye therefore and TEACH all nations.” Love is an action word. Maybe I’m just “special” but I can’t tell someone loves me if all they do is walk around me and never interacts with me.

Somewhere along the way, we have adopted this hands-off approach to evangelism and it has reduced our effectiveness as Christians. We act as though everyone will beat a path to our door if we just “live the life” while staying safely inside our cozy homes and churches. I believe this is partially the reason that the first outcry after an incident such as the schoolyard sex is “why didn’t the school prevent that?” or “why didn’t the church prevent that?”. How about, “Why didn’t the parents prevent that by showing their son and/or daughter the same love that we are supposed to have for others?” There is obviously something missing in the life of a child that motivates them to seek approval at the expense of their dignity.

I’m not pointing fingers at anyone else, but rather trying to keep myself motivated to begin the practice of true, Godly love in my heart, then my household, then my family and the world. We can’t help someone who is drowning without getting wet ourselves. So, lets not stay on the shore yelling at the world to swim harder or save yourselves, lets jump in the water, grab somebody and pull them to safety.

Love, eh? I think you’ve got the right of it. To amplify what you spoke of, I’d like to include balanced self-love.

Let me explain before heads get sweaty!

When I was young, I knew my parents loved me. They held themselves and the other people in my life accountable for what they said and did around me. They created a “bubble” of accountability and plunked me down right in the middle of it. They called on people to be more than they knew themselves to be…and they simply WERE. By extension, I was taught to love myself enough to hold myself and others around me accountable and to be responsible for my outcomes as an act of self-love as well.

Hope this makes sense. Just got back from seeing Senator Obama (wonderful) and my mind is whirling.

Thanks for a challenging post, Yorkali.

York I would have to agree with Eric Grace on the issue of our involvement in the wold affairs.

We christians feel comfortable when they say “The CHURCH must do this…” and “The CHURCH must do that…”. When people level accusaitions at the CHURCH, to most christians it is like people leveling accusations at our shadows, not OURSELVES. Even to us, the atoms and molecules, that form God’s Church, we distance ourselves from ‘The Church’.

Here are some some of the questions we christians must ask our selves:

“What am I doing, as an individual who belives in a higher power, to improve the condition of society?”,

“Is my life being led as Ambassador of Christ and Salt of the Earth, so that my neighbours may become inspired to be become better citizens?”,

“Do I have the courage, born out of being a child of the Almighty God, to step forward and not only say that this is wrong to an individual who may be perpetrating ills against society, but to offer a helping hand in correcting the situation?”.

Part of our problem, as weak christians in society, is that we have lost our conviction that “…In the name of Jesus Christ Every Knee Shall Bow and Every Tongue Shall Confess…”. Therefore we are afraid to lead our lives and go forth boldly and say, “in the name of Jesus Christ who loves you, I beg you to be a better citizen, come here let me show you”.

There is no church, if there is no christians, and if we want the church to have an effective impact on bettering society, then the individuals of the church must lead their lives with conviction, we must be bold, and even be willing to be persecuted and rediculed for it; that is if we want a better society. We, CHRISTIANS, not the church, have to become the courageous one, brave enough to change society.

THE CHURCH HAS NO VOICE IF THE CHRISTIANS ARE MUTE.

Peace

Be advised that the name “3 (Three Finger(ed) Jack” is a part of the 1980 copyright of the song lyric “American from America” and denotes the actual right hand of 3(Three) Finger(ed) Jack Hanover Miller since his gunpowder accident in Missoula, Montana April 4, 1948. His CD is available for $15.00 PPD cashier’s check or money order only from Box 331, Graham, WA 98338 Thanks! 3(Three) Finger(ed) Jack

Added closed parenthesis to word Three in name! 3 F J

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