Asafa Powell, Situational Ethics, Bonhoeffer and Christ

Asafa Powell got married to his beautiful wife, Alyshia whose wedding dress was the talk of the town. Everybod loves Asafa. Even when he fails to live up to our high expectation of him. For he is the original ” power sprinter”. Long before Usain, excuse me, the Hon. Usain Bolt O.J. came on the scene and perfected that style of running.
Asafa is the reigning, and unlikely to be dethroned in the near future, sub-10 king. I was at the national stadium when he ran the first one. ( big time track and field fan since high school days when I ran in the 100 M class 3 final when a certain DQ introduced himself to the world).

And after much hype about running a race like we have never seen before, Asafa demolished a good field, by powering out of the blocks, and turning on the ‘ afterburners ‘ a la Elaine Thompson ( from the same MVP club) in his drive phase, leaving in his wake the rest of the competitors.
Since then Jamaica has had this serious love affair with ‘Safa’. Win, lose or ….whatever!

This outpouring of love for Asafa and his stunningly beautiful wife was however captured perfectly by a Facebook post by another Track and Dieks superstar, once ” PocketRocket” but now “MommyRocket”, @RealShellyAnn.

Also in the news this week, but for less commendable reasons, were some UWI female, the males were equally ‘guilty’ but attracted less attention, law students.

From Discover on Google

Employing, in my view, her version of situational ethics, a concept to which I was introduced years ago by well known bible scholar William Barclay, The President of the Jamaican Bar Association, speaking with @djmiller on the popular RJR program ” Beyond The Headlines, Jacquline Cummings, and others, defended the actions taken by the female students to pose in the aforementioned manner.

How so? Context! She claimed. It was a competition and so the young ladies were free to express themselves in that manner, even though, under normal circumstances, the very conservative law profession would view such behavior as being very unprofessional. The message? In my view, circumstances trump principle and morality. Every time.

Seriously! Is that the message we should all send to our children. Perhaps the dancehall and carnival culture has gotten really deep in our minds Much more than we thought. No doubt the late Ian Boyne, who warned us constantly about the deleterious effects of the cultural penetration, must be ‘ turning ‘ in his grave.

And perhaps well known educator and philosopher Professor Errol Miller was right on target , when he observer many years ago, on reflecting on some aspects of the Jamaican society, that ” the barbarians are not just at the gate “, but fully inside the house.

Maybe the understanding that ” Brand Jamaica ” includes smoking marijuana, which was how someone on Twitter defended the furore triggered by Democratic presidential candidate Kamala Harris, ought to be widened to include all aspects of the dancehall culture. Unless of course, a wise father, like Kamala’s stops this madness in its tracks.


Thank God for a discussion this week on Detrich Bonhoeffer ‘ provoked ‘ by a post from a man of God Rawle Tyson. Not as famous, in Jamaica, as Asafa Powell or Usain Bolt or Christopher Henry Gayle ( yes cricket still a kip), but what a gift to Germany, Europe and Christian Ethics

As ‘ situational ethics’, the best spin, based an ever shifting moral foundation, rather than the eternal Word of God, or even some collective wisdom on morality, since we live in a democracy and not a theocracy, on a particular matter, be it the behaviour of law students, or dancehall artises or political leaders, or church leaders, or actor’s, is what runs the world today. For how can you teach a child about public decency if one’s position shifts with changing circumstances. How can you teach a nation, badly in need of it, according to former PM Bruce Golding, about wrong and right, if situational ethics, and not some absolute source of morality, is the guiding light.

So here comes Bonhoeffer. First from Rawle Tyson as posted above.

Then this note I posted on Facebook

Wrote about cheap grace a few days ago. Found in Bonhoeffer’s highly recommended book ” The Cost of Discipleship ”

” Cheap grace is the deadly enemy of our church. We are fighting today ( 1937) for costly grace.
….In such a church the world finds a cheap covering for its sins; no contrition is required, still less any real desire to be delivered from sin. Cheap grace therefore amounts to a denial of the living Word of God, in fact a denial of the Incarnation of the Word of God.

Keller’s foreword to Eric Metaxas’ “ Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy”, makes very interesting reading indeed. Very contextually relevant.

“ It is impossible to understand Bonhoeffer’s Nachfolge without becoming acquainted with the shocking capitulation of the German church to Hitler in the 1930s. How could the the ‘ church of Luther’, that great teacher of the gospel, have ever come to such a place.
The answer is that the true gospel, summed up by Bonhoeffer as costly grace, had been lost. On the one hand, the church had become marked by formalism. That meant going to church and hearing that God just loves and forgives everyone, so it doesn’t really matter how you live. Bonhoeffer called this cheap grace.On the other hand, there was legalism, or salvation by law and good works. Legalism meant that God loves you because you have pulled yourself together and are trying to live a good disciplined life. Both of these impulses made it possible for Hitler to come to power…….

This lapse couldn’t happen to us, today, surely, could it? Certainly it could. We still have a lot of legalism and moralism in our churches. In reaction to that, many Christians want to talk only about God’s love and acceptance. They don’t like talking about Jesus’ death on the cross to satisfy divine wrath and justice. Some even call it ‘ divine child abuse’. Yet if they are not careful they run the risk of falling into the belief of ‘cheap grace – a non costly love from a non-holy God who just loves and accepts us as we are. That will never change anyone’s life.
So it looks like we still need to listen to Bonhoeffer and others who go deep in discussing the nature of the gospel

For the spread of the concept and reasoning of situational ethics, substituting what changing circumstances recommend, for proven time honored values and ethical norms, is but an extension of a rejection of the gospel or an assimilation of the legalism and moralism which Keller warned about.

Let the hard work and dedication of folks like Asafa and Shelly Ann and VCB, time honored and proven, continue to be our guide as a people.
Let the time honored and proven moral foundation which the Bible offers, and on which a nation was built, continue to be our ethical base, even in a democratic and plural society. Lest, as Keller warned, and for which Bonhoeffer died, and paid the ultimate price for love of country and love of God, strange leaders and strange morals, which our grandparents would never have approved, open the doors to the new and exciting philosophies, but on which shifting foundations a society cannot be sustained.

I judge not the young ladies, who in my view made poorly reasoned decisions. Far more guilty, however, are those who, in my view would proffer an explanation, and by so doing condone such behavior, by seeking to adhesively attach a label of ‘ a just gimmicks ‘ to what the Gleaner correctly labels as ” Below The Bar” behavior.

Rejecting the gospel, or selling cheap grace, has led to devastating results in the moral life of our people. In every aspect of life. Even in the church. May God help us to remain with the tried and proven. And to surrender to the Christ who died for us on Calvary, so that all of us, Asafa, Shelly Ann, the Law students, the members of the Bar association, journalists and others may be forgiven of our many sins and accept the offer of eternal life in and through the Resurrected Christ.

Over my dead body, The Special One and Who is the Bigger Boss! God Almighty or Mankind

Jamaica continues to bleed. Literally! In the communities. And hemorrhage credibility in the Parliament!

As I watched the news on CVMTV last night ( and read the Gleaner this morning) and heard the pain in the voices of relatives and friends who commented on three of the gruesome killings reported in the link above, it was like deja vu all over again. For over the years this kind of madness, sadly, has become the norm in my country. An elderly woman raped and chopped to death. A vengeful husband pumping several bullets into a defenceless wife’s body. And a declaration of ‘ over my dead body’ you not going to any funeral, preceded an evil act of murder-suicide.

My God! How did we ever get to this point of such egregious acts of unfettered wickedness becoming the norm in our once peaceful country?

And then the generally well liked and youthful PM found himself, in cricketing terms, ” on the back foot”, this week. This after having released to the public, the details of how Petrojam, an agency for which he had, at that time, portfolio responsibility – very unwisely as all PM’S need a buffer – separated itself from the embattled HR manager. A manager, Mrs. Ramharrack, who for reasons unknown, so far, to the general public, seems to have adhesively attached to herself, the title of ” the special one”. A term previously reserved for the mercurial former Man U manager Jose Mourinho.

A situation, and to be fair, just like many other controversial stories which have dogged other political leaders, ( The Shell Waiver Scandal, The Trafigura Affair, Who warned Dudus, How did Jim Brown die, Winston ” Burry Boy Blake’s Funeral) has fueled all kinds of speculation. And from my perspective as one who loves this country and its people dearly, very sadly, deepened the sense of cynicism about governance in my country. Why would any government allow this to happen on the first place, is the question many are asking?

Perhaps the answer to the very heartfelt questions emerging from the ongoing hemorrhaging of our society, literally and metaphorically, is to found in a message I was led to post on Facebook early this week.


The start of the OT reading for the worldwide Anglican Church for Sunday coming illustrates the danger of reading the Bible without a knowledge of Christ and Him Crucified.
Old Testament
Jeremiah 17:5-10

Thus says the Lord:

Cursed are those who trust in mere mortals
and make mere flesh their strength,
whose hearts turn away from the Lord.

Makes it sound like God is addressing some really wicked people! Don’t.
But fast forward to the NT and the book of Romans.
“ All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God”. All! And the wages of sin is death.
Thank God for Jesus that the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus. The OT gives a hint of what is to come when it say: “ Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord…
And ends with an intriguing text. A text for all ages.
“ I the Lord search the heart and examine the mind, to reward a man according to his conduct, according to what his deeds deserve’.
Thank God that he is a God of mercy. That’s what Christ and Him Crucified teaches us, as “ the heart is deceitful…and beyond cure”. And why The Prodigal Prophet Jonah ran away.
That’s why all kinds of people don’t wish for us to regard the Bible as God’s revealed Truth. And Christ as the embodiment of Truth! And if not the Bible, what else, or who else? The UN! Seriously. Did anyone there die for our sins! Let’s get real people.

Comment : I would suggest that the message for the ages for all who weild power of one sort or another, from Prime Minister to Leader of the Opposition, from the head of the PSOJ to the Business Moguls from journalists at RJR/Gleaner group, to The Observer to CVM to Nationawide to Loop to Irie FM, whose power to influence public opinion is legendary, from Pentecostal and Church of God church leaders to the head of the Seventh Day Adventist Church – the most ‘ powerful ‘ churches in terms of sheer numbers, is that:

I the Lord search the heart and examine the mind, to reward a man according to his conduct, according to what his deeds deserve’.”

For it is appointed for all men once to die and then the judgment.
So even though gunmen continue to wreak havoc in our once peaceful country, scammers continue destroy the good name of Jamaica at home and abroad, and politicians though contributing much to national development, but sometimes by their actions, over the years, make us pause and wonder ” what the hell is happening”, people of faith know that one fine day God in His mercy will act to rescue this nation. And judge individuals who have rejected the offer of Redemption wrought on Calvary.
It is therefore one of the great blessings of the church that we are exposed to the hymns which remind us how much we need the Lord. Every hour. Every minute.
I need thee, O I need thee, Every hour I need thee.
A hymn which stayed with me this week and which I recommend to everyone as we mourn our dead and the loss of innocence and credibility in our country. Peace.

Abortion and The Word of God

Old Testament

Jeremiah 1:4-10

The word of the Lord came to me saying,

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,

and before you were born I consecrated you;

I appointed you a prophet to the nations.”

The OT reading for the worldwide Anglican Church for Sunday coming.


It can’t be by mere coincidence that the unchanging and unchangeable Word of God, came to me and to a whole section of the church during a week when the age old Abortion issue took spotlight in our nation’s parliament. For despite the number of articles written on this subject, and I’ve included some below, ultimately the only one that matters is that God “ knew us before He formed us in our mothers womb, and therefore, even in that early stage, we are of inestimable worth to Him.

And the Lord does not leave the matter alone, but continues the same message in the Psalm appointed for this week.

And the Lord does not leave the matter alone, but continues the same message in the Psalm appointed for this week.

The Psalm for next Sunday in the worldwide Anglican Church. That’s why ‘my halleluiah’ belongs to you O Lord. Only in and through Christ and Him Crucified.

Psalm 71:1-6

In te, Domine, speravi

1 In you, O Lord, have I taken refuge; *

let me never be ashamed.

2 In your righteousness, deliver me and set me free; *

incline your ear to me and save me.

3 Be my strong rock, a castle to keep me safe; *

you are my crag and my stronghold.

4 Deliver me, my God, from the hand of the wicked, *

from the clutches of the evildoer and the oppressor.

5 For you are my hope, O Lord God, *

my confidence since I was young.

6 I have been sustained by you ever since I was born;

from my mother’s womb you have been my strength; *

my praise shall be always of you.


One article in the Jamaica Observer cautioned against legalization of abortions, even in cases of rape and incest,as most of the cases, 90% or more and done for as cases of inconvenience. And suggested that countries which had gone that route, had seen an increase in abortions.

Then there was letter written to the Daily Gleaner by Philosopher and human rights activist, Horace Levy and a response by well known Gleaner columnist and Roman Catholic Deacon, Peter Espeut.

I suppose it is some value to engage others, with great care and sensitivity as it is a very difficult subject. And I did on Twitter with a couple of people. But at the end of the day, all that matters on, even a difficult subject, is that God spoke.

So is it only abortion that threatens the Christian soul? Where are the Christians when the pastors are sexually abusing girls and getting them pregnant.

Do you know the country song by Tim McGraw “don’t take the girl”? There is a line in there about doctors saying to his wife in labour, either mom or child can survive, not both. Were you the husband, what choice would you make? That’s what it comes down to. No semantics. This!!!

My response : I think most people are agreed that saving the mother’s life, therapeutic abortion -removal of the child to save the mother – is the obvious choice in such a life and death situation. The other and also very difficult issues – rape and incest – are more problematic.

Then, whilst praying for relief from the flu, I retuned to my seat of refuge, the Word of God, and found this very profound Word from the Lord Jesus. Also not by coincidence the words are found in the John version of Jesus teaching during his visit to the synagogue in Capernaum. As the Gospel story references His actions as Capernaum and how He could not do any of these tings in home town because of the lack of faith.


“It is the spirit that give life; the flesh is useless. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life.” John 6:63. Words from the well known bible story about Jesus being the Bread of Life who had come down from heaven,so that one may eat of it and not die.

Two thoughts coursed through my mind as I read the passage in context. One that the opinions, even the most worthy ones, of men, unless they are in sync with the spirit of God, are worthless in establishing the kingdom of God in this world. A kingdom of righteousness and justice! Two, that, prayer based on God’s Word, based on and not necessarily the actual Word, is the only real prayer that touches the heart of God.

The upshot of this awesome reality is that while we seek to engage in public policy issues, and engage as robustly as we can, with the sensitivity that the Lord expects from us, ultimately, it is the preaching of the Gospel that will make a difference in this dying world.

Listen carefully to the conversation that Jesus had with his unbelieving brothers in John 7:

“After this Jesus went about in Galilee. He did not wish to go about in Judea because the Jews were looking for an opportunity to kill him. Now the Jewish festival of Booths was near. So his brothers said to him, “Leave here and go to Judea so that your disciples also may see the works you are doing; for no one who wants to be widely known acts in secret. If you do these things, show yourself to the world.”


Jesus said to them, “My time has not yet come, but your time is always here. The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify against it that its works are evil. Go to the festival yourselves. I am not going to this festival, for my time has not yet fully come.” After saying this, he remained in Galilee.”

John 7:1-4, 6-9 NRSV,6-9.nrsv

And the priority of preaching the gospel was a subject written about by theologian Oswald Chambers this week.


The Call of God

Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel…


Paul states here that the call of God is to preach the gospel. But remember what Paul means by “the gospel,” namely, the reality of redemption in our Lord Jesus Christ. We are inclined to make sanctification the goal of our preaching. Paul refers to personal experiences only by way of illustration, never as the end of the matter. We are not commissioned to preach salvation or sanctification— we are commissioned to lift up Jesus Christ (see John 12:32). It is an injustice to say that Jesus Christ labored in redemption to make me a saint. Jesus Christ labored in redemption to redeem the whole world and to place it perfectly whole and restored before the throne of God. The fact that we can experience redemption illustrates the power of its reality, but that experience is a byproduct and not the goal of redemption. If God were human, how sick and tired He would be of the constant requests we make for our salvation and for our sanctification. We burden His energies from morning till night asking for things for ourselves or for something from which we want to be delivered! When we finally touch the underlying foundation of the reality of the gospel of God, we will never bother Him anymore with little personal complaints.

The one passion of Paul’s life was to proclaim the gospel of God. He welcomed heartbreak, disillusionment, and tribulation for only one reason— these things kept him unmovable in his devotion to the gospel of God.

Bible in a Year: Exodus 27-28; Matthew 21:1-22

This is the shortest blog I’ve written for a while. And maybe there’s a lesson for me too. That lots of words, though maybe interesting, I hope, matters little in the scheme of things as ordained and sanctioned by the Lord. For all that matters is whether or not what I write is of the spirit of God – which gives life, or of the flesh – which is completely useless. And as arrogant as it may seem to some, in the matter of abortion, or any of the other ‘hot button ‘ issues that are in the public square, all that matters is that God has spoken. Whether we accept it or not, or believe it or not, doesn’t really matter. For truly the prophet Isaiah was right when he wrote about the thoughts of God thousands of years ago:

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways, says the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return there until they have watered the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and succeed in the thing for which I sent it.”

Isaiah 55:8-11 NRSV