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.
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.