Archive | August 2011

World in Chaos? – What about the Commonwealth values?

Is it me, or just my stupidity? Is this injustice or is it a travesty? Could it be poverty or inequality? What is really happening today? In one part of the world where people still have food on their tables, schools to go to, gadgets to play with on a regular basis, the young have taken streets to seemingly protest what they think is “rich people making their lives a living hell.” In another part of the world, which over decades has been raped by the forefathers of more affluent lands, poverty, disease, hunger and massive deaths are occurring by the seconds all concurrently. Is this a coincident? What is this?

Like many in the world today, I hold no answers, but I seek some sort of over-standing. What a travesty our world is turning into. Don’t get me wrong, wars, riots, and all the societal ills highlighted above were existing before today, but somehow I beg to construe why young men and women in affluent countries would choose to burn down their cities, kill and rob each other, loot businesses within their neighborhoods which no doubt create some form of employment for people like them, and blame the very people for their hardships. My question is; What Solutions are they hoping to find? The Plasma televisions, cell phones, clothes, gold, and all the other stolen goods they have harpooned are they expecting these to ease their burdens?

Imagine coming from the Caribbean, where you have been taught that England was the mother land before your dear island nation gained its independence. You learned that on the 2nd Monday of the month of March every year Commonwealth Day will be celebrated. No doubt it is observed, and or celebrated within the entire 54 Commonwealth nations in the world. Note: The head of Commonwealth is where? – In the mother-land in the United Kingdom. I recall learning about the countries, and preparing to perform for that event as a child, and once grown, I recall planning big events in my work district bringing together a handsome number of young men and women, and children along with key community leaders in order to recognize the day, all in the quest to pass on the values of the Commonwealth.

So, what are these values of the commonwealth? – they are mainly – International peace and security, democracy, human rights, tolerance, respect and understanding, separation of powers, rule of law, freedom of expression, development, gender equality, access to health and education, good governance, and civil society.
(consult http://www.thecommonwealth.org/document/181889/34293/35144/216908/commonwealth_values_and_principles.htm for a clearer understanding of these values.)

Today, I look at the riots in London and other parts of the UK and I wonder – what are they teaching their young people? What are parents doing to instill and instruct core values in their children? Or is it that they are too poor to instruct? I don’t know, I don’t hold the answers, but these are matters due to be explored. Meanwhile, Somalia is in dire need, 600,000 children could die out of starvation, people fleeing homes in droves, and heading to overpopulate Kenya. Could this be yet another time-bomb in the making mainly to breed more chaos?
While one could argue the concept of poverty is relative or subjective from one nation to another, it is clear the dichotomies that exist in our world. The above mentioned values are lonely, and seemingly unused.

It is clear; this world is made up of corrupt leaders, greedy politicians in high places, some dishonest aid-agencies claiming to help disadvantaged populations, and rich money mongers seeking for more to hoard; rather than share. Everybody knows his or herself. The fact remains, while all is not well in any part of the world, I firmly believe if people lived in a state of respect for human life, sharing the wealth around, toppling corrupt governments before they show their ugly faces to the masses, many of the world’s problems would be null or safely minimized.

But oopps, I just realize I am living in an imperfect world, where such tranquility seems highly impossible. Still I want to believe that we can hope, that we can dream, and we can more assertively promote values like equality of distribution of resources, protection of food and freshwater, respect for all people, democracy and consensual decision making, peaceful problem solving strategies, promote social programs and good Christian values, (or upholding the faiths / religious values of the people where they live which I sure hope should be promoting such core values.)
Meanwhile like the creole expression which encourages us to “wet our own beards when the neighbor’s own is on fire'” I exhort smaller nations in our region and the rest of the world, to do everything in our power to prevent such riots, and chaos from taking root in our lands. It will take all of us to make the difference in the world. Let’s do what we can then, to make a better world.
—–Like a hopeless romantic, I prayerfully hope this world can be a better place. — But Alas!!!

Strong Woman (I am 3rd place in DD’s Photostory Contest)

The following short story, won me 3rd place in the Dominican Diaspora short story Contest and was featured in the Dominica Literary Festival during August 5th – 7th. Please give a read. The story was based on this photo attached.
Since this was my first ever contest written for, I feel elated to have placed in the top-3. Much gratitude to Natasha Henderson Shillingford, http://www.dominican-diaspora.com/profile/NATASHAHENDERSONSHILLINGFORD Director of DD for her hard work and effort. Photo included was taken by: Celia Sorhaindo http://www.flickr.com/people/tropicallytied/

STRONG WOMAN!
She was home to thousands for over a hundred years long before my existence, then she became home to me. Who can forget how relentlessly she stood perched high above any high-rise her people ever knew in the town whose name she bore? Stoically this woman was the first to be seen, by the crew of every vessel who approached her safe haven. Like a natural expectation, always on the shore, she had a daily rendezvous with the sea and its patrons. This vast aqua body stood like a source of daily refreshment for the woman’s children, and she was happy to keep watch over them like a mother hen. Somehow people remarked that she was fearless, for only a brave woman could withstand the site of such a vast domain without fleeing even when it got angry at her and her children. Oh and angry it got many a time.

There is absolutely no doubt that this woman was strong, for she endured a lot of misery. Talk about the long rainy days, the times when she withstood winds of over 90 miles per hour, and within her bosom still held tightly her inhabitants whom she kept safe. Life was never easy for her, though many people baselessly and slanderously thought it was. She hardly if ever complained about the verbal abuse she suffered even from some of her own people, and those who disowned her because they couldn’t accept her instructions and philosophy on life. Adamantly she stood her ground, and became a well respected and revered woman by all, even by those who hated her. She must have had strong faith in the Supreme Being. People claimed of eavesdropping on her prayers.

She had her own language, for she spoke in a foreign tongue for years, until she embraced the people’s tongue. You see her parents were not from Dominica, but they brought her to the pristine island where she fought to remain. She eventually shared her culture with the people, and by exercising such deep caution slowly embraced aspects of the native culture she found to be compatible with her faith and life concepts.

Her people religiously sought her out to fulfill many basic needs. Some went to her for counseling, others for a source of identity, wanting to meet a need that every human person has; that of belonging to something and or someone. Among her many visitors were nationals, foreigners and history suspects even some dissenters. She united young throbbing hearts for a lifetime, and separated others for eternity; she brought new life, cries and smiles to her community, and even endorsed the names of new inhabitants. She taught children how to read, organized groups for social interaction, took care of the sick, dying and elderly of her community and even acquired foreign help for the island on occasions.

That woman was powerful, though her power was seemingly unseen by those who fought tooth and nail against her efforts. Talk about being vilified. She was judged, condemned, hated and one time when the foundation of her house was shaken by a violent disaster, some vocal men who despised her, rejoiced that her children were left homeless. But guess what? She quietly fought back, rebuilt and openly forgave them.

What a strong woman. Today, she still stands with an age of wisdom surrounded by nature’s love, fed by her children’s devotion and enabling the faith of all whom she encounters. The solitude she extends is still amazing and unimaginable for age has brought more reason to her. Thus, she lives in humble prominence.

The Three T’s (3-Ts)

Friends, I have chosen to share the following with you. It is a presentation I made on the “Word Made Flesh” radio program presented by the Diocese of Roseau on DBS Radio in Dominica a few years ago. Today, this message is still very pertinent, and serves as a call to Christians. I appreciate your taking the time to read it.

Welcome to yet another “Word Made Flesh” Program. I am your presenter…

Today we focus on” The Fruits of Time, Talent & Treasure. We call them the 3 t’s. We are called upon to use these our Time, our Talent and our Treasures, for the building of the Church – The Body of Christ, God’s very People.

When speaking, – we often say we don’t have time for many things. But where is time and who has it? Time is always there – it’s constant. But we must learn to manage it in order to properly use if for the building of the Kingdom of God. Our every breath comes out in time and so what ever we do daily, should be done to the Glory to God.

Yet speaking of Time as a fruit means that there is something more required of us. We ought to share it with others, especially those who desire and need it most. This requires a certain discipline and decision on our part. We must set that time apart – to serve others especially those less fortunate than us.

Talent is a gift and a fruit given to us all. Having been given these talents whatever they may be, we must first discover them. Some people may spot our talents and tell us, while we may discover them for ourselves. One important fact however is that, we can’t quite see the talents and their capacities without getting involved. In order words we must be action oriented people in order to identify and then utilize our talents. The church needs our talents;-Those of our children, youth and adults. Everyone has something they can contribute. Everyone is called by God to give off self.

Treasures when referred to, many of us say we have none. Treasures are the various things we own that we can share with others. Yet they are more than that. Treasures are the things we hold extremely dear to us. Money, other material and tangible things and of course Faith, are just a few examples. We can’t lose sight of the fact that, in Christ Jesus we have a treasure beyond all treasures. His love for us, and we are being called to share that treasure with all we encounter. The world today more than ever is yearning for such treasure. As Christians we must – consider our responsibilities.

Brothers and sisters, As Christians we are challenged today especially as a nation celebrating 25 years of independence to give. – To give to our Country in order to preserve and enhance our cultural heritage, to give to our church and each other in order to make alive the reality of Christ Jesus for indeed we are His hands, eyes, feet in the world.

To give means to sacrifice and true giving is painful. But we are being called to do just that. In the Holy Scriptures we read “Give and it will come back to you, Full measure, pressed down shaken together and running over.” This requires faith and trust in the Word of God to sometimes give off self, not knowing what will the return be. While we may not know, we must trust He who knows.
He asks us to seek first His Kingdom and all the rest (including our needs) will fall in line. That means we ought not compromise faith for our own human understanding for indeed faith is not black and white – it is beyond our own knowing and understanding.

When we give, we must not expect anything in return, instead we should do it freely trusting Our Faithful Savior, Christ Jesus Himself, – who is a man of His words and who knows not how to lie. He will give back to us abundantly – but we must believe and trust His promises.

James Chapter 2: verse 14 says: “My Brothers, what good is it for someone to say that he has faith if his actions do not prove it? Verse 17 goes on further to say: “Faith if alone and includes no action is dead.”
Friends, using our Time, Talent and Treasures, know no boundary. In doing so, we will become a people of true faith in Christ.

Abraham was put right with God, through his actions when he was asked to sacrifice his only son Isaac, that was painful but he was prepared to do so for the will of God and as true obedience to Him. Thus his faith and actions worked together; his faith was made perfect through his actions. And the scripture became true that said “Abraham believed God and because of His faith God accepted him as righteous. And so Abraham was called God’s friend.
James chapter 2 Verse 23 says; “You see then, that is by his actions that a person is put right with God, and not by his faith alone.”

There are many other examples in the Scriptures where the importance of action is expressed.

So it is not the church we attend, nor the faith that we cherish that makes us friends of God. One critical and most important reflection of our faith is our Action. And often I refer this as “how we live daily when we are around people who know us, in comparison to our lifestyles and behaviors when we are away from them.

Sisters and Brothers, in order for us to give off our time, talents and treasures we must be in genuine relationships with Christ. We must be in regular contact with him – meaning our prayer lives should be healthy thereby giving us the necessary direction for the journey of service. For giving off self means to serve and a true servant is one who is selfless. We can only be selfless when we surrender ourselves to Christ Jesus. And surrendering to Christ Jesus is not a one-shot event – but a journey – a continuous road.

We should surrender to Him constantly, thereby working out our salvation in fear and trembling before Him. And working out our salvation involves avoiding occasions of sin and avoiding robbing God of that which belongs to him. We must give our tithes wholeheartedly, we must give off our time and we need to use our talents more for the enhancement of our liturgies, communities, country and each other. Let us stop short – changing God. Much is given to us thus much is expected of us.

For indeed we are not our own; and so the time, talents and treasures that we claim and hold on to so tightly, belong not to us but to God himself. We were bought with a price, we are purchased by the precious blood of Jesus Christ. Halleluiah to Jesus.

So friends, let us give back, that which we were borrowed. Let us use them for the betterment of the church and others, through service by using our Times, Talents and Treasures for the building of the Body of Christ – the church – the People of God.

May He richly bless us today.