Praise or Sewo
As a Christian, I wish to warn believers about using every opportunity to make merry, to Sewo in the name of thanksgiving. It is sad that as a columnist on the arts I have to utter such a warning as men with long cloaks, crosses in their necks, wielding oversized Bibles, ordained as shepherds are apprehensive and yes even fearful of man and will not venture to offer any guidance at this time.
They would feel more comfortable preaching about Sampson and Delilah or Jonah in the belly of the whale as there are no repercussions, no stepping on toes, indeed a most comfortable sermon and we can all go home to have lunch.
The collection will be good; no one will leave the church or part membership because to this feel good sermon we can all shout out 'Amen' and go merrily to our separate homes..
But as I recall many times we are called upon as 'Christians to make men uncomfortable by pointing out the wrongs and instead of striving to be politically correct or to appease anyone. Yes the same Jesus that we ask to intercede on our behalf challenged the status quo in his day, Rome's authority.
This mix of secular and religious artists sharing the same stage is morally wrong; this is why the creator advises to come out from among them. How can your light shine when it is covered in the darkness of other artists who do not necessarily share you religious sentiments are known for bacchanalia or worse still do not worship the God you worship or belief is steeped in Scientology.
That same weekend there will be more praise and worship as the Ministry of Culture opens National day celebrations. This tradition is genuine and void of color and endorsed by this writer. This would provide another such collective opportunity for us to worship God for sparing our lives.
It is no wonder this activity in the stadium has been met with lukewarm reception by no other than the Catholic Church itself and other Christian denominations who have concentrated on their own in house activity, reflection and or sermon.
For example Rasta men do not share the same image of the risen Christ in the same way Christians do. In fact many of them declare Haile Selassie as the risen Christ and worship him as God, so how can a Gospel artist share the same stage in thanksgiving when their prayers are channeled differently? Is this not the same reason why political parties don't share the same radio station or conventions? They have different ideals.
Remember no one knows more about the Bible than the devil and I suspect we have fallen to his latest trick. It can't be that to praise God we need another Sewo. It's not just the words of a song, but the environment and being among like disciples who have acceptance Christ as personal savior.
Politicians more often than not serve as pawns in the devil's game, as Satan knows that coming together to praise and worship is just secondary to them; the main intent is to seek out votes, and what better way to do this but using " God" and "Praise" the ideal scapegoats. As soon as it is over we are out again campaigning and dividing. What can be more hypocritical than this?
Of course it's not only the misguided, sometimes, recognition starved or 'money before anything' artists fall prey. Even private sector authorities who would normally lament that it's time to have Sundays or Saturdays as normal days of work citing that Dominica, a land where the economy is very fragile has too many holidays. Like the pastors and priest, they have remained mute and would even outwardly stomach more of such "Praise & Worship" holidays at the risk of losing some favoritism, recognition or benefit from some concessions at customs.
Dominica can hardly afford any more holidays to observe anything and should be praying hard lest we become another Bahamas seeing that we are still in the hurricane season. I would further venture that instead we spend and lose money we do not have; a further contribution to Bahamas might have been a better, more meaningful, gesture.
Another holiday comes on the heels of a pronouncement of another one to be added to next year's calendar to recognize the Carib contribution to Dominica-another Sewo. Like Cronixx says we seem to be trying to skank our troubles away and observances become synonymous with Sewo. Someone dies- a sewo/ happy hour, someone is born- a sewo.
The best thing we can do for our first people is allow them land ownership instead of holding land in common as presently exist. I even support the erecting of a bust, not a nameless as was done for the maroons, in their honor, but no, not a holiday; for the first time I trust that this was just an election gimmick.
As one who fall short from time to time and as a sinner I do not pretend to hold all the answers. It could really be that there is great intent behind what is being done, however the above must be considered by us, the artists, who profess to be Christians or have principle.
I shudder to think if we get another storm equally or more dangerous than Maria in the future (God Forbid) will we add another holiday to commemorate those who survive?
If the answer is no, then praise is worthy every day and there is nothing wrong to observe praise and worship in respective churches, designated by the state or not. But guess what, most will not come to a building dedicated to worship because the Sewo mood or element, would be lacking in the designated house of God.
So we accommodate artists of various persuasions even atheist, to stage praise in the open air at festival city- on a stage and pulpit defiled be gyrations, partial nudity, perverted lyrics and beliefs- a Bouyon of ungodliness.
I trust that the Shirley Caesars and the, Sinach' of our time will take to consider their places of influence gifted to them by God in singing of his praise. Make no mistake, I love them and the songs and as a Christian would, and have relished moments to hear and experience them live in praise and worship, but I am aware that light and darkness can't exist side by side, on the same stage, sharing the same space. Therefore my Christian walk is disturbed by what seemingly are an Oxymoron; praise and sewo.
I expect this is going to be an excellent concert with great singing, musicianship and top of the line sound and I do not discourage anyone who loves artistic quality to attend. My appeal is more to musicians and gospel artist for inward introspection.
I trust someone better qualified; bearing a cross, a gown or in the business of leading Christ's flock will weigh in, if not maybe my article does not deserve a response and I am just talking nonsense.