Sunday, August 05, 2007

Churches will be rockin' with the oldies !!!

I found an article last night on a news site that highlighted the decision by the Anglican Church in Jamaica to include within their new hymnal songs by BOTH Bob Marley and Peter Tosh. It would seem that the decision is to reflect the reality of the music people of Jamaica both within and outside the Church are listening to.
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As I read the article I remembered an afternoon presentation offered by then Theological Student Garth, who was studying with us. Garth hailed from Jamaica, and is now an ordained priest in the Anglican Church of Jamaica, teaching at the Theological College in Kingston. At the time he offered us selections of what he dubbed "real" reggae music, not the polished and produced stuff that was fulling Canadian media channels at that time. I remember as we listened several of us commenting on how beautiful the music was and how spiritual the lyrics were ... Garth concurred and noted that Reggae is a deeply spiritual movement, and one day perhaps the Church would start to listen ...
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That day has seeminly come !!!
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As I read the article last night, I was floored. (I copied the article to the bottom of this posting) But then again, I wasn't surprised. Like Garth predicted - How could the Church in Jamaica compile a meaningful canon of hymns and songs WITHOUT including some of the deeply spiritual and deeply meaningful Reggae songs by the likes of Marley and Tosh??
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I would love to be in a huge stone Cathedral listening to strains of "One Love" (lyrics below) resonating off the arches with a congregation singing along ... I can think of few more spiritual songs worthy of such a context ... We seem to forget that even the old standards were one day new and unacceptable to the "good" church people of the day.
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Maybe I'll spend the rest of my afternoon chillin to Bob ...
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Meanwhile, I think we should start calling him Saint Bob !! And perhaps he'll guide the North American Churches to similar places of transition and Resurrection !!!!
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For now - below are the lyrics of one of Bob's songs that is being included in the NEW Hymn Book being prepared by the Anglican Church of Jamaica:
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One Love! One Heart!
Let's get together and feel all right.
Hear the children cryin' (One Love!);
Hear the children cryin' (One Heart!),
Sayin': give thanks and praise to the Lord
and I will feel all right;
Sayin': let's get together and feel all right.
Wo wo-wo wo-wo!
Let them all pass all their dirty remarks (One Love!);
There is one question I'd really love to ask (One Heart!):
Is there a place for the hopeless sinner,
Who has hurt all mankind just to save his own beliefs?
One Love!
What about the one heart? One Heart!
What about - ? Let's get together and feel all right
As it was in the beginning (One Love!);
So shall it be in the end (One Heart!),
All right!
Give thanks and praise to the Lord and I will feel all right;
Let's get together and feel all right.
One more thing!
Let's get together to fight this Holy Armagiddyon (One Love!),
So when the Man comes there will be no, no doom (One Song!).
Have pity on those whose chances grows t'inner;
There ain't no hiding place from the Father of Creation.
Sayin': One Love! What about the One Heart? (One Heart!)
What about the - ?
Let's get together and feel all right.
I'm pleadin' to mankind! (One Love!);
Oh, Lord! (One Heart) Wo-ooh!
Give thanks and praise to the Lord and I will feel all right;
Let's get together and feel all right.
Give thanks and praise to the Lord and I will feel all right;
Let's get together and feel all right.
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(and article from the Jamaican Observer:)

Anglicans go reggae
Marley, Tosh songs for church hymnal
BY KIMONE THOMPSON Observer staff reporter
thompsonk@jamaicaobserver.comThursday, August 02, 2007
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THE Anglican church in Jamaica will include the lyrics of songs rendered by two of the country's most famed reggae artistes - Bob Marley and Peter Tosh - in the next publication of its church hymnal due by the end of the year.
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Rector of the Church of St Mary the Virgin, Rev Canon Ernle Gordon, made the announcement yesterday at the 2007 Michael Manley awards function for community self-reliance at the Little Theatre in Kingston.
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Gordon, speaking with the Observer after the awards, said the songs will be Tosh's version of Psalm 27 and Marley's internationally acclaimed One Love, but he said the use of reggae rhythms in the Anglican Church was nothing new."We've been having reggae and mento masses for 25 years," he said, noting that One Love was used in an ordination service at the St Andrew Parish Church two years ago.
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The reason behind incorporating what is generally referred to in Christendom as secular music into the church book of hymns, said Rev Gordon, was the need to establish a Caribbean interpretation of theology."I don't live in England; I live here, so my theology and how I think must reflect my cultural morals. The theology has to be Caribbean-oriented. You have to interpret the Bible according to where you are," he said. "The church in Jamaica is out of date," he added.
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At the same time, Gordon said the use of the reggae rhythms was not secular, since Anglican theology does not separate the sacred and the secular.
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However, the rector made it clear that the emerging genre referred to as reggae gospel was different from what the Anglican church was doing. The difference, he said, boiled down to the words that are used in each case."We make it clear that the words we use are correct theology and that they are catholic theology. We even have the Lord's prayer in mento. (but) whether we use ancient words or not, we make certain that the words relate to the Bible and to our own Anglican interpretation of it," said Gordon.
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Gordon said, too, that unlike many of the proponents of gospel reggae, the Anglican church does not use music for entertainment, but as an offering to God.
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"We move our bodies to the songs because we are beings of spirit," he said. At the same time, he blamed the interpretation of the Bible to which the majority of the Christian world now subscribes for much of the divergent beliefs that exist among the various denominations in Jamaica.
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"We have to pick from the Bible and relate it to society. We have to do more expository preaching where we teach and educate the congregation," said Gordon.

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