FRESH into the new year, Roman Catholic Archbishop of Kingston Reverend Kenneth Richards lays it bare, and tasks the Christian community to re-evaluate its approach to disseminating the word of God.
Richards, who was ordained in 1985, said the past year was marked by a lack of value for humanity.
“For those of us who are Christians, we must re-examine the criteria from which our thinking and subsequent actions flow. There are questions that as a Christian nation we must answer. Are our reasoning and actions in alignment with our faith in God and in accordance with the precepts of God? Or are self-centered opinions overshadowing the wholesome values that can make for improved social engagement on personal and corporate levels?” Richards questioned during an interview with the Jamaica Observer.
Richards added that the crises which have been centre stage throughout 2022 are rooted in a disregard for common humanity.
“This is highlighted by the high murder rate, the unacceptably high mortality on our roads, and instances of poor living conditions. Change requires that both Christians and other persons of goodwill intend a change of heart to make sure that the year 2023 sees a drop in the crises we lamented in 2022,” he said.
Early last year Richards told the Sunday Observer that he endorses the use of dancehall music to get Christian messages across to those who enjoy the genre.
“I’ve always, time and again, used popular music and changed the words to bring across a message, because persons are really in tune to those things and sometimes it gets the attention of especially the younger persons, et cetera. When I was in the inner city, that’s Waterhouse or Seaview Gardens, I would pull on reggae songs or even blues songs and change the words to communicate a message to people.”
Richards was then speaking during the National Day of Prayer at the Power of Faith Ministries church in Portmore, St Catherine, on Wednesday, January 5, 2022 when he remixed Bounty Killer’s 1995 single Run come up inna me Magnum, urging young men across Jamaica to “run come up inna di Church”.
Replacing Bounty Killer’s violent lyrics, which warned his enemies of the consequences of disrespecting “Miss Ivy last son”, the clergyman in his remix sang:
‘Run come up inna di church now, bwoy
Listen to the gospel, bwoy,
Siddung pon di church bench
And yuh life will change
A nuh warn me nuh warn yuh
A nuh tell me nuh tell yuh
Listen to the gospel
And yuh life will change’
Meanwhile, Richards noted that things will not change if all citizens are not on board, especially the major players in the society.