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Do Bob Marley songs have a place in Church?

Earlier this week iNews revealed how the Bishop of Kingston, Jamaica, Right Reverend Robert Thompson, suggested songs by music icon Bob Marley should be included in hymn books.

His thoughts have caused much debate among the church goers and music fans of Cayman.

Kevin Creary and Christopher Tobutt have spoken to a selection of Clergymen to hear their views.

Reverend Reverend Nicholas Sykes: Anglican Church of St. Albans, George Town,

“So far as I’m concerned I think it’s a bit of a stretch, but it would depend on the lyrics.

This hymn book with Bob Marley content has already been produced and is available in the church of the province of the West Indies.

“It’s protest music, protest against authority. I hope they have not put his lyrics to be sung in services. I would think it was just his tunes.

“The question is what are you importing in terms of theological content? And without seeing the lyrics they’ve got in the book I cannot answer this to my own satisfaction.

“We have no plans to adopt the hymn book.”

Pastor Shian O’Connor :Seventh Day Adventist Church, Walkers Rd, George Town

“We are outnumbered, there is no way we can “out entertain” the secular world.

“The television, BlackBerry phones, computers and video games give us competition, but we have moral and ethical guidelines.

“I listen to some of Bob Marley’s songs and I know about the music.

“There is a clear connection between Bob Marley and Rastafarian.” I don’t know if towards the end of Bob Marley’s life he was converted to Christianity, but that [mixing the songs] is like putting a little bit of arsenic in a big pot to poison the big pot of songs.

Youth Pastor Felix Manzanares: Church of God Chapel, George Town

“The people who wrote the hymns were inspired by God, and in a time where the European and Western world was accepting of it.

“Traditions are good, but culture continues to evolve, the challenge is, how do we take the message of the gospel and share it in a way that the young people who did not grow up on hymns appreciate it?

“I wouldn’t go as far as to put Bob Marley’s songs in the church
hymn book.

“Some of Bob Marley’s songs promote peace and unity and are quite universal, but to actually synchronise the two, I don’t agree with. The church is 15 to 20 years behind mainstream culture.”

Reverend Winston Rose: Bodden Town Church of God

“I am not really a fan of Bob Marley’s music, and there is not that much that I know about him, but if his lifestyle is anything to go by, then I would not like to have his songs in our church’s hymn book.

“His lifestyle had a lot to do with smoking marijuana and he was very prolific at fathering children. Is that the kind of image that we want our young people to see as heroes?

“If you are a great writer or singer but you are living an immoral lifestyle you would not be welcomed to perform for my congregation.”

Reverend Donovan Myers: Savannah United Church

“The essential message of Jesus transcends through any ethical or cultural barriers.

“The message of Christianity however, has come to us in a context and that context is the way that we have been Christianised.

“The church must become more relevant and contextualised. Maybe what some people have a real problem with is the Reggae music and whatever is black.

“Sometimes things don’t get accepted in the church until it is old, like classics. But modesty is defined in culture, which is the principle of the Christian message.

“A lot of things that are Afro or Caribbean, the Church has been trained to see it as un-Godly.”


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