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Perhaps I was one of the most dumbfounded listeners to this week’s Q95 morning radio show on which an unmistakably heartbroken and despairing brother Amos lamented what seemed to be the most shocking revelation of his life!

According to the pastor’s tale, one of the most vocal and prominent pastors in our Dominican society turned out to be ‘the other man’- and the reason for his unsuccessful marriage. In an even more despicable twist, ‘the other man’ had been counseling brother Amos and his wife during marriage. In an age where so many young people are reluctant to get married and our world is populated by so many ‘baby daddys’, I am forced to wonder at the true morality of ‘the other man’! Some of us will remember having heard this ‘other man’ recently in his campaign for the so-called blasphemous musical artist ‘Movado’ to be banned from entering the country, simply to entertain several fans.

While I do sympathize with the anguished Amos, I certainly feel he has overstepped certain boundaries in his quest to ‘expose’ the hypocrisy of the religious community. Of course the entire nation should hear a first-hand account of the proliferation of corruption and scandal by the self-proclaimed self-righteous evangelical leaders who pounce on every opportunity to condemn contemporary music, cultural activities and the Catholic community that always seems to be in the wrong.

However, It was ethically wrong for the grieving brother to talk of his marriage in a manner of gossip, speaking of how he used to do all the household chores and his wife would come home and ‘put up her feet’; or of how he and his spouse would be uninvolved for up to six months. No one wants to go into a marriage which, like many, stands a chance of failing, and later discover that such trivial private matters are made public news.

The brother should have known better; the radio host was simply doing his job by probing- that’s what he is paid to do. And the male cheerleaders who called to encourage his attack of his wife’s flaws were probably suffering from ‘gopwel’ too.

In any case the story has ended on a bitter note, but I do hope that this will certainly put a stop to the evangelical community’s outrageous behaviour. There are so many religious figures in our society who have had immoral sexual relations with young women, broken up churches because they parade as the ‘more saintly leaders’ and brainwash many of our under-employed and uneducated citizens in rural communities. Many of them are like leeches who feed on the people’s ignorance and blind faith. In a nation where we’ve been so disillusioned by politicians, it is not hard to understand why ordinary people have turned to these ‘Men of God’. So why do they abuse it?

I am not condemning Amos, the scandalous wife or ‘the other man’. But I certainly hope that this revelation will put a stop to the ridiculous and petty issues frequently raised by the evangelical churches in our mainstream media- such as preventing different musical artists from performing or putting a 6-o-clock curfew on Carnival Tuesday activities (or even banning Carnival for that matter!). I know many Evangelical churchgoers who are wonderful Christians, but it always seems to be the most ‘self-righteous’ ones which are quick to condemn the ordinary people who ‘indulge in worldly pleasures’.

Hopefully Dominicans will begin to have more faith in God and less faith in pastors. And hopefully some of these pastors will begin to ‘cast …the beam out of [their] own eye;’ so they can ‘see clearly to cast …the mote out of [their brothers’ eyes].

And so we may one day see a less bitter final chapter of ‘The Pastors’ Tale’, one yet to be written, but with a happy ending.

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9 Comments »

Comment by Netisha Subscribed to comments via email
2008-07-19 12:05:02

The Pastor’s Tale

I too find the Pastor’s confession to be both unethical and unbelievable. According to Amos, the reason, he resorted to this outlandish revelation of information was as a result of the “call for morality” by religious leaders. I must be sorely mistaken, because the last time I checked, morality did not involve, getting even with your spouse. Amos, himself admitted his intimacy with “another woman”,(as a result of his wife’s numbness towards him). Therefore how different is he from his wife?? Was there no other way to resolve the matter privately? What kind of example is he setting?

His actions have certainly made the religious community undermine his integrity as a religious leader and prove to individuals at large that the religious community seems to be falling at the wayside. Allegedly Amos has forgiven his wife, but using his “calling” as reference, Public humiliation does not equal forgiveness.

I am not sure why Amos feels it adequate to play the blame and pity card but Im sure God did not guide him to this. How fitting it would be now, that whenever certain youth or community issues arise, that individuals may blame their actions on some form of stress another. Impact no. 1 aforementioned integrity undermined.

By no means am I approving, siding with the wife or blaming amos for his wife’s actions, however, if he believed that his response to the call of morality involved his exposé of truth, he is sadly mistaken. I only wish that the couple can find common ground to resolve this, though it is nebulous as to how they will while under the public’s eye/ scrutiny.

 
Comment by Shemanna
2008-07-19 12:22:14

I applaud Danielle for her choice of words for this controversial topic…. I do not believe in making public such private issues.. however the recent ‘debates’ ‘the other man’ was involved with namely, CRITICIZING the music of artist Movado, just proved that persons should clean up their backyard first. Dj Alfie had to be a ‘scape goat’ to the evangelical commitee to speak only a week before the show? when the show was advertised since in May. Anyway back to the topic at hand.. Humans make mistakes and everyone deserves forgiveness no matter who or what the CRIME but it will be difficult to erase from memory the scandalous act and disappointment felt from such a significant figure in society.

 
Comment by Dan
2008-07-19 17:35:43

Man created God, not the other way around. Churches have long been refuges for scoundrels. And the faithful wish to remain blind. What preachers know is usually what they have made up or simply believe without basic in fact. Scandals remain in the public eye a while, and then stings settle back to the status quo. But the world can only solve its problems when religion is relegated to the dustbin with the Greek, Roman, and African “myths”.

 
Comment by Avis
2008-07-20 00:55:23

And so, we who are human, condemn other humans to gain the satisfaction that we were wronged, we are the victims, we were “sinned against”.

It is hardly ever, when a relationship falls apart, that the truth is truly known. There are three sides to each story – in this case four sides. Bro. Amos will tell the story from his perspective, giving his version of the truth which may be his truth to him. The wife has her truth also, which we may never know. So does the pastor involved. But regardless of all their versions, the ultimate truth will never be known. Marriages fail for many reasons, some big and some small but constant. Perpertrator-defined truth is not always the whole truth – mostly it is truth skewed to make the person look like the victim instead of the one who drove the partner away in the first place. Since I was not their counselor and I don’t know the details of the matter, my advice to all of us is to take the story with a grain of salt. We all know that the one who screams the loudest is not necessarily the most innocent one. A little truth we can observe in the lives of our children. The one who makes the most noise usually has a hidden agenda.

As regards the pastor, he is a man, after all. Men are apt to fail because we are inherently imperfect. Pastors, as with all religious leaders, are placed on precarious pedestals where they create the appearance of being perfect and righteous. However, the Bible is clear when it tells us that “there is none righteous”. We choose to elevate “mere men” to positions of “God-likeness” in our communities. God never designed for men to live on pedestals… eventually gravity will take a hold of them and they will tumble… the Proverbs warn us all that “pride goeth before a fall and a haughty spirit before destruction.” Leaders are imperfect like the rest of us. If the allegations are true, then this pastor has been caught in his own secret-life syndrome. He has been caught in the devastating double-bind of trying to live on a pedestal while knowing that he is imperfect and not deserving of the “high” place he enjoys. He most likely loathes himself for his weakness and tries to stop his “sinful” behavior. He probably feels that by preaching and teaching (railing) against sin and immorality, he has painted himself into a moral corner and cannot escape his out-of-control relationship.

When ministers are sexually involved with their church members who come to them for counseling, the betrayal of trust is devastating. It is even more shameful because these leaders represent God and their behavior equates to blatant spiritual abuse. Many times there are congregants who are aware of wrong-doing by their leaders but they choose to perform “damage control” hoping that the secrets won’t leak out of the church. Adultery and fornication seem to be ok as long as no-one is the wiser. It’s time for pastors to stay off the pedestals. Admit they are human with flaws, failures and ongoing struggles like everyone else. It is not wrong to preach against immorality but it is wrong to pretend that you are immune to failing. If the people of God will remain humbly self-suspicious and honestly self-aware, we will live a more authentic life before God and our fellow-men. The more we recognize our “humanness” and our own propensity to do wrong, the more we will live a careful life. Religious leaders don’t fall because they forget they are righteous or moral, they fall because they forget they are human.

In any event, followers have just as much ownership for what happens with their leaders. If we stop worshipping leaders and focus on worshipping God, we would be more apt to hold our leaders accountable for their actions. Instead we misuse the Bible and allow them to infuse fear in our hearts because they are “the Lord’s anointed”. Wrong, anyone who believes on Jesus Christ and submits to His leadership is the Lord’s anointed. Stop being led down the stream by those who would like to keep you in their sway. God does not use middle-men. Learn to seek God for yourself and wean yourselves of the addiction to the approval of authority figures. God deals directly with us and personally in Jesus. Every Christian has the same anointing that enables them to learn from God so that none of us need to depend on human teachers for spiritual truth. If we understand that, then we will be less willing to allow these unhealthy, power-abusing religious systems from dominating our lives.

If this wrong has indeed been perpetrated the church should insist that the pastor repent publicly. It is time that authenticity and integrity be demanded of those who purport to be “Men of God”. The church needs to evolve from the blind, mindless naivete that has reigned in religious circles for centuries.

Disclaimer: I am not hereby condoning the behavior of Bro. Amos because as I stated earlier, I do not know whose truth is being broadcast and what his hidden agenda is for going public. Certainly forgiveness does not include character maligning nor does love, as the love of God in our hearts does not lead to hurting others just because we have been hurt. In fact, the Christian thing to do is to “turn the other cheek” and leave vengeance to God.

 
Comment by Vel
2008-07-20 14:02:41

agian u have done it girl…
each time you let people know
what needs to be known and that is really good

 
Comment by Karima Subscribed to comments via email
2008-07-20 20:25:02

First let me say that these are only my opinions, based on my perspective which is different from others because I am not a Christian.
I really feel that the whole affair should be made public. I think that in too many instances because scandals involve religious figureheads (in all religions) things are not addressed in the same way as if it were a normal person in the same situation. It happens with regards to religion and celebrities alike.. this special preferable treatment. I think it’s unacceptable.
The man did NOT have to air out all the personal business that happened in his marriage. and I feel when I was listening to him on the radio that he was missing the mark with regards to focusing on the pastor’s behavior being the issue not the actual details of what happened.
If religious leaders want to continue being inspirations for followers, especially young people, like myself.. these things have to be open..have to be addressed.. in order for US to see that, ok, no one is perfect but also no one is going to be fake with me or try to hoodwink me when they’re dogs themselves.
The man, meaning the pastor, was a hypocrite. Amos himself stepped out on his wife so he’s no better but again I don’t think that’s the issue here. the issue is IF I wanted to go to a man of God with my problems or questions or whatever, thinking he’s a saint when he’s doing things that I wouldn’t even do.. that tarnishes my faith and trust in the caliber of the church or what itself stands for and accepts. Keep things hush hush? because it’s embarrassing? that’s disgusting. Be real with me so I know what I’m getting into and am apart of.
and let’s not even get into the situation with mavado. making noise about music when ur committing adultery for years. chups!
Anyway, great job Danielle. I’m in almost total agreement with you on the points you made.

 
Comment by Illyana
2008-07-21 14:22:48

I see this situation as a clear case of all that is wrong with the Dominican society.

Amos is a representative of all those people who have been wronged; who walk around with a chip on their shoulder always ready to lash out at others in a sordid attempt to heal their own wounds. Sadly, in Dominica these people are the ones who seem to garner the most attention from the press- every talk show is filled with these regular callers who moan and groan about the atrocity of their lives. The government is always who they turn to for help- never once do they stop to think about what they can do themselves.

I see Amos as a bitter man. Someone who has been deeply hurt and is now gaining a vicous satisfaction from the humiliation of his wife and the other man. The fact that he has his own cheerleading squad does not surprise me one bit. For isn’t that always the case with Dominicans?

We spur others on; leading them to their own self-destruction. Just as with the disillusioned radio callers, the hosts never once speak plainly to them of their helpless state of blind apathy. Instead they heap upon them more false hope- helping them to complain about the government, the state of the economy (“VAT is killing us”) and of course the lack of jobs.

In my opinion this is the saddest aspect of the Preacher’s Tale. The fact that no one stepped up to acknowledge that Amos was not acting out of the purest motives.

That’s why I applaud Danielle for her frank commentary on the affair. I also commend her for the fact that even through her blunt take on the matter, her diplomacy never wavered.

Comment by Lynda Terrell
2008-09-20 12:11:50

I am a “white” woman married to a Dominican man for 20 years. During that time I have come to accept the fact that my husband exhibits a shallowness of positive emotion and an over-exuberance when “vexed” that is not only frightening, but at the same time, very sad. He thanks his mother for beating him as a child and is of the basic belief that he is wicked or he wouldn’t have “needed” those beatings. He witnessed his mother give birth to seven children by men he never saw before or after the births and none of whom knew or appreciated him as an individual, precious, human being in his own right. He was considered to be a “superior being” by his mother because he was male. His sisters and the females in his life, waited on him as if he were a king and he wasn’t expected to assume any responsibility for himself or anyone else because he was fortunate enough to have been born male. His biological father virtually ignored him and even when his mother died, his father did not even inquire to see if he needed anything (like the comfort of a “real” father), but ignored him – not even considering his depth of grief over the death of his mother and not caring in the least. In his “family” experience, there was just his mother and lots of hungry mouths hanging around. The girls cooked and cleaned and took care of the boys and washed clothes, while the mother planted food and produced more babies to feed. The men in her life disappeared soon after she became impregnated and never “passed back” again, nor supported their children either emotionally, monetarily or any other way. The children were notches on their father’s belts and the women (mothers) worried and worked themselves virtually to death trying to take care of everyone. The anger was always flowing and apparent. Anger became a life style and producing children a status symbol and a compliment to the men, who didn’t seem to notice the energy required to raise children – or care. It’s no wonder that Dominican men carry on the way they do! And women too! The only allowable emotion that I can discern, is ANGER. I’d be angry too if I had to scrunt my entire life taking care of first my brothers, then taking care of way too many children, while being regularly “beaten” by the men around them for various evil deeds that I could not control. That basic assumption of being”evil” and needing beatings to rid oneself of this evil, is, as I see it, the basis for the apparent lack of morality exhibited in Dominican society. The excuse that I heard so often, “people are not perfect”, seemed to be the standard permission for deviant or immoral behavior. Everyone who was caught mis-behaving used this excuse, from Church leaders to pitiful alcoholics and drug addicts. It is over-used and ever so convenient to absolve yourself of any personal responsibility. It also gives you absolute permission to do whatever disgusting thing you can think of – and it’s alright because “people are not perfect”, thank God! Dominican Culture is a mystery to me and I feel as though I’m trying to figure out something that doesn’t require thought, but blind acceptance of what “is”. What “is”, is pitiful, indeed. I sense that what is needed is a major, culture-wide, change of heart in regard to inter-personal relationships, integrity, compassion, work ethics, and personal responsibility. Dominica struggles to survive and I feel that the people of Dominica are not united, but proud to be the angriest, loudest, most intimidating, sexiest, indifferent (?), under-educated, arrogant society they can possibly be and “to Hell” with anyone who doesn’t fear them (respect them?). There is confusion between fear and respect that is the basis for most of their interactions with each other. They say Haiti suffers because they practice Voodoo. Well, Dominica suffers too – could it be because of the same evil? God is watching and he knows morality when he sees it and he rewards it. Hmmmm, where’s the reward?

Comment by pete
2008-09-22 07:36:53

Lynda

In some ways I am glad you have come to accept whats going on with your husband and as a Dominican I make no excuses for him. Its true that part of his outlook is due to his environment, but partly due to him as a person. I am sure you also came across many Dominicans but you cannot make a general characterization like you did. There are thousands of Dominican men who have taken their respectful place in society, with successful careers and family life. I think your comment was highly biased, though I will agree that many in the society need to take up their mantle of responsibilty and help themselves than come up with petty excuses and believe that others must do for them or that this is simply the way it is and nothing can be changed.

Whereas it is true that in the Caribbean society and black societies in North America and elsewhere unfortunately the culture seeems to promote some level of irresponsibility in fatherhood. We all know about the issues of drugs and crime, but lets not over play them. The fact is that within these societies (and Dominica is no exception) there are many thousands of decent, responsible adults bringing up their kids in a married or unmarried setting and taking their role in society, while progressing in careers.

As far as you understanding the culture is concerned, its a pity that after 20 years, you still have issues understanding it. Dominica’s culture is rich in many things. The food, language (English and french creole), dress, music, arts, social norms and customs. I am not sure where you live, but it has been an envy of many islands. There are also many visitors who come to partake in this, particularly around the Independence time. The culture is unique with elements of indegenous Indian (Carib), black, European, and to a lesser East Indian and other Asian cultures. Have you ever witnessed the cultural gala held at every independence occasion? What do you know about Creole Day? Have you gone to any expos and exhibits? It is a sight to see!

Have you read any books on the island culture? have you read any of its history? Then you should. It may help you understand many things. In general many visitors describe Dominicans as warm and friendly. You may say that you know better, having lived with one for 20 years. You may have come across a few more – I do not know, but I do not get the impression that you have dealt with a wide crossection of the community – local or overseas.

So, start by reading a few good books with Dominican links/authors. Then do try to make it to Dominica around Independence time and soak in the atmosphere, and interact some. If not, I am sure the local Dominican group where you live has some annual activities that you can be part of.

* Harris, Ena. “Dominica as Spiritual Landscape: Representations of Nature and Ritual in Jean Rhys’ Wide Sargasso Sea and Marie-Elena John’s Unburnable”. Trajectories of Freedom: Caribbean Societies Past and Present. Abstracts. Biennial Conference 2007, University of the West Indies, Cavehill. (Abstract by Dr Ena Harris of Bard College, NJ, USA).
* The Dominican Story, Lenox Honychurch
* Unburnable, by Marie-Elana John
* Rain on a Tin Roof, by Gabriel Christian
* Rum Punch and Prejudice by Raglan Riviere – this one should be at the top of your list!!!!

There are many more, fiction and non-fiction, but this list above will serve to broaden your perecption.
Check online at http://www.amazon.com. Also you can google Dominican culture.

Hopes this helps!

 
 
 
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