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Purely Dominica

Purely Dominica

Editor’s note:This article was written by Fr.Clement S.Jolly, C.S.s.R, and published in the June 27th,2008 issue of Chronicle Newspaper.

It is right to suppose that the goal of all institutions of learning is the educated person. It is noteworthy, however, that these institutions do not define the relationship between their students and the highway of human life.

Proficiency in particular disciplines is sought. But what is the object of all this? What is the meaning of education?

Is the acquisition of knowledge an end in itself, or, rather, a springboard to greater things?

Education should inculcate self-discipline in students, give them a reverence for life in all its forms, instill in them a reverence for life in all its forms, instill in them a desire for harmonious relationships and the quest for beauty. It should be considered as an embarkation on the human journey and an initiation into the mystery of human life.

An educated man is not merely one who has amassed a wealth of knowledge. He is not merely a man who can count the heavenly bodies and name the stars. He is not merely a man who has earned the ability to earn a living or become prosperous, Rather, an educated man is one who can use his learning to understand himself and the world in which he lives. He is a man who has learnt to measure well his acquired knowledge and realise that there is much that is still to be learnt. He is continuously involved in the quest for knowledge.

An educated man is one who has learnt to order well his human activities and use his skills to build up himself and his fellow-men. His knowledge gives him a sense of direction, a purpose on his journey through life. He recognises that there is a Superior Being. He knows that there are values in life which transcend his immediate satisfaction and call him to move into areas which lift up his spirit and serve to build him up as a man among men.

An educated man does not turn his back on his lowly past. Rather, he reflects on his past and measures well the long journey which, by God’s grace, he has undertaken. He does not scorn the rest of mortals. Rather, he endeavours to draw them up with himself to higher heights. He recognises that his chief responsibility here on earth is to bear up, to work for, to promote the welfare of, his fellow-men.

For too many, education is merely a passport for selfish living, for an elite social life, for lauding it over the lesser mortals. The educated man is not one who exalts himself and indulges in vainglory. Rather, he is one who has built himself within. He recognises there is a world within which far transcends his exterior posture and social condition. He has a deep secret which no one knows, for it transcends the stars!

An educated man is a thinking man. He realises that the mind is very elastic and can lead him into regions far beyond what he has learnt. He recognises that there is a whole universe of ideas waiting to be tapped, challenging him and urging him on to greater heights. Indeed,as one historian put it, “There arc things greater than men, namely, great ideas.”

An educated man is one who has learnt to love the land that gave him birth Indeed, throughout his:, life he will be defined by his roots. He has learnt to love his people of all social conditions. He continues, throughout his journey to share their fortunes. He does not use his country to build up himself and prove to the world that he is better than the rest of men. Rather, he’s always asking himself: “What service shall I render?”

Learning should be the stepping-stone to wisdom. However, Modern educational systems apparently do not seek to inculcate wisdom into students. Wisdom remains a private affair, something which has no roots, no solid foundation, but is subject to the whims and fancies of everyone. Perhaps it is this which is the cause of gross contradictions in the lives of many men and women of this age.

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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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My post today touches a bit on forgiveness, and how do we show compassion to those who have hurt others. Over the just concluded African liberation weekend, the Rastafarian community made yet another plea for the release of Eric ‘Zeye’ Joseph who is serving time at the Dominica State Prison.

Joseph has served twenty-seven years in prison for the murder of Ted Honychurch in 1981. Ted Honychurch was the father of noted local Historian Dr. Lennox Honychurch who was press secretary to the Dominica Freedom Party government at the time of his father’s death.

Speaking recently on State radio, Dr.Honychurch said his family has come to reality of the lost his father and are not opposing the release of Mr. Joseph.

That’s a great level of forgiveness and compassion instilled by the Honychurch family. This is the kind of compassion I’m sorry to say lacks greatly in our Dominican society today. To many times have I seen feud between families carry-on for years.

So how do you show compassion to those who have hurt others? I’d no clue where to begin 😕 . I decided to search the internet for what I believe is the best suitable answer or explanation. After hours of browsing through many different websites, I came across this answer by his holiness The 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet – who at the time was addressing a crowd of 65,000 college students from the different colleges around Washington D.C. The Dalai Lama was posed this question:

Q: How do you show compassion to those who have hurt others?

A: With understanding. Understanding the relationship between all living things allows unbiased compassion to all others. People who have hurt others particularly need compassion for two reasons. One, they work against your goal for overarching peace. Secondly, they are probably hurt themselves as they hurt others, so they need more compassion to heal their hurt within.Read it again.

How do you show you compassion to others? Or are you incapable of showing compassion to those who have hurt you in one way or the other. Let’s hear your say.

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