Archive for January, 2015

Another Day Another Article that says better than I can something I want to say. Maybe i should pack it in.

The Maroon Colony

And before I get into this, I want to be first extremely and explicitly clear: I don’t condone the massacre. I don’t think the cartoonists and writers deserved to lose their lives. There’s just no way to logically defend their deaths without ignorance and/or hate.

But I’m not Charlie though. And I’m not Charlie for several reasons: Charlie Hebdo for many people of color in France, particularly in Paris, that don’t benefit from mixed or proximity-to-White French- privilege is extremely racist. It’s a particular brand of French racism and xenophobia sheltered under the grey tent of “satire”. It’s belittingly. It’s demeaning. And it’s a larger, published example of the explicit forms of aggression that many people of color in Paris live with, daily. The irony is that I haven’t been returned to the States for even a week from Paris when this happened, after spending more than a week…

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Have you ever read an article or someone’s post on your favourite social media and feel like that person plagiarised from your thoughts. Well today that has definitely happened to me. I pride myself on being (a low level) wordsmith but the confines of my conscience are forcing me to admit that the words that you will read below represent in large measure a far superior expression of my perspective on a very important, yet at times controversial, subject i.e. THE BIBLE. what it is? What authority does it have? How it should be used etc. In order to not be the perpretrator of the academic/creative capital offence that is plagiarism let me categorically state that the remainder of the body of this blogpost is authoured by John Pavlovitz who is a pastor/blogger from Wake Forest, North Carolina. An 18-year veteran of local church ministry, he currently writes a blog called “Stuff That Needs To Be Said.” For the record i am by no means conferring “authority” status on this man or lining up behind all he believes I am simply sharing my thoughts as ably encapsulated in his article.

What follows is an excerpt from the article 5 Things I Wish Christians Would Admit About the Bible . the full article can be found at the URL at the end of this post.

The Bible.

Christians talk about it all the time, though what they mean by “The Bible” isn’t always clear. That is to say, other than the catch phrase “God’s Word” I’m not sure what the Bible is to many who claim it as the sacred text that guides their life. I’m positive we’re not all on the same page, so to speak.

Some Christians want to make the Bible something it isn’t, and it makes for some disastrous conversations and dangerous assumptions, especially in interactions with other Christians.



Here are 5 things about the Bible I wish more believers would consider:



1. The Bible Isn’t a Magic Book.

The Bible isn’t The Good Book. It isn’t really a book at all. It’s a lot of books. It’s a library.

Its 66 individual books run the diverse gamut of writing styles, (poetry, history, biography, church teachings, letters), and those books have dozens of authors; from shepherds, to prophets, to doctors, to fishermen, to kings. These diverse writers each had very different target audiences, disparate life circumstances and specific agendas for their work; so we don’t approach each book the same way—for the same reason you wouldn’t read a poem about leaves the same way you read a botany textbook. Some are for inspiration and some for information; we receive and see them differently.

If we can see the Scriptures this way; as many diverse works telling one story in one collection, Christians can free themselves from the confusion about what they mean when they say “literal.” We don’t have to equate history with allegory with poetry, or read them in the same way. We can also see the Bible as a record not just of God, but of God’s people, and we can find ourselves within it.

Read more at http://www.relevantmagazine.com/god/5-things-i-wish-christians-would-admit-about-bible#5qAbB9wD4hMcDpFR.99

The first Facebook status I wrote for the year Two Thousand and Fourteen clearly was a foreshadowing of things to come. The status read: 2013 was a Good Year, Have a feeling 2014 will be a special one but no matter what i and i still COUNTING MY BLESSINGS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

And as we begin 2015 I and I still counting my blessings and I can definitely affirm that despite some trying times personally, nationally and for the whole world 2014 did turn out to be a very significant year, perhaps even the most significant of this 27 year trod so far.

So many things happened that it would be impossible to do them all justice in a blog post but what I am going to do is break it down into three categories – News, Sports & Personally *insert azonto music* – and highlight some of the major occurrences.

News

Kartel Trial
Whether some persons want to admit it or not, I think easily the undisputed number one story in Jamaica for the year 2014 was the trial of Jamaica’s most notorious musician ever, one Adidjah Palmer aka Vybz Kartel aka the teacher aka World Boss. Totally capturing the minds of a nation for a history making 64 days, many of us spent days at the edge of our seats getting the latest updates from our favourite courtroom source. Special mention must be given to the likes of Ms Live tweet aka Emily Crooks, Dara Smith, Anthony Miller and Abka Fitz-Henley. These people truly brought this courtroom into our respective living rooms.

And so it went on and on and on. The verdict – “Babylon seh jail for [The Teach]” 35 years for murder. Sad on so many levels however the irony must be that the most popular deejay in the country seems to have become even more popular and more prolific in recording since being behind bars…but that’s another story for another blog.

Chik V
One panadol, one panadol
One panadol, one panadol
Cho!
Mosquito one, Mosquito two
Mosquito jump inna hot callaloo…
Mosquito bite me, Mosquito bite you
Mek me tell yuh what a mosquito can do. – Wayne J

If any story/issue is going to rival Mr Palmer for the biggest thing to happen locally it MUST be the monster that was/is Chikungunya. Chik V shocked the nation, never mind that we saw the effects of this crippling disease on our Eastern Caribbean, it was a shock as we didn’t know what to expect and lets just say the government response was not the best. Definitely felt like 90% of the society contracted the disease which kicked off in the east and buzzed its way all the way across the island. Everywhere we turned we saw people hobbling at a snails pace and if that wasn’t bad enough Chik V must hold the world record for relapses and explanations for its “real” cause, because “mosquito alone cudn’t mash wi up suh.”

Eventually, persons getting the Chikungunya will be as mainstream as the flu or pink eye but this 2014 outbreak will forever go down in infamy in the annals of Jamaican history. In the now immortal words of the young Wayne J we all know now what a mosquito bite can do.

US/Cuba Relations
For most people, particularly, people of colour and people of the Caribbean, there are two things that we thought we would never see in our lifetime – a black president and the restoration of diplomatic relations between Cuba and the United States of America. So imagine the surprise when these two things intersected as President Barack Obama made the announcement out of left field that his administration was about to begin the process of reinstating diplomatic relations with Cuba, a sworn Cold War enemy with whom ties were severed in 1961 in the wake of the nationalisation of US owned businesses under El Comandante Fidel Castro Ruz.

However as ill health meant Raul became the head Castro in charge and with gradual appeasement measures under the Obama Administration in its early stages, maybe this rapproachment should not be as surprising as previously mentioned but still this moment towards the tail end of 2014 must be hailed as one of the most monumental moments in global history. But time will tell, this is an executive action so the next president could reverse it, also it is congress that controls the maintenance of the trade embargo and that will be a far tougher nut to crack. But whatever happens, the lame duck US president has made the next few months an interesting time in global relations.

Sports

LBJ returns to Cleveland
The latest episode in the life of the NBA’s biggest hero/villain is without question the biggest story in basketball, and perhaps all US sports for the year 2014. Lebron James from Akron Ohio, was the hometown sensation for the Cleveland Cavaliers for a 7 year stint which saw him win multiple individual accolades and become arguably the best player in the NBA. On the collective front however the Cavs were always bridesmaids and never the bride. Then he moves from hero to zero when he “took his talents to South Beach” and joined the Miami Heat. Jerseys burned, boos whenever he returned, King James he was hated.

Fast forward to 2014, four years later, the San Antonio Spurs just ended the two year championship streak of the Heat, Lebron James is again a free agent…which is the one place you think he would never end up? Well here we go, the King Returns, forming a new “Big 3” with Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love. This mega team was to be the conqueror of all conquerors in the eastern conference. It hasn’t been materialising this way but the hype and the big concert that accompanied the return of The King makes this one of the major highlights of 2014.

2014 World Cup
THE BEAUTIFUL GAME – that is the name that football or soccer goes by and the biggest sporting event in the world i.e. the FIFA World Cup was undoubtedly the major event on the year’s sporting calendar. Brazil, arguably the spiritual home of football, was the host nation and the spectacle was one for the ages. What made this World Cup special to me was the barrage of surprises that emerged from this tournament.

The first major surprise was the demise of the defending champions, La furia roja of Spain. They were pummelled in their first game by the Dutch and it was downhill from there. This was even more shocking as Spain had been easily the best and most dominant team in world football for almost as far back as one can remember. Their downfall was truly a revelation.

Another shocker, but more positively, was the success of the Costa Rican team. Representing the unfancied CONCACAF which is home to our underperforming Reggae Boyz, Costa Rica truly punched above its weight TOPPING the supposed “Group of Death” which also contained Italy, England and Uruguay – all major footballing powers. They actually made it to the Quarterfinals where they were only defeated by The Netherlands 4-3 on penalties after a tough 0-0 draw in regulation and extra time. No world cup is complete without a Cinderella story and Costa Rica shone in this role.

Germany won the tournament but by no means was that the major moment of the tournament. Rather the flat out embarrassment of Brazil, the football kings, by the eventual champions and the national mourning that ensued was hands down the top moment. 7-1 in favour of Germany on Brazilian soil must be the most unimaginable result in football history. Watching this game was a surreal experience as every single German attack felt as if a goal would ensue and by the score you can see that was almost the case. Perhaps even more amazing than the result was the largescale mourning that followed. Tears flowed more that the water in the sea at the Copacabana beach and people even feared for the safety of the remainder of the tournament.

As expected the World Cup lived up to its billing as the greatest show on earth and although its hard to admit I miss hearing the silly world cup song and the stupid ads that accompanied the local coverage

Arsenal Football Club FA Cup Glory
Now as we segue from sporting events to events in my life that were special in 2014, this moment truly fit into both categories. Since my beloved Gunnerz of Arsenal Football Club beat a certain Manchester club in the 2005 FA cup the intervening years have been nothing short of suffering. AFC has become synonymous with trophyless campaigns as perennial “nearly men.” But the FA Cup final in May was to be a watershed moment in the life of us Gooners. Now my experience of this glory moment was quite interesting. I was at the wedding of a dear friend thus unable to see the match except through frequent twitter scrolling (don’t judge me). So imagine my conflicted feelings whilst enjoying the “funnest” ceremony ever whilst getting the news that my team was 2-0 down almost immediately in the game that was supposed end this 9 year nightmare. Well 2-0 became 2-1 and eventually 2-1 became 2-2 and then one Aaron Ramsey finished off the incredible fight back and once again the Gunnerz were FA Cup Champions. By this time I was at the wedding reception silently screaming with delight. But before you judge me some more just note that I had to stay updated as even the groom asked me what was up.

My Life

Got engaged
2014 got off to a quick start in terms of major events in my life. On January 4, 2014, the greatest (I don’t wanna brag) proposal ever took place. Rather than bore you with the details lets just say yours truly re-created, in detail, the first day of my relationship with the Lovely Remone Nelson. This concluded with Ms Nelson being brought to the spot of our first kiss where some meticulously placed cue cards were found which were full of lyrics that eventually directed Ms Nelson to the ring that was hidden in the cars glove compartment. Ms Nelson didn’t say yes but the ugly crying suggested we were getting married. More on this to come.

Mexico Trip
June 2014 probably saw the most exciting moment of my professional life as I was selected to represent the Government of Jamaica at a seminar in Mexico City. I have done my fair share of travelling in life for which I am forever indebted to my parents, but this was different, this was not a run of the mill destination. It was just a four day trip but I will never forget it. The seminar itself was brutal – long working hours, translators who coughed in the mics and were clearly tired, a HORRIBLE hotel with staff that only new the word tip in English (slight exaggeration but you get the idea) and last but not least we were conned as we never got our per diem until the end of the trip. Notwithstanding all of the above, as a tourist it was lovely. We were in the heart of the capital and we saw many beautiful historic sites and enjoyed a open top bus ride through the city which was perhaps a few minutes too long. Mexico City was a interesting mixture of the developed and developing world where high rises and modern architecture shared space with makeshift cardboard and tarpaulin homes, a mixture of European and Aztec/Mayan histories. The only disappointment was that the trip to the Aztec Pyramid temples happened before my contingent got there. Mexico City oh I will never forget this trip.

MARRID
Since 2012 November has become a month of milestones in my life. In 2012 I got my first non-academic employment. In 2013 I got a new job in a more senior post. So November has been a time of new jobs so I guess it was appropriate that perhaps the most important and challenging job of being a husband came about in November 2014. Yes I and I in the words of Protoje “walked the plank.” To continue the Protoje references, this moment was a long time coming as we exceeded the 7 Year Itch and made it an 8 Year Affair. Remone Nelson – my beautiful, strong, beloved lady became the newest Mrs Cunningham. Best day of my life doesn’t quite say it but alas the English language limits the way we are able to express ourselves. And the day itself was a blend of stress and outright fun. My wife is clearly a blessing and the preparation and execution of the day was also a clear reminder that good family and good friends are truly a blessing and a blessing that I have received in great measure. So keep me in your thoughts and prayers as I trod on to forever hand in hand with my forever lady. BIG UP DI TEACHER – di chemistry one still not some guy.

So 2014. I’ve heard many a commentary on how 2014 was a horrible year and so many people wishing it good riddance and perhaps with good reason – the world and local economies are still in a negative place, crime is still occurring at alarming levels, governance in Jamaica is not really not showing many signs of improvement. However, and perhaps selfishly, for me it might rank among the best years I’ve ever had. For that like all things I will conclude by simply and repeatedly uttering the most important phrase in life in my opinion:

GIVE THANKS