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Tuesday, January 18, 2011

CayHistory: Relationship to Jamaica & the Crown

I'm continuing to try and blog every so often with regard to Cayman History & Culture as a way of assisting those of us who aren't familiar with either to be thinking about the people/place we live and, honestly, to help me distill my own thoughts about this majestic island in which my family & I are blessed to live. Most of this is derived directly from a book I've been reading, He hath Founded it Upon the Seas: A History of the Cayman Islands and their People.

One of the fascinating aspects of living here in the first year listening to and observing different Caymanians formulate answers to the question: "What is the essence of Cayman Culture?" On the one hand, there are certainly aspects of Cayman Culture that stand out proudly (I am not counting the Batabano Festival -- during which I had to shield my children's eyes) ; yet, it is a relatively young island whose government didn't really even come into being until 1831 and who has relied greatly on inhabitants and contributions from a number of places, especially Britain & Jamaica.

To what degree Cayman is related culturally to Britain & Jamaica seems to have been a question even back in the early 1800s. In 1776, there was a matter of potentially wrongful selling of slaves to planters in Cayman. The matter was resolved, but the British-installed governor of Jamaica was surprised to find out from his law-officers that the Cayman Islands had never been declared a dependancy of Jamaica -- furthermore, no one could tell him to what extent Jamaican laws applied to the Islands.

Despite this ambiguity, which continued, Cayman was managed by a number of Magistrates, one of whom usually served as chief magistrate. Around 1823, there were a number of needs to which the Magistrates appealed to Jamaica & the Crown. When nothing happened, the Magistrates met at the famed Pedro St. James and leased the property from William Eden to use it as an animal pound, courthouse, and jail.

Eight years later a number of Cayman Magistrates had some specific requests of the Jamaican Governor -- namely, that their authority would be recognized by Jamaica and the Crown so that their authority would carry more weight among the commoners in Cayman. Apparently no one acknowledged that this group of Magistrates had any authority -- in fact, there was open opposition to it. Jamaica agreed to appoint some new Magistrates for Cayman but said they had to ask the Crown for permission on other matters like raising taxes and pursuing legal redress to recover outstanding debt. Once again, nothing happened.

So rather than waiting on Jamaica or the Crown, the group of Magistrates and the island inhabitants, led by Waide Bodden, began to organize themselves into a formal, bicameral legislature. The magnitude of this should not be underemphasized -- they did this without any permission from either Jamaica or the Crown. A militia was formed and the legislature met twice a year for the next ten years.

What bold initiative by the Cayman people! While inextricably linked to Jamaica & Britain in family origin, in trade, and in culture, with two bold strikes they had independently asserted that they were willing to care for and provide for themselves.

So as we view the landscape today and all aspects of culture that has borrowed/imported onto this island, perhaps this period of history might help make sense of the importance of a sense of independence as well. A people who historically have been left to survive on their own -- forging a culture even still in this 21st century. I'm grateful to be a part of it.

(**I'd welcome any thoughts or any correctives to my still limited grasp of Cayman History)

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

iWorship Taken to the Extreme

At SCC, we've been using iWorship since last August as a means through which we can exalt Christ through song. Myself and most of the leadership here have gotten mostly positive feedback. But there are certainly drawbacks and we're looking to improve how we lead worship through song.

But it is now crystal clear that we are nowhere close to the 'cutting edge' of worship technology. Check out this clip of Northpointe Community Church near Atlanta, GA, who for better or for worse push the envelope of using technology in worship. Enjoy it and remember: Your iPhone is your instrument of praise!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

A miraculous email or just 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Perhaps it's being a pastor (but I know this likely happens to you as well), but my inbox/spam folder receives an average of 1.5 Forwards a day that can be categorized as "spiritually inspirational." Most of them now are filled with stories of the miraculous or at least extraordinary -- and some of them are really pretty cool, even spur on my faith.

As I mentioned in a sermon a few weeks back on "The Spirit," however, a longing for extraordinary manifestations of the Spirit's power can (notice can) become what the Apostle Paul describes in Romans 6 as an "over-passion." A good thing that becomes idolatrous when we make it into an ultimate thing -- above our love for God & whatever He wills for our lives.

I was reading through an old journal recently and ran across an important lesson for the people of Judah and, I think, a good reminder for us that God displays great glory in the 'mundane' -- trusting Him enough to respond in ordinary obedience.

Disaster comes upon disaster; rumor follows rumor. They seek a vision from the prophet, while the law perishes from the priest and counsel from the elders (Ezekiel 7:26).

While people looked everywhere for and even followed rumors of the miraculous or 'extraordinary,' the faithful teaching of the law perished and the giving and receiving counsel from those who'd gained godly wisdom dissipated.

Notice this principle doesn't advocate not seeking God's will, but rather through responding to His great love through obedience in the day-to-day as well as seeking wisdom from those in your life who are equipped to give it (godly friend, parents, spouse, and especially godly pastors & elders in your church) can prove more valuable and ultimately more revealing than wishing one of these almost unbelievable emails would happen to you.

So we do know this about God's will for you and I: "Be joyful always, pray continuously, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus" (1 Thessalonians 5: 16-18). And in doing His will, don't be surprised to see the miraculous happen also.