Category Archives: Christianity

It Is Time For Christians to Fight Back

General John Kelly of the US Southern Command has reported that about 150 persons left the Caribbean region in 2015 to fight with Islamic State – the Islamic army that is killing Christians wherever they find them. He warned that Islamic terrorists may now choose to carry out terror activities in their home countries.

The mass-beheading videos by Islamic State appear to show Christians unresistingly kneeling before their executioners. Tragically, Christians were taught to submit to this barbarism by their religious leaders. Even after the televised mass-beheadings, Christians continued to be taught to submit to their oppressors while maintaining their faith until the end. Before a similar persecution is upon us, our religious leaders need to honestly discuss an effective Biblical Barbadian response.

Jesus’ Response to an Individual Oppressor

Jesus provided two responses to violence. The first was directed to individuals during their normal interaction with other individuals. Jesus advised His followers to essentially turn the other cheek and not resist such individuals. Paul advised Christians not to retaliate against oppressors since vengeance belongs to the Lord. The Bible teaches that God hears the cries of the oppressed, and that certain terrible judgement awaits the oppressors.

Those who organise the mass killing of Christians depend on the willingness of Christian religious leaders to convince their adherents not to resist the impending slaughter. Such religious leaders conveniently ignore Jesus’ second response to violence as they unwittingly cooperate with the oppressors.

Jesus’ Response to Terrorism

Jesus’ second response was directed to communities vulnerable to terrorism. A few hours before Jesus’ arrest, He instructed His disciples to sell some of their possessions and arm themselves with the latest weapon of war – the sword. The disciples obtained two swords and Jesus said “it is enough” (Luke 22:38), indicating that the armed should protect the unarmed.

And He said to them, “When I sent you without money bag, knapsack, and sandals, did you lack anything?”  So they said, “Nothing.”

Then He said to them, “But now, he who has a money bag, let him take it, and likewise a knapsack; and he who has no sword, let him sell his garment and buy one.  For I say to you that this which is written must still be accomplished in Me: ‘And He was numbered with the transgressors.’ For the things concerning Me have an end.”

So they said, “Lord, look, here are two swords.”  And He said to them, “It is enough.” (Luke 22:35-38)

There is no contradiction with Jesus’ responses. While Jesus ministered, He was the lighting rod that attracted criticism and death threats. He preached openly, chased merchants from the temple, and defended His disciples from criticism. However, shortly before He was arrested, and would not be present to protect His disciples, He instructed His disciples to defend themselves (Luke 22:36).

While Jesus was being arrested, His disciples asked whether the time had come for them to attack with the sword. Jesus replied “Permit even this” (Luke 22:51), signifying that the swords were last-resort defensive weapons.

The murder, rape and enslavement of millions of Christians around the world over the past 2,000 years has been facilitated by religious leaders teaching pacifism. Jesus hated religious traditions that violated God’s commandments, and He publically insulted religious leaders who misled gullible adherents. Hear Jesus’ public response to such religious leaders: “Serpents, brood of vipers! How can you escape the condemnation of hell?” (Matt 23:33)

It is better if each person conscientiously arrived at their own response to potential terrorists now, rather than being forced to react immediately during such a foreseen event. While I respect pacifists who have honestly considered all sides of this issue before reaching their conclusion, let it be known that if I am overwhelmed by terrorists, I intend to go down fighting.

Best regards,


Colliding With Truth

Dear Readers:

I am announcing the publication of my third book: Colliding With Truth – Restoring the Lost Ministry of Recalibration.

Jesus described His two principal missions while He was on the earth:
1. to restore the Ministry of Recalibration; and
2. to establish the Ministry of Reconciliation.

The ministry of reconciling others to God is directed to those who do not know God, and has been embraced by the evangelical Church. The ministry of recalibrating traditions is directed to those who claim to know God, and its purpose is to ensure that erroneous teachings are not perpetuated. However, this ministry has generally been neglected.

Jesus recognized the vulnerability of His message to manipulation, and warned His followers about those who would try to mislead others. The harshest words spoken by Jesus appear to be reserved for religious leaders who stubbornly defended and taught their inherited traditions that conflicted with God’s commands.

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel land and sea to win one proselyte [convert], and when he is won, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves.” (Matthew 23:13-15)

Given the dire consequences for those who defend inherited traditions that conflict with Jesus’ words, it is the responsibility of every Christian leader, parent, and convert to examine their denominational traditions prior to teaching them to others.

Colliding With Truth examines popular traditions of the church which are in conflict with the words of Jesus.  The book can be purchased Here.



Securing Your Children’s Failure

There are many personal destructive addictive behaviors.  Some can be categorized as illegal, some unethical, some unhealthy, and others morally destructive.  It is a father’s responsibility to demonstrate mastery over all such behaviors, so that he may impart to his children the necessary confidence and self-esteem in knowing that any addictive behavior can be overcome.

 Every child will have to face diverse temptations. It is not a parent’s job to keep their adult children from these temptations.  However, it is a parent’s job to prepare their young children to overcome such temptations by modeling responsible behavior, and by correcting them when they stray, as they inevitably will.

A study performed on US prisons found that almost all prisoners had a bad or non-existent relationship with their fathers.  These prisoners were unprepared to manage the temptations that confront every man.  Rather than practicing to overcome such temptations when the consequences of failure were relatively mild in a family environment, they failed as adults where such consequences are severe.

As I raise my son, my heart grieves for those children who are not being fathered, and for those young adults who are not prepared to face temptations on their own.  Let me try to share some fatherly advice to those young adults who do not feel that they can overcome an addictive behavior, whether sex, drugs, alcohol, Internet pornography, gambling smoking, gluttony, etc.

Firstly, you need to understand that you can avoid becoming addicted to any type of addictive behavior by simply choosing not to engage in it.  I know that this is easier said than done. However, it is the most efficient way to live your life.

You see, there are three equally effective ways of learning life’s basic lessons:

1. by obeying responsible instructions;

2. by observing the failure of others; and

3. by experiencing the failure for yourself.

The principal difference in these methods is the time required to learn.  Once you have learned the basic lessons, you can then proceed to learn more advanced lessons.  The first method takes the least amount of time.  The second takes a bit more time.  The last may take decades.  However, those who  consistently choose the third method are destined to learn only a few lessons because we have a finite amount of time on this earth.

 Secondly, if you find yourself addicted to irresponsible behavior, then you can stop at any time – once you are serious.  Many struggle with addictions for years, principally because they are not serious – they wish to leave the door slightly open, so that they can have the option of returning to experience the pleasure that engaging in the behavior brought.

If you are a father, and you are engaging in addictive behavior, whether extra-marital sex, drugs, alcohol, Internet pornography, gambling, smoking, gluttony, etc, then unless you get serious about stopping, you are simply ensuring that your children will have to fight your unfinished battles, while being completely unprepared to do so.  Thus, you are securing their failure, and destining them to many years of failing to overcome the behavior which you refused to overcome.

 If you are serious about stopping, then let me suggest the following three steps.

Step 1 – Tell God, who knows your true intents, that you will never do the deed again.

Step 2 – Demonstrate your commitment by getting rid of and cutting yourself off from everything associated with that behavior.

Step 3 – You will be tempted often.  Choose to stop thinking about it, look away,  and spend the time that you used to spend in addictive behavior habitually doing something responsible.

You may fail subsequent temptations.  However, the difference is that you are now walking upright and going somewhere.  You may stumble and fall, but get up quickly and keep walking.  The person who is addicted stays down for a long while.

Let me recommend that you listen to the following song – it is in two parts.

 You can also watch the dramatic presentation below.

This one may also be useful:



Throwing in the Towel

For the past 30 years, I have heard many academics confidently assert two things about the Bible.

1.  It  conflicts with scientific evidence; and

2.  It is full of contradictions.

 Persons who challenged these assertions were rarely given an opportunity to honestly discuss their concerns with these academics, but rather, had their opinions derisively dismissed.

 Approximately 10 years ago, I felt that I had sufficient confidence in the breadth and depth of my Biblical and scientific knowledge to investigate the common assertions.  They did not stand up to rigorous scrutiny.

 Jewish, Christian, and Islamic religious leaders consider themselves to be entrusted with knowledge of God’s truth as recorded in their principal religious texts.  However, what is most appalling is that such religious leaders, with limited scientific knowledge, have simply accepted the academics’ assertions in order to avoid being ridiculed for their beliefs.  Worse still, they teach their converts to accept the conflicting academics’ opinions, despite being aware of Jesus’ commandment:

 “But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were thrown into the sea. (Mark 9:42)

 I hereby issue an open challenge for anyone with claims of Biblical contradictions with itself and with scientific evidence to present them for discussion and scrutiny here.




The Most Important Role of a Father

I was preparing to make a presentation of ‘Brothers Kept Apart’ at the Grande Salle, Central Bank complex, and I had to get there early to prepare.  As I was putting on my tie, my 4-year old son came into the bedroom and asked: “Daddy, where are you going?”  I am going to give a presentation, I replied.  “Can you give me a present too?” He asked.  I am not going to give a present but a speech.  Immediately he responded: “Oh! I know. You are going to say blah blah blah blah blah.”  Well, yes. I replied.

Mid-way through my presentation, I noticed my wife and son in the back row.  It was a school night, but my wife brought him along to see his father in action.  When our eyes met, he waved, and I waved back.  My wife had to restrain him from speaking.

 When I finished the presentation, there was a 15 minute intermission and complimentary refreshment break.  He ran to me, greeted me with a hug and said “You did good Daddy.”  While I got an ovation for the presentation, and received and appreciated the many kind and encouraging words from dignitaries, friends, and those whom I did not know, it was the response of my only begotten son that had me chocking back tears.  Thank you. I replied.

 I love my son.  I love when we walk together with his little trusting hand in mine, or when he climbs onto my back, or when I lift him into my arms as he raises his arms signalling to me that he is tired.  I feel rewarded just serving him.  However, I am fully aware that the most important function that I must play is to facilitate the transfer of his precious and complete trust from my hand to God’s hand, from my arms to God’s unfailing arms, from me to God.  For I am flesh, and my strength and knowledge will fade, but God is perfect and almighty and all-wise and good, and his guidance is sure.

 When I was fifteen years old, shortly before my high school examinations, my father and I were at home alone cleaning up.  Daddy was washing the dishes and I was drying them.  As we conversed, my father encouraged me to trust God and to seek his guidance.  Thus began not only an acceptance of Jesus as the Messiah, but the cultivation of a relationship with God, my heavenly Father.

 My hope for all of you fathers is that you be reconciled to the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and that you facilitate the reconciliation of your son to God, your heavenly Father.  There is no greater responsibility than that.



Public Presentation of Brothers Kept Apart

9781440116100_cvrDear Readers:

You are invited to a free public presentation of the concepts contained in Brothers Kept Apart.

The Book assumed that both the Bible and the Qurán were authentic, and then found harmony between their principal teachings without compromising the teachings, or damaging the integrity of any verse in the Bible or the Qurán.

The presentation is scheduled to be held on Thursday 18th June 2009 at the Grande Salle (Central Bank) starting at 6:00 pm.

Given the limited seating, you are encouraged to reserve your seat by e-mailing, or text or call 232-9783.  Please note that seats will be reserved until 5:50 pm.



The Audacity of Hope

9781440116100_cvr1.jpgDear Readers:

Christians and Muslims claim to serve the same God. However, Christian and Muslim teachers have convinced their adherents that God had rejected the other group. This has led to an acrimonious and sometimes violent relationship between Christians and Muslims over the past 1,300 years. Both of these groups believe that they will stand before the God of Abraham at the end of the age. Can these brothers, who have been kept apart for far too long, be reconciled before that time?

An Honest Look at Mohammed

Mohammed was born in 570 AD. He was an orphan and was raised by his uncle who was a trader. Mohammed also became a trader where he traveled from his home in Mecca around the Arabian Peninsula. When Mohammed was 25 years old, he married a widow named Khadīja and took no other wife during her lifetime.

When Mohammed was 40 years old, he reported receiving revelation from an angel. The message was that the Ishmaelites should reject their idols and submit to the One God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, who was the God of the Jews and the Christians. His wife believed him, and she called her Christian cousin, Waraqa, who encouraged Mohammed that he was God’s prophet to the Ishmaelites, but to expect persecution.

Before Mohammed started preaching, Mohammed was financially well off, and he belonged to an influential family of the descendents of Ishmael. However, he risked it all and preached an unpopular message.

Mohammed’s Message

Mohammed started preaching in Arabia when he was 40 years old, and he preached a message of non-violence for the next 9 years. His message included:

  • return to the religion of Abraham, and worship the One God, who is identified as the one God of Abraham, the Jews and the Christians;
  • adopt responsible cultural practices;
  • believe God’s revelation sent to the Old Testament prophets, and recorded in the Gospel;
  • believe in the Messiah Jesus, who was born of the virgin Mary;
  • believe that there is a resurrection and a judgment where everyone’s eternal future would be determined;
  • believe that the Holy Sprit was sent to strengthen and guide believers;
  • reject the ways of satan; and
  • avoid the penalty of eternal hell fire.

Mohammed interacted with several Christian and Jewish religious leaders during his lifetime; however, many of them rejected him and his message. Mohammed’s message of returning to the One God of Abraham was very unpopular in the polytheistic region. It resulted in many family divisions, and severe persecution of those who forsook the dominant polytheistic religion. Many of his followers fled to Ethiopia in 615 AD to escape the persecution in Arabia. However, Mohammed remained in Mecca under the protection of his uncle.

From a Message of Peace to the Sword

Mohammed’s uncle and wife both died in 619 AD and to escape persecution, Mohammed fled from Mecca. Mohammed later declared that he was sent to humanity to call them to serve God alone. Later, he claimed that God had given him permission to defend his followers, and then to execute God’s judgment on the surrounding nations.

Mohammed sent letters to: Roman Emperor Heraclius, Persian king Khosrow II, Ethopian king Negus, the Egyptian king Muqauqis, and the kings of Uman, Yamama, Yaman, Bahrayn and Ghassani, warning them to submit to God or to face the consequences. After Mohammed’s death in 632, the Islamic armies would go on defeat most of these kingdoms, including the Persian and Roman armies. The Islamic army’s victories during the first approximately 100 years were as impressive as those undertaken by the Israelite army under Joshua approximately 1,000 years earlier.

The Compilation of the Qur’an

Mohammed did not write the Qur’an during his lifetime, but his scribe had written the dictated messages on hundreds of stones, bones, and leafs. Approximately 24 years after Mohammed’s death, the final written compilation of the Qur’an was completed. However, rather than order the compiled chapters chronologically, they were ordered generally from the longer to the shorter chapters. Of all of the books ever written, in any civilization of this world, and at any time in recorded history, the Qur’an is perhaps the easiest book to misunderstand and to misinterpret for three principal reasons:

  • its non-chronological ordering;
  • the end of the ‘Period of Judgment’ is not recorded in the Qur’an;
  • the Qur’an contains responses to various questions, teachings, and behaviors of Jews and Christians, but it rarely includes the questions.

Unverified Assumptions

These issues have led to Islamic teachers making the following unverified assumptions.

  • Since the initial 9 years of non-violent teachings appeared to conflict with the later retaliatory and ‘Period of Judgment’ instructions, then some later “violent” verses permanently replaced or abrogated some earlier more “peaceful” ones.
  • The ‘Period of Judgment’ or ‘Holy War’ is to continue until the end of time.
  • Since the Qur’an is responding in a negative way to Biblical teachings, then the Bible had to have been corrupted.

Understanding the Qur’an

These assumptions actually damage the integrity of several verses in the Qur’an. However, they have become entrenched in Islamic religious tradition for the past 1,300 years. Given these challenges, the proper interpretation of the Qur’an requires a working knowledge of the following:

  1. the Qur’an read in chronological order;
  2. the Books of the Bible, to which the Qur’an refers the reader;
  3. the historical biography of Mohammed;
  4. the development of Christian and Jewish religious traditions from the time of Jesus to the time of Mohammed;
  5. a history of Rome, Persia, and Arabia, whose activities are recorded in the Qur’an;
  6. the Islamic commentaries, in order to understand the Islamic traditional interpretations.

Brothers Kept Apart

After undertaking this research over the past 30 years, I have found that there is harmony between the principal teachings of the Bible and the Qur’an. Given that both Christians and Muslims claim that the same God was the principal author of their Book, then why should anyone be surprised that there is harmony between both books?  The research is titled Brothers Kept Apart.


Who can we trust?

As babies, we trust our parents or guardians completely for our survival.  As children, we continue to trust them while learning to trust in our abilities.  However, our parents normally make those decisions for us that can have long term consequences.  As adults, we trust ourselves to make our own decisions, and should be mature enough to accept and live with the consequences.

As we continue in our careers, we develop confidence in our abilities, opinions, health, memory, finances, influence, friends, etc, and we behave accordingly.  However, as we get older, we may recognize that these things are not as permanent as we had believed when we were younger.

During our lifetime, we will arrive at several crossroads where our abilities cannot help us predict the way with any certainty, and where the choice of a path can be likened to a lottery.  It is not a sign of weakness, or a lack of confidence to listen to wise counsel if the consequences of our decisions can be harmful to ourselves.  It is highly irresponsible not to seek such counsel if our decisions can be harmful to others.  These situations should prompt us to develop a relationship with our Creator who is willing to help us.

As we get well advanced in age, we know that we cannot trust in our abilities or health in planning for the future.  We entered the world completely dependent upon our earthly parents for our survival, and we will leave this world completely dependent upon Jesus the Messiah for our preservation.  In the interim, our trust shifts from our parents to ourselves, and then to God.  At the point of our death, our abilities, finances, influence, etc cannot help us.  If we have not learnt to trust God completely by that time, then who can we trust?



Starving for Corporate Worship of God

There are two types of songs typically sung in Churches.  There are those that are directed to us and those directed to God.  Both types are acceptable.

The songs directed to us normally declare how great and good God is, or include a call for us to worship Him.  Typical lines of these songs include:


  • God is Great and His mercy endures forever.
  • Our God is an awesome God.
  • The Lord reigns, let the earth rejoice.
  • He is Lord, every knee shall bow.

Call to Worship:

  • Exalt the Lord Our God, and Worship at His footstool.
  • Come worship the Lord, let us exalt His name together.
  • How great is our God, sing with me.
  • Let us proclaim His majesty.

After we have declared how great He is, and how worthy He is of our worship, and after calling the Church to worship this great and loving God, then it would seem logical to actually worship Him. However, typically what happens is that the time allotted for corporate worship expires, and we all sit.

This is analogous to arriving for a sprint race, setting up the blocks, and waiting under the starter’s orders. The adrenalin is flowing and excitement mounts as you wait in the blocks. “On your Mark” (analogous to declaring that God is good and worthy of our praise), “Get Set” (analogous to calling people to worship this loving God), Get Set, Get Set, Get Set, Get Set. OK, times up. Back to the dressing room.

Many have been conditioned to believe that the ‘race’ consists of simply getting in and out of the blocks, without actually running.  They happily repeat this process every week and comment on how well the race went.  However, it must be frustrating to those who know that after “Get Set” has been declared, “Go!” must follow.

Yes, I can and do worship God alone; however, in my community, once a week for approximately one half hour I get the opportunity to worship God corporately.  Regrettably, my experience is that such opportunities for actually worshipping God are not frequent.

The typical experience goes something like this.

We sing: “Our God is an awesome God, He reigns in heaven above …”

In my mind is say: I agree with you, He truly is awesome.

“Great and mighty is He, clothed in glory …”

Yes He is mighty. I am fully convinced of this.

“How great is our God, sing with me …”

Yes, I am singing with and to you. But, when can we actually sing to our God?

“Let us proclaim His majesty. …”

Ok, we have proclaimed it repeatedly. Can we worship Him now? Pleeeaaase.

“Enter His gates with thanksgiving, and enter His courts with praise …”

Yes, let us do this.  Can we address God now?

“time’s up, sit please.”

What?  What happened?  Oh no. Not again.  Why, why, why are you doing this? Good grief!

Last Sunday, we sang to ourselves again.  As usual, I participated fully, but in the hope that at least one of the songs would have been directed to God in order to facilitate our worship of Him.  I hoped in vain.  However, this time, the unrealized optimistic hope resulted in more than the mental anguish.  This time I felt sharp pains in my arm and chest.

I imagined that God was on His throne, and Gabriel reported to Him. “Your people are singing to themselves again.”  I wonder what God thinks when this is all that we do.  Since I am frustrated to the point of physical pain after 30 years, I cannot imagine the hurt that God must feel. However, He is longsuffering and patient.

To preserve my life, I have resigned myself not to expect that any songs will be directed to God during the time scheduled on Sunday for corporate worship.  I realize that I may be pleasantly surprised once in a while, but I will not have an expectant attitude.  I believe that if I continue in hope, then when I am in the casket, you may wonder whether it was the stress from work or home that did me in.  While I can still respond, let me say that it was neither.

Before I sign off, let me give some examples of songs that are directed to God.

  • God you are good and Your mercy endures forever.
  • God You are my God, and I will celebrate you.
  • Dear Lord and Father of mankind, forgive our foolish ways.
  • You, we worship You.
  • I love You Lord, and I lift my voice.
  • You deserve the glory, and the honor.
  • You did not wait for me to draw near to you.

There are many more and some can be found here or below.  Just click on “Worship Song”.



Mysteries and Conclusions

Dear Readers:

There have been various behaviours, including environmental and human, that have baffled mankind for much of recorded history. Many of these mysteries have been subjected to rational analysis, and at this time in history, there are few mysteries that have not received a plausible explanation.

A conclusion should be preceded by an analysis of the evidence. Where a conclusion has been provided without the prerequisite analysis, then academics can be quite severe in their criticisms of the process. Their critical responses are appropriate given that various methods of analysis are taught at universities, and critical analyses can facilitate a high standard of research.

Sometimes the results of an analysis show that there is insufficient evidence to reach a conclusion. This can be difficult for some researchers to accept, especially those who believe that they are obliged to provide a conclusive statement by a specified deadline. This can lead to bad research where researchers make non-provable and improbable base assumptions, which, if unchallenged, can become the only significant evidence that is analysed in order to reach a conclusion.

Bad research can therefore occur when the integrity of the evidence is compromised. To reduce the risk of bad research becoming popular, qualified researchers generally critically review research work as part of the publication process.

The Bible has been the focal point of many conclusive remarks. The most derisive of them have come from university lecturers and their students, many of whom have concluded that the Bible is replete with erroneous statements and is an unreliable source of scientific and historical information. However, bad research is an increasingly common basis of their conclusive statements.

I have listened to, and been engaged by university lecturers and their students on discussions about the Bible over the past 25 years. To-date, I have not met a single university lecturer or university student who had criticised the Bible and who had actually read the Bible even once.

Their criticisms generally display an obvious misunderstanding that can easily be resolved if they would simply read the book. However, for some inexplicable reason they do not, but in the safety of their lecture theatres and classroom, they seem to use every opportunity to authoritatively make negative conclusive statements about the Bible that typically go unchallenged.

This is a great mystery. Why and how can persons who understand and teach analytical methods, and severely criticise those who do not use them properly, reach a conclusion while choosing not to review the evidence? How can such persons choose to boldly criticise what they have neither read nor understood? How can such persons choose to disbelieve what they simply do not know?

At a time when university students should be concentrating on their studies, university lecturers seem bent on influencing their students to reject their spiritual heritage and replace it with a selfish outlook on life. Why? What possible harm can believing the Bible, and the existence of God have on their studies or later careers? This must rank as another of the earth’s great mysteries.

The authoritative way in which some university lecturers criticise the Bible can leave some students disillusioned if they accept the view there is no God, no afterlife, no lasting meaning to life, and that all of life is by chance. They are encouraged to let go of the anchor that has benefited them and their communities so well and to hold on to nothing substantial in return. Those who have succumbed to this influence and have subsequently returned to God describe a life of regret and wasted years.

The criticisms and unfounded conclusive statements about the Bible will most likely continue. It is therefore prudent that persons read the Bible for themselves. It is also prudent that persons consider the cost of adopting a selfish outlook on life as they risk becoming old and immature due to the limited personal growth that occurs when chasing purely selfish objectives.


Grenville Phillips II

End of Year Tradition

Dear Readers:

Tonight is Old Year’s Night and many people are expected to follow the traditions of attending church and/or parties. They may also consider their choice of New Year’s resolutions, the more popular ones being health and relationship related.

The Methodist Church has a tradition that is practised on the first Sunday of the New Year, which I have modified and adopted. It essentially consists of renewing one’s commitment to be faithful to God. Jesus said that every person has an appointment with Him at the end of the age to account for how they spent their life. The scriptures also encourage followers of Jesus to periodically and critically examine themselves in order to reject bad habits and adopt good ones.

Commencing on my Birthday, which occurs approximately one week before Old Year’s Night, I willingly present myself before the Lord to give Him an account of how I spent my last year. I find such annual examinations very helpful, as they tend to keep me focused on my priorities. I shall describe the procedure here since others may find it useful and may wish to adopt their own variant of it. They are invited to read the liturgy in the Methodist hymn book.

The first step consists of a review my behaviour towards others over the past year, in order to determine whether persons whom I feel some responsibility for have been sufficiently encouraged and supported. I also consider whether any new commitments that I have accepted have caused an undesirable rearrangement of my priorities. My current priority order being: God, my family, my employer, my church, and then all other people.

I acknowledge where my behaviour was inconsistent with Jesus’ pattern, and endeavour to improve during the upcoming year. Endeavouring to improve is not a burden typically associated with perfectionism, but is simply one component of the process of maturing.

Jesus encourages those who wish to follow Him to count the cost of doing so, since it can result in intense persecution, as those who live in countries hostile to Christianity have found. There are countless examples of persons who either relax their commitment to or reject their Christian heritage after being challenged with different ideas. It is therefore prudent to periodically recount the cost of commitment since the current cost may be far higher than the cost counted at the time of the initial commitment.

A catalogue is therefore made of assets gained over the past year, and the following question is pondered. Given my additional experiences, knowledge, material possessions, achievements, and responsibilities, am I still willing to accept Jesus as my Lord. If I am, then I submit all of my previous and new achievements and responsibilities to God. I ask Him to provide leadership in these areas and give me the necessary wisdom to allow me to carry out my responsibilities to a high standard of quality.

I renew my commitment to love and serve God and to demonstrably love all people regardless of any temporary joy or pain that I may experience. I also renew my commitment to trust God in all circumstances, including those that I may find familiar, and those that may be outside of the boundaries of my experience or knowledge.

The final step involves a renewed commitment to follow the ideals demonstrated by my father: helping the less fortunate, befriending the stranger, encouraging the despondent, guiding the wanderer, knowing God, never compromising personal integrity regardless of the price offered, and pursuing excellence even when there is no reward.


Grenville Phillips II

Avoiding Extremes

Dear Readers:

Very few people wish to be associated with persons or groups who have had their behaviour or beliefs labelled as extreme. Some popular terms that have been used to describe extreme behaviour or beliefs are: radical, far left, far right, liberal, fundamentalist, and extremist. Most people prefer to be associated with groups labelled as moderate, and for good reason.

There is a risk of negative publicity, victimization, or other forms of persecution if one is labelled as an extremist or belonging to a group classified as extreme. Labelling persons or groups as extreme is an easy and effective way of dismissing their ideas and dissuading other people from seriously considering their concerns.

People cannot define extreme positions in isolation, but in relation to other positions in a community. Communities generally decide for themselves what is normal and acceptable behaviour, and they are better equipped to determine what behaviour falls outside of the boundaries of acceptable behaviour for their community. Depending on the number and variation of positions within a community, it is possible that one person’s extreme right position may be another person’s extreme left. Even within a so-called far left group, there can be far right and far left positions. It is also possible that the community’s entire practises can be determined to be outside of another community’s boundaries of acceptable behaviour.

Therefore defining a belief, philosophy, or behaviour as extreme is a highly subjective practise with no universal rules for making the determination. It has become a mischievous tool used by irresponsible media persons, political activists, academics, and diplomats to dismiss the opinions of various individuals and groups as irrelevant.

Barbados has joined this irresponsible practise of recklessly labelling people and groups as extremist without any basis for making the assertions. It would be useful if their audience had the tools to determine for themselves what views were actually extremist using criteria that can be universally applied, rather than being influenced by one person’s subjective opinion.

Models based on principles is one method that can be used to identify a moderate position. Principals such as “harm”, and “help” can be the two extremes, and “do nothing” can be the moderate position. Testing this model reveals that the moderate position is not preferred if one’s neighbour’s house is on fire. Hence, if the community desires to be labelled moderate, then the moderate view must be the preferred option and it must lie between the two extremes. However, this model can become very complex if it could not be determined whether a short-term response would actually help or harm a community in the long term.

Another method is to define criteria for left, right, or moderate views. The main criterion can be the level of control that a state or organisation has on individuals, or the amount of responsibility that people are given to make decisions. With more state control, there can be less individual responsibility and vice versa. Both the state and the individual can make decisions that do not benefit the community and which can expose the community vulnerable to significant harm. The middle ground is one that balances both the state’s and individuals’ responsibility to the community’s good so that the consequences for significant harm to the community from both state and individual decisions are mitigated.

Both models are sensitive to changes in the political and social environment and would require monthly or sometimes weekly community surveys to determine, through public opinion, the location of the new moderate or middle position. The models are therefore impractical for universal application.

There is therefore no known working model to determine extreme or moderate views, yet persons continue to recklessly label groups as extremist. We may not consider the behaviour of some groups or individuals normal in our environment, but it may be considered normal in theirs. This is evident with some so-called “resistance” organisations the Middle East. We do not know what injustice, real or imagined, that has caused them to engage in what we may define in our community as unacceptable behaviour. Their current behaviour may not be based on facts or reason, but it may be pursued out of a perceived necessity.

What are these groups trying to say? What are their concerns? They are difficult to accurately define. For their views have been dismissed as extremist by influential persons, and their concerns have been clouded by their own propaganda efforts.

My Priorities

Dear Readers:

Twice last week while driving around a curve in the road, I had to brake suddenly to avoid a head on collision with a reckless driver who seemed to have lost control of his vehicle. These harrowing experiences have caused me to ponder the likely content of my final article if I had the benefit of knowing when that might be.

I think that I would try to encourage people to know their Creator. Generations of Barbadians have known Him and millions around the world have inexplicably accepted torture and death rather than deny knowing Him. Like them, I can attest that He is real and that to know Him is a most beneficial experience. This benefit can be sustained by reprioritising life’s activities and responsibilities. Jesus’ teachings can be a valuable guide when selecting and ordering priorities.

Everyone has priorities that help to shape their behaviour. Some are well thought out while others are adopted due to parental, peer, or other influences. It may take years before intended priorities become demonstratable, but that is the goal. The following are my first five priorities.

My commitment to God is my first priority, and my desire is to know Him more and to follow Jesus’ example. My commitment to my family is my second priority, and my desire is for there to be no limit to my devotion to and support and love of them. My commitment to my responsibilities is my third priority. My aim is to consistently give my best to my employer as well as to any professional, social, and church organisation to which I am a member.

My commitment to other people is my fourth priority. My desire is to support and encourage people to mature in all aspects of their life, whomever and wherever they may be. My commitment to myself is my fifth priority. My desire is to remain mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually healthy so that I can fully enjoy life’s experiences.

All of the above noted activities and responsibilities are important to me, and I have allocated some time towards each of them. However, if for example, my family required additional time, then it would not be taken from the time scheduled for a higher priority, like time spent with God.

With God, everything about this life makes perfect sense, and all of the pieces of life’s puzzle seem to fit perfectly together. I wish that I could explain in a logical manner why I choose to make the Lord of all creation the Lord of my entire life. I was not in despair or depressed, or engaged in some unacceptable behaviour that required changing. I was a relatively compliant and contented 14-year-old boy who encountered God, and recognised that a relationship with the Creator of the universe could only benefit the person who chose to pursue one.

I therefore acknowledged my shortcomings, felt God’s love, received His forgiveness, and accepted Jesus’ leadership. There is an indescribable security in knowing that the Almighty Creator of all living and non-living things is on your side and is your friend. There is also an overwhelming desire to walk reverently with Him, and a quiet confidence that whenever you reach for His hand, as a child reaches for his fathers, that God will always respond, especially during difficult times.

I have befriended God for the past 24 years and I know that there is nothing too hard for Him. I am convinced that anyone who associates with the Lord Jesus can only improve. Perhaps it is for this reason why persons who desired a dramatic improvement in their lives tended to associate with Jesus. They included persons who were poor, sick, depressed, emotionally hurt, as well as those with low self esteem, those searching for meaning, and those who wanted a second chance at life.

Since persons can only benefit from a relationship with the Lord Jesus, developing such a relationship with Him should be the logical first step in any psychological or drug related recovery or emotionally healing exercise. However, Jesus is so much more than a life changer. Sometimes the journey may be difficult and unpleasant but there is an incomprehensible sustaining joy in knowing that He is always by your side.

The responsibility of those who know God is simply to point others to Him. Deciding to know our Creator, whose love for us far exceeds any other experience, is perhaps the most sensible and beneficial decision that any person can make. Running from His love is irrational.

The USA in the Balance

Read Readers: 

For some it is a land of freedom, justice, and equal opportunity, while for others it is the great satan. Everyone seems to have an opinion on the United States of America, but what is generally opined on is a facet of American culture. In 2006, the United States of America (US) celebrated the 230th anniversary of their independence. Today, we shall examine the American culture.

Approximately 370 years ago, groups of Christians fled religious persecution in Europe and sought refuge in America. Liberal minded persons seeking freedom from political persecution, and opportunists hoping to find their fortune followed them. Human greed led to the creation of an oppressed group of displaced Native Americans and African slaves.

The Christian influence promoted a culture of righteousness and morality, the liberal influence promoted a culture of equality and freedom, and the opportunist influence promoted a culture of commerce. The oppressed influenced a culture in pursuit of justice. Thus four distinct influences promoting four distinct sub-cultures became the cultural foundation of modern America.

These sub-cultures are still evident in modern American culture, each striving for dominance, thereby resulting in a state of imbalance. When one sub-culture is allowed to dominate an environment, to the exclusion of the other sub-cultures, then the resulting imbalance tends to corrupt that environment. This can lead to a negative perception of America.

A dominant Christian influenced culture in its quest for righteousness and morality, can neglect obvious social responsibilities, which can lead to a distrust of America. A dominant liberal influenced culture in its quest for equality and freedom, can promote lower standards of morality and education, which can lead to disrespect for America. A dominant opportunistic influenced culture in its quest for commerce can promote a disregard for the damaging consequential social and environmental costs, which can lead to contempt of America. A dominant oppressed influenced culture in its quest for justice, can expose corrupt, hypocritical, and unjust American practices, which can lead to a hatred of America.

America’s challenge is to bring these sub-cultures into a sustainable equilibrium. The relatively recent unbalanced social policies have not brought about the desired cultural equilibrium, but have instead required expensive social repair programmes.

The current curriculum in most of the public schools has brought about some measure of academic equality. However, it has also resulted in an inward looking society that places little value in things outside of America. The promotion of immoral and irresponsible behaviour has given some persons a feeling of freedom, but it has also led to dangerous addictions, diseases, and crime. The social welfare programs have assisted the poor, but they have also bred a culture of dependency. The affirmative action programs have given minority groups educational and work opportunities. However, they have also bred resentment within those groups who do not qualify.

The Christian influenced culture is losing ground to an increasingly dominant and hostile liberal culture. The oppressed culture is becoming more prominent as oppressed persons are given more avenues to tell their stories. With the declining Christian influence, the opportunistic and liberal influenced cultures have lost their conscience, as they pursue unbalanced policies oblivious to their damaging consequences.

For all of our sakes, these sub-cultures need to achieve a state of equilibrium with great urgency, since Barbados was scheduled to enter a free trading environment with America in 2005. To appreciate aspects of American culture does not mean that one supports the disequilibrium that often results in unbalanced policies, and to criticize such policies does not mean that one hates America or its citizens. Regrettably, modern American culture promotes a dismissive arrogance towards any comment from a non-American that is not complimentary of their policies.

The Kingdom of God

 (Written Wednesday 4th June 2003)

Dear Readers:

We are currently in the middle of Jesus Week, which will culminate on Saturday with ‘March for Jesus’, an event celebrated by Christians in over 130 nations around the world. It therefore seems an appropriate time to respond to three questions. Who is Jesus? What does He want? Why is it important?

Jesus is a historical figure who is described in the Bible and the Koran as the Messiah. According to the Bible, Jesus is God’s Son who paid for the sins of all mankind by his death. He rose from the dead, and His ascension to heaven triggered a series of prophetic events, one of which will be His return to earth to judge all people for their behaviour.

Jesus wants us to accept and help each other, and to cultivate a personal relationship with God. He also wants us to develop mature attitudes towards our responsibilities, and unselfish motives for our behaviour. Depending on the quality of our political, corporate and social environments, behaving responsibly can lead to prosperity and influence, or to poverty and persecution. Jesus therefore does not want us to judge, envy, nor despise each other. We do not choose the environment into which we are born, but we have a responsibility to improve the environment where we live.

Why is this important? Everyone has a philosophy of life, or a primary reason for living, which governs his or her behaviour. Those who find it challenging to articulate their primary reason for living, define it through their actions. The most popular philosophy of life is survival, and it appears to have been adopted by individuals as well as political, corporate, and social institutions. The culture of this philosophy values the pursuit of pleasure, wealth, fame, and/or power. This philosophy is intrinsically unfair and has superficial winners and real losers.

Jesus offers a philosophy of life that is ultimately fair to everyone. This reason for living is described in the Bible as the Kingdom of God, and everyone who adopts the culture of this Kingdom finds fulfilment.

In God’s Kingdom, the focus is not placed on where you have gone, but rather on how you got there. Not on what you had but on how you obtained it. Not on what you did, but on how you did it. The process is much more valuable than the end result. The end result is illusionary since the desire for pleasure, wealth, fame, and power is insatiable. Focusing on the end result can be an effective motivating factor and related achievements can bring a measure of accomplishment. However, while such benefits are temporary, the process can be an eternal investment or an eternal liability.

People can obtain the same positions or possessions through both unethical and ethical means. In the Kingdom of God, the end never justifies the means.

School certificates can be obtained by cheating or through studying. Both approaches result in the same certificates. However, cheating is a liability while studying is an investment. Similarly, promotions and job opportunities can be obtained by bribes, prostitution, threats, nepotism, and political connections and contributions, or through cultivating a professional reputation through an adherence to high professional standards.

Material possessions can be obtained through gambling, bribes, prostitution, violence, threats, lying, and stealing, or through hard work and sound investments. Profitable businesses can be obtained through corruption, political association, exploitation of labour, spreading rumours about competitors, and negative advertisements, or through responsible management and marketing practises.

Sexual pleasure can be obtained through rape, fornication, and adultery, or with your spouse in marriage. A spouse can be obtained through deceit or honesty. Mistakes can be covered up, lied about, aborted, and blamed on others, or accepted.

Those who adopt the philosophy of survival are vulnerable to the temptation to compromise their beliefs, principles, or integrity in order to survive. Jesus noted that those whose primary motive was survival would ultimately lose their life. Jesus also promised that those who lost their lives for His sake and the Kingdom’s would ultimately find it. The stresses and disillusionment associated with the survival philosophy can be replaced with peace, joy and confidence, by trusting Jesus and entering the Kingdom of God.