Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Demise and Rebirth of the Caribbean Challenge and the need for Caribbean Christian magazines

Yesterday while waiting for my doctor's appointment, I foraged for a magazine in the basket provided for something to read during the wait. I saw the Caribbean Challenge a magazine that I remembered the title, for during high school as a member of the Inter-Schools Christian Fellowship (ISCF), I used to sell that magazine, promote it and even purchased and read it. I was about to bypass that magazine, for something "more educational" when I realised that that was 1) the unchristian thing to do and, 2) that the other magazines were not educational but more gossip, entertainment and lifestyle magazines such as Ebony etc.

I pulled up the Caribbean Challenge and began browsing. From the Editor's note, I realised the news that the the Caribbean Challenge went out of business. Further, I discovered that this magazine was now being published by the Caribbean Graduate School of Theology (CGST).

This morning I searched for the Caribbean Challenge online and found this:

Jamaica’s Christian magazine, Caribbean Challenge is going out of business, reported the Jamaica Gleaner. The magazine, published by Christian Literature Crusade in Jamaica for more than 50 years, once had a circulation of 30,000 in the region. Eaton Facey, who served as its editor, told the Gleaner that it was “a painful decision” to shutter the magazine (Tainsay).
I also checked the Gleaner's site for the original story which I found. If you have the time, check Dawes.

As I browsed through the new Caribbean Challenge under new management available online through the following link: I made several observations and notes that I want to share.

The new magazine is greatly needed, but unfortunately seems like a promotional magazine or brochure for CGST. Nevertheless, I observed that even in this regard the magazine has sought to make theology accessible to the common man and applied to daily life.

My concerns though as a trained Librarian were:
  1. the absence of a publication date on the cover or elsewhere in the magazine. 
  2. the absence of publication information or even an editorial statement on how frequently it would be published and
  3. opportunities for letters to the editors and for readers to write back
The points of concern are really technical in nature and based on best practice and knowledge in my field of study. My ability to see these issues really highlights my awareness of where G-d has led me. In my secular and vocational studies, G-d has given me the opportunity to know what makes a good publication for libraries and booksellers. In fact, my vocational and secular education pursuits are in line with my spiritually revealed purpose of literature evangelism (please pray into that purpose for me).

I do see a need for a Caribbean Christian magazine and specifically for the Caribbean Challenge:
  • to answer questions for people who are searching and those who seeking answers to theological questions. Such a magazine should provide answers that help people  to end their search and find Christ, to better understand the Bible or be challenged to deepen their spirituality, spiritual knowledge, quality of life/living and walk with G-d.
  • to make theology accessible to the common man and applied to daily life
  • to provide an opportunity to think about G-d and his will for humanity collectively and personally in a format that is graphic, modern and relevant to the information needs of the current generation

Works Cited:

Dawes, Mark (Religion Editor). "The demise of the 'Challenge'" Jamaica Gleaner Saturday | December 6, 2008

Tiansay, Eric. " CRI News Beat: Starfield; Soraya Moraes; Caribbean Challenge; Acoustic Gospel Vol. 2" Christian Retailing News Beat MONDAY, 09 FEBRUARY 2009

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Learning from conversations in the Dancehall genre of music

Matthew 6:31-32 (King James Bible)
Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?
(For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.

New International Version (©1984):

For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.

New Living Translation (©2007):
These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs.

Over the holidays I had the chance to listen to Dancehall music both secular and gospel. On Friday new year's eve, G-d brought to my mind a revelation or observation regarding the musical content.

For secular Dancehall, the lyrics of the artistes are focused on material things and life in the physical realm. They are concerned about clothes, food and the everyday struggles of career, power and meeting human needs.

For the gospel Dancehall, the lyrics are focused on spiritual consciousness and on overcoming personal and spiritual vices.

To make these points, I have embedded four videos here. As you will observe the secular Dancehall music videos are focused on achievement, the attainment of personal greatness and the pursuit of wealth. When you listen to the gospel or Christian Dancehall, you will get a sense of a different struggle. For in the Christian's Dancehall lyrics and conversation, the struggle is not regarding survival in this life, but regarding the struggle for spiritual purity

Enough of my commentary. Just listen for yourself to the lyrics and just forget about the music. (If you can't hear the lyrics, you can always Google them).

Secular Dancehall

Gospel Dancehall