Category : Caribbean

(Miami Herald) Fabiola Santiago on the Death of Fidel Castro–"Give us this moment"

During the six decades of the Castro brothers totalitarian rule, more than two million Cubans fled their beloved island, taking solace in the words of Cuba’s most famous exile, poet and independence hero José Martí: “sin patria, pero sin amo,” without a homeland, but without a master.

Countless met their deaths in the attempt to cross the seas and now trekking through the jungles of some seven countries to reach the U.S. border. One of Castro’s most heinous crimes was the massacre of 41 men, women and children attempting to flee Cuba on a tugboat on July 13, 1994. Cuban authorities sprayed the vessel with water hoses, rammed and sank it. This is not something I read. I interviewed survivors at the Guantanamo Cuban refugee camps months later. The Cuban Coast Guard refused to rescue the drowning, they told me.

There were so many other crimes and human rights abuses, largely ignored or benignly viewed by a world that gave Castro the benefit of the doubt, and only slapped him on the wrist occasionally at some forums like the United Nations.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Anthropology, Caribbean, Cuba, Death / Burial / Funerals, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Parish Ministry, Politics in General, Theology

Will Willimon's wonderful story of an angry Duke University student parent

From here:

[Will] Willimon once preached about an encounter he had with the father of a graduating student. The father called his office and exploded over the phone. “I hold you personally responsible for this,” he yelled at Willimon. The father was angry because his graduate-school-bound daughter had decided (in the father’s words) “to throw it all away and go and do mission work in Haiti with the Presbyterian church.” The father screamed, “Isn’t that absurd! She has a bachelor of science degree from Duke University, and she is going to dig ditches in Haiti! I hold you responsible for this!”

Willimon, not easily intimidated, asked him, “Why me?” The father replied, “You ingratiated yourself and filled her with all this religion stuff.” Dr. Willimon was quick to reply, “Sir, weren’t you the one who had her baptized?” “Well, well, well, yes,” the father stumbled. “And didn’t you take her to Sunday school when she was a little girl?” “Well, well, yes.” “And didn’t you allow your daughter to go on those youth group ski trips to Colorado when she was in high school?” “Yes, but what does that have to do with anything?” replied the father, becoming more and more aggravated. “Sir,” Willimon concluded, “you are the reason she is throwing it all away. You introduced her to Jesus. Not me!” “But,” said the father, “all we wanted was a Presbyterian.” Willimon replied, “Well, sorry sir, you messed up. You’ve gone and made a disciple.”

–shared by my coworker Craige Borrett in the morning sermon and one of my favorite Willimon stories

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Caribbean, Children, Christology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Haiti, Marriage & Family, Ministry of the Ordained, Missions, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Preaching / Homiletics, Religion & Culture, Theology, Theology: Scripture, Young Adults

(LA Times) Why this West Point graduate cried during his commencement

The tears streamed down Alix Idrache’s face. In the photograph, the streaks reach almost to the high collar of his gray dress uniform.

The moment, captured by a military photographer Saturday during commencement exercises at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., marked the culmination of a journey that began in 2009, when Idrache came to Maryland from his native Haiti, barely able to speak English.

Now 24, he graduated at the top of his class in physics, was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Army, and is headed to Alabama to train as a helicopter pilot.

Read it all and absolutely, positively do not miss the picture.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Caribbean, Defense, National Security, Military, Education, Ethics / Moral Theology, Haiti, Theology, Young Adults

Congratulations to Jamaica who Beat the United States in tonight's Gold Cup Semi-Final

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Caribbean, Jamaica, Men, Sports

USA beats Cuba 6-0 in CONCACAF Gold Cup Quarterfinals

Clint Dempsey scored on a fourth-minute header, added a pair of second-half goals for his first international hat trick, and the United States routed Cuba 6-0 on Saturday to reach its eighth straight CONCACAF Gold Cup semifinal.

Dempsey converted a penalty kick early in the second half and added a late goal to raise his tournament-leading total to six. Dempsey’s 57 international goals are 10 behind Landon Donovan’s American record.

Gyasi Zardes, Aron Johannsson and Omar Gonzalez also scored as the Americans built a 4-0 halftime lead against a Cuban team depleted by five absent players who may have defected.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Caribbean, Cuba, Men, Sports

(Economist) The unusual faith of Santería is growing in Cuba

A sharp-eyed visitor to Havana and other Cuban cities will notice some odd things: the carcasses of birds strewn at intersections, insignias consisting of a single eye and dagger affixed to doorways and displayed in taxis, people dressed head to toe in white. All are emblems of Santería, a religion with roots in the culture of Yoruba slaves who came to Cuba from Nigeria from the early 18th century. After a period of suppression, it appears to be making a comeback.

Santería is a blending of the Yoruba religion, which acknowledges 401 orishas, or deities, with the Catholicism of the Spanish colonisers. Although at least 60% of Cubans today call themselves Catholics, far fewer are regular churchgoers. Many see no reason not to incorporate Santería rituals into their spiritual lives. A Catholic priest will marry a couple, but a santero might foretell their destiny and, later on, counsel them on how to revive their flagging sex life.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Africa, Caribbean, Cuba, Globalization, History, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture

(Ang. Journal) Cuban synod votes to return to the Episcopal Church

Members of synod for the Episcopal Church of Cuba narrowly voted in favour of returning to the church’s former affiliation with The Episcopal Church at their recent meeting last month in Cardenas, Cuba.

The move came two months after the historic decision by the United States and Cuba to re-establish diplomatic relations after a 54-year hiatus. The Cuban church had been part of a province in The Episcopal Church until the 1959 revolution, which made travel and communication between the two churches difficult. The Metropolitan Council of Cuba (MCC)””which includes primates of the Anglican Church of Canada, the Province of West Indies and The Episcopal Church””was subsequently created to provide support and oversight.

Archbishop Fred Hiltz, primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, and Archdeacon Michael Thompson, general secretary, attended the synod””which ran from Feb. 19 to 22””as representatives of the MCC.

Hiltz said the vote on that resolution, which was 39 in favour and 33 against, showed that the synod was divided on the issue. “When the results of the vote were announced, there was just absolute silence,” he said. “There were some people that were feeling a sense of victory and others who were feeling a real sense of loss.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces, Canada, Caribbean, Cuba, Episcopal Church (TEC), Politics in General, Theology

A Prayer for the Feast Day of James Theodore Holly

Most gracious God, by the calling of thy servant James Theodore Holly thou gavest us our first bishop of African-American heritage. In his quest for life and freedom, he led thy people from bondage into a new land and established the Church in Haiti. Grant that, inspired by his testimony, we may overcome our prejudice and honor those whom thou callest from every family, language, people, and nation; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * International News & Commentary, Caribbean, Church History, Haiti, Spirituality/Prayer

Pres. Obama moves to normalize relations with Cuba as American is released by Havana

President Obama announced sweeping changes to U.S. policy with Cuba on Wednesday, moving to normalize relations with the island nation and tear down the last remaining pillar of the Cold War.

Under the new measures, the United States plans to reopen its embassy in Havana and significantly ease restrictions on travel and commerce within the next several weeks and months, Obama said. Speaking from the White House, he declared that a half-century of isolation of the communist country “has not worked.”

“It’s time for a new approach,” he said.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Caribbean, Cuba, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, Theology

Funeral fashion Caribbean-style – BBC World Service

Photographer Charlie Phillips talks to Dan Damon about the rituals and fashions of Afro-Caribbean funerals in London. Starting with the Windrush generation in the 1950s to today. Charlie’s work will be published in the book ‘How Great Thou Art’. The title for this book is borrowed from the popular hymn sung at funerals.

Watch the whole Youtube clip.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Caribbean, Death / Burial / Funerals, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Urban/City Life and Issues

A Prayer for the Feast Day of James Theodore Holly

Most gracious God, by the calling of thy servant James Theodore Holly thou gavest us our first bishop of African-American heritage. In his quest for life and freedom, he led thy people from bondage into a new land and established the Church in Haiti. Grant that, inspired by his testimony, we may overcome our prejudice and honor those whom thou callest from every family, language, people, and nation; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * International News & Commentary, Caribbean, Church History, Haiti, Spirituality/Prayer

(CT) Bonhoeffer-Inspired cuban Pastor Arrested After Blogs, Tweets, and D.C. Trip

Travel keeps getting easier for Cuba’s surging Christian community even as practicing their faith keeps getting harder. Case in point: Mario Felix Lleonart Barroso, a Cuban Baptist pastor who once appeared on CT’s cover and has since become a Bonhoeffer-inspired activist blogger.

Last fall, Lleonart Barroso made an unusually high-profile trip to Washington, D.C., visiting the Congressional Caucus on Religious Freedom and issuing a 30-point challenge to his Communist government. Last weekend, he found his house in central Cuba surrounded by security police, according to Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW).

Security agents quickly seized the pastor as his wife and two children watched from inside the house.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Caribbean, Cuba, Globalization, Law & Legal Issues, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Police/Fire, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Theology

Heartwarming Pittsburgh area story–Groups rally to reunite dying patient with his family

In the past three weeks, Charlton Fisher went from wanting to die to wanting desperately to live.

From his bed at Forbes Hospice, Mr. Fisher, a maintenance worker from Jamaica whose heart is nearly nonfunctional, made a dying wish — to see his wife, Marion, and daughters, Ashley, 11, and Asha-kay, 3, one last time.

The anticipation of their visit from Jamaica and Saturday night’s reunion has revived Mr. Fisher. Where on Dec. 31, his first day in hospice care, his skin was gray and he was unable to stand up or talk without sacrificing too much energy, on Sunday he was walking around, slow and weak, but improved.

That’s not the typical trajectory of a hospice patient.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Caribbean, Children, Death / Burial / Funerals, Health & Medicine, Jamaica, Marriage & Family, Parish Ministry, Urban/City Life and Issues

Tom Speelman–Oscar Hijuelos RIP

At the end of…[the party], though, after most of the guests had gone home, my sister had gone to sleep after marathoning all then-7 of the Harry Potter films the night before and my folks were busy chatting with my aunt and uncle, I headed to the stack of my new books and, almost at random, chose one of the titles from my American Literature survey course: Mr. Ives’ Christmas by Oscar Hijuelos.

I read the book in most of 2 days, instantly captivated by the story of a man, himself an orphan, trying to put his life back together after the murder of his aspiring priest son, and thinking back over the story of his own life as a honorary member of New York’s Cuban community of the 40s and ’50s, despite not really being Cuban himself; a simple story, Hijuelos captured it in poetic, delicate writing that painting broad, vibrant brushstrokes in your head.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Books, Caribbean, Cuba, Death / Burial / Funerals, Parish Ministry, Poetry & Literature, Religion & Culture

(WINN FM) Anglican Church in the Caribbean: No to Same Sex Marriage

The Head of the Anglican Church in St. Kitts and Nevis Archdeacon Valentine Hodge is making it clear that the Church does not support gay marriage, or condone a homosexual lifestyle.

“I can only speak…on the behalf of the Anglican Church which is the church in the province of the West Indies”¦um at the moment we cannot marry in church two people of the same sex…We believe in indissoluble monogamous marriage that is something which should last for life.. indissoluble.. and, we also believe that it is something between a man and a woman,” the Archdeacon said, speaking on WINN FM’s Breakfast Show Thursday.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Anthropology, Caribbean, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Theology, Theology: Scripture, West Indies