Monday, September 18, 2006

Church on the Bus

Jamaica has the most churches per capita of any country in the world. Pretty much on every street you will find a church (and interestingly enough a rum bar). And it is very important in Jamaica to be a Christian, although much less important to act like a Christian (as evidencied by the commonality of sex outside of marriage, corporal punishment, etc). And since so many Jamaicans associate themselves with Christianity it is also important to infuse daily activities with spiritual elements. For instance all schools start the morning with devotions, every meeting begins with a prayer, and every advisory board of the government has a member of clergy appointed to it. At first I found these things to be very striking because in the US seperation of church and state is so important and these types of activities would never fly there. And even though I went to Catholic school for 13 years and was used to prayer in schools I was not prepared for it in the office. I also wasn't ready to be walking down the street and be yelled at from the person preaching on the corner. Not to mention all the persons offering to save me.

One of the more interesting elements of spirituality in everyday life is church on the bus. This isn't any sort of formal event but it just so happens that 50% of the time you are on the bus there is someone preaching in the aisle. Mostly this occurs on the big city buses but it has been known to happen on country buses too. It usually begins with a song or two, followed by some scripture and then a sermon that usually lasts until the person preaching reaches their stop. Most of the time it is pretty low key and usually the other persons on the bus sing along or offer Amens and Yeses when they hear something they like. Sometimes it gets a bit fiery and the person preaching goes a bit overboard but thankfully that doesn't happen too often. While I still find it a bit awkward to be sitting on the bus and being preached to I have to say that it does make the bus ride much less boring. I'm even starting to learn some of the more popular hymns. Plus it makes me feel less guilty for not going to Church on Sunday.

- Kaelyn

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

what do you mean you haven't been
going to church on sunday!!!!!

One Love