Today in these Virgin Islands, church fights church, brother fights brother, sister speaks against sister, while the community looks on with sheer horror and disgust. Consequently, the numbers in the pews get smaller, and the young flock from church events and flee Christianity to receive emotional support from gangs, BET, sex, and destructive, antisocial and even deadly activity. Unfortunately, it appears that the only beneficiaries of the current state of the faith are the charlatans, spiritual hustlers, wolves in sheep’s clothing, and the con artists in preacher’s garb.

Now, it is being run through the most natural form of media — the street, word of mouth, or the grapevine — that in these seemingly peaceful and seemingly very Christian Virgin Islands, there are pastors taking pastors to court, and, even worse, taking their own Christian brethren before officers of state to get them thrown off the island. This cannot be true! Or is it? If so, the church as custodian of this Christian community’s morals is failing miserably. The church in the VI is the Body of Christ, the great example of love, forgiveness, compassion, kindness and gentleness. But is the church local fulfilling this Christ-like ideal, or has it abdicated its ordained state, and fallen to a lesser, more worldly substandard? In other words, would God be pleased with what he sees taking place in the halls of Christ today in these Antilles?

Of course not! The church local, or a significant part thereof, prefers to ignore this prime feature of the church, an idea of assemblies of worshippers steeped in Christian love and compassion, and instead dwells in the negative. Instead of singing a love song to God, the church is tap dancing to a material and secular rendition, and in tune to a medley of Lucifer. Knives are drawn, and brother gladly plunges the dagger into the back of brother. Lord, help us, please!

The ‘political pastor’

Let us take a short diversion and examine another epiphany in these Antilles: the idea of the political pastor. Do not get this observer wrong: He believes Christians, and that includes pastors, would make excellent politicians.

After all, who would be better equipped than a disciple of Jesus Christ to lead the nation? So pastors, please get involved, and critically so, in the political system and infrastructure.

The difficulty takes place when a pastor puts on the garb of the secular politician and waltzes to a rendition in double speak, derogation of others, and occult manipulation of his congregants for the sake of power. If so, he has failed as a Christian man of politics. He has become just another political huckster, even trickster. So pastors, there is no problem plunging into the political fray this 2011, but do remember while thumping the political pulpit that you remain an ambassador of Jesus Christ. No hard feelings, thank you!

Pastor vs. pastor

Returning to the pastor-against-pastor paradigm, these men of God know very well who they are: powerful men of faith in the VI community, deeply respected by this observer and others, behaving worse than violent outlaws and gun-slinging cowboys firing at each other in a depraved salon in the darkest regions of the Wild West.

This bleeding brother screams, “Stop this madness now. Go to your brother, drop your ammo, and seek peace.” And those foolish congregants who insist on separating themselves into one warring camp or another, I say you are singing hymns to that most diabolical of deities: Lucifer himself. Stop deceiving yourselves: God is not pleased; neither is he mocked!

In theological history, Abraham the wise sought peace when it was apparent that the increasing wealth and power of both himself and Lot would lead to conflict. He consequently asked Lot to take his choice of land, and even before Abraham himself took a portion. This was peacemaking in action, an example to posterity.

Do you call yourself a Christian, a believer, a disciple of Jesus Christ? If so, whatever your denomination, you have been called to be a peacemaker, and blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God. Are you in a faction, or fighting a war against another church? If so, stop immediately. Rally around the warring pastors; encourage them to peace and reconciliation, for that can only be the will of God. God is a God of reconciliation.

‘Tell him he is wrong’

Now if one or the other pastor is unwilling to be reconciled, and is bent on war, then the Bible says go tell him he is wrong. Then, if he refuses to accept, go with a group. And if he is still unwilling to be reconciled, treat him like the heathen. In other words, flee: He has become a tool of the devil. Do yourself and family a favour! God does not require you to follow a pastor who is in error, and if you do, this is a very dangerous thing for both yourself and loved ones. Do not be deceived: God is not mocked; He is always fully aware of your spiritual and moral posture.

So warring brothers, ministers, pastors, go hug one another and kiss each other with the kiss of holiness, turn the other cheek, forgive, forget, love, show generosity. Then you know what? Your Father in Heaven will be well pleased, and Lucifer, sadly disappointed.