Sound and Vision

While the conflicts between congregations and churches in Vanuatu remain little more than a nuisance right now, I feel it’s important to keep it that way. My own parents left their homeland, economic exiles fleeing the effects of 400 years of religious conflict. Argue as much as you like over the rectitude of a given doctrine or belief, but remember: We all have responsibilities towards our neighbours. Conflict isn’t one of them.

[Originally published in the Vanuatu Daily Post’s Weekender Edition.]

On no less than three occasions in the last couple of months, we’ve seen complaints in the media over the activities of some Christian groups. In every case the problem was ostensibly noise. And in every case, we’re left with the distinct impression that, while volume might be a problem, people objected to the content, too.

Now, I would be amazed if there were more than a handful of individuals in the entire country who actively object to the basic lessons of the New Testament. Love thy neighbour and live peaceably with him; turn the other cheek when struck; forgive others for their actions – these values and others underlie virtually everything we as a society hold dear.

So why, then, do some begin to feel uncomfortable when others celebrate these lessons joyfully, loudly and at length?

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