Baring the truth


THE RECENT incident of scantily clad models parading in the sanctity of the Anglican cathedral laid bare the issue of disrespect for the norms and standards of Christianity. This behaviour reflects the tastes and interests of some people in TT – reveal your body and to hell with holiness.

But I prefer to look at it not from eye level, as tempting as that may be, but from the bird’s eye view of this occurrence. This episode has a greater significance for the church in a nation that has embraced partial nudity and exposure of the human form in a vulgar way.

Years ago the priest took to the streets to play mas. “If the priest could play who is me,” sang the calypsonian. Today the mas took to the aisle of the church to return the favour and promote something of a different flavour that the parishioners have only been accustomed to seeing on the streets.

While there is shock and awe at the audacity of the designers to portray their creative outfits in the church – as they have been doing over the years in this Carnival crazy nation – it’s really nothing new, in a sense. We are long past our innocence as a people for propriety and dignity and purity. The devil is in the details.

The portrayal revealed the bare facts, the true nature of things. We are far along the road to nudity in public places and we can’t deny that the church reflects the preferences, interests and pastimes of the people of TT. After all we live here.

Women now worship with no head covering and in sleeveless dress and jeans. But some people are trying to be holy and maintain at least a spot where sanctity exists. This is really about models behaving unruly in a holy place. This must be at least a crime of disorderly conduct or disturbing the peace of God.

But many would agree that there should be a repository or remnant of sanctity that should not be trifled with and crossing it would bring the ire of God. Whose God? a reveller would ask. The same God who said that revelry is a sin and wanton behaviour is unacceptable, especially the painted bodies, the skimpy outfits and the G-string designs. But that’s what some people crave.

We are in a dental floss culture of apparel and its apparent that the people who promote chastity and decency are blind to the fact that the no-clothes boundary was crossed many years ago.

We are a nation on the loose. Nobody can stop our behaviour; it’s total disorder. Bacchus reigns and the clothes lines are thin on the skin. Pleasure to the eye for the passerby, especially at Carnival time, when people wine pass the churches and wonder when they would get in to mash up the place.

The dastardly deed has been done. The fashion show exposed our lack of purity but revealed in some minds the release of inhibitions that the church holds up against a breakaway society.

One couldn’t help but notice the national colours being well displayed, patriotic and vitriolic in their content and candour, the designs vivid and dramatic, the colours bold and unashamed. This is where we are as a nation. It’s a wake-up call to the cultural divide of our country. We are in a mess. No, we are in mas, the Carnival type, all year round.

But many wouldn’t see it the same way. The old standards are falling. The beach is the canvas of how far we have come. The streets are our theatres and now the church feels the pressure of a culture that has run amok of all that is decent to the God-fearing, while others try to keep the true standards as their duty to society.

What can I say to my Christian brothers? I remember the days when cinema was sin, when the television was a tool of the enemy and it was a popular theme of the Sunday sermon. That changed when the skirt lines went higher and bust lines came lower and, worse, the swimwear got skimpier as the models showed off for all to see. So things have changed, we have to deal with it.

No, the church aisle is not a runway, but we have to be real in what we say to the people, to the world, in the face of God and on the streets and in public places. God is not only in our walled places of worship. You can’t disrespect Him outside and be holy inside. God forbid. We cannot accept and condone on the street and not expect it to enter the church.

So while we condemn and judge the actions of these designers and I’m sure their intent was deliberate and the content of their designs was thoughtfully prepared, the entire episode is a mirror of the soul of our society. So this is how we look, TT.

Soon people might be parading in polo shirts in the hallowed halls of Parliament and lawyers will wear shorts and vests to present their briefs. Bikinis and see-through dresses will be the fashion on the promenades and at Carnival nudity will be the norm. I hope we can bear that.

So where do we go from here? Apologies made and accepted. The crass will continue to have no class. The revelations of the word will continue to clash with those of the world. The battle lines have been drawn for centuries. There’s nothing new under the sun.

So you win this round, my creative friend, but remember that the longest rope has an end. We will continue to pray and protect our sanctity while others revel in diversity and scanty dress. May God help us all!


"Baring the truth"

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