Cosmology and the Baptist faith - EntornoInteligente / News day / MELISSA DOUGHTY

“The religion of the future will be a cosmic religion. It should transcend a personal God and avoid dogmas and theology. Covering both the natural and the spiritual, it should be based on a religious sense arising from the experience of all things, natural and spiritual, as a meaningful unity.”

WHILE some might believe that Buddhism best describes this. Mother Marcia Mc Clashie-Belgrove and Sterling Belgrove of the Rose Foundation who are also practising Spiritual Baptists, believe that Spiritual Baptist faith, homegrown in TT, best fits this description.

Religious cosmology is defined as “a way of explaining the origin, the history and the evolution of the cosmos or universe based on the religious mythology of a specific tradition,” (taken from Religious Cosmology: Religious Explanations for The Origin of The Universe by Paul F. Kisak.)

For the Rose Foundation’s co-founder and chairman Sterling Belgrove, the answers to understanding the universe and one’s place in it, can be found right here through the faith.

But as TT and the universe develop, the Belgroves see the faith as the “pathway to peace” that TT is longing for.

Spiritual Baptist/Shouter Liberation Day being observed today, was first granted by former prime minister Basdeo Panday in 1996.

On the 22nd observance of the day, Mc Clashie-Belgrove said in e-mailed responses to Newsday, “It (the faith) is the solution when understood that guides a pathway of peace, security and legacy for the land and its people. A promise of what can remain if a true value system is maintained, fear retreats and camaraderie, contentment and belonging is once again created.”

While all faiths, Belgrove said, “are cosmic in origin. The Spiritual Baptists, when they go into meditation, they travel into the cosmic dimensions.”

Its very cosmic nature, has given much to the universe and by extension TT, be it family, economics or culture, said Belgrove.

He, too, said in e-mailed responses, “in agriculture, construction, families, Caribbean communities, cross-border or inter-island trade they (Spiritual Baptists) led the way.

The Spiritual Baptist community of the Caribbean established their version of the Caribbean Single Market and Economy (CSME). Neither by treaty nor memorandum, but by mutual and social agreement they had become the veins that connected all the islands and its people by the essence of the blood of understanding and cooperation that flowed almost as a silent and given code.”

The well-documented oppression members of the faith suffered during the 20th century “drove their organisation of culture, social cohesion and industry.”

The meeting of members of the religion across the region and across churches, he said, were like the planets, “navigating rhythmically the bonds of love and fellowship. They provide brotherly counselling, wisdom and support to each other in times of need.” The religion’s influence can also be felt in TT’s music. “The soul-rending music of the faith has influenced the music and culture of the region in folk song, calypso, soca, rapso and other Caribbean rhythms.

The unintentional curiosity and love allows the Spiritual Baptists, to tap into the wellsprings of the deepest creativity of life and its meanings,” Belgrove said.

It also, Belgrove said, helps maintain strong family bonds. She said, “The family, its cornerstone resident in the structure of its originality in the spiritual father, spiritual mother and spiritual child and the values that are a constant practise of remembrance of the first estate of man as represented by the very essence of creation.”

The faith, Belgrove said, also mentors young men and women “in the harmonics in life.

“The role and function of a father, a mother and a child are enshrined values, held over time. The Spiritual Baptist faith is a silent, unrecognised repository of traditional wisdom teachings, moral values and ethics.”

The foundation said the faith’s practise of alternative and healing techniques “from the dawn of creation” has been monetised. Historically, he said, “When the members of the faith bought essential oils and coloured candles, they were labelled as devil worshippers. Today, the world has monetised the same essential oils and coloured candles, for their medicinal properties.”

But for the Belgroves, there is one enduring principle to the Spiritual Baptist faith and that is its wholeness. Liking it to the solar system, they said, structure of the governance and administration of the faith provides a model for true and strong family values.

“The role of the father as the central sun and the mother as the balancing moon in the church remains ‘uncontestable’. The humility and obedience of the congregation, as encircling planets of respectful children, genuflects before their parents. The value ascribed to the leadership of the Spiritual Baptist faith and the instructions is recognition that God is present and directing all things.”

Cosmology and the Baptist faith

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