Wednesday, December 24, 2014

The Festive Dozen 2014 Finale: Bass Culture Players ft Payoh Soul Rebel - Forgiveness

I’m not a huge fan of religion. In whatever form it takes. Whether it’s Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, or some other “brand” of worship. I just don’t go there. In so many ways religion has become such a destructive force, it is difficult to view it through anything other than very cynical eyes. I love music, pop culture, books, football, and my family – not necessarily in that order. Those things, while not providing much in the way of rules for living, seldom let me down. On occasion I’ve even been known to become quite precious about that bastard of a game we call cricket. I’m especially passionate about beach cricket and driveway cricket. But not religion.

I believe in science, which may or may not make me a humanist, I’m really not sure. I suppose the closest I’ve ever been to unravelling the mysteries of “spirituality” was many years ago when I was convinced I could become Rastafarian. As you do. For a while I studied what that actually meant, the general “ethos” behind it, and even contemplated visiting Ethiopia in search of further inspiration and/or wisdom. It turned out to be a rather temporary condition. Somewhere along the way the plan was thwarted and binned – probably because I was white, ginger, broke, and way too wasted to make any of it a reality.
But it turns out I’m also a hypocrite because like the vast majority of other heathens in the western world I also celebrate Christmas. I’m not sure how that comes about. Probably just habit, and because it comes with the bonus of a few days of holiday. The chance to spend quality time with the family while they drool over the wonders of materialism, and I lose myself in the delights of long since forgotten about black and white movies on television. There’s also, weather permitting, the distinct possibility of some driveway cricket. But the Christmas break – and by extension, an acknowledgement of Christianity – is the catalyst for all of that. It seems a very odd thing for a non-believer to become a temporary believer when it suits, but there it is.

I often confront a similar dilemma, or condition, when it comes to listening to roots reggae music – so much of it deals with faith and all matters spiritual. Yet I actually love all of that stuff about praising Jah, connecting with the “most high”, and the endless number of biblical references. I’m not quite sure why I enjoy those songs of praise in a musical form, but they resonate, and I connect with them in ways I seldom do with other forms of musical expression … but ask me to sing a hymn? Hmmm.
A few years ago, a friend suggested that "everything happens for a reason" and to be honest I was fairly dismissive of the notion. It reeked of that mysterious “higher power” and I just couldn't grasp the concept. But I totally get it now. It wasn't about not having any control over events or being subjected to some kind of pre-determined destiny, it was about using the experience life was throwing at me in order to understand myself better. Using events to shape personal growth.

And this year, more than ever, I’ve continually been given cause to think a little bit more about that higher power. About what it all means, this thing called life. About mortality. And about those pesky issues such as personal morals. About truth, and dare I get to the point (please do – Ed), about that staple of all faith, that thing called forgiveness. It’s something I've been struggling with - forgiving others for perceived (and real) injustices, while also seeking forgiveness from others. Most importantly, after much soul searching, I came to realise that I couldn’t move on or embrace any of the “personal growth” referred to above, unless I learned to forgive myself and others … even if that meant doing it in my own non-religious arse-about-face kind of way.
So anyway, to stop short of turning my final pre-Christmas post of 2014 into some sort of sermon with loads of new age gobbledegook, and to conclude the Festive Dozen countdown, here’s the Madrid-based Bass Culture Players with the everythingsgonegreen tune of the year – not just for its lyrical significance and personal relevance, but because Payoh Soul Rebel’s Marley-esque vocal blew me away each and every time I heard it … Merry Christmas everythingsgonegreen reader, enjoy the festive break, I’ve just been told it’s my turn to bat ...

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