D.C. Rev, congratulations on your most recent intriguing publication, “A controversial clergyman” The Book is a compilation of some of your most hilarious, outrageous, thought-provoking and “sinful” articles. What motivated your decision to put them together?
Rev. Thanks. The thought-provoking nature of the pieces and my penchant for prompting people to think logically about everything, were the prime motivating factors.
D.C. The cover of the book Rev- What a metaphor! It is symbolic of the mother …er or should I say FATHER of all controversies. Whatever or whoever possessed you to turn the book ‘upside down?’
Rev. A metaphor indeed of my inquisitive/mischievous mind and as one high ranking Jamaican jurist said to me of the inverted title ‘it matches your persona’. I concurred readily. My Beloved Daughter Antoinette Lashley suggested the title flip (her Bajan husband Phil designed the cover) and I latched on to it readily despite the strong contrary advice of my Jamaican publisher-guide.
D.C. For those who have not yet read the book, give us a teaser on some of the issues you have confronted in this book
Rev. Understanding and Dealing with Clergy Sexual Abuse, an ethical analysis of the Petrojam Saga, Illegal Drugs, Guns and Sex, Critical Thinking and the Church, Stimulus and Response (re the Yellow Pages Directory). In the Clergy Sexual Abuse piece I said “Sexual fantasies are time bombs waiting to explode.”
D.C. Tell us which of the article in the publication is your most favourite and why?
Rev. My analysis of the flawed logic of the Chief Justice of Belize in the now famous (infamous) Caleb Orozco buggery law case. Why? Because I, a non-lawyer, saw what the learned CJ (and dare I say most lawyers) failed to realise in the reasoning behind the ruling! Of interest is the fact that retired President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Seymour Panton, Guest Speaker at the book launch says he agrees with some of my chiding of the CJ.
D.C. What do you want your readers to take away from this book?
Rev. Keep sharpening your critical thinking faculties by raising questions of almost everything and everyone. Surrender your mind to nothing and no one unless that one convinces you with flawless cogent logic.
D.C. Sexual scandal in the church: that’s the title of one of the articles in the book. There are those cut from a similar cloth as yours who would argue that when one of your own is embroiled in a sexual scandal, the others must remain silent. They would therefore frown on you for addressing this sticking point. How would you respond?
Rev. The already public nature of the scandal demanded public general treatment plus I was invited by a church (Maverley Gospel Hall) to address the topic, resulting in the article. My point is that church folk (self included) are struggling more with sexual desires than with the loftier doctrines of the faith!
D.C. You were pastoring the Sligoville Baptist Church when you wrote the article: How Religion Poisons Everything. What was the feedback especially from your deacons when they read that headline from their pastor?
Rev. I doubt many or any of the deacons read the papers regularly or at all so I heard nothing from anyone.
D.C. A little bit about yourself as an author: When did you know you wanted to write and what prompted you to start
Rev. When I kept seeing issues in the media from the early 80s that demanded clergy input and few of the stalwarts, the “wise and prudent” engaged these issues I thought it was time for this “babe and suckling’ to try a thing. I did a contracted twice-weekly column for the Jamaica Record, then after it folded I submitted articles for the Gleaner then the Observer.
D.C. What is your target audience – for whom do you write and what is the intent of your writing?
Rev. I write for any thinking person of at least high school educational background. As my book says “to cultivate critical thinking” is my aim in writing/ speaking
D.C. What is your motivation for writing in general?
Rev. To encourage people in general and especially Christians to honour God by using their minds well, loving God with all their mind.
D.C. John Warwick Montgomery says this about you: “In the Caribbean, no commentator or journalist arrives at the level of sophistication represented by Clinton Chisholm.” At the risk of my accusing you of immodesty, is this an accurate reflection of your works ?
Rev. Prof., was a bit excessive in his compliment in that neither he nor I can claim familiarity with most of the journalists/commentators in the region, but I try to add philosophical rigour to my commentary on issues of public concern and this dimension is a tad unusual.
D.C. Perhaps I should ask Montgomery himself this question but he is not here so you will have to answer for him: How is this level of sophistication about which he speaks reflected in your works?
Rev. I regard Montgomery as my intellectual Father, having probed many of his books and having been his student at the International Academy of Apologetics which he runs in France so the disciplines of philosophy, music, law and biblical studies plus wide reading come out in my work.
D.C. When are we expected to see another publication?
Rev. That I can’t say, I guess if I recoup the expenses of this work plus a bit more I may consider another publication but not any time soon unless the Lord overrules my reservations.
D.C. For those who have not yet acquired a copy of the book, tell us where we can get it
Rev. Right now only on Amazon but I hope to have 100 copies at JBU Assembly in February.