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THE AL GILKES COLUMN – From hope to despair

Al Gilkes

THE AL GILKES COLUMN – From hope to despair

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For “sinners” like the Market Vendor and me, the past week or so was a period of both great hope and tremendous despair.
The hope came unexpectedly with the revelation on national TV by a goodly man of the cloth to the effect that there was nothing sinful about a person deciding not to buy a porky in a poke.
The French have an equivalent idiom, “acheter un chat en poche”, which, translated, means to buy a cat in a bag.
Suddenly, 99.9 per cent of all Bajan people bred and born on this rock, the living and the dead alike, felt the chains of eternal damnation loosen from their necks and the fires of hell extinguished from below their feet. Everything they had been taught from infancy in Sunday school about what correct sexual behaviour should be has been turned top upside down.
The new word that has been revealed to the amazement of sinners and saints alike as they watched that Sunday afternoon discussion on CBC-TV was that there is nothing wrong with engaging in premarital sex.
The great divide and controversy that followed this statement was expected despite the fact that engaging in premarital sex has always been and continues to be so commonplace across all social, class, colour and even religious borders in Barbados that it could be considered “part of we culture”.
From the prevalent “rudeness” among pre-teenagers and “robbing the cradle” by older folk back in the day to whatever are today’s references, very few were and very few are those among us who could or can claim to be guiltless and, therefore, unconcerned about the presumed burning after-life consequences.
But just when that ray of hope was extended to us by, of all people, a member of the clergy, despair washed it all away, this time in the form of a prophecy which seemed to come from out of nowhere but, in no time, covered the earth like an end-of-days tsunami.
 As was the case with the word of hope, this word of despair also came from a member of the cloth, this time in the United States.
I must confess that I had not heard or read a word about the man or his prophecy before last Wednesday. As a result, that morning I awoke in deep shock on hearing a report that the world was about to end and that it would start happening in just two days, on Friday.
What was this all about? I knew about the December 21, 2012 expected date for this great calamity but nothing about this May 21, 2011 prediction. So to determine what it was all about, I rushed to my computer and there on the Internet I found confirmation as I read on an I-track the following:
“On Judgment Day, May 21st, 2011, this five-month period of horrible torment will begin for all the inhabitants of the earth. It will be on May 21st that God will raise up all the dead that have ever died from their graves.
“Earthquakes will ravage the whole world as the earth will no longer conceal its dead. People who died as saved individuals will experience the resurrection of their bodies and immediately leave this world to forever be with the Lord. Those who died unsaved will be raised up as well, but only to have their lifeless bodies scattered about the face of all the earth. Death will be everywhere.”
Well, I hope for your sake and mine that you are able to read this. If you are not, I am very sorry for us both. But if you are, let us return to enjoying the hope.