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Jesus replied, "If I glorify myself, my glory means nothing. My Father, whom you claim as your God, is the one who glorifies me. Though you do not know him, I know him. If I said I did not, I would be a liar like you, but I do know him and keep his word. Your father Abraham rejoiced at the thought of seeing my day; he saw it and was glad."
"You are not yet 50 years old," the Jews said to him, "And you have seen Abraham!"
"I tell you the truth," Jesus answered, "before Abraham was born, I am!" At this, they picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus hid himself, slipping away from the temple grounds.
- John 8:54-59
During my seminary training in Fort Wayne, Indiana, I had to make regular calls to a rest home to which I was assigned. Occasionally I would sit and chat with a group of ladies who were always assembled around the same table.
As I sat with those ladies, I thought I was having a normal conversation. That is, until on one of my visits, one of the ladies informed me that she had gone home to Alabama over the weekend and that the people of her community had asked about me. Then on a similar visit another lady told me that someone at her lodge had said they had not seen me to meeting in a while.
Then I realized that I was the only one having a normal conversation. The old ladies at that special table were senile. They and I were having two different conversations.
In the above text, Jesus is having a conversation with some people; however, they and Jesus are on two different plains. Jesus is talking about spiritual matters while they are concerned with secular or earthly matters.
Because they are so concerned about earthly things, and because they have contempt for Jesus, their minds are closed to what he has to say. Their eyes are blind to the fact that the Messiah is in their midst. They have all of the signs but refused to see.
When he talked about and referred to Abraham, they were surprised that, at his age, he talked as if he knew Abraham personally. "... Before Abraham was born, I am!" This puzzles them. But then they did not have the faith of Abraham. Jesus, the Messiah, is the God of Abraham.
"I Am," is the name for God. When he was sending Moses to deliver the Israelites from the hands of Pharaoh in Egypt, Moses said to God, "Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, 'The God of your fathers has sent me to you,' and they ask me, 'What is the his name?' Then what shall I tell them?" God said to Moses, "I am who I am." (Exodus 3:13-15)
Unfortunately, the old ladies to whom I was speaking were senile. They did not have the ability to have a normal conversation. However, the people in conversation with Jesus were different. They had all of their faculties but refused to look beyond their prejudices.
Their forefather, Abraham, believed when God gave him a glimpse of the future. Yet, they, who were beholding what Abraham longed to see, refused to believe. God's promised Messiah, the Christ, was in their presence, but, instead of believing and giving thanks to God as their father Abraham did, they picked up stones with the intention of stoning him.
Today, as we in the Christian church continue to proclaim this same gospel and present God to the world, they are still picking up stones to throw at us. The world is still calling us crazy. They are still saying that we are demon possessed.
Notwithstanding this, we should not be deterred. We follow in the train of the prophets and the apostles. We are called to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with the people of the world.
God is still in control. He is still guiding us. He sent the Holy Spirit to guide and sustain us in our mission. This we should do until he calls us away to our eternal rest. Amen.
o Rev. Samuel M. Boodle, pastor at The Lutheran Church of Nassau, can be reached at P.O. Box N 4794, Nassau, Bahamas or telephone: 323-4107; e-mail: email@example.com; website: www.Nassaulutheranchurch.org.
The Commonwealth of The Bahamas is a beautiful country and place to live. It has its share of social ills reflective of many other sovereign nations within the Caribbean and global community. Many of the problems we face in our general society are problems that have sprouted from the decay of the family structure, or that have begun in our homes and eventually manifested in the behavior of our citizens at a local and even global level. Many problems face both our country and world, such as an increase in poverty, rising unemployment, a global increase in crude oil prices, which affects every facet of life today. Further to these are a rise in crime, a constant rise in the cost of living without an increase in salary to compensate and a general sense of hopelessness due to so many ever-increasing stresses.
Whether it is due to socioeconomic factors or any other that can contribute, one of the greatest problems in our society today is an increase in the amount of abuse and violence against women, children and men in the home. Abuse in homes contributes to emotional and mental distress, which affects all of the sexes and all areas of society. The result is a cycle of abuse that is in the form of physical, mental, sexual and emotional abuse that occurs.
The Crisis Centre, formerly known as The Women's Crisis Centre, is a registered, nonprofit organization that provides services to people who are the victims of physical, sexual and emotional abuse. Dr. Sandra Dean-Patterson, who saw an urgent need in the community for such a facility, opened ?the center in 1982. During the time the center has been in operation, the number of volunteers has grown steadily and the scope of services rendered to the community has been considerably expanded.
Because of the center's extensive efforts, through radio shows, newspaper articles, workshops, school talks and other presentations to churches and civic organizations, to sensitize the community to the devastating effects of all forms of abuse, persons from all socio-economic levels are seen at the center.
In its endeavor to continue both informing and educating the public about the reality of abuse in our society and its effects, the Bahamas Crisis Centre has launched a program geared towards raising social consciousness. The program's focus is to actively reach out to the community to educate about the different forms of abuse and to continue its mission. The program will be in the form of a weekly column, which will be printed on Tuesdays in The Nassau Guardian touching on different forms of abuse, legislation relating to the same and the manner in which to identify and seek help. In addition to the column there will also be community outreach where volunteers will be going into communities from door to door, handing out information pamphlets and answering questions individual families might have about the work of the Crisis Centre and about getting needed help. The Crisis Centre will also be sending out information relating to both the column and community outreach via social media and web-based media.
The Crisis Centre's continued mission is to work on seeing our country and world healed of abuse and violence and to work towards a peaceful today and tomorrow.
o For more information, check out our website at www.bahamascrisiscentre.org or contact us. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 328-0922. If you, or someone you know, have been the victim of child abuse, you can also call Child Protective Services at 322-2POD, 326-1451, 326-0526 or 326-5560 or the Child Abuse Hotline: 322-2763.
Kirkland 'KB' Bodie, the number one selling Bahamian recording artist, has joined the fast-growing marine environmental movement, Save The Bays, writing, performing and producing a song by the same name to bring awareness to the fragile state of the country's coral reefs and bays.
"Save the Bays", written and sung by the artist, who has produced more music than any living Bahamian will be released to all radio and online media outlets this weekend.
"You can clearly see the effects of the pollution in our waters," KB said following a land tour at Clifton Bay and an aerial plane ride over a few Bahamian islands with Save the Bays director, environmental activist Joseph Darville. "We all have an integral role in saving our bays. This was the impetus which led me to write the track."
The song, just under four minutes, includes the chorus "Rise up, Bahamas; Let your voices blaze; Stand up, Bahamas, come on let's Save The Bays; God gave us this land, and this land we must save; Stand up, Bahamas, come on let's Save The Bays."
KB, whose fan favorites include "Civil Servants" and "Bush Mechanic", is no stranger to creating songs to express his concern over national and environmental issues. In 2011, he produced the hit "Dey Sellin'" voicing the frustration of the Bahamian people regarding the constant sale of Bahamian land resources.
A diligent supporter of Friends of the Environment, the Abaco-based nonprofit organization dedicated to protection and preservation of waters and wildlife in The Bahamas and careful development, KB works tirelessly to assist the group in its efforts. On the heels of his most recent studio project, KB and Friends Volume 4, KB has pledged part proceeds of the album sales to Friends of the Environment.
Save the Bays, formerly known as the Coalition to Protect Clifton Bay, is a licensed nonprofit Bahamian corporation committed to preserving and protecting the delicate environmental, ecological and cultural balance of Clifton Bay and the surrounding community. Special priority is given to encouraging effective land-use decisions and habitat restoration efforts that benefit the natural and human communities of the bay. For more information, visit the website at www.protectcliftonbay.org.
Common practices that can put people in danger of developing one of the fastest growing cancers in the world -- skin cancer
For any number of reasons, many people are often not pleased with the skin they were born with. It may be too pale for their liking, not having enough melanin, or it may be too dark, has too much melanin. Or it may be too blotchy, too bumpy or have too many freckles -- whatever the reason, they often try to fix the perceived imperfection. Often their fix results in real skin problems, even in some cases, to the development of skin cancer.
June is observed as Skin Cancer Awareness and Prevention Month. We will look at some of the common practices that can put people in danger of developing one of the fastest growing cancers in the world, and the most common form of cancer in humans -- skin cancer.
The month of June is observed as Skin Cancer Awareness and Prevention Month. The awareness color for skin cancer is black.
Our beautiful skin
The skin is the largest organ in the body, and it covers the entire body -- from the top of the head to the toes. It is a wonderful, hard-working structure and comes in many different shades -- from milky white, to charcoal black, and all the myriad hues in between this spectrum, depending on the genes that people inherited from their parents at the time of conception.
An intact skin is one of our body's best defences against infections, and provides protection for our internal organs from heat, light and injury. In addition, our wonderful skin also regulates our body temperature; stores our water and fat; is one of our sensory organs (sense of touch), and prevents water loss from our body.
The skin has three layers. The top or thin outer layer is called the epidermis. This layer contains melanocytes, the cells that produce melanin, which gives us our individual skin pigment or color.
The second layer is called the dermis. This layer contains blood vessels, lymph vessels, hair follicles, sweat glands, collagen bundles, fibroblasts and nerves. The dermis is held together by a protein substance called collagen -- in later life many persons have collagen artificially injected into their skin in order to achieve a more youthful appearance. This middle layer is what gives our skin its flexibility and strength. Due to the nerve endings, it also contains our pain and touch receptors.
The third and deepest layer of our skin is the subcutaneous layer. This layer consists of collagen and fat cells which help to conserve our body heat. It also protects our body from injury by acting as a shock absorber.
Ways in which we damage our beautiful skin
There are two primary ways that we often do irreparable damage to our skin, both of which involve our attempts to alter, or change, the outward appearance of the melanin in our skin -- either by attempting to make our skin lighter in appearance, or conversely, darker in appearance.
Skin whitening, lightening or bleaching, refers to the practice of using chemical substances to lighten the skin tone, or even the skin complexion, by lessening the concentration of melanin using skin creams (a very common practice throughout our islands). Many of the products commonly used to achieve the desired skin tone have been proven to be toxic. Many cause mutations in the normal bacteria that are generally found on our skin, and are possibly carcinogenic (cancer-causing).
Tests have shown that the use of skin-lightening creams can cause the following problems: permanent skin bleaching; thinning of the skin; uneven color due to the loss of melanin leading to a blotchy unattractive appearance; permanent redness and intense skin irritation.
Skin tanning refers to the use of tanning beds or over exposure to the sun, to magnify the melanin in the skin, causing it to become a darker hue (a very common practice worldwide). Tans are the result of harmful ultraviolet (UV) radiation either from the sun or from tanning lamps and are not good for our skin. A tan means that you have been over-exposed to UV rays and have sustained damage to your skin cells.
The cumulative damage caused by overexposure to UV radiation, can lead to the following permanent problems: premature skin aging, wrinkles, lax skin, brown spots or a combination of all three. It can also lead to skin cancer. Studies have found that persons, who use indoor tanners, are at a 74 percent greater risk for developing melanoma (skin cancer), than those who never tanned indoors.
Studies have also shown that there has been a sharp increase in melanoma in persons aged 18 to 39 years, with a reported increase of 800 percent among young women and 400 percent among young males. It is not a coincidence that young people are more likely to tan than older persons.
Who is most likely to develop skin cancer?
Skin cancer develops in persons of all ages, genders and colors, from the palest to the darkest. However, skin cancer is most likely to occur in persons with fair (white) skin, light-colored eyes, blonde or red hair, those who have a tendency to burn or freckle when exposed to the sun, or who have a history of sun exposure. Anyone with a family history of skin cancer is also at an increased risk of developing this disease.
Protect yourself and prevent skin cancer
There are a number of things that people can do to lessen their risk of developing this disease. Not using skin whiteners, lighteners or bleachers; not using tanning beds or spending too much time in the sun, without appropriate sun protection are primary prevention actions. Appropriate sun protection includes staying out of the sun, as much as possible, between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. when the sun's UV rays are strongest. It also includes applying a broad-spectrum sunscreen, one that has a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or more, year round to all our exposed skin, before going out in the sun. This sunscreen is to be applied liberally (do not be stingy with it), and should be re-applied every two to three hours, especially after swimming or engaging in physical activity that causes you to perspire.
Additionally, you should wear protective clothing such as a wide-brimmed hat to shade the ears and neck; a top with sleeves to cover our shoulders, as well as long pants. Prevention also includes wearing sunglasses when outside; having regular check-ups and going to the doctor or the nearest health clinic right away, if you notice any suspicious looking lesions, or changes in your skin. Early detection is the best protection against skin cancer.
Your skin is one of your most precious gifts -- when intact, it helps to protect and keep you free from germs and injury.
Skin cancer is one of the fastest growing cancers, but you can protect your skin and lessen your individual risk by not using toxic creams on your skin to change your natural color and by minimizing your exposure to the harmful rays of the sun or using tanning beds.
o For more information on any cancer related topic, or if you would like a presentation to be made to your church, school or civic group, please call the Cancer Society of The Bahamas at 323-4441 or 323-4482. You may also log on to our website at www.cancersocietybahamas.org.
Officials of the Department of Information Technology in the Ministry of Finance continued hitting the pavement to share the message on the government's e-portal, bahamas.gov.bs to boost usage and registration on the site through a round of mini presentations to various professional and civic organizations.
Most recently, members of the Bahamas Insurance Association and the Bahamas Insurance Brokers Association got a firsthand glimpse into the e-government site through a tour led by Carol Roach, deputy director, Department of Information Technology.
"We've seen a steady increase in the number of persons registering on the site and are pleased with the response," said Roach. "The personal presentations go a long way in helping people understand how much information and how many services are available to them on the site and through the portal."
Government launched the site to re-position The Bahamas to compete in an increasingly sophisticated online world where everyone expects current information to be available with a quick scroll or click of a mouse.
The website provides links to services in every government agency and department, 365 governmental forms along with current news, access to legislation, news from the Family Islands, health information and a secure means for online bill payment.
"Feedback has been encouraging. This demonstrates that the direction the department is heading in with regards to the online content and services is long overdue," said Roach.
Representing the Coalition to Protect Clifton Bay during a recent interview on the Guardian Radio show 'Darold Miller Live', Coalition directors Fred Smith, QC and Joe Darville called attention to the government's responsibility to implement regulations, maintain transparency and safeguard the nation's Crown land. Both men urged passage of a Freedom of Information Act and an Environmental Protection Act.
"Without the Freedom of Information Act, governments have had a free hand at giving away or selling at a very low price land that belongs to us," said Darville. "It is reprehensible, wrong and it's a theft of our property for it to be given away without our approval."
Under the Local Government Act, Smith cited a requirement that the government consult with the local town council before Crown land is sold or conveyed. The land, noted the senior attorney and human rights and environmental activist, is not the government's to convey, it is the people's land held in trust by the government and should only be managed after full consultation and transparency.
"Crown land is the heritage of every Bahamian person. It is the land in The Bahamas that is not owned by any private person and is held in trust by the Bahamian government, the person of the crown, the queen, for the benefit of the Bahamian people," said Smith. "The three branches of government constitute the government in The Bahamas, but the entity that is actually the government at the end of the day is the crown. It is the crown that holds 70 percent, I think, of land in The Bahamas for the benefit of the Bahamian people. So Crown land belongs to us all and it should not be given away without consulting us."
Developments in Guana Cay, Bimini Bay and Grand Bahama were all mentioned as locations in which Crown land was afforded to developers at little or no cost.
"This is your land, this is my land from one end of The Bahamas to the other. Safeguard it; it belongs to us," said Darville. "Open your eyes and see its beauty, its grace and its magnificence. God has given it to us and it is our heritage, our patrimony and we are the stewards of it for future generations."
The Coalition to Protect Clifton Bay is a licensed non-profit Bahamian corporation committed to preserving and protecting the delicate environmental, ecological and cultural balance of Clifton Bay and the surrounding community. Particular emphasis is given to encouraging effective land-use decisions and habitat restoration efforts that benefit the natural and human communities of the bay.
For more information about the Coalition to Protect Clifton Bay, visit the website at www.protectcliftonbay.org. For press enquiries, contact Fred Smith at email@example.com or 242 727 5191.
Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) Chairman Bradley Roberts yesterday lashed out at Free National Movement (FNM) Leader Dr. Hubert Minnis for "flip-flopping" on the issue of gambling.
"He is clearly double-minded," Roberts said in a statement. "Dr. Minnis has no credibility as a leader."
Roberts added that Bahamians should not trust Minnis to lead "because he cannot lead himself by standing on his convictions and principles".
Minnis told The Nassau Guardian on Wednesday that any proposed gaming legislation presented to Parliament should ensure "fair play" for Bahamians.
When asked whether that meant Bahamians should be allowed to gamble in casinos, Minnis said, "In terms of [whether] Bahamians should be in casinos, I feel yes, but that is my personal view."
Roberts said this latest statement was evidence that Minnis engaged in double talk throughout the controversial gambling debate.
In August, Minnis said he had "nothing against individuals gambling in terms of lottery, buying numbers etc." and indicated that he would support making the numbers industry legal.
Minnis later said the FNM would not tell the electorate how to vote in the January 28 web shop and lottery referendum.
But in January, Minnis urged people to "vote no" on both referendum questions.
The majority of voters who voted in the referendum voted no, but it was less than 50 percent of the electorate.
Roberts said people should not be guided by any statements from Minnis.
The PLP chairman said, "I remind Bahamians that Dr. Minnis is a man who does not know his own mind and does not believe his own words, so why should anybody trust Dr. Minnis?"
When contacted for comment yesterday, Minnis said his stance on gambling never wavered throughout the referendum debate.
He said his comments on Wednesday were not evidence of flip-flopping and added that he spoke about Bahamians having the right to gamble in casinos, not web shop gaming.
When asked why the FNM told people to vote no in the referendum, he said, "The FNM had problems with the procedure, the entire process; the procedure was wrong."
The Gaming Bill in its current form would allow people outside The Bahamas to gamble on a website established, maintained and operated by the holder of a local gaming license.
But they must be in a country or jurisdiction that permits online gaming.
The bill would also allow work permit holders and permanent residents to gamble in The Bahamas.
Bahamians would be the only group of people prohibited from gambling.
This element has caused an outcry in some quarters.
Cat Island (Bahamas), rake-n-scrape capital of the world will be hosting its
15th Annual Cat Island Rake-N-Scrape Festival from June 6th-8th, 2013 in Arthur's Town, Cat Island.
festival will include contemporary and traditional Rake-N-Scrape
artists and traditional dance. There will be a Battle of the Bands
featuring live performances from top Cat Island bands like the Lassie
Doh Boys, Ophie and The Websites, BoHog and The Rooters. Ira Storr and
the Spank Band will be the house band along with KB, Wilford Solomon,
Colyn McDonald, Jitana, Lady Show and Veronica Bishop.
Luciano's of Chicago has started its preparations for Hands for Hunger's one-of-a-kind culinary experience and most anticipated charity event in The Bahamas - Paradise Plates, a culinary celebration benefiting the fight against hunger in the Bahamian community.
As a culinary partner of the event, Luciano's is excited to once again join this year's Paradise Plates marking its fifth year of participation in the lively evening that features gourmet cuisine from top local chefs and restaurants, fine wine, beer and cocktail tastings. Additional highlights of the evening include exciting silent auctions, raffles and live musical entertainment, all contributing to a great cause.
"Paradise Plates has become one of our favorite annual traditions since its inception in 2009," said Sue Lawrence, director of special events at Luciano's of Chicago. "It's an event we particularly look forward to as it's all for a great community cause, as well as being an enjoyable event that showcases culinary art at its best."
At last year's event, Luciano's of Chicago prepared a number of unforgettable and delectable dishes which included variations on arancine (traditional Italian deep-fried stuffed risotto rice balls), as well as variations on meatballs, including Luciano's signature Beef and Pork Meatball, with a choice of Penne or Rigatoni Pasta with Pomodoro Sauce and much more.
"Over the years, Paradise Plates has become an annual social highlight in Nassau. This year we expect to offer guests and supporters a sensational Luciano's of Chicago experience with the culinary options being prepared for the event," continued Lawrence.
The restaurant's culinary team will prepare a number of menu selections which will be featured at Paradise Plates on Saturday, September 28, in the Crown Ballroom, Atlantis.
To learn more about Luciano's of Chicago, please visit the restaurant's website at http://www.lucianosnassau.com or visit them on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/LucianosNassau.