Sunday, August 24, 2008

Decisive action

Decisive action
Monday, August 25, 2008 -
THE Methodist Church must take decisive action to put to an end the abuse of yaqona which is prevalent amongst its members.
At the Bose ko Viti the annual church conference this week, and last week's annual choir competition many thousands of litres of yaqona will be, and was bought and consumed.
Not one stall at the competition was without this beverage last week.
Every billet at which the church's ministers and conference delegates are accommodated this week will have the obligatory tanoa and the relevant acolytes to prepare the brew upon demand.
There is no harm in enjoying the occasional bowl of yaqona as a relaxant or as a social tool.
Through the generations this peppery drink has allowed people to gather, express and share views which have led to development of village, district, settlement and community life.
Indeed, some inspirational thoughts have been processed around the tanoa and become matters of national policy.
Families often gather for a few rounds of yaqona to discuss matters of importance or as a means to strengthen the bonds of kinship.
Of course there is also the use of yaqona in ceremonial Fijian life as an atonement for transgressions, the vehicle for seeking a favour, the key to admission into a family home or village.
We have come to value the use of yaqona on all these occasions.
But it is the open abuse of the substance which justifiably worries the leadership of the Methodist Church.
For its lay members and some of the clerics have indulged in the national traditional drink to such an extent that they neglect duties to family and the church.
At this Methodist Choir competition last week some people remained around the tanoa until the early hours of each day.
The time has come for the church to ensure that it sets definite rules for the consumption of yaqona.
The church holds a special and powerful influence over its members.
Abuse of yaqona will do no more than cause laziness, neglect of duty and lack of productivity.
Therefore, it is duty bound to see that the faithful treat yaqona with the respect it deserves and use time wisely in order that they may glorify God through taking care of the family and performing an honest day's work.

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