SONGS OF FREEDOM: Part Three

The Rastafari Movement Part Three of Seven RTE: So, what is Rastafari, and how did it begin? MICHAEL: In my understanding, Rastafari is an Ethiopian word – Ras means “head, chief, or king”; tafari means “Creator” or “the One to be feared.” Ras Tafari was His Majesty Haile Selassie’s name before he became the emperor of Ethiopia. The word “dread” means “God-fearer,” so people who were serious about the practice grew their hair into dreadlocks (letting long locks of hair just naturally grow together) as a sign of reverence for God. Later, it became more of a fashion, like a badge. The movement began in 1928, when the British were … [Read more...]

SONGS OF FREEDOM: Part Two

Teresa’s Story Part two of seven RTE: Teresa, how did the Rasta movement fit for you? TERESA: I wasn’t as into the music. What I liked was that they lived a simple life, that they lived “Ital”1 – no white flour, no white sugar, no pop, nothing processed, no meat. That was something I wanted also; I didn’t want to eat anything that wasn’t directly from the land (although I must admit that I had a sweet-tooth). Also, to be honest, we were both heavy herb smokers, and with the Rastas we could smoke as much as we wanted. I also liked the idea that we are all created equal. Mike and I both had black and Mexican friends at school and we … [Read more...]

SONGS OF FREEDOM: Part One

The Rastafari Road to Orthodoxy This interview was published in the Road To Emmaus, and is reprinted here with permission of Michael and Teresa Wilson. This is the first of seven installments on their journey to the Orthodox faith. In an engagingly open interview, Michael and Teresa Wilson of St. Mary of Egypt Serbian Orthodox Church in Kansas City, Missouri, talk about their decades as Rastafarians in America and Jamaica, their path to Orthodoxy, and the lessons they’ve learned along the way. RTE: Michael, what was your background? Did you grow up Christian? MICHAEL: In my family, we didn’t usually go to church, except perhaps on … [Read more...]

Another Rastafarian Becomes Orthodox

by Daniel Polson From early childhood, I was taught to appreciate the Bible. Consequently, I grew with a strong love for our Saviour. So much so that sitting alone one evening after Easter, watching the sky and contemplating "The Robe", a film I had seen then, I imagined Christ’s face in the clouds. I wept as gruesome scenes from the film of His passion and crucifixion flooded my mind. I was no more than ten years old at the time. … [Read more...]