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Rastafarianism, The Rastafari Movement


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The Rastafari Movement comes to the Sierra Nevada World Music Festival at the Mendocino Fairgrounds, in Boonville California 95415. So we will look at this movement to better understand Rastas so that we can better minister to them with the love of Jesus Christ.

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Rastafarianism, The Rastafari Movement

  1. 1. RastafarianismRastafari Movement
  2. 2. RastafarianismRastafari Movement
  3. 3. S.N.W.M.F.• Sierra Nevada World Music Festival ~Mendocino Fairgrounds• 10,000 members of the Rastafari Movementwill be here 6-22-2012• 3 Day Music and Camping Festival featuringthe Best in Reggae and World Music ~Mendocino County Fairgrounds, Boonville,California ~ June 22, 23 & 24
  4. 4. Close Your Bibles Today[I just had to say that, never before, never again]• Today we’ll look at the Rastafari Movement• Next Sunday is A Biblical Look At Rastafari
  5. 5. Flag of Ethiopia (1897-1936; 1941-1974)
  6. 6. New York Times• "Dedicated to the notion of “consciousmusic,” which its organizers define as “musicwith a message of peace, unity andbrotherhood,” the Sierra Nevada WorldMusic Festival might be a balm of sorts formusic fans in need of an optimism boost." -New York Times, 5/5/11
  7. 7. The Sierra Nevada World MusicFestival Kicks Off Next Weekend• …Sierra Nevada features 3 days of the best in rootsreggae and world music taking place on two stages,with a late-night "Jamaican style" dancehall.• In addition to more than three dozen bands, the 19thannual Summer Solstice and World Peace Celebrationalso includes an extensive schedule of childrens andcultural activities, arts and crafts, an international foodcourt, family and alter-able camping and vendorsgalore. With beautiful streaming colors and exoticaromas, the festival village is an attractive marketplaceof food and craft booths created by the collectiveefforts of artists, vendors, staff, volunteers and ticketbuyers that has something to offer children of all ages.
  8. 8. I’m No Expert On The Rastafari Movement• I studied it briefly a few years ago.• The last time I set up a booth• Interacted with 50 to 100 members of theRastafari Movement• Brace yourself, this is a big event• 10,000 X $160 = $1,600,000.00• Most of this presentation is a quote from;•
  9. 9. I’m No Expert On The Rastafari Movement• And I’ve only been to Jamaica once, and haveno desire to return.However, DunnsRiver Falls is trulyoutstanding treasureoffering 600 feet ofclimbing pleasurefor thousands ofvisitors and localsevery year.
  10. 10. Dunns River Falls
  11. 11. Dunns River Falls
  12. 12. Dunns River Falls
  13. 13. But I Digress• Back to the Rastafari Movement
  14. 14. Rastafari And Other Abrahamic Faiths• Some Rastafari choose to classify theirmovement as Ethiopian Orthodox Christianity,Protestant Christianity, or Judaism. Rastafaritypically hold that standard translations of theBible incorporate changes, or were edited forthe benefit of the power structure, and onecommon idea is that half the Bible story hasnever been told.[26]
  15. 15. Half The Bible Story Has Never Been Told
  16. 16. Rastafari Are Monotheists , Jah• “ ... Ethiopia shall soon stretch out her hands unto God.” — Psalms 68:31• Rastafari are monotheists, worshipping a singular Godwhom they call Jah. Jah is the term in the "KJV" (KingJames Version of the Bible), Psalm 68:4. Rastas see Jahas being in the form of the Holy Trinity, that is, Father,Son and the Holy Spirit. Rastas say that Jah, in the formof the Holy Spirit (incarnate), lives within the human,and for this reason they often refer to themselves as "Iand I". Furthermore, "I and I" is used instead of "We",and is used in this way to emphasize the equalitybetween all people, in the belief that the Holy Spiritwithin all people makes them essentially one and thesame.
  17. 17. Jah, Holladay & Strong’s, Ps 68:4• noun proper no gender no number no state• Hol3179 alternate form of Ps 6819 & oft. (pg 129)• Strong’s # 03050 Yahh {yaw} Meaning: 1) Jah(Jehovah in the shortened form) 1a) the proper nameof the one true God 1b) used in many compounds1b1) names beginning with the letters Je 1b2) namesending with iah or jah• Origin: contraction for 03068, and meaning the same• Usage: AV - LORD 48, JAH 1; 49
  18. 18.• “The Rastafari movement is a "messianic religio-politicalmovement" that began in the Jamaican slums in the 1920sand 30s. The most famous Rastafari is Bob Marley, whosereggae music gained the Jamaican movement internationalrecognition.• There is significant variation within the Rastafari movementand no formal organization. Some Rastafarians see Rastamore as a way of life than a religion. But uniting the diversemovement is belief in the divinity and/or messiahship ofEthiopian Emperor Haile Selassie I, the influence ofJamaican culture, resistance of oppression, and pride inAfrican heritage.• The Rastafarian lifestyle usually includes ritual use ofmarijuana, avoidance of alcohol, the wearing of ones hairin dreadlocks, and vegetarianism.
  19. 19. Fast Facts• Date founded: Generally said to be November2, 1930, the year Emperor Hailie Selassie I(1892-1975) was crowned, but based in amovement of the 1920s.• Place founded: Jamaica• Founder: Marcus Garvey (1887-1940), a blackJamaican who taught in the 1920s and isconsidered a second John the Baptist.• Adherents: About 1 million worldwide
  20. 20. Terminology• Followers of the Rastafari movement are knownas Rastafarians, Rastafaris, Rastas, or RasTafarians. The movement is named for Ras TafariMakonnen, who was crowned Emperor HaileSelassie I of Ethiopia in 1930.• Rastafaris dislike the term "Rastafarianism"because they reject the "isms and schisms" thatcharacterize oppressive and corrupt whitesociety. The movement is referred to as "theRastafari movement," "Rasta," or "Rastafari."
  21. 21. History• Rastafari developed in the slums of Kingston, Jamaica,in the 1920s and 30s. In an environment of greatpoverty, depression, racism and class discrimination,the Rasta message of black pride, freedom fromoppression, and the hope of return to the Africanhomeland was gratefully received.• The Rastafarian movement began with the teachings ofMarcus Garvey (1887-1940), a black Jamaican who leda "Back to Africa" movement. He taught that Africansare the true Israelites and have been exiled to Jamaicaand other parts of the world as divine punishment.
  22. 22. Marcus Garvey, (1887-1940)• Garvey encouraged pride inbeing black and worked toreverse the mindset ofinferiority that centuries ofenslavement had ingrainedon the minds of blacks.Garvey is regarded as asecond John the Baptist andfamously prophesied in1927, "Look to Africa, forthere a king shall becrowned."
  23. 23. MarcusGarvey(1887-1940)
  24. 24. Haile Selassie,• On November 2, 1930, Ras Tafari Makonnen wascrowned emperor of Ethiopia (he ruled until 1974). Athis coronation he took the name Haile Selassie,meaning "Might of the Trinity."• Selassie also took the titles, "Conquering Lion of theTribe of Judah, Elect of God and King of the Kings ofEthiopia." These titles are traditionally given toEthiopian kings and reflect the Old Testament emphasisof Ethiopian Christianity. For Rastafarians, Selassiescoronation was a clear fulfillment of Revelation 5:5,Ezekiel 28:25, and Marcus Garveys prophecy.
  25. 25. Messiah Selassie, God (Jah) On Earth• Followers of Garveys teachings believed that Selassieis the messiah that had been predicted, and that hiscoronation indicated the divine punishment wascompleted and the return to Africa would begin.Rastafarians named their movement for Ras Tafari andregarded the emperor as the physical presence of God(Jah) on earth.• Marcus Garvey himself, however, did not think highlyof Selassie. He regarded him as an incompetent leaderand in collusion with white oppressors after his defeatby the Italians and acceptance of British assistance toregain his throne. In 1937, Garvey wrote an editorialentitled "The Failure of Haile Selassie as Emperor."
  26. 26. Haile Selassie Emperor Of Ethiopia• Haile Selassie was an Ethiopian OrthodoxChristian and he explicity denied his divine statusas proclaimed in Jamaica. In a radio interviewwith Canadas CBC news in 1967, he said, "I haveheard of that idea [that I am divine]. I also metcertain Rastafarians. I told them clearly that I ama man, that I am mortal, and that I will bereplaced by the oncoming generation, and thatthey should never make a mistake in assuming orpretending that a human being is emanated froma deity." This denial has not deterred Rastafariansfrom believing the emperor to be divine
  27. 27. Haile Selassie As Emperor• As an emperor, Haile Selassie worked tomodernize Ethiopia and to steer it into themainstream of African politics. He broughtEthiopia into the League of Nations and theUnited Nations and made Addis Ababa the majorcenter for the Organization of African Unity.Selassie was named Time magazines Person ofthe Year for 1935 and was the first black personto appear on the cover in 1930. He was the onlyblack leader recognized by the rulers of Europe. 2
  28. 28. Time magazines Person of the Year 1935• Emperor Haile Selassie I onthe cover of Time magazine,November 3, 1930.• The Rastafarian movementfirst became visible inJamaica in the 1930s, whenpeaceful communities werefounded in the Kingstonslums. During this time theRastafarians developed adistinctive style of language,hairstyle, art and music
  29. 29. Leonard Howell• Leonard Howell emerged as an early leader ofthe movement. He taught six fundamentalRastafarian principles: (1) hatred for the Whiterace; (2) the complete superiority of the Blackrace; (3) revenge on Whites for their wickedness;(4) the negation, persecution, and humiliation ofthe government and legal bodies of Jamaica; (5)preparation to go back to Africa; and (6)acknowledging Emperor Haile Selassie as theSupreme Being and only ruler of Black people.Many of these principles were subsequentlyabandoned as the Rastafarian movementdeveloped.
  30. 30. Leonard Howell, Early Leader Of The Movement• Howell was arrested bythe Jamaicangovernment in 1933 forhis loyalty to theEthiopian emperor overKing George V [it was a BritishCommonwealth]. This mayhave contributed to thedecision to keepRastafarianismleaderless andindependent.
  31. 31. Leonard Howell,Early Leader Of TheMovement
  32. 32. Haile Selassie Emperor of Ethiopia• Haile Selassie met with Rasta elders in AddisAbaba in the 1950s. In 1955, he offered 500 acresof his personal land to black people wishing toreturn to Africa. Around 2,200 blacks, mainlyRastafarians, moved to the land (in Shashemene)during the 1960s. But poverty, a lack ofacceptance by the Ethiopian population anddisputes with the government that overthrewSelassie has caused that population to dwindle.The current population is estimated at 250.
  33. 33. Haile Selassie Emperor of Ethiopia• “A major event in Rastafarian history wasHaile Selassies visit to Jamaica on April 21,1966. Rita Marley, Bob Marleys wife,converted to the Rastafari faith after seeingHaile Selassie; she said she saw stigmataappear on him and was instantly convinced ofhis divinity. Further evidence of his divinitywas seen in the fact that a serious droughtended with rain upon his arrival.”
  34. 34. Rita Marley, Bob Marleys Wife
  35. 35. Haile Selassies Visit To Jamaica, 1966• “He told the Rastafarians that they should notseek to immigrate to Ethiopia until they hadliberated the people of Jamaica, a commandthat came to be known as "liberation beforerepatriation." As well as its profound religioussignificance for Rastas, the event helped tolegitimize the movement. April 21 iscelebrated as a Rastafarian holiday.”
  36. 36. Haile Selassies Death, 1975?• “Selassie was deposed in 1974 in a militarycoup and kept under house arrest until he wasapparently killed by his captors in 1975. ManyRastas believed that his death was a hoax, andthat he lives on in hiding until the Day ofJudgment. Others say that he lives on throughindividual Rastafarians.”
  37. 37. Rastafarian Bible• “The sacred text of Rastafarians is the Holy Piby,the "Black Mans Bible." It was compiled byRobert Athlyi Rogers of Anguilla from 1913 to1917 and published in 1924. 4 The Holy Piby is aversion of the Christian Bible that has beenaltered to remove all the deliberate distortionsthat are believed to have been made by whiteleaders during its translation into English.• The Ethiopian national epic, the Kebra Negast, isalso respected by Rastas, but less so than theBible.”
  38. 38. Rastafarian Beliefs• “Rastafarians believe in the Judeo-Christian God, whomthey call Jah. In general, Rastafarian beliefs are based inJudaism and Christianity, with an emphasis on OldTestament laws and prophecies and the Book of Revelation.Allegorical meaning is often sought in the Holy Piby.• Jah was manifested on earth as Jesus, who Rastas believewas black, and Emperor Haile Selassie. Selassie is referredto as His Imperial Majesty or H.I.M. (pronounced "him")and believed to still be alive - his death was a hoax and helives in protection awaiting the Day of Judgment. Selassie isworshipped as divine. (Scriptural proof texts includeRevelation 5:2-5, 17:14, 19:6, 22:16, Ezekiel 30, Psalm 9, 18,68, 76, 87:4, Isaiah 9.) Rastafarians also honor OldTestament prophets like Moses and Elijah.
  39. 39. Rastafarian Beliefs• Rastafarians do not believe in an afterlife, 5 but insteadlook to Africa (called "Zion") as a heaven on earth. TrueRastas are believed to be immortal, both physically andspiritually, a concept called "everliving."• An important Rastafarian concept is "I and I," which is saidinstead of "you and I." It emphasizes the oneness betweenhumanity and God as well as the equality of all humans.• Another central concept is Babylon, which refers to thewhite power structure of Europe and the Americas. Rastasseek to resist Babylon, which once cruelly enslaved blacksand still continue to hold them down through poverty,illiteracy, inequality, and trickery. The greed and conceit ofBabylon is contrasted with the humble simplicity andnaturalness of the Rastas.”
  40. 40. Rastafarian Practices• “Rastafarians are perhaps best known for theirreligious use of marijuana, which growsplentifully in Jamaica. Rastas know it as ganja, theholy herb, Iley or callie, and believe it was givenby God. Scriptural support is found especially inPsalm 104:14: "He causeth the grass for the cattleand herb for the service of man." Other textsinterpreted to refer to cannabis include Genesis3:18, Exodus 10:12, and Proverbs 15:17. Inaddition to ritual use, Rastas also use marijuanafor medicinal purposes, applying it to a variety ofailments including colds.
  41. 41. Rastafarian Practices• Marijuana is used primarily during the two mainRastafari rituals: reasonings and nyabingi. Thereasoning is an informal gathering at which asmall group of Rastas smoke ganja and engage indiscussion. The ritual begins when one personlights the pipe, or "chalice," and recites a shortprayer while all other participants bow theirheads. The pipe is then passed around the circleuntil all of the people have smoked. Thereasoning ends when the participants depart oneby one….
  42. 42. Rastafarian Practices• The nyabinghi, or binghi for short, is a dance heldon Rasta holidays and special occasions (seebelow). These dances can last for several daysand bring together hundreds of Rastafarians fromall over Jamaica. They camp in tents on landowned by the host Rastas. Formal dancing takesplace at night in a tabernacle especially set up forthe occasion. The Rastas sing and dance until theearly hours of the morning. In the daytime, they"rest and reason."6”
  43. 43. Rastafarian Holidays• There are several Rasta holidays, most of whichcenter around events in the life of Emperor HaileSelassie. The most important celebrations are:• November 2 - the coronation of Selassie• January 6 - ceremonial birthday of Selassie• April 21 - Selassies visit to Jamaica• July 23 - Selassies personal birthday• August 1 - emancipation from slavery• August 17 - Marcus Garveys birthday
  44. 44. Rastafarian Dreadlocks• One of the most visible practices of Rastafarians is thewearing of ones hair in dreadlocks. Dreadlocks haveseveral purposes and layers of meaning forRastafarians, including:• the biblical command not to cutones hair (Leviticus 21:5)• the appearance of the lions mane,representing strength, Africa,Ethiopia, and the Lion of Judah• naturalness and simplicity, whichare associated with Africa• the Rastas roots in Africa
  45. 45. Rastafarian Colors & Symbols• “The other main Rasta symbol besidesdreadlocks, are the colors of red, gold and green.Red stands for the triumphant church of theRastas as well as the blood of the martyrs in theblack struggle for liberation. Gold represents thewealth of their African homeland and greensymbolizes Ethiopias beauty and lush vegetation.Black is often also included, representing thecolor of the Africans. Another important symbolis the Lion of Judah, which represents HaileSelassie as the King of Kings, Africa, andstrength.”
  46. 46. Rastafarian Diet & Alcohol• “The most observant Rastas follow a dietary law calledItal. Ital food is food which is completely natural (notcanned and free of chemicals and preservatives) andeaten as raw as possible. Old Testament prohibitionsagainst pork and shellfish are part of Ital; mostRastafarians are vegetarians or vegans. Coffee and milkare also rejected as unnatural.• Rastafarians reject the use of alcohol, since it is afermented chemical that does not belong in the templeof the body and it makes a person stupid, therebyplaying into the hands of white leaders. This iscontrasted with the holy herb of marijuana, which isnatural and believed by Rastas to open their mind andassist in reasoning.”
  47. 47. Sects Or Orders Of Rastafari• There are three main sects or orders of Rastafari today.All agree on the basic principles of the divine status ofHaile Selassie and the importance of black images ofdivinity. Many Rastafari do not belong to any sect andthe movement as a whole is loosely defined andorganized.• The Nyahbinghi Order (a.k.a. Theocratic Priesthoodand Livity Order of Nyabinghi) is named for QueenNyahbinghi of Uganda, who fought against colonialistsin the 19th century. This is the oldest of the orders andit focuses mainly on Haile Selassie, Ethiopia, and theeventual return to Africa. It is overseen by an Assemblyof Elders.
  48. 48. Sects Or Orders Of Rastafari• Bobo Shanti was founded by Prince Emanuel CharlesEdwards in Jamaica in the 1950s. "Bobo" means blackand "Shanti" refers to the Ashanti tribe in Ghana, fromwhich this sect believes Jamaican slaves aredescended. Members of Bobo Shanti are also known asBobo Dreads.• In belief, Bobo Dreads are distinguished by theirworship of Prince Emmanuel (in addition to HaileSelassie) as a reincarnation of Christ and embodimentof Jah; their emphasis on the return to Africa("repatriation"); and their demands for monetaryreimbursement for slavery.
  49. 49. Sects Or Orders Of Rastafari• Members of the Bobo Shanti order wear longrobes and tightly wrapped turbans around theirdreads. They adhere closely to the Jewish Law,including the observance of the Sabbath fromsundown Friday to sundown Saturday andhygeine laws for menstruating women. They liveseparately from Jamaican society and otherRastafarians, growing their own produce andselling straw hats and brooms. They often carrybrooms with them to symbolize their cleanliness.
  50. 50. Sects Or Orders Of Rastafari• “The Twelve Tribes of Israel sect was foundedin 1968 by Dr. Vernon "Prophet Gad"Carrington. It is the most liberal of theRastafarian orders and members are free toworship in a church of their choosing. Eachmember of this sect belongs to one of the 12Tribes (or Houses), which is determined bybirth month and is represented by a color. 7.”
  51. 51. Rastafari Jesus• “Acceptance of the God-incarnate status of Jesusis Rastafari doctrine, as is the notion of thecorruption of his teachings by secular, Westernsociety, figuratively referred to as Babylon. Forthis reason, they believe, it was prophesied in theBook of Revelation—"And I heard the number ofthem which were sealed: and there were sealed ahundred and forty and four thousand of all thetribes of the children of Israel."[15]—that Jesuswould return with a new name that would beinscribed on the foreheads of 144,000 of his mostdevoted servants.
  52. 52. Rastafari Jesus• Rastas hold that they represent this fulfillment basedon their experience in the light of Haile Selassiesreturn and coronation as the King of Kings on 2November 1930, whom they see as the second comingof Jesus or the coming of the holy spirit, and thereforeJah, onto the Earth. Thus the great messiah king whomthe Jews are still waiting for has indeed now returnedto earth, according to the Rastas.• Rastas say that Jesus was black while Western Society(or Babylon) has commonly depicted him as white forcenturies.”
  53. 53. An 18th Century Ethiopian Icon Of Jesus• This image, from a church in Rome, dates from AD530.
  54. 54. So, In Conclusion•Amen!
  55. 55. Significant Cultural Points Of Rasta• Reggae music• This"messianic religio-political movement," began in the Jamaican slumsin the 1920-30s• Emperor Hailie Selassie I was crowned in 1930• Some see Rasta more as a way of life than a religion• The influence of Jamaican culture• Resistance of oppression, and pride in African heritage• The Rastafarian lifestyle usually includes ritual use of marijuana,avoidance of alcohol, the wearing of ones hair in dreadlocks, andvegetarianism.• Natural food (not canned and free of chemicals and preservatives) andeaten as raw as possible.• Another central concept is Babylon, which refers to the white powerstructure of Europe and the Americas. Rastas seek to resist Babylon,which once cruelly enslaved blacks…
  56. 56. Some Secondary Biblical Points Are• The Rastafarian lifestyle usually includes ritual use of marijuana,avoidance of alcohol, the wearing of ones hair in dreadlocks, andvegetarianism.• Babylon…. refers to the white power structure of Europe and theAmericas• True Rastas are believed to be immortal, both physically andspiritually, a concept called "everliving.“• Bobo Shanti order …adhere closely to the Jewish Law, including theobservance of the Sabbath from sundown Friday to sundownSaturday ….• A dietary law called Ital…Old Testament prohibitions against porkand shellfish are part of Ital…• Another important symbol is the Lion of Judah, which representsHaile Selassie as the King of Kings, Africa, and strength.”
  57. 57. Some Critical Biblical Points Are• Messiah Selassie, God (Jah) On Earth• Messiahship of Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie I• Bobo Dreads are distinguished by their worshipof Prince Emmanuel (in addition to Haile Selassie)as a reincarnation of Christ and embodiment ofJah…• What is the Gospel-True Rastas are believed to beimmortal, both physically and spiritually, aconcept called "everliving.”
  58. 58. So That’s Rastafari• Let’s get ready for the S.N.W.M.F.• Next week a biblical response to Rastafari
  59. 59. Happy Father’s Day