I reiterate that I posted the video simply to demonstrate that there in fact are Rastafarians who are Orthodox Christians.
I don't think anyone has disputed the fact that there are those who identify with Rastafarian culture who have been baptised into the Church and who thereby associate with Orthodox faithful communities.
Baptism and association mean very little, however, if one does not fully embrace the Faith; and the question all along has been whether or not one is capable of authentically embracing the fullness of the Faith whilst maintaining their identity as a Rastafarian. I maintain that in theory it is possible. I must admit, however, that your video presents a questionable example of such in practice.
Racial sentiments are not merely "a single aspect" of the song you posted. They clearly constitute a primary theme of the song; they define the chorus and frequently recur throughout the verses.
Hearing these racial sentiments prompted my first proper research into Rastafarian culture. The problem I soon came to discover is that it is a culture that is quite heavily loaded with beliefs and attitudes of a spiritual/religious nature. One such belief and attitude relates to the role and significance of black Africans (which I accounted for in my previous post with reference to respected Rastafarian leaders). I have been unable to find any formal or informal account of this racial belief and attitude that might be considered compatible with an Orthodox worldview. The idea of "viewing Christ through one's cultural lens" is quite vague to me and not one I have ever seen discussed in Orthodox literature. Your own personal inference drawn from some local apparition alleged by a Roman Catholic community is not my idea of a legitimate argument.
I conceded earlier that, generally speaking, we are all inevitably the product of cultures, that the human cultures and subcultures that form and shape our individual identities present us with the tools by which we internalise and express the Faith, and that we have the ability, and in fact the responsibility, to customise our cultural ties and engagements in accordance with the Faith where there is conflict or tension.
Given that a clearly heretical understanding of the idea of Christ being black prevails in the Rastafarian community, I would think that a Rastafarian authentically converting to Orthodoxy would either abandon this particular idea outright, or, if finding some way to individually reinterpret it in a way compatible with Orthodoxy, either a) retain the idea privately and discreetly, understanding that the common interpretation to which it is prone is incompatible with his/her Orthodox beliefs and not wishing either to be misunderstood or to risk promoting/encouraging false ideas, or b) heavily and explicitly qualify any public expression of it in order to avoid any confusion or misunderstanding and consequent risk of encouraging and validating those who hold to heretical conceptions of it.
Perhaps a better example of a Rastafarian Orthodox Christian can be offered by you giving us a personal account of a) what it is about your lifestyle and character that constitute a uniquely Rastafarian identity, b) how it is that these are conducive to and/or compatible with your Orthodox Faith, and, c) what aspects of Rastafarian culture you have felt the need to abandon or have found a way to properly redefine and reinterpret in adapting to the Orthodox Faith. How does that sound?
First of all dear brother, I know that you are not taking sides but only trying to gain clarification. I appreciate yor legitimate concerns, which I share.
Again, I reiterate that I have never advocated racial supremacy or claimed that Christ is Black. However, I have seen icons of Our Lord which depict Him as Black and icons that depict Him as White. I venerate all these icons in the same manner.
If people want to understand Rastafari culture and beliefs, it will take a lot of work and experience with actual Rastafarians themselves. Even then, you will still come away with many different interpretations and a variety of beliefs. Some worship the Emperor, some insist that Christ is Black, some are vegetarians, some use Ganja, some are pacifists, some eat meat and drink beer, some are devout Tewahedo Christians. So, to generalize about Rastafari is problematic to begin with.
I can only speak for myself, for my own beliefs, which are abundantly clear from everything I post on this forum as well as what is contained in my humble book about the Orthodox Faith. It should be clear to anyone who has actually read my words that I am an Orthodox Tewahedo Christian first and foremost. My doctrine, my faith, my beliefs, and my opinions are shaped and formed by the Teachings and Traditions of the Church above and before all else.
As for the race thing... I will never defend any form of racial superiority in any form. However, neither will I condemn a persecuted and oppressed people for viewing Christ through the lens of their own race, culture, and struggle. We Orthodox Christians are not Puritans who reject icons. Should we refuse to venerate icons of Our Lord in our Churches because the icons depict Him in a particular color? God forbid! Will Hiwot or others refuse to venerate an icon of Our Lord if the icon depicts Him as Black?
Again, if anyone thinks the video I posted is blasphemous in any way, then fine. I stated clearly that I don't endorse every aspect of the message, but that I posted it simply to show that there are Rastafarians who are also Orthodox Christians. I probably should have been more cautious in dissecting the message, but I was focusing instead on the beautiful Tewahedo Faith and culture that permeated the video. I only wish others could focus on that beauty as well.
I think your last paragraph that I highlighted in bold above is important and demonstrates the true Christian spirit of humility and charity. In that spirit, I will attempt to address your specific questions. But for a more detailed account, people can read my Testimony of Baptism on my blog by clicking on this link: http://mysteryandmeaning.blogspot.com/2010/07/my-spiritual-journey.html
You asked:a) What it is about your lifestyle and character that constitute a uniquely Rastafarian identity?
I'm not really sure, since my identity is first and foremost Orthodox Christian. But I guess I would have to say that my view of the historical and spiritual significance of Africa and Ethiopia, my commitment to nonviolence, my diet, my identification of evil ideologies and systems with "Babylon," my love for conscious reggae music, and of course my love for and veneration of the Emperor and his Christian teachings are things that I associate with Rasta identity. But then again, I associate these things with my Christian identity as well; and I see no conflict between the two in these regards.b) How it is that these are conducive to and/or compatible with your Orthodox Faith?
Well, like I said above, I think they are very compatible with my Orthodox Faith. The scriptures led me to embrace many things about Rastafari (to the point where I could in good conscience identify myself as a Rasta, especially after studying the 12 Tribes and realizing that not all Rastas worship the Emperor), and the Rastafari worldview led me to the redeeming waters of Holy Baptism and entrance into the true Orthodox Christian Faith.c) What aspects of Rastafarian culture have you felt the need to abandon or have found a way to properly redefine and reinterpret in adapting to the Orthodox Faith?
Well, since I never worshipped Haile Selassie, that was something that I didn't need to abandon since it was an idolatry that I never practiced. Personally, I chose to stop smoking Ganja, but that was more so for health and personal reasons than any real spiritual conviction. Although if I thought about smoking again, I would seek the advice of my Priest and follow his counsel. So basically, the heretical ideas that are associated with some forms of Rastafari are ideas that I never embraced to begin with. I cut my locks when I was Baptized in obedience and submission, and I have tried hard to maintain a spirit of obedience and submission to the Teachings and Traditions of the Church ever since. I have never attempted to syncretize heretical Rastafarian ideas such as emperor worship with the Orthodox Faith. I submit wholly and completely to our Church's Teachings.
Ok, I hope that helps brother. It is good to believe the best about one another and give each other the benefit of the doubt. As I mentioned earlier in this thread, some Rastas may have some heretical beliefs, but I am more disturbed by the numerous heresies that are promoted in the very name of Our Lord by those who call themselves Christians. Rastas are not militantly evangelical like so many of our Protestant friends, thus there is no reason for anyone to persecute and malign them out of prejudicial fears. And like I said before, I personally will worship along side anyone who wishes to enter the Church and worship in Orthodox fashion. If Hiwot chooses to abandon worship because a Rasta is worhsipping next to her, that is her choice. The Church will always be there to welcome her back.