Schisms are like eating potato chips: once the packet is open it’s impossible to have just one. No matter how great your resolve, your hand will have dived back for another wholesome handful before the first salty morsel has oozed its oily way to your artery walls. Next thing you’ve got yourself a beer (or, for those who studied at Nashotah House and really enjoy discussing vestments, something colorful in a glass with a parasol), and then before you know it your buddies from Focus on the Family have come by, someone’s slipped a porno in the DVD player, and you’ve sent your Curate down to the 7-11 for another six packs.
Which is why I had no problem believing George Conger when he went public with the news that little Chuck Murphy has been growing increasingly restless in his role as the Rwandan Archbishop’s North American houseboy – a.k.a. “a Missionary Bishop of the Province of the Anglican Church of Rwanda and a bishop of, and chairman of, the Anglican Mission in the Americas” (never forget that when it comes to ecclesiastical titles pomposity is always inversely proportional to one’s true worth in the Kingdom of God). So restless, in fact, that George suggested Chucky’s talking about abandoning his faux-Rwandan status and taking the golden calf that is the AMiA to chew the cud in greener pastures.
Naturally rumors of disloyalty aren’t something Chucky wants flying around until the foundations of his new structure have well and truly set, so the serfs at Pawley’s Island were quickly ordered to issue a release describing George’s exposé as “false”, “erroneous”, and “irresponsible”. Which is more than a little harsh: I’ll admit that whenever I hear the expression “journalistic integrity” the three names that invariably spring to mind are George Conger, Tokyo Rose, and Axis Sally, but in my experience he never speaks disrespectfully of those with a penchant for ad-hoc ecclesiology. Even so, and just in case anyone still didn’t understand how folks are expected to think on the AMiA side of town, Chucky and his supposed Rwandan master followed this with a “nothing to see here – move along quickly” statement.
Which they clearly hoped would settle things, although it appears they forgot to tell this to someone called “Bishop” Terrell Glenn. (Is there anybody in the AMiA not claiming elevation to the Prelacy?) Who then, in the subtle manner delightfully endemic to my imitators, publically announced his resignation from Rwanda’s beacon of orthodox harmony, citing “personal issues” between Chucky and himself.
Not of course, that this would of itself have caused much of a problem – it’s not as if Chucky doesn’t have plenty of other “bishops” more than ready to take over whatever it was that Mr. Glenn was responsible for. Rather it would have been the cat let out of the bag in the ex-faux-Rwandan-prelate’s (phew! – although what’re the odds Mr. Glenn will continue using the title “Bishop”?) penultimate paragraph:
"First, please do not take our decision as an indication or recommendation from me as to what any of you should do in response to the proposed changes in the life of the Anglican Mission as it considers becoming a Missionary Society currently engaged concerning its future."No wonder there were “personal issues”: judging from this the man didn’t even try believing Chucky’s insistence that “The work and the relationship between the AMiA and the Province of Rwanda remains solid and cherished”. When subordinates start speaking out like that it’s only a matter of time before they start refusing their morning glass of Kool-Aid – and then all the funny hats and preposterous titles in the world won’t keep them in line – will they Chuck? Or should that read "Will they ++Rwaje"?
I’m Father Christian and I teach the Bible.