Speaking in Tongues in ACNA

At the recent consecration of Keith Andrews, Archbishop Foley Beach briefly spoke in tongues while laying hands on Andrews. I am not claiming that what he did was the Biblical gift of tongues, only that this is what passes for it in our day. Nevertheless, this spurred me to look at what the ACNA Catechism says about the practice.

Question 87 of the Catechism says, “What are the gifts of the Holy Spirit?” The answer is:

The manifold gifts of the Holy Spirit include faith, healing, miracles, prophecy, discernment of spirits, other languages, the interpretation of other languages, administration, service, encouragement, giving, leadership, mercy and others. The Spirit gives these to individuals as he wills. (Romans 12:6-8, 1 Corinthians 12:7-11; 27-31; Ephesians 4:7-10)

The Biblical proof texts for the answer include I Corinthians 12:10, which says in part “to another different kinds of tongues, and to another the interpretation of tongues…” The catechism is rendering “tongues” or “γλωσσῶν” as “languages” which is formally correct.

So it seems that the catechism is making a place for glossolalia, but is using the more sober term “language” to perhaps deflect attention away from a “three streams” reality. It is certainly not saying that the “sign gifts” are not active today. It does not seem to be coming from the position of many Reformed theologians such as John Frame, who says, “I Corinthians 14 would tell us that we should not practice the use of tongues in public worship services” (Systematic Theology, 930).

What Archbishop Beach was engaged in was glossolalia, as outlined in William Samarin’s book, “Tongues of Men and Angels,” available here.

Whether you like it or not, if you sign up for ACNA, you are signing up for a “three streams” reality. Archbishop Beach has endorsed this view:

Currently—and this is something I think that’s very distinctive about who we are— we are a group that is Anglo-Catholic, Evangelical, and Charismatic. Some call that the ‘Three Streams,’ and that’s a simple way of explaining it. But, even some of our most Anglo-Catholic folks would be more charismatic than I am. All of us tend to have those three streams somewhere in our mix.
I think that’s very unique for American Christianity today. All of us have our core; my core would be evangelical. Although I have the other two pieces, my core or default is evangelical. But, these streams enable us to bring the richness of the breadth of Christianity, and it’s truly powerful when these streams are together.

The Catechism seems to be allowing for glossolalia as it has come to Anglicanism from Pentecostalism. This is another area where some people sign on to ACNA and hope to change things.

“There might be charismatics out there, but I’m not one of them.” You might hear someone say. Well, when the official Catechism of your denomination seems to endorse glossolalia, you cannot really deny it to people in your congregation, can you?

The reality of ACNA on the ground right now in its formative days is that there is a live and let live reality. However, the Catechism codifies a view of things that I imagine will become more ingrained over time. So like it or hate it, ACNA is a “three streams” denomination.

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Reviewing Laurent Mbanda’s Book, “Committed to Conflict”

Even in the 1994 genocide, I believe that there were people who followed whatever their leaders decided to do, without ever exercising their own minds. – Laurent Mbanda (Page 133)

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Rwandan Anglican Bishop Laurent Mbanda

I’ve previously written about some snippets of Laurent Mbanda’s book “Committed to Conflict, the destruction of the church in Rwanda,”1 now I will take a look at the rest of the book. The book was written in 1997, long before Mbanda became a bishop in the Anglican Church of Rwanda and I suspect that it had something to do with the powers that be selecting him as a bishop, along with his work for Compassion International and Western connections.

Bishop Mbanda is well connected in the West. He currently sits on the board of Compassion International, the International Justice Mission, Food for the Hungry, the Mustard Seed Project, and the Kigali Institute of Education in Rwanda. He succeeded Bishop John Rucyahana in 2010, as the Bishop of the Shyira Diocese. Bishop Mbanda was at the center of the split between the Anglican Mission in America and the Rwandan Church with AMiA leaders making accusations against him of leaking communications to George Conger – charges which he denied at the “Sacred Assembly” in Raleigh, North Carolina.

The book was “assisted” by Steve Wamberg, who functioned as a Communications Specialist for Compassion International from 1992-97.

I have not seen any analysis of Mbanda’s book, and I doubt that many, if any, clergy of PEARUSA have taken the time to read it and think through its implications.

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Mbanda correctly points out that the early Protestant missionaries and thus the Protestant communities in Rwanda avoided overt political connections:

The colonial administrators and the mission leaders had different views regarding the people of Rwanda, especially Hutu and Tutsi. The traditional structure used to accomplish colonial objectives was not favoured by the Catholic missionaries, who termed it ‘oppressive’, while the Protestants tried to remain apolitical. (Page 7)

This was partly due to the origins of Anglicanism in Rwanda, which was brought by missionaries who were steeped in Keswick theology and dispensationalism, both of which are often apolitical. Keswick’s emphasis in this regard is profoundly un-Biblical. Mbanda returns to the apolitical nature of Rwandan Protestants over and over:

The Protestant Christian missions were largely apolitical in their approach to the Rwandan sociopolitical structure. The first Protestant missionaries to enter the country supported the indirect German colonial approach and in so doing, raised no sociopolitical issues. A small minority in the country, they were not highly visible and had limited personal influence; their interest was in evangelism, leaving the social issues alone. (Page 49)

Note that in this case Mbanda suggests that “leaving the social issues alone” was a good thing when compared to the Catholic Church. He he launches repeated diatribes against the Catholic Church, such as this:

This favouritism, and its closeness and involvement with the colonial administrators, virtually married the Catholic Church to the state, such that under the leadership of Bishop Classe, it became a state church with a strong influence in matters of civil government. (Page 20)

Mbanda’s position on the Catholic Church is accurate, but as I cannot emphasize enough, this is the same situation that the Anglican Church finds itself in today! It is tied at the hip to Paul Kagame.

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Retired Archbishop Kolini, President Kagame, Bishop Mbanda

I am told by a former advisor of Kagame’s that he is an atheist who uses witch doctors and mocks Christians behind closed doors. He uses the churches as tools to propagandize the West with genocide guilt and a false narrative of reconciliation.

Mbanda says that the former colonial powers and the churches share a large part of the blame for the 1994 genocide:

The most recent genocide in Rwanda derives in part from the deep historic divisions in Rwandan society created by the colonial rulers and the churches. (Page 25)2

The contradiction at the heart of Mbanda’s book is that he condemns the church for its involvement in politics, but turns around to blast the church for silence in the face of injustice! He is correct about the problem of silence, but speaking up about injustice is an inherently political activity. In the following quote Mbanda condemns Christian silence:

The policy of Iringaniza (total exclusion of one ethnic group) in most cases was not different from the colonial discriminatory school system executed at the expense of Rwandan children of the time. And the silence of many Christian missions in the face of such injustices was deafening. (Page 43)

Yes, this silence was deafening, as is the silence of Anglicans today when their government tortures and kills its own citizens!

Calvin teaches Christians that resisting evil authorities is salutary: “For earthly princes lay aside all their power when they rise up against God, and are unworthy of being reckoned in the number of mankind. We ought rather utterly to defy than to obey them whenever they are so restive and wish to spoil God of his rights, and, as it were, to seize upon his throne and draw him down from heaven.”

Bishop Mbanda seems to agree with Calvin’s sentiments in this book, and yet, in authority as a bishop he has only praised the wicked rule of Kagame and has maintained silence in the face of evil. He has in fact gone beyond silence and has openly praised Rwanda’s leadership as “visionary.”

visionary leadership

This is in clear contrast to his past self, who decried silence in the face of injustice:

It is important to protect people and strive for unity in the nation, but without true justice there can’t be sincere unity. Under the previous government, killings and other social injustices went unchallenged. (Page 105)

And again, Mbanda says the role of the Church:

Hopefully, the new Kigali government will keep its hands clean in the matters of the Church, just as they have so far. My prayer is that the Church can divorce itself from the kind of church-state relationships that seek favours from politicians in exchange for the Church’s prophetic voice. The former Vice President of Kenya, Mr Mwai Kibaki, put it well while addressing members of the National Council of Churches of Kenya : “The church leaders should not spend their time praising politicians; we have enough people to praise us. Your task is to correct us when we go wrong and need to be reminded of the justice of God, and to pray for us.” Respect for church leaders does not come from their association with political leaders, but from their relationship with God, a relationship proven in non-conformity to ungodly things. Christian leaders are often caught in the political trap of their countries; this has been the case for Rwandan church leaders. David Gitari in his book Let the Bishop Speak wrote:
A position of active and positive support for the state is obviously the easiest position for the Church to adopt; however, it is also the most unfortunate posture in which the Church can be found. Churches which are favored by the state find it very tempting to respond by giving full support to their patron; but they tend to suffer most when the regime they support is removed and replace by a new government.
It is likely that Bishop Gitari was well aware of the Rwandan situation; at least his insight describes exactly where the Rwandan church leadership has been. (Page 116)

Mbanda says:

Remembering the Kinyarwanda saying, ‘Wibuba uhetse ukabawigish uwo mu umugongo’, meaning if you steal when carrying a youngster on your back, you are teaching the youngster to steal, could this be what happened as a result of Catholic involvement in power politics while they were simultaneously preaching good news and its message of unity, love and peace? (Page 48)

Some say that the Anglican Church today is not involved in “power politics” like the Catholic Church was before, but the role of her bishops on government bodies such as NURC and the praise they speak for Kagame’s leadership shows a dangerous degree of affinity for the current regime. As American Bishop Steve Breedlove pointed out, “In Rwanda, the church’s program IS the community program, and in many places the government yields the platform of developing and transforming communities to the church.” According to Mbanda’s own reasoning, being aligned with a police state that oppresses Hutus and Tutsis who speak up against it is a terrible witness to the Rwandan population.

Mbanda goes on to blasts the Church for not defending the rights of all, but again, the current Anglican Church is silent about oppression:

Somewhere in the process, the Church lost its prophetic role. It could have been an instrument of positive change as a witnessing, worshipping and serving community – by acting as salt and light. But the Church in Rwanda failed to give warning, or even advice, concerning the actions of its own people, while playing political power games. The Church failed to defend the rights of all, whether the attack came through abuse of power or through dehumanizing propaganda. (Page 52)

Today there is a diaspora of Rwandans — Hutu and Tutsi — who have fled to the DRC, other African nations and the West to escape imprisonment or death at the hands of Paul Kagame. The Anglican Province of Rwanda has said nothing about this that I am aware of. But Mbanda critiques the Church of the past for not speaking up for Tutsi refugees:

Unfortunately, it does not seem that the Church wanted the Tutsis back, and if it did, there were no clear steps taken by the church leadership to address the refugee problem, or even condemn the evil acts that led to thousands of deaths and sent hundreds of thousands into exile. Was the Church in Rwanda in a position to plead for the return of the Rwandan refugees in exile? Given its status at that time, and the role it played in the bloody massacres, I believe it could have contributed significantly. Even if there had been no government response, if the Church had done its part, the international community would probably have echoed the message. But the Church’s silence contributed to the perception of its previous political involvement, thus indicating its support of ethnic distinction and separation. And if the Catholic Church’s militant spirit regarding social issues during the German colonial rule and politics of the 1950s was a sincere response to social injustice and oppression, surely the Church would have spoken up for the gross human rights abuses of the period from the 1960s to 1994. What do we say of the Rwandan church’s theology regarding God’s creation of humankind? Is this an issue for Hutu and Tutsi alone, or an issue that Christians around the world need to address? (Page 58)

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Bishop Mbanda Teaching in his Diocese

Mbanda is critical of the pre-genocide Church’s adaptation of the government’s agenda:

Even though the Church tended to be sympathetic to the social status and conditions of the surviving Tutsis in general, both the Catholic and Protestant churches (and more so the leadership) were politicized enough to keep in line with what the Rwandan government wanted. It did not matter about belief, the biblical teaching of love and unity, or one’s view of humankind; the Church chose to listen and move with the political agenda of the country. (Page 59)

Mbanda points out that the pre-genocide Church was silent, that is published the government’s agenda in its journal, that favoritism blinded it, and that prestigious positions manipulated its leaders:

By 1961, the Catholic Church was profoundly connected with the Hutu-dominated republics; Kayibanda’s proclamation of the ‘Country of the Battutu’ received wide support from the Church, which knew that the government’s aim was to promote Hutu solidarity against what it called ‘Tutsi feudalism’. The identity card introduced by the colonial rule was retained and the Church said nothing about it. The newly formed government managed to use the Church for furthering much of what had been started and propagated through Kinyamateka, the White Fathers’ journal. Favouritism and the prestigious position of both the Church and its leaders served to blind the Church. As the Burundi people’s saying goes, ‘Na Umugabo uvugana irya mukanwa’, meaning ‘No man talks with food in his mouth.’ The favours and prestigious positions were used to manipulate the church leaders, who, for fear of losing these, could not address real issues. (65-66)

Is any of this different today? The evidence says no:

Rucyahana_Parliament_Nov_13

Mbanda shows that the Rwandan government imprisoned or disappeared those who stood against it:

In 1973, the Protestant Church was still unprepared to participate in the conflict or take a pastoral role. The missionaries had left by then, and Protestant church leaders were not courageous enough to stand up and speak against the evils of the Rwandan leadership and Hutu extremists’ acts. Nothing had been done to address the Church’s political involvement against the Tutsis in 1959-61, much less the public acts. This would not be the time either. Instead, Tutsi priests suspected by the government (or anyone else who wanted them to be killed) of having contacts with outside Rwandans were imprisoned. Others disappeared. (Page 67)

It is hard to read this and not be struck with the paradox that Mbanda himself is now silent when the Rwandan government of Paul Kagame imprisons, tortures and disappears Rwandans. You can read examples of this here, here, and here.

Mbanda correctly says that clergy serving in the ruling party of Habyarimana signaled to a watching public that the Church agreed with the government.

The seating of the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Rwanda on the Central Committee of the ruling party of ex-President Habyarimana’s government was like putting a stamp of approval on the politics and policies of a government that discriminated against its own people. The Archbishop’s position and relationship to the government identified the Church with the position of the government on the social and political issues regarding the Tutsi population. […] In later years the goal for many Christian church leaders, as they competed for relationships with Rwandan authorities, became clear. Each not only desire to be a close friend of the president, about which they bragged, but also sought to become a powerful voice of whatever church they were leading. (Page 68-69)

How is this different from bishops such as Rucyahana, Kolini, and Gasatura serving on government bodies? How is it different from Kolini and Rucyahana hosting meetings for the CNDP/M23? How is it different from Pastor Antoine Rutayisire laughing it up with Kagame at annual prayer breakfasts in Kigali? How is it different from the Archbishop penning a letter to the United Nations attacking the Group of Experts on the DRC in line with the government’s position? How is it different from Bishop Mbanda calling Paul Kagame’s leadership “visionary?” The answer is, it is not different. Mbanda is now part of something he condemned in this book.

In-the-Middle-is-The-Rt--Rev--Dr--Laurent-Mbanda-explains-to-the-Archbishop-of-Cantebury-and-the-Archbishop-of-Rwanda-Onesphore-Rwaje-about-different-projects-in-the-diocese-_Photo-by-Eugene-Mutara-Rugamb

Archbishop Rwaje, Bishop Mbanda, Archbishop Justin Welby

Mbanda discusses how the government influenced who was picked to lead the churches prior to the genocide:

Among the Protestant bishops, Episcopal Archbishop Nshamihigo and Bishop Sebununguri (even though some say that he had fallen out of grace with Habyarimana) were very close confidants of the president. […] Many sources have indicated that most church leaders had been bought off by the government officials through favours. The government’s patronage of top church leaders had strings attached to it, and church leadership selection was one among many. Within the Rwandan Christian Church, among Protestants as well as Catholics, tensions always arose when there was an election or selection of church leaders. Scandalous situations and acts were observed more in the Episcopal Church of Rwanda. The selection of the very first bishop was a more political than spiritual matter. After dealings that were characterized by corruption and deceitful acts, the church ended up selecting a bishop based on ethnic criteria to satisfy the government’s unwritten policy; the president of the country had to give his approval to the selection. Where ethnic distinction was not an issue for the top government authority, geographical origin could play a key factor, especially in the lay leadership of the Habyarimana regime. (Page 70)

I could also remember hearing stories of the Episcopal Church fights involving the late Bishop Ndandali, Bishop Sebununguri and Archbishop Nshamihigo. There were serious fights were weapons were carried into meetings and special bodyguards hired on suspicion of life-threatening plans. (Page 82)

He shows how the Church gave up its prophetic role to be involved in national politics:

It is no secret that the church leaders in Rwanda responded to two basic and related situations: the possible advantages of having extremely close ties to the colonial interests, and the pursuit of such ties with the first and the second Rwandan governments (the Kayibanda and Habyiramana regimes); these caused church leaders to compromise their prophetic and pastoral roles in exchange for being power-brokers of national politics. (Page 72)

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Mbanda’s and his Predecessor, Bishop John Rucyahana

He shows that when some in the Catholic Church did speak out in 1990, it was a good thing, but far too late:

When the Catholic priests formally spoke out on ethnically sensitive issues in March 1990, it signalled a change in the thinking of the Catholic church leadership. The voices involved may not have been high enough in the hierarchy to be heard immediately as in past political involvements (such as those from 1916 to the 1960s), but they definitely provided a significant, if belated, warning. These priests spoke against the ethnic quotas in education and in civil service that limited Tutsi participation. Whether this was God’s Spirit at work or the result of an intellectual analysis of the political situation (or both), I can’t judge. Still, the warning should have been voiced at least some 30 years before. (Page 73)

The fact today is that Tutsis run every level of government, and are often “twinned” with Hutus who serve as puppets for a Tutsi boss behind the scenes. The United States government knows this, as this leaked State Department cable shows. So why isn’t the Anglican Church speaking out against the ethnic discrimination going on in Rwanda today?

Mbanda shows how the dictator Habyarimana eliminated his opponents, which is exactly what happens with Paul Kagame’s opponents today:

(Habyarimana) had political enemies both inside and outside the country and was basically ruling through a gun in his opponents’ backs and ‘suspicious’ car accidents. The whereabouts of his identified enemies was top secret; human rights abuse had become a way of life, and his own conscience bothered him. (Page 74)

Kagame in fact boasted about an assassination at a prayer breakfast in 2014, with Mbanda in attendance. The Anglican Church was silent about Kagame’s boasting.

Figure x. Bishop Mbanda (rear) at the recent appalling prayer breakfast

Bishop Mbanda (rear) at the appalling 2014 prayer breakfast

Mbanda returns again and again to the silence of the Church:

In Rwanda, certain denominational leaders were close friends and strong supporters of the Habyarimana regime. Among them were all the bishops of the Episcopal Church of Rwanda (except one non-diocesan titular bishop formerly in Kigeme, a Tutsi and survivor of the genocide), […] Some of the church leaders’ reputations became widely blurred as they appeared in political scenes, advancing political agendas, leading political party demonstrations, and making inappropriate political declarations in public support of the corrupt regime – including the justification of both genocide and the mass killing of Hutu moderates. The Anglican leader Augustin Nshamihigo, the former Presbyterian head, and the Catholic Church’s Archbishop Nsengiyumva acted like competitors. The silence and role of the top church officials during the 1994 massacres made them accomplices in the genocide. (Page 75-76)

And yet today, John Rucyahana was a government puppet in the Rose Kabuye matter, Emmanuel Kolini relayed Kagame’s orders to America to cancel a speaking engagement of Paul Rusesabagina.

Mbanda says that Western partners of Rwanda from before the genocide were confused and did not know what to believe about Rwanda:

Some Christians around the world were disappointed in the Rwandan church leadership, while others were morally and financially behind them. From my discussions with executives of Western-based Christian non-government organizations and mission agencies, I have come to learn that many were confused and did not know what to believe about the Rwandan situation. So they continued working relationships with church other indigenous Christian organizations in the country, based on the relationships and trust developed over the years prior to the 1990 war situation. (Page 76)

This is identical to today’s situation, with the additional factor that many Westerners aligned with Rwanda are so ignorant that they do not even realize there is a problem.

He relates stories of Evangelical Christians who participated in the genocide or later interahamwe killing:

Honest Christians, godly people, the ‘saved’ (in the Kinyarwanda language, ‘Abarokore’) were holding evening and weekend meetings characterized by groups engaging in prayer, fasting, confessions of sins, predictions of what might come, rich Bible studies, willingness to entertain deep thoughts, singing heavenly songs and concern for one another. Both Hutus and Tutsis participated with no fear of each other, even though there was an atmosphere of suspicion in the country. The meetings developed into large public gatherings where political issues were addressed, and the involvement of church leaders in the political scenes was condemned. There was a call to pray, to love each other and to pursue peace and unity. Christian survivors of the genocide who participated in these evangelical meetings tell stories of church members and testifying Christians who, having attended the same meetings, were later seen in the uniforms and activities of Interahamwe (militia). During the killings, many were also seen at roadblocks with machetes. It is hard to believe, but reported by trustworthy individuals. (Page 77)

Mbanda says that most Christians behaved no differently from the average Rwandan:

The behaviour of most church members, including their leaders, was outwardly no different from the non-Christians’ conduct and therefore lacked the Christian testimony that would have made a significant difference. (Page 112)

Mbanda discusses how returnees from the Tutsi exile took over leadership of many denominations in Rwanda. This was true of the Anglican Church, which has turned heavily to those born outside the country to run it in the years after the genocide:

To the surprise of many people in Rwanda, including some Christians, church services resumed immediately following the RPF’s takeover of the country, certain churches being packed to their maximum capacity. Initially, most people found in the capital city of Rwanda were new faces to Kigali. Faces in most churches were also new, then, with few old church members, and among new faces in the churches were old Rwandan refugees. In some churches, the initial church service organizers were from among the returnees who targeted the denominations they were connected with in countries of exile. The new organizers were either elders and ordained pastors in refugee resettlements where they lived, or church pastors in the national churches of their countries of asylum Returning into the homeland, some had actually been eyeing the takeover of local church leadership situations as they thought that most of the former leaders would not want to return to Rwanda due to accusations of involvement in the genocide and compliance with the whole killing situation. (Page 112)

He ominously refers to innocent Hutus who fled the country, believing that RPF forces would take revenge on them when they took over. Mbanda implies that this was not the case:

As churches resumed their responsibility (in most cases with new service and church activity organizers) the newly established government did not waste time in calling upon recent refugees to return home and participate in the rebuilding of the country. The call to return went hand in hand with an assurance of bringing justice to the murderers and planners of the genocide. Those with no direct involvement in the slaughter had nothing to fear and therefore no reason to live in exile, but were being called home. The government knew that there were many innocent people who followed the killers into exile believing that the RPF would exact revenge for murdered Tutsis immediately after it reclaimed the country. (Page 113)

However, this did happen, as documents like the Gersony Report show. The Report said in part:

Local residents, including entire families, were called to community meetings, invited to receive information about “peace,” “security” or “food distribution” issues. Once a crowd had assembled, it was assaulted through sudden sustained gunfire; or locked in buildings into which hand-grenades were thrown; systematically killed with manual instruments; or killed in large numbers by other means. Large-scale killings which did not involve such “meetings” were also reported. House-to-house killings, and attacks on villages and displaced populations.

I have no evidence that Bishop Mbanda has ever spoken about these killings.

Mbanda describes the chaos of the post-genocide environment, where funds were diverted and mis-spent:

Relief and rehabilitation funds have been diverted to hire youth fighters from marketplaces to come and drag pastors from church pulpits, disrupting services and even beating individuals who resist. These thugs have pulled a bishop out of his chair, have cleared sanctuaries filled with worshipers and have overturned tables with communion elements. Pick-up trucks purchased from Christian organizations with church-donated funds have been seen transporting these young fighters to wherever a certain ‘self-imposed’ bishop was to be. (Page 129-130)

Mbanda calls on church leaders to monitor the Church-State relationship, so he should thank me for this blog! See below:

The Hebraic model of theocracy, which would link spiritual leaders with political power, failed to become reality in Rwanda, but made a significant impact on the political leadership. Church leaders in Africa, and elsewhere, have to be careful to avoid combining religious and political functions. Church and mission leaders must watch the relationship between church and state, as these can be dangerous for the Church. In Rwanda they have demonstrated patterns of manipulation within the Church, and the abuse of governmental relationships by the Church. (Page 138)

Mbanda’s summary of the pre-1994 Church rings just as true today when related to massive human rights abuses in Rwanda and the DRC:

The Rwandan church failed to challenge social injustices. It is sin to allow social injustice anywhere, especially in the Church; and yet there are places where Christian missions and churches have actually sought to justify the drawing of lines according to their view of the human race. The Rwandan genocide is a typical example of what can happen when we draw lines and view others as less than people made in God’s image. (Page 139)

To summarize, the Bishop’s book is disappointing. The very things he castigates the old Church for doing, he is now involved in himself. The players have changed, but the song is the same.

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  1. These posts: one, two, three, four and five

  2. Mbanda’s take on the colonial past meshes with the RPF “victor’s narrative.” Jennifer Melvin describes this narrative in her article, “Correcting history: Mandatory education in Rwanda.” She says: “In its most general form, this remit seeks to create a single set of conclusions about Rwanda’s past, present, and future. his interpretation is informed by a singular narrative of Rwandan history referred to in this article as the ‘victor’s narrative’. The term ‘victor’ refers to the RPF’s role in creating and disseminating this particular version of events. Like the term ‘victor’s justice’ used by authors including Tiemessen (2004), Sarkin (2001), and Waldorf (2010) to describe RPF impunity at gacaca, the ‘victor’s narrative’ denies RPF involvement in human rights abuses and violations in Rwanda and DRC. These allegations include: limiting the freedom of speech, press, and association; silencing journalists and political opponents through politically motivated accusations of ‘divisionism’ and ‘genocide ideology’; and contributing to conlict in DRC, such as the M23 rebellion. The ‘victor’s narrative’ emphasises pre-colonial unity, the detriments of ethnic identities, and the beneits of RPF-led programming. In the context of education camps and school classrooms, this narrative functions to limit critical analysis, bolster political support, and denounce criticism of the RPF regime.” 

A Selected Bibliography on Rwanda

This is part of a work in progress and I will expand it later.

A Selected Bibliography on Rwanda and the Anglican Church of Rwanda

Begley, Larissa. “The other side of fieldwork: experiences and challenges of conducting research in the border area of Rwanda/eastern Congo.” Anthropology Matters [Online], 11.2 (2009): n. pag. Web. 9 Feb. 2015

Cantrell, Phillip. “The Anglican Church of Rwanda: Domestic Agendas and International Linkages.” Journal of Modern African Studies 45.3 (2007): 333-354.

Cantrell, Phillip. “We Were a Chosen People”: The East African Revival and Its Return To Post-Genocide Rwanda. Church History, 83, pp 422-445, (2014).

Cooke, Jennifer G. “Rwanda: Assessing Risks to Stability: A Report of the CSIS Africa Program.” Washington, DC: Center for Strategic and International Studies, 2011. Print.

Gersony, Michael. United Nations. UNHCR Emergency Repatriation Team. “Summary of UNHCR Presentation Before Commission of Experts.” New York: 1994. Print.

Ghai, Yash. “Rwanda’s Application for Membership in the Commonwealth – Report and Recommendations of CHRI.” Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative, 2009.

Khan, Shaharyar. United Nations. “Gersoni “Report” Rwanda.” New York, 1994. Print.

Lemarchand, René. “Power and stratification in Rwanda: a reconsideration.” Cahiers d’Etudes africaines 6.24 (1966): 592-610.

Lemarchand, René. “The politics of memory in post-genocide Rwanda.” After genocide: transitional justice, post-conflict reconstruction and reconciliation in Rwanda and beyond (2008): 65-75.

Longman, Timothy. Christianity and genocide in Rwanda. Vol. 112. Cambridge University Press, 2009.

Melvin, Jennifer. “Beyond the veneer of reconciliation: human rights and democracy in Rwanda.” Opinion: Commonwealth Advisory Bureau (2012).

Newbury, David. “Irredentist Rwanda: ethnic and territorial frontiers in Central Africa.” Africa Today (1997): 211-221.

Olsen, Ted. “Bowing to Kigali.” Christianity Today. Christianity Today, 05 2007. Web. 11 Nov 2012. <http://www.ctlibrary.com/ct/2007/november/18.20.html>.

Pottier, Johan. “Re-imagining Rwanda: Conflict, survival and disinformation in the late twentieth century.” Vol. 102. Cambridge University Press, 2002.

Purdeková, Andrea. “‘Even if I am not here, there are so many eyes’: surveillance and state reach in Rwanda.” The Journal of Modern African Studies 49.03 (2011): 475-497.

Purdekova, Andrea. “Rendering Rwanda Governable: Order, Containment and Cleansing in the Rationality of Post-Genocide Rule.” L’Afrique des Grands Lacs: Annuaire, 2012-2013, Paris: L’Harmattan, 2013.

Purdekova, Andrea. “Rwanda’s Ingando Camps.” Working paper no. 80. Oxford: Oxford Department of International Development, 2011. Print.

Reyntjens, Filip. Political Governance in Post-genocide Rwanda. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2013. Print.

Reyntjens, Filip. “The Great African War: Congo and Regional Geopolitics, 1996-2006.” New York: Cambridge University Press, 2009. eBook.

Reyntjens, Filip. “Constructing The Truth, Dealing With Dissent, Domesticating The World: Governance In Post- Genocide Rwanda.” African Affairs. (2010): 1-34. Print. African Affairs. (2010): 1-34. Print.

Rwanda: Shrouded in Secrecy: Illegal Detention and Torture by Military Intelligence. Rep. no. AFR 47/004/2012. Amnesty International, 8 Oct. 2012. Web. 09 Feb. 2015.

Smith, Stephen W. “Rwanda in Six Scenes.” London Review of Books 33.6 (2011): 3-8. 11 Nov. 2012 <http://www.lrb.co.uk/v33/n06/stephen-w-smith/rwanda-in-six-scenes>.

Stanley, Brian. “East African Revival: African Initiative within a European Tradition.” Churchman 92 (1978), 6-22.

Stearns, Jason. “Examining the Role of Rwanda in the DRC Insurgency.” House Committee on Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, and Human Rights Testimony, 112th Cong., 24-34 (2012) (testimony of Jason K. Stearns). Print.

Stearns, Jason. “From CNDP to M23 Kivu: The Evolution of an Armed Movement in Eastern Congo.” London: Rift Valley Institute, 2012. Print.

Thomson, Susan. Whispering Truth to Power: Everyday Resistance to Reconciliation in Postgenocide Rwanda. Madison: U of Wisconsin, 2013. Print.

United Nations. Security Council. “Addendum to the Interim Report of the Group of Experts on the Democratic Republic of the Congo (S/2012/348) concerning Violations of the Arms Embargo and Sanctions Regime by the Government of Rwanda.” By Agshin Mehdiyev. New York: United Nations, 2012. Print.

Van Hoyweghen, Saskia. “The Disintegration of the Catholic Church of Rwanda: A Study of the Fragmentation of Political and Religious Authority.” African Affairs. (1996) Vol. 95, No. 380, pp. 379-401.

Zorbas, Eugenia. 2004. “Reconciliation in post-genocide Rwanda”, African Journal of Legal Studies 1, 1: 30–52.

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A Prophetic Voice in Africa

Last week, the Church in Africa stood up boldly and did the right thing in a couple different places. I have focused a lot on the failure of the Church in Rwanda to do the right thing, so it is helpful to see what it looks like when in another part of Africa, the Church gets it right.

The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)

Protests erupted last week as the quasi Dictator of the DRC, Joseph Kabila, made moves towards allowing himself to run for President again. Protesters were shot and killed in Kinshasa. Aaron Ross reported that:

As anti-government demonstrations in the capital Kinshasa entered their third day, the leader of Congo’s Catholics, Cardinal Laurent Mosengwo Pasinya, strongly criticised any attempt to postpone a presidential election due next year.

Cardinal Pasinya continued:

“We disapprove of and condemn any revision of the electoral law that aims to … illegally postpone the holding of the elections in 2016,” Mosengwo Pasinya said, adding that some politicians and the security services were stoking the violence.

“We condemn these actions that have caused deaths and make an urgent appeal: Stop killing your people; don’t march on the ashes of your compatriots,” his statement said.

Cardinal Pasinya

 

Uganda

Meanwhile in Uganda, Dictator Yoweri Museveni insulted opposition politicians, calling them “wolves waiting to tear Uganda apart.”

A Catholic parish priest from Kitanga parish named Fr Gaetano Batanyenda:

…has demanded that President Museveni makes a public apology for referring to Opposition politicians as wolves.
Fr Batanyenda…said such remarks were against the Constitution that recognises multiparty politics.

This is the kind of healthy warning that follows Biblical norms and the great tradition of saints such as Ambrose. Let’s hope we see more of this in Africa and in our own nation.

 

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ACNA Task Force on Holy Orders Update – January 2015

The Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) recently issued a Communiqué from the College of Bishops, which among other things provided some news about the Task Force on Holy Orders:

The Holy Orders Task Force currently is working on Phase Three of its stated procedure. In this phase, the task force is focusing on the manner in which ecclesiology relates to ordination and holy orders. In 2014, the Task Force met on March 20-21 (Ft. Worth, TX), May 14-15 (Bedford, TX), September 25-26 (Pittsburgh, PA), and November 20-21 (Bedford, TX). With the help of several outside scholars, the task force has developed working documents to assist with its task.

As was the case with the previous phase, the task force found it helpful to identify and summarize what the formularies say about the particular issues related to this phase of work. This represents the commonly accepted foundation, which forms the basis for discussion. The task force also has been working to identify those perspectives on ordination which lead to divergent understandings within our tradition about the nature of ordination and holy orders. This includes, but is not limited to, women’s ordination. By examining the premises upon which varying perspectives are based, the bishops will be in a better position to discuss a way forward in resolving the concerns about how holy orders are understood and function in the life of the Province.

As a reminder, the Task Force said in the past:

The Task Force continues its work, following the Method of Procedure approved by the College of Bishops in January 2013. The study is being conducted in five phases, recognizing that a person’s underlying commitments to hermeneutical methods and a particular understanding of ecclesiology contribute to his or her eventual conclusions about who are appropriate candidates for ordination. The Council and Assembly are reminded of the Method of Procedure, as follows:

Phase 1: Organization of the Task Force

Phase 2: Hermeneutical Principles

Phase 3: Ecclesiological Principles

Phase 4: Arguments for and against the Ordination of Women.

Phase 5: Final Report to the College of Bishops

The first two phases have been completed, and a report on Hermeneutical Principles has been released to the church. The Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans (FCA) has been kept abreast of our work through communication with members of the FCA Theological Resource group, and we have welcomed their comment. The Phase Two report has been submitted to our ecumenical partners, and we anticipate that responses will be forthcoming from them.

The Task Force presently is working on Phase Three, which concerns the ecclesiological principles drawn from the formularies of the Province. We are exploring the nature of ordained ministry and the manner in which the ordained ministry relates to the rest of the Body of Christ. We are aiming to submit the Phase Three report to the College of Bishops by January 2015.

We remind the Council and Assembly that the Task Force is serving in an advisory capacity to the College of Bishops. It is not the purpose of the Task Force to find “the solution” to the ordination issues within the ACNA. The Task Force will provide the necessary scholarly work and advice needed for the College to make informed decisions about how the jurisdictions within the ACNA can move forward in their life together. Please continue to keep the Task Force in your prayers.

Given the minimal glimpses we have inside this process, we can discern that the Task Force has not yet entered Phase 4, where it discusses the central issue, the ordination of women. I expect we are two to three years from any “final” word, meaning that GAFCON / FCA has weighed in on whatever ACNA comes up with. ACNA seems to be frightened of what that outcome could be, and so it is working feverishly to build unity ahead of whatever ruling comes out, so that no one walks away when the ruling / decision / report is finally issued. The message is, “let’s stay together even if we disagree.”

Past posts on this subject:

ACNA’s Task Force on Holy Orders

ACNA: Theological Task Force on Holy Orders Will Not Find the Solution

Bishop Hicks’ interview covering the Task Force:

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A Reduced Anglican Presence at Rwanda’s 2015 National Prayer Breakfast (or not)

One year ago, Rwandan dictator and atheist Paul Kagame attended the annual National Prayer Breakfast in Kigali, where he gloated in his assassination of former friend Patrick Karegeya. Karegeya had been murdered just a couple weeks prior to the prayer breakfast, and Kagame was riding high on his death. He shared a table with Anglican Archbishop Rwaje, and other Anglicans were in attendance.

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Archbishop Rwaje and Kagame in 2014.

I spoke up about this at the time (see this post) and many news outlets around the world took notice since Kagame was boasting about murder to the applause of clergy. Characteristically, PEARUSA, the American branch of the Rwandan Anglican Church, was silent about its Anglican Archbishop staying mute in the face of a modern Idi Amin.

never silent

This book has no meaning in PEARUSA.

Three days ago, Kagame returned to the Prayer Breakfast and as far as we know, he did not boast about killing.

The Anglican presence at this year’s event was far less than at last year’s event, although Anglicans were not absent, as you will see. Why is this? Is it because:

  1. PEAR in Rwanda was stung by the criticism last year?
  2. They were not invited this year?
  3. PEARUSA was embarrassed at last year’s event, and expressed this to their Rwandan oversight?
  4. Rwandan Anglicans are silently protesting Kagame? This is highly unlikely but I add it here as a possibility.
  5. Something else?

If you have insight into the reasons for Rwaje’s absence, let me know.

UPDATE: No sooner did I click publish, then I looked closer at another picture (below) and saw Archbishop Rwaje, near the right of the picture:

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Rwaje at the right.

 

So it seems that Anglican learned nothing from last year’s debacle.

This year, Archbishop Rwaje was replaced by Bishop Enoch Dusingizimana of the Community of Christian Churches in Africa (C.C.C.A). There was still an Anglican at the dictator’s table however, none other than the notorious Antoine Rutayisire.

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Bishop Enoch Dusingizimana with Kagame and Rutayisire.

Antoine Rutayisire – Kagame’s Anglican

Pastor Rutayisire has been a shill for Kagame for many years, defending him at every turn, in contradiction to all Christian theology. The Bible says, “It is an abomination to kings to do evil,” (Proverbs 16:12) and yet Christians stand inert before Kagame, dumb and deaf, saying nothing of his wickedness.

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Rutayisire at the 2015 Prayer Breakfast.

Rutayisire has made outlandish statements in favor of this modern day Pharaoh. In the past, he said of Kagame:

“He is not authoritarian to the level I would wish. When you’re ruling a country that’s coming out of chaos … you don’t go for democracy, you go for autocracy.”

This year, he moved from saying that Rwanda is an autocracy to saying it is a theocracy! According to Jean Paul Ibambe on Twitter, Rutayisire said Rwanda is a theocracy, “which is better than democracy [which is] full of noise.” If Rwanda is a theocracy, is Rutayisire implying that Kagame is God’s anointed? What does this say to those whom he has tortured and murdered?

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Is Rutayisire a renegade Anglican, outside the normal circles of the Church? Far from it. Here are some pictures of him just recently with Archbishop Rwaje and Bishop Muvunyi, and again, teaching in Musanze to Bishop Mbanda’s clergy:

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Bishop Muvunyi, Pastor Rutayisire, Archbishop Rwaje

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Rutayisire teaching Anglicans in Musanze

What does it say of the Anglican Church of Rwanda that a man at its heart is attached at the hip to a dictator? It is consistent with the actions of Rucyahana, Kolini, Rwaje, Mbanda, Gasatura, Ahimana and others. It is the action of a compromised man within a compromised church, embracing a dictator instead of rebuking him.

Not only does Rutayisire have an audience in Rwanda, he has one in the United States. Last summer, he spoke at Washington D.C Anglican parishes The Church of the Resurrection and the Church of the Advent. He is the President of the As We Forgive Rwanda Initiative, where he shares leadership with many Americans. This is shameful.

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Rutayisire with the First Lady.

In the excerpts of Kagame’s speech available to us this year, he refers to Rutayisire, and says:

Even though I said that I am not a pastor like Rutayisire, I actually love many teachings from the Bible. The teachings of life. History; how it happened, its consequences, its goodness, we find it all in the Bible.

If Kagame is reading his Bible, that is a good thing. He can perhaps open to Psalm 52, and read:

Why do you boast of evil, O mighty man?
The steadfast love of God endures all the day.
Your tongue plots destruction,
like a sharp razor, you worker of deceit.
You love evil more than good,
and lying more than speaking what is right. Selah
You love all words that devour,
O deceitful tongue.
But God will break you down forever;
he will snatch and tear you from your tent;
he will uproot you from the land of the living. Selah
The righteous shall see and fear,
and shall laugh at him, saying,
“See the man who would not make
God his refuge,
but trusted in the abundance of his riches
and sought refuge in his own destruction!”

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St. Joseph’s Dream by Daniel Mitsui

dream_bristol

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Bishop Rucyahana, friend of Bishop Lawrence and Paul Kagame

Top Posts of 2014

I didn’t write as much as I would have liked to this year. I was distracted in the last quarter of the year by moving and other issues. The relationship of American Anglicanism with state-aligned African churches remained at the forefront of my concerns this past year, and it shows in my top ten most viewed posts. The dearth of good reporting on internal ACNA matters, and on the failure of Anglicans to speak against evil in Africa have resulted in lots of viewers for this blog. My most viewed posts were:

1. ACNA: Who Will be the next Archbishop?

2. Who is Archbishop-Elect Foley Beach?

3. Rick Warren, Antoine Rutayisire and Paul Kagame

4. Breedlove Reemphasizes that PEARUSA is deeply joined to Rwanda

5. The Structure and Function of PEARUSA

6. Atrocities in Rwanda, 2014

7. D.C. Church Hosts Dictator’s Associate Antoine Rutayisire

8. John Lennon on Led Zeppelin

9. What does Archbishop Beach’s Election Mean for ACNA?

10. Is Rwanda Meddling in Burundi?

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ql ord 3

Rucyahana Joins the Inquisition

The BBC did the world a service earlier this year when it produced the documentary called Rwanda’s Untold Story. Nothing in the documentary is new, it has all been said before, but in print, and sometimes in academic publications or other out of the way places that most nice Western Christians don’t read. For many people, until they watch something on a screen, it isn’t real (see the Ray Rice situation in the NFL).

A measure of how this documentary struck home is the paranoia with which Rwandan dictator Paul Kagame has been trying to eliminate it. In his own country, someone who produced something like this would disappear, be tortured, killed or never heard from again. But Kagame does not control the entire world, as much as he would like to, so he stirs up all kinds of nonsense, equating history and truth telling with genocide denial. Merely labeling something as denying the genocide is enough to silence it for many Westerners who don’t invest time in researching Rwanda.

In Rwanda, discussion is not allowed. Free speech does not exist. Debate cannot happen. The one party state rules all, and exerts its control down to the lowest level. So it should be no surprise that this week, retired Bishop John Rucyahana showed up as part of the dog and pony show Kagame has put together to condemn the BBC documentary. According to reports on Twitter, Rucyahana “testified” to the Inquisition Inquiry Committee that the documentary “poisons the minds of the people” and all kinds of other bad things.

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Why Rucyahana has any expertise on this subject is not apparent. As I have shown repeatedly on this blog, he is a stooge for the regime, a man who says “how high?” whenever Kagame says “jump.” He has no credibility and should be publicly disowned by American bishops and clergy, but instead, they embrace this man. He is a Micaiah to Kagame’s Ahab, if you know what I mean.

Figure 4. Bishops Rucyahana and Barnum

Bishops Rucyahana and Barnum

Figure 5. Bishop Lawrence and Rucyahana

Bishop Lawrence and Rucyahana

While Rucyahana’s support starts with PEARUSA, it by no means ends there. He sits on charities and boards all over the place. Take the Shyira Trust for example, it is a UK charity that works with the Shyira Diocese in Rwanda to fund various development projects. In February, members of the Trust from the U.K. met with Rucyahana — long after the United Nations conclusively showed his support in fundraising and recruiting for M23. You can see their meeting below.

Shyira Trust members with their friend, Rucyahana

Shyira Trust members with their friend, Rucyahana

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I contacted the Trust in March, after this meeting with the “amazing man.” The responses I received are typical of the shallow thinking, lack of reason, and lack of theological wisdom that are hallmarks of western interaction with Rwandans. I wrote:

Hello,
Are you aware of Bishop Rucyahana’s support for M23? In light of that, are you comfortable continuing to work with him?

The answer I received was:




Thank you for your question Joel. We have been working with Bishop John for 14 years now, and have come to respect him as a former diocesan bishop and as a Brother in Christ. Whatever the truth of your statement we see no reason to break our friendship with him – it would not achieve anything.

See what they did there? Who cares what he did? It won’t stop us from being friends. I responded:

Well, Romans 1 says that we should not “approve of those who practice them”, and the group he raised funds for practiced child kidnapping, rape, torture and other atrocities. I think this would reflect poorly on the Trust.

To this, I received the standard “do you know this man?” type of reply. Also, the fact that Rucyahana served on NURC, an Orwellian instrument of oppression in Rwanda, counts as a plus to the Trust:

Joel, I wonder if you have ever met Bishop John and got to know him as a man. I worked with him for the benefit of the people of Shyira parish while he was Bishop of Shyira. Since then I have simply known him as a friend, someone I trust and respect and visit when I am in Rwanda. In Rwanda Bishop John has done outstanding work on reconciliation, including being chairman of the reconciliation Commission. For those and other reasons I completely accept his public letter of 24th July 2012.

So because these nice Westerners have met and “know” Rucyahana, whatever he says must be true, evidence be damned. This is the same response I received from Bishop Breedlove of PEARUSA. As we have seen recently with Bill Cosby, our capacity for self deceit in the face of evidence is a massive weakness in our character.

The Charity Commission might want to investigate the Shyira Trust, to see why they have no problem working with a man who helps send boys off to die for M23, raping and slaughtering all the while. A man who now helps smear the BBC for doing journalism, something that is not allowed in Rwanda.

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Surveying the Internet

Here are some writings that have caught my eye recently:

Paul Anthony McGavin says that Pope Francis “…is anything but impartial, this pope. He wanted the synod to orient the Catholic hierarchy toward a new vision of divorce and homosexuality, and he has succeeded, in spite of the scanty number of votes in favor of the change of course, after two weeks of fiery discussion.

In any case, he will be the one who ultimately decides, he reminded the cardinals and bishops who may have had any doubts. In order to refresh their memory on his “supreme, full, immediate, and universal” power, he brought to the field not a handful of refined passages from “Lumen Gentium,” but the rock-solid canons of the code of canon law.”

A forthcoming book on Pope Francis says that contrary to canon law, an active campaign was behind his election to the Papacy:

“They had learnt their lessons from 2005,” Mr Ivereigh explains. “They first secured Bergoglio’s assent. Asked if he was willing, he said that he believed that at this time of crisis for the Church no cardinal could refuse if asked.
“Murphy-O’Connor knowingly warned him to ‘be careful’, and that it was his turn now, and was told ‘capisco’ – ‘I understand’.
“Then they got to work, touring the cardinals’ dinners to promote their man, arguing that his age – 76 – should no longer be considered an obstacle, given that popes could resign. Having understood from 2005 the dynamics of a conclave, they knew that votes travelled to those who made a strong showing out of the gate.”

Charles Simic says of his father: “My father didn’t want us to have a typical father-son relationship, which wouldn’t have been possible in any case. He loved going out to jazz clubs, bars, restaurants—in fact, he took me out to a jazz club my first night in New York. Talking to him was always fun since he had a lot of good stories. Plus, he read everything: history, literature, political studies, Eastern religions, mysticism, philosophy, mysteries, sports pages, and even gossip columns in newspapers. He was one of those people who are always trying to figure out the big ques- tions. The nice thing about him was that he also had an ability to listen. He was interested in what anyone said, so it was easy being with him.”

A logbook has been found from a builder of one of the pyramids:

Over a hundred fragments make up a personal log book recording the daily activities of a team led by the inspector Merer, who was in charge of a team of about 200 men. A timetable written up in two columns records the transportation of fine limestone blocks from quarries at the site of Tura to Giza, where they were used for the outer casing of the pyramid. It took four days, using the Nile and connecting canals, to transport the blocks about 10km to the pyramid construction site, which was called the ‘Horizon of Khufu’. The logbook documents these activities for a period of more than three months.

The designer of Call of Duty is giving national security advice lectures now…Emily Dickinson’s Norway…a summary page of allegations that John Howard Yoder sexually abused women…this is a wonderful summary of one of my favorite movies, Apocalypse Now.

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