Through The Looking Glass

The Red Queen shook her head, ‘You may call it “nonsense” if you like,’ she said, ‘ but I’VE heard nonsense, compared with which that would be as sensible as a dictionary!’

Yesterday, an Alice in Wonderland story appeared online alleging all kinds of things about why AMiA split and Chuck Murphy eventually fled church discipline. Amongst many other charges in the Pravda-worthy article is one from Retired Archbishop Kolini, who “noted that Bishop Alexis Bilindabagabo of Gahini Diocese took money from Trinity Wall Street.”

When contacted in Rwanda where he is preparing for an international conference with the Conseil Protestant du Rwanda (CPR), Bishop Bilindabagabo said, “I did not ask for and I did not get any money from TEC since 2004, the year our Province decided to stop receiving money from TEC. This includes even money for the then ongoing projects. In 2004 we as a diocese and I as a person stopped any kind of contact with TEC and of course Trinity.”

One wonders if this latest article in any way alters the perception of those who drafted the Winter Conference Communique, when they wrote: “We are thankful that our leaders have committed to healthy internal communication and support their decision not to respond to negative characterizations in the media.”

Curiouser and curiouser…

16 thoughts on “Through The Looking Glass”

  1. When I read the article in question, I was tempted to write a very nasty rebuttal but was able, by the grace of God, to resist repaying evi with evil. If ever there were a time for turning the other cheek, it is now. The readership of the website on which this smear job appeared is not what it used to be. Best not to give it any unnecessary publicity.

  2. Joel “Martin” – why don’t you just leave it alone? Is not the mission that you are called to more important than this? Why are you filled with such hate for these folks? They are walking their own way and you should walk your own way. Can we not agree that we are not on the same path together and leave it at that?

    Do you want to see reconciliation happen between all parties?

    If yes – do you think your blog posts are helping that?

    If no – why?

      1. How so James? I don’t have a blog that I post stuff that are non-Christlike towards my brothers in Christ. I am just asking Joel to consider how his posts are helping towards reconciliation. I had read that the meeting in Raleigh was about reconciliation – I am trying to understand how this helps from that side.

        This would be the same if I had a blog – I don’t. I just comment. Not the same.

        And I am focused on my mission. But I have talked to family members of people that has been mentioned on this blog. They are being hurt by the things said about their family.

        I wonder if I was part of Apostles Network if I would be given some credibility?

  3. Drew,

    Have you read the article in question? Does it exhibit in any way, shape, or form a desire for reconciliation, or is it not a malicious attempt to smear a reporter, a bishop, and the PEAR and those who have remained connected with it? Joel’s post does not even delve into the sordid details of the myriad of accusations leveled in the article. His only concern, which I share, is the accusation directed toward Bishop Alexis, a personal friend of mine who shepherded me through some difficult times a few years ago. This is not the first time the website in question has leveled false accusations against him. In fact, the present article is mild in comparison to the vicious smear previously published. Setting the record straight, giving Bishop Alexis the opportunity to respond to the accusation (something any responsible journalist would do if his aim was to be objective) is very much in keeping with the spirit of transparency and reconciliation which was strongly emphasized at the recent gathering in Raleigh. I have no argument with those who wish to pursue another path. However, if they do wish to carry on their work under other auspices, legitimately Anglican or not, let them do so without slinging darts on their way out the door.

    1. James – Yes, I did read the article. I don’t think the tone is much different than anything I have read on the various blogs saying things that have been much worse.

      One thing I would like to point out is that it was the Raleigh group who has loudly proclaimed how healing happened in that assembly and how reconciliation happened. I have read glowing report after glowing report about how no one blamed Murphy and there were no finger pointing. I have read report after report about how people were moving forward and were ready for reconciliation to happen.

      It was the Raleigh assembly that made these pronouncements and have been the loudest about it.

      I applaud those steps. But those steps, to me would mean that people connected to that assembly would let this all rest in the media and a blog, rather right or wrong is media. Healing means we are no longer holding on to those things and moving on. Rehashing is not moving on.

      I am so sorry that you have been hurt by the things that have been said about Bishop Alexis. I apologize that it is causing you pain and suffering. I can sympathize with you however because such things and inferences have been levied towards people within theAM. Just as you have to read those things about Bishop Alexis, imagine Chuck Murphy’s daughters reading all the blogs out there that are calling him a leadership hungry, deceitful, and untrustworthy man. Bishop Alexis is your friend and has helped you in many ways. Chuck’s own daughters are having to read this about their father.

      2 wrongs don’t make a right. Virtue’s article is one of only a couple that have appeared on the site compared to the number of ones appearing everwhere else.

      My appeal to Joel is/was – if reconciliation is really happening, and healing is really taking place – perhaps it is not the best/greatest idea to keep rehashing things.

      1. Actually, Drew, I know one of +Chuck’s daughters and I can only imagine what their whole family is going through. But that is not the issue presently. As I noted before, Joel gave the article in question just about all the attention it deserved, and in a somewhat whimsical way, IMHO. You will note that he made no mention of the article’s principle target, nor did he link it so as to encourage even more heated discussion. His only concern was a single accusation made by the retired archbishop against an active bishop with whom he is, I assume, personally acquainted (as am I). If the author of the original piece had followed the basic rules of responsible journalism and contacted +Alexis to get his side of the story, Joel’s post would not have been necessary. As one who has a journalistic background, I would find this article problematic even if I agreed with its point of view. Obviously, the author of the article has a dog in this fight. He is perfectly free to express his opinion, but even commentary should be fair. If mention is made of an accusation, the other party ought to be given at least the opportunity to state his case before the accusation is presented as though it were an indisputable fact.

        1. James – I do get where you are coming from. We will just have to agree to disagree. In my not so humble opinion, appropriate journalism doesn’t mean jack in the realm of church matters. If you say that healing took place and reconciliation is happening -then it doesn’t matter if it’s the worst article written, you leave it alone. Unfortunately, I have seen this argument too many times. “We have to present a true and right journalistic piece” – No, really you don’t. Sometimes for the sake of other things, you can let it go. Sometimes we have to get over the need to post a story, comment on a story, share our opinions (mine included) and just move on. I am trying hard to do that. Not doing a good job. I am a sinner in dire need of my Father’s mercy. I pray that you and Joel will show me some.

          I just reread the article. It is not really poking fun at the way the article was written but poking fun at the fact that anyone with that point of view doesn’t have the right one. You say whimsical – I say not helpful. I don’t really see how calling something Pravda-worthy is not harmful and hurtful and Christlike journalism.

          I just ask as you have been hurt personally based on things written by others, and just as folks in Raleigh have made a loud announcement that healing has taken/is taking place and that reconciliation happened – that should/could translate over into the fact that maybe we don’t have to comment on everything that comes out of the other camp.

          Same goes for me. I shouldn’t feel the necessity to comment on every blog. I don’t feel the need or necessity to do it. But I have never stated loudly and publicly that healing has taken place or reconciliation has taken place for me personally. I want it to happen. I want the bitterness to leave. I trust not in my ability to overcome it but in the gospel’s ability to shape me to be more like Jesus.

          Do I make sense at all?

          1. Drew,

            Reconciliation does not mean we cease to care about accountability. In fact, you can’t have one without the other. To abandon concern for accountability is to abandon concern for the souls of the very persons with whom we seek reconciliation. The article in question not an example of “Christlike journalism.” The author needs to be held accountable in this regard, inasmuch as he presumes to hold another journalist accountable. Moreover, the path toward reconciliation between PEAR, AMiA, etc. is an entirely separate issue from this journalist’s tactics. While he clearly takes one side over the other in the dispute, he is not himself a principle player in the dispute.

  4. Forgive me for asking what is perhaps a stupid question, but who has “made a loud announcement that healing has taken/is taking place and that reconciliation happened?” I attended the Raleigh meeting. I witnessed a spirit of humility during the meeting among most participants, and particularly among the leaders–Rwandese and domestic. I also witnessed several key players (e.g. canons, the executive director, one bishop) from the other AMIA group talking in hushed tones on the back row or in the foyer with people who were clearly on the fence regarding which story to believe. I certainly did not witness any healing or reconciliation between those AMIA leaders and the Raleigh leadership.

    1. You’re right, Sam. I know there was a lot of reconciliation and healing amongst the group itself. I, personally, reconciled some relationships that had been frayed during my early days with Apostles Mission Network. There was also a very public reconciliation between +Barnum and ++Duncan and a clear expression of desire for closer cooperation between PEAR and ACNA. As for reconciliation with the breakaway group, it was clearly the wish of the leadership, both Rwandan and American, that we remain cordial and gracious toward them and continue to pray for their restoration (and I don’t see any violation of that here), but that ball is now in their court. And, yes, there were several “observers” from the breakaway group in attendance. I haven’t heard anything about them making any overtures toward reconciliation during or since the assembly.

    2. Sam – I never said that it has happened between the two groups. (If you need reference to healing taking place and reconciliation happening between AMN and Rwanda – I will be glad to send dozens of links that include twitter, blogs, articles, the statement that was put out, facebook posts, etc)

      But one has to suppose that if people are working towards healing and reconciliation with Rwanda – then in a Christlike spirit – I would think that healing and reconciliation would by extension need to be the attitude towards those that left Rwanda. I do not, nor can I believe that you can have healing and reconciliation with Rwanda and then be hateful towards those that left. If you don’t want to reconcile with those that left – that is fine and that is your choice. If you don’t want to have healing in regards to that – it is fine too. I just don’t see how you have a spirit of reconciliation with Rwanda and not be willing to at least move on from theAM folks.

      As far as people from AMiA being in Raleigh, do we really want to go there? At least they were there and you knew who they were. The same can not be said for a group who would send one’s wife there to be a mole and send back reports and when called out left.

      Not that something like that would happen.

  5. Drew,

    I did not know about any broken relationship between Rwanda and AMN. (I presume that by “AMN” you mean the former Apostles Mission Network within the AMiA.) Indeed, I would very much love to see the dozens of links describing their reconciliation as you have offered.

    I also am very interested in hearing more about the group that sent someone’s wife as a mole. What group? Where did they send her? Who called her out? Does her husband know about all this?


    1. Sam,

      There was no broken relationship between AMN and Rwanda. From the beginning of this sad affair, AMN has been the vessel through which PEAR was working to keep U.S. parishes connected with Rwanda.


      Please point out, specifically, what has been said since Raleigh that you consider “hateful” toward those who left Rwanda.

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