The head of the Anglican Mission in America has been threatened with ecclesiastical discipline for contumacy. Unless Bishop Chuck Murphy repents of his disobedience and apologizes for his offensive statements within seven days, the Rwanda House of Bishops will assume that he has “made a de facto choice to withdraw as primatial vicar” of the AMiA.
In letter from the Rwandan House of Bishops to Bishop Murphy dated 30 Nov 2011, the AMiA leader was chastised for disobedience and abuse of office.
This issue is of special interest for me for a simple reason: in my teaching at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, all of the three full-time civil engineering faculty–including the Kenyan department head–are African. They are great people to work for, I could not ask for better. But they like team players; indeed, they expect it, as I implied in They Tell Us What to Do and We Do It. Murphy should have known that when he signed up to be a bishop in the AMiA. He needs to come to terms with them ASAP.
It’s true that the ACNA, birthed out of the efforts of several (mostly) African provinces, has its work cut out for it integrating all of these into one North American whole. Everyone who had any experience with church politics knew this going in. But let’s ask the stupid question: if Chuck Murphy can’t be a team player with those in Rwanda, how can he be one with his colleagues here?
After chronicling the sorry trip to the bottom by TAC Archbishop John Hepworth, it’s tempting to say that there’s something leeching out of the purple shirts of Anglican prelates that’s affecting their style of mind. Unfortunately that’s not the case; “egos inflatable to any size” is a disease that affects many of our Christian leaders, especially the Boomers who currently dominate the scene. The obsession with leadership is something that cuts across churches of all types and doctrinal tastes. But I don’t think that the “take the bull by the horns” style that’s so admired in this country is what Jesus had in mind when he used the shepherd analogy for a leader as opposed to a cattleman.