There was once a dog that was so ill-natured and mischievous that its master had to fasten a heavy wooden clog about its neck to keep it from annoying visitors and neighbours.
However, the dog seemed to be very proud of the clog and dragged it about noisily as if it wished to attract everybody’s attention.
The dog was not able to impress anyone.
“You would be wiser,” said the dog’s old acquaintance, “to keep quietly out of sight with that clog. Do you want everybody to know what a disgraceful and ill-natured dog you are?”
And news coming from Church of Central Africa Presbyterian (CCAP) Livingstonia Synod, Kanengo congregation, suggests that some ‘people attending worship’ at the said ‘house of worship’ are ignorant of the moral of the above tale that notoriety is not fame.
Elsewhere, the University of Malawi’s The Polytechnic lecturer in engineering Maxwell Chisala, writing on former president Joyce Banda’s executive incompetence, advanced that when the Lord had “sought out a [human being] after His own heart and appointed [them] ruler of [their] people”, surely He did not have in His mind the image of suspended or dismissed ‘Rev’ Chimwemwe Mhango and his flock’s character depicted over the past weeks.
Perhaps the picture the Lord had in mind of the heart of “people attending worship’ is that which oozes with positive attributes: justice, fairness, selflessness, impartiality, incorruptibility, consideration, humility and the ability to see things as they should be.
The Lord, without doubt, created ‘people attending worship’ without an iota of vengeance, self-interest, intolerance and arrogance. That is the standard set out by the Scripture for an acceptable people attending worship’s heart.
But some CCAP Kanengo congregation worshipers seem to be devoid of this important caveat.
There is nothing wrong for the congregation to delink itself from Livingstonia Synod following the misunderstanding between the two parties. The members are just, among many other rights, exercising their right to freedom of association.
However, the picture of some of Mhango’s flock foaming in civil society-like approach in the media houses like abandoned goats does not augur well with the set standard by the Scripture.
One would like to think that the Livingstonia Synod executive committee was merely performing one of its duties by asking Mhango to shift from the capital city to Euthini in Mzimba. Actually, when being ordained, clerics profess to be obedient to their superiors.
The idea almost certainly is that after using his clerical skills to deliver the Kanengo worshippers from the dungeon of evils of intolerance, vengeance and many more, Mhango, as God providence, should apply the same to serve this countryside where a larger section of society could remain untouched by any semblance of spiritual development.
Without minding the reasons for which the reverend rejected the transfer, it would do him good to go to Euthini and serve some fellow CCAP poor souls who could be eking out a spiritual livelihood or reject it diplomatically while working on how to resolve the conflict—with the guidance of the Lord, of course.
Livingstonia Synod might have flouted some procedure. In fact, this is the synod which from history has at times been so unlucky that when it prays for the Lord’s blessings, it receives ‘Arab Spring’ showers.
Where two or more people have met on a common cause, disagreements will always be there. But how the individuals involved keep their emotions tightly reined in amid the conflict reveals the chemical composition they are made of.
Jesus offered to take the responsibility of all those “who are tired from carrying heavy loads” and offer them rest. Not vice versa.
But for Mhango and the Kanengo congregation people attending worsh ip to belittle and deride this great honour from the synod and believe, instead, bleating in the media and pulling down signposts is more weightier and fitting is the epitome of the mischievous dog that wanted to impress by showing how ill-mannered it was. Unfortunately, it impressed none.