I don't know about anyone else, but I have been a bit perplexed by the tremendous focus on infighting that has occurred in the last decade of the Anglican Communion. Personally, I think every minute and hour of time that is spent on squabbling could be better spent by showing the love of Christ in service to the world. However, I absolutely agree that unless we get our own house in order we cannot properly model the love of Christ. So, I have been trying to understand. Below is my honest interpretation of what is going on. I don't wish to cause division or blame, but neither do I wish to be in denial.
I think the problems do at least partly come down to homophobia (and I fully accept that not all those who are against homosexuality are homophobic). The reason I say this is because I have sat with the idea that the problems are due to different understandings about the authority of Scripture for some time and it doesn't make sense to me. For example, scripture forbids usury (lending money with interest) and the church hasn't threatened to split over this. Part of the church seems to have a list of sins that are abominations and top of the list is homosexual sex, probably followed by having women in positions of leadership. I don't think this has anything to do with scripture - if we were to list the biggest sins according to the Bible, at the top would be religious hypocrisy or neglecting the needs of the poor, I think.
I have also considered the possibility that the problems in the Communion are due to worldview shifts - from 'Modern' to 'Post-modern'. I still think this is true to some extent, perhaps the rapid shift in society towards accepting homosexuality has caused a very strong reaction from those who will not accept it. However, I still think homophobia is the core problem, and some of the fear and hatred is akin to what I have read about the civil rights movement in America in the 50s and 60s. Furthermore, I think the creation of the statement about homosexuality being incompatible with scripture in Lambeth 1.10 has become the tool that is driving the Communion apart. (Lambeth 1.10 was a statement on homosexuality made in1998 by the Bishops of the Anglican Communion).
The creation of 1.10 was a victory for some, and the implications go on and on. The reality is that Lambeth 1.10 has no authority in itself. For a start all the Churches in the Anglican Communion are autonomous and the ways in which they make rules differ. So even if a Primate is fiercely against homosexuality, it may well be that legislation is passed in the councils or synods in that Primate's Church that supports homosexuality. Secondly, my understanding of Anglicanism is that the bishops don't decide stuff, but we all decide together - bishops, priests and laity - I believe that we are a grass roots church as a reaction against papal authority during the Reformation, and I like it. So my response to Lambeth 1.10 is that it was a group of bishops - very interesting, but it doesn't represent the whole church, so it has no authority.
But no, 1.10 has become the sign and seal of being an Anglican. As a result, in England, a report was based on 1.10 called 'Some Issues in Human Sexuality', and when I was selected for Ordained Ministry I had to agree to abide by them or not be selected. After a gay bishop was consecrated in 2004 there was an emergency Primate's meeting that issued the 'Windsor Report' supporting 1.10 and the notion grew that we should throw Churches out of the Anglican Communion if they don't agree with 1.10, and that was the original purpose of the Anglican Covenant. Now Primates are refusing to go to any more Primates meetings because the previous three meetings had agreements about abiding by 1.10 and these agreements have not been honoured.
I actually have some sympathy with the these Primates. They believe that 1.10 is a key mark of Anglicanism, they have expressed that they don't want to be in Communion with anyone who disagrees and they have been consistent. For me though, any form of discrimination based on gender, sexuality or race is unacceptable.
In church on Sunday we had the text from I Corinthians 3:
1 Brothers and sisters, I could not address you as people who live by the Spirit but as people who are still worldly—mere infants in Christ. 2 I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready. 3 You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarrelling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere humans? 4 For when one says, “I follow Paul,” and another, “I follow Apollos,” are you not mere human beings?
21 So then, no more boasting about human leaders! All things are yours, 22 whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future—all are yours, 23 and you are of Christ, and Christ is of God.We are acting like children - Lambeth 1.10 is not our sign and seal - Christ is. We are squabbling and quarrelling with each other when it is obvious that no one is going to win. Let us forget about 1.10, let us scrap 'Some Issues in Human Sexuality' and the Anglican Covenant. And please can we instead agree to let each Church in the Communion address the issue of homosexuality for themselves, carefully and prayerfully, remembering that Christ loves everyone equally? Let us pronounce that Christ is the sign and seal of Anglicanism, and move on from Lambeth 1.10.