While reading The Episcopal Church in Crisis, by Frank Kirkpatrick, I ran across the following quote first spoken by the Right Reverend Simon Chiwanga, retired Bishop of Mpwapwa Diocese in the Anglican Province of Tanzania: "Forcing your point of view by excluding from your circle those who disagree with you, or by compelling acceptance, is to usurp the place of God."
That line is worded in such a way as it could be used on both sides of the current debate within the Anglican Communion, but I can't help but wonder how many people in can honestly say they are taking those words to heart? Since 2003, how many people - particularly on the side of the more conservative folks who have broken away from the Episcopal Church and are now aligned with the Southern Cone bishops - have stopped for one moment to think that they are trying to stand in God's shoes?
Conservative Anglicans are quick to claim that the rulings which come out of the once-a-decade Lambeth Conferences should be acknowledged as "law" by the 38 global provinces. The recommendations on such things as the prohibition on further consecration of gay or lesbian bishops should be viewed as gospel until such time as the entire Communion approves such moves, or only after consideration is given to the potential impact on the worldwide Church.
In looking at some previous Lambeth and Anglican Consultative Council statements, I can't see where the entire Anglican Communion is living up to the statements to which many feel we should all strictly adhere. Some examples: (1) Lambeth 1948 - attendees affirmed that Scripture "should be continually interpreted in the context of the Church's life; (2) Lambeth 1988 - attendees reaffirmed the "historical position of respect for diocesan boundaries and the authority of bishops within those boundaries"; (3) Anglican Consultative Council 1993 - affirmed that it "would be inappropriate to any bishop to exercise episcopal authority within a diocese without first securing permission from the resident bishop." (The last quote is on page 47 of the Kirkpatrick book.