Rowan Williams' essay in response to the actions of General Convention has been analyzed all over the web, quite nicely both at Episcopal Cafe and by Mark Harris.
So I am just going to say this about it. He lost all credibility for me at the "lifestyle choice" statement and with his comparison to faithful monogamous lifelong unions to adultery. Oh please.
I'm really really tired of churchMEN outside and inside the Episcopal Church trying to force an institutional solution onto what is a relational problem in the Anglican Communion.
Yes indeed, we don't all agree on how issues of human sexuality should be handled theologically and we don't all agree on how faithful Anglicans who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender should be included in the life and ministry of the church. We've lived for centuries with many other differences more significant than this one without splitting.
So what solution have these men come up with? Destroy classic Anglicanism and replace it with a centralized, top down, clergy-in-charge system complete with power to punish those [read the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada] who get out of the narrowly-drawn-lines these men will put into place.
It is, as we say in Texas, like using dynamite to kill an ant.
This whole tempest over sexuality has been the product of men. For the most part, it's been ostensibly straight white men who have been screaming that the inclusion of LGBT folk in the life and ministry of the church is the worst sin of all because they are the worst sinners of all. [I keep wanting to hear Rowan Williams talk about the theological danger of singling out one group of sinners as worse than the rest of us but he's too busy scolding us to have time to do that.]
When these disgruntled men couldn't get their way in the US, they recruited African and Asian bishops to help stir things up.
The amount of male hysteria they have stoked up has been amazing to see. These men are clearly not only willing to split the church, they are willing to do so at the cost of feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, etc. And those primates who don't agree with them are apparently willing to sit by in silence, thereby rendering themselves useless to stop people who are willing to destroy this church to 'save" it and make it pure enough for their precious little selves.
Where are the voices of women in all this?
Yes, our own Katharine Jefferts Schori has been a voice of sanity, but she's only one Primate among many.
Here's what the Anglican Consultative Council’s International Anglican Women’s Network had to say when they gathered at the March 2007 session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women [emphasis added]:
"The IAWN reaffirms its commitment to unity in Christ:We remain resolute in our solidarity with one another and in our commitment, above all else, to pursue and fulfil God’s mission in all we say and do. Given the global tensions so evident in our church today, we do not accept that there is any one issue of difference or contention which can, or indeed would, ever cause us to break the unity as represented by our common baptism. Neither would we ever consider severing the deep and abiding bonds of affection which characterize our relationships as Anglican women."
From the Statement made by the Anglican Women gathered at the 51st Session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, 3 March 2007
This amazing statement got virtually no attention amid all the male-generated noise and threats of splitting the church. Still small voices often get ignored by the men in charge.
So here's a modest proposal.
Before giving up totally on the Anglican Communion, let's have all the men -- Rowan Williams, all the male Primates, all the male bishops, all the male priests, all the male laymen -- take a vow of silence on this issue for a year and let the women of the Anglican Communion work on reconciling us to one another.
Let's let the people -- women -- who really DO make up the largest numbers of Anglicans in the world work on finding a way we can all live together in love despite our differences.
Let's make IAWN the instrument of Communion.
Let's do what Jesus did time and again. Empower these women. And then listen to them.
Wonderful things could result.