Despite the increasing tension, Bishop Lee is optimistic about the future of the Anglican Communion. “I think the current controversies might well prove to become a breakthrough moment in global understanding and regard for one another,” he says.
Lee cites reports from primates who attended the Jan. 11-15 meeting, including a Facebook post from Archbishop Welby which emphasized unity during the tense discussions.
“Despite those differences,” Lee says, “two bishops were regarding each other and realizing they were both followers of Jesus Christ. Above and beyond all the disagreements, each trying to work out the implications of their faith in their own context. I think that’s extraordinary.”
Bishop Lee says the main barrier to resolving this dispute — and future disputes — is the human habit of categorizing people according to gender, sexual orientation, race, etc. “As long as those things remain abstractions, it’s very easy to speak about who may or may not be in this place or that place,” he says. “When they become living realities, when those labels are transformed into living persons standing in front of me, and with whom I have a relationship, that’s very, very different.”