Take a look. Babyblue Online has a countdown clock to the September 30 deadline. Now we all know, from action movies, that countdown clocks always spell imminent doom. But does the September 30 deadline carry such dire implications?
Let's think about this. No matter what happens on September 30, people in the parish I serve will be there for Sunday services. The next week, they'll be much more interested in all the dogs, cats, birds, and other creatures who will join us for the Blessing of Animals than what happened in New Orleans, Canterbury, Abuja, or Pittsburgh. And that's as it should be.
The Communion matters, but not that much. +Bob Duncan and his friends are having a big pow-wow immediately after the House of Bishops. If the Akinolites' demands are not met, then perhaps the extreme right will walk apart from the Anglican Communion. I will be sad that Christ's church has been divided again, but it will not change the mission of ECUSA or of the Anglican Communion.
So why the anxiety? Why the countdown clock? Simply put, the conservatives need to beat the crisis drum. It's not nearly as exciting to say "We agree on the fundamental truths of Christianity, but we disagree on a few points of moral theology." No one wants to donate money or consecrate new bishops when the stakes are low. Gloom and doom is the order of the day. It's the same tactic the Bush administration uses to get people to yield civil rights. Fear propels action, while suppressing articulate conversation.
Let's pray that lots of people will get some perspective on the September 30 deadline. Is division possible? Yes. Is this sad? Yes. Will it prevent Christians from being Christians? No. On the other hand, while we're busy putting up countdown clocks and writing dire messages, people are starving for food and for the bread of heaven. That's a real crisis, but we're too busy looking the wrong way to see it.