Poetry

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Realign with Me

by Lionel E. Deimel
 

See the liberals across the aisle

From conservatives who seldom smile;

We’ll be reading Scripture all the while;

Realign with me.

 

Read invectives from the AAC,

From the Network, and the CCP;

In our future, we’ll find purity;

Realign with me.

 

We won’t feel alone without them;

Let’s break out Bob’s royal diadem.

 

Have communion from a priest who’s male;

Fix the homos, or put them in jail;

Have no mercy when the lib’rals wail;

Realign with me.

 

We won’t feel alone without them;

Let’s break out Bob’s royal diadem.

 

Use the prayer book writ in ’62;

Every priest can be a bishop, too,

If his diocese is Timbuktu;

Realign with me.

 

Logos of "orthodox" groups
 

I haven’t written a lot of parody, but that’s what we have here—satirical lyrics for the song “You Belong to Me.” The original is really quite a  wonderful song. You can listen to it in the YouTube video below. The singer is Vonda Shepard, and the recording is from her Ally McBeal album. (Note that the videos I’ve posted on this page keep disappearing from YouTube. Let me know if I have to find new videos.)

Just for fun, here’s another rendition of the song, this time by Jo Stafford. This was a big hit for her in the early ’50s, and it’s easy to see why. Again, the video is from YouTube.

The subjects of my parody are the “orthodox” Anglicans seeking “realignment,” which is to say, leaving The Episcopal Church and taking its property with them. If you don’t understand what that’s all about, that’s too bad because I don’t have time to explain it here.

My original inspiration was the first line of the song: “See the pyramids along the Nile.” In the Diocese of Pittsburgh, which its ambitious bishop Bob Duncan is trying to realign, supporters of The Episcopal Church—both liberal and conservative—are working to prevent (or to cope with) realignment in a group informally called Across the Aisle. (More information is available on my blog.) I think you can see where I got my first line. I actually expected the song to be about the Across the Aisle folks, but it didn’t work out that way. For those who don’t recognize some of the references, AAC is the American Anglican Council, CCP is the Common Cause Partnership, and the Network is the Network of Anglican Communion Dioceses and Parishes. The prayer book referred to is the 1662 English Book of Common Prayer (available here), which seems to be favored by realignment types. (Among the virtues of this prayer book is the fact that it was written before there was—or needed to be—an Episcopal Church.) Bob, of course, is Bishop Robert Duncan.

I suppose I took some liberties in the use of “Timbuktu.” It was a convenient rhyme, even though it is the name of a rather insignificant place in the twenty-first century, and Mali has not figured in the Anglican church wars. The name is associated with Africa, mysteriousness, and remoteness, however, and I used my poetic license—I must check if it expires on my upcoming birthday—in choosing it as a stand-in for a locus of African interference in the affairs of The Episcopal Church.

The bridge (“We won’t feel alone …”) is a little tricky, and, without rendering the musical notation here, I cannot make clear just how I expect words and music to fit together. I assure you that they can indeed be made compatible.

— LED, 8/2/2008, revised 8/5/2013

Postscript. Two short months after this poem was written, the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh did indeed experience realignment. On October 8, 2008, the diocesan convention voted, illegally, to leave The Episcopal Church. There is now an Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh and an Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh. Property litigation is ongoing.

As for the commentary above, the CCP and the Network no longer exist, having been subsumed by now Archbishop Duncan’s Anglican Church in North America. The American Anglican Council is still around giving The Episcopal Church grief. I have revised the commentary a number of times because the YouTube videos I’ve included keep disappearing into the ether. I am particularly happy with the current selections and hope that they will remain available.

— LED, 1/15/2010

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