Musical Unicornery

Things are about to get interesting in the Diocese of Chicago, in the “ancient Chinese curse” sense, so I went in search of a spiritual or musical unicorn chaser to get me in a better frame of mind.
After yesterday’s horrifying screed from a Nigerian bishop named Orama put me off reading the Internets tubes for a day, a friend emailed me to say that the Archbishop of All Nigeria will be speaking in the Chicago suburbs later in September, in support of some congregations that broke away to affiliate with the Anglican Church of Rwanda (bah, no linky-love for you). Yes, Akinola is coming here, but I’ll be off in the blue somewhere.

Meanwhile, it’s not known if Bishop Akinola’s visit was planned before or after Chicago’s nominees for bishop were announced. I tend to suspect the former, but of course he’s on a timetable and needs to get to as many large media markets as possible in the U.S. before September 30. That’s the “deadline” for the response from the U.S. House of Bishops to the ultimatum Akinola helped usher through the Primates’ Meeting.

There is no word yet as far as I know whether Bp. Akinola has distanced himself from Orama’s intemperate statements. Here’s part of what Bishop Orama said, which other conservative Anglicans have had the grace to repudiate:

“Homosexuality and lesbianism are inhuman. Those who practice them are insane, satanic and are not fit to live because they are rebels to God’s purpose for man…”

It would seem that Bishop Orama needs a little editing help; perhaps his superior can recommend a good proofreader.

Lame witticisms aside, people could die because of what this man has said. People made in the image of God – Susan Russell‘s not the only one to raise that point, it’s my instinctive response, too. I read those words, and I think of the loneliness of barbed wire fences across the high plains, and the lights of Laramie in the distance. Akinola has said similar things, in a somewhat more polished or “ready for prime time” way designed to get the most attention. His subordinate sounds like he’s trying to impress the boss, by piling on everybody’s favorite scapegoat of the decade.


There’s a pretty good chance that Bishop Orama’s remarks WERE distorted by the Nigerian reporter, probably for purposes of gingering the story up to the usual standards of that country’s press, which is pretty much of the the FOX News “screaming headlines and unapologetic propaganda” school of journalistic endeavor.

Last night before I went to bed, it occured to me that in a decade or three, nobody will really bother about homosexuality or gay clergy, because

  1. Most of the people who really, really disapprove will have died off, and everyone else will be cool with it.
  2. Everybody will be freaking out about illegal aliens taking all the jobs. Damn those six-fingered little green men!
  3. Mainline churches will be threatened by schism because some people won’t accept alien baptism, or alien clergy.
  4. Bishops from China, India, and Unified Korea will do a little poaching, because aliens threaten Asian jobs too aren’t in the Bible.

Yes, I really do keep my mind busy while waiting to fall asleep by thinking about such things. So this evening I needed to get my Anglican groove on and find something beautiful and spiritual and unicorney to enjoy before bedtime.

And Now For Something Completely Anglican

I must be the last progressive High Church Anglophiliac to find out that the Beeb broadcasts live choral evensong services on Sunday evenings. They keep the recording online for the week, so you can catch it anytime. Don’t know if it’s also a podcast, I just found it, clicked, and was transported. As a humble choir member (Alto, with enough range to cover soprano or high tenor), I recognize the sheer hard work that must have gone into preparing this program. The music was technically very difficult – mostly quite modern, but with plenty of lovely shimmering harmonies and exciting tone clusters like bursts of chrysanthemums, or musical fireworks. Also, the more traditional hymns and Anglican chant were beautifully done. This particular service originated in Scotland, and the readings sounded warm and pleasant in the local accent. The Royal School of Church Music Millennium Choir did an outstanding job.

The pieces I’d like to track down for my iTunes are in bold. For some reason, links to the Beeb site totally screw up WordPress, preventing text below them from appearing. I’m going to have to leave the URL unlinked.

BBC Radio 3 Dunblane Cathedral

Sunday 2 September 2007 16:00-17:00 Radio 3

Live from Dunblane Cathedral with the RSCM Millennium Youth Choir.

1 hour

Introit: A Celtic Prayer Matthew Beetschen
Hymn: Jesus calls us Lewis Folk Melody
Psalms: 141, 119 vv81-96 Ogden, Pye
First Reading: Isaiah 33 vv13-22
New Testament Canticle:A Song of Christs Glory Bill Ives
Second Reading: John 3 vv22-36
Magnificat: Trinity Service Philip Wilby
Responsory:A Song of Faith John Harper
The Choristers Prayer

John Harper
Anthem:Lo God is here Philip Moore
Hymn: I heard the voice of Jesus say The Rowan Tree
Organ Voluntary: Offrande et Alleluia final Livre du Saint-Sacrement Messiaen

Director of Music: David Ogden
Organists: Matthew Beetschen and Daniel Moult

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