Saturday, 8 December 2012

Carol Service 'Tourism?'

Rupert Myers at The Telegraph website [here] bemoans the Christmas 'tourism' of atheists and agnostics and non-churchgoers of all kinds crowding into our churches to sing carols. I'm not sure it is just sentimentalism, perhaps it's also a sign of a deep longing for an enchantment and a meaning which can't be found in an increasingly functionally superficial and purposeless secular world. For the Church it may sometimes be frustrating, but cultural contact is vital in the proclamation of the Gospel and this is something which can be maintained without compromising anything.
But in offering his solution (below) to the supposed problem, he is clearly unaware that it is, in fact, already on offer - in the new look, theologically eviscerated, liberal Anglicanism [here] coming to a church near you very soon, if it isn't there already....  and in some places it has been there for a considerable time...
"....Anyone is welcome to come into a church at Christmas, but maybe it’s also time for some of the Christmas tourists to stop kidding themselves. Perhaps what we need is to find a beautiful old building somewhere, deck it out with meaningless yet attractive symbols, paintings and carvings, fill it with diffusers which release a suitably spiced, exotic aroma, and charge people to come and sing carols. You could improve upon the carols by throwing out all the old-fashioned words and bits which don’t rhyme and replace them with something more accessible, adding a decent bass line, or some percussion. You could have ample parking, a crèche and gift shop...."
An Advent carol for the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception: 
a contemporary setting by Paul Mealor of 'A Spotless Rose' sung by Tenebrae, directed by Nigel Short:


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