Rather later than most of the world, I've been reading Richard Giles's "Repitching the Tent". It's excellent stuff, especially when you are confronted by a church like ours. He has a very accessible style, and it all makes sense both practically and theologically....though I fear it may be a while before we can persuade our congregation to attend a course based on his outlines.
However, one chapter did give me the opportunity to experience something of the feelings of those who sense that their most cherished aspects of church life are under threat,- be they pitch-pine pews or processions for Corpus Christi. Giles does not have alot of time for the "English Choral tradition", feeling that it has little to offer to the 21st century world...but this happens to be the context in which my own faith grew, the route that led me through the deaths of my parents and the tortuous process of growing up. Quite simply, I love it, so reading his words, my hackles rose.
This doesn't mean that I cannot understand that Byrd, Tallis, Howells et al may have little to say to a casual post-modern enquirer....but nonetheless, the prospect of a church without their contributions saddens me. So, I find myself briefly on the other side of the tracks. Instead of frustration at the conservative outlook of my congregation, I feel the anxiety and grief of those who see the things they love swept away in a tidal wave which threatens all that they've considered essential to their faith.
I'm among those who have some say in the way worship is expressed in a local context, but others, with different loves, will feel every bit as distressed at the changes that I embrace with enthusiasm. I pray that God will allow me to hang on to these feelings, so that I can hear their lament clearly.