at the same time, it is also crucial to be clear about what is.
for example, many people describe things as "not possible", when they really mean, "not possible, without paying cost XXX." they want to say that such-and-such is not possible, because that looks clearer. but it's fictitious in the usual case where what they mean is that it's less desirable than some alternative.
in my last post, i expressed a desire for a reorientation of common American Episcopal practice in scheduling Christmas services. not a change in the number of services, but rather, a decision to make those services match the times of day, getting over the "it has to be Eucharist!!!" madness, and such.
i wasn't saying that i want clergy to run roughshod over sensibilities, but rather, that i would enjoy being in a church in which such were the whole community's sensibilities. since i do not believe that clergy are storekeepers selling a product, i do not believe that clergy must simply take what they are given. i think not in terms of "what should clergy do, given that parishioners are inflexible" but rather, "what should the community as a whole do." but then, clergy don't get to force the community to do anything. still, leadership is, it seems to me, involved with just that question: what should we do? what should our values be?
so i would enjoy a church where nobody thought that a 4pm eucharist on Christmas Eve was a good idea; that is, in which the values of the community were such that the idea made no sense. but what about those parents whose kids cannot stay up?
ah, there's the rub. for those kids can stay up. it is not impossible for the kids to stay up. the question is what are the values of the parents in question? what are their priorities?
i do not believe that faithful religious practice can be worked into an ordinary American life in such a way that nothing major gets disturbed. i believe, quite the opposite: that faithful Christian practice is extremely likely to impose costs and disturb important things in life. we might do well to teach our children that Christmas eucharist is important enough to stay up for it.
i have been in such parishes. i enjoy them more.