v3_webRugby stadiums changing to a new format based on cafes are finding that they are beginning to fill again in comparison to those stadiums not moving with the times and continuing to play Rugby in the way they did in the past.

“People are not familiar with the game of Rugby in the way they used to be,” says Rugby Union spokesperson, U. R. Joking. “Over the years we’ve made some changes to the way Rugby is played – those who haven’t been for a while would be surprised at the changes – but it still hasn’t stemmed the tide of diminishing numbers. Parents and grandparents are no longer bringing children to Rugby games and helping them understand the game in the way they used to.”

Some stadiums and rugby playing fields have taken a leaf out of café-culture books. “Nearly everyone is familiar with going to a café or a night club so we have taken ideas from cafes and night clubs and applied them to the game.”

No more complicated scoring systems – children and the “un-Rugbied” are clearly not familiar with them and find them confusing. They have been scrapped. People generally are much more familiar with cups and mugs than with rugby balls so the game now starts with each of the 50 players (the number has been increased to improve participation) starting holding a cup of coffee (there are no sides – competition is not part of café or night-club culture). Each person who gets more than half of their coffee across the line gets a point. There are clearly checks and balances: those with a short black are at an advantage because the cup is lighter -but it is easier to spill more than half of the contents. Tackling is still allowed. But there are no scrums as they would look out of place in a café or on the dance floor. After scoring a point players can move on to running with a muffin or cake (2 points), mains (3 points), and deserts (4 points).

Traditional Rugby games are still held but they are increasingly attended by diminishing numbers of aging spectators. At fields that offer both traditional and café-style the traditional will be on at a less convenient time. People generally are not trained to play traditional Rugby any more as it is clear where the future of Rugby is going. When challenged that the new café-style Rugby isn’t really Rugby is it, and that when people come to a Rugby stadium they might expect to be part of real Rugby, and that people’s ability to learn is being grossly underestimated, U. R. Joking looks bemused and responds, “the numbers clearly tell a different story.”

Churches changing to a new format based on cafes are finding that they are beginning to fill again in comparison to those churches not moving with the times and continuing to have liturgy in the way they did in the past.

“People are not familiar with the liturgy in the way they used to be. Over the years we’ve made some changes to the way the liturgy is prayed – those who haven’t been for a while would be surprised at the changes – but it still hasn’t stemmed the tide of diminishing numbers. Parents and grandparents are no longer bringing children to church and helping them understand the liturgy in the way they used to.”

Some churches have taken a leaf out of café-culture books. “Nearly everyone is familiar with going to a café or a night club so we have taken ideas from cafes and night clubs and applied them to services.”

No more complicated liturgies or communion – children and the “un-churched” are clearly not familiar with them and find them confusing. They have been scrapped.…

Traditional liturgies are still held but they are increasingly attended by diminishing numbers of aging congregants. At churches that offer both traditional and café-style the traditional will be on at a less convenient time. People generally are not trained to pray traditional liturgy any more as it is clear where the future of services is going. When challenged that the new café-style church isn’t really church is it, and that when people come to a church they might expect to be part of real liturgy, and that people’s ability to learn is being grossly underestimated, …

(This post will count as part 5 in the Liturgy as Language series. Parts 1 to 4 can be found from here)

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