Friday, July 31, 2009

Beginning Piety

When I was only three or four years into Lutheran ministry, we had our synodical official, then called the Synod President, over to our home for lunch. He had attended a confirmation service with a dozen or so teen agers affirming their baptisms in this traditional Lutheran rite of passage. During the lunch conversation, he used the word "pious" as a descriptive adjective assigned to me. I don't remember having a response. I never did ask him what that meant or what prompted such a comment, but I took it as a compliment. To be described with characteristics of piety, an unofficial moniker, seemed somehow to fit for me. Thus the name for this "blog," The Pious Pastor.

I looked up "piety" in Webster's Dictionary. On the plus side it read "marked by or showing reverence for deity and devotion to divine worship, showing loyal reverence for a person or thing; sacred or devotional as distinct from profane or secular.

If that's what the synodical official had in mind, I could buy that. The divine, known through mystery, has been a personal inclination of mine to say the least. A devotion to divine worship may go a bit too far, but when worship is "divine" I'm for it. Too many times it is trite, rote, unspired, and obligatory. These days worship has too often become a matter of personal style and taste in music, liturgy, or atmosphere rather than a high priority commitment of participants. That's not kin to divine.

Or if loyalty and reverence was his reference, I'd like to think that I could be described as one who would "stand by you" and be willing to be subservient to a greater cause or a higher order.

On the other hand, Webster's had a definition of pious that came more from the "dark" side. This authority on words further added to the piety label, "marked by conspicuous religiosity, a hypocrite...a sham with self-conscious virtue."

There's plenty of that kind of piety around today without me wanting to add much more of it. I hope that's not what the "president" had in mind and he thought he was slipping by a criticism under the veil of compliment. If so, it seems he succeeded.

Anyway, being subservient and loyal, I thought I would accept this early personal description and use it to author this blog. "The Pious Pastor." Some of my thoughts on the church, the state of religion, pastoral ministry, and divinity I hope will be arising out of devotion to the divine. It is hard, when commenting on such things, not to be hypocritical. So, the reader may find a comparison between what I say and what I do to cause the "hypocrisy-meter" to rise some.

My early intention was to try out this form of cyber communication for the people of the parish I am now serving. But if this seed lands on other soil and bears fruit I will be equally and piously pleased.

The Pious Pastor

1 comment:

  1. Very nicely done, Dad ... I'm sure you will find a larger audience, though I'm equally sure your ruminations will serve the parish well too.