Tuesday, April 27, 2010

A Variety of Pieties... & what that means for us

I encourage you to look at Pastor David Housholder's online journal for today.  He describes various kinds of spiritual temperaments, various "pieties" that he labels Athletic, Cool, Warm and Hot.  A "piety" in this sense is the "style" or "culture" of Christian behavior that is common in a particular church.

Here are some quick definitions, but I'd like to encourage you read the original journal entry for a fuller picture.
  • Athletic piety means a serious sort that focuses on issues, saving the lost, bringing justice to the oppressed, and questions of right and wrong.
  • Cool or "Deep" piety is liturgical, contemplative, formal and suspicious of whatever might be emotionally laden.  Hymns must be doctrinally sound.
  • Warm piety is affectionate and informal.  Hugs and hand raising are part of this, as are songs and preaching that is full of emotion. Testimonies are commonplace.
  • Hot is "warm piety with the intensity turned up."  Almost anything can happen, deliverance and personal prophecies are a normal part of worship. 
Here's the comment I posted:
So who are we in Cokato? And who am I in this congregation? And what does this have to do with the pain so many in our church are suffering as we go through the ELCA kerfuffle? I can think of individuals in our local, small town church who are cool, warm and athletic. My son has gotten a dose of HOT and it’s scared the bejeebers out of some in our family. Personally, I grew up a nice blend of warm and cool. The warm side was nurtured through [Lutheran] Youth Encounter, etc., and pretty much won out except I’m more intellectual and an ENTJ/P “thinker” by nature… The congregation here is a blend of warm and cool… but the ELCA issues have made many of our warm and cool folks more “athletic” with a tendency to label the others as enemies. A nice long Cursillo weekend would do us all good. Please keep us in your prayers.
Of course, there is a lot more involved than mere "style" or piety. But the styles get mixed up with the theological and biblical positions on various issues so it gets quite uncomfortable and complex. Can God guide us even thorough this? I believe Jesus can.


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