31 March 2008
Book, Unrecommended: Secret Keeper
(Disclaimer: This is not in reference to any church in particular. It happens everywhere.)
Pastors are in a bad spot when it comes to 1 Peter 3:3-6. They can't tell the girls in their confirmation classes to put more clothes on, because what kind of perv would notice that the little dears are dressed like streetwalkers? And I also can't exactly go up to someone and request that their daughter throw on a sweater over her skintight, lowcut, spaghetti strap suspended top on account of my husband has to look down it every time she skips up to our Lord's altar in the classy getup. I attended a Lenten supper a while back put on by a certain group of youngsters, and I wasn't sure if I was at the parish hall or Hooters. This is not a stable environment for the perpetually parturitional or postpartum Frau Pastor who worries constantly (and needlessly, I know) about her husband not having a properly proportioned wife waiting for him at home.
So anyway. I found this cute little book and hoped that it might be of some use as, perhaps, supplemental reading for 6th commandment studies or a confirmation gift to a female catechumen. But the scandal of Lutheran particularity reared its predictable head, because of course it's full of smarmy evangelical theology and piety. Eg, Lift up your arms like you're totally rocking out in worship!!!!!! If your stomach shows, quit dressing like a ho!!!!!!!!!!! Awesome!!!!!!!! (My memory may be colored slightly by annoyance with the disorienting graphics and pullquotes, and hip punctuation.) One anecdote told the thrilling tale of a girl accepting Jesus while on the phone with someone who discerned via what she had said about chaste dressing that she wasn't a Christian. Bottom line: I bought and read this so you wouldn't have to.
But what to do? The papists have resources along these lines, but their stuff is also always reliably packed with doctrinal propaganda. I have zero confidence in Our Beloved Synod's youth resource providers to come up with something useful in this regard based solely on the promo pics that turn up in our mailbox for the youth gatherings ("Yeah huh Lutherans are too young and hot, and it would be totally Law-oriented not to show it off, which is the only thing we know about being Lutheran!"). And Higher Things, while having much to recommend it, also patrols close to the antinomian border of the Lutheran neutral zone that is personal piety. I can't help getting the impression sometimes that the only sin they're really that worried about is contemporary worship--have these people forgotten how teenagers think?
It would be silly of me to imagine that there's a CPH contract for someone in this somewhere . . . but I sure wish there were. In the meantime I'll take smug comfort in the knowledge that only my Pietism is showing.