19 August 2008

I and Thou

Many a Lutheran grandmother has gone head to head with the good Dr Luther, who famously called God "du." But it sounds more proper and respectful, they argue, to say "thee" and "thy" and "thou," demonstrating how these terms now connote the opposite of their original familiarity. As more naves become indistinguishable from restaurants or playgroups, the grandmas have a point. No one speaks respectfully to anyone any more, least of all to our finger-pulling pal Jesus. Inhabitants of this historical moment might find their piety better served with formality than familiarity.

And then again, can we have it both ways? If reverent words confess a knowledge of God particularly hidden in our time, are they not also uniquely familiar?

1 comment:

MooreMama said...

I know someone (ahem) who does not have a great relationship with her earthly father. He is one of those that demands respect, simply because he is the FATHER, but doesn't give a lot of respect in return, which means that as his children became adults, their "respect" of him diminished. Rapidly. He is "Dad" - and NEVER "Daddy". I envy those that have "Daddies".

To me, one would have to have a close, comfortable, respectful relationship to be able to use a term of endearment as a regular address. I say that not only can we have it both ways, but they are the same.