Chaste and Decent

The old catechism explanation of the sixth commandment said “Chaste and decent life in word and deed…” The “new” (1986) translation is less… appropriate for small children. That shouldn’t be a concern in using the small catechism. I know of at least one Lutheran School that switches to the old verbiage for that portion of the commandment. They teach the commandments in pre-school. For a lot of kids, this would be their introduction to the word. That seems wrong.

Over the years, I’ve had parents of kids from non-Lutheran churches ask how we address what used to be called “living a chaste and decent life…” They are tired of all the “s– talk” at church. I think it’s important for the church to be careful about how is speaks on these issues. Not that we ignore these matters. My congregation has the books from our church publishing house to help parents explain the biology to their children.

I know it’s sort of litmus-testy of me, but I’ve considered switching back to the old catechism primarily because of the wording of the sixth commandment. In our s– obsessed culture, the church can be a place of refuge.  And maybe the time has come to re-think how we speak about things, even (especially!) as we teach children. There are other ways to speak of these matters than using s– language.

As we used to say, “Chaste and Decent life…” it has a nice ring to it. A return to that language may be overdue.

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