If you are a pietist …

IF YOU ARE A PIETIST, FOR THE SAKE OF THE LUTHERANS, PLEASE REMAIN ONE. PLEASE.

PietistAs you can see from the photo, the bottle is nearly empty. That’s not entirely my fault. I purchased this whisky on my way to visit a good friend. He played a big part in its demise.

But anyway…

I received a Facebook message from a fellow pastor who suggested that I spend more time writing about theology and less about whisky. He appreciated the hymn study postings on my blog, and he delighted in the sermons and poetry offered there as well, but he was a little put-off by the devotion to Scotch whisky. He suggested that mixing theology and whisky was a little unsavory and could be offensive. After first asking him if he had converted to the Baptist branch, I followed with the reminder that Lutherans are not pietists. Even more so, when Lutherans are pressed into the box of legalism, they will rebel. For example, if my memory serves me, at one time the Reformed church began insisting that it was required of the presiding minister while speaking the Verba during the Lord’s Supper that he snap the bread at the words “when He had given thanks, He broke it and gave it to His disciples…” I’m pretty sure I remember reading that the Lutherans used to break the bread, but after that, they refused.

So what does any of this have to do with The Dalmore 12-Year-Old bottle of whisky in the photo? Nothing. Everything. Something, I guess. It means this happens to be the bottle I was enjoying when I was urged by a fellow Lutheran clergyman to forego receiving such a gift from God that I certainly enjoy in acceptable measure, and on top of that, I was discouraged from sharing my enthusiasm with others. I want this brother to know in an amplified way that I humbly and evangelically refuse.

Now, I’m sure he will read this, and while he is reading he will lean back in his office chair with arms folded and a crookedly surprised smile beginning to stretch his face, Even this smile is good enough for me. It is a relative opening to offer this Lutheran brother the opportunity to acknowledge that perhaps it is that God has blessed the Scots with a divine beverage while the Lutherans received the better theology. And with that theology comes the benefit of serving in churches full of Christians who know they aren’t pietists…that is, unless they are being slow-boiled by a pastor who is living, breathing, and preaching pietism and then secretly enjoying the gifts in solitude for fear that his preaching may actually be taking root. Not here, brother. Those chains are self-imposed. I intend to remain free.

So with that being said (and hopefully without causing offense), the Lutheran clergy have the freedom to enjoy the likes of this wonderful edition from The Dalmore. It is, as I began, best shared out in the open …and with friends.

Now, to really chuck dirt onto the caskets of the “living dead”, eh hem, I mean, the pietists… The nose of this Dalmore whisky is delightful – thick with sherry and vanilla. The palate is so easy and smooth, fulfilling the promise made by the nose and delivering vanilla with the presence of delicate spice – not harsh – but gentle and perhaps even fruity. The finish waves goodbye with a smile and tiptoes behind you to remind you that you are invited to return anytime. With such friendliness, the bottle’s contents disappear rapidly. In fact, as a side note, this whisky is so wonderfully gentle that even if by some freakish accident you get some in your eyes (which of course has never happened to me), it doesn’t burn. It just becomes one more way to laugh with Christian friends and rejoice in the gifts.

Oh, by the way, the cost is surprisingly pleasant at around $50. You won’t find it in your local Christian bookstore, but I guarantee it will be a better purchase than that leather bound engraved copy of The Message you just bought last week because you finally convinced the Elders not only to allow you to move the choir to the chancel, but to order and install a glass pulpit. All you needed next was a floppy “relevant” Bible in your hand to shake at folks during your pietist prattling, I mean, preaching.

To close, I wonder if I should, in a sense, reconsider my harsh regard for the prodding tag of my pietist friend. I suppose that the more the pietists discover their freedom, the less whisky for the rest of us, and I read recently that a whisky shortage is on the horizon. The last thing I want to see are converts drinking my booze and sending the prices higher. So with that, brother, forget everything I just said. Whisky is inherently sinful and bad. Very sinful. Very bad. Have a Coke instead.

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