I was disappointed in Dr. Siemon-Netto’s article (“On Words and Vocations” – November 2007) and even more disappointed in your decision to print it. Sounding much like a Lutheran version of Andy Rooney, Dr. Siemon-Netto has served to support the unfortunate stereotypical characterization of Lutherans as a bunch of stodgy old curmudgeons desperately trying to turn back the clock and falling ever more out of touch with the culture in which they find themselves.
Job titles change and people have a right to be called by the proper title. “Flight Attendants” is the proper title for those who serve us on commercial aircraft. Dr. Siemon-Netto’s insistence on going back in time and calling his flight attendants “stewards” does nothing but antagonize people who generally do a very good job of serving passengers. I have far more respect for the flight attendant, who ignored his rudeness in refusing to use the correct job title and served him anyway, than I do for one who was intentionally abrasive, using the archaic and undesired terminology.
“Ms.” is a very useful designation when addressing correspondence to a woman whose marital status is unknown and the term is most certainly here to stay. “Mr.” does not denote a particular marital status. Why should the feminine counterpart? Language is a fluid thing—it changes with the times and adapts to the circumstances. Rather than uselessly bemoaning the passing of old words, the Lutheran church of the 21st century needs to focus on speaking the language of the culture in order to introduce those living in that culture and speaking that language to their Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Dr. Siemon-Netto’s article is a giant step backward in that regard.
Bruce E. Wurdeman
Mission and Ministry Facilitator
Texas District LCMS
As usual, Dr. Siemon-Netto provided another insightful article in “On Words and Vocations.”
Perhaps, in the spirit of his article, Concordia Publishing House, the publishers of The Lutheran Witness, could reconsider the politically correct usage of “humankind” in its publications and return to the old stalwarts such as “man”, “mankind”, or even the neutral “all people”, etc.
CPH would then cease to be a contributor to the problem Dr. Siemon-Netto has addressed.
Rev. Bruce Drees
Buchanan Dam, Texas
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