I have always loved words and where they come from and how their meanings evolve. Esther Abbetmeyer Selke, wrote “Pioneers of German Lutheranism in Minnesota”. I have mentioned her writing on this blog before. Her article was about 6 Pastors who came to pioneer Minnesota before the Civil war and only one of then was called by an organized church body. His name was Ottomar Cloeter and he was called to be a missionary to the Chippewa near Brainerd. Of the other five she says something fascinating. She says that they all had “crotchets” of their own”. I found Selke’s use of this word interesting because of course, I thought of the cover to my favorite chair that I thought was crochet. Did she mean that they had a particular “hook” in the way that they thought or acted according to their theological persuasion? This is ”crotchet” however, and it means a “perverse or unfounded belief or notion”. It comes from the same root as crochet, and strangely enough it can also denote a ¼ note in music. So these “free lancer pastors” as she described them, had perverse and unfounded beliefs and notions.
Words evolve and sometimes change meaning completely. “Don we now our gay apparel” comes to mind as a phrase that means something much different today than when it was written in 1862, which is the same year that Ottomar Cloeter had to run for his life from an Indian uprising that would kill hundreds of people. Anyway, the word moves from a strange or perverse belief or notion to an adjective, “crotchety”. The urban dictionary defines it thusly – “An adjective used to describe an old person. More specifically, someone who seems to hate life in their “golden years” and feels the need to take it out on others. These are the people that should be sent into the surface of the sun”. The urban dictionary is written by young people, most of whom can’t read cursive and tend to turn all words into some kind of sexually deviant adjective or verb when a euphemism would have served just as well.
Some one called me crotchety. My last two blogs I guess exhibited unfounded beliefs or notions which in turn cause me to hate life in my golden years. At first the accusation made me crotchety and then I decided that the emailer was correct. I am crotchety but I have defined it as a complete frustration with those who take the marvelous gift of life and waste it in a constant narcissistic fog of appetite, silliness, self absorption, and entitlement. Talk about old people being crotchety! Tell one of these young folk that didn’t get a job because the first thing they asked in the interview was how much vacation time they would get and I will show you crotchety.
Here is something from a crotchety old Pastor….
Take all the wisdom, justice, jurisprudence, artifice, even the highest virtues the
world affords, and what are they? They minister only to that god, carnal appetite.
They can go no further than the needs of this life, their whole purpose being to
satisfy physical cravings. When the physical appetites of the worldly pass, they
pass likewise, and the gifts and virtues we have mentioned can no longer serve them.
All perish and go to destruction together—righteousness, virtues, laws, and physical
appetites, which they have served as their god; for they are wholly ignorant of the
true and eternal God. They know not how to serve Him and receive eternal life. So
then in its essential features such a life is merely idolatrous, having no greater
object than the preservation of this perishable body and its enjoyment of peace and
honor. -The Sermons of Martin Luther, Vol.VIII, p.351.