"Should I call you 'Reverend'?" someone asked me recently. I
paused for a moment, thinking a million thoughts at once. I'm not much of a fan
of the "reverend" title, in part because of its problematic grammar but mostly
because I don't want to be revered.
"Reverend" isn't actually a title at all; it's what's called
It's similar to calling a judge "the Honorable John Doe," and some grammarians
get their stoles in a twist if "reverend" occurs without the officially correct
"the" before it.
More importantly, "reverend" isn't a noun synonymous with
"pastor"; it's an adjective that means "deserving reverence." When someone
calls me "Rev. Adam," the absent definite article bothers me a lot less than
the fact that I'm being called "revered" just because I happen to be ordained.
I'd rather earn respect than be given it by default.
Maybe I wimped out, but I went ahead and told the person who
asked that I'm happy just being called "Adam," but if she's more comfortable
with "Reverend," that's fine too. A rose by any other name would smell as
sweet--or as sour.
Do you call your pastor "Reverend"? Why or why not? And
pastors, what do you prefer to be called?