What I don’t like is the name, specifically the word “piety.”
First, no one outside church knows what it means. In fact, many in church don’t, or they don’t agree on what it means.
Second, its Latin root pietas bugs me. The word refers to a Roman virtue for a man who observes his duty to the gods, his family, and Rome. It is a man who knows his place in the good Roman order. The early Christians made a habit of taking Roman words and ideas and turning them inside out and upside down, but we are too far removed from those early Christians to do this trick with Roman words.
The Latin word just smells of conformity and propriety and a bunch of people who know better than to rock the boat. I’m not at all opposed to propriety – in its proper place – but Christians should be boat rockers.
In more than one word, the concept meant by piety is “love of God.” Or, at least that is my understanding. Works of mercy – the other piece of Wesleyan works – is “love of neighbor.” These phrases could work as substitutes. Instead of “works of piety,” we might say, “loving God.” Instead of “works of mercy,” we might say, “loving our neighbors.”
I think those both translate outside the church and mean what we want them to mean.