August 26th, 2010

Interesting words

"My latest tendency is to collapse about 11:00 and with the tears flowing from my eyes or the gin rising to their level and leaking over, to tell interested friends or acquaintances that I haven't a friend in the world and likewise care for nobody, generally including Zelda, and often implying current company -- after which the current company tend to become less current and I wake up in strange rooms in strange palaces. The rest of the time I stay alone working or trying to work or brooding or reading detective stories -- and realizing that anyone in my state of mind who has in addition never been able to hold his tongue, is pretty poor company. But when drunk I make them all pay and pay and pay."
F. Scott Fitzgerald (in a letter to Hemingway 9-9-29)

62 - A Christian Institution

News from the Cities is that Augsburg Fortress, the publishing arm of the Evangelical Lutheran Church is cutting of the retirement benefits of 500 former employees (also some current, sort of). In simple terms, they have underfunded retirement benefits by three-fourths and can't pay the pensions, health benefits, etc. It makes you wonder.

What does it mean to call yourself an arm of the church, when your promises mean nothing? Is the business decision to fire someone, cut retirement benefits, etc., the moral decision for an arm of the Church? What does "community" mean when push comes to shove and the business decision cuts the pensions of people who have given their lives to the community? Someone said to me that Augsburg Fortress might go out of business had they not cut off the pensioners. My first thought was that maybe they OUGHT to go out of business.

I would love to know what the word PROMISE means to Augsburg Fortress. If you are going to, say, fire somebody, isn't the WAY you do it the ultimate test of the faith community that you represent? What does the word LUTHERAN mean when it is attached to COMMUNITY and BUSINESS?

As a St. Olaf graduate, I would ask the college the same question.