Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Common Bond...

The Fall 2012 issue of the Thrivent magazine produced a nice puff piece on how wonderful folks think it will be when Thrivent Financial for Lutherans becomes Thrivent Financial for anybody with money.  It comes as no surprise to those reading here that I am not so encouraged by or supportive of the dilution of the Lutheran identity in this supposedly Lutheran fraternal.

A fraternal is required to have a common bond shared by its members.  Apparently Lutheran is too restrictive (now there is a laugh) and the goal is to broaden the bond and open the door to others.  Thrivent is called a "faith based organization" in the article.  That must be a definition from governmental entity since Thrivent is hardly faith based.  The only criterion for membership is being Lutheran and you get to decide what that means.  Since the whole idea of Thrivent is said to be helping people be wise with their money and generous with their lives, what could it hurt to include everyone in this?

I guess we have all forgotten how and why fraternals were formed.  People with a common identity and need came together to meet the need.  Now it seems that the idea of growing the amount of money Thrivent handles is the main idea.  Oh, yes, it is couched with the legitimacy of how much more money Thrivent will be able to put back into the community but with the weakened chapter system, the adoption of Choice dollars, and the corporate piece of the giving pie expanding, we will see the big institutions supported (name recognition and all) and the smaller charitable efforts in the local community suffer.  Do you remember which charity won the Thrivent million dollar lottery?  Oh, yes, St. Jude Children's Hospital -- not to disparage its work but does anything think it a real struggling charity with strong Lutheran ties?

I noticed that the article did not include one voice against the corporate goal of expanding the base so that anybody with money who is willing to call themselves Christian can participate.  But that is to be expected.  Thrivent is a democracy in which not all that many people vote.  I am not so naive to believe the change would or could be defeated.  We are too greedy as people and we buy too quickly into what we are told as long as we think we might be better off as a result (so much for the charitable component).

This post probably does not apply to most of my readers but  I am making my case here since it seems no one at Thrivent seems willing to debate the points I make.  I know they are listening but I am not sure they are hearing.  So before the next issue is in our hands, the mold will be cast.  Thrivent is for anybody with money.  Now that is a laudable goal!


Anonymous said...

If Lutherans supported Thrivent/AAL/LB (like military people do business with USAA), if 'most' wealthy Lutherans didn't take their money elsewhere (as small fish Thrivent trying to compete against better big fish competive products) then it could have stayed "for Lutherans"

Anonymous said...

Thrivent is already huge -- among the top 10 of financial services companies if it were not a fraternal -- so that makes it all the more greedy to seek to cast off all Lutheran identity.

Anonymous said...

Too bad Thrivent didn't ask their member what they thought of the direction Thrivent was taking. They could have learned a lot from them. I'm a member but won't be doing anything more than letting my money just sit (i.e.:no more donations).