Author Topic: One Mister Too Many, Portico  (Read 4921 times)

Russ Saltzman

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One Mister Too Many, Portico
« on: April 18, 2013, 12:18:23 PM »
I dropped out of the ELCA pension plan in the late 1980's. The account is so small I shouldn't complain about being "de-ordained." Assign my unhappiness to my cranky and peevish nature. And really I would not have said anything about it except for a recent letter I got, again addressed Mr., announcing yet another whiz-bang record-keeping service Portico has employed to make my investment experience even more thrilling than it is already. Just one "mister" too many, Mr. Thiemann.
____________________________

April 18, 2013

The Rev. Jeffrey D. Thiemann
President and Chief Executive Officer
Portico Services
800 Marquette Avenue, Suite 1050
Minneapolis, MN 55402-2892

Dear Pr. Thiemann:

I am never one to put much investment in the title “Reverend.” Mostly I prefer “Pastor”; it at least has the warrant of some biblical use. But social convention being, um, conventional I’ve never chafed at it. People use it, fine; they don’t use it, okay too.

But when I note a persistent, deliberate omission of the honorific I do become peeved. Such is the case with Portico correspondence and conversations with service personnel on the phone.

When I transferred ministerial credentials from the ELCA to the NALC in 2011 I received several bits of officially officious information carefully explaining I had been, well, “de-ordained.” My “de-ordination” apparently carries to Portico usage as well.

Had I become, say, a Methodist, an Episcopalian, something other than a member of the NALC clergy roll, could I have expected the omission of “Reverend” in those circumstances? I don’t know.

But to me it is odd that of all the financial outlets I use, Portico alone took the step to remove a title I’ve been privileged to bear since 1980. You know, my credit card company kept it. My local insurance agent hasn’t said anything about it. Certainly my bank never bothered. Portico alone purposely searched for my name and removed the appended title. Of course, these other places ask my occupation and tend to take my word. Understand, I really don’t care about the title. What I complain about is the altogether unnecessary small but studied insult I and numerous pastors like me have received.

Sincerely,

Russell E. Saltzman,
Pastor
Russell E Saltzman
former editor, Forum Letter
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Richard Johnson

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Re: One Mister Too Many, Portico
« Reply #1 on: April 19, 2013, 03:38:05 PM »
When I get letters from the Methodist pension board, they are addressed to "Mr." Since they're sending me several hundred dollars more per month than I had anticipated, I've foregone my cranky and peevish nature.
The Rev. Richard O. Johnson, STS

Charles_Austin

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Re: One Mister Too Many, Portico
« Reply #2 on: April 19, 2013, 04:29:48 PM »
Don't you guys watch the BBC? Or Downton Abbey? The Anglicans frequently refer to clerics as "Mr."

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: One Mister Too Many, Portico
« Reply #3 on: April 19, 2013, 04:53:15 PM »
Don't you guys watch the BBC? Or Downton Abbey? The Anglicans frequently refer to clerics as "Mr."


Also in a Johnny Cash song: "The Reverend Mr. Black."

"The church … had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

Dan Fienen

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Re: One Mister Too Many, Portico
« Reply #4 on: April 19, 2013, 06:15:04 PM »
Don't you guys watch the BBC? Or Downton Abbey? The Anglicans frequently refer to clerics as "Mr."

I had no idea that Portico was based in England or served primarily Anglicans.
 
Dan
Pr. Daniel Fienen
LCMS

Eileen Smith

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Re: One Mister Too Many, Portico
« Reply #5 on: April 19, 2013, 06:49:11 PM »
As does the New York Times  ;)

George Erdner

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Re: One Mister Too Many, Portico
« Reply #6 on: April 19, 2013, 07:32:20 PM »
Isn't Austin the one who kvetches when people don't use the correct honorifics for people he personally holds in high regard?

peter_speckhard

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Re: One Mister Too Many, Portico
« Reply #7 on: April 19, 2013, 07:37:51 PM »
Plus there is a big difference between getting it wrong, not being aware, or not thinking it is that big a deal and deliberately changing the title on the mailings to make some sort of point. As I understand Russ's piece, they addressed him as "Rev." until he joined the NALC, at which point they went out of their way to change it to "Mr." Which is something a jerk would do but very few others.

John Mundinger

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Re: One Mister Too Many, Portico
« Reply #8 on: April 19, 2013, 07:49:53 PM »
In this conversation, it should be noted that Portico is continuing to manage the benefit plans for those pastors who have left ELCA.  If my recollection is correct, that was not a courtesy that Concordia Plans extended to LCMS pastors who joined AELC.
Lifelong Evangelical Lutheran layman

Whoever, then, thinks that he understands the Holy Scriptures, or any part of them, but puts such an interpretation upon them as does not tend to build up this twofold love of God and our neighbour, does not yet understand them as he ought.  St. Augustine

George Erdner

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Re: One Mister Too Many, Portico
« Reply #9 on: April 19, 2013, 08:00:16 PM »
In this conversation, it should be noted that Portico is continuing to manage the benefit plans for those pastors who have left ELCA.  If my recollection is correct, that was not a courtesy that Concordia Plans extended to LCMS pastors who joined AELC.


Many things were very different forty years ago, including the regulations governing companies that managed pension funds.

peter_speckhard

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Re: One Mister Too Many, Portico
« Reply #10 on: April 19, 2013, 08:06:25 PM »
In this conversation, it should be noted that Portico is continuing to manage the benefit plans for those pastors who have left ELCA.  If my recollection is correct, that was not a courtesy that Concordia Plans extended to LCMS pastors who joined AELC.
A benefit plan benefits by having more members. A self-serving courtesy is no courtesy at all. As for the Concordia Plans in the 70's, anyone who was vested obviously kept their benefits, but I don't think (I could be wrong) Concordia's constitution/charter gave them the option of serving non-LCMS folks. So it wasn't (again, if that is correct) a decision made on the basis of courtesy or discourtesy and it in fact meant the plan taking a hit by losing members, so whether it was a decision or not, it was the opposite of self-serving. In the case of deliberately going out of your way to change "Rev." to "Mr." in addressing a clergyman, it is clearly deliberate, clearly a decision, and clearly discourteous. No comparison whatsoever.

John Mundinger

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Re: One Mister Too Many, Portico
« Reply #11 on: April 19, 2013, 08:28:35 PM »
As for the Concordia Plans in the 70's, anyone who was vested obviously kept their benefits,...

Pastor Speckhard - I think that point needs to be fact-checked.  I knew an LCMS pastor who retired in response to the blow up in LCMS.  He was vested and he informed me that he would have lost his retirement had he joined AELC.
Lifelong Evangelical Lutheran layman

Whoever, then, thinks that he understands the Holy Scriptures, or any part of them, but puts such an interpretation upon them as does not tend to build up this twofold love of God and our neighbour, does not yet understand them as he ought.  St. Augustine

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: One Mister Too Many, Portico
« Reply #12 on: April 19, 2013, 08:35:16 PM »
As for the Concordia Plans in the 70's, anyone who was vested obviously kept their benefits,...

Pastor Speckhard - I think that point needs to be fact-checked.  I knew an LCMS pastor who retired in response to the blow up in LCMS.  He was vested and he informed me that he would have lost his retirement had he joined AELC.


I know one who left and told me directly that he lost all of his pension. I believe that the rules changed since then.
"The church … had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

Charles_Austin

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Re: One Mister Too Many, Portico
« Reply #13 on: April 19, 2013, 10:54:31 PM »
For several years, my Lutheran Forum magazine and Forum Letter arrived addressed to "Mr. Charles Austin."

John_Hannah

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Re: One Mister Too Many, Portico
« Reply #14 on: April 20, 2013, 05:37:11 AM »
As does the New York Times  ;)

The Times often uses "Pastor" as well, with increasing frequency it seems.

Peace, JOHN
Pr. JOHN HANNAH, STS