A Letter to Hamma School of Theology of 1973
I’m continually looking through boxes. I’ve got a binder with my manuscript somewhere for my book on Performative Declarations, which I now want to work on. Going through one box I came across a four page copy of a letter that I sent from Berlin to the graduating class of Hamma School of Theology at Wittenberg University, Springfield, Ohio. I did not at all remember that I had written it.
I’m ashamed to say, that I am now a person I condemned in my letter, someone unemployed who tries to make money with money on the stock market, but sadly losing most of the time. I guess I have mellowed out. Like Woody Allen says, you mellow, ripen, and rot. I have to apologize to my younger self and other younger folks who want to take this old world by the horns and bring it down so new calves can romp and spring into a new day. But I think the hard edges of youth can be counter productive and the a stout heart of the more mature can also make this a better world to live in. The stock market might even make possible the ownership of the corporations by the people and a democratizing of the economy could proceed from there. United Airlines was worker owned and that changed because of its bankruptcy.
I’ll put this letter in with all its flaws and blemishes, its cuss-word, misspellings, and whatnot. I was pretty fired up back then. My ministry in St. Paul’s in Coney Island was a very creative chapter in my life. But after coming to make my PhD, I never landed a position to be able to make a contribution I would have loved to have made. It was like I said in those days: What to do if you are a helicopter and no one gives you a landing pad! You will run out of gas sometime and crash. Still as I discovered when I was torn between Germany and returning to the United States, you have a place in God even if the world refuses you a place. And even if there is no position for me and I am still spending untold substance to pay for my doctorate: I’ll make my last student loan payment of $595.80 when I’m 90 years old! It will be funny hobbling up there with my cane to bring the money. I love having had the education, however. Still I wish I had not been quite so harsh in my young age! It shocked me to read it!