The Cardus Daily

Common Work for the Common Good

James K.A. Smith  |  December 5, 2012  |  Vocation

In a series of 1980s television commercials, Victor Kiam, owner of the Remington razor company, used to brag: “I like the shaver so much, I bought the company!”

Well, I’m not buying anything, but as the new editor of Comment magazine I am very excited to buy into the vision and mission of Cardus and Comment in an even deeper way. Like many of you, I’ve been a longtime reader of Comment, and over the years I’ve been honored to contribute several articles and even guest edited an issue (Letters to the Young).

I’ve always seen the magazine as a singular experiment that blends depth of analysis with breadth of audience, all with the goal of resourcing those committed to renewing the social architecture of North America. At Cardus, we pursue that drawing on more than 2,000 years of Christian social thought, and in Comment, we draw on that tradition with an accent we sometimes describe as “Kuyperian”—emphasizing the scope of God’s concern for every square inch of creation, including public and political life. (And where better to see that than in the most recent issue of Comment, focused on “The Word of God and the City of Man,” guest edited by Peter Leithart?)

You can expect more of this. I’m grateful for the ground-setting work of Gideon Strauss, and the continued care shown to Comment by Alissa Wilkinson. And I look forward to continuing to work alongside Dan Postma and Robert Joustra and Brian Dijkema who have been the caretakers of this vision. So continue to expect Comment to be a place where professors rub shoulders with policy makers; where scholars listen to practitioners; where Christian theology goes public. We are the magazine for those practitioners who appreciate the importance of reflection. This is a journal of ideas meant to hit the ground in policy and find expression in institutions.

Above all, I want Comment to be a life-giving resource for those leaders, practitioners, entrepreneurs, and creators who are convinced of the importance of Christian cultural engagement but are now looking for in-depth guidance and direction. In many other venues, we never seem to get beyond the starting block. We hear a baseline emphasis repeated over and over: that Christians have permission and encouragement to be culture-makers. While there’s a continued place for “Christianity and Culture 101,” so to speak, Comment aims to take you to the next level—to 201 and 301 levels of analysis. We want to help you discern the nitty-gritty of how to actually do this and what it really ought to look like. We’re unapologetic in having a vision for the renewal of North American social architecture. We’re not shy to say where we think this architecture is crumbling. And we’re calling Christians to be builders.

In the new year, when they actually hand me the keys to this baby, we’ll begin revving up plans for new formats and platforms, new rhythms of delivery, expanded content for subscribers and Cardus donors, and more. Suffice it to say: I’m excited. For longtime supporters of Cardus and readers of Comment: I look forward to serving you. I hope you’ll consider a donation to help us expand this common work for the common good. Invite some friends to join us!

And for those of you just learning of Comment and the important work of Cardus: we might be just what you’ve been looking for. Subscribe today, get the new issue, and join us in the task.



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