The good society

September 2011

Comment Magazine - The good society

01

Poem: The Future

By Wendell Berry

02

Editorial: What we talk about when we talk about society

By Brian Dijkema and Alissa Wilkinson

A good society has not only its institutions, but its loves in order.

08

Magazine as Microcosm

By John Wilson

Learning in bits and scraps of the inexhaustible creation.

12

Loving Faithful Institutions: Building Blocks of a Just Global Society

By Jonathan Chaplin

Postmodern Christians won't get very far in transforming society until they learn to love institutions again.

20

Chronicles in the Good Society

By Larry Doornbos

In God’s good society, all are cared for, and all know whom they follow.

26

Reforming Economics: Capitalism and Its Discontents

By Jordan Ballor

The biggest losers of the financial crisis may be capitalism and its discontents.

34

A Neocalvinist Ecclesiology

By David T. Koyzis

How might Dooyeweerd change the way we approach the local church?

38

Kuyper for Christians

By Richard Mouw

Introducing a three-week Comment series on how Abraham Kuyper's world-and-life-view can enrich the twenty-first century Christian church.

41

Why Bother with the Humanities in a Time of Crisis?

By Deborah Bowen

Through riots, wars, and droughts, I teach English. Fiddling while Rome burns?

45

Horizons, Justice, and Human Flourishing

By Jim Belcher

What we can really learn from the London fires.

53

Blind Spots

By Timothy Larsen

Exploring past human efforts exposes the mixed motives and blind spots of our present condition.

57

Listening to History: The Poet's Legacy

By Robert Jackson

We have misplaced an invaluable tool for shaping and refining human thought. It is time for apprenticeship in rhetoric.

62

Forgetting Ourselves in a Function: W.H. Auden on the Good Society's Friday

By David Robinson

Taking up practices that remind us of our finitude, our createdness.

68

Shakespeare to the Rescue?

By Ben Faber

Like a prophet, Shakespeare pried loose the monolithic worldview of his day.

74

Making Space for Civilization: Educational Pluralism

By Ashley Berner

Educational pluralism requires flexibility, social negotiation, and grace.

79

The Christian College has a Public Mission

By Justin Cooper

As contemporary curators of vision, Christian colleges will flourish in fulfilling their public mission.

85

Sunflower Seeds

By Adrienne Dengerink Chaplin

When art seems very far from the urgent cut and thrust of daily politics, that's exactly the point.

90

On Discipline

By Carey Wallace

There is no such thing as disciplining one corner of a life. There are only disciplined or undisciplined lives.

93

How Then Shall We Mourn?

By Allison Backous

What would it do for us if, instead of skipping over the difficult stories of our lives, we put them on paper?

104

Big Questions for Business Leaders

By Gideon Strauss

You are a CEO, responsible in part for your company and its social impact. How do you keep yourself accountable?

112

Review: A Public Faith

By Nicholas Wolterstorff

Volf's book sketches an alternative between a single-religion society and a secular public square.

117

We Do: A Vision for Covenantal Relationship with Creation

By Kirstin Vander Giessen-Reitsma

Re-imagining, as newlyweds, our duty to keep and cultivate our vows.

124

Toward a More Complex Common Good: A Bibliographic Essay

By Matthew Kaemingk

What is the common good that Christ desires?

This Issue

Peace, as St. Augustine says, is more than simply the absence of war. It is the tranquility of order—when all of the spheres of society function in such a way as to create wonderful music. This is a radical, prophetic notion: To speak of peace in a world plagued by restlessness and extreme social disorder is to canoe against the current of reality.

"The good society." To dare to speak this way is to hope. It presumes that there is an order for our families, schools, governments, magazines, poets, employers, even our protestors to harken back to.

Yes, there is. We hope this, the first biannual double issue of Comment, helps you see the deep love of Christ present everywhere in that complex soup of institutions, individuals, and culture that we call society. And we hope it assists you in your work toward the common good, and in waiting patiently for the Creator.

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