Patronage: Why We All Need to Invest in Culture

December 2013

Comment Magazine - Patronage: Why We All Need to Invest in Culture

01

Keats's Phrase

By Albert Goldbarth

02

Let's Talk About Your Investment Strategy

By James K.A. Smith

We are all patrons, even if we don't mean to be.

06

Letters

Continuing the conversation.
08

World View

By James K.A. Smith

An annotated reading of your world. Topics this issue include home repair and home destruction; a lot of us surprised at threats to religious freedom; and the hope that counters despair.
13

Headquarters

"Social Cities looks to highlight the methods of building and organizing cities that encourage flourishing and healthy societies"—an update from Cardus on the renewal of social architecture.
14

Culture Care: Called to be Patrons

By Makoto Fujimura

Let's lay down our weapons of culture war and become patrons of beauty, tending our culture with care.
21

Institutional Faithfulness and the Christian School

By Paul Brink

Who are the patrons of the Christian school, and what does that role mean?
28

Welcoming Kickstarter into the Clubhouse

By Lukas Naugle

While it can and should never replace the deep patronage necessary for shalom, online crowdfunding can have a valuable place in positive culture-building.

36

Philanthropy as Culture-Making

By Don Flow

All of life is a gift lived under grace and the only appropriate response is gratitude expressed through generosity.
44

The End of Patronage?

By Roberta Green Ahmanson with James K.A. Smith

An art historian with an insatiable curiosity discusses what it meant to be a patron of the arts—and what it means today.
53

Why Philanthropy Matters

By Fred Smith

Despite tunnel vision, Acs's book raises important questions about philanthropy's impact on culture.
59

iDevotion

By Christy Tennant Krispin

Just how much do you love your iPhone?
64

Learning to Care

By Deani Van Pelt

For parents, education is about growing in our children the capacity to care, regardless of the education system we choose for them.

This Issue


An old word like "patronage" has either a negative connotation (nepotism, playing favourites) or a very limited meaning that we associate with wealthy donors (think Downton Abbey).

But no—the word is much broader. All of us are patrons. We are patrons, even if we might be poor grad students or young married couples barely eking out an existence. We are patrons, not just in our "charitable" giving, but in our day-to-day lives.

To be a patron is to be a selector, an evaluator. And by our decisions, we are saying "yes" to some version of the good life.

I hope this issue of Comment will prompt you to ask questions you haven't considered before, so that you might see your daily life anew and thereby take hold of your calling as a patron—and take up that cultural labour as an investment in shalom.

—James K.A. Smith

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