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Breaking Ground

From the Editor

Dear Reader,

These are deeply disorienting times. Many of us are losing loved ones and livelihoods—to COVID-19, to racial violence and injustice. All of us are having to loosen our grasp on familiar rhythms and assumed futures. The institutional, economic, and social backdrop is a mess, and many of our vocations have been yanked into a violent gem tumbler, the somersaults revealing little of where we’re headed or how long we’ll have to keep spinning.

Historically, change of this scope has created moral opportunity. The question is whether our societies harbour the discerning capacities to see it as such, whether they have the humility to accept it, and whether they enter the crisis with the baseline social and civic health required to do something about it—productively.

That’s why we at Comment have created Breaking Ground, a collaborative web commons to inspire a dynamic ecosystem of thinkers and doers to respond to the needs of this hour with wisdom and courage. In a founding partnership with Plough Quarterly and The Davenant Institute, we’ve worked to create a space where the sacred lens might influence the wider conversation, where the painfully fragmented body of Christ might come together in shared love and urgent calling, and where the ecumenical church with all her scars might be better resourced to lead—in service, sacrifice, and solidarity. As this project has developed, we’ve built a big tent of collaborators—and if you see something of your hopes echoed here, please join us.

Breaking Ground convenes world-class scholars and seasoned practitioners, artists and pastors, community weavers and those made resilient by long-standing struggle to contribute original essays and participate in our podcast and virtual events. We also celebrate and point you toward the work of those people, publications, and organizations that are providing particularly insightful moral leadership, weaving a broader tapestry that we hope will unearth an ecosystem that already exists but rarely sings as one.

All content on Breaking Ground—whether original or curated—is motivated by the following three needs:

  1. Seeing clearly and deeply: What exactly is being revealed in this current crisis? About society? About the state of our own hearts?
  2. Learning from the past: How have plagues historically provided opportunities for new beginnings, new building, a renewal of institutions?
  3. Imagining the future: What institutions need renewing now, and how might that happen? What might be born anew in this time, and how might God’s people help in the building?

This is at heart a rethinking project aimed at community-building, one that seeks to offer a creative lens borne out of two thousand years of Christian social thought and the witness it has inspired time and again. It’s never easy to imagine new wineskins, to say nothing of stitching and sewing them. But as followers of Christ we believe there is a model for living that still has power to orient our hope, perhaps even direct our steps. We hope you’ll come along.


Anne Snyder
Editor-in-Chief, Comment