Editorial: Building Institutions
Editorial: Building Institutions

Editorial: Building Institutions

In the next few months, a number of contributors will consider the idea that Christian cultural engagement is not a lone ranger effort, but that it is important to band together, to build institutions that can serve as nodes of cultural renewal, and to network these nodes together across the diverse areas in which we find ourselves active.
June 10 th 2005

In the next few months many of our weekly Comment articles will focus on the importance of building institutions. (Did I just say "weekly"? Yes—it is our plan to put at least one new article up on the Comment website every week, at least for the foreseeable future. We hope that you will enjoy this more regular fare, and intend to remind you of these articles with a weekly email reminder to all who are interested. Let us know if you would like to receive this reminder by sending a note to comment@wrf.ca.)

To get back to my main point—in the next few months, a number of contributors will consider the idea that Christian cultural engagement is not a lone ranger effort, but that it is important to band together, to build institutions that can serve as nodes of cultural renewal, and to network these nodes together across the diverse areas in which we find ourselves active.

One of the particular pleasures of editing Comment is working with the Junior Fellows and summer interns of the Work Research Foundation. These younger colleagues of mine, usually students or recent graduates, bring a fresh perspective and a youthful vigor to the questions we explore together. This week we are publishing a revised version of the inaugural address of the WRF's Junior Fellow, James Brink, and an article by a summer intern, Richard Greydanus.

James Brink makes the basic case for building institutions. Given that cultural change does not happen overnight, if we strive for enduring renewal we need to invest ourselves in the process for the long haul, and that demands that we organize groups, establish foundations, start schools, plant churches, and in general do the kind of solid institution-building without which our efforts would be fleeting and of little consequence.

Richard Greydanus takes a look at one example of such institution-building, the Center for Public Justice in Washington D.C. The Center is a political think tank with a neocalvinist perspective, and was established in the 1980s by Dr. James Skillen and others on the basis of an earlier association of Christian citizens. The history of the Center raises interesting questions about the strategic choices we face when we build an institution for cultural renewal in a particular arena of life—in this case, the political.

I hope that you will enjoy these contributions and benefit from them. In the weeks to come Comment will investigate a few more examples of institution-building, and we will also give you a peek behind the scenes at the Work Research Foundation, in reporting about our exciting lecture series with Prof. James Davison Hunter, To Change The World, that is taking place across Canada in the week to come.

Topics: Leadership
Gideon Strauss
 
Gideon Strauss

Gideon Strauss was the editor of Comment from 2000 to 2010. He is currently Associate Professor of Worldview Studies at the Institute for Christian Studies, a graduate school of philosophy in Toronto, and a senior fellow with the Center for Public Justice in Washington DC. Gideon also facilitates vocational discipleship in churches in his native South Africa.

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