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Winter 2021 | Volume 39, Issue 1

Rebuilding Trust

We are living through times that often feel like one long commentary on Joni Mitchell’s line “you don’t know what you got till it’s gone.” From regular encounters on the street to public sacraments, hospitality in the flesh to basic truth-telling from our leaders, it is not the sophisticated accoutrements of an advanced civilization that have screamed in their absence, but rather the rudimentary things we ordinarily take for granted. And among these invisible “essentials” is something increasingly at risk: trust. Symptoms of the rot abound, and just in the nick of time, many cultural observers are starting to take notice. We commend the diagnostic literature to you, but what this winter issue of Comment does is brave the “what now?” question: What might it take to build some trust back in to our withered commons, and for those who have never tasted trust’s rewards, sow it reliably for the first time?  

11 Articles In this Issue
04
Editorial: Sowing for Trust by Anne Snyder

How might we renew the conditions for dignity first?

08
Building Trust Across the Political Divide by April Lawson

The surprising bridge of conflict.

18
The Mystery of Trust by Amanda Ripley

What the military can teach Congress, news outlets, and churches about winning back the faith of the people.

29
Photo Essay: Making and Keeping Peace by The VII Foundation

37
One Nation, Sinful Under God by Shadi Hamid

A greater appreciation of sin could unite America.

43
The Complexities of Forbearance by Gregory Lee

Augustinian insights for an age of polarization.

53
Reviving Intellectual Hospitality by Cherie Harder

How to open our minds, hearts, and homes to our neighbours.

59
Review: A Deeper Way of Living by Emily Esfahani Smith

Taking a closer look at the joys and sacrifices of community living.

66
Review: The Blood of Our Attention by Jeff Reimer

How to love your crooked historical neighbour with your crooked heart.

72
Visceral Lending by Johanna Lewis

Why personal relationships and trust are the heart of credit.

79
Post Script: Designing for Trust by Heidi Deddens

Cities should draw us together, not pull us apart.

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