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Fall 2013 | Volume 31, Issue 2

We Believe in Institutions

In this issue of Comment we proudly profess that we believe in institutions. Institutions will sometimes be scaffolds to support the weak; sometimes fences to protect the vulnerable; sometimes springboards to pursue new innovation. But in a cynical age that tends to celebrate anti-institutional suspicion, you should resist it—because institutions are ways to love our neighbours.

13 Articles In this Issue
Heaven by Christopher Howell

Editorial: We Believe in Institutions by James K.A. Smith

If you care about the welfare of your city and your neighbour, take ownership of the institutions around you.

Continuing The Conversation  

Justice For All?

World View by James K.A. Smith

An annotated reading of your world, including Seerveld, the U.S. Supreme Court, Trayvon Martin, and Detroit.


"The education that takes place in religious schools and homeschools is public education and is producing results that are in the public interest"—an update from Cardus on the renewal of social architecture.

The Eternal Lens: The Press as a Humanizing Institution by Anne Snyder

One person reflects on her vocation in the news media—one of our "last shared maps" through a million islands of opinion.

The Church Upward "and" Outward: Implications of the Ascension by Chris Ganski

Should our churches be pointed toward worship or mission?

Recovering an Institutional Imagination by Emily Rose Gum

Institutions do not simply emerge or persist. You and I create and sustain them, and we imagine their future.

The Backdrop of Reality by James Davison Hunter, James K.A. Smith

You need to look hard to see just how powerful institutions are, but when you do, you understand that we're all shaped by them. James Davison Hunter in conversation with James K.A. Smith.

Made to Measure: A History of Institutions by Brian Dijkema

How have institutions changed in the modern era, and why? Douglas Allen takes us on a fascinating historical journey.

Baseball, Business, and Beyond: Thinking Outside Yourself by Jeff Haanen

Review: Hugh Heclo, On Thinking Institutionally. Following tradition blindly is a dangerous game. But armed with a moral compass, we gain far more than we risk from the legacy of our institutions.

Can These Bones Live? by David Henreckson

Unexpected lessons from the life of Kuyper.

Join the Party! by Gideon Strauss

Even if you are already doing everything right, you should take your desire for justice one important step further . . .

Contributors to this Issue