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We Believe in Institutions

September 2013

Comment Magazine - We Believe in Institutions


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. Topics this issue include Calvin Seerveld and the U.S. Supreme Court, Trayvon Martin and lament, Detroit and the welfare of the city, Ronald Reagan and the Institute of Marriage and Family Canada.


"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

Recovering an Institutional Imagination

The Backdrop of Reality

By James Davison Hunter

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? Unexpected Lessons From the Life of Kuyper

By Davey Henreckson

The Kuyper corrective: even as a flawed and complicated human being, he united "the warm heart at which evangelicalism excels" with "the furnished mind that public engagement requires."


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 . . .

This Issue

In this issue of Comment we proudly profess that we believe in institutions: minor hockey, the Hamilton Public Library, the Legislative Assembly of Ontario, Surrey Christian School, the Calgary Planning Commission, the United States Congress, the family . . .

Institutions will sometimes be scaffolds to support the weak; sometimes fences to protect the vulnerable; sometimes springboards to pursue new innovation.

In a cynical age that tends to celebrate anti-institutional suspicion, you should resist it—because institutions are ways to love our neighbours. Think of institutions as enactments: not just something we build, but something that we do.

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