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Patronage: Why We All Need to Invest in Culture

December 2013

Comment Magazine - Patronage: Why We All Need to Invest in Culture

02

Let's Talk About Your Investment Strategy

By James K.A. Smith

We are all patrons, even if we don't mean to be.

06

Letters

Continuing the conversation.
14

Culture Care: Called to be Patrons

By Makoto Fujimura

Let's lay down our weapons of culture war and become patrons of beauty, tending our culture with care.
21

Institutional Faithfulness and the Christian School

By Paul Brink

Who are the patrons of the Christian school, and what does that role mean?
28

Welcoming Kickstarter into the Clubhouse

By Lukas Naugle

While it can and should never replace the deep patronage necessary for shalom, online crowdfunding can have a valuable place in positive culture-building.

36

Philanthropy as Culture-Making

By Don Flow

All of life is a gift lived under grace and the only appropriate response is gratitude expressed through generosity.
44

The End of Patronage?

By Roberta Green Ahmanson

An art historian with an insatiable curiosity discusses what it meant to be a patron of the arts—and what it means today.
53

Why Philanthropy Matters

By Fred Smith

Despite tunnel vision, Acs's book raises important questions about philanthropy's impact on culture.
59

iDevotion

By Christy Tennant Krispin

Just how much do you love your iPhone?
64

Learning to Care

By Deani Van Pelt

For parents, education is about growing in our children the capacity to care, regardless of the education system we choose for them.

This Issue


An old word like "patronage" has either a negative connotation (nepotism, playing favourites) or a very limited meaning that we associate with wealthy donors (think Downton Abbey).

But no—the word is much broader. All of us are patrons. We are patrons, even if we might be poor grad students or young married couples barely eking out an existence. We are patrons, not just in our "charitable" giving, but in our day-to-day lives.

To be a patron is to be a selector, an evaluator. And by our decisions, we are saying "yes" to some version of the good life.

I hope this issue of Comment will prompt you to ask questions you haven't considered before, so that you might see your daily life anew and thereby take hold of your calling as a patron—and take up that cultural labour as an investment in shalom.

—James K.A. Smith

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