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Faithful Compromise

March 2014

Comment Magazine - Faithful Compromise


Faithful Compromise

By James K.A. Smith

Compromise has increasingly been a lost art in our public life as we have come to prize ideological purity over brokered effectiveness.

World View

By James K.A. Smith

An annotated reading of your world. Topics this issue liberals and virtue; Theos and the fruits of global mission; and sacraments . . . canine sacraments.


In our "Work & Economics" file Cardus works toward an organization of work that contributes to employee care, human dignity, and business with integrity—a.k.a. the common good.

The Grey Area is Holy Ground: Practicing a Compromising Faith

By Marilyn McEntyre

One of the truths great compromisers do hold to and honour is that the bottom line is always 'It's not that simple.'

Why Not Rather Be Wronged?

By Janet Epp Buckingham

What are the implications of Jesus's instruction to love our enemies in a legal dispute? Does it mean we should always cave, give in, accept injustice? Might it sometimes mean that?

A Cord of Three Strands

By Meg Jenista

Living with integrity in any profession means making the daily decisions to walk toward the good, which necessitates recognizing the good.

In Good Faith: Compromise in the Face of a Revolution

By Han Dongfang with Brian Dijkema

One of China's leading reformists speaks about revolution, love, and labour—and the personal and public nature of compromise.

In the Beginning Was . . . The Left and the Right

By Eric Miller

After looking at Paine, Burke, and the foundations of liberalism and conservatism, the modern political divide seems much less surprising. But what can we do about it?


Putting Love to Work

By Davey Henreckson

It is not enough to talk in the abstract about the importance of liberty and equality; people must be taught to love these ideals and the people they protect with an intense passion.

Face to Face with the Wronged

By Gideon Strauss

Justice was transformed for Nicholas Wolterstorff when an encounter with victims of apartheid forced him to change his starting point.

Consumption and Culture-Making

By Brian Dijkema

Let's fight for balance and care in our fight against resource over-consumption.

This Issue

Daniel is the poster boy of refusal to compromise. Except, of couse, when he did.

Daniel was faithful amidst compromise. His expectations were cut to the measure of exile. He had no illusions about what was possible in Babylon, even while he sought to influence his exilic home in the meantime. There is a parable for us in that.

So this issue of Comment undertakes an audacious goal: to redeem compromise. We want to recover a sense in which compromise can actually be faithful, a good, tangible expression of our commitment to shalom precisely because we give up any illusion that the purity of eschatological justice can be secured by us in the here-and-now. In other words, we believe that "not being in control," as Stanley Hauerwas often puts it, actually liberates us to compromise when pursuing the common good.

—James K.A. Smith

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