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The Whole Person Revolution
73 minutes | May 31, 2022
When the Biosphere Meets the Social Spheres
The natural world is one thing we all share. Yet our relationship with creation is as fraught with divisions and political bickering as anything else in our divided times. How might we think through our approach to climate change and other environmental challenges? What obligations do various social spheres have to care for the environment? How might those be balanced in a way that does not do irreparable harm to either natural or social ecosystems? Our guests environmental lawyer Jennifer Hernandez, and political philosopher Dr. Jonathan Chaplin discuss these topics, their favourite spots on earth, and more.
44 minutes | May 24, 2022
Has Science Lost Its Authority?
It’s been a tough season for experts. Distrusted by the public if not politicized by the craven, those trained to master a specific domain in service of common goods seem all too divested of their authority; every earned discovery is now subject to the culture war. What is going on? Are any of these dynamics legit? Dr. Francis Collins has lived these questions his whole career, though perhaps no more intensely than over the Covid-19 pandemic. Currently serving as Science Advisor to the President of the United States, he has some things to say.
64 minutes | May 17, 2022
Is the Family an Inviolable Sphere?
Since the pandemic, there’s been more clashing between the family and other spheres. Is there a way to move forward without segmenting our society still further? Educational historian Susan Wise Bauer and religious freedom lawyer Angela Wu Howard - both of them also mothers, serious Christians and generous citizens - explore the pathways.
57 minutes | May 10, 2022
This spring, Comment is celebrating the civic health that blossoms when we understand distinct spheres of action and the particularities of what each sphere is for. But let’s be honest: Sometimes boundaries aren’t all they’re cracked up to be. They can oppress a people group, numb creativity, flatline the glory of human moral reasoning and sometimes even sow more evil than could the most bombastic of sociopaths. What happens when a little rebellion is called for? And how does one discern that terrain? Kristina Arriaga and Reverend Gene Rivers are two of the holier troublemakers around — seasoned champions of human dignity and interior freedom who haven’t always been able to stomach the status quo. They’ve joined Anne to peel back the nuances of what good trouble requires, and what it can yield.
49 minutes | May 3, 2022
Of Scenes & Spheres
Comment is getting re-acquainted with the traditional spheres this season, things like the family, education, church, and the workplace. But are these kinds of institutional commitments really all that shape a person? Where do scenes fall? Think of unique subcultures, a city scene, a musical or sports scene. Might scenes like these be more powerful than the traditional spheres today, at least in terms of where we are willing to deposit our trust? Comment’s own Jeff Reimer and Matt Crummy weigh in.
40 minutes | Apr 26, 2022
Integrated Living in Dis-Integrated Times
Most of us have accepted the skills that a fractured age requires. But what would it take to reknit our disparate selves into wholeness? Might a re-thickening of the boundaries of our civic spheres paradoxically help? Join Anne in exploring these tensions with April Lawson, Director of Debates and Public Discourse at Braver Angels, and Brandon Vaidyanathan, chair of the sociology department at the Catholic University of America.
54 minutes | Apr 19, 2022
Desacralizing the Culture War
Must we fight one another in every domain of life? Are turbocharged symbols the only way to assert one’s voice in a pluralist republic? David French and Jonathan Rauch are two political observers who have thought long and hard about these questions, and they join Anne today to shed light on how we got to this flat state of affairs, and also how we can get out. Yuval Levin: How to Curb the Culture War
74 minutes | Mar 24, 2022
Christian Humanism Lies in the Encounter
As we wrap up this season’s explorations of the gift logic, it seemed appropriate to zoom out to the tradition that has animated this conversation from the very beginning: Christian humanism. A rich if unfinished tradition that at once informs Comment’s editorial lens and animates our broader work as an ecosystem-builder, we wish to tell a story of Christian humanism that cares for the full flowering of human agency through forms of just and generous common life. It’s a common life that works itself out through a thick web of formative institutions, which in turn enable purposeful dialogue and relationship between friends and strangers. Helping us see the beauty of this rotating discovery process is Luke Bretherton, the Robert E. Cushman Distinguished Professor of Moral and Political Theology at Duke University.
61 minutes | Mar 17, 2022
Forming People to Love
Rajan Mathews of Nyack College and Dave Hillis of Leadership Foundations each lead institutions that put the primacy of relationship over and above the allure of efficiency. What are the challenges in preserving this commitment in higher education and the social service sector today? What yet fortifies their call?
38 minutes | Mar 10, 2022
Prisons Without Guards
What might happen if our criminal justice system ventured into a different set of moral risks? Are those who have been imprisoned for their crimes worthy of a culture of trust? APAC, a revolutionary Brazilian prison system, is making a bet that natural beauty, community, work and trust might just re-awaken prisoners' innate dignity and tap into freedom's high call (less its license). In this episode, prison warden Captain Jessica Davis and filmmaker Simonetta d’Italia-Wiener, director of the award-winning Unguarded, peel back the tensions between the power of this methodology and the need for accountability. You can also check out the documentary that more vividly illuminates this gift-infused logic on PBS, where it is streaming all month here.
49 minutes | Mar 3, 2022
Local Entrepreneurship: Capitalism's Conscience?
We tend to hear “entrepreneur” nowadays and think Silicon Valley, privilege, a preference for tech jargon over and above the humane and the commonplace. But what if its local flowering is worth a second look? Might entrepreneurship as a way of creative response be the embodiment of the gift logic par excellence? Rising Tide Capital is making just this bet, and this episode with co-founder Alex Forrester illuminates the stakes for doing so with integrity.
52 minutes | Feb 24, 2022
Gifts Are Not Free
Composer and singer-songwriter Alana Levandoski grew up on the Canadian prairies with an awareness of her own reliance on the gifts of the land, giving her an "ecological perspective" on her artistic vocation. "There's a huge difference between seeing something as free and seeing something as a gift," she says. For Levandoski, embracing the interdependence of a gift economy has allowed her to witness the richness of reciprocity—not just between her and her listeners but among them, too.
45 minutes | Feb 10, 2022
Is the Gift Economy Anti-justice?
The gift logic at its purest sounds like the height of virtue: self-sacrificing, open-handed, generous, gentle. But how does it square with the demands of justice? Can they co-exist in the same moral galaxy? This week’s episode wrestles with these questions, and our interlocutors come from inside the Comment team: associate editor Heidi Deddens and senior editor Brian Dijkema. Two different lenses, one faith. Two distinct generational outlooks, a shared cultural context. Are justice and the gift logic actually at odds, or are they simply in need of some re-encountering? Tune in to find out.
52 minutes | Feb 3, 2022
The Reciprocity of the Theatre
We don’t naturally think of performance as a two-way street. But the reality is all stories told well invite us to inhabit something personal, and something shared. In this episode, two actors, directors, and longtime friends Chris Domig and Mark Lewis discuss the circular potency of gifts, and how they’ve each woven that circularity into their crafts both on and off the stage.
36 minutes | Jan 27, 2022
An economy of giving is easier to dream about than to implement. But one institution is testing its promise with all that it has. In this episode, president of Hope College, Matthew Scogin, unveils a pioneering financial model that has the potential to disrupt American higher ed for the better, showcasing the surprise riches of a generative logic en route.
49 minutes | Aug 3, 2021
And the Suffering Shall Lead Us
"Solidarity is always intentional, always messy." Pancho Argüelles is the executive director of the Living Hope Wheelchair Association, a community-based organization of migrants with spinal cord injuries. Born in Mexico City, for more than thirty years now he has worked on human rights issues in Mexico, Central America, and the United States. Animated by questions of solidarity and justice, human dignity and collective leadership, Pancho has chosen to be shaped by those in the trenches of daily physical pain and civic precarity. Here are some of the lessons he has to impart.
51 minutes | Jul 22, 2021
When Thoughts and Prayers Aren't Enough
On April 12, 2013 as Taylor Schumann was beginning her work day working at the New River Community College in Christiansburg, Virginia, a gunman walked in and shot her. She survived, but not without deep scars both physical and psychological. How does one recover from such a horrific event? What are the lessons of post-traumatic growth?
63 minutes | Jun 4, 2021
Beauty from Ashes
What is the relationship between justice and beauty, repair and renewal? What inspires us to create? Mako Fujimura, an artist, and his wife, Haejin Shim, a lawyer, together are building a richer understanding of the interdependencies here, interdependencies that we all will need as we exit the pandemic and relate to an altered world. Makoto Fujimura is a contemporary artist, curator, writer, and founder of the International Arts Movement. Haejin A. Shim Fujimura is the founder and owner of Shim & Associates, P.C., a law firm founded on the vision of cultural renewal for the legal industry, and the co-founder of Embers International, a global organization that seeks to protect, restore, and empower victims of injustice, and catalyze sustainable transformation by creating access to opportunities and resources.
47 minutes | May 7, 2021
Love is a Neural Highway
Love and science don't always make easy conversation partners, but Amy O'Dell has found a way to make them at once intelligible to each other, and transformative for the lives of children and their families. Here is her story, and the story of Jacob's Ladder.
29 minutes | Apr 30, 2021
Whole People, Whole Educations
How can institutions be transformational, not simply transactional? What is higher education, specifically, doing to meet the hungers of a generation increasingly adamant that "the whole person" be acknowledged and respected? Dr. Nathan Hatch is the president of Wake Forest University, and has not only thought about these questions for decades, but shaped an entire institution around them. Here are his thoughts.
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