Friday, November 29, 2013

Patronage: Being Intentional About our Cultural Investments

We've sent the Winter 2013 issue of Comment to press.  It will hit iPads in a couple of weeks and mailboxes soon thereafter.  It's another rich conversation with contributions by Mako Fujimura, Roberta Ahmanson, Lukas Naugle, and many more.  Check out the Table of Contents here.

Our theme for this issue is Patronage, inviting you to think more intentionally about all of the ways you invest in culture and the common good.  It's not a question of whether you patronize; only what--which is precisely we need to think and talk about this.

My editorial, "Let's Talk About Your Investment Strategy," invites you into these questions.  Here's a snippet:

We are patrons, not just in our "charitable" giving, but in our day-to-day lives. When we spend our money, we are not just consuming commercial goods, we are also fostering and perpetuating ways of being human. To be a patron is to be a selector, an evaluator, and a progenitor of certain forms of cultural life. You didn't realize you exercised such power, did you? 
When you start to think in these terms, you realize that all of us are patrons. And you start to realize that maybe we should think a little more carefully about how to do this well. By decisions we perhaps don't think about, we are effectively saying "yes" to some version of the good life. In this issue of the magazine we have gathered wisdom from a range of practitioners with a view to equipping you to be a better patron—in philanthropy and charitable giving, but also in our nitty-gritty, workaday lives. We're interested in patrons as culturemakers and helping culture-makers to see their responsibility as patrons.

Read of the rest of the editorial.  Then, if you're not yet a subscriber, I hope you'll sign up today for just $30/year.  Or consider our reduced iPad subscription at just $19.99/year (and get a bonus issue).

Already a longtime Comment subscriber?  Then I have another suggestion for you:

1. Think of three people whose lives you want to invest in: they might be students who are going to graduate this year, staff members you are cultivating, leaders in your congregation, grandchildren who are beginning to make their way in the world.  

2.  Buy them gift subscriptions to Comment. It's a great way to invite them into a wider conversation.  

3. We'll send you a signed copy of my new book, Discipleship in the Present Tense.  (Hurry! Offer ends December 9.)