Did you enjoy your morning shower? Down a hot cup of coffee? If you didn’t think twice about your routine, you owe it to institutions. They make rituals routine. Now, if you think every person in the world ought to be able to enjoy a warm shower, you know why institutions matter. They matter so much, we’ve written The Clapham Institute Manifesto.

Read the rest of this entry »

Concrete Ideas

July 20th, 2009

Email This Post Email This Post

Robert Moses built Long Island parks that few African-Americans ever enjoyed. He poured parkways for New Yorkers to get to his parks – but few African-Americans ever drove on them. He carved out new beaches – but few African-Americans ever swam there. Moses accomplished this without passing one law barring them from his parks or posting one sign prohibiting them from entering. How then did he do it?

Read the rest of this entry »

Draw two circles. Make one very large – covering almost an entire page. Make the second circle very small. Write “reality” in the larger circle. Write “religion” in the smaller circle. Welcome to the 21st century. If you don’t think these circles square with reality, here are a handful of books worth reading this summer.

Read the rest of this entry »

Four-on-Five

July 6th, 2009

Email This Post Email This Post

Four-on-five basketball produces a predictable result. With summer vacation, our weekly neighborhood game rarely fields a full complement of ten players. We could play 4-on-4, but that would require someone sitting out a game and getting stiff (we’re getting older). So we play 4-on-5 with the four-player team rarely winning. In the wider world, this is the game most faith communities are playing – 4-on-5. It’s why they rarely win.

Read the rest of this entry »