Gideon Strauss

Gideon Strauss was the editor of Comment from 2000 to 2010. He is currently Associate Professor of Worldview Studies at the Institute for Christian Studies, a graduate school of philosophy in Toronto, and a senior fellow with the Center for Public Justice in Washington DC. Gideon also facilitates vocational discipleship in churches in his native South Africa.

Our Further-Off Neighbours

On moral education and farming small.


More From This Contributor

Editorial: Barefoot Scholarship

I have my students read Calvin Seerveld, and I make them take off their shoes in class because, really: when we study God’s world—the tiny creatures under our microscopes, the vast galaxies within which our sun and planet whirl, the ways of men and women selling and buying in markets, the making of love and war and law and sausages—we are in the very presence of God.

Editorial: A benediction

As my colleagues and I put together this fourth annual Making the Most of College issue of Comment, I was vividly aware that we are addressing it, for the first time, also to my own children, and their friends. And so I dedicate this issue to them, and begin it with a prayer for blessing over students in 2009-2010.

Editorial: Responding

Underneath this issue is the whispered question, “What is it to be human, to be responsible?”

Editorial: High Wire Hope

David Simon’s effort to imaginatively portray the complexities of contemporary life in his television series The Wire (my favourite piece of television in a long, long time) is understood by Elijah Anderson as ultimately cynical and by Jacob Weisberg as ultimately hopeful. It is difficult to seriously talk about the complexities of the heartbreaking world in which we live without appearing cynical. And yet, even the most gimlet-eyed and hard-bitten of us yearn for hope.

Editorial: The things we love

Love is the most powerful source in our lives, the deepest relationship of which we are capable. It shapes us, so we become like that which we love. So it’s worthwhile to reflect on the things we love—and so come to know ourselves.

Living with Liberalism (part two)

“There is no such thing as society: there are individual men and women, and there are families.” -Margaret Thatcher. Strauss explains how liberalism underestimates people and God, and why people want more from our life together than that for which liberalism allows.

Living with Liberalism (part one)

It’s here, it’s not all bad, but it’s bad enough. It won’t, however, last forever.
Liberalism is the most decisive historical given in North American society, and editor Gideon Strauss assesses its pros and cons, today in Comment.

Editorial: Making the most of college

The ancient Greek philosophers pondered life’s ultimate questions: Who am I? Where did I come from? Where am I going? Why am I here? They are the questions posed to college and university students in this introductory editorial, and Comment editor Gideon Strauss adds a fifth: Who loves me and what and whom do I love? And he implies that life’s ultimate questions are ultimately religious.

Editorial: Awakenings

In this editorial, we reprise two awakenings: Gideon Strauss’s lightning bolt engagement with the biblical narrative, and Russ Kuykendall’s discovery of the neocalvinist tradition of thought.

Editorial: City and Country

Over the next months Comment explores the meaning of the city—its social and architectural design, its politics, its arts, its relation to the church—and compares it to country and agriculture. Readers and writers alike may invest in this dialogue, and perhaps gain better understanding of the proper place of both city and country in human lives lived well.

Falling in love with the New York intellectuals

It took a fierce group of 1930s journalists to show the world a new standard for truth, and how much truth should matter in personal and public life. The New York intellectuals insisted, in their ideas and their business, on both the continuing quest for truth, and the importance of living in the light of that truth. Whether or not their beliefs—tinged by Marxism and Modernism—were right, it’s the ferocity of the intellectuals that makes them significant—and charming.

Editorial: Reading the Bible: The Story and finding our place in it

For my teenage imagination, informed by years of reading Tolkien, entering The Story was like laying down arms before a conqueror, changing sides in a furious war, finding peace in the service of the true king. It was less a choice than a surrender, less an achievement than a gift received.

North America and the New Christendom

The center of gravity in the Christian world has shifted inexorably southward, to Africa, Asia, and Latin America. What does this mean for North American neocalvinists?
Gideon Strauss is the editor of Comment.

Market economy? Yes! Market society? No!

Here at the Work Research Foundation we believe in markets. We believe markets to be the best way—no, the only sane way—to structure interactions in economic life. But this does not mean we support the idea of a market society—what Warren Bennis calls “a bottom-line society.”

The poor are not the problem

Many poor countries have the appearance of market economies but are actually mercantilist economies, with small elites enriching themselves through government favours, contracts, and privileges while excluding and marginalizing both local and foreign competitors by government means . . .

Editorial: Building a Journal

Every few decades a magazine emerges that reinvigorates the North American public intellectual scene, and eventually reshapes the political and cultural landscape.

Building Institutions: The Coalition for Christian Outreach

Over thirty-five years a group of innovative leaders have built a campus ministry in the states of Ohio, West Virginia and Pennsylvania that is distinguished by a unique purpose, a committed regionalism, and solid partnerships with churches, community organizations and colleges.

Editorial: Building Institutions

In the next few months, a number of contributors will consider the idea that Christian cultural engagement is not a lone ranger effort, but that it is important to band together, to build institutions that can serve as nodes of cultural renewal, and to network these nodes together across the diverse areas in which we find ourselves active.

Editorial: Zeitgeist

As regular readers know, our particular purpose with Comment is to deepen and broaden dialogue about work and economic life. As of this issue, we will try and reach, in particular, college and university students and young working people.

Ten Good Things

Leith Anderson writes in Christianity Today (“Steady Christian Influence,” August 2004) of a woman raising her hand at a convention in Philadelphia after he spoke, and asking, “If the gospel and the church are supposed to be so effective, why is everything in America so bad?”

Editorial: End of the Print “Comment”?

This is probably the last paper copy of Comment you will hold in your hands. As of 2004, Comment will move to being a web-based magazine. It will also shift to eight issues per year, each of which will be quite a bit shorter than the bumper issue you are holding.This...

Editorial: Historical Awareness

This summer issue of Comment contains several pieces with an historical slant. Some of our readers will delight in this; others will snort along with car maker Henry Ford, who in 1916 famously remarked that "history is more or less bunk. It's tradition. We don't want...

Editorial: Making our Values Explicit

In the 60th anniversary issue of the magazine Training + Development (January 2003), the editors write: "The field that we serve has changed over six decades, but never as dramatically as in the past three years. . . . What do leading thinkers in our field make of the...

Editorial: On Craft

To know That which before us lies in daily life Is the prime wisdom. —John MiltonWith Comment, we try and connect three things in every issue (although not necessarily all three at the same time in every single piece we publish): (1) the biblical worldview, (2)...

Editorial: Public Intellectual Journalism

You were marginal in terms of the main culture, but you felt a tougher intellectual life. The talk! The talk was exciting."—William Phillips Were I the candle-lighting kind, I would light a candle for William Phillips (d. September 13, 2002), founder and editor of...

Arts and Letters Daily is Dead

The much loved Arts & Letters Daily is dead and gone. Tran Huu Dung and Denis Dutton, the editors, are not giving up, though. They have a new site, Philosophy & Literature, doing pretty much the same job.If I were a cat, Arts & Letters Daily would have...

Five Half-Truths

Henry Mintzberg—McGill business professor, management thinking maverick, and author most recently of Why I Hate Flying (Texere, 2001)—and two collaborators, Robert Simons and Kunal Basu, recently published a Memo to CEOs detailing "Five half-truths of business": We're...

Signifying Trust

A New Brand World: 8 Principles for Achieving Brand Leadership in the 21st Century by Scott Bedbury with Stephen Fenichell (Toronto: Viking Press, 2002, 288 pp, $35.99)While A New Brand World is written in an anecdotal style and wrapped around Bedbury's resume, it...

The Social Architecture of the Ontario Economy

A View of Ontario: Ontario's Clusters of Innovation (Working Paper No. 1) by the Institute for Competitiveness and Prosperity (Toronto: April 2002, 56 pp, available for free)If I were a business entrepreneur or a young person trying to figure out where to apply my...

Editorial: Limits

In a recent issue of the Harvard Business Review, leadership thinker Warren Bennis writes:Joseph Campbell once said, "In medieval times, as you approached the city, your eye was taken by the cathedral. Today, it's the towers of commerce. It's business, business,...

Small Pieces Loosely Joined

While the popping of the big tech investment bubble jaded many people on the possibilities of the Internet, it certainly had no such effect on David Weinberger. According to Weinberger, co-author of The Cluetrain Manifesto (Perseus, 2001), "the Web is, if anything,...

The Social Architecture of Business

September 11 and the preceding popping of the bubble economy of hi-flyin', hi-financed, hi-tech stocks without doubt changed the economic landscape in North America.But these changes are more climactic than tectonic: financial global warming may have been replaced by...

Buildings That Are Poems

A Pattern Language: Towns, Buildings, Construction by Christopher Alexander, Sara Ishikawa, Murray Silverstein (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1977, 1216 pp, $104) In 1977, Christopher Alexander and his Center for Environmental Structure colleagues unleashed the...

Editorial: As business ought to be

"It has often happened to me, at book fairs or in bookstores, that a gentleman approaches me and asks for my signature," writes Peruvian author Mario Vargas Llosa (The New Republic, May 14, 2001). "'It is for my wife, my young daughter, or my mother', he explains....

Editorial: Built to Last

This issue of Comment is a first step in a new direction.WRF Comment was first published in January 1983 as a 6-page newsletter on labour relations and economics. Since then, much has changed. Our publisher, the Work Research Foundation, has grown and acquired a...

The Cafeterias of the Mind

Alan Bloom's 1987 The Closing of the American Mind was probably the all-time best-selling jeremiad over the state of higher education. With ever more students aspiring to a post-secondary education, and widely divergent opinions over the purpose of higher education...

Cultivating Human Capital

A State of Minds: Toward a Human Capital Future for Canadians by Thomas J. Courchene (Montreal: Institute for Research on Public Policy, 2001, 323 pp., $24.95) Thomas Courchene has been lauded as "one of [Canada's] most provocative, and best, policy thinkers," and...

“Telos” Of Our “Eros”

The Monk and the Riddle: The Education of a Silicon Valley Entrepreneur by Randy Komisar with Kent Lineback (Boston: Harvard Business School Press, 2000, 181 pp., $36.95)Randy Komisar dishes out chicken soup for the dot-com generation. While his California...