Purchase a single copy of our winter 2023 issue. It’s no secret that the church, like every other traditional institution in late modernity, is struggling. Its impoverished public witness in recent years, the lack of vision and compromised credibility, reveals soil that is dry. But why is this? And are those of us who are Christians reckoning sufficiently with our own responsibility?
This issue of Comment wants to encourage you to pause and ask two questions: Church, where are you? And, Church, where am I in you? We’ve sought out authors who can see the symptomatic dysfunction for what it is and probe deeper into the forces underlying it: the overwhelming rush of modern time; the problem of freedom and autonomy; the difficulty of maintaining a community’s coherence in an ever more fractured, mobile, and individualistic age; the constantly shifting reductionism of language that makes us numb to God’s action in the world; the fear that keeps us from enmeshing ourselves in relationships of risk. These are not abstract bogeymen fit only for a Charles Taylor seminar. They are real challenges felt by each of us in our day-to-day lives, and while they are besieging nearly all institutions right now, they are especially challenging for the church, which has a special calling to be a unique presence in the world, a presence that reverberates with a different kind of staying power, intrigue, beauty—a doorway to eternity.