Cry, the Beloved Country

Just over a year ago, at the first On Being Gathering, Krista Tippett spoke the words I’d been needing to hear for some time: our inherited institutions are broken.

I believe that’s true — especially at the federal and international levels, where I’ve tended to focus. I believe it’s pervasive (implicating at least our economic, educational, and cultural institutions as well as our political ones), and I don’t believe it’s any great secret.

But, for all that, it’s not an easy thing to say out loud. For, if it’s true that these institutions are broken, what does that say about the stories we tell ourselves, the goals we’ve set for ourselves, and the tasks we may need to take up?

Still, admitting reality is the essential first step in making things better. And I believe there are enormous — perhaps once-in-a-century — opportunities to make things better. As with depression or disease, we’re being forced to confront sickness, find out what’s out of whack, and determine how we’re going to change in response to the challenge.

We may never be the same, but we have a precious opportunity to determine what better might mean, and what it will take to get there.

We can’t start that conversation soon enough.


Today marks 100 days of blogging in a row. When I started, I had no idea if I’d be able to do such a thing. If you’re reading this, thank you.