April 3, 2024

#43 - Common Life, Common Good: Jake Meador

#43 - Common Life, Common Good: Jake Meador
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How do we build communities of collaboration and care? Are our communities in the West in crisis? What are the “common objects of love” that we share, and how do we—average Christians who care—seek those out and build on them?

We were delighted to talk with Jake Meador on some of these questions, which he touches on in his first book, In Search of the Common Good. Join us as we consider different angles on the practices we engage with that can change the imagination of our time.

Jake Meador (jakemeador.com) is a writer, speaker, and editor from Lincoln, Nebraska. He writes about place, politics, culture, and the ways that Christian faith speaks to all of the various questions that those topics raise. He also wrote a thesis on Kwame Nkrumah, a mid-20th century Ghanaian politician. He’s the author of two books, In Search of the Common Good: Christian Fidelity in a Fractured World and What Are Christians For?: Life Together at the End of the World. He serves as the editor-in-chief at Mere Orthodoxy (mereorthodoxy.com), a contributing editor with Plough magazine, and a board member with the Davenant Institute.


(02:23) A crisis of common life(10:21) Example: Declining birth rates as a social problem(19:07) Practical recs: asking for help, offering home(29:04) The historical church on property rights(34:16) Practices for communities: caught, not taught(38:22) Roots we don't choose(44:23) Identity is particular; Christianity is still bigger(47:31) Who's on the land, who's good for the land?(01:03:48) OK but we gotta talk about Kwame Nkrumah. Wild.

Links and References in This Episode

Ya’ll. Jake is a well-read man. We got a long list of books for your perusing pleasure (and easier searching).

* Strangers in a Strange Land: Living the Catholic Faith in a Post-Christian World, Archbishop Charles J. Chaput (2017)

* The Benedict Option: A Strategy for Christians in a Post-Christian Nation, Rod Dreher (2017)

* Resurrecting the Idea of Christian Society, R. R. Reno (2016)

* The Unwinding: An Inner History of the New America, George Packer (2014)

* Out of the Ashes: Rebuilding American Culture, Anthony Esolen (2017)

* Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community, Robert Putnam (2000)

* Nancy Pearcey (author)

* Kirkpatrick Sale (author)

* Remaking the World: How 1776 Created the Post-Christian West, Andrew Wilson (2023)

* Wendell Berry (author)—I don’t even know what to tell you, he’s written a lot.

* Rise and Triumph of the Modern Self: Cultural Amnesia, Expressive Individualism, and the Road to Sexual Revolution, Carl Trueman (2020)

* Why Marx Was Right, Terry Eagleton (2018)

* An Indigenous Peoples' History of the United States, Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz (2015)

* Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants, Robin Wall Kimmerer (2015

* Pope Francis on a “throwaway” society (article link)

* John Paul II on a “culture of death” (Evangelium Vitae (1995))

* The Cold War and the Color Line: American Race Relations in the Global Arena, Thomas Borstelmann (2003)

And here are some additional resources or terms mentioned in this episode, not a resource, exactly, but it might make this conversation searchable/accessible to global listeners:L’Abri is a “Christian residential study center ministry”Several theologians, church fathers, and theorists talked about property rights: John Calvin, St. Basil of Caesarea in Cappadocia, John Locke, and Emil Brunner on “the inner infinity of God’s law”.

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