Featuring updates on our Christ & Flourishing and Life Worth Living initiatives, grantmaking, teaching, research, and a look back at our 2021 media and public engagement activities.
I believe that the good is always more fundamental than evil. To believe that God created the world is to believe that the world’s goodness is primordial. Whatever evil may befall us and whatever evil we may perpetrate cannot undo it; nothing can.
We have lived under a dark cloud for the past two years. Time itself, as some have noted, has taken on a vagueness and indeterminacy that leads to dread. With the threat of war, economic turmoil, a virus that won’t go away, and a polarized political world, it would be easy to simply accept the dark cloud and give up hope for the light of the sun to ever break upon us again.
The basic Christian conviction of primordial goodness can and should sustain us in times such as these. But it is all too easy to lose this perspective. The twisted state of things has a way of eclipsing what we know to be true: that life itself—and the very life with which each of us is alive—is God’s gift.
Even through the dark cloud, small rays of light are shining upon us. Can we see them? How many times do we ignore glistening gems of life—mere inconsequential fire-flies, we think—and instead focus on the darkness that envelopes us? I think of the late-tenth-century Japanese poet Izumi Shikibu’s short verse (translated by Jane Hirshfield):
Although the wind
blows terribly here,
the moonlight also leaks
between the roof planks
of this ruined house.
For the past year, we have been attending to those rays of light, identifying them, appreciating them, drawing attention of others to them. It’s my honor to present an overview of our work at the Yale Center for Faith & Culture in 2021.
Thank you for the light you bring. Thank you for your friendship and support.