Invitation to Our Next Symposium: On Home

Please Come and Share Your Thoughts on Home

“There’s no place like home.” There is especially no place like a well-ordered, welcoming, loving home. Domestic tranquility is one of the most beautiful things in the world. But as Robert Farrar Capon wrote, “It is hard to make a home.” Homes of the hospitable sort do not just pop out of the ground. They have to be nurtured and maintained with patience and sacrifices that often aren't noticed or appreciated. This work must be done while contending with any number of foes that do damage to home life: busyness (is it a home if no one is ever there?), the transitoriness of modern life, unemployment, workaholism, poverty, illness, divorce, and abuse, along with the garden-variety sinful cussedness that makes us all so difficult to live with.  This symposium will investigate what makes homes beautiful, and how to create them in a world filled with broken people who all need a place to call home.

Some Possible Themes:

1. What significance does the physical space in a home have? What does it say about us? How does it shape us? Homes in the '90s emphasized bedrooms because of the private lives each member of the house would conduct within them; the "master oasis" has become the largest room in today's houses because the defeated parents expect to need to flee from the kids - on the other hand, the popularity of "open concept" main floors speaks to a renewed desire for shared spaces and hospitality...or does it?

2. Our ideas of home have become enmeshed with the ideal of the nuclear family. What about people who do not fit neatly into that picture, like the elderly, orphans, single adults, adults with disabilities? And what about the homeless? And what do you do when your current living situation is nothing like the home you longed for?

3. When many homes do not fit the model of a traditional family, how should the culture as a whole respond? What forms of support should be given to struggling single parents, and who should provide that support? How do we provide for the rising medical costs of a top-heavy aging population in our own country? What are the long-term implications of the low birth rates of countries like Russia and Japan?

4. The idea of Home is a popular theme in movies and literature. What depictions of home have taught you or inspired you?

5. The people you live with, particularly your family, are supposed to be the people you love most. But at times we treat our families more poorly than we would treat strangers. What are the problems that Life Together creates, and how can the familiarity of home life breed love instead of contempt?

We are seeking submissions for our upcoming symposium, which aims to explore questions like these. Contributors are encouraged to choose a specific question that can be adequately covered in the space allotted–overly broad pieces are unlikely to be accepted.

For examples of the kind of style and substance we are looking for, you can read up on our previous symposiums, on the Christian Imagination and Modern Conservatism.


Soliciting several articles in the 400-800 word range. Soliciting 1-3 articles in the 800-1600 word range. Intended audience: John Jay alumni-level readership.  Author can assume the readership is college-educated and has an active, serious interest in political, cultural, and religious topics, but is not necessarily active in academia. Tone: Thoughtful, informed, and with appropriate citations, but accessible and concise (not an academic journal). Internet-friendly. Content: Light on summarizing others’ content; heavy on the author’s (hopefully fresh) argument. Concepts due February 21. If approved, first drafts will be due March 14, with the symposium to begin running April 6.

To submit an article proposal:

Submit your idea in a few words (ideally with a link to a writing sample) to editor Zachary Gappa at

Who do you know who should write for this?