How to Leave a Mark on People

David Brooks, writing for The New York Times:

What makes an institution thick? If you were setting out consciously to create a thick institution, what features would it include?

A thick institution is not one that people use instrumentally, to get a degree or to earn a salary. A thick institution becomes part of a person’s identity and engages the whole person: head, hands, heart and soul. So thick institutions have a physical location, often cramped, where members meet face to face on a regular basis, like a dinner table or a packed gym or assembly hall.
Continue reading the main story

Such institutions have a set of collective rituals — fasting or reciting or standing in formation. They have shared tasks, which often involve members closely watching one another, the way hockey teammates have to observe everybody else on the ice…

Churches should be thick institutions. They should force you to rub shoulders with the other believers and look each other in the eye. These are the things that an online church or campus can’t do.

Yes, the church is not a physical building, but there’s something about physically being around people that at online church can’t replicate.

via How to Leave a Mark on People – The New York Times