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Future Hindsight is a weekly podcast that aims to spark civic engagement through in-depth conversations with citizen changemakers. American democracy is a living, breathing mechanism whose well-being deserves to be cultivated and protected, and now more than ever, the need to be an engaged citizen is critical. We explore how each of us has the power to shape our society and fulfill our shared civic responsibility.

Dec 23, 2021

Faith in the Social Contract

As members of a society, we must have an understanding of “we” for the social contract to function. When citizens are put in a position of protecting the state or the economy instead of protecting its people, we all lose out. Faith can help us find a sense of togetherness. If we know who we’re fighting for, the sacrifice makes that much more sense. The pandemic has been a great example of both the wins and losses of living for the greater good.

Beloved Community

A beloved community is one that prioritizes having enough as opposed to having abundance. If everyone has enough to get by, then no one is left out. In this way, members of the community can shed the stress of the next meal or a roof over their heads, and instead are able to put resources and engagement into one another. A beloved community builds from the heart of our social contract through a faith in neighborliness and diplomacy.

Mutual Aid

The pillars of mutual aid are recognizing that there are no unworthy people and that everyone in the community is valued. In turn, people can get the help they need and ask for. For instance, in the vulnerability many experienced during the pandemic, mutual aid groups made it so if you needed food, you could rely on someone to help you with that need. Mutual aid does not depend on filling out applications to prove that you have a need, but instead a sense of trust in your community that asking for help will guarantee that help.


The Rev. Dr. Emma Jordan-Simpson is the president of Auburn Seminary, a leadership development and research institute that equips bold and resilient leaders of faith and moral courage to build communities, bridge divides, pursue justice, and heal the world. Founded more than 200 years ago by Presbyterians in upstate New York, Auburn is committed to right relationship with a truly multifaith, multiracial movement for justice.

Rev. Jordan-Simpson preached her first sermon at the age of 17 at House of Prayer Episcopal Church in Newark, NJ, and was ordained by The Concord Baptist Church of Christ, a historic freedom faith congregation in Brooklyn, NY. Her ministry has been grounded in the call to community.

She is a graduate of Fisk University (BA); Union Theological Seminary (M. Div), and Drew Theological Seminary (D. Min). She is the President of the Board of American Baptist Churches of Metropolitan New York and serves on the Board of Directors of FPWA.

You can follow Dr. Jordan-Simpson on Twitter at @RevEmmaJ