Encouraging People to Build Strong Relationships with Each Other and with God

For years one of the ways I keep up with my life is through my Moleskine notebook.

It’s true. I even tape things in the back cover of my notebook—mostly clippings and quotes that inspire me or keep me focused. My 2019 goals are there, the H. E. Butt Foundation mission is there and the ways we try to serve others as an organization: Relationships, Hospitality, Beauty, and Reflection.

My current journal also has a few words from the New York Times columnist, David Brooks—typed up and taped in—words adapted from his Relationist Manifesto that he shared at a recent retreat. He said,

“Society is a system of relationships. We need to become more communal than individualistic, more holistic than utilitarian, more emotional than cognitive. Religion speaks those languages. Without them, morality is inarticulate.”

David Brooks

David Brooks is certainly onto something here. When society feels broken to us, it means our relationships are broken. When morality has gone mute, it’s because we have forgotten how to talk about the value of community and emotion and wholeness.

This is the essence of the H. E. Butt Foundation’s mission. For decades, our programs in the Canyon have encouraged people build strong relationships with others and with God. We’ve made space for them to experience hospitality and beauty. We’ve set the table to give them a place for deep reflection.

More recently, we’ve been experimenting with ways to help people beyond the Canyon experience these same values in Kerrville, San Antonio and Real County. Why focus on these three communities? We live in them. These are our neighbors. We want to change the definition of our neighbor to include everyone around us.

Of course, I’m speaking in broad strokes here, but this issue of Echoes has plenty of specific stories that illustrate this. So find your favorite chair, maybe on a porch somewhere. Pour yourself a cup of coffee or tea, and just read for a few minutes. I hope these stories from 2018 will inspire you as much as they inspire Deborah and me.