Our attentive blog readers have already heard the news that R.R. Reno has been appointed the new editor of First Things starting April 1 (I assure you this is not a prank). This morning On the Square, Reno tells of his own experience as a First Things reader and what the journal has been for him: a trustworthy guide.
My education hadn’t prepared me to answer the questions now before me. How, I wondered, was I to navigate intellectually? Morally? Spiritually? Where could I find trustworthy guides?
I found them in First Things. Literature, history, philosophy, political theory, art, theology, cultural criticism, and political commentary—First Things didn’t tie everything up in a neat bow or answer all my questions. Instead, by reading the magazine I found trustworthy guides, as well as companions.
There has been plenty of urgency in First Things. The magazine contributed to the great struggle against the culture of death, as well as pushing back against the aggressive efforts of secularists to bar religious motives and reasons from public life. Liberal Protestantism was taken to the woodshed on a regular basis. The bellicose thrusts and counter-thrusts of the journal energized and encouraged me, helping me find my voice in ongoing theological, moral, and political debates.
However, First Things was more than a movement magazine for me, much more. At least as many articles took the long view, recognizing that those called to serve God have always been strangers in a strange land, pilgrims making their way through the kingdoms of men.