Last winter I attended a variety show based on The Brothers Karamazov. Between sketches from the novel, the actors would change into street clothes, and thus out of character, to deliver short stand-up routines. One actress began with a story, but soon interjected: “I know this, and when I say ‘know,’ I mean I heard it once and now...I think it!” I laughed along with the rest of the audience, of course, knowing how prevalent this sort of logic is. Our readers can rest easy: The First Things staff and our writers work hard to avoid capitulating to such sloppy insouciance.
I was a student at a large, secular university the afternoon I sat in that crowd. Each day I battled nonsense in classrooms, hardly ever meeting a kindred spirit. My exposure to First Things in college was well timed. But when I first picked up a copy of the magazine on my campus several years ago, I never could have fathomed the extent to which First Things works to ensure that the mission set out in our founding editorial is alive and well in New York City, throughout the U.S., and across the world. I did know, however, that I had found some long-sought-after kindred spirits.
Since coming to work at First Things, my understanding of that mission and of our readership has only broadened. Better yet, I now know how many of you there are! What a joy it has been to meet and talk with readers from across the country at our events. I realize now just how many are committed to overcoming the painfully human tendency to do exactly as the comedian joked: perceive as knowledge that which we have merely imbibed and about which we have given no thought. In short, our readers are committed to truth, and for that I thank you. The First Things staff remains committed to the same.
Your donations help keep the junior fellowship program—which brought me to work at First Things—running; they allow our popular intellectual retreats—where I’ve met and been encouraged by so many of you—to continue; most importantly, they bring the magazine you love to your mailbox. We can’t do what we do without your help. Please make a donation today.
Moriah Speciale is a junior fellow at First Things.
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