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I was in Washington, D.C., a few weeks ago for our intellectual retreat on “The Common Good.”

The first evening, I sat at the registration table to field questions and give directions. Each time a retreat attendee stepped through the entrance and laid eyes on the First Things sign at our welcome table, her posture would change from harried to relieved. And as the guests settled in, they quickly fell into deep and comfortable conversation with each other. We at First Things form a community committed to good conversation. But we can’t keep it up alone. We need interlocutors and supporters like you.


At our retreats, events in New York City, and in the pages of our magazine, we strive to—in the words of our founding editorial—“report, analyze, instruct, warn, exhort, and sometimes entertain.” But, as Fr. Richard John Neuhaus and the other original editors added, “the key word is always conversation.” This is still true today. We invite you to participate, whether by joining a ROFTERS group, attending an intellectual retreat, or writing a letter to the editor.

Of course, honest and robust discourse is not always easy. Last week I meandered through a bookstore and stumbled upon a copy of The Art of Conversation by Catherine Blyth. The introduction begins, “We need to talk. When did this become a threat rather than a statement of fact? Is it a fact?” Later, Blyth makes the point that while some might call this the “age of information” or the “communication age,” one glance around a cafe with good WiFi, full of unsociable patrons lost in their own worlds, confirms something is amiss here.

We need to talk, especially about the changing face of society. First Things is committed to keeping the conversation not only alive, but pointed toward what is true and good. We hope you, too, will be part of this conversation. Please join us and show your support today. 

Moriah Speciale is a junior fellow at First Things.

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