I am pleased to report that loyal readers like you helped us exceed our goal of $500,000 for the spring campaign. On behalf of the Board of the Institute on Religion and Public Life, as well as our excellent staff, I would like to thank everyone who donated. In my travels, I have been impressed by the intelligence, commitment, and faithfulness of First Things readers. Your generosity is also remarkable.
As I’ve noted in my solicitations for support, the last year has been a time of tumult. Inauspicious trends have accelerated. Trends that deny the reality that God created us male and female. Trends that encourage our children to fixate on skin color and tragically redraw lines of racial division in our society.
But the same tense atmosphere promotes hopeful trends. The Supreme Court continues to defend religious freedom. The Dobbs case presents an opportunity to overturn Roe and put an end to the state-sponsored abortion regime. Politicians in Washington are waking up to the difficulties facing families. Our religious communities remain resilient, and there are signs that our religious leaders are determined to take strong stands on behalf of moral truths.
It’s tempting to overuse the word “crisis.” But it has become an apt word for our current circumstances. It’s a straightforward transliteration of a Greek word, krisis, which means a “turning point.” In the New Testament, krisis is often translated as “judgment,” the point when a decision is made or a verdict handed down.
Christ’s coming is a krisis—the turning point in salvation history when God fully and finally condemns on the cross the worldly powers of sin and death. It’s also a krisis for each one of us. We cannot remain indifferent. Are we for him—or against him? The words of Moses that are repeated over and over in Deuteronomy echo throughout the New Testament. Join your judgment to God's—choose life.
Today’s political, social, and spiritual crisis is not salvation-historical. In Christ, God has issued his final judgment. But the choices before us are significant.
As a nation, will we respect the gift of creation? Or will we rebel against it, insisting that we can make ourselves men or women as we wish? Will we honor our cultural inheritance with the virtue of piety and a spirit of gratitude that acknowledges our dependence on those who come before us? Or will we flaunt the commandment to honor our parents and arrogantly assume the role of history’s judge? Will we seek to rest in God’s love rather than pursue utopian dreams that try to wring transcendence out of political activism?
Rest assured. Your donations do not subsidize ambivalence. They do not support a temporizing centrism that won’t make a decision when a decision is called for. This is why your support is so important. We choose to be on the side of the unborn, on the side of natural law, on the side of gratitude. And most important, we choose the fullness of life that comes when one puts one’s treasure in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in and steal.
R. R. Reno is editor of First Things.
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