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We made it! And then some. Our year-end fundraising goal was $1,000,000 from a thousand readers. That seemed an ambitious goal. But we underestimated the depth and breadth of support for First Things. Our final tabulation: $1,190,805 from 1,875 individuals.

Those outstanding results cap a very successful year for First Things. “We Are Repaganizing” by Louise Perry was among the most widely read pro-life articles of 2023. Christopher Caldwell’s “The Fateful Nineties” was cited by New York Times columnist David Brooks as one of the top essays of the year. Carl Trueman delivered an outstanding Erasmus Lecture in October (“The Desecration of Man”); Matthew Crawford knocked the ball out of the park with his Washington, D.C., lecture, “The Rise of Antihumanism.”

Your support, and the support of so many others, has put fuel in the First Things tank. We have big plans for 2024. Our website is ten years old. That’s seventy in dog years—and even older in web years. We will redesign and relaunch the website this year.

First Things has a large audience. We have nearly 30,000 subscribers, and each year 3.5 million unique visitors come to our website. But shouldn’t more people be fed by the religious and philosophical substance of First Things? We plan to devote resources to expanding our readership in 2024. I hope to report significant increases when I thank you for your support in 2025.

You don’t need to possess the gift of prophecy to see that challenges lie ahead. The upcoming presidential campaign is sure to be fractious. The onslaught of legal cases against Trump implicates the rule of law itself in the bitterest partisan divides—a dangerous and reckless precedent. War rages on the borders of Europe and in the Middle East. The moral corruption of the universities has been exposed. Mass migration accelerates, and governments promise action but do nothing. Voters in Argentina and the Netherlands have rebelled against their political establishments. The populist upsurge is likely to intensify.

First Things is a voice of sanity and intelligence in today’s clash of ignorant armies. Panic and hysteria are not our default reactions. We do not suffer from Trump derangement syndrome. We don’t sling accusations of “isolationist” or “war-monger.” We neither guard the bastion of “liberalism,” nor do we trumpet “integralism” or some other wholesale transformation of our political inheritance and way of life. First Things is certainly fierce in its defense of religious orthodoxy. But you won’t find superficial commentary in our pages.

The reason is simple: Our readers, writers, and editors keep their eyes on the deepest truths, first principles, and our highest calling, to know and love the Lord our God. The anchor of truth steadies us in the storms of our moment. The lure of transcendence raises our spirits when the world seems to be breaking apart.

First Things wields the sword of truth. We’re a fighting publication. But we also nurture the joy that comes from contemplating truth—and the happiness of companionship in a good and noble cause. 

Thank you for supporting First Things. You’ve strengthened our merry band of faithful truth-tellers.

R. R. Reno is editor of First Things. 

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