First Things

Newsletter No. 13

Anne Snyder
Anne Snyder is the editor-in-chief of Comment magazine, a publication of Cardus, and the creator and host of Breaking Ground. From 2016 to 2019 she directed The Philanthropy Roundtable‘s Character Initiative, a program seeking to help foundations and business leaders re-envision the nature and shape of formative institutions needed for social and moral renewal in the United States. Her path-breaking guidebook, The Fabric of Character, was published in 2019. Anne is also a 2020 Emerson Fellow, a Trinity Forum Senior Fellow, and a Fellow at the Center for Opportunity Urbanism, a Houston-based think tank that explores how cities can drive opportunity for the bulk of their citizens. She has published widely, and currently lives in Washington, D.C.

When it comes to the social divisions of our time, it’s easy to baptize the reigning ideological currents rather than face them from a quiet core of christological insight.

In this week’s feature essay, “Is God Anti-racist?,” Amy Julia Becker gropes for tools that might help Americans of faith grapple with God’s call to justice amid the cross fire of arrows whizzing around our hollowed moral landscape.

“The Scriptures warn against thoughtless acquiescence to the world’s norms du jour,” Becker writes. “At the same time, they and the historical witness of the church encourage Christ’s disciples toward discerning political and social engagement in whatever land they inhabit, made all the more urgent when questions of human dignity are at stake. Faced with the dueling temptations to ignore political ‘issues’ on the one hand and to baptize every current of popular opinion on the other, it is incumbent on those who follow Jesus to learn how to bring the scriptural, spiritual, and social resources of his gospel truth to bear on the political and cultural moment in which we live, including that which we’ve simply inherited. What might Christian moral reasoning and reform look like in this complicated hour, and how do we recover these depths in our churches, practices, and broader public conversation?”

Read the whole thing, and then, join us today at 3:00 p.m. for an exploration of this very question as it came into sharp relief half a century ago. Breaking Ground is honored to partner with New York Encounter in hosting a conversation with theologian Stanley Hauerwas and historian John Zucchi, who will be revisiting a powerful talk given by Fr. Luigi Giussani in 1976, “From Utopia to Presence.” As student protests were then raging across the West, European Catholics faced a similar dilemma to that which many of today’s Christians feel in the context of our own civil unrest. Fr. Giussani, the founder of Communion and Liberation, offered a constructive framework that still speaks. We hope to “see” you there.