2022 has had a strange feel to it. In the 1950’s, America was confident. George Orwell’s Ministry of Truth existed, but it existed outside the United States and inside the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and Communist China. Then, there was much less confusion over good versus evil. Sophistry was recognized as such.
Today, in contrast, totalitarianism infects America from the inside within America’s most “elite” institutions. The Wall Street Journal highlighted one important example yesterday: Stanford University’s new guide to acceptable words.
Words like “American,” “immigrant,” “master,” and “gangbusters” are no longer acceptable. Of course, we as average “Americans” cannot be expected to know this. We need a university like Stanford with 16,937 students, 2,288 faculty, and 15,750 administrative staff (I kid you not – is 15,750 a typo?) to define our language for us.
This is why Praxis Circle has focused so much on truth, language, and narrative in 2022. Consider these words from Joseph Pieper formulated in the 1970’s, when threats to America were still primarily existential:
“Human words and language accomplish a twofold purpose, as Plato without doubt would have answered – in clear agreement with the entire tradition of Western thought. Since this accomplishment is twofold, we may already here suspect that the word’s degeneration and corruption can also be twofold. First, words convey reality. We speak in order to name and identify something that is real, to identify it for someone, of course – and this points to the second aspect in question, the interpersonal character of human speech.” (page 15, Abuse of Language – – Abuse of Power (1974/1988) by Joseph Pieper)
And yet, as we emphasized last time, Christians always have Hope in Times of Fear. Our civilization is built on this hope, and Protestants, Catholics, and Orthodox Christians alike share it. In one extremely important way, 2022 has been maybe the most hopeful year on record for millions of the most vulnerable among us, the unborn.
In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, “Hail O favored one, the Lord is with you! . . . And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. . .
In those days Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country, to a city of Judah, and she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and exclaimed in a loud cry, “. . . when the voice of your greeting came to my ears, the babe in my womb leaped for joy.” (Luke 1: 26-28, 31, 39-42, 44)
The Holy Spirit makes truth known to us at Christmas each year, emphasizing its interpersonal nature and communicating the gift of life among family and friends. To all humankind.
It began over 2,000 years ago with two moms and two yet unborn in the hill country.
Leap for joy on Christmas Day. 2023 will bring new light.
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