Renewing Hope in What Might Be - Friday 31st January, 2020
As it took hold in twentieth-century America, the Promethean ideal taught that the individual self exists apart from all social ties and relations. Our family, our religious society, our neighborhood and town—these communities don’t constitute one’s identity, because who one truly is exists separate from all of them.
Instead, the Promethean self creates her own reality, her own truth. She forges her own meaning. And this effort at self-creation is a solitary business. The demands of community too often get in the way.
. . . And you can see how this idea of the Promethean self, the self-creating, self-sustaining person, suggested a particular kind of politics—a politics centered on the solitary individual.
In this kind of politics, individual choice, and even more, individual achievement are what count. And that makes sense: if our personhood is something we create and not discover, if it is something we assemble entirely for ourselves, then personhood is an achievement; it is something we do.
And place and home don’t matter much. And civic participation is beside the point. And church, synagogue, family—these are fine, but only as groups of individuals, and only if they don’t have too much say in society and don’t control too much of your life. . . .
The collapse of community in America has been underway for decades now, and as it accelerates, it threatens our common liberty.
Our families and farm cooperatives, our churches and labor unions—they bring us together, they relate us to each other, they tell us what we have in common. And they tell us a story about ourselves, as Americans.
They tell us that what unites us is not race or ethnicity or religious confession. What unites us is the deep conviction that every life matters, that you matter, that every person is uniquely called and uniquely gifted.
They tell us that you don’t have to be rich or famous to be important, that ordinary life—the life of work and marriage and family and worship—that life is valuable, it’s wonderful, it’s what we were meant for, it’s what changes the world.
Our communities of home and worship and labor tell us all this because they draw us into living these convictions together. And this country is built on those convictions. Which means the future of this country depends on rebuilding the communities that make us who we are.
Because in the end, it is community that makes authentic individual life possible.
It’s community that gives individuals strength. It’s community that helps us find moral purpose. It’s community that joins us together to exercise control over our lives.
And so as it turns out, our cherished belief in the liberty of every individual, and the dignity of every person, is rooted in the life we share together.
For in the words of an old theologian, “We do not exist in isolation, [but in] a world of love and hate, blessing and curse, service and destruction . . . where nobody, fundamentally speaking, belongs to himself alone.”
This excerpt is taken from a speech by Missouri Senator Josh Hawley at the sixth annual American Principles Project Gala. Click here to read the speech in its entirety.
Click here to learn more about a young LCMS woman who recently start a pro-life group at her local public high school.
From time to time The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod joins amicus briefs for cases in which the outcome is likely to affect the church. Check out a collection of briefs to which the LCMS has joined.
“As the Church, we are created to stand against evil. We are created to speak truth ... and forgiveness. The truth is that abortion ends the life of a human being, and we should be unwavering in our opposition to it. But that is not the end of the story. We have been given the gift of Christ, and the power of Christ can wash our sins away.” – Rev. Troy Tysdal, Church of the Lutheran Brethren, a Life Quote from Lutherans For Life • www.lutheransforlife.org
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