What Is ‘One True Word’?
“But if this form of thought is again something that we care to make a vital part of a reflective life, we shall have to acquire intellectual habits less polemical, less assertive, and (paradoxically) more knowing, more sure of our judgments because more sure of their foundations. We shall have to become better read, more content to learn, willing to be surprised, and content to converse. One needs a critical mass of readers for whom truth is to be wooed and won rather than seized and dragged.” —Dr. David Whalen
The little slogan draws its inspiration from two of the thorniest books in the Bible: Job 1:8, “And the LORD said to Satan, ‘Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil?’” and Revelations 21:5, “And he who was seated on the throne said, ‘Behold, I am making all things new.’ Also he said, ‘Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.’” Other translations of the Job passage describe Job as “honest and true to his word” in this passage.
This to preface a reflection: words, in our fallen world, often do not correspond to meanings and realities. Modern plurality and sin sever a word-to-thing correspondence: What I say may not mean to Joe (or Sally or Malika) what I originally meant, or I may not even mean what I have said. The greater this divide, the greater our confusion and distrust towards God and one another.
Our inability to perfectly understand and purely express truth should not, however, discourage us from seeking and defending it using the best (though currently imperfect) tools we have. Since words created our world and the incarnate Word redeemed it from certain destruction, we know rhetoric has power and has been, like us, reclaimed. Thus the ambition towards seeking, writing, and speaking “one true word.” If not in this life, then one day in eternity.
A Short History of a Short Life
I currently work as managing editor of School Reform News and an education research fellow at the Heartland Institute. I also teach a combined classical history-literature class to high school students. Previously, I was assistant editor of The American Magazine at the American Enterprise institute, a think tank in Washington, D.C. I also regularly freelance and contribute to the blog at Common Sense Concept. Before that, I ran the campus newspaper and its twenty-something staff members at my alma mater, Hillsdale College, where I graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of [the Liberal] Arts in English (it was magna, not summa, by 0.03 points, all of which I owe to that sticky higher-level physics class, an elective I’m not sure I regret).
During college, my partner and I also managed to place in the top 25 nationally ranked parliamentary debate (NPDA) teams her sophomore year. I traveled the country speaking for Hillsdale’s team and at the National Right to Life conference, Wisconsin’s home education conference, and for various other workshops.
This mostly from my experience teaching and coaching several classes of speech, debate, and writing students across Wisconsin, as well as publishing a simple, self-teaching public speaking curriculum after my first book, Seasons of Joy, published when I was 16. Seasons was published by my dear friends at How Great Thou ART, and is the private journal of my fifteenth year.
I grew up on the family farm in central Wisconsin. My beloved husband and I live in Indiana with our two tiny children, a son and daughter.