Pastor Fritz Foltz

Pastor Foltz is Pastor Emeritus of Saint James Lutheran Church in Gettysburg, PA and author of the the Frontline Study content.

Lesson 8: Truth and the Crisis in Language (Part 2)

Lesson 8: Truth and the Crisis in Language (Part 2)

In the last lesson, I suggested the crisis in language that has led to our present inability to separate what is true and false in public conversation might have first been observed in Orwell’s political newspeak and Ellul’s technological commonplaces. I think the crisis deepened with what Uwe Poerksen (1995) labeled “plastic words.” These are […]

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Lesson 7: Truth and the Crisis in Language (Part 1)

Lesson 7: Truth and the Crisis in Language (Part 1)

Because we are confronted every blasted day with a new manipulation of truth, it might help to trace the development that has led to this perilous situation. Many believe it was first brought to our attention by George Orwell who introduced “newspeak” in his novel 1984 (1949). This is a fictional language created by the […]

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Lesson 6: Truth and Righteousness

Lesson 6: Truth and Righteousness

Any lengthy discussion of truth probably contains a reference to Diogenes walking around Athens with a lamp to search for one honest man. Chances are that is about as far as it goes. Few realize the Greek thinker was a Cynic who thought truth involves how you live as well as what you say. He […]

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Lesson 5: Truth and Digital Humanity

Lesson 5: Truth and Digital Humanity

We are just beginning to appreciate how much the huge databases modern technology makes available are affecting our thoughts about truth. Most of us are aware that merchants use them to sell their products. If we look for a pair of shoes online, ads for others pop up on our Facebook for several days. We […]

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Lesson 4: Truth in the Gospel according to St. John

Lesson 4: Truth in the Gospel according to St. John

It does not take long to see that John’s Gospel speaks directly to our situation. In one of its critical scenes (John 18), Jesus and Pontius Pilate face off over the definition of truth. The confrontation could have taken place in our own White House. Pilate asks Jesus if he is a threat to his […]

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Lesson 3: Truth and Political Correctness

Lesson 3: Truth and Political Correctness

A few weeks ago, Father Jude reminded us that the given in a democracy is a reasonable, educated audience. “Absent that as the valid context, free speech in a democracy is just so much noise, at best, and, at worst, a detriment.” Knowing Jude, I am sure he did not mean that all reasonable and […]

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Lesson 2: Truth and Facts

Lesson 2: Truth and Facts

At first, I was taken aback when people read last week’s lesson as a political statement. My intention was simply to point out that a healthy society depends on being able to trust that people are telling the truth. The political examples were meant to show ours is ailing. This week, I wanted to suggest […]

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Lesson 1: Trust

Lesson 1: Trust

The present concern with fake news and a post-truth culture goes deeper than we usually acknowledge. I pulled out some quotes from Sissela Bok’s 1978 book, Lying, that I used when writing about trust decades ago. She wrote that “trust in some degree of veracity functions as a foundation of relations among human beings: when […]

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Lesson 18: God, Truth, and Reality

Lesson 18: God, Truth, and Reality

Sister Joan ended her book with a reprise of the monastic vision found in the Benedictine Rule. She emphasized it offers a practical way to live the Gospel now by discerning God’s presence in all creation. I understand that as perceiving the design running through all creation is the love we know in Jesus Christ. […]

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Lesson 17:  Peace- Sign of the Disarmed  Heart

Lesson 17: Peace- Sign of the Disarmed Heart

About half way through the chapter, Chittister wrote that being at peace gives “the courage to evaluate what is patently wrong but never open for discussion.” As soon as I read her words, a brash comment made by an executive of an arms company several decades ago came to mind. We were at a meeting […]

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