Each year, each edition is the same but new
Yet another round and another year as we prepare for the Spring Benefit Events, similar but never the same as new people engage in preparations and new speakers share their stories. One new element is that in COVID, we began slowly renaming the events from Lunch to Lunch-Time and Breakfast to Breakfast-Time and now to "Spring Benefit Events" just at the different times, to be joined online in different ways.
Producing each edition is a similar process. We gather another round of new ads and interview new people to piece together stories like a puzzle without given shapes. Interviewing, writing and editing tools are our paint brush, pen and chisel, forming the pieces to fit together.
Through editing, we chisel out the passive voice and make it active—not only to make for more concise reading but also to move us into action. We take out and insert commas to improve understanding. All the nuances of editing are designed for clarity and holding reader attention, without hyping conflict, violence, celebrity or other tricks of infotainment news.
In this issue, two professors lend insights into how and what they teach at the university level. Other stories give a glimpse of online events: the legislative conference, the hate studies conference and a Martin Luther King Day remembrance. Finally, two people tell of opening a publishing house to include local voices.
It's new but old with reminders of struggles educators, racial justice advocates, human rights proponents, book publishers and communities of faith face. Through their stories, we move beyond their struggles to ways their engagement plant seeds of hope in us.
We don't leave readers with the negative, the wounds or scars, but draw out the story to see how injuries and injustices shape people and what visions they have to move them and us beyond the brokenness. Each interviewee shares, aware that their efforts continue. They are on the road to resolutions and persevere toward love, justice, peace and creation care. They may be at an "already now," but keep moving toward the "not yet" they trust will come.
Therein lie the seeds of hope that impel us on in our pursuit of Martin Luther King Jr's vision of the beloved community in which all live in justice and peace under their own vine and fig tree in peace and unafraid. That's the vision of The Fig Tree from Micah 4:4. The verse sits on page one between the roots of The Fig Tree logo in each issue.
With that vision, The Fig Tree seeks to nudge people toward a reality in which "every encounter with another human being is an encounter with the Source of all Being and every encounter with another seeker of truth is an encounter with the Source of all Truth," as I often quote BBC broadcaster Pauline Webb's words at the Sixth Assembly of the World Council of Churches in Vancouver, B.C.
Those words underlie our journalistic journey over 38 years of listening, writing and editing.
Mary Stamp - Editor