Robert Ellsberg
Dear Friends, Looking back on 2020 I recall the story from scripture in which God appeared to the prophet Elijah—not in wind, earthquake, or fire, but in a “still small voice.” Rather than the roar of an earthquake, the pandemic this year has been more like a still small voice. In the stillness of this crisis all of us were challenged to see and listen in new ways. What was it showing us? What did we hear?

Among other things, many of us heard the voice of George Floyd, calling out in the last nine minutes of his life, “I can’t breathe.” Virtually all of our top-selling books this year reflected the urgency of this “Black Lives Matter” awakening, particularly James Cone’s The Cross and the Lynching Tree, Kelly Brown Douglas’s Stand Your Ground, Bryan Massingale’s Racial Justice and the Catholic Church, and Jesse Jackson’s Keeping Hope Alive.

            As Pope Francis noted in his recent letter to Orbis, we cannot emerge from such a crisis as we have experienced this year the same as we were before: we must either become better or worse. And that will depend on our capacity to go deeper—in our capacity for compassion, solidarity, and community.

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