- Longing for Spring: A New Vision for Wesleyan Community | Elaine A. Heath & Scott T. Kisker | Foundational read for understanding FAM Houston.
- Missional. Monastic. Mainline.: A Guide to Starting Missional Micro-Communities in Historically Mainline Traditions | Elaine A. Heath & Larry Duggins | Guide that outlines how FAM Houston was formed
- When Helping Hurts: How to Alleviate Poverty Without Hurting the Poor...And Yourself | Steve Corbett & Brian Fikkert | Influential for FAM Houston's paradigm of empowerment mission
Six years ago this May I moved to Houston and was invited into the home of my friend and fellow community member, Nusura. We shared brownies and a bowl of strawberries the first time we hung out. We sat on her couch and we tried to use Google Translate to talk. But we mostly just sat there and giggled like 5th graders.
Friends — oh, what a year!
It’s been one for the books for Houstonians — Hurricane Harvey revealing epic devastation 51.88 inches of rain all-at-once brings while also calling out our Very best. Astros claiming World Series championship and Houstonians exploding with pride and joy. Snow falling all night long and sticking to the ground and all of us reconnecting with our inner gleeful child.
One day I’d run home, run toward the future
I’d run for the past, I’d take the open window to the military widow
One day I would stop to take a break because my heart is going to brake
Stick my gear on the low and turn the grill off and on at my stake
I’d run again toward the lands and create the lake
Fly to see heavens and wave for the life you had lived in
Fly and don’t look backward there’s many chances you’ve had been given
Go with the wind, drive with the sound, give up on the habits, by it you’ve been driven
Steal a second to shoot your head, remembering the last tears your dropped
Take away your cracked heart, and give away people you’ve loved
Fly away and hug angels made of lights, forget about humans you’ve hugged
I can't tell you when it first occurred to me, but somewhere in the early years of adulthood I realized that I was simply incapable of treating Advent as a season of Waiting. To be clear, my inability to wait is not due to an overage of Christmas Spirit leading me to deck halls and binge on maple syrup like Buddy the Elf. It's not building excitement or anticipating cherished time with family.
I ask myself, ‘What was it like?’ for my friends who came to the U.S. without speaking English, with very little financial resources, fleeing violence, dealing with various physical and emotional traumas . . .
I have practiced immigration law for almost two years now. I spent my first year practicing law back on the Texas/Mexican border—in Harlingen, TX representing unaccompanied minors in immigration court. The majority of these young clients could not WAIT. They could not wait to flee the violence in their home countries. Waiting would have led to their death. So they fled. Alone, unaccompanied, and afraid. Their trips consisted of days on foot or without food and water, rationing a sandwich over five days. Or jammed into the cargo-carrying trailer of an 18-wheeler, hiding to avoid being detained and returned home, only to start the week long journey over again.
Advent generally is a time of waiting for a noble guest. However, with the coming of Jesus, advent points to a time of waiting for a man of the cross, a Palestinian Jew from the periphery of society. Paradoxically, it is interesting to me to watch the immigration debate in this country happening even in this season. Christians in their debate easily remove Jesus from the discussion.
I am often terribly impatient. More often than I care to admit.
I am guilty of multi-tasking, driving over the speed limit, reading a book when waiting in an office or line. I try to practice meditation, and some days I succeed, while most other days, I fail to settle down long enough to sit in stillness and waiting.