Header photo taken by Cal Hsaio
“Advent matters, because it’s our way of keeping our eyes and our hearts and our arms all wide open even in the midst of our grief and longing.— Sarah Bessey, November 24, 2019 Field Notes
The weary world is still waiting in so many ways, in so many hearts, in so many places, for the fullness of the Kin-dom of God to come. Advent is for the ones who know longing.”
Growing up in a non-denominational conservative immigrant church, Advent was not a familiar concept or practice. It was not until I entered university, and participated in religious activities with a denomination that incorporated more liturgical elements, that I learned some Christians would spend an extended period of time before December 25 to reflect on the coming of Christ. It was easy to fold Advent into my personal faith tradition during that time because it made sense for me – I liked the practices of reflection, anticipation, and seeing hope during a tumultuous time.
These days, in typical PAAC fashion, I have been deconstructing and reconstructing what my faith practice looks like. Especially, when the typical Christian traditions oftentimes does feels foreign and removed. Doing a daily devotional or reading scripture is no longer the prerogative to my faith practice. Instead, it is replaced with being moved by the stories around me told through letters, words, colors, ink, and really any medium you could imagine under the sun. I would like to think that many in our community can relate to this transition in the types of content we digest. For that reason, Diverging has put together an Advent series written by PAAC members for PAAC members (shoutout to last year’s Advent Ditty of Hope)
This series is a compilation of poetry, narratives, reflections, artwork, and even a Seattle PAAC x Diverging Magazine service that touches on the ponderings folks have entering this year’s Advent season. Not all of the pieces are resolute, but that’s the nature of anticipation, of not knowing, right? Some may cause you to question, “Why God?”, some may evoke tears, and some may resonate deeply for you. I hope that these stories we have collected can be companions for us all in our different waiting rooms this season.
A huge thank you to our Advent editors for supporting these pieces, of course to all the contributors for their labor!
Advent Editorial Team Bios
Amy Congdon (she/her) is one semester away from completing an M.A. in Counseling in Kansas City, where she lives with her husband and two kids. She is a proud Episcopalian, passionate about issues of race, sexuality, reproductive justice, and mental health, an occasional blogger at www.amyecongdon.com, an Oregonian at heart, and quite possibly Madeleine L’Engle’s biggest fan.
Esther 劉 (she/her/hers) is a Linguistic Anthropologist working on a theory of language as μεταξύ, striving to speak worldbuilding words, learning how to look and listen, recovering her locus of enunciation, and wobbling through the presentation of the self in everyday life. She is a wannabe farmer, pro-Indigeneity Taiwanese American, and involved in this past decade of #churchtoo work and interfaith dialogue. @estherogen
Virginia Duan (she/her) is an author/writer and incapable of writing in brief. She swears. A lot. She discusses the deeply uncomfortable and humiliating with biting humor and glimpses of grace; loves the injudicious use of ALLCAPS; is #teamoxfordcomma; and always stans BTS. You can find her work on various sites like Romper, Mom.com, and Mochi Magazine. She’s the Entertainment Section Editor and a Staff Writer at Mochi Magazine, and the Living Justice Section Editor at Diverging Magazine.
Victor Gan (he/him) has been a physician-scientist in London and done public health analytics in Singapore. After a master’s in liturgy in Connecticut and a hospital chaplaincy residency in the Bay Area, he is back in Singapore juggling being a primary care physician, hospice chaplain and interfaith advocate. He is interested in the performance of theology without walls and psychoanalytic sociology.
Woojeong Do (도우정) / Edward (he/him/they/them) is an avocado hating millennial Korean American originally from Seoul and is now in Washington D.C. working in communications and digital media. He is an aggressive PCUSA Presbyterian with a low tolerance for BS, conservatism, and a sushi-kbbq-boba addiction that will most likely kill him and the world’s oceans one day. He is truly grateful that the biggest theological influences in his life are amazing women (s/o to PAAC).