While Advent is the particular season of the church year in which we anticipate the coming of Jesus, the word can also mean "a coming into being," an opportunity for old ways of thinking and being to yield to new ways. Whether these opportunities are triggered by external or internal events, we experience an ongoing cycle of death and rebirth, of pain and joy, for we can't grow without letting go of the old thoughts and beliefs.
The subjects of our incarnation focus this issue have lived this cycle again and again (sometimes in almost literal ways). The world held its breath when Christian Peacemaker Teams members James Loney, Harmeet Singh Sooden, Tom Fox, and Norman Kember were abducted in Iraq last year. In an eloquent essay, Loney writes about their days of captivity, the humanity of their captors, and the questions he was forced to confront again and again: What does it mean to die to one's self? To be born again? To love one?s enemies?
No doubt these are questions John Perkins has asked himself many times. The venerable community development and civil rights activist, now in his 70s, has spent decades ministering to others, often at great cost to himself. A lifetime of confronting racism and greed has left its scars, but Perkins' service has taught others a new way of being, which in turn has brought new life to his community.
These are important stories to carry with us into Advent, to ponder as we await the One who continually invites us into new ways of being. -The Editors