|Broadway Books & Roasting Company|
However, when I started seminary in August, I wasn't ready for the challenge that was quickly placed before me. After my first class (which, coincidentally, was held in a real Benedictine monastery), I came to realize that God was not only calling me to live in an intentional community, but God was also calling me to help form and lead a community. It was then that the idea behind Anavah House was born.
Anavah, by definition, means humility. However, as is often the case with Hebrew words, anavah is packed with much more meaning that it initially lets on. According to Strong's concordance, the word appears numerous times in the Bible, typically with the connotation of gentleness or humility. However, there is also an instance in which it is translated as help.
According to Jewish tradition, anavah is the kind of humility that allows one to recognize their place in God's grand design of all Creation. It is commonly associated with one's ability to replace their pride with an openness to learn a little something from everyone--a person who practices anavah practices the art of humbling themselves into the realization that all people of all traditions, cultures, and social statuses have something to teach.
That's my dream for Anavah House--a place where people from all walks of life can feel welcome, and have their spirits affirmed as children of the Living God. A place where people can be helped, as well as help others together in mutual respect.
I immediately laughed this off. Not trying to sound prideful, but there are very few Christians in southeast Missouri who think the way Alyssa and I do. We just sort of assumed that we would have to seek out a more diverse, urban area in order to develop an idea like Anavah House.
But then, less than a week later, we were approached by a good friend of ours who owns a coffee house in the historic downtown district of Cape. Without divulging too much, and to make a long story short, suffice it to say that she was interested in selling us the business, and eventually the land on which the business sits.
But we weren't interested. It conflicted with our plans to move to Kansas City. It wasn't until we laughed it off for the third or fourth (fifth? sixth?) time that we began to take this seriously.
Now, after months of intense thought, prayer, and discussion, we feel that we are ready to begin sharing our experience. With the right effort, the right people, the right energies, and just a touch of passion, I believe that we can cultivate something beautiful in an often neglected part of the city I have lived in for the last five years.
|Note: This is not one of my lattes. |
My lattes don't look nearly this delicious.
But we need help getting to where we need to be. Right now, Alyssa and I are the only two people behind Anavah House. And I don't like that. As my friend Tyler and I discussed the other day over lunch, Dietrich Bonhoeffer once said (paraphrasing) that when a community is not a living vision of a group of people and becomes instead the dream of just one or two people, that community ceases to be authentic and efficacious. We need more people who share our passion for community development and art, spirituality and coffee, the power of spiritual discipline and the value of integrity.
We also need about $30,000 by June in order to buy the business.
The property lies on Broadway, about a half-mile from the Mississippi River, and also just a few short blocks from South Cape, the southeast Missouri equivalent of a ghetto. Ideally, the business would stay exactly as is, with the upper two floors being reserved for new monastic living. The house is big enough to serve as a residence for at least six or eight people (including Alyssa and myself).
I'm not a fundraiser. I'm not a financier. I'm not a preacher, or even really a teacher. I'm just someone who has a passion for people. Alyssa and I are having a hard time getting people to join us in this great commitment, and that's understandable. Sure, lots of people have let us know what a great idea they think it is. But we are looking for a few good women and men to actually help us make Anavah House a reality. If you--or anyone you know--are interested in living in community for a time (it doesn't have to be permanent, by any means), please let me know. You can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you're interested in further info, we can put you on our mailing list--simply leave your address in the message body, and we'll keep you updated as things progress.
We can do this. We can make this a reality, and together we can nurture something that has never been seen before in southeast Missouri.
Your humble everyday revolutionary,