The Common Good

The 12 Days of (a Grassroots) Christmas

For those who are looking for something beyond the traditional 12 days of Christmas gift-giving shtick, here are some ideas I gleaned during my ongoing travels for Jesus Died for This?: A Satirist's Search for the Risen Christ.

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1. Support Working Women in the Holy Land
Shopping for jewelry and other traditional handicrafts at the Bethlehem-based The Cave, or Queen Noor's Jordan River Foundation (Amman, Jordan) helps enhance the livelihoods of working women and their families.

2. Prepare to Pray
Missio Dei, an intentional community located in the West Bank of Minneapolis, created a breviary that prayerfully guides one along the path of Jesus and justice. Also, for those looking to greet the new year with fresh eyes, delve into the Rev. Ian Adam's insightful book Cave, Refectory, Road: Monastic Rhythms for Reshaping Christianity.

3. Make a Celtic Connection
The Rev. Kurt Neilson served as my pilgrim guide for my journey. His book Urban Iona makes an ideal present for spiritual seekers looking for ways to connect with that thin space that separates this world from the next.

4. Create an Episcopal Village
Support new Anglican communities at the grassroots level with Episcopal Village, an effort by Rev. Karen Ward to continue connecting U.S. and UK Anglicans loooking to bring forth new forms of church. Also, check out the list of Anglican emerging resources from Church Publishing.

5. Play with Proost
Proost, a UK-based artists collective, contains a treasure trove of worship materials that can be purchased either via individual downloads or via a year's subscription.

6. Meet Christ in Culture
In The Writing on the Wall: High Art, Popular Culture and the Bible, the Rev. Maggi Dawn, chaplain and fellow in theology at Robinson College at Cambridge University (UK) enables those familiar with the Bible to see these stories with fresh eyes, while also gently guiding those who are reading the Bible for the first time.

7. Re-gift for Social Change
Sweet Notions, an initiative of Matyroshka Haus, up-cycles ladies accessories and creates social change. For those looking to get rid of unwanted holiday gifts or clean out their closets, Sweet Notions is looking for fashion accessories.

8. Empower Women for Leadership
Those looking for a good read about women in Christian leadership can skim this list by Sophia Network, a UK-based organization that exists to connect women in youth work and ministry. Also, check out Taking Flight: Reclaiming the Female Half of God's Image Through Advocacy and Renewal for a range of voices exploring ideas on gender-inclusive faith and leadership.

9. Keep Up with the Joneses
Read the blog of international missiologist Andrew Jones, a.k.a. Tall Skinny Kiwi, as he travels the globe with his family, teaching and connecting those who are exploring collectively what it means to be the church of the 21st century.

10. Shine a Light on the Naked Pastor
Canadian based pastor David Hayward's new book of cartoons makes the perfect gift for anyone who doesn't feel they fit into any faith box, but yet they know there's something out there that's bigger than themselves.

11. Believe in Yourself
In recent months, I find myself connecting time and time again with creative souls who seem to have lost faith in themselves. To these people, I'd like to suggest they pick up up the Eddie Izzard documentary Believe and the accompanying soundtrack to help rekindle that creative spark that's been lurking below the surface for too long.

12. Call a Truce on the Christmas Wars
Instead of trying to force everyone to follow Christ during the holiday season, pick up a copy of The Atheist's Guide to Christmas and learn how 42 prominent UK and U.S. thinkers celebrate the holidays.

Follow Becky Garrison's travels on twitter @jesusdied4this.

+Also, see Sojourners magazine's Christmas gift guide for more ideas, or make a gift to Sojourners.

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