gift

Christian Piatt 12-24-2013

Scene from Piatt family’s Pulp Christmas video/YouTube

We’ve created a Christmas monster: a grotesque assemblage of pagan, Christian and capitalist symbolism into something that resembles something we’re both attracted to and repulsed by at the same time. We’re fueled by an admixture of both guilt and greed, while the domestic economy pins its annual hopes on our propensity for spending far more than we have or want to spend.

All in the name of baby Jesus.

It seems that we have no means of escaping the vortex of materialism, partly because whoever is the first not to buy gifts is the cheap jerk who throws the whole transactional nature of gift-giving out of whack. But one Christmas, a few years back, my wife, Amy, and I had finally reached our limit. We were in the midst of our Financial Peace budget slim-down and Christmas spending was an obvious target.

Cathleen Falsani 6-06-2012

Father O'Gorman blesses the hands of artist Fitz Maurice. Photo by Cathleen Falsani for Sojourners.

My eyes locked with those of the priest just as his right hand, gripping the aspergillum, went back (in a wind-up that would impress many baseball enthusiasts) and then forward, sending a shower of water across my face and torso.

While I wiped water from the bridge of my nose, we both laughed and I could see the jolly Irish priest’s arm go back once again as he prepared to douse the people seated in the pew behind mine.

So began the annual Blessing of the Artists in Laguna Beach, the sleepy seaside village where I live in southern California. Blessing the artists is a community tradition that goes back almost 15 years, begun at the behest of the artists themselves. The ritual is held the first week in June, in advance of the opening of the Sawdust Festival and the Festival of the Arts, art exhibitions held here each summer and populated largely by artists and artisans from the town itself.

Danielle Tumminio 11-13-2011
Wedding cakes at a bridal "expo" in Seattle.

Wedding cakes at a bridal "expo" in Seattle. Image via Wiki Commons.

It’s tempting for us to scoff at Kris and Kim’s downfall, but the reality is that their marriage failed at least in part because of our society’s views of nuptial bliss. That makes us all implicitly responsible, and it encourages us all to do a better job of loving our neighbors well, not just on their wedding day but on all the days that follow. 

Shane Claiborne 10-03-2011

Today (Oct. 4) Christians around the world celebrate the life of St. Francis of Assisi, one of the bright lights of the church and one of the most venerated religious figures in history.

The life and witness of Francis is as relevant to the world we live in today as it was 900 years ago. He was one of the first critics of capitalism, one of the earliest Christian environmentalists, a sassy reformer of the church, and one of the classic conscientious objectors to war.

Cathleen Falsani 9-12-2011
"[Music] is no invention of ours: it is a gift of God. I place it next to theology. Satan hates music: he knows how it drives the evil spirit out of us." -- Martin Luther
Becky Garrison 12-09-2010
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 http://www.amazon.com/gp
Usually when Mother's Day comes, we think of the women in our lives who nurture, teach, rear, and comfort us.
Rachel Anderson 2-04-2010

"Help us raise $10 million for Haiti!!!"

My friend Laura forwarded me this e-mail along with a note: "the subject line enticed me. Then I realized that it was a credit card offer."

Heather Wilson 1-22-2010
While the story of bible-verses-on-gun-scopes is getting more press, I am just (if not more) disturbed to read of a U.S.
LaVonne Neff 12-04-2009
I have mixed feelings about wish lists. They rob Christmas of creativity, surprise, and personal contact, but they make shopping much, much easier.
Julie Clawson 11-30-2009
So the stores are playing Christmas music and down here in Texas the highs are only the 70s and 80s, so the holiday season must be upon us.
Bart Campolo 7-31-2009
I've heard from many of you who liked last month's post, or were at least relieved by its more positive
Mimi Haddad 6-09-2009
"Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord." (1 Corinthians 1:31, NRSV)

In the upcoming weeks and months, desperate people will knock on the doors of almost every church across the nation to ask for emergency financial assistance.
Mimi Haddad 5-04-2009
Many of you have attended a class at church designed to help you discern your spiritual gifts.
Mimi Haddad 2-16-2009
Look at these astonishing verses from Romans 16.

Becky Garrison 12-15-2008
Thanks to the folks at Alternatives for Simple Living, I've been refocusing how I celebrate the Christmas holidays.
LaShaune Littlejohn 12-11-2008
Dear Santa,

I remember how Christmas used to be when I was a little girl: waking up early Christmas morning, racing downstairs to see the presents and unwrapping gifts.

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