A season for gift-giving

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					                                                                             Canadian Mennonite November 30, 2009                11

   First, I might question his conclusion that “individ-        marketplace, but something more profound. Theistic
ualized spirituality is not spirituality at all.” Look to the   religions, however, have always had stern warnings
great mystics of the past or to even common folk from           against this. For example, an individual cannot be both
today. I believe in the axiom, “Beware of the individual        a Christian and a Muslim simultaneously, but must
without community,” and also, “Beware of community              choose to be either a Muslim or a Christian.
without the individual.”                                           In conclusion, Braun quotes a spiritual advisor:
   Second, as for Braun’s illustration that some                “The act of going to church, aside from what actually
Mennonites are substituting yoga for small group                happens there, is the most important spiritual disci-
meetings, I think some are participating in both small          pline.” He continues: “I think of the value of choosing
group meetings and yoga simultaneously.                         to spend time with people of various backgrounds,
   William Closson James provides examples in his               ages and viewpoints. In the intersection of our lives
article, “Dimorphs and cobblers: Ways of doing                  I believe I can find something that I cannot find
religion in Canada,” that many Canadians are “cob-              alone.” This is an interesting concept and deserves
bling” their religion with other religious disciplines.         open dialogue by both people on the fringe of the
I suggest this is not what sociologist Reginald Bibby           church and by those who have never questioned their
was referring to in his book Fragmented Gods, when              participation.
he developed his metaphor of the consumer and the               Myron D. Steinm an, Waterlo o , Ont.

                                 God, Money and Me                                     of origin. While in their home country

 A season for gift-giving
                                                                                       they will purchase items there to bring
                                                                                       back with them to present to family or
                                                                                       friends in North America as a token of
                                   Harold Penner                                          Businesspeople who do a lot of travel-
                                                                                       ling to other countries to purchase or sell

       hanksgiving in Canada has passed     cultures emulate when they immigrate       their products also learn the importance
Description: In our families many of us may pull tickets so that each person buys a gift for one other person. We may give our younger children money to purchase gifts for family, friends or teachers. In our churches we may speak of the baby Jesus as God's gift to mankind, or of the gifts the Magi brought when they came to visit Jesus, and tie these to the idea of giving gifts to others during the Christmas season.What about other practices of gift-giving? Are there other times and places when gift-giving may be practised? Of course, we also give gifts to children on their birthdays and to adults on significant birthdays. We present gifts at weddings and anniversaries, or to commemorate other important life events.
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