What's on your gift list? 2021 edition

And if it ever broke, you could get hardware from an orthopod, or at least install it for you. (Kind of a grim mental picture, though, the stick.)

I have a rollator for outside because I’m trying to recover from a 2nd stroke. I use it a lot but it can be difficult to control, especially going downhill. Braking can really throw you off. It works best on level ground. So just be careful, especially at first.

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I’m an organ donor for that. Best part … I don’t even have to die to make it available.


Good to know!

I bought the Baby University Quantum Physics board books set for my teeny human, but it’s secretly for myself :slight_smile: I’d love to get him the entire Baby University series because mom brain is real and I want to understand these things but can only do so on a toddler’s level. The kiddos can learn with me of course!


Googled Baby University books… :heart_eyes:

Science finally makes sense!


Wow, I wonder if I can get a do-over on my early childhood?


Hoping for a visa, looking at a YSL bag

I’ve rediscovered a love of children’s books too. :smiley: I’ve learned so much, at least on a simple level, which is great because I don’t have time to read long college-level books anymore.


So I was fortunate enough to get this for Christmas and am currently 1/4 of the way through. It is a fantastic translation into modern English. If you’ve never read anything by Augustine I would certainly recommend starting here.

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Welcome back! I wouldn’t mind starting in the U.K. again, but I expect we’ve been there for the last time. But renting a car and touring doing B&B was wonderful! Do you know Dethick? (https://goo.gl/maps/agwt5bzKtym14pJa9)

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Mark, just dive into the kids’ book department. There are so many wonderful kids books out these days, there is no reason to avoid redoing your early childhood education now. What better way to get the intro that really sets a good foundation than from excellent children’s books?
If you feel you need a cover, you can always say you’re looking for a gift for a neice/nephew/grandchild/friend’s kid, etc.

If you do brave the children’s section, don’t miss the pop up books. I have a terrific one on sharks!

Please report back, too. I can’t wait to hear what you’re diving into next.


Actually I’m reading the book @Mervin_Bitikofer was describing on the Pithy Quotes thread, Holy Envy. I sure like her take on things. One of my big turnoffs with Christianity has been the complete dismissal of anyone else’s way of pursuing the divine. I like Barbara Brown Taylor’s analogy of each each tradition being like a well from which one can access the divine. I also like the way she acknowledges what is attractive about other traditions and what can be learned from those.


On the other hand, there is the matter of the Divine pursuing us, à la the woman at the end of Tim Keller’s book, frequently cited, and God’s pursuing Rich Stearns to do a job. Since God is real, we really cannot expect to pursue him on our terms and expect him to find him. Remember Bonhoeffer?

Then there are those who really do not want to find God, especially the God who is real, and are just interested in playing with ideas, not unlike the Athenians.

I think this is a lot more complicated. It’s hard to know what people are reacting against … God? or the particular version of God presented them by this or that person or tribe? There are plenty of versions of God that any Christians [or atheists/agnostics or anybody else] will rightly reject - or perhaps more accurately will realize that since nobody has God all figured out, we can all critique and hold at arm’s length any of the particular things we all think about God.

Yes. And she even nicely acknowledges how a Christian can do this without fear that they are somehow “selling out on their own tradition” by accepting blessing or wisdom or input from anything outside of that. Accepting hospitality or wisdom from anywhere else is perceived as a betrayal of one’s own tribe. I like how she spent time disarming that unfortunate fear.

Having recently read the short epistle of 2nd John, I am aware of biblical injunctions that are used against such habits. So I appreciated her bringing forward scriptures that encourage the practice.


Clearly you’ve decided the God you just happen to count on is in fact the one and only real and trademarked property of Christianity … entirely substantiated by expert testimony and so on. But I prefer the way the Sufi interviewed by Barbara Brown Taylor describes spirituality as the pursuit of the God that exists. I assume you think there is a God that exists. I assume you also don’t know everything about that God. Apart from the impressions you’ve been able to gather from the Bible and life experience there is also the God that exists independent of what you Dale think is real.

Personally I find the habit of dismissing everyone else’s sincerity and competence as inferior to your own to be very unattractive.

…factual reporting.

Trying to analyze what Christian “tribe” I might be imagined as belonging to, one sure thing that I would have in common other members, whoever, wherever and whenever they may be or have been, is the recognition that God does indeed act providentially into his children’s lives, whether or not they had necessarily recognized any such immediate experience themselves. I’m pretty sure that crosses denominational, societal, national and historical boundaries, and is no diminutive group.

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Sounds like an interesting book. I have never read anything by her. So, I am not familiar with her overall thoughts on religious wisdom.
In spite of my being a Christian, who holds a high view of the Bible, I think we Christians fail miserably at listening (at the very least) and trying to understand what people express about their faith (or no faith) and/or spiritual pursuits. Listening more does expose me to knowledge of practices that are forbidden to me. But there are plenty of those around me already, and I don’t have any problem saying, “I can’t do that,”or even “My God forbids me to do that.”
At the same time, it’s good to learn wisdom, and I don’t have it all. I don’t believe Christians have it all, either.
Like Dale, I would view God as the one doing the pursuing, which may be exposing any of us to whatever it takes to develop in us a god-belief that includes him, but from our human perspectives sometimes it appears that we have done all of the work.
I am learning to value the hard questions that make me consider my own assumptions more. Your very term “god belief” is valuable. For me, I would attach to it something like: sitting in between a very specific god belief (faith in a very specific God) and the belief that the physical world does not demonstrate the existance of any god or intellegent designer, what confirms my faith, and how would I communicate that to someone who is looking for a basis for faith,when the faith they see in others appears as nothing more than a psychological “strategy” for coping [ insert more preferred term here ]?


I hear (and resonate with) your critique there, Mark. In fairness to Dale (and perhaps all of us), what so many of us Christians do is probably not unlike what humanity does with our received and perceived ‘knowledge’ (collection of opinions, warranted or otherwise). We presume that we must have something of a useful (and therefore eminently sharable) truth about reality by which we can move through life - indeed what other choice is there for taking on life? That we do this with our “things of ultimate concern” (God - or whatever defacto god or version of God that may be for each individual or community) is probably also more widely a human trait than just a religious or theistic one. Our language tends to reflect this as we “think aloud” with each other. Some people ask their questions more explicitly as questions (even while their ‘questions’ might still just be statements, no less dogmatic for their disguise.) Others throw out propositions as statements, but their brash forays into such discourse can really be just their questions about life - thrown out with a veneer of bravado, perhaps, but no less questioning and experimental underneath - almost more trying to convince themselves more than others that their own statements are true.

It is unfortunate that some Christians put the surface expression of bravado forward as an example of faith. By conflating their confident expressions with infallible revelation (exact recitation of some rehearsed bits of scripture reinforce this - they imagine that by reciting an English translation of Paul’s expressions, they are exactly capturing Paul’s thought on anything or everything) - by couching their bravado as ‘not their own’ but a direct line from God almighty, they foreclose on their opportunity to learn anything. And they also tragically foreclose on the opportunity for others present to perhaps learn some important spiritual truth that doesn’t fit into the box of the one who has dominated the social / conversational dynamic of the entire room - (and such people rarely know how to not do that.)

All that said … leave room for all parties (including any identifying in conservative or Christian traditions) to make their own contributions to the market place of ideas. Taylor does a good job of advocating for this balance, I think. Christians need to learn that they don’t get to always dominate or dismiss such a market place with their own “imposed last word.” And others who might understandably scorn past Christian misbehavior in this regard, should accept that there remains a diverse collection of Christian and theistic voices in that public marketplace whose offerings may be valuable, - even indispensible.

Taylor’s book goes a long ways toward helping Christians respect, and benefit from being attentive to all those other voices.

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“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” -Colossians 4:6

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