Nourishing Minimalism at One

Emphases exist in original post:

Having very few actual toys means their imagination has room to work. They can imagine with anything. Even with having an abundance of toys, I see little ones playing with their siblings shoes, cooking” in the kitchen or talking for popsicle stick people instead. This is a good thing and we need to continue to encourage them to play, learn and imagine with items that don’t already do-it-all” for them.

-“18 Non-Toy Gifts for Toddlers”, Nourishing Minimalism

With my daughter’s first birthday coming up, my wife and I have been struggling with the discussion of toys as gifts, especially given the fact that our house is slowly being taken over by toys already. Not only does one need to think about storage of toys that grow in size as the child grows, but also the question of what happens, if anything, with the toys that are no longer of value, both developmentally and metaphysically, to our child.

We, therefore, shared the above-linked post with our family and friends in the party invitation, saying:

If you are looking for gift ideas, you can visit [this link] as a place to start, though your presence, support, or thoughts from afar will be enough of a gift for our beautiful, growing girl.

Seems reasonable to us; we are not specifically asking that they not bring toys, but we are asking for restraint should the question be: What do you buy a one year old who already has a lot of toys?” We also understand that the post is about toddlers and not one year olds, but at the same time, quite a few of the items on the list would assist my wife and me in introducing our daughter to new things to help her continue to grow and develop in the ways that we desire, not least among them an understanding that minimalism (and restraint) is something to be cherished.


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The Challenges of 2020

TL;DR: Follow this link.

One of the craziest things about Christianity during the protests of the last few weeks is the fact that there are churches out there not discussing the issues honestly, not taking the time to have the hard conversations, not devoting their Sunday services to betterment of the world and people around them. If you’re church isn’t talking about racism right now, if they don’t mention that black lives matter, instead focusing on platitudes that equate to the all lives matter” sentiment, it is time to start looking for a new church.

My wife and I meet with my home” church virtually via Zoom since the pandemic is still a thing. Kimball Avenue United Church of Christ & La Iglesia Episcopal de Nuestra Señora de las Américas (KANSA, together) combined in a collaborative way to create a single denomination focused on the needs of their community. They follow Christ together toward the vision of love, reconciliation, peace and justice. The justice looks like the demolition and rehabilitation of an old church building and its grounds into a community garden and labyrinth open to all who seek peace through contemplation.

I give this elevator speech to mention that COVID has not been kind to faith communities in general. Budgets have been slashed, funding and grants have been cut, and congregations in need are also working to serve those in need, who are less likely to be able to financially support their church in these times. KANSA in one of the good ones. They speak truth, they have the difficult conversations, they preach in a loud voice every Sunday that black lives matter, that racism has no place in the church, that the LGBTQ community deserves respect and support, and that Jesus was a social justice warrior, who fought for the least of these no matter who they were, where they were from, what they looked like.

In fact, Jesus was most harsh to those who had the means to help and decided not to answer the call.

These systems of oppression we are protesting have been around a long time; they have screwed up a lot of lives, they have been the reason for revolution and the downfall of entire civilizations, they don’t work. We need to find a better way to live by supporting each other. And support has to come in systemic, social, financial, and political ways, both national and local.

I am not local to KANSA anymore, but I support their mission, the way that mission manifests in the world, and the simple fact that they follow Jesus no matter how ostracizing that position can be at times. Which brings me to the point:

Thanks to a $10,000 matching gift’ from an anonymous donor, the challenge has become an opportunity. Over the next two months, we plan to raise at least $10,000 to meet the challenge. Through August 31, 2020, every donation we receive toward our 2020 Challenge” no matter how small or how large will be doubled by the matching gift.

KANSA is hurting financially and needs support, they do good work and are unabashedly progressive in their approach to our world. Donate now and see your contribution matched to keep one of the good ones fighting the good fight.

Thank you for your consideration.